Historical Change Hits Disney World, Making Location Even Harder for Guests To Visit

in Walt Disney World

Pluto and Goofy outside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World Resort just unveiled a massive change for one location – one that’s good news for Disney but not-so-good news for those hoping to visit any time soon.

With four theme parks and two water parks, there’s no shortage of things to do at Walt Disney World. Combined with large crowds and high prices, it sometimes feels like it’s impossible to tick everything off your vacation to-do list (which is exactly why so many of us return time and time again).

Statue of walt disney holding hands with mickey mouse in front of cinderella castle at disney world, with a clear blue sky background.
Credit: Disney

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Typically, it’s newer experiences that draw the longest lines. Disney has tried to mitigate this in recent years with the introduction of virtual queues for the likes of TRON: Lightcycle / Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, but the reality is that you still spend a long time waiting to get on these rides – even if you’re not doing so in an actual physical line.

Disney being Disney, even the older attractions have cult fanbases – meaning they also boast long wait times. The likes of Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Toy Story Mania! are still very much capable of generating wait times over an hour in length.

Space Mountain at sunset at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Beyond the rides, there’s still plenty of waiting and organizing involved in a Disney World vacation. Diehard parkgoers know that making dining reservations for the resort’s most popular restaurants is a skill in and of itself. With bookings opening up to 60 days in advance of your trip, there are certain restaurants – such as Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Space 220, ‘Ohana, and Crystal Palace (specifically for breakfast) – that need to be booked in the first few minutes of adding availability.

Now, you can add another location to that list. Victoria & Albert’s has just received a massive boost that’s sure to make reservations even more scarce than usual: as of this week, it’s officially Disney’s first-ever Michelin-star restaurant.

Victoria & Albert's dining room
Credit: Disney

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“Chef Matthew Sowers cooks with contemporary verve and draws on influences spanning from Asia to the Nordics,” the restaurant’s Michelin review declared. “Think delicate tarts set with New Zealand langoustine, striking ‘sandwiches’ made with venison carpaccio and red cabbage, and bold sauces like cherry-cola bordelaise. Other details like water lists, an ornate coffee and tea service, and a serious wine program further impress.”

It was always a struggle to find a table at Victoria & Albert’s – especially the Chef’s Table, where guests enjoy a three-hour, front-row experience witnessing the restaurant’s team prepare an exquisite tasting menu “inspired by the season” (for a cool $425 per person, and no, it’s not included on the Disney Dining Plan). Michelin itself acknowledged the scarcity of tables. “Nestled within Disney’s crown jewel, the Grand Floridian Resort, this restaurant is by no means an easy reservation,” it said, “but the reward is a kind of magic rarely seen these days.”

Diners enjoying a fancy experience at Victoria & Albert's
Credit: Disney

The restaurant has historically garnered the kind of attention rarely paid to theme park dining, having managed to secure the AAA Five Diamond Award every year since 2000 thanks to its unique blend of Modern American cuisine and classic Victorian elegance.

Now that it’s officially been legitimized in the eyes of serious foodies, Victoria & Albert’s (which is named for the famed British Queen Victoria, namesake of the Victorian era by which the Grand Floridian’s entire aesthetic is so inspired, and her beloved husband Albert) just gained a whole new demographic of prospective visitors.

With that in mind, anyone wanting to experience fine dining just steps away from the Magic Kingdom needs to prepare themselves for some serious competition (and start getting familiar with the Disney Dining Reservations website).

Fortunately, Disney has made a few changes in recent months that actually make it easier to track down a reservation. As of March 2024, guests can see all available time slots when trying to book a table. Previously, you had to search by meal – and before that, you had to search by a specific time slot, which made for frustrating work.

Have you ever visited Victoria & Albert’s? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments!

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