Kalynda Jensen

Magic Kingdom Table-Service Restaurants Ranked Best to Worst

If you are heading out to the Magic Kingdom, there is a good chance that you are interested in learning more about the table-service dining options.  Whether you are wanting to dine with a Disney Princess, or you are looking for a buffet with Pooh and all of his friends, there are many options to please your palate.  We have really enjoyed all of the dining options at the Magic Kingdom.  I have heard rumblings on a few restaurants, but I guess we have been lucky as we have always had great experiences.  Here are our thoughts on Magic Kingdom table service restaurants ranked best to worst.

#1 – Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen – View Menu

Magic Kingdom Table-Service Ranked Best to Worst!

This is such a hidden gem inside Adventureland next to the Jungle Cruise area. Just like the Jungle Cruise gives you a little show by the cast members driving the boats, the Skipper Canteen restaurant’s servers give you a little show with your dinner as well. They tell cute little jokes and have a good time with everyone at your table. This restaurant serves a wide array of dishes such as steak, chicken, pork, fish, lamb and Thai noodles. They have fresh vegetables and wonderful jasmine rice. My steak was amazing! (Lunch menu and dinner menu are nearly the same). The kid’s menu offers a build your own special where the children get to pick from several different options on the menu. They have great specialty drinks as well, which is included if you are using a Disney Dining Plan. You can also get an alcoholic beverage which is include in the package as well.

#2 – Liberty Tree Tavern – View Menu

Straight out of the streets of Americana, this quaint little restaurant is in Liberty Square near the Hall of Presidents. When you walk in, you feel like you are visiting someone’s house, with family style large round tables and chairs. There are six different themed rooms (think of it like different dining rooms) in the restaurant to sit in. There is a little bit of history all around the restaurant for everyone to learn a little bit about the history of America. All food is served family style on large platters. Think Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey and all the trimmings. They keep bringing it out and refilling your plate as well. The dessert here is awesome as well, and we always recommend the Ooey Gooey Toffee cake.

#3 – The Crystal Palace – View Menu

Dinner with Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and of course Eeyore.

Located at the end of Main Street on the left-hand corner before you walk into Adventure Land. While this is a buffet, it is Character Dining with Winnie the Pooh and Friends. While the food isn’t the best in the park, like most buffets, its decent and the kids loved all their choices. This restaurant makes the list at number three because of the meet and greet with the characters. Every single one of them came to the table and sat with my daughter for an extended period. The first time we went to Disney World, this was the very first restaurant that we did, and it set the tone for the rest of the trip.

#4 – Cinderella’s Royal Table – (2 credits) – View Menu

Meeting Cinderella before dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table

I think everyone knows that this is located inside Cinderella Castle. It is absolutely magical. Again, this is a restaurant that is all about the experience, and not necessarily the food. The food is just meh – so heads up on this and it also takes 2 Table Service credits per person for this. However, if you can go at least once, I highly recommend this. My daughter started out downstairs meeting Cinderella in person. Once we were ready to go up to our table, they escorted us up an elevator where we embarked into the dining room and to our table. Every single Disney Princess was in attendance and made it around to every table – and again, spent plenty of time with my daughter. We had a late-night reservation around 8:30 pm, so we got to see the 9:00 pm fireworks from inside the castle. How can you not love that? Talk about magical. I will never forget this experience. As far as the food, they offer things such as pork shank, beef tenderloin, fish, chicken, and couscous. If you can get a reservation and your kids are into Disney Princesses, I would highly recommend this experience.

#5 – Be Our Guest – (2 credits) – View Menu

Dining in the West Wing.

This is another popular restaurant and is very hard to get a reservation. Lunch is considered quick service, and dinner is considered Table Service. It does take 2 table service credits in order to book here. Again, this restaurant is all about the experience and not necessarily the food. The restaurant has three unique themed dining rooms that bring their own sense of Disney Magic. The main dining hall is full of beautiful architecture, crown molding and chandeliers, and the back wall is a window looking outside where it appears to be snowing. The Beast’s West Wing is a very dark and scary dining room, but tons of fun. We’ve eaten in here before for the experience, but heads up, it is very dark and hard to see your food. The final dining room is one that is equally as beautiful and features Beauty and Beast dancing in the middle of the room. Beast makes an appearance during dinner service, but he sort of just walks through the hall, not really coming to tables etc. The fixed menu features food such as roasted tenderloin, Filet Mignon, chicken, tortellini, seafood, and lamb. If I was going to use two dining credits on BOG or Cinderella’s Royal Table, I would choose CRT because of a greater experience. (Highly recommend this place for QS Lunch though)

#6 – The Plaza Restaurant – View Menu

Located right on main street in the busy hustle and bustle that is all things Main street. The restaurant is a cute little restaurant featuring a limited number of tables. They are known for great milkshakes, so feel free to indulge. The food choices are great feel good food choices like baked brisket mac and cheese, a juicy Angus Burger, home style meatloaf, and smoked porkchops. You have a great view of all things Main Street when dining here.

#7 – Diamond Horseshoe – View Menu

Another cute little restaurant located in Liberty Square featuring all things Barbeque. They have brisket, pulled pork, mac and cheese and smoked stuff peppers. Since we’re from Texas, of course this is an all-time favorite.

#8 – Tony’s Town Square – View Menu

Located as soon as you walk through the front gates of the Magic Kingdom on the right-hand side before you start walking down Main Street. It is themed after Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and has a cute little charm about it. They even have a patio where you can enjoy outdoor dining and catch a parade if you make the right timed reservation. The food is typical Italian food such as spaghetti, fettuccini, parmigiana, pizza, etc. Other critics have given this restaurant a thumb sideways or a “meh” review since the food is just not that amazing. However, I’m a cheese and pasta girl, so I enjoyed it. I never get meat on my pasta, such as chicken or shrimp, so not sure how those meals compare to other Italian Restaurants on Disney property like Mama Melrose at HS.

In Conclusion

Well, that covers all the table-service options that Disney’s Magic Kingdom is currently offering. What are your thoughts?  What does your list look like?  Let me know in the comments below.  We hope that you enjoyed our list of the Magic Kingdom Table-Service Restaurants Ranked Best to Worst.  Please do us a favor and like our post and share with all of your Disney Fanatic friends! 

Oh yeah, did we mention that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!

How to Avoid the Lines at Walt Disney World

In today’s society, we’re totally about doing things fast and convenient. Walt Disney World has given the people what they’re looking for. At Walt Disney World, every guest receives at least three fast passes per guest, per day.  If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort (“on property”) then you can log in to your online log in that you create at Disney’s website and reserve your fast passes 60 days in advance. If you are staying at resorts outside of Disney’s resorts (“off property”), then you can reserve fast passes 30 days in advance.

What is a Fast Pass?

A Fast Pass is like the key to the kingdom- well, really, it is a way to go through a faster, shorter line, instead of waiting in the typical line queue.

How do you get your Fast Passes?

When you book your Walt Disney World vacation, you create a user name and password at Disney’s website. Whether on a desk top or using the My Disney Experience app (we recommend the full website version for initial booking) you’ll be able to search time slots for your favorite and most popular attractions. If you just buy tickets, and do not have a vacation package, you can still book fast passes because your ticket has RFID technology and you can link the passes to your daily tickets.

Get Them!

Trust Me, you want to reserve them as quick as you can. Once the day comes along that you can pick your fast passes, jump online and book them quick. Popular attractions can book up within minutes, and you might be left without a fast pass for your desired ride. Also, try to book your fast passes early in the day. Why? Guess What?? Disney is so awesome, that as soon as you are finished scanning your third fast pass, you can jump on your app or visit a kiosk in the park to search for additional fast passes. There is no limit to the number of fast passes you can use, as long as they are available, up to park closing.

Take Advantage of the Fast Pass system

The last time we went to Disney, in November 2018, we had up to 7 or 8 fast passes in one day when rides became available throughout the afternoon and evening.

Some of the most popular attractions for Fast Passes are the following:

My Disney Experience App for Fast Passes

Magic Kingdom – Think anything “Mountain” – Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain… also for the smaller kids, Peter Pan’s Flight is a top attraction to reserve for Fast Pass

Hollywood Studios – Rockin’ Rollercoaster, Star Tours, Slinky Dog, Tower of Terror (Coming late 2019 – the new rides inside Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge)

Animal Kingdom- Flight of Passage, Navi River Journey, the Safari, Everest, and Dinosaur

Epcot – Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin’

Tiered Fast Pass System

Right now, there is a tier system for fast passes for all parks except Magic Kingdom. More than likely, Magic Kingdom will move to the tier system when the new Tron Coaster is up and ready (This is slated for possibly 2021- just in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary).

How do I use the fast pass?

If you have a magic band, the fast passes are loaded onto your magic band. If you get a fast pass for 1:00pm-2:00pm for Soarin’ at Epcot, for example, you can show up at the fast pass line 5 minutes before your time, and up to 15 minutes after your time slot. Just hold your band up to the mickey ears, and once it turns green at the turn style, you are on your way into the fast pass line.

Remember- as you soon as you swipe your third and final fast pass, begin looking on the My Disney Experience app for additional fast passes throughout the day.

This is a sure way to make sure that you do NOT stand in line at Disney?

What if you have little ones that cannot ride because of height restrictions?

Have no fear! There is Parent -Swap!! What? This is amazing.  The best way for me to share how this works, is to provide an example of what my family did.

Little one was too young to ride 🙁

Our party is a party of 4, consisting of myself, my husband, and my two daughters who are 9 and 3 years old. Of course, my 3-year-old was too short for anything over 38 inches.  What we would do is visit a cast member at the line queue and let them know we want to do parent swap. We informed them that myself and my 3-year-old would wait for them while my husband and 9-year-old rode Test Track. The cast member would scan my bracelet and my 9-year old’s (because you can take up to 3 people with you when you are the person waiting) and that loaded a parent swap pass on to my magic band. As soon as my husband and 9-year-old walked out of the ride, I would immediately get into the fast pass line with my 9-year-old and ride it. My oldest daughter had a blast because she basically got to ride every big thrill ride two times in a row.

Take Advantage of the Swap!

What is even more amazing? You can use the parent swap if you are guest standing in the regular line, or if you have a fast pass. It really works out when you also have the fast pass, because in the situation with my 9-year-old, she was able to basically get two fast passes in a row- talk about magical!

Other Ways to not wait in line at Walt Disney World

Other ways to not wait in line at Walt Disney World are to be at the parks early-like before they open. This is referred to as “Rope Drop.” A lot of parks will offer Magic Hours for guests staying “on-property” – this can in the morning from 8:00am-9:00am or late at night from 9:00pm-11:00pm. There are other times available as well. We visited Animal Kingdom on my birthday last year for “Early Morning Magic Hours” from 8:00am-9:00am. So the park was available to be open at 8:00am for Resort guests only. We showed up at the park to get in line at 7:15am.

ROPE DROP!

They let us in the park at 7:45 am and we walked back to Pandora to visit our favorite ride – Flight of Passage- because we didn’t have a fast pass. There was a mass line of people flooding to this area of the park, but the good thing was that as all those people funneled through the long line queue, we ended up only waiting around 25 minutes total for the ride. We were off the ride and on to our next adventure before the park even opened for regular park guests.

Single Rider!

Last, but not least, there are also some attractions that offer single rider lines.

These attractions are:

Rocking Roller Coaster

Epcot – Test Track

Hollywood Studios – Rockin’ Roller Coaster

Animal Kingdom – Everest

These attractions are very popular, and Walt Disney World aims to keep the line moving. They can fill up a ride vehicle with a single rider line, to combine with groups who have odd number of people. This helps guests who don’t mind riding with a stranger, get onto the ride much faster, and it also ensures that Disney maximizes their space in their ride vehicles.

Do you have any other tips and tricks for not waiting in line? Let us know in the comments below.

Oh yeah, did we mention that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!

Packing for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

If you are like me, you want to plan for everything! That means possibly over-packing. I admit, for every time I’ve gone to Disney, I’ve usually packed things that I did not end up using and didn’t pack things that I wished I had brought.  Over our many Walt Disney World Vacations, we’ve learned a thing or two about packing some essentials.

First of all – The Weather at Disney World

The weather in Florida is hot & humid most of the time. There is also a lot of rain that happens in Florida as well. Pack items that will help you in both situations. This would include sunscreen, cooling towels, water bottles, hats, sunglasses, and ponchos. I also ended up bringing extra socks and band-aids, because you do walk an average of 7-14 miles a day. You will be surprised how many miles you walk during your Walt Disney World Vacation!

It was March, so we only packed 1 long sleeve shirt each. Had to wear them multiple times because a cold front came through on our first day!

Depending on the time of year that you travel, most of the time you’ll be comfortable in shorts and short sleeves, but during December-early March the nights are cool. Packing long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts or light jacket, pants or jeans, and maybe even bringing gloves is a smart idea during these months. Again – this is few and far between because most of the year it is a sweat fest.

Pack a few pairs of comfortable shoes – even your best tennis shoes might need a breather.

Packing for the Family and the Kids

For those with young children, snacks are essential. Walt Disney World is great at letting you bring your own drinks and snacks into the park. Surprising huh? Packing things like oranges, squeezable apple sauces, trail mix, and Gold Fish, are great ways to save money on snacks, save your snack credits for larger, more delectable snacks, and keep all the young ones happy if waiting in line. You can even bring an approved cooler into the park as well (I’ve seen many a family with a full packed lunch inside their cooler- props to them) throughout your Walt Disney World Vacation. Snacks and drinks in the room, after you finish at the parks, is a great idea a well for those late night munchies.

Bringing Electronics?

Chargers for cell phones and cameras are a must. You will take lots of pictures and videos, as well as use your My Disney Experience app on your phone, which will use your battery.  They make great wireless cell phone and camera charges to keep you going all day long. Walt Disney World Resort also has something called a Fuel Rod Station where you can buy a fuel-rod for $30.00 and recycle it once the battery has died and be supplied with another one- sort of like a cell phone charger vending machine.

Back packs are a necessity!

Germs, over-eating, and cuts and scrapes

Lastly, I have also brought my own small medicine bag with things like Tylenol, Pepto, band-aids, neosporin, etc. If someone does become ill, items like that are super expensive at the Disney World Resort gift shops. Having these on hand ensure that you can get the help you need quick, as well as save money.

What are your essentials when packing for your Walt Disney World Vacation? Let us know in the comments below and we look forward to adding to our list in the future!

Oh yeah, did we mention that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!

7 Important Tips to Enjoy Your First Disney World Vacation

Does the thought of a Disney Vacation excite you, but also overwhelm you at the same time? My first few times to Disney were full of excitement and wonder, but also felt overwhelmed with the fear of missing out on something (FOMO!). How was I going to fit it all in a one-week vacation? Rest Assure – here are some great tips & tricks to stay calm and enjoy your Disney Vacation.

Plan Ahead for your Disney Vacation

A great Vacation should not feel overly planned or have an itinerary scheduled for every second of every day, but at Disney, a great plan goes a long way- especially in terms of what park, what restaurants, what meet-n-greets, etc. This will make more sense as we get into scheduling fast-pass & restaurant reservations. You don’t want to be at Animal Kingdom with a fast pass for Flight of Passage and an hour later need to be at Magic Kingdom at Be Our Guest!

Don’t try to do it all!

Someone forced their kids to try and do it all in one trip!

Especially if you are just staying the average 3-7 days at Disney, you just cannot possibly fit everything in. There is so much to see and do- but that is by design. Disney offers something for everyone. Pick what is important to you and your travel companions and focus on how to fit those items in. Maybe someone wants to see a great parade or fireworks at the end of the night, and another person is all about discovering Disney Food, and the others could ride attractions from park open to park close. Make sure that everyone in your party has a “must-do” item and try to plan around those types of events.

Take Breaks!

This goes with the point described above. There is so much to see and do, therefore, people will get tired. Don’t forget to plan for breaks. There will be plenty of walking at Disney. The average day in the parks, people walk between 7 and 14 miles. Great walking shoes, if you don’t already have them, are a must. Skip the cute or stylish sandals, flip-flops, or dare I say it – heels! No way, not at Disney. Drink plenty of water while you are in the parks as well. Hydrating up at the beginning of the day will help you as you get into those dreadful Florida afternoons – especially in the summer. Great ways to take breaks, outside of going back to your hotel room for a few hours, are to enjoy the pool at the hotel, or even grab an indoor show with great air conditioning!

A Disney Vacation should always include a Disney Resort stay

Loved the Port Orleans – French Quarter

Staying at a Walt Disney World Hotel provides you additional perks and incentives, instead of staying off property. Even though the hotels might be more expensive, the incentives are worth the price. You get access to Disney transportation – this is so important since Disney is its own little city. Travel by Magical Express from the airport directly to your hotel, and jump on a bus, ferry, or monorail to your favorite park or hotel. The transportation is included in the price. You also get access to the best thing ever which is Fast Passes! What does this mean? You get access to three fast passes initially per person in your party. You can split your fast passes up between guests if you have smaller ones that do not meet height requirements.

Use the My Disney Experience App

Disney has designed an all-inclusive app where you can keep up with your reservations for hotels, fast passes, and restaurants. You also have a live update on ride wait times. This will allow you to maximize where you are in the park at any given moment.

Mobile Ordering!!! Don’t you just love to mobile order your coffee in the morning? This allows you to skip the hectic line when everyone else in the park is starving and standing in line. You can be meeting with your favorite Disney Princess and five minutes later be ordering your food to be picked up at the time you designate. We used this during a past trip to Disney, and it took the stress out of our wait since I have a 9 and 3-year-old who do not like to stand in a line when they are starving. (Which is all the time, right parents?)

Check into one of the Disney Dining Plans for your next Disney Vacation

Great times at the Crystal Palace!

Is the Dining Plan right for everyone? Not always- it depends on how much your family eats and what type of food you wish to have. However, there are three unique Dining Plans – the Quick Service Plan – the Disney Dining Plan- and the Deluxe Dining Plan. (More info in the Dining Plan section). This allows you to pre-pay for a certain number of meal and snack credits in advance. This takes the thinking out of how much you want to spend or how much you’ve already spent in each day. We love the Dining plan and have used all three versions of the plan in various locations. As I said, every family is different, and you will want to pick out the plan that is right for you. (Extra Hint- Disney releases “free dining plan” time frames throughout the year. In 2019, the free Disney Dining is July-September, if you book by February 10, 2019.

Book and use every Fast Pass for EVERY Disney Vacation!

So sad that these are gone 🙁

For every day that you have ticket purchased, you can book up to three Fast Passes that can be used on that day in that park. If you are staying on-property, you can book your fast passes 60 days before your first day in the parks (and I believe that you can start this at 5:00 AM Disney Time). If you are staying off-property, you can still book Fast Passes, but you will need to wait until you get to 30 days out from your first days in the park. I suggest you set an alarm to get up and book them, as there are many guest favorites that will book up within minutes of being able to book them (think anything Avatar, anything Toy Story, anything Mountain). My one suggestion is to book all three in the first part of the day that you will be visiting the park.  Once you use up all three, you can then begin to book on at a time until the park closes. We go into the ins-and-outs of this in this post – Prioritizing Your Disney World Vacation Fast Pass Selections, but booking your Fast Passes is a must if you are visiting Disney World!

Well, I think that about sums up a good portion of what you REALLY need to know when you are planning your next trip to Disney World.  If we forgot anything in this post, please leave us a message and let us know.  Obviously, things change daily, so we will try our best to update you as things happen, so please follow our page, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and join our Newsletter to stay up to date with things as they are happening.

Oh yeah, did we mention that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!