With the ever-growing list of restaurants opening at Walt Disney World, availability for some of the more popular restaurants should increase. However, we’ve all been there: that sinking feeling when your ADR window opens and your favorite restaurant is booked solid. “Keep looking,” you tell yourself. Everyone has a success story of how they managed to grab a coveted ADR weeks before their trip. How many times have I told my Be Our Guest breakfast story?
But sometimes the grim reality sets in—your trip grows closer and closer and your favorite restaurant is still unavailable. What does one do when they need their fix of ‘Ohana or had their heart set on Chef Mickey’s but there’s no times available? While some of these restaurants and experiences can’t be replaced, there are suitable alternatives.
‘Ohana has become one of the more popular restaurants at Disney, making it a tough reservation to secure. Believe it or not, many of ‘Ohana’s popular dishes are served throughout the Polynesian!
If you’re a guest of the Polynesian, ‘Ohana actually offers room service, known as the Polynesian Twilight Feast:
Polynesian Twilight Feast – Experience a complete in-room dining adventure for the entire family. You will enjoy the same delicacies featured in the ‘Ohana’s dining room. A selection of guests’ favorites including Spiced Chicken Wings, Asian-style Pot Stickers, Yokisoba Noodles, Stir-fried Vegetables, and our special ‘Ohana Sunset Punch; followed with our skewered meats and oak-grilled shrimp seasoned and cooked to perfection. Then we top it all off with our famous Bread Pudding which finishes this magnificent feast – $20.00 Guests 9 and Under | $40.00 Guests 10 and Over.
Of course if you’re not a guest, you’ll have to settle for a less intimate setting. My first recommendation would be trying to get a reservation at Kona. It’s much louder and lacks any true theming, but the food is good and very similar to ‘Ohana. The dinner menu includes pot stickers and sticky wing appetizers. While it’s not all-you-care-to-enjoy, you will get your “fix” of ‘Ohana food.
As a last resort, guests can dine at the Tambu Lounge, located right outside ‘Ohana. The menu features the chicken wings, as well as the famous ‘Ohana Bread Pudding.
You don’t make a dining reservation at Chef Mickey’s for the food. The breakfast buffet is pretty ordinary and the dinner has been referred to as “a step above Golden Corral.” Frankly, I’ve had both and enjoyed it, but food reviews are highly subjective. On top of this, Chef Mickey’s feels like one giant child’s birthday party. So why is it so popular? Well, Chef Mickey’s is the one spot to meet the five most popular characters: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy.
You can’t meet all five characters anyplace else, but there are a few alternatives. At Tusker House, guests can dine with Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, all donned in safari outfits. The food is really good, too! Another solid alternative is Cape May Cafe, in Disney’s Beach Club resort. I can personally recommend the breakfast, which is among the best on property. The characters include Minnie, Donald and Goofy, all dressed in beach gear. The characters and their handlers are incredibly attentive and often visit the table twice.
Be Our Guest Dinner
Be Our Guest’s popularity has died down slightly. Still, it’s one of the more popular restaurants at Disney. I think Be Our Guest’s popularity stems from having so many unique experiences. For one, it looks pretty cool. The restaurant is inside Beast’s castle. Through Disney’s use of forced perspective, Beast’s Castle appears to be far off into the distance, accessible only from a long stone bridge. The inside is gorgeously decorated and fully immerses guests in the experience. It’s arguably the best themed restaurant on property. Even the windows look out onto a snowy outdoors, begging you to question if you’re still in Magic Kingdom!
With the restaurant’s setup comes a sense of exclusivity. It’s very difficult to secure a reservation and only those with one are allowed into the restaurant. Because the restaurant has no windows looking inside, curiosity bolsters demand for reservations.
Be Our Guest is also the only place to meet and grab a photo with Beast. Along with all of this, the food is pretty good. I’ll admit, the first time we dined at Be Our Guest, the food was outstanding. The second time it wasn’t quite as good. The menu changed slightly and the plating was different. Still, the cupcakes remain a huge draw and the food is good enough to combine with the other unique selling points to keep demand up.
The truth is, nothing is a direct comparison to Be Our Guest. You can’t meet Beast anywhere else, so if you’re looking for a similar character experience, you’re out of luck. As far as dining in the castle, Cinderella’s Royal Table is a close alternative, but it’s two dining credits on the Disney Dining Plan. If your heart is set on seeing the inside of the restaurant, try booking a breakfast or lunch reservation. Many guests deter from booking breakfast, as the menu is far too pricey. However, it’s a great value on the Disney Dining Plan. You can order the cupcakes for both breakfast and lunch—and don’t forget to try the Grey Stuff!
Have any alternatives for hard-to-get ADRs at Disney? Leave them in the comment section!