DL does things at their own pace, so not everything will open at 60 days. This is normal, they are never going to change.
Also there is no window like at WDW if onsite. It’s one day at at time, maybe at 60 days, maybe less than 60 days.
The good thing is the QS food is wonderful there, so table service is not really needed. But if you are going to do it, I recommend Storytellers Cafe breakfast for your character meal (at the Grand Californian). Best food of the character meals. Love the outfits. In the parks, Blue Bayou is the most (only) unique location in DL. It’s expensive and not that great of food for the cost, but many want the experience of eating inside of POTC.
In DCA, I like Lamplight Lounge for the location and decor if you get to sit inside.
Other than that, quick service all the way! Bengal BBQ, Plaza Inn fried chicken, a corn dog from the Little Red Wagon, lunch/dinner at Pym’s test Kitchen in DCA, soup or salad in a bread bowl at Paradise Wharf….the list goes on and on for good quick service. Also, with your trip in 2 months there should be the Food & Wine Festival food booths, which are wonderful as well.
When @JustKeepSmiling went to DL for the first time with her DD last May she jad a whole pile of ADRs. Pretty sure she cancelled them all after the first day.
This is all very helpful to me too, as I just booked my first DLR trip! Seems like I did the right homework so far and snagged Blue Bayou and Lamplight Lounge ADR’s, which may or may not get used because of all the good QS.
I just finished booking for my DL trip for the week before Easter and something strange is afoot. Everything (even WOC desert party) opened at 60 days at 7am ET! On day 60 my entire stay was blue on the calendar but you got an error message if you tried to book further out than 60.
And the ADRs are going fast! I forgot to book my Plaza Inn breakfast and the next day there was only an 8:00 left.
For my family I booked a Plaza Breakfast for departure day. The food is fine, but the characters are great. Since you have 2 non-park days I would choose a character meal at one of the resorts to give you more park time. For downtown Disney we are going to the Naples restaurant on our DL day, I figure we will be taking a break and can eat before heading back.
But as I write this I realize the Magic Happens Parade is a priority for me so my time won’t work!
That’s one of the big differences between WDW and DLR. More often than not, you won’t need AC at DL. And most of the table service restaurants have outdoor seating.
On our last trip we also did one table service per day. We were seated outside at all of them - Cafe Orleans, Carnation Cafe, Naples, Carthay Circle Lounge, and Wine Country Trattoria. The weather was great so no issues there. I enjoyed all of those meals, but I’m only planning 2 or 3 reservations spread over 5 days on our upcoming trip. Too many quick service options to try.
This is what my family would do if we were doing 1/day for 2 park days, 2 non-park days:
Storyteller’s - Best buffet on property & if you do breakfast or weekend brunch there’s characters. This could be either a non-park or park day with its proximity to the DCA entrance from the Grand Californian.
Lamplight Lounge- we love a good portion of their menu and their ambiance is so lovely
Blue Bayou- But only if we can combine it with a Fantasmic viewing package as we are only moderate Pirates fans so sitting in the ride isn’t the huge draw/appeal as it is to others. But it still cool to do once.
One of the table service restaurants at the Grand Californian that most piqued our fancy- we’ve only done Napa Rose for the princess dining and it was exquisite (but we liked the buffet Storytellers food better for overall food, but the Napa rose was an experience from start to finish). If it was in budget that would probably be our top choice. But Napa Rose at dinner would be quite exquisite as well, I imagine but not one my younger family would love just yet. We also recently tried the Craftsman Bar & Grill (the poolside table service at the Grand) and their menu was divine & all of the restaurants at the Grand do a fabulous flatbread. If we weren’t wanting to blow the budget for Napa Rose Princess dining, this would probably be the non-park restaurant of choice (or 2nd one of choice if we used Storyteller’s as one of our park day reservations).
And then some good solid second choices in case any of the above don’t quite fit your budget/schedule/interests:
Carnation Cafe- Simple but good menu and we usually go for the burgers & fried pickles. Plus the Main St. ambiance is just very nice either inside or out.
Cafe Orleans- I love their outdoor seating with the ambiance of the Rivers of America & listening to & watching the Mark Twain & S.S. Columbia sail on by as I eat. We’ve only ever tried the monte cristo here & it’s a DL classic/favorite food so it’s good to try once.
Carthay Circle- The ambiance here either outside on Buena Vista St./Hollywood Blvd or inside decorated like a Hollywood Golden age lounge is awesome & their menu is really great as well. Their service has been hit or miss for us otherwise this would be one we come back to more often.
Tortilla Jo’s- In downtown Disney their fresh-made guac is amazing and they have some decent enchiladas. Our favorite is the mole one & every time we order it the servers say “oh that is our best dish” so if you like mole, then it’s a good one. They also have margaritas a plenty and the option of a margarita pitcher.
Plaza Inn- With only 2 days of park time I wouldn’t dedicate time to this in-park character dining but if you LOVE characters it has the best character interactions, most characters at once & in a really, really wonderful ambiance either outside or in so may be worth it if you really love characters & want to see more than the 3-4 you’d see at the other character dining. Their buffet is really solid too with the desserts being the weak link but the Mickey waffles, Mickey shaped pancakes, standard breakfast food & made to order omelets are all really well done so overall it’s more good than bad.
Goofy’s Kitchen- Good solid choice if you love character dining. Their dinner is only ok. Their brunch/breakfast is better and solid. You will get better ambiance though at other character dinings and the buffet pales in comparison to Storytellers. Also, as of late, the character interaction at Plaza Inn inside Disneyland has been top notch so while the character interactions at Goofy’s are really good too, they don’t quite match the Plaza Inn.
Our spring break, week of 3/20. Unknown if I’ll keep any ADR’s. Kinda have to wait to see how valuable the time is that they’d eat up. And want to be a little more sold yet on Blue Bayou given the price.
All the suggestions!! We never have enough stomach space for all the quick service we LOVE. In no particular order we love:
Corn Dogs - Little Red Wagon on Main St. has the most demand (and therefore tend to be fresher as they don’t sit at all). We also do love the spicy link corn dogs at Corn Dog Castle in DCA. Stage Door also has corn dogs plus some other things.
Soup bread bowls - They use the boudin sourdough bread which is amazing and any soup we’ve tried has always been tasty but our favorite overall is clam chowder. They have them at Pacific Wharf Cafe in DCA, Harbor Galley in Disneyland & there’s also a walk-up window near Pirates ( the name escapes me right now).
Jolly Holiday- They have decent sandwiches, fantastic pastry treats (Matterhorn Macaroon & the Red Raspberry Macaron) and my favorite is their combo- tomato soup & grilled cheese. It’s so nice for any cool weather nights in Disneyland. They also have a decent breakfast sandwich.
Bengal BBQ- we love all the skewers & they all taste as good as it smells in Adventureland when you walk past.
Plaza Inn Fried Chicken- comes with mashed potatoes and a side of vegetables (usually green beans but have seen it rotate to carrots). Supposedly they use the same great recipe for fried chicken at Flo’s in Carsland but that’s not something we’ve verified.
Chili “Cone” Queso or Bacon Mac N Cheese Cone at Cozy Cone #3 in Carsland
Award Weiner’s - Elaborate topping’d hot dogs and we always get a side of Carne Asade Fries to share
Pym’s Test Kitchen - The giant chicken sandwich and the regular sized pymini are decent & good for lunch but what we mostly go for here is for a snack of one giant Quantum pretzel and 2 Choco-smash bars to share between the six of us
Ronto Roasters- we prefer the breakfast ones but also the lunch ones are good
Galactic Grill (in Tomorrowland) for any of their breakfast items (burrito, breakfast sandwich or french toast sticks)
Shawarma in Avengers Campus - again both the breakfast or lunch options are good
Lobster Rolls from Harbor Galley
And then for sweet treats it’s a whole other set of favorites too that we never ever have enough room for:
The aforementioned Matterhorn Macaroon from Jolly Holiday
Candy apples, churro toffee or whatever looks tasty in any of the Confectionary display cases (Bing Bong’s, Trolley Treats, Pooh Corner, Candy Palace or Marceline)
Clarabelle hand-dipped bars or Minnie/Mickey kitchen sink sundae’s
Flavored Dole Whips at Tropical Hideaway (they also have a pineapple lumpia that people seem to like but I don’t remember ever getting it)
Ice cream from either Ghiradelli’s or Gibson Girl
Whatever seasonal flavor of bread pudding that Pacific Wharf Cafe has - they have all been amazing
The signature Pixar Pier Frosty Parfait (lemon soft serve with Blue Raspberry Swirl) at Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats on Pixar Pier
Smoothies/Shakes & other drink/frosty treats at Schmoozies! in Hollywood Blvd. (They usually have some really fun signature seasonal milkshakes & I always love their Affogato which is ice cream and espresso).