Are Reservations Really Necessary?

Hi, First time to Disneyland guy here. :slight_smile: My wife and I will be there 19-25 Sept. We have hotel & park reservations all taken care of. But we have not made our park schedule plans yet (will do this weekend). But Ive heard from some that we really should make meal reservations to eat before arriving at Disneyland. Is this true? For all meals, some meals or not really necessary? Thanks. Much appreciated.


There are some great sit-down (called table service) restaurants that have advance reservation, but most of the restaurants in DLR can be fairly easy to get on the walk-up list or find reservations the day before/same-day. That said, we hardly ever reservations because a) so much of the casual/fast food (called quick service) is really delicious, convenient & less of an expense than a sit-down meal and b) we’re happy to work with whatever walk-up list or last-minute reservation availability we can find.

If you want to be trying for reservations, the hard(er) to get ones are Blue Bayou, Plaza Inn Character breakfast & Lamplight Lounge. Blue Bayou & Plaza Inn Character breakfast might be really difficult at this juncture unless you get lucky with someone cancelling a reservation.

Lamplight Lounge is our favorite table service restaurant both for the atmosphere & menu. They also have a brunch if you’re there on weekends that we’ve yet to try (mostly because it requires planning in advance to get a reservation and we rarely plan in advance for DL anymore). You could probably find a reservation for an off-time or go right to the restaurant when it opens for lunch and get on their walk-up list.

If you can’t get reservations, I wouldn’t sweat too much because there really are so many good quick service options that are fantastic

Sampling of my favorite quick service options:

  • Bengal BBQ (meat skewers)
  • Award Weiners (best hot dogs & film strip fries ever)
  • Corn Dogs (at either Little Red Wagon for the original or Corn Dog Castle for the option of a hot link corn dog which we love)
  • Chili Cone Queso or Bacon Mac n Cheese cones from Cozy Cone #3 in Carsland
  • Turkey legs (from various carts around the park)
  • Ronto Roasters (but especially the breakfast one) in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
  • Any bread bowl they sell at any of the various locations that sell bread bowls, they all use the same Boudin sourdough bread and the soups are always a great selection.

We also get a lot of confectionary treats (candy apples, rice krispy treats, cookies, fudge etc., churros & ice cream while in DL so we usually eat smaller meals to have room for all the treats/snacks.

But if we ever do want a sit-down meal last minute & our favorite Lamplight Lounge isn’t pulling up, we’ll also check for availability at Carnation Cafe (great burgers/comfort food). Cafe Orleans & Carthay Circle are also great options for sit-down but we don’t tend to them very often (mostly because the price, but also there’s just so many other options it’s hard to hit all the good ones every time).

Downtown Disney & the on-site Disney hotels also have some great food options too but not sure if you’re looking for anything outside the parks or character meals, but if you are, let me know and I’m happy to give a run-down of some of those options.

Hope that gets you started with what you’d like to do, but let me know if you have any other food planning questions!

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We’ll be there Sep 17-22. We’ve been to WDW many times, but this is our first Disneyland trip. I haven’t made any dining reservations. We usually do quick / counter service. If we want a table service meal, I check the availability in the afternoon and we go wherever there’s a reservation available.

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This is a great strategy for DL! It’s what we do too. Plus we really, really, really like to snack all the snacks and table service makes it harder to have the room.