Insider Tips for Dining Locations?

Hi all, we’re looking forward to our trip to DL the first week in Jan! We’ve got a dining reservation for our favorite - Blue Bayou (yay!) I heard that Trader Sam’s has been taking reservations, but it looks like the schedule has not been released that far out. Any other tips for cool locations or places to watch the parade or fireworks? We have a 1:50 reservation at Carnation Cafe. If they hold the parade at 3:00, would that be a potential spot to view? Looks like the Plaza Inn is not open for dinner and I remember hearing that could be a good spot for FW viewing. Also wanting to try out Lamplight Lounge. Appreciate any advice you might have!

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I had not heard that plaza was not open for dinner. I was there on 10/22-10/24 and it appeared to be open, but I could be mistaken. Even if it is closed, you should be able to do use the patio area, which is where I have watched the parades from. Not a perfect view, but good enough for me. I enjoy that I get to sit in a chair (bad knees), eat and watch the parade. A lot of the patio blocked your view with foliage, so you need to situate your self so that you can see where main st meets the hub.

As for fire works, I like to watch from main st. The key is to find where the ropes are going to be to provide the walkways and position yourself there. This way no one will be directly in front of you. Another option if you are going to leave right after fireworks is to go to the very back of main st. Some of the projections on the castle will be tough to see, but you will get all the projections on main st buildings. This positions you at the very front of the pack to leave. ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE LEAVING IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE FIREWORKS! Otherwise you will be a salmon swimming up a very busy stream.

This is our view of the parade from Plaza. We are near the Litte Red Wagon

This is our view for the fireworks in the very back of main st.

This is the view from main st with rope in front of us. You can see the substantial gap the walkway gives us. There are multiple of these on main st. The earlier you go the easier it is to get one of the closer walkways. I would say we are about half way back and we swooped in last minute.

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I believe Plaza Inn is open until 9pm. Confusion may be due to the fact they only accept reservations for character breakfast. It’s quick service for lunch and dinner.


Phew! That was a top priority for my trip in two weeks.

Related question - With a noon reservation for Carthay Circle Lounge alfresco dining, will we be able to watch the Mickey’s Happy Holidays parade/cavalcade while eating? Touring plans predicted schedule has it starting at 12:30.

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In all the times I have gone, I have never eaten there! I plan to rectify this on my next visit.

Thanks, all. And appreciate the awesome pics, @Ms.BarbsWildRide – looks great and helps me visualize it. It also looks like they just released a Dining Package at the Plaza Inn which includes a voucher for a Reserved Parade Viewing Area for the second showing of the parade. I went ahead and snagged a reservation. Anyone know if these are worthwhile? Is the Plaza Inn Parade Viewing Area a good vantage spot?

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:scream: where do you find this!? I searched the app for Plaza Inn and only got the breakfast reservations. And I searched for dining packages and only got “temporarily unavailable” Fantasmic

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@heartoflilith On the main website on my laptop (didn’t see it on phone app), under Dining Reservations, filter by the restaurants that accept reservations, you’ll see one for Plaza Inn and one for Plaza Inn Dining Package:
Good luck!

Shoot. Already gone. But thanks for the link! I will haunt the page and see if one pops up

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I normally wouldn’t have done a dining package for a parade, but in December of 2018 my dd marched in the Rose Bowl Parade and each group also marches down Main Street at DL! Then, you were able to do the plan for either the afternoon or evening.

We found the spot to be amazing and I had a great view of the entire parade (including dd!). I will see if I can hunt down a picture.

ETA… some shots from the parade (12/29/2018):

Dd is the second cymbal player from the end.:sunglasses:

As you can see, you have a front row seat!


@Minnie27mouse Wow - those pics are amazing! what a great spot, and I’m surprised the reserved area isn’t more crowded than it looks. I hope ours works out as well as yours did – What a special memory to see your dd march in the Rose Bowl parade. thanks for sharing!