When you think of food at Disney World, you probably imagine yummy Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles, international snacks and drinks from Epcot’s World Showcase, and those huge, indulgent turkey legs. But the park also has its share of elegant, delicious sit-down dining experiences, too—some of which you might have to reserve months in advance.
If you’re a Disney aficionado, you may have heard of Club 33, the ultra-elite Disneyland restaurant open only to members and people specifically invited by one. (If you haven’t, learn about its storied history here!) Luckily, Disneyland’s Floridian companion doesn’t have a restaurant that’s quite that hard to get into. But if your Disney World plans include dinner at Victoria & Albert’s, you might want to start making reservations several months in advance—at the latest.
Courtesy Disney Parks
Victoria & Albert‘s is the only five-star dining establishment in the whole park, which is a big part of the reason seats there are in such high demand. You’ll find this regal restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (though you don’t have to be a resort guest to dine there). While princesses and princes might be the stars of the Disney parks, at Victoria & Albert’s, you’ll eat like a king or queen! “From the minute you walk in the door, you’re treated like a member of the royal family; you’re treated like a VIP,” says Christoper Lucas, author of Top Disney: 100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney, from the Man to the Mouse and Beyond. As a matter of fact, Lucas believes that Victoria & Albert’s is a more worthwhile experience than Club 33!
So, what makes Victoria & Albert’s a Disney diner’s dream come true? Well, the menu is customized to you, personally. That’s right—after you call up and make your reservation, the restaurant follows up with you, sending you a checklist where you indicate your food preferences and any dietary restrictions.
Courtesy Disney Parks
Once you arrive, you’ll get to anticipate your prix fixe meal with a personalized menu. “It has your name printed on it, and you get to take it home,” Lucas details. The food itself will be served in a whopping eight separate courses, from an amuse-bouche to tasty truffles for dessert (with bread in the middle to cleanse your palate). Lucas says that the specific foods change daily, but you can expect poultry, meat, fish, and a vegetarian selection; it varies based on what the diners choose. In addition, “their wine menu is almost like the telephone book,” Lucas teases. Lucas admits that it is pricey—”almost $200 per person”—but that “you’re getting your money’s worth and more” with the personal experience. Check out some more insider secrets from a Disney super-fan.
Victoria & Albert’s has three separate dining rooms, one of which, the Chef’s Table, is the pinnacle of Disney dining experiences. It only serves ten people a night, and those lucky people get to sit in the room with the chef and watch him or her prepare the meal. “It’s one of the most interactive experiences at Disney,” Lucas raves—which, as you know if you’ve ever been to one of the parks, is saying a lot!
So, if you want to dine like royalty while at the Happiest Place on Earth, how early should you make a reservation? Well, Lucas recommends calling a full year in advance if you want a place at the Chef’s Table. For the rest of Victoria & Albert’s, he suggests making the call three to six months in advance. And, if you’re bringing your little ones to Disney, keep in mind that all diners must be at least ten years old. If you decide to indulge at a meal at Victoria & Albert’s, you’ll be looking to balance it out with these ways to save serious money on your Disney trip.