Ask a Disney Question: Is Le Cellier really that popular?
This question comes from Robert, who writes:
“I have been trying to get a reservation at Le Cellier for over a month now for any evening over a four-day period, but to no avail. The reservation would be for late August. Is the restaurant that popular? I had no problems with first seating choice for California Grill and other very good locations?
Robert, this is probably my favorite question of all time because I feel your frustration! It’s true: Le Cellier is just that popular. I made my reservations for my October trip 180-days out and could not get a reservation for Le Cellier at 7:38 that morning. I know the exact time because I caught myself looking at the clock and thinking “Really? This early?”
There are three restaurants on Disney property that you should always book the morning your 180-day window opens up: Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Le Cellier. Only one of those restaurants, Le Cellier, has exemplary food. The other two are popular character dining experiences where the food, while acceptable, is a secondary consideration. Unfortunately, if you don’t plan your trips out that far in advance, you’re unlikely to get those reservations. Many guests encounter just this problem. It’s particularly frustrating if people are booking restaurants at the 180-day mark in anticipation of free dining being announced during their travel dates. The 180-day window really benefits repeat visitors who know the tricks and know to plan as far out as possible. While this generally works for a Disney-obsessed fan like me, I feel for those guests who aren’t aware of how the reservation system works.
Le Cellier is one of the hardest reservations to get at Walt Disney World for several reasons. For one, the food is pretty good, but it’s also a good bargain for your dining plan buck, requiring only one table service credit. Another reason is that it’s a small dining room, so they’re simply unable to seat enough people to meet the demand. Right now Disney is adding more seats to the Mexican pavilion, a pavilion, I might add, which is frequently disparaged for its food. Those of us who’ve tried in vain to get a reservation at Le Cellier just scratched our heads and wondered why those seats weren’t added to the Canadian Pavilion instead. Finally, you can’t discount word of mouth on Disney message boards where Disney foodies sing its praises. People who read Disney message boards are also the same people who are the most likely to make their ADRs at the 180-mark, so what gets said on those boards is very important. Is it overhyped or is it really that good? Only you can judge.
Late August is usually a slower time, so you may be able to get a walk-up reservation. The only problem is that it’s also free dining during that time, so most restaurants will be full. The good news is that you have a reservation at the California Grill, hands down one of the best restaurants in Central Florida, with inventive food and a gorgeous view.
If you’d like to see up-to-date Disney menus, check out All Ears and WDWInfo. For reviews and great food discussions, we go to The Disney Food Blog, one of our favorite sources for all things Disney food.
Good luck and thanks for reading Chip and Co. Keep us posted. I’d love to hear if you get your reservation and if so, if you thought Le Cellier lived up to its reputation.
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Photo from Darren Wittko’s photostream, Flickr.