Dining Tips and Tricks for Parties Larger than 8
On our last family vacation, it was a multi-generational vacation involving kids, parents, cousins, and even a Grandma! Having nine people in our party really made things interesting when it came to dining, so I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks that I discovered when helping to plan our vacation.
First, a little background. We were staying at Bay Lake Tower using our DVC membership, and because of the size of our party, we decided against the Disney Dining Plan because of the cost. However, we did want to incorporate some table service reservations into our vacation. So what to do?
- The first thing we decided on doing really early on was to take advantage of getting a Tables In Wonderland card. We originally planned on three table service, and while there, we added a fourth reservation. Knowing we were going to have nine people in our reservation, we knew that by using the TiW card, we would save 20% off all of our meals (and alcohol, too!) While the TiW card comes with an 18% gratuity automatically added in, and a pricetag of $75 for Annual Passholders (Florida residents can get the card for $100 if they don’t have an AP), we were going to be getting the automatic gratuity anyway because of our party size, and by doing a little simple math, we knew that we would be making the cost of the card on our first reservation!
- In the past, I always used a Disney TA to help with my reservations, but this year I made them all online (except the one we added while there, I made that by phone from our resort). When making them online, they did indicate that it was possible that we would have to be seated at two tables because of our party size, but I knew that the Cast Members work really hard to try and avoid that — we didn’t have any issues with any of our reservations because of the size of the party.
- In our party, one of our group had dietary concerns that needed addressing. I took great care to make sure that I notified the Disney about this, and when we got to the restaurant for our meal, the chef at each restaurant came out and talked with us, and showed us what would be appropriate based on our restrictions. Disney does a great job with this, and if made us feel good knowing that they were looking out for us and the concerns we had with our diet.
- The key to all planning — whether it be for a small family vacation of three, or a big multi-generational family vacation — is communication. That is no different when you are making big dining reservations. Find out what you all are interested in. Look for restaurants that will work for as many people as possible, and remember, it’s everyone’s vacation, so be prepared to compromise when needed.
I hope that these tips will help you when you are making reservations at a Disney restaurant for large parties. Did I leave off any tips that you have come across? If so, please leave me some comments so that I can file those tips in my memory banks!
- Magical Blogorail: Preparing for Your Disney Vacation (mydreamsofdisney.com)
- Ask a Disney Question: Dining Options for People with Diabetes. (chipandco.com)