It’s hard enough to gather the family together during Thanksgiving week, but what if you have to coordinate with a few princesses too? Frequent Travelogged contributor Jill Martin Wrenn explains how during the holidays she scored one of the toughest dining reservations at Disney World: Cinderella’s Castle. (Check out more of Jill’s Disney tips.)
Getting my family on the Magic Kingdom rides was only part of the challenge of experiencing Disney World during Thanksgiving week. Finding seats at Disney restaurants between noon and 2 PM was not easy either. To avoid the crowds that converged on the park’s fast food offerings, we tried to time our visits outside of prime dining hours. We also made reservations online for sit-down dinners on the Walt Disney World Resort Dining and Reservations site before we traveled.
Because we only planned our trip about two weeks ahead of time, many of the resort’s restaurants were already booked. That meant that we had Thanksgiving dinner at 4 PM. The meals with costumed Disney characters were full by the time I tried to reserve one, but because I wanted to take my daughter to Cinderella’s Royal Table, I kept trying.
The restaurant inside Cinderella Castle offers the opportunity to dine with several princesses, including the castle’s namesake. My daughter is starting to outgrow her obsession with all things princess, so I figured this would be my last chance to impress her with a restaurant filled with royal impersonators.
I searched the website over several days, trying different mealtimes. I also reduced the number of people in our party, cutting my husband and two sons loose (I suspect my husband was relieved).
And finally, after several days of trying, I scored a reservation for two people at Cinderella’s Royal Table at 2:40 PM the Friday after Thanksgiving. Like many options at Disney, it was expensive, but well done. For the nearly $100 price tag, we each got a three course meal, but it was hard to focus on the food. My daughter got to meet an array of princesses, pose for a picture with Cinderella, and have chicken nuggets presented to her on a plate shaped like Mickey Mouse’s ears.
The icing on the cake was the candle in her ice cream: if you tell your server that it’s your daughter’s birthday, they will light a candle and sing, “Happy Birthday, Princess.” Judging from the number of candles and birthday songs we witnessed, there was either an inordinate number of young girls celebrating late November birthdays, or a lot of savvy parents who realized that there is no extra charge for the candle and the song: just one more photo opportunity of a very excited child.