Magical Dining Month is back, and several restaurants at Walt Disney World are participating in this popular promotional offer. If you opted for the new room only discounts over Free Dining, you’re in luck! (Updated September 12, 2019.)
From August 23 through September 30, 2019, select Walt Disney World restaurants (and nearly 100 others in Orlando) will offer three-course, prix-fixe dinners for just $35 per person. (Due to Hurricane Dorian, Visit Orlando has extended Magical Dining Month to October 7, 2019!)
In this post, we’ll share the lists of participating Walt Disney World restaurants, and offer some suggestions as to where to dine, and speculation as to why these deals are being offered in the first place…
Here’s a full list of participating on-property Walt Disney World restaurants:
Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar & Restaurant (Disney Springs)
Jaleo (Disney Springs)
Maria & Enzo’s (Disney Springs)
Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs)
STK Orlando (Disney Springs)
Paddlefish (Disney Springs)
Terralina Crafted Italian (Disney Springs)
The Edison (Disney Springs)
Wine Bar George (Disney Springs)
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (Disney Springs)
Il Mulino (Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort)
Todd English’s bluezoo (Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort)
Ravello (Four Seasons Resort Orlando)
For a complete list of participating restaurants in the Lake Buena Vista area and Magical Dining Month menus, click here. In addition to the restaurants listed above, there are several located in the third party Disney Springs Area Resorts, which are an easy walk from Disney Springs.
We’ve done Magical Dining Month deals a few times, and are generally fans. Sometimes the offer is illusory (by virtue of smaller portions or modified items), but more often that is not the case. This is a chance for these restaurants to get you in the door during what’s otherwise a slow time of year, wow you, and hope you return to pay full price.
Note that you have to order from the specific Magical Dining Month prix fixe menu to take advantage of the $35 pricing, and that menu is not the standard menu at most of these locations. (In other words, no Chuletón de buey a la parilla–the $75 45-day aged prime certified Angus beef ribeye–from Jaleo.)
We plan on trying some of these restaurants for the first time. It should be a good chance to finally give Wolfgang Puck and Terralina a try, and Jaleo’s offerings are pretty tempting. In the past, we’ve found really good value on Todd English’s bluezoo and STK’s promotional menus, so we’ll likely revisit those. And we’ve been saying we need to dine at Ravello pretty much since it opened.
A couple of years ago, restaurants in Walt Disney World hotels also participated in the promotion, but that’s sadly not the case this year. This is actually a bit surprising, as some Walt Disney World hotel restaurants are having more trouble filling tables than their Disney Springs counterparts.
Many resort restaurants at Walt Disney World have been offering a nearly-perpetual 40% off Cast Member discount for the last several years, but perhaps Disney doesn’t want to run this offer to the general public for some reason?
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s surprising to us that Magical Dining Month coincides with the Free Dining promotion (there are literally no Free Dining blockout dates included).
Even though this is the off-season and a slow time for the restaurant industry at large, Walt Disney World creates artificial demand for its restaurants with Free Dining. Normally, Free Dining is the busiest time of the year for Walt Disney World restaurants.
It’s a bit concerning that restaurants would need to offer discounts this steep during the month of September to attract patrons. Don’t get us wrong–we love discounts–but the fact that some of these restaurants are offering such great deals during Walt Disney World’s prime dining ‘season’ is concerning for their long-term viability.
We harp on the intersection of Walt Disney World pricing and U.S. consumer confidence a lot on this blog, and how current trends are unsustainable in the long term. While that’s interesting/relevant here, so too is the explosion in the number of restaurants at Walt Disney World in the last 5 years.
In addition to a wealth of new options at Disney Springs, restaurants have been added to resorts in the last few years, with more on the way before the end of this year. Some, like Sebastian’s Bistro (which we love), have faced immediate struggles and reduced their hours or offerings.
This trend has mirrored that of the restaurant industry in general, and this interesting article from the Washington Post suggests an imminent correction and contraction, forcing a raft of closures. Even with the Disney Dining Plan and other promotions, it’s unlikely that Walt Disney World will be immune to this trend.
At some point in the near future, we’d expect Walt Disney World to start offering aggressive discounts to Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members. If/when that’s insufficient, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some locations in resorts and at Disney Springs shutter entirely.
Of course, that’s a bit off topic here. For now, we’ll enjoy Magical Dining Month and look forward to future (anticipated) dining deals at Walt Disney World. It’s unquestionably a golden age of restaurants, with many of the locations at Disney Springs leading the way. Hopefully you have the chance to try something new that was previously unapproachable, price-wise!
Do you plan on taking advantage of the Magical Dining Month menus at Walt Disney World? Where will you dine during this deals? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of why these discounts are being offered, or the future of the restaurant scene at Walt Disney World? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!