Magical Dining is back for 2022, and several restaurants at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are participating in this popular promo offering a month-plus of deals on 3-course meals. This post covers dates, details, and our recommendations for where to eat during this dining discount.
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining is celebrating its 17th anniversary from August 26 through October 2, 2022. For 38 delicious days, you can enjoy three-course, prix-fixe dinners for $40 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Participating locations include select Walt Disney World restaurants, many of Orlando’s most popular restaurants, and several recent Michelin Guide Florida Restaurants near Walt Disney World.
For 2022, you can also do dinner and an overnight stay via Visit Orlando’s Magical Nights. This features special offers from some of Orlando’s top-rated hotels, including some that are home to restaurants participating in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. This promo is much more limited and smaller scale, with Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek being the only on-site hotel at Walt Disney World that’s participating.
As for the 2022 Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month, here’s a full list of participating on-property Walt Disney World restaurants:
Jaleo (Disney Springs)
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (Disney Springs)
Il Mulino New York Trattoria (Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort)
Todd English’s bluezoo (Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort)
La Luce (Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek)
Unreserved Food Bazaar (JW Marriott Bonnet Creek)
Deep Blu Seafood Grille (Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek)
Here’s the list of participating Universal Orlando restaurants:
Amatista Cookhouse (Loews Sapphire Falls Resort)
The Kitchen (Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando)
Islands Dining Room (Loews Royal Pacific Resort)
Mama Della’s Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel)
For a complete list of the 86 participating restaurants in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, click here.
Outside of the above options, one apparent highlight is Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, which was recently recognized by the Michelin Guide Florida. This Hyatt is technically not on-site at Walt Disney World, but it’s a stone’s throw from Disney Springs, and is one of our favorite hotels in Central Florida.
There’s also Bosphorous Turkish Restaurant, which made our list of Great Restaurants Near Walt Disney World. Bosphorous has four locations in Central Florida–Winter Park, Winter Garden, Dr. Phillips, and Lake Nona. Bosphorous’ must-eat dish is the signature, baked to-order Lavas hollow bread. So make sure you add that if it’s not included on the Magical Dining Month menu!
Over at Universal Orlando, we did the Kitchen and Amatista Cookhouse as part of Magical Dining Month last year. Both definitely skew more towards the comfort food side of the spectrum, rather than being fine dining or any sort of elevated cuisine. We enjoyed both, and left absolutely stuffed (and with leftovers).
This year, both of the other two Universal restaurants are on our radar. With Halloween Horror Nights season and it being the cheapest time of year for Annual Passholders to book hotel rooms at Universal, we plan on once again taking advantage. (We also need to be more diligent about our restaurant research at Universal Orlando!)
Since we’ve been posting about Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month a few years ago, the price has increased from $35 per person four years ago to $37 last year to $40 this year. When you consider the soaring input costs of labor and food, that actually doesn’t seem too bad. Most of these meals are deals even at $5 more than they cost ~5 years ago.
We’ve done Magical Dining Month deals several times, and have had great success with the meals far more times than not. 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. Of the Walt Disney World options, our top recommendations would be Jaleo (far and away) and Todd English’s bluezoo.
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 some locations. It usually is at mid-tier restaurants, but obviously not at fine dining locales that have dry-aged steaks or other expensive specialty dishes.
While the Walt Disney World lineup isn’t as formidable as past years, there are still some good and new options that have our interest. In particular, the trio of Bonnet Creek options (although maybe not Unreserved Food Bazaar). Also, we’ll take any excuse to revisit Jaleo, which is a personal favorite–and always a great value during Magical Dining Month.
Pre-closure, many more restaurants at Walt Disney World participated in the promotion, including locations in the resorts and many more at Disney Springs. That hasn’t been the case for the last few years, due to an evolving mix of capacity constraints, pent-up demand, and staffing shortages.
In the last month or so, we’ve seen this start to normalize around Walt Disney World. Even during the peak of summer season, Advance Dining Reservation availability has loosened up. Judging by our recent restaurant experiences, this is at least in part due to the locations filling more tables. While every location isn’t back to 100%, it seems like more and more are getting there–or close to it–with each passing month.
If reservation availability is already increasing during the heart of Florida’s peak season, it makes me wonder if pent-up demand is also starting to fizzle out. This trend could further accelerate by August, resulting in a very different dynamic than the one we’ve seen over the course of the last couple years.
Magical Dining Month is offered because this date range is the off-season and a slow time for the restaurant industry at large–it’s a good way to artificially boost demand for restaurants. Not to get too speculative, but I wonder if more restaurants might suddenly find themselves wanting a similar bump in demand. Maybe we’ll see more added to the Magical Dining roster at the last minute?
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 and better ADR availability 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 Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month at Walt Disney World? Where will you dine during the deal in 2022? 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!