Walt Disney World has just announced the reopening of a few fan-favorite restaurants at both Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in September and October 2020. In this post, we’ll offer dates and details, plus what else we can expect from WDW dining for the rest of 2020.
As you might recall, Walt Disney World released a List of Open & Closed In-Park Restaurants back in July, shortly before the theme parks reopened. Since then, not a whole lot has changed. EPCOT lost Tangierine Cafe but gained Teppan Edo, but that’s really about it. The bigger changes have occurred in the resorts and at Disney Springs, where more options have started coming back.
We love to eat at Walt Disney World, and the reduced restaurant lineup and scaled back menus are probably the biggest disappointment to us right now. It might sound silly, but it’s definitely noticeable while visiting. Finding fun snacks or a quick meal can be difficult, and we welcome the return of more dining options at Walt Disney World…
That’s why we were so excited when Walt Disney World announced Halloween Details & Dates at Magic Kingdom and beyond. Numerous fall snacks are coming to every single park at Walt Disney World–with over a dozen in Magic Kingdom alone, including our beloved Pumpkin Spiced Waffle Sundae and the Not So Poison Apple Cupcake.
Now, we have a few more favorites returning around the same time…
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there’s Halloween fun in store at Hollywood & Vine where Minnie’s Seasonal Dining is set to return on September 25, 2020. Then through the end of October, you can get in the spooky spirit during Minnie’s Halloween Dine.
This will be another modified character meal, with a “monster feast” served to your table family style rather than the normal buffet. And instead of normal character interactions (poses, autographs, etc.) it’ll be another moving ‘smile & wave’ cavalcade through the restaurant. Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, and their friends are still set to appear for a “boo-tastic time” filled with Halloween décor, music, scary good food, and more.
We’ll be sitting out Minnie’s Halloween Dine and Holiday Dine this year, but it’s still very good to see them returning. Hopefully by the time Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine returns in 2021, we’ll be ready to do indoor restaurants again!
Continuing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, ABC Commissary reopens for walk-in quick service lunch beginning October 8, 2020. This suggests that the shockingly good breakfast and fast casual dinner service won’t be available, which makes sense given the park’s operating hours. We forgot to review both meals–a seemingly wise move in hindsight, but simply an oversight in actuality.
Perhaps we’re reading too much into Walt Disney World’s announcement, but we’re hopeful that “reopens for walk-in quick service” means ABC Commissary won’t be Mobile Order-only. We strongly prefer using My Disney Experience to order, but not every Walt Disney World guest is as tech-savvy. Additionally, it feels a bit guest-unfriendly to have so many restaurants on lockdown.
Over at Magic Kingdom, two more restaurants are also returning. Beginning September 24, guests can enjoy dining in the enchanted, fairytale setting of Cinderella’s Royal Table in Fantasyland. The park’s flagship and most iconic dining experience returns offering a “regal banquet with unforgettable main courses” ranging from roasted chicken breast and tenderloin of beef to chef’s fish of the day.
However, this will not be a modified character meal. Per Walt Disney World, the “princesses will be taking a break from their royal duties greeting guests.” Nevertheless, there will be plenty of delicious fare and fun to be enjoyed in this beautiful, one-of-a-kind restaurant.
Back when the modified operation and health safety details were first announced, it was immediately clear that Cinderella’s Royal Table would not be able to run as it had before. At that time, we suggested a temporary return to King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, the same-location predecessor to Cinderella’s Royal Table.
We still think this would be a great idea. Tap into the endless well of Walt Disney World fan nostalgia, maybe release some King Stefan’s Banquet Hall branded merchandise, and (critically) draw a clear distinction to guests between the normal Cinderella’s Royal Table experience and this.
It’ll be interesting to see how this ends up working. Walt Disney World must be cognizant of that fact that they can’t charge normal Cinderella’s Royal Table prices for this experience (right???). Then again, I’ve said the same about a lot of prices during the phased reopening and thus far have been proven wrong nearly every step of the way.
On the plus side, Walt Disney World did recognize this with pricing for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, and reduced the price accordingly. We’d expect the same to be true with Cinderella’s Royal Table/King Stefan’s Banquet Hall; now is your rare chance to dine inside Cinderella Castle if you’re not into princess meals!
Reservations for both of the returning table service dining experiences will be available on DisneyWorld.com and in the My Disney Experience app beginning on September 11, 2020.
In the more immediate future, Gaston’s Tavern will return to Magic Kingdom on September 4, 2020–just in time for the busy Labor Day weekend at Walt Disney World. I think I speak for everyone when I say BRING BACK THE ROASTED PORK SHANK. Seriously, just give us that fatty, addictively good and gluttonous treat. It’s been a tough year. We deserve it.
Ultimately, even if Walt Disney World makes the mistake of not bringing back the Pork Shank, this is good news all around. As business continues to pick up at counter and table service restaurants around the parks and resorts, hopefully this trend continues. We’d personally like to see a greater emphasis on outdoor dining, but thus far there’s no guest demand. Perhaps that’ll change once Florida’s weather starts to cool down and there’s more widespread awareness about ventilation and the comparative safety of eating outside.
What do you think of this news of restaurants reopening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom? Excited for these options? Would you be more excited if the Pork Shank came back to Gaston’s Tavern? What if Cinderella’s Royal Table were temporarily restored to King Stefan’s Banquet Hall? Planning on going to Magic Kingdom or DHS in September or October? Think this will provide a nice shot in the arm for the parks? Does this have you optimistic for more dining to reopen at Walt Disney World? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!