Ask a FashionEarsta: What Should I Wear when Disney Dining?

The Fancy Floridian answers your questions about acceptable attire for Disney Dining (yes, even inside a theme park)!

Today we’re helping out a FashionEarsta who is getting mixed messages from the Disney Dining websites.

Dear FashionEarsta,

How fancy are the Disney World restaurants, actually? Some of them look like formal dining BUT they’re inside a theme park? Do we need to dress up to go to Be Our Guest?

-Anxious Eater

Dear Anxious Eater,

Visiting Disney World is like living in a fashion bubble; normal rules don’t apply and people wearing Donald Duck’s plush butt as a hat is normal! There are very few places where you’re required to dress with any level of formality at Disney, but a select few restaurants do have a dress code (and at some Character Dining experiences it feels like there is one, at least for little princes and princesses)!

To help out, we put together a handy graphic of Disney Dining Dress Codes for you!

*character casual isn’t a real dress code, but you may feel underdressed if you don’t have at least a little prince or princess flair!

But even if you know what counts as “semi-formal” and “formal” in the real World, you’ll probably want to add a little magic to your Disney dining outfits. So here are a few ideas for what we wear to various restaurants at Disney World!

Disney Dining Casual

All of Disney’s quick-service restaurants inside their theme parks and resort hotels have a casual dress code, which means that as long as you are wearing a shirt and shoes, you should be good to walk up to Contempo Cafe or Satu’li Canteen.

The majority of table service restaurants at the parks, resorts and Disney Springs are also casual-dress eateries (see the graphic above for the exceptions to this rule). Some of these restaurants, however, may feel a bit fancier than your average concession stand. Capa, the steakhouse at the Four Seasons Resort, has a casual dress-code, but with a $355 caviar appetizer on the menu, I wouldn’t personally wear theme-park attire.

Your best bet when planning is always to check out the website for the restaurant on the official Disney World site or My Disney Experience – not only will they have any dress code listed, but there are pictures of the restaurants’ interiors on their page so you can judge for yourself.

But my rule of thumb for the many different casual restaurants: if it’s inside one of the four parks (and isn’t on the list of semi-formal or formal venues above) you won’t feel out of place wearing your theme park attire. I can almost guarantee that other people will be, too!

Dining at the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen may require a reservation, but you’re fine to dress casually

Resort restaurants that require reservations and Disney Springs table-service restaurants will usually see a higher percentage of diners stepping out in style, so even if t-shirts and cutoffs are technically allowed at dinner, I put a little more effort into my look at these restaurants.

Kona Café inside the Polynesian Resort still has a casual dress code, but if you visit at dinner time you may want to add a little flair to your outfit

Of course, you won’t be turned away from any of these restaurants if you show up in shorts and a t-shirt, but a little extra FashionEarsta flair won’t go amiss at one of the resorts or Springs casual restaurants.

“Character Casual” Disney Dining

This is a Disney-specific dress code “category,” but the most magical place on earth has a few special dining experiences that warrant a special dress code of their own! The dress code for these restaurants is actually just casual dress, but you may notice that most children (and many of the adults) dress up at some of these restaurants!

Character dining at Disney usually features either Mickey and Friends or Disney Princesses (with the exception of Lilo and Stitch at two restaurants at the Polynesian). Outfits I’ve seen at most Mickey and Friends character dining is on par with the fashion at any other table service restaurant. But there’s definitely room to add character-specific flair to your fashion at these restaurants!

But at restaurants where you have the opportunity to meet a Disney Princess, guests tend to step up their style game! You can usually book princess character dining at 1900 Park Fare, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Trattoria al Forno. (Some of these experiences may be unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions, though).

Snagging a Cinderella’s Royal Table reservation is an excuse for princesses of all ages to dress up!

I’d recommend that little princes and princesses who like to dress up take the chance to do so – tiny ball gowns are a frequent sight at these restaurants! And if you’re an adult who likes to DisneyBound, these Character Casual restaurants are a great excuse to get a little dressier while adding some princess-inspired accessories.

A pro tip: if you have a late dinner reservation and don’t want to wear costumes all day, you can rent a locker at the front of any park and stash your change of clothes there for the day!

Semi-Formal Disney Dining

A handful of Disney World restaurants, which Disney calls “Signature Dining Experiences,” have a more stringent dress code. Per the official website:

Guests are asked to adhere to the suggested dress code at this Signature Dining experience. Dressier attire is also welcome. Please explore the minimum dress code requirements:

Men’s suggested dress is khakis, slacks or dress shorts and collared shirts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition. Jackets are optional.

Women’s suggested dress is capri pants, skirts, dresses or dress shorts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition.

Not permitted in the dining room are tank tops, flip-flops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and T-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics.

Narcoossee’s on the waterfront at the Grand Floridian is the perfect restaurant to flaunt your old Floridian style

Note that Disney’s signature restaurants at Disney Springs and inside the Disney Parks do not have this dress code.

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Formal Dining at Victoria and Albert’s

Disney World’s only restaurant with a formal dress code is Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. This AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurant has a high price point and an elegant dress code to match. Per its website:

To preserve the stately atmosphere, Guests must wear proper attire in order to dine at Victoria & Albert’s. Men are required to wear dinner jackets with dress pants or slacks and shoes. Ties are optional. Women may wear a cocktail dress, nice dress, dressy pant suit or a skirt with a blouse.

Jeans, shorts, capri pants, sandals, flip-flops or tennis shoes are not permitted.

A Victorian-lace inspired look for Victoria and Albert’s Restaurant

I hope this helps ease your mind, Anxious Eater! Whatever you wear, I’m sure you’ll be a dapper diner!

Do you know have a question for one of our FashionEarstas? We’d LOVE to hear from you! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook (@fashionearsta), Pinterest, and our brand new YouTube channel! Be sure to follow us so that you’re always in the loop!

Pixie dust and glamour!

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