While most of the focus at Walt Disney World is on the attractions, once you get there, you have to eat, and if you’re going to eat, you might as well eat well. Epcot is the best park for fine dining in Disney World, and it recently added a new dining offering with Space 220. Because it’s the parks newest dining facility, Space 220 is one of the most popular, which means reservations can be tricky to come by. But the truth is, you may not need, or even want, to make reservations in the first place.
While waiting in line waiting for a table at a restaurant can be difficult at Disney World, I gave it a shot during my recent trip. I had to try Space 220so because I wanted to be able to talk about it in an educated way, and I had to get lunch somewhere, I decided to wait in line for how long it took, and the experience was amazing.
Getting ready for the lobby wasn’t bad at all
I got off by Space 220 at about 12:30 PM on a Wednesday in November. It was right in the middle of lunch hour, but the (outside) standby line only had two parties of two waiting to get in. Space 220 is divided into the restaurant and lounge/bar section. To enter the restaurant side you need a reservation but if you want a place in the lounge you can just queue like any other.
I got to the office and then got in line. Standing in line physically is the only way to get a table without a reservation. I’m not sure why there isn’t a default queue in the way somewhere like Oga’s Cantina, but it is what it is.
I was told the wait for a table would be 30-45 minutes, with two parties of two in front of me, but things move much faster than that. Within 10 minutes, I was called and sent to the proper waiting room of the restaurant. Oh yeah, you basically need to wait in line twice. First outside the building, then in a more traditional restaurant waiting area. This area has a second check-in desk, but they were expecting me, so I didn’t actually need to check-in. It also has sofa-like seating, so you don’t need to stand all the time. This area certainly could have kept more crowded, but there were only a few parties here.
From there, it was only a few minutes before I was given my “boarding pass” for the space elevator that takes me to the proper restaurant. Once I got there, I was immediately met by a hostess and escorted to my seat at the bar. By this point, it had been about 20 minutes since I first arrived, which is way less than what was quoted.
Obviously, I can’t promise this will always be the case, but it’s easy enough to walk in and look at what the standby looks like. If there weren’t many people waiting outside, the wait wouldn’t be too long.
Over the past few years, many of Walt Disney World’s table service restaurants have switched to the fixed price menu. You pay a fixed price for a set number of courses, usually chosen from a more limited menu. Space 220 uses this model in the main dining room. When you go for lunch, you get an appetizer and a main course. For dinner, you can have both of those courses and dessert, too. You can add dessert to the lunch course, but having a little is not really an option.
However, in the lounge, you are not restricted to the fixed prize list. Not only is there a separate lounge menu with items not found on the standard lunch or dinner menu, but you can order most of the lunch or dinner menu as a la carte options. Main course items are off limits as a la carte options, but if you just want an appetizer or split a few apps with friends over drinks, you can do that. And if you want to get the full prize list experience in the lounge, you can still do that.
Not many people like the prize select lists at Disney World because they can be limited and you are limited to spending what is not usually a small amount of money. When I have time, I like to sit down and enjoy a multi-course meal, but I don’t always have the time.
There are some downsides
If you don’t need to wait as long for a table and can have more flexibility in what you order, the Space 220 Lounge might seem like the way to go. However, there are certainly a few reasons why you might be sure to snag those reservations at the main restaurant.
The main selling point of Space 220 as a restaurant isn’t really the food and drinks, although I’ve found what I have to be good either way. Instead, it’s the atmosphere. The idea is that you’re dining miles above Earth, and to that end all the windows are actually screens, showing you the darkness of space with a glimpse of the Earth below you.
If you get a seat in the lounge, you’ll be farther away from those windows than if you had a restaurant table. Not only that, if you get a seat at the bar, you’ll be sitting with your back to those windows. You can, of course, rotate your bar stool to look at what you’re missing, but it’s hard to do that and eat at the same time. There are small cocktail tables that you may sit at which makes eating and looking at the view easier, but you can’t guarantee you’ll be seated there.
And for some, simply sitting at a bar isn’t the experience they’re looking for when they sit down to a meal. Since you can’t control where you’re seated, it’s first-come, first-served, and you’re risking the lounge seating.
While I would have liked to see through the windows better, I found the time I spent in Space 220 to be fine. The food and ambience was great, I had to wait for a table at Disney World restaurants since I had a reservation longer than I did to sit in Space 220, and they didn’t have a fancy space elevator to keep me entertained for part of it.