When we showed up for our 10:45am breakfast reservation at Steakhouse 55, we were wearing the “Let’s Celebrate!” badges issued to us when we checked in at the Paradise Pier Hotel. “What are we celebrating?” the hostess asked as she checked us in.
“Luhhhhve!” Amy beamed unabashedly, jumping up and down for celebrating love.
“And what better place to celebrate than The Happiest Place on Earth!” our hostess concurred as she led us to a romantic booth away from the table of six, three of whom were under the age of six.
It’s always a relief to be seated at a table at a Disney restaurant that affords a bit of privacy, where we can stare into each others’ eyes, share the same thoughts, and even gush a bit over how happy, lucky and fortunate we so often feel at THPOE.
Of course, until we’re seated, we’re holding our breath as we follow our leader through the restaurant, noting every family we so don’t want to be seated near, much less next to, while simultaneously trying to observe possible options should the final destination disappoint.
Asking for a different table than the one we’ve been led to wasn’t something that came easily to us—even when we were seated directly under an AC vent that convinced Amy she was going to die of pneumonia at Disneyland—in the summer! No, as the Happy Couple, we tended to suck up whatever discomforts or disappointments we were experiencing in favor of not incurring the wrath of castmembers who had enough cantankerous complainers to contend with as is, and we preferred keeping our good karma intact.
But gradually, we learned:
You can do this!
Ideally, the best time to request a table away from rambunctious families (or rambunctious air vents) is before your’re brought to a table:
“Any chance there’s a romantic table or booth in need of being filled?”
Or: “We’ll take your most romantic table for two,” you could request with a gleam in your eye and a smile in your heart.
Or: “One of us got soaked on Splash Mountain, any chance we could get something in the low-draft zone?”
But even as you’re winding your way through a crowded restaurant, following dutifully behind the person who holds your dining destiny in the balance, it’s still not too late to affably request with an obvious tongue in cheek, “I hope you’re leading us to that romantic table in back we reserved months ago.” You’ve got nothing to lose, and you may even get what you’re asking for! A sympathetic castmember, at the very least, might give you a valuable tip for getting that desirable table in the future, as they generally have the inside track on best times and/or days of the week to dine more… quietly.
Anyway, you get the idea: Deliver your request with a smile, a wink, a bit of wit and an understanding nature, and you’ve got a good chance of your request being met. It’s up to you whether it’s worth a longer wait, but Disney castmembers will always do what they can to accommodate guest requests, and all the more if you’re happy and friendly in your approach.
Happy goes a long way at The Happiest Place on Earth
It happens all too often that we’re called out by castmembers for being happy. Happy! You’d think—at least, we did—that it would be a given that most people who come to Disney are happy. Turns out, that’s not what a lot of “adult people” are projecting when they have whining kids, crying babies, and spouses not doing enough to help.
So while we, as a happy twosome, don’t represent the tip size or table profitability as a party of four, six or eight, what we do represent is the potential of a happy, trouble-free service that can make the difference in a castmember having a better day instead of a harder day. And that makes Us happy!
By recognizing and appreciating the “psycho-economics” of Disney dining we’ve been able to overcome our reluctance to request something other than what we’ve been given and become comfortable asking for the “romantic” table—even when we think there’s little-to-no likelihood of getting it. At least try! You’d be surprised—just as we’ve been—at how often such a thing is possible when you’re in the hands of a caring and capable castmember.
If all else fails…
When you’re at Disney together, romance is in your heart and in your eyes and in holding hands across a table you wish was farther from whatever. When you can sink into each other and still hold onto the magic side of Disney, all that other stuff is just background noise. It might be exceptionally loud, piercing noise, but it’s not your noise. Your noise could be the sound of your own laughter reminding you why you’re the happy couple and not those people over there.