Epcot's Space 220 Restaurant: Why You (Probably) Don't Need Reservations

Space 220 restaurant signage
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

While most of the focus at Walt Disney World is on attractions, once you're there, you have to eat, and if you’re going to eat, you might as well eat well. Epcot is by far the best park for good food at Disney World, and it recently added a brand-new dining offering with Space 220. Because it’s the newest table service dining establishment in the parks, Space 220 is one of the most popular, which means reservations can be tough to come by. But the truth is you may not need, or even want, to make reservations in the first place. 

While waiting in a standby line for a table at a restaurant can be tough at Disney World, I gave it a shot during my most recent trip. I had yet to try out Space 220, so because I wanted to be able to talk about it in an educated way, and I had to have lunch somewhere, I decided to wait in the standby line for as long as it took, and the experience was eye-opening.

Space 220 waiting area

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Standby For The Lounge Wasn’t Bad At All 

I dropped by Space 220 at about 12:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday in November. It was right in the middle of the lunch hour, but the (exterior) standby line only had a couple of parties of two waiting to get in. Space 220 is divided into the restaurant portion and the lounge/bar. To get into the restaurant side, you need a reservation, but if you want a spot in the lounge, you can just get in line like any other ride.

I checked in at the desk and then got in line. Physically standing in line is the only way to get a table without a reservation. I’m not sure why it doesn’t have a virtual queue the way someplace like Oga’s Cantina does, 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 got moving much faster than that. Within 10 minutes, I’d been called up and sent into the restaurant proper waiting room. 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 couch-like benches, so you don’t need to stand the whole time. This area certainly could have been kept more crowded, but there were only a few parties here.

From there, it was only a few more minutes before I was given my “boarding pass” for the space elevator that takes you to the restaurant proper. Once 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, much less than I had been quoted.

Obviously I can’t promise this will always be the case, but it’s easy enough to walk over and get a look at what the standby wait looks like. If there aren’t a lot of people waiting outside, your overall wait shouldn’t be too long.

Space 220 tables with guests

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

The Space 220 Menu Is Actually More Flexible In The Lounge 

Over the last few years, many of Walt Disney World’s table service restaurants have shifted to a prix fixe menu. You pay a flat price for a set number of courses, chosen from usually a more limited menu. Space 220 uses this model in the main dining room. When you go for lunch, you’re getting an appetizer and main course. For dinner, you get both those courses and dessert too. You can add dessert to the lunch course, but getting less isn't really an option.

However, in the lounge, you’re not limited to the prix fixe menu. 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. The main course items are off limits as a la carte choices, but if you just want an appetizer or to split a couple apps with friends over drinks, you can do that.  And if you want to get the full prix fixe menu experience in the lounge, you can still do that.  

A lot of people don't love the prix fixe menus at Disney World because they can be limited and you're locked into spending what is usually not a small amount of money. When I have the time, I love to sit down and enjoy a multi-course meal, but I don't always have the time. 

Space 220 entry area

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

There Are A Couple Downsides

If you don’t need to wait too long to get a table and can have more flexibility in what you order, it might seem like the Space 220 lounge is the way to go. However, there are certainly some reasons you might want to make sure you snag those reservations in the main restaurant.

The main selling point of Space 220 as a restaurant isn’t really the food and drink, though I found what I had to be quite good in both cases. Instead, it’s the atmosphere. The idea is that you’re dining miles above the earth, and to that end, all the windows are actually screens, showing you the darkness of space with a glimpse of the earth down below you. 

If you get a seat in the lounge, you will be further away from these windows than you would be if you had a restaurant table. Not only that, if you get a seat at the bar, then you’ll be sitting with your back to those windows. You can, of course, spin your barstool around to get a look at what you're missing, but it’s difficult to do this and eat at the same time. There are small cocktail tables that you might get seated at which make eating and checking out the view easier, but you can’t guarantee that you’ll sit there. 

And for some, simply being seated at the bar isn't the experience they're looking for when they sit down to a meal. Since you can't control where you sit, it's all first come, first served, and you run that risk with lounge seating.

While I would have loved a better view of the windows, on the whole, I found my time at Space 220 to be well spent. The food and the ambiance were great, and I’ve had to wait for a table at Disney World restaurants where I’ve had a reservation longer than I did to get seated at Space 220, and they didn’t have an awesome space elevator to keep me entertained for part of it. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.