Guests wishing to dine at the restaurant are advised to make reservations at least a day in advance. At Disneyland, this is particularly true during the 4:00pm to 8:00pm dinner rush. Reservations 1 week in advance are advisable, but are able to be made up to two months in advance for the entire dining period.
The restaurant is built within the same show building that houses part of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, with parts of the ride even taking place beneath the restaurant. Although seated in a large, enclosed building, diners experience the illusion of eating in an outdoor restaurant at nighttime. This effect is achieved through the use of a dark and distant ceiling, air conditioning, and carefully coordinated lighting. The theming is intensified by the sounds of crickets and frogs, the meandering glow of fireflies, and projection effects above that imitate the night sky. The restaurant is also popular for offering a view of the beginning portion of Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests can see the riders floating by in their boats, and the riders can see the festive nighttime lighting of the restaurant as they pass by.
The Disneyland outlet opened March 18, 1967. It was intended to respond to criticisms of the quality of food service in the park since its opening. Originally the restaurant was to feature live entertainment but Disney historian Jim Korkis reported after a dress rehearsal and trial dinner in 1966 Walt Disney declared "In this restaurant, the food is going to be the show, along with the atmosphere".
In Disneyland Park (Paris), although seated in a large, enclosed structure, diners experience an illusion that mimics being located on a Caribbean beach in an outdoor restaurant at nighttime. This effect is achieved through the use of a dark ceiling and special lighting, as well as sound and visual effects. Diners hear the chirping of crickets and croaking of frogs and they see the glow of fireflies. The restaurant is very closely tied to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, in that the water stream that runs by the diners in the restaurant carries the attraction's boats as visitors begin their ride. Diners and riders are often in visual contact.