10 Ways To Survive A Crowded Day At Walt Disney World Restaurants

When Walt Disney World gets crowded, the restaurants also tend to be crowded with guests trying to enjoy a delicious Disney meal.  Definitely don’t let that detour you from enjoying any of the delicious locations!  Here are our top 10 ways to survive a crowded day at Disney restaurants:

10. Make an Advanced Dining Reservation, if possible.

If you will be dining at a table service location, then it is always a good idea to have an advanced dining reservation, even during slower times.  It becomes especially important during the busy season.  There is a chance that the restaurant would get crowded enough that they wouldn’t even take a standby list to get in and even if you are added to one, you can expect a nice long wait.

9. When making the reservations, make them for “off” dining times.

You just might get to enjoy the restaurant a little less crowded or a little less chaotic if you make your reservations during times that aren’t the traditional dining times.  Example, if you go for the earliest or latest dinner, you will probably have an easier time finding reservations and it may be less crowded for you.

8. Consider dining at the resorts.

Definitely don’t forget about all of the great restaurants that are located at the resorts.  The resorts have a wide variety of quick service and table service locations and they are just as amazing as the food that you will find at the restaurants within the parks.  Since they aren’t within a theme park, you can also typically get into them easier.

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7. Don’t rule out quick service dining.

Quick service dining is definitely an option to consider, especially if you don’t have dining reservations.   You can go and eat no your own time table and then get back to having fun.  Your wait would likely be less to get your food at a quick service location than if you wait around for a table at one of the popular table service locations (depending on how long the wait is, of course).

6. Make use of Mobile Ordering for quick service restaurants.

If you do opt for quick service dining, then you definitely want to use Mobile Ordering.  This feature is within the My Disney Experience App and allows guests to pre-order and pay for their food from the app.  Then they can update the app when they are ready and they will be notified when to come and grab their food from the window.  It can save a lot of time and let you avoid the line to order your food!

5. Review the menu and determine what you want before you are seated.

If you are waiting at a table service restaurant, there are typically menus outside of the location that you can glance at.  If you are hungry and want your food faster, then you can review that menu and make sure everyone knows what they are going to order so that you can order right when you are seated.  That can help you get your food faster from the kitchen on a busy day.

4. Keep cameras and autograph books ready to go at character meals.

Sometimes on busy days, the characters are quickly moving from table to table in order to see everyone.  If you keep your cameras and autograph books ready, then you will be ready for them when they get to your table.  This will help you get a little more quality time with each of the characters, rather than awkwardly fumbling for things and it keeps the flow going for the characters.

3. Take your time at your meal.

Don’t feel like you have to rush through your meal because a restaurant is busy.  I mean, I do think it is a good idea not to overdo it and spend hours holding a table, but there is definitely a balance there.  You should enjoy a relaxing meal and savor your food and not feel like you have to rush out because you know people are waiting.  Eat and enjoy your dinner conversation at your usual pace.

2. Don’t skip dessert!

Some guests skip dessert because they want to get back out to the parks or because they feel like they should just get out of the crowded restaurant.  There are so many amazing desserts at the restaurants that you don’t want to miss trying them out!  If you have interest in dessert, go ahead and have it and don’t worry about the time at the restaurant!

1. Scope out a table early when dining quick service.

If you know you will be dining at a quick service location during a busy time, then you may want to pop by early and start scoping for a table.  The tables at these locations are self-seated, so you just take available tables as you can find them.  In order to get a table that accommodates your group, you may have to take a couple passes through the restaurant and keep an eye on who looks like they might be leaving soon so you can grab it!

About Christy Caby

I am a diehard Disney fanatic! I fell in love with all things Disney from an early age and that only increased once I first visited Walt Disney World! It led me to complete a yearlong Disney College Program working at merchandise locations within Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM Studios at that time) and I worked for Disney Parks & Resorts Technology in Project/Program Management. Now I get to write about Disney and help others plan their magical vacations! Disney holds a special place in the hearts of my entire family as my husband proposed there, we honeymooned there, took trips while pregnant with each of my boys and have visited with them many, many times from 8 weeks old through now. One of my favorite memories from each trip is always the look on my kids’ faces the first time they see the castle. I’d love to help you plan your magical vacation! Request a free quote at or look for me on Facebook at Have a magical day!