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6 Tips to Consider When Making Dining Selections

Some people love visiting the Walt Disney World Resort to check out the newest attractions, while others love visiting to find the perfect memento of their trip while shopping in one of the gift shops. However, one of the best things about a visit to Disney are the food and the restaurants scattered across the entire resort. Here are some tips to keep in mind when trying to make the best dining selections.

Location, Location, Location

A visit to the Disney resort usually is focused around visiting the the four theme parks, but it is important to keep in mind that there are a lot of dining options available to guests at restaurants at the Disney resorts, as well as at Disney Springs. When planning your trip and your days in the parks, consider heading back to your resort for a break mid-day or possibly leaving the parks for an early dinner. Given the number of resorts, you can easily find a resort that is close to a theme park if you want to return after your meal.

‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (Credit: Disney)

For example, Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom, may want to consider finding a dining reservation at one of the Magic Kingdom resorts: Chef Mickey‘s at Disney‘s Contemporary Resort is a popular choice, as is Ohana at Disney‘s Polynesian Village Resort, or even the many choices at Disney‘s Grand Floridian Resort.

Type of Meal

In addition to location, Guests need to consider what type of restaurant they want to have their meal. In addition to the table service restaurants where Guests sit down and order their meal, great (and quick) options are available at counter service locations throughout the parks.

A table service restaurant will require that Guests have an advance dining reservation and availability can be limited. Under the umbrella of a table service restaurant, Guests have other choices to make before their meal: what type of table service restaurant do they want? Disney has table service restaurants that features character dining where Guests can enjoy a great meal alongside some of their favorite characters. These character dining locations can be found both inside and outside of the parks. Guests not wanting to dine with characters can also enjoy an exquisite meal at a signature restaurant to celebrate a special occasion.

Guests not wanting to take a bunch of time away from the fun should consider a quick service restaurant where they can grab some food and get back to their schedule. Guests can find quick service restaurant options inside the parks and at the resorts.

Regardless of what type of restaurant Guests pick to enjoy, they can find the menus on the My Disney Experience app, so finding the best meal for your appetite is very easy!

Discounts

Guests should also be aware of whether they are dining with any discounts. Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members may be eligible for a discount at many restaurants across the Disney Resort, so be sure to check with your server to make sure you’re getting the best price!

Disney has announced that the Disney Dining Plan will return, but has yet to reveal a date and/or how the Dining Plan will look once it returns.

Advance Dining Reservation

Guests wanting to enjoy a traditional meal at a table service restaurants will definitely want to make an advance diningreservation prior to their meal. While they may be able to walk up and get a table, it is far easier to make a reservation on-line or using the My Disney Experience app. Currently, Guests are able to make restaurant selections and reservations 60 days in advance. This timeline is especially important for the more popular restaurants across property like Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom or Oga’s Cantina at Disney‘s Hollywood Studios.

Oga’s Cantina (Credit: Disney)

A credit card is needed to secure the reservation, but Guests are able to cancel or modify reservations in advance. Disney reserves the right to charge $10 per person on the reservation if there is a complete no-show on the reservation, so keep that in mind!

Mobile Ordering

Guests choosing to dine at a quick service restaurant should take advantage of mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app — guests can schedule their meals while riding the monorail to EPCOT in the morning and pay through the app. This functionality makes meal time at Disney much easier as you can focus on grabbing a table and walking up to the counter when your meal is ready. Not every quick service location uses mobile ordering, so be sure to consult your app for the most up-to-date information about where you can and cannot use this feature!

Meal of Snacks

There are times that both table and quick serice options may be out of the question given crowd levels or the time of day you may to eat. In those situations, consider making a meal out of the snack options across property: maybe a classic Mickey pretzel or some delicious popcorn and topping if off with a sweet treat like a Mickey ice cream bar or a Dole Whip — Guests can grab these snacks between attractions and enjoy them while on their way to have more fun!

 

Dining at Disney is one of our favorite parts of a Disney vacation — whether we are sitting down for a character meal or grabbing a snack after climbing off of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Depending on your dining location, keep these tips in mind to make your Disney dining experience easier!

About Tyler Obenauf

Tyler is a lawyer living in South Florida who visits Disney World at least once a month. He enjoys re-living classic Disney experiences and discovering new things about the parks when he visits. Friends and family always ask him to plan their trip for maximum Disney magic!