Whether this is your first or tenth Walt Disney World vacation, you may have considered choosing off-property dining options. There are many reasons why this may not be the best idea and could take away from your Disney vacation and experience. Here are 7 reasons why leaving Disney for food is a bad idea:
7. Missing out on amazing experiences
If you leave to dine, you could miss out on many different magical moments and events that could be occurring in the parks. Each dining location in the parks is close to various characters, attractions and events and you never know what may happen. Each restaurant in itself is also an attraction in many ways with new things to see and experience. You miss out on this when you leave the parks to dine at all the chain restaurants that are available off property.
6. Travel and parking
If you didn’t drive or rent a car, then you have to work out transportation to get off property. This can add additional costs to the budget for your vacation. You also have to spend time getting to your car in the parking lot, navigating Disney property to find where you are going to dine and then return and do the parking and tram hassle all over again. This isn’t so magical and definitely won’t keep children in the group very entertained.
5. The restaurant atmosphere
Nothing compares to theming and attention to Disney puts into everything that they do. This is especially true in their dining options, quick-service and table-service. The restaurants are all extremely unique and unlike anywhere else that you would be able to dine. Outside of Disney property, you can expect a lot of chain restaurants and placed that you can dine at anywhere. It is much more interesting to experience something new that you can’t go to any other time but on a Disney vacation. You won’t be sorry!
4. Misconception about crowds
The reason that some guests leave the parks to dine is because they think that they will encounter less crowds and waits in order to enjoy a meal. This may not be the case. The area is an extremely popular tourist area, plus many locals who will still be dining during the normal dining times as well. You may still encounter the same wait times to dine at the off-property locations as well, plus the time spent traveling. Your better bet is to dine during non-traditional dining times on property so that you don’t waste time traveling and you don’t wait as long to eat.
Another common reason that guests commonly leave to dine is due to costs. They believe that they will be able to save money if they dine off property. This also may not be the case. Disney has a wide variety of dining options that suit all budgets. The costs spent traveling unnecessarily (especially if this is the only reason that you rent a car) can definitely wash away any savings you may have from eating at a McDonald’s off-property. If you plan to dine at any sit-down restaurants, you can likely expect to encounter prices very similar to what you would get at Disney. Orlando is a tourist town, so the prices (especially close to the parks) are priced to get the highest dollar. You also have to weigh out the cost you spent on your ticket for park admission and how much time you lose in the parks, since that should be factored into costs as well.
2. Food quality and choices
Disney goes above and beyond in everything that they do. They strive for this same perfection with the food quality and the diversity of their menus. The magic from the parks and resorts definitely carries over into the dining establishments. You can expect to receive a delicious meal that is above and beyond what you would normally expect from park food. Even at the quick-service locations, the menu is very diverse and not just the typical burgers, hot dogs and fries that you would expect (you can still get these favorites at many locations as well). You can get lobster rolls, tacos, waffle sandwiches, sushi and all kinds of other options. They will all be served in an amazing environment with hidden Mickey’s and other fun everywhere.
1. Loss of precious Disney time
This is definitely the biggest issue for me and my family. We never want to give up any of that precious Disney time. You can expect to spend at least 30 minutes getting to the tram, then your car and then off property (likely longer depending on traffic and how fast you can get everyone moving), then you have the wait time to dine, actually dining and then the same minimal 30 minutes to get back to the parks, parked and inside the gates. This is just too much time to miss out on the magic in the parks. With park ticket prices rising and the limited amount of days in your Disney vacation, you wouldn’t want to miss out on those hours for each meal, each day! There is already too much to do in a single vacation as it is!