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8 Disney Pro Tips for Quick Service Dining at Walt Disney World

by Brittany DiCologero

• Try something new

One of the best things about Walt Disney World quick service restaurants especially when compared to other theme parks, is the variety of food available. When one thinks of theme park food, burgers and hot dogs are often the first items to come to mind, but quick service meals at Walt Disney World really do include so much more than that. When deciding on where to eat for a quick service meal, do not feel obligated to head to the first burger joint you see. Check out your park map or the My Disney Experience app, and opt for a meal you’re truly interested in instead. Of course, if you are in the mood for a burger or a hot dog, there are plenty of great options for the standards as well, just don’t feel like you’re going to be stuck eating them all the time.

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• Share a meal

Many Disney guests can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of food, or the portion sizes of meals that they’ll be eating on vacation. If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat much for a quick service meal, or you’re like me, and you end up snacking so much throughout the day that eating an entire meal on your own just seems impossible, think about sharing a meal. Many times when I realize I probably won’t be able to eat an entire meal myself, I find someone in my party who feels the same way and we split it. Sometimes we order an extra side, but usually most adult quick service meals are large enough to share, so this should not be a problem if your appetite just isn’t feeling up to it.

• Order a kids meal

Another option for smaller appetites (or tight budgets) is ordering a kids meal instead. While you cannot do this at a table service restaurant, there is nothing stopping you from ordering a kids meal from any quick service locations. Many restaurants also have kids meals that are essentially smaller versions of the full size counterparts, so you likely would not be missing out on whatever food it is you wanted to try anyway.

• Grab some free water

Of course this is true for table service locations as well, but it’s definitely important to know that you don’t need to pay for water from quick service restaurants in Walt Disney World. This is also good to know, because it means that you won’t find yourself repeatedly stocking up on water from merchandise locations either—which can add up quickly. Cups of filtered tap water are free from quick service locations, and you don’t even need to order food to get one, simply ask at the counter.

• Avoid the rush

Where table service restaurants accept reservations in advance, and have limited space and servers and therefore can never actually be too crowded, the more popular quick service restaurants can easily become packed during the busy times of day. Peak lunch time and dinner hours are definitely not the best times to visit a quick service restaurant, as you’ll find yourself waiting in a longer line and potentially struggling to find a table. If you are planning on eating at table service restaurants, make those meals during the peak times, and save your quick service dining plans for the off times of day.

• Don’t forget breakfast

Breakfast is the most overlooked meal of the day for quick service restaurants, but it is definitely worth trying at least once per trip if you are a breakfast person. It’s a great way to have something light before hitting the parks, or to enjoy a classic meal like Mickey waffles without spending time or money in a table service restaurant.

• Do your research

One of the reasons why guests end up eating at the same quick service restaurants over and over is because they do not research what their other options are. For instance, check out all of the options in World Showcase, not just the nachos in Mexico that you’ve had a thousand times. There are definitely some overlooked quick service locations at different resorts around the property, and Disney Springs, that you would probably never consider without doing a bit of research before your trip.

• Look out for seasonal options

Walt Disney World is home to a couple of seasonal restaurants that are generally closed unless the park is expected to be very busy. If you happen to notice one of these locations open during your trip, like the Diamond Horseshoe in the Magic Kingdom for instance, I would definitely suggest eating there, simply because it probably will not be open for your next trip!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.