Disney Dining is a very delicious part of the whole Disney experience. There are many Disney fans out there who rank the dining experiences equal to the shows and attractions. This is why the dining reservations are scooped up so fast and you have to jump on them right away! With all of the many dining locations and experiences, there is a lot to learn about Disney dining. Here are 6 points about dining at Walt Disney World:
6. Quick Service vs. Table Service Dining
When it comes to dining options at Walt Disney World Resort, you have 2 main kinds of meals, quick service and table service. Quick service meals don’t typically require a reservation (there are exceptions to this which I will talk about below) while for table service restaurants reservations are highly recommended. At quick service locations you walk up to a counter, order your meal, pick it up and find a table to sit and enjoy your meal with your family. At table service locations you are seated by the host and then served at your table, or you enjoy a buffet option with a server tending your drink and any other needs at the table. Character dining locations are considered table service dining, so if character dining is what you are after, you will want to review those table service options.
5. Quick Service Mobile Ordering
No table service reservations? It’s super simple to use Mobile Ordering at numerous Quick Service Restaurants throughout Disney World Property. Order and pay for your food from the My Disney Experience app and pick up your food when you arrive. It’s awesome! Quick Service locations accepting Mobile Ordering are located throughout Disney World property from the parks to Disney Springs.
4. Make reservations at Table Service Restaurants.
I really can’t stress this enough. You can always try to walk up at restaurants and hope that you might be able to get in, but it is so much easier if you have a reservation. You are able to start making dining reservations at 180 days before your trip, and you can make the reservations for your entire trip at that time if you are staying at a Disney resort. If you make them as early as possible you are more likely to get the restaurants you want at the times you want. If you are having trouble finding reservations, don’t stop trying. You could snag a reservation even the days leading up to your stay, so it is definitely worth the patience and effort to keep trying. If you have a reservation you will wait far less to get into the restaurant, plus you are guaranteed to get in. That is more time you can spend enjoying the Disney magic, plus less stress!
3. Don’t Pay for Water in the Parks.
This is a helpful trick that I like to make sure that everyone knows. A great way to save money in the parks is to not buy water (or other drinks if you can just drink water) when you are in the parks. Go to a quick service location or a stand that serves fountain beverages and ask them for cups of ice water for your party. They can give you cups of ice water for no charge, which will save you the cost of the bottled water. It’s still cool and refreshing on those hot days, and keeps you hydrated better than any soda or juice will. This is a great way to save money or save snack entitlements during your stay.
2. Get value out of All You Care to Enjoy meals.
All You Care to Enjoy meals are Disney’s version of buffet dining. Some of the meals are served to your table family style and others are designed to have you go up to the buffet and make selections of your choosing from a wide variety of options. Both ways are great and are a great value for the money. Plus, many of these types of meals are also include character dining or another type of unique experience to accompany the meal. You can really use these meals to your advantage. If characters are what you are after, you can save time by meeting them at the meals instead of waiting in lines for the parks. If you are looking to save money, you can use the meals as your one large meal of the day where everyone can fill up and fill even the hungriest of appetites, thus allowing you to skip meals during the day or get by on only a snack in preparation for a larger meal. Sitting down for full meals less often also saves you time so you get to spend more of your time back in the parks and enjoying all of the attractions. Don’t forget that children under 3 eat free at the all you care to enjoy meals, without having to share a plate with someone else, so that is also a great value there, too!
1. Don’t forget about the resorts.
The resorts are often forgotten about since guests tend to flock to the restaurant locations in the parks first. That would definitely be a mistake. There are so many amazing restaurants, and each of the resorts have dining options. Don’t forget to check out the restaurants for the resort you are staying at, and check out the menus and themes of the restaurants at the other resorts. You can resort hop for no charge, so why not enjoy a delicious meal and explore the beautiful resorts. You will still want to try to get reservations for these where applicable, but they are still usually less chaotic than restaurants in the parks. You can also get some amazing views of fireworks from some of the resorts, especially those that are around the Magic Kingdom. So remember that when you are selecting times at restaurants like O’hana, Narcoossee’s or California Grill.