Guide to Dining at Disney World

One of the first questions that people ask when planning a Disney vacation is – Where Should We Eat? So, it’s no secret that Walt Disney World is also the Most Magical Place on Earth for foodies. With 100s of choices from quick to casual, and buffet to fine dining, there is something unique around every corner and to please any palette. Disney divides dining into two categories: Quick Service and Table Service.

What You Should Know about Table Service Dining

Table Service meals require advanced reservations. Table Service meals are sit down meals – and run mostly the way you’d expect. Someone shows you to your table, offers you a menu, takes your order, and brings the food to your table. BUT at The Most Magical Place on Earth – there’s always a little extra! Find a complete list of Disney’s Table Service Locations in the Dining Options Bucketlist post.

  • Dining reservations are REQUIRED. You might be saying, “Oh, but my ‘friend’ said I could walk up and they would seat me anyway? It worked for her.” It sounds like your “friend” got some pixie dust – this is not a dependable way to dine at a table service restaurant, it is more likely that they will tell you there’s no availability. 

If you are staying on property at Disney World, dining reservations can be made 60 days in advance for your entire trip. This means you can make all 5 days of dining needed for your vacation 60 days before you check in. If you are staying off-property, you’ll need to make each days’ dining reservations 60 days out. So if you have a 5 day vacation – your travel agent will be getting up early 5 days in a row to get the dining you are hoping for.

  • Types of meals. Table Service offers character meals, fancy signature dining, super fancy signature dining, Chef’s Table experiences, buffet meals, family style meals, live music, and dinner shows. 
  • Types of food. Just about anything you might want: breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Italian food, German food, Asian food, Hawaiian food, Southern-style home cooked food, burgers, pizza, soups and salads (looking at you Cobb Salad from Hollywood Brown Derby), classic cuisine, amazing seafood, delicious steaks.
  • Cost. Like in real life, the Disney bubble also changes pricing from quick and fast casual to sit down meal with tip. For adults, plan for $20-100 per meal, and children $10-70. Some meals are fixed price, which means you cannot share meals or appetizers, others will let you order off the kids menu even if you’re 42.
  • Check for tip. Some table service restaurants include tip automatically, others don’t. Be sure to always check your receipt and add gratuity, if needed. 
  • Check the menus. It is super important to check the menu before selecting a restaurant. Make sure there are items that everyone in your group will eat. Sometimes I hear people choosing Be Our Guest so they can meet the Beast, but they or their kids won’t eat a single thing on the menu. That’s a very pricey meet-n-greet. Skipper Canteen sounds fun but is somewhat limited too.  While some restaurants will make accommodations for you and your little picky eaters, sometimes they just can’t. 

What You Should Know About Quick Service Dining

Quick Service meals offer guests a tasty meal that can be preordered and picked up at a counter. {Highly recommend using mobile order.} It’s worth noting that Walt Disney World is the very best at handling special allergy and food requests for guests, so be sure to share this with your travel professional.

  • Dining Reservations. NOT Required.
  • Types of meals. Quick Service meals are mobile ordered or ordered at a counter. You’ll receive your food on a tray then find your own seat nearby.
  • Types of food. Just about anything you might want: breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Quick Service options at The Most Magical Place on Earth are so much more than corn dogs, burgers, and chicken fingers. You’ll find a Nutella waffle with fresh fruit, a sweet and spicy chicken waffle sandwich, lobster rolls, poke bowls, grilled cheese, and BBQ. Don’t worry – the classic burgers and hot dogs are around too (I love some Casey’s Corner!). 
  • Cost. Like in real life, the Disney bubble also changes pricing from quick and fast casual to sit down meal with tip. Quick Service for adults, plan for $10-20 per meal, and children $7-15. Good news – no one cares how old you are, so if you’d like to save a little money or just don’t want a huge portion of food, you can order from the kids menu. Often it’s a good value.
  • Check the menus. It is super important to check the menu before selecting a restaurant. Make sure there are items that everyone in your group will eat. Places like Casey’s Corner – only have hot dogs and corn dogs really, so if you don’t like those, choose another location. There are plenty!
  • Mobile Ordering. This is the greatest part about Quick Service dining. You can pre order your food in the MyDisneyExperience app and when you’re ready and near the restaurant, click a button to let them know. It’s pretty easy and super convenient.
  • Snacks can be a meal. Back in the days of the Disney Dining Plan (fingers crossed it returns soon), some items were marked “snacks” on menu boards. You could definitely make a meal from the larger snacks – and still can. 

Order early in the day, even if you’re not ready to eat. Sometimes (when things are busier) the pick up times for food can get backed up and you might want to eat at Woody’s Lunchbox at 12:30, but there’s not an available pick up window until 3pm.

Allergies, Diet Restrictions, & Special Dining Needs

Disney is pretty amazing with all kinds of dining needs and special requests, especially those that are allergy driven. When your travel agent makes dining reservations for you (not sure if you want to use a travel agent? Spoiler: you do).

Bonus Dining Tips & Tricks

  • Have a plan for a 1st choice and 2nd choice Table Service reservation for each day. 
  • Understand which restaurants are in close by resorts – and that it’s ok to leave a park to dine in a resort close by and come back. This is especially helpful if there’s a location that you really want to try.
  • Don’t be afraid to eat at “off times”. A 2pm lunch or a 4pm dinner are a great way to get that magical dining experience at the perfect location. 

Remember a travel advisor who specializes in Disney vacations can be a great help when it comes to understanding dining and other “Disney” needs. Often,  these travel advisors will offer the free service of booking dining reservations for you. Remember when I said they book at 6am EST, that’s early.

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