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7 Things You’ll Want To Know About Dining At Walt Disney World

Many guests who visit Walt Disney World might be under the assumption that the only foods offered there are stereotypical theme park foods like hot dogs, chicken fingers, and fries. Those guests couldn’t be more wrong! Walt Disney World is brimming with amazing dining experiences for guests to enjoy throughout the four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Resorts, and Disney Springs. Guests who are looking to enjoy meals in Walt Disney World can dine on everything from snack carts and quick service meals to full service restaurants and fine dining experiences. With so many amazing options to choose from, guests might be a little overwhelmed when trying to decide just what dining experiences to enjoy while on a Disney vacation. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks that guests can learn about dining in Walt Disney World that will definitely make each meal amazing. Here are seven things you’ll want to know about dining in Walt Disney World!

7. Advanced Dining Reservations Are Necessary

The full service restaurants in Walt Disney World are extremely popular with guests seeing as they all have delicious menus that are served up in uniquely themed, beautiful locations. Since the full service locations are so amazing and popular, they tend to become fully booked very easily. This makes booking Advanced Dining Reservations completely necessary for guests looking to enjoy a full service meal. Advanced Dining Reservations can be made up to one hundred and eighty days in advance and some of the first restaurants that book up early are the California Grill, ‘Ohana, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Victoria & Albert’s, and Be Our Guest Restaurant.

6. Some Quick Service Locations Are Better Than Others

While full service meals are delicious, sometimes guests just want to enjoy a fast meal in order to spend more time enjoying the theme parks or water parks. Quick service locations serve up delicious options without the time constraint of full service meals and they can be found scattered everywhere throughout Walt Disney World. While there are plenty of quick service options to choose from, some are more popular than others thanks to their outstanding food and amazing ambiance. Some of the best quick service locations to enjoy while in Walt Disney World are the Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom, Sunshine Seasons in Epcot, and Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

5. Special Views Of Happily Ever After

Some meals in Walt Disney World come with unique views of Happily Ever After. The nightly show occurs in the Magic Kingdom and lights up the skies over AND on Cinderella Castle with beautiful fireworks and projection. The musical score is incredible and it is a must see on any Disney vacation. I get choked up just thinking about it! While some of the best views can be enjoyed from Main Street, there are also two restaurants which offer up amazing views of the show accompanied by fantastic food. The California Grill can be found atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort and offers sweeping views of the Magic Kingdom, Seven Seas Lagoon, and the surrounding Disney Resorts. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is also situated on Seven Seas Lagoon and offers up beautiful views of Happily Ever After from the full service restaurant ‘Ohana. Guests who are lucky enough to score reservations at these two restaurants during the nighttime show are sure to enjoy the show with an unforgettable view.

4. Last Minute Sometimes Works

Sometimes the full service restaurants in Walt Disney World are so popular that it seems completely impossible to score a reservation. While this is true, a lot of times last minute reservations open up as some locations charge a cancellation fee within twenty four hours of the reservation. Guests who had their hearts set on dining at a popular location but couldn’t score a reservation should definitely stop by Guest Relations to see if any last minute options opened up!

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3. Dine Upstairs At Columbia Harbour House

One of the most popular quick service dining locations in the Magic Kingdom is the Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square. The location serves up a seafood inspired menu accompanied by nautical décor. While enjoying dark wood paneling and lots of nautical touches. While the Columbia Harbour House is a popular location to eat at, many guests don’t realize that there is a second floor to the location. Guests who wander upstairs and enjoy their meals there can experience fewer crowds, quieter areas, and amazing views of Liberty Square below from the windows. This is the case for several Disney restaurants so always check if you can’t find a spot!

2. Character Meals Aren’t Just For Kids

Scattered throughout Walt Disney World are plenty of opportunities to enjoy full service meals while meeting beloved Disney characters. While some guests might think that character meals are just for kids, they can be just as much fun for the adults! Guests who simply have fun with it can enjoy collecting autographs, posing for photos, and accepting hugs from their favorite characters while dining on amazing meals. Some of the best restaurants to visit for character meals are Cinderella’s Royal Table, the Garden Grill Restaurant, Tusker House Restaurant, and Chef Mickey’s.

1. Free Toppings Bars

A great way to make a quick service meal even more worth its price is to take advantage of free toppings bars. Several quick service locations feature bars that are filled with complimentary toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, sauces, and other vegetables. Ordering up a seemingly normal meal can turn into a delicious option that is much more valuable after hitting up the toppings bar. Some quick service locations that feature free toppings bars are Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, Tortuga Tavern, and Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café. A bonus tip I’ve learned, since these bars can get crowded, is to fill up condiment containers or the provided extra food containers with your toppings and then make your way back to your table to finish perfecting your meal!

About Caitlin Corsello

Caitlin Corsello first visited Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of the trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning about the history and small details of the parks, enjoying a Lapu Lapu, and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York teaching preschool and spending her time counting down the days to her next trip.