Food is one of the main attractions at Disney World. Not only are there delicious snacks and menu items to indulge in when visiting Disney, but the whole dining and eating experience can be wonderful and many memories can be created when dining at Disney. To ensure that dining at Disney is a great experience each and every time, here are 9 pro tips for dining at Walt Disney World.
There is a reason reservations are highly recommended, table service restaurants fill up very quickly at Disney. Reservations for those staying on property can be made 180 days in advance, so get online, or on the phone and make those reservations as soon as you can. Some reservations are more difficult to secure than others, so be persistent, keep checking back online periodically to see if that reservation at Be Our Guest has become available, and even during your vacation, you can continue to check in for reservations that may have opened up due to a cancellation. I wouldn’t bet on this approach, but it’s worth checking. And be aware of the cancellation policy for the reservations you do hold.
8. 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.
7. Eat Off Peak Times
There are a few reasons to eat lunch or dinner during off peak times. Restaurants are usually less crowded if you opt for an early lunch, or late dinner. If you find yourself without a reservation but still want a table service meal, off peak times are probably your best bet in finding a table. But just remember if you don’t have a dining reservation, there are plenty of great quick-service spots too with lots of seating and fantastic menu items that will leave you feeling satisfied.
The menus for each restaurant, quick service and table service locations, are available online. Do some research and find a restaurant that appeals to you or has something for everyone in your party. Find out what the vegetarian or gluten free options are if that’s a concern. For example, if you have a vegan or vegetarian in your party, Biergarten at the Germany pavilion in Epcot may not be the best choice. Some restaurants serve a buffet, or some locations like the Liberty Tree Tavern serve dinner family style. The style of dining is something to take into consideration as well. If dining with children, look for a restaurant that has character dining experiences. A little research ahead of time will help you find the dining experiences that are right for you.
5. Dietary Restrictions
Whether you avoid certain foods because of an allergy or by choice, Disney will do all they can to accommodate. When making your reservations you can specify any restrictions or allergies. When you arrive at the restaurant your server will already be aware, but it never hurts to mention it again when checking in. Some locations will have a menu specifically designed to tell guests what is gluten free, dairy free, nut free, etc., and sometimes the chef will come to your table to speak with you directly.
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4. Be Flexible
Whether you’re looking to make reservations before your trip, or when you’re already at Disney World, it’s good to be flexible. Sometimes your ideal time may not be available, so consider having a later, or earlier dinner, or try for a lunch reservation. Often the menus are the same whether it’s lunch or dinner, and you’ll get the same great experience. If you had your heart set on steak at Le Cellier but can’t get a table, check out other steakhouses on property. The Yachtsman Steakhouse located at Disney’s Yacht Club resort would be a great second choice and it’s far from Epcot. By being flexible you may find a new favorite restaurant and you’ll avoid being disappointed.
3. Breakfast in the Park
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not go all out and eat breakfast at the park. Be Our Guest and The Crystal Palace open for breakfast at Magic Kingdom, and Garden Grill and Akershus at Epcot also open early. What could be more magical than breakfast among royalty and beloved Disney characters?
2. Look Beyond the Parks
Some of the best restaurants at Disney happen to be at resorts. When looking to make reservations, look at what the resorts have to offer for dining options. Eating at a resort is a great way to see more of Disney. Some of the restaurants offer character dining experiences, like 1900 Park Fare where guests can meet princesses, Mary Poppins and Alice. There is also entertainment to be found at some of the dining locations at the resorts, such as the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian, which features hula dancing and fire dancing and a buffet.
1. Great Views
One of the selling points for many restaurants at Disney are the spectacular views they have. There are a number of restaurants in the World Showcase that have a fantastic view of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. If you want to enjoy the nighttime spectacular while feasting on delicious food and drinks, make your dining reservations a little later so you can catch the show. On the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort is the California Grill. The California Grill has a breathtaking view of Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon. If you dine before the fireworks, hold onto your receipt, it will be your ticket to re-enter the restaurant and watch Wishes from the restaurant. If you want to add some more magic to your dining experience, check out a restaurant with a great view of one of the nighttime shows.