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7 Tips When It Comes To Dining At Walt Disney World

Dining is a huge part of most Walt Disney World vacations, but it can be confusing. There are over 300 different food service choices, which means that you do not have to eat typical theme park food each day; unless you want to. Here are seven tips that many people do not know about dining at Walt Disney World.

7. Order Without the Side

If you’re trying to save a few dollars at a quick service location, see if you can order your meal without the side, especially if it is something that you do not really want. Most places will allow you to do that. There are exceptions. If the entire meal is pre-made and comes in a box, chances are that you will not be able to order it without the side. It still does not hurt to ask.

6. Skip the Midday Parade

If you are trying to save time and grab a quick bite to eat on a crowded day at the Magic Kingdom, you might want to skip Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade and eat while it’s going on. The parade crowds start to grow about half an hour early, so you can expect for the quick service restaurant lines to start to get shorter around the same time. Of course the parade is amazing and you don’t really want to miss it, but if you spend two days in the park you can skip it once.

5. Don’t Forget the Resorts

An all too common assumption is that you need to be staying at a particular resort in order to dine there. That is not the case at all! Some of the best dining experiences are located at the resorts, and anyone can make a reservation. Another incorrect assumption is that the full service restaurants can be enjoyed by anyone, but food courts are just for those staying at that resort. If you only try your own food court you could miss out on amazing cuisine and epic classics. Each food court is as unique as everything else at Walt Disney World.

4. Make an Early (or Late) Reservation

Here’s a secret for anyone who wants to see a nearly empty park. Make your breakfast reservation for as early as possible. Many of the full service restaurants open before the park does, so you will be allowed in early. Park admission is of course required. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your reservation, and if you can’t figure out where to go ask a Cast Member. While you will not be allowed to wander through the park, you can walk slowly to the restaurant and enjoy the view. The same thing is true at the end of the day. Make the latest dinner reservation possible, try to get the last one for the day. The park will be almost empty when you leave, and you’ll see it in a different light. Just don’t take too long when eating, because the Cast Members want to wrap up their shifts and head home.

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3. Use that Mobile Order button

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.

2. Keep Trying!

Some reservations at Walt Disney World seem almost impossible to get. Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, and some restaurants will fill up at that mark. Be Our Guest Restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table are two of the most difficult, but there are others as well. If you can’t grab the desired reservation at the 180 day mark, don’t give up. Keep trying! Since a credit card is now required to hold a reservation, people are finally remembering to cancel those that they aren’t going to use. Even if it’s just a few days before your trip do not give up, because often there will be a slew of last minute cancellations. If you aren’t having any luck online try calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). While it’s not guaranteed, sometimes the operator will be able to conjure up a little extra magic. Remember, though, that it never hurts to have a backup choice…just in case.

1. Is There a Lounge?

Is there a full service restaurant that you really want to try but can’t get a reservation for? Find out if the restaurant has a lounge! Many of the full service places do, and you will not need a reservation. The lounges are more common in the resorts, but you will still find a handful within the theme parks. The menu may vary. Some of the lounges serve mostly appetizers and small plates. Other lounges offer the restaurant’s full menu. While the lounges have full bars and serve specialty drinks, for the most part they are family friendly. Since reservations are not accepted at the lounges, be prepared to wait if things are busy.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.