Whether it’s from a well-meaning friend, or maybe a family member passing along second-hand stories, you’ve probably heard some lies about Walt Disney World. And chances are that some of those lies involve dining experiences. Well, we’re here to set the record straight! If you’re looking for the truth about eating on property, keep reading, as we debunk ten common lies about dining at WDW.
1. Just for Kids
Like the rest of Walt Disney World, the food on property is not just for kids. There are restaurants to suit children and adults no matter their tastes or preferences. While you can certainly find more child-friendly offerings, such as family-style dining with familiar dishes and character appearances, you can also choose an award-winning restaurant that specifically caters to adults and doesn’t let young children through the door.
2. Too Expensive
It is certainly possible to spend a small fortune on dining in Walt Disney World as you could splurge on a gourmet meal or an elaborate steak dinner. But it’s also possible to find meals that don’t break the bank, especially if you’re savvy enough to look for discounts and use them well. Food at WDW ranges from cheap grab-and-go items to custom-designed, chef-catered dinners with multiple courses, and everything in between!
3. Only Table Service Meals are Worth It
There are numerous table service restaurants throughout Walt Disney World property that are well-known for their fabulous food and ambience, and deservedly so. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the quick service options available! In fact, some of the most interesting, fun-filled meals we’ve had have taken place at quick service spots. Explore creative off-world dining at Satu’li Canteen, or take your paleontology-loving family member to delightfully dino-themed Restaurantosaurus, for a start.
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4. Don’t Bother Eating in the Resorts
Some of our favorite dining experiences on Walt Disney World property have occurred in Disney resorts, so don’t listen to the lie that you should leave your resort to dine. Disney resorts offer everything from extensive food courts where you can grab a quick meal or even take a pizza back to your room, to award-winning, world-class establishments, some with pretty spectacular views! Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West Resort or The Wave… Of American Flavors at Contemporary Resort are just a couple worth trying.
5. No Need for Reservations
Dining reservations are always a good idea at Walt Disney World, so don’t listen to anyone who says you can just walk into any table service restaurant without one. If you have your heart set on dining in a particular restaurant, make sure you book a reservation as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Tables can book up quickly, especially at certain times of the year and for popular spots, so if you don’t get your first pick, try a different day or time. Often, eating between peak dining times can secure you that coveted reservation!
6. Impossible to Get in Without Reservation
Of course, there is an exception to every rule! While it’s always best to make advance dining reservations, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make day-of reservations if you’re desperate. You never know – you might get lucky! We’ve even had luck walking in and getting seated right away at certain locations – so it’s worth trying, although you shouldn’t count on it.
7. No Haute Cuisine/Cultural Experiences
If someone tries to tell you that Disney food is only for those looking for familiar American favorites, not true culinary or cultural dining experiences, feel free to laugh in his or her face. There’s an entire world of deliciousness waiting to be discovered at WDW! Whether you want to stop by one of the eleven World Showcase pavilions at Disney’s Epcot for some global cuisine served by cast members hailing from those countries, or munch on dishes created by world-famous chefs in Disney Springs, or indulge in a signature dining experience at your own Disney resort, there is plenty for the epicurean or globe trotter in your party.
8. Been There, Dined on That
There are more than 200 restaurants in Walt Disney World, so it would take you awhile to try out every dining location on property. And even then, the restaurants are always coming up with new and exciting dishes, so you’re bound to discover something new even at your tried and true dining spot. So if someone tries to tell you that you only need to experience dining at WDW once, don’t believe them!
9. No Healthy Food at WDW
It’s easy to let healthy eating fall by the wayside during a Walt Disney World vacation. After all, the parks (and resorts) are full of tempting treats that are not exactly diet-friendly. But it is possible to plan ahead and stick to a healthy eating plan, if you have the willpower required! Look for healthy snacks (yes, they do exist) in each park, including fruit, veggies and yogurt, and ask your server for healthy options for children and/or adults.
10. Disney Can’t Accommodate My Dietary Requirements
I hear you. You’re a vegetarian, or vegan, or you have a food sensitivity or potentially deadly food allergy, and you’re worried that you won’t be able to find food you can eat at Walt Disney World. Well, WDW is probably one of the best places for you to be. Cast members go above and beyond to cater to all dietary requirements, and all you have to do is ask to speak to a chef about your questions or concerns. My mom, who has severe allergies to just about everything, accompanied us on a Disney trip a few years ago, and every restaurant we went to, the kitchen cooked her up a custom-made meal. She’s never been happier!