Thousands of people eat at quick service dining locations throughout Walt Disney World every single day. With dozens of places to choose from, many of us find it is an easy way to fulfill the necessity to eat and simply be on our way to our next destination. However, after many visits to quick serve restaurants myself, I have put together 7 facts and secrets my family has learned along the way that just might help you the next time you visit. Whether you are looking to save time or money, or just want to find the perfect location to catch your breath, we have what it takes to hit the spot.
7. Kids Meals for Everyone
Many full service restaurants located at Walt Disney World frown on, or simply will not allow adult guests to order from the kids menu. This is especially true when it comes to buffets. However, at quick serve locations, anyone can order a kids meal. If you do not have a large appetite or you simply find something that catches your eye, you are more than welcome to order from the kids menu. Many kids menus include an entree, two sides and a beverage! You nearly get the same amount of food for, sometimes, half the cost!
6. Save Money with Entree Only
While standing in line to order your food, your eyes will naturally look up to the menu displayed above you. Like many fast food restaurants, photographs display the food for most items available for purchase. Disney automatically displays the entree along with side such as a burger and fries. But, did you know you are not obligated to order both? Perhaps that burger sounds great, but for reasons otherwise you do not want those french fries. You can order the stand alone burger and pay a reduced price without the side! Way to save some money and perhaps not overeat!
5. Free Water
Yup. No need to spend extra. Sure, they will display that bottled water for sale for $3.00 or more. However, all you have to do is ask for a free cup of ice water! The savings really add up when you have a large party on a hot day. In fact, you can walk up to any location that serves soda and receive free water whether its quick serve dining with tables and chairs or simply a walk up window. Think about how much better you could handle this Florida heat and humidity knowing free ice water is just around the corner!
4. Free Beverage Refills
Guests will pay a premium for beverages at Walt Disney World. If you know you are going to purchase that soda, you might as well get your money’s worth. Some quick serve dining establishments offer self-serve soda machines. Instead of the Cast Members filling the drinks behind the counter, you are simply handed a cup where you get your own beverage. Not all locations offer free refills, so you will have to plan ahead on this one. However, there is at least one location, sometimes more, at each of the four theme parks where you can refill while you dine. You can even fill it up one last time on your way out and take it with you!
3. Enter Before Opening
It is no secret that any food establishment can draw large crowds, especially on busy days. It’s also no secret that you can reduce your time battling crowds toward the beginning and end of serving hours, but did you know you can actually enter some quick serve locations before they officially open? Yes, that’s right… shhhhhhhh… Most quick serve location “open” at 11:00AM. What they really mean is they start taking orders at 11:00AM. Many times you can walk in the restaurant just 5 or 10 minutes in advance. Pick out any table you’d like! Feel that air conditioning! You can even get in line! Once the top of the hour hits, the registers will open. Not only do you beat the crowds, you will have the freshest food!
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2. Unique Views
Most of us don’t think about the potential view while eating quick serve. In fact, guests will book full service restaurants months in advance in part because of the atmosphere a particular restaurant provides. While some quick serve locations are relatively plain, there are a few that offer unique locations you won’t find anywhere else. Visit Pinocchio Village Haus at the Magic Kingdom and score one of a few tables that overlooks It’s A Small World! A trip to Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom might give you the opportunity to eat on the back porch with views of the water and Expedition Everest in the distance. Time your meal just right and you could watch the top of the floats go by during the parade while dining outside at Peco Bills. My personal favorite is dining on the large patio outside the Electric Umbrella at Epcot. It’s a great place to people watch and the view of the fountains set to music make it a very relaxing location.
1. Hidden Tables
This one gets a little tricky. No, we don’t want you walking through doors that are not meant for you. We are just saying there are some little known, out of the way places to find a table that many people do not even realize. These usually come in the form of eating upstairs. Yes, upstairs. While not all quick service locations offer a second level and some may even have it closed, keep your eyes peeled. Since these locations are little known secrets, rarely will you find it crowded. In fact, you just might have the area all to yourself! Some even come with a view! While I won’t go into specifics, I will tell you, that if you do things just right you can enjoy a nearly private meal while overlooking the Prince Charming Regal Carousel and the back of Cinderella Castle!
Which of these seven facts and secrets did you just learn about? Do you have any quick service dining tips to share that we missed? Share with us in the comments below!