9 Things You May Not Know About Dining At Walt Disney World

Food is an important part of any Walt Disney World vacation. Everyone has to eat. Let dining become part of the overall vacation experience. Don’t rush through your meals, instead enjoy the food and the ambiance. A lot of thought has gone into every Walt Disney World restaurant, so take notice of the details. Here are nine things that many people do not know about dining at Walt Disney World.

9. Countless Restaurants

There are over 300 different places to eat at Walt Disney World. You will find everything from quick service pool bars to elegant Five Star dining. If you’re in the mood for traditional theme park food like burgers or pizza, there are plenty of choices. It is also easy to find something different such as couscous or waffle sandwiches. While researching Walt Disney World, don’t forget to find out about the restaurants. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of choices.

8. Many Quick Service Locations Offer Mobile Ordering

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 MyDisneyExperience app and pick up your food when you arrive. It’s awesome! Quick Service locations accepting Mobile Ordering include favorites both in the parks and at Disney Springs. Check the app in advance to find a restaurant that accepts Mobile Ordering and save loads of time when dining!

7. Tips Are Not Usually Part of the Disney Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan is a great way for resort guests to manage food costs because the amount will be included in your overall package. Some people do not realize that the tip is not included with table service credits. There are exceptions, and parties of six or more will automatically have a tip added. The Walt Disney World servers work hard to make your meals special, so please be generous.

6. Save Money By Ordering Without the Sides

Many quick service restaurants will have meals listed on their menu boards, for example a burger and fries. If you don’t want those fries, ask for just the burger. You’ll be surprised by how much less it will cost. The same is true for side salads, chips, etc. If you don’t want the side, order without. You’ll pay less and save a few calories as well.

5. Make an Early Reservation

For a view of a Walt Disney World park that most people will never see, make an early breakfast reservation for before the park opens. You won’t be allowed to wander through the park, but you will be able to see the streets with few people on them. You’ll have the added advantage of already being in the park when it opens, so it will be easy to get in line for your favorite ride. If you want to see the park empty late at night, make the last reservation of the evening. There is a different feel to the parks when they aren’t crowded.

4. Keep Checking for Hard to Get Reservations

Walt Disney World allows you to make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance, and some restaurants will fill up that far ahead. If you weren’t able to make the desired reservation, keep checking back. Six months is a long time and plans change. People who realize they won’t be able to use that reservation will cancel, and you just might be able to snatch up the spot. If a reservation isn’t canceled in advance, a credit card will be charged. The reminder emails about dining reservations usually are sent about 48 hours before the reservation time, so you might want to check then. If you still can’t get the reservation that you want, talk to a Cast Member at check in. Who knows, maybe there was a last minute cancellation.

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3. Award Winning Wine Lists

Although Walt Disney World is one of the top family destinations on the planet, that does not mean that there isn’t anything for the adults. There are award winning wine lists at several of the restaurants. California Grill has over 300 selections, The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe has an extensive selection, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to the largest collection of African wines outside of Africa. There are wine tasting opportunities at both Flying Fish Cafe and Jiko – The Cooking Place. There is even a wine cellar at Epcot. If you are 21 or older and love wine, you’ll be thrilled with the selection at Walt Disney World.

2. Menus Change Often

Many of the full service restaurants at Walt Disney World pride themselves on using the freshest ingredients possible. That means that a dish that is served in the winter may not be on the menu the following summer. While you can book your reservations 180 days in advance, there is no guarantee that the menu will be the same when it is time for that reservation. The quick service options may change from time to time as well. If there is something that you had your heart set on but it is no longer on the menu, ask. Many restaurants will make a former dish if the ingredients are on hand.

1. Special Dietary Requests Made Easy

If you follow a special diet, don’t let that stop you from eating at Walt Disney World. Vegetarian dining is so easy that you don’t have to let anyone know in advance. There are more and more gluten-free options being added all the time. All four parks have one quick service restaurant that serves kosher meals. If you’re vegan, have food allergies, or follow another special diet, you will want to make arrangements ahead of time. The chefs at the full service restaurants want to provide you with a delicious, satisfying meal. If you make the reservation online there is a space to inform the restaurant about most common restrictions. You also might want to call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) at least 48 hours in advance, just to be on the safe side. If you’re not sure about a food item, ask a Cast Member. If they don’t know the answer, they will find out for you.

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.