Dining Disney Style

Dining at Disney World is an amazing experience! There are hundreds of choices, and really something for everyone’s tastes. Be warned: you will need reservations in order to eat at many of the sit-down restaurants. Walk ups could have a 2 hour wait or longer! Yes, you could eat all your meals at Quick Counter Service spots, but why would you? Read the info below and you’ll get an idea of where you want to make your reservations.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Table Service restaurants are basically that – you sit down, someone comes and takes your order and delivers your food to you. Disney has a huge variety of table service restaurants. They include buffets in this category of dining. Prices vary greatly depending on level of service, extent of atmosphere, location, and food offered. You are sure to find many that appeal to you!
Counter Service or Quick Service is basically that – you walk up to a counter and order. Then wait for your food. You pick up from the same area and then try to find a seat. This is Disney, of course, so you wont have typical McDonalds, Taco Bells, etc. Each counter service spot will have its own theme and menu choices. Some just have snacks, some have drinks, but most have a combination of meal items, snacks and drinks. Tip: Any counter service restaurant with fountain drinks will give you a free cup of water – you dont have to buy bottled water (unless of course you prefer it).
Pool bars and lounges don’t just serve alcohol – they have food, too! Some of it is pretty good. Like every other Disney restaurant, they will have great theming and their own specialty items.
There are hundreds of snack carts scattered all over the parks and resorts. You can grab an ice cream, some popcorn, a cold drink, coffee, and so many other goodies! You will not starve at Disney World unless you run out of money!
  • Table Service Restaurants
  • Quick Service Counter Restaurants
  • Pool Bars & Lounges

Disney Dining Plan

Disney World has an option for resort guests. You can buy a Disney Dining Plan. This helps with budgeting, because your food is included with your package. Is it the best deal? Will you save tons of money? I don’t think so – but it is very convenient and I don’t think its a bad deal!

How does it work? You buy the dining plan (or if you’re lucky enough to get the Free Dining Package that’s even better). It’s attached to your resort key.You receive your allotment of meals and snacks all in one lump. So you can use them any way you see fit. Think of it as a pool of meals that you can use during your vacation. There are no rules as to when you use them, other than after you check in and up until midnight of the day you check out.

Wont go into all the details here, because they change. Here is Disney’s page with the most current info.

Dining Plan Choices

Quick Service Dining Plan

Quick Service Dining Plan – each person will receive 2 quick service meals & 1 snack per person, per night. Plus a Rapid Fill Resort refillable mug.

Dining Plan

Disney Dining Plan. Each person will receive 1 Table Service Meal, 1 Quick Service meal, and 1 snack per person, per night. You will also each receive a Rapid Fill Resort refillable mug.

Deluxe Dining Plan

Deluxe Dining Plan. You will receive 2 table service meals and 1 snack per person, per night. Each person will also receive a Rapid Fill refillable mug to be used at any Disney resort.

Premium DIning

Premium Dining. Each person in your party will receive 3 table service meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) plus 2 snacks for each night. Each of you will also receive a Rapid Fill resort refillable mug.

Want to eat with some Characters?

I almost forgot the most fun part – meeting Disney characters while you eat! There are many different restaurants that have Character Meals. The characters at each place are different, so you need to figure out which characters you’d like to see (they are never guaranteed, but certain characters tend to visit certain restaurants). There are 18 different Character dining experiences. See the Disney World website for more info.

Do you need Reservations?

 

Short answer – YES! They are called Priority Reservations. This just means that you make your reservation for a particular date/time. Show up and you will receive the next table for a party of your size. Many restaurants require a credit card deposit, so if you don’t show, you pay! Most people show up. They will only ¬†hold your reservation for 15 minutes, so make sure you get there on time!

If you show up to a restaurant without a reservation, you ‘may’ be put on the walk up list. If a table comes available, you can have it. Waits can be up to 2 hours for a table service restaurant. There are thousands of people in any park on any given day, and there are less than 100 sit down restaurants on Disney property – and everyone needs to eat! Personally, I always make reservations for dinner. We can wing it for the other meals, unless we want to have a character breakfast – then reservations are necessary.

You can make your reservations online, so there is no excuse. You can pick your time/date/size of party and they will tell you what is available. You can change them at any time, up until 24 prior. Make your reservations up to 6 months in advance. I know that sounds silly, but for some of the restaurants it is really necessary & some you wont even get.

 

Special Diets

Disney is great with special diets. If you have allergies, or need to avoid a certain food group – just let them know! They offer many choices for vegetarians, vegans, dairy-free, & gluten-free visitors. At table service restaurants ask to speak to the chef if you need something special that is not on the menu, chances are they can accommodate you. At Quick Service/Counter Service spots it may be harder, but you can still find out the ingredients for things they make and see if its safe for you to eat. Don’t be afraid to request substitutions, most of the time it isn’t a problem at all.