“…the dining room proudly presents, your dinner!”

Dining at Walt Disney World is an attraction in itself. The immersive themed locations, hundreds of incredible dishes and snacks to try, and a possible meet and greet with your favourite character, means the theme park magic never leaves you throughout the whole experience. Deciding where to eat on your holiday can get complicated, when different people in your party want different things, when there’s a budget to stick to, and when you don’t know where you will be at meal times. Here’s my break down of dining on your Orlando trip, so you don’t have one!

🍴 Different categories of dining at Walt Disney World 🍴

Most of the various food outlets at WDW come under two categories: Quick Service or Table Service:
Quick Service: Essentially Disney’s counter service or ‘fast food’ style restaurants, where you order at the till, and carry your food to a nearby table area or eat on the go. Although the ordering process is similar to fast food restaurants (for ease and speed), this doesn’t mean the food itself fits the negative stereotype. There are brilliant quick service food options at Disney, from healthier options to fantastic cultural dishes, as well as the usual fare.
Table Service: Standard waiter service dining. Once seated at your table, you will be waited upon for drinks and meals will be brought to you. Tipping between 18-20% is expected with table service dining.

✨ At breakfast (8 – 10am) and lunch time (10.30 – 2.30pm), the ever popular ‘Be our Guest’ restaurant offers quick-service for guests. Meals are ordered at touch-screen terminals, allowing more guests to experience the magical atmosphere of the Beast’s castle. You can even pre-order your food through the My Disney Experience App up to 30 days in advance. Reservations are still strongly recommended ✨

Within the Table Service category, other dining experiences include Buffet Dining like Biergarten in Germany, Epcot, Dinner Shows such as the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue and for more deluxe, fine dining there is Signature Dining. These tend to fall into the pricier $$$-$$$$ brackets ($35 – over $60 pp) however they are completely unique and amazing experiences which are definitely worth including at least once in your holiday.


🍴 Character Dining 🍴

Also included under Table Service Dining are Character Dining experiences, where you will be visited by a few honorary Disney friends for short interactions, photo opportunities and autographs during your meal. Character Dining is a great chance to meet with multiple characters in one location without waiting in long lines, as well as seeing special characters such as the Beast, whom you can only meet in the evening at Be Our Guest (Be Our Guest is slightly different in the sense that the Beast doesn’t circulate the tables, rather you go and visit him after your meal). These experiences are usually the first reservations to fill up, so make sure you book far in advance! For information on which dining locations offer character experiences check here.

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🍴 Making and cancelling reservations 🍴

The easiest way to book your place at any table service restaurant is through the My Disney Experience App. In the Dining section of the app, simply choose your party size, the date, and a time, which will show you available time slots at all Disney World dining locations. Alternatively, through the map or search bar, choose the restaurant you would like to make a booking at, click ‘Find a Table’ and follow the same steps.

Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance of your booking for non-resort guests, and 180 days in advance of check in, plus 10 days into your holiday for guests staying on Disney World property (essentially 190 days). However, you must be 18 or older to place reservations. If the holder for your MDE account is younger, you can nominate an adult to make reservations by calling 0800 16 90 748. YOU MUST MAKE RESERVATIONS! Most people count down the days until their booking window opens to ensure reservations, and it isn’t rare for places such as Cinderella’s Royal Table to be already booked by resort guests before your 180 days.

If you have a change of plans, cancellations can sometimes be made through the app, or by calling 407 939 3463. Missing a reservation, or cancelling within 24 hours prior may incur a $10 pp cancellation fee.

✨ Don’t forget, anyone can visit the on-site resorts and dine in the restaurants there, even without a park ticket! Advanced Dining Reservations always advised ✨

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🍴 Where to find menus 🍴

To help you decide if a dining location is suitable for you, the My Disney Experience App shows menus for Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner for each restaurant, including children’s menus. For more in depth and up to date menus check out Allears.net – I used this on my last trip and found it very useful!


🍴
Allergy Dining 🍴

From my experience, the Disney Parks are fantastic at serving guests with specific dietary requirements. With menus that highlight allergens and separate menus to cater for different allergies, Disney restaurants go that extra step to accommodate all guests. For instance, when asking for a gluten free bun for your Casey’s Corner hotdog, a manager will come out to ensure your meal is suitable for your dietary requirement, including adapting any sides to your needs. Although it may be a longer wait for you to get your food, it is definitely an efficient service I am grateful for! (p.s. Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs now offers gluten free!)
🍴 Using the Disney Dining Plan 🍴

Disney also offers a service called the ‘Dining Plan’ for those guests staying in an on-site resort (this is not available for non-resort guests). By paying an up-front fee with your holiday package, each person in your party receives food credits for a number of snacks, quick service and table service meals each day. There are three tiers of the dining plan:

  • Disney Quick Service Dining Plan:

• 2 Quick service meals
• 2 selected Snacks
• 1 Refillable Resort Mug with unlimited refills at your resort throughout length of stay

  • Disney Dining Plan:

• 1 Quick service meal
• 1 Table Service meal
• 2 selected Snacks
• 1 Refillable Resort Mug with unlimited refills at your resort throughout length of stay

  • Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

• 3 Self Service or Waiter Service meals
• 2 selected Snacks
• 1 Refillable Resort Mug with unlimited refills at your resort throughout length of stay

✨ This is a useful plan to help you budget spending on food before you go on your holiday. Also look out for annual deals where the dining plan is FREE in package with your resort booking, with options to upgrade each plan ✨


🍴 Dining outside of the parks 🍴

Of course, you don’t need to eat in the Disney parks all the time. Depending on how you are planning to divide your time in Orlando, there are hundreds of locations elsewhere to suit your tastes and budgets. Try Disney Springs and Universal’s Citywalk for more themed locations and bigger nightlife, or I-Drive for cheaper fare.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. My Disney Side says:

    The MyDisneyExperience app has made it so much easier to book dining reservations now, I love it! A few weeks ago I was sitting waiting for my table at House of Blues in Disney Springs, and booked my breakfast reservation for Be our Guest for a week later!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow that’s amazing! Before our last trip we always used to phone up and dance along to the hold music haha

      Like

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