Here at Disney Food Blog, we’ve done a LOT of eating in Disney World.
Cinderella Castle in its 50th Anniversary decor!
We’ve reviewed basically every single restaurant in Disney World, eaten countless seasonal snacks, and shared years’ worth of tips with you. Now, we’re bringing you some of our absolute best pieces of advice. Let’s dive into our TOP 50 Disney dining tips!
Let’s start with some basics.
1. Research your dining options.
Disney World is a complicated place and the dining options are no different. If you’re headed on a trip soon, you might want to go ahead and research your dining picks. There are hundreds of restaurants on Disney World property and that can make it very overwhelming to decide the best place to eat during your vacation.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
If you have at least part of a plan in advance, the decision can feel a LOT less stressful when you’re hungry and ready to eat in the parks. We have reviewed basically every single restaurant in Disney World and we have thoughts on ALL of them. If you’ve got your eye on a particular spot, head to DFB to check out our latest restaurant review. Our reviews are comprehensive and come with our thoughts on service, atmosphere, food, and more. We even have recommendations on what you should order!
2. Don’t miss the must-eat items!
We here at Disney Food Blog love Disney food (shocker, we know!) and we have eaten a lot of it. We’ve even worked to amass a list of must-eat treats and snacks for throughout Disney World. You’ve probably heard of cult favorites like DOLE Whip, Zebra Domes, School Bread, and Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bars. If any of those sound good to you, you might want to give them a try on your next visit to the World.
School Bread featuring Olaf!
You’ll be in the clear if you do your research on your must-eats in advance, whether those musts are popular favorites or just something that sounds good to you. We cover everything there is to know about Disney World food so you can learn all about the different snacks and meals that you might encounter during your Disney trip. Check out some of our best-of posts like the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in Disney World or the Best Grilled Cheese!
And don’t forget that our YouTube channel is FULL of videos to help you plan your trip, including lots of food to help you pick those must-eat snacks!
3. Embrace snacks, even as alternatives to meals.
Snacks are a pretty amazing part of Disney World. Our advice? Don’t underestimate the portion size. Snacks can even be a great alternative to full meals! Not only do they sometimes have enough food to fill up someone with an average appetite, they also tend to be cheaper than buying a whole entree portion from a Counter Service restaurant.
There are a few snacks around Disney World that we think work great in place of a meal. If you’re in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you might want to head to Woody’s Lunch Box to try out the Totchos. Chili Cheese Fries at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Magic Kingdom can certainly hold you over. If you’re in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue has a few hearty snack options, and World Showcase in EPCOT is full of snacks that could hold you over until it’s time for a larger meal.
4. Hit up resorts for meals.
You might want to head to the resorts for meals. Don’t forget that some of the best restaurants in Disney World are actually at the hotels — and, you don’t have to stick to the hotel you’re staying at when it comes to dining. If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience in Disney World, your best bet is probably heading to one of the hotels like Disney’s Contemporary Resort for California Grill or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for Citricos or Victoria and Albert’s (note that Victoria & Albert’s is temporarily unavailable).
Citricos got a Mary Poppins theme
The other bonus to eating at the resort hotels is that it is one of the few ways to officially resort hop right now. Since Disney World reopened in 2020, resort hopping has not been as common an occurrence as it used to be. Guests are only allowed to park at Disney World Resort hotels if they are resort guests or if they have a table service dining reservation. So, if you were hoping to see a lot of the Disney World Resort hotels, a great way to do that can be to spread your dining plans out among them.
We also like to use the monorail loop hotels as a tool when we want a break from Magic Kingdom in the middle of the day. It is so easy to access Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa from Magic Kingdom either through the monorail or even through walking paths! So, if one of the dining options at those hotels looks good to you, don’t be afraid to hop on the monorail in the middle of your Magic Kingdom day and get a break from the crowds.
5. Try new and underrated restaurants.
New restaurants are undoubtedly a popular choice when planning a visit to Disney, and we definitely get the appeal of eating in a brand new spot. If eating at a newly opened restaurant is important to you, then you can make that a priority.
But you might also want to try some underrated restaurants! New restaurants tend to be really popular, as do the tried-and-true favorites. But there are some seriously underrated restaurants in Disney World!
Sticking to only the more popular reservations might mean you’ll miss out on some amazing experiences. Some of our underrated restaurant favorites include Trail’s End Restaurant (specifically for breakfast), Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, and Trattoria al Forno. Want to see more underrated favorites? We’ve got a whole post to take you through them.
6. Nosh at a lounge or bar in place of a sit-down dinner.
This next tip is one of our absolute favorites! If you want an upscale experience without the price or time commitment, consider dining at a lounge. Nomad Lounge is the lounge offering connected to Tiffins in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and it’s one of our favorite spots to eat in all of Disney World!
The food and drinks are still very upscale as is the environment — without quite as high of a price tag as dining at one of the table service options. Plus, lounges can give you the opportunity to get into hard to get restaurants. California Grill Lounge and other lounge spaces are typically open on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you arrive early in the evening, you might be able to “experience” the restaurant in a way, even though you might not have been able to to get a reservation. Plus, most lounges give you the opportunity to order off the full restaurant menu!
7. Fill up at a buffet or family-style meal.
Buffets can offer you a great opportunity to fill up so that you don’t have to spend as much money on meals later in the day. All-you-care-to-enjoy offerings are offered at a variety of spots around Disney World and many of them come with some amazing food options.
Specifically, we love the buffet at Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or the family-style meal being served at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Garden Grill Restaurant in EPCOT is also one of our favorite character meals and it’s served family-style.
Boma’s bread service
Eating at a buffet might take up a larger chunk of time, but you can also fill up to the point that you might only need two meals that day. If you’re a light eater, you might even be able to get away with eating snacks until buffet time. This is a great way to save and to get a variety of food options during your meal.
8. Coordinate your reservations with park hours.
When you are making reservations you’re going to want to take a look at the park hours for the theme parks. For instance, it might be a bummer if you make a breakfast reservation at your hotel and then miss out on a solid chunk of park hours in the morning. But, if you make an earlier reservation you might be able to have a full table service experience and still make it to a park depending on its opening hours. EPCOT tends to open later, so your EPCOT day might be a great day for you to choose a longer breakfast meal.
Dining reservations can also help you get a little bit of extra time in the theme parks. Sometimes, restaurants inside the theme parks will offer reservations that are earlier than the Park’s opening hours. If you have one of these reservations, you’ll be able to enter the park before it opens and potentially be done dining by the time people are still scanning in at the front gates.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
The same is true for dining reservations at the end of the day. You could find yourself walking out of a totally empty theme park if you make a reservation around the closing hours of the park. Keep in mind that some of these outside park hours reservations have been unavailable since the theme parks reopened in 2020, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for them!
Advance Dining Reservation Tips
Now for some tips to help you with your reservations!
9. Stay on-site so you can book more than 60 days prior to your visit whenever possible.
You might want to consider staying on-site as the Disney World hotels do give you a slight bump to your dining reservation window. Many of the table service restaurants in Walt Disney World require reservations and those reservations can fill up quickly. If you know that you want a reservation for a spot that is very much in-demand like Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest, then staying on-site can be a major tool for making that happen.
The Grand Ballroom at Be Our Guest Restaurant
All Disney guests can book their dining reservations 60 days in advance, but Walt Disney World hotel guests get an extra bump to that window. Instead of having to wait until the 60-day mark, hotel guests can book 60 days out plus the length of stay (up to a 10-day stay). Some of those reservations can go within minutes when they open up for everyone at the 60-day mark, so this can be a major plus.
10. Consider your other plans when booking dining.
You also want to make sure you consider your other plans when booking dining. Table service meals in Walt Disney World tend to take a while, especially if you’re looking at some of the more upscale meals or a meal with multiple courses. Definitely expect signature restaurants to take more than an hour.
Welcome to EPCOT!
These lengthy meals might be good for when you have some time to kill, but if you have a very tight schedule and a lot of must-dos in your Disney trip, it might be better to skip the table service meals or at least limit them so that you’re not spending a ton of time luxuriating at your table. If you’re curious about the pace of service, check our Disney restaurant reviews here on the site. You don’t want to get caught in a dining reservation for so long that you miss out on one of your must-do rides or experiences in the park!
11. Choose the right character meal for your group.
If you’re considering having a character meal in the plans, make sure you’re picking the right character meal for your group. There are a few factors that go into this. For one, you want to make sure that you’re going to like the food you’re eating. Restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Chef Mickey’s are both extremely popular for having iconic characters, the princesses and the Fab Five respectively. But, not all of their food is necessarily the best for the price.
If the quality of food is a priority, you might want to pick a restaurant like the character breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace or Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White. Plus, you’ll want to keep in mind which characters are meeting at each spot. If your kiddo loves Chip ‘n’ Dale, Garden Grill might be a better choice than Chef Mickey’s. In our opinion, Garden Grill is actually one of the BEST character dining spots a lot of people miss out on.
12. Time your reservations in Magic Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom has a lot of timing tricks that you need to keep in mind. If you keep your breakfast reservation early, you’ll probably beat some of the crowds and be able to get good photos.
Donald says hello
If rides are your priority you might want to keep in mind that booking a reservation during fireworks time or parades time could have an effect on how many rides you’re able to ride. Lines tend to be lower during the big shows! This can be a great time to take advantage of lower ride wait times. Typically, ride wait times get the longest in the middle of the day, so that could be a good time for you to book that lunch. Note that full parades are not yet available in Magic Kingdom, but cavalcades are and the Festival of Fantasy Parade is set to return in 2022.
13. Book a meal during Disney Enchantment or Harmonious for a great view of the fireworks.
If you want to get a great view of some entertainment AND eat at the same time, you can do the opposite of the above and time your reservations with things like parades and fireworks. If you get a reservation at a restaurant like California Grill or even Cinderella’s Royal Table, you could have amazing or really unique views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks from your table. Make sure you get a reservation that is around fireworks time and then consider requesting a table that has a good view of the show.
You can use Quick Service for this tip as well, but keep in mind that Quick Service locations are going to be very busy around these times. Still, is there anything better than eating corn dog nuggets while watching Disney Enchantment?
Harmonious from Rose & Crown
EPCOT also has some great restaurants with amazing fireworks views. The Rose and Crown Dining Room and La Cantina de San Angel both have amazing views of World Showcase Lagoon where Harmonious takes place. And you can even consider booking a fireworks dining package at EPCOT or a fireworks dessert party at Magic Kingdom to secure a good view.
14. Consider booking a dinner that combines food and entertainment.
You might want to consider booking dining that combines food and entertainment. After all, you’re in Disney World so having an extra special dining experience might make sense! Though this is limited right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still a few spots where you can find an entertaining dining experience.
For one, Raglan Road in Disney Springs still has live music and you might be able to find a few other spots with live music in the shopping and dining district. At Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, diners at ‘Ohana are often serenaded by a ukulele player. And, there are more unique forms of entertainment such as the antics at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
15. Know which restaurants to check out if you don’t have a reservation.
Another thing that could be a big deal is knowing which restaurants to keep an eye on if you don’t have a reservation. If you do happen to miss that 60-day window and end up not being able to make the reservations you wanted, or if you thought you were going to be okay with Quick Service but decide last-minute that you’d like a Table Service meal — you’ll want to know your options.
The Hollywood Brown Derby
For one, many lounges do not require reservations and operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. But, there are also a number of restaurants that offer Mobile Dine Walk-Up Waitlist. This is a feature available on the My Disney Experience app and it lets you join the waitlist for one of these restaurants via your smart phone.
Dining at Nomad Lounge
If the waitlist isn’t full, you’ll be added to the list and will get a push notification and text when your table is ready. These waits can be long at times, but this is a great way to get into some higher-demand spots. You’ll see the walk-up waitlist available at very popular places including The Hollywood Brown Derby and Nomad Lounge.
16. Skip dessert. At Table Service spots, that is.
What we are about to say might be shocking, but you might want to skip dessert. Not totally skip it, mind you! That would be total malarkey. We mean that you will generally want to skip ordering dessert when dining at Table Service restaurants. Table Service restaurants can have some absolutely stunning dessert options, but more often than not we find that we prefer one of the snacks available out and about in the parks.
Maybe forgo the chocolate bundt cake that they’re serving at your Table Service meal, and save some $$$ with a just-as-good dessert elsewhere. In many cases, the fancy desserts are nice but we might prefer a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, DOLE Whip, or another creative Quick Service sweet. Don’t be afraid to skip that dessert course at dinner and head out to one of the snack carts in the park instead!
17. Can your kids have fun in a Disney restaurant that doesn’t feature characters? You bet.
You might be worried that if you don’t book a character meal your kids won’t have any special dining experiences — but that’s just not true. There are some amazingly themed dining experiences that will blow your kiddos away whether they’re meeting Mickey or not. Dining at Oga’s Cantina or Docking Bay 7 in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an amazingly themed experience.
’50s Prime Time Cafe
Places with fun antics like 50s Prime Time Cafe and Whispering Canyon tend to be favorites with little kiddos too. The Cast Members are absolutely wonderful at engaging guests and keeping the meal fun for everyone. Even at some of the more adult restaurants, there might be fun drink options and things for kids that come with souvenir cups and glow cubes to help keep them entertained while you eat.
18. If a reservation is unavailable, keep checking!
If you find that a reservation you really wanted is unavailable, keep checking. People cancel their reservations all the time. You never know when reservations might drop online so keep an eye on those spots that you’re hoping to snag a reservation for.
Wings, Noodles, Dumplings, and Broccolini
You can also keep an eye on DFB for this! If we ever spot a major change in reservation availability for a popular spot, we will typically post about it so that you don’t miss a beat!
This tip is especially important the day before you’re hoping to dine. Many people decide last minute that they’re not going to use their reservations and cancel. For the most part, reservations have to be canceled at least one day before to avoid the cancellation fee. So the day before you want to dine it might be a great time to find that last-minute dining reservation.
Ways to Save
Looking to save? We’ve got you covered!
19. Save on dining costs by eating a big, late breakfast.
One way to save on dining costs is by eating a big, late breakfast. Disney Table Service restaurant meals can come with some large portions. If you eat like you do at home, that might mean a smaller breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. With Disney dining prices, those will add up.
Breakfast at Steakhouse 71
If you eat a late morning breakfast that is bigger, you might be able to skip the lunch that you would have had in your normal schedule and stay satiated until snack time. That’s cutting an entire meal out of your day which can be a BIG money saver – especially if you do it repeatedly over the course of your trip.
Check Out That Fried Egg
Plus, breakfast does tend to be cheaper than other Table Service meals. So if you plan to eat a limited number of Table Service meals to save money, breakfast can be the way to go to limit spending on the Table Service meals you do pick. Another option, go for brunch!
20. BYOP (Bring Your Own Pepsi).
Okay, this one might seem like kind of a weird one. But yes if you are a die-hard Pepsi drinker, you will want to bring your own Pepsi to Disney World. Disney establishments are Coke-only zones.
So, if your preferred soda of choice is Pepsi or any other Pepsi product, you’ll want to tote some along with you, or plan to take a trip to a nearby convenience store, grocery store, or drug store to pick up your stash. You could also have it delivered directly to your hotel from a delivery service!
21. Get free ice water during those hot summer months.
It’s no secret, Disney World is a hot place. You’re also probably walking many miles which you might not be used to doing at home. That’s why free water is so important! Not only will it help keep you comfortable, but it will also help keep you safe and hydrated.
Most Disney Counter Service restaurants will give you a free cup of ice water when asked. This certainly does come in handy when you don’t want to spend extra money on a drink with your meal, but you could also stop in at any time if you just need a cup to cool down.
22. Be careful where you make your purchases.
Need a bottle of soda or a snack? Your first instinct might be to find the closest outdoor kiosk/snack stand and just grab a drink or snack there. But that might not actually be the best choice!
If a bottled soda, water, etc. or a pre-packaged snack is what you’re after, look for merchandise spots where these items are sold. If you buy these items at the merchandise location, you can generally use any merchandise discounts you might have on them (like the Annual Passholder discount).
If you buy a bottle of water at an outdoor snack stand/popcorn kiosk, on the other hand, you generally won’t be able to use things like your Annual Passholder discount. So, while you might have to take a few more steps to find the merchandise location with these items, it could pay off with a small (but still important) discount!
23. Save some dough by bringing your own eats.
When heading to Disney World, you do also have the option to bring your own food. If you pack lunch you can probably save a lot, especially if you’re traveling with your whole family. Disney World allows guests to bring in most outside food and non-alcoholic beverages with a few exceptions. This might not be as fun as eating out of one of Disney’s many restaurants, but it can be a great way to save money.
Glass containers are not allowed in the parks (except for small ones like baby food jars) and anything that requires heating, reheating, processing, refrigeration, or temperature control is not allowed. You also can’t have anything that has too pungent of an odor. Loose ice is not allowed but you can certainly bring in an iceless cooler full of sandwiches or whatever you might need to have a nice lunch inside the park.
24. Scope out menus and prices ahead of time to budget.
It can be difficult to keep track of a budget in Disney World. Some of our best advice is to get an idea of what you’ll be spending in advance. Go ahead and make a list of restaurants that you want to visit. After that, you can check out the menus to get an idea of just how much your party will be spending.
You don’t want to over budget, but you also don’t want to end up with less money than you need in your budget for food. So don’t be afraid to check out those menus in advance. You don’t have to nickel-and-dime everything, but getting an idea of what that bill might be could help you to have a less stressful vacation.
25. Eat off property to save money.
This might not be an option for every party, but if you really want to focus on saving money, you could consider eating off property. If you do have a car with you, then eating off property can save you some serious cash.
Disney World restaurants tend to come with a Disney premium in terms of price. They’re a bit more expensive because they are theme park restaurants! But, Orlando has a lot of amazing restaurants that are not located within theme parks. So, don’t be afraid to head off-property if you want a nice meal without quite as big a price tag.
26. Decide ahead of time if Refillable Resort Mugs are a good bargain for you.
If you’re staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you might want to look into the Refillable Resort Mugs. These mugs can be a great bargain for a family that knows they’re going to be drinking a good amount of sodas. If you’re not a big soda drinker or plan to stick to water during your trip, then this probably isn’t for you.
50th Anniversary Refillable Resort Mugs
If more exciting drinks are your jam, these refillable mugs can help you save a good amount. The initial price for a refillable mug is $19.99. Typically sodas are going to be around $3.99. So, if you think you’re going to drink more than 5 sodas during your resort stay, the refillable mugs might be for you.
Rapid Fill Refillable Resort Mugs
Refillable mugs are also included with the Disney Dining Plan. Though this offering is currently unavailable, it will be returning. Fair warning though: the sodas that are available with refillable mugs are typically replenished often because so many people are getting refills. That means that some of them can taste a bit off or be too syrupy or flat. That’s something to be aware of!
27. Take advantage of dining and merchandise discounts.
This is a great practice pretty much whenever you make a purchase in Disney World. Make sure that you’re not missing out on any dining discounts. Certain guest groups do get discounts on dining. This includes Disney Vacation Club Members, Annual Passholders, Cast Members, Golden Oak Residents, and more. Make sure you study up on your discounts in advance and when in doubt, ask!
Many Disney Springs restaurants are also third-party and might come with their own special dining discounts or loyalty programs. Because restaurants might from time to time offer unique specials or events that could get you great savings, we recommend following any restaurants you’re interested in on social media. This way you know about all of the latest news and if you might be able to save a couple bucks by dining there!
28. Consider visiting during a “free dining” season (when available).
All right, this next one comes with a big caveat. Free dining is an offer from Disney that occurs typically a few times a year. However, free dining has not been offered since the Disney World parks reopened because the Dining Plan has been suspended and has not yet returned.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
The Disney Dining Plan is a very popular offer that allows guests to use Dining Plan credits the help pre-pay for and budget their dining experience in Disney World. Typically, two times a year or so, guests can book a hotel during a certain time and receive a FREE Disney Dining Plan. Free dining is one of the most sought-after Disney World deals there is.
All-Star Movies Resort
Unfortunately, we’re not sure if/when the next free dining offer will be available. So far Disney has only announced that the Disney Dining Plan will return at some point in the future but that doesn’t necessarily mean that free dining will follow soon after. We are keeping a very close eye out for updates about the Disney Dining Plan so if you don’t want to miss a beat, make sure you’re tuned in to DFB.
Next up, we’ve got some tips to help improve your experience overall.
29. Eat during off-hours.
You can have a much better experience in Disney World if you choose to eat your meals during off-hours, whether you’re eating at a Table Service or Quick Service spot. With Table Service meals it’s a little bit less of an issue because you’ll have a reservation regardless, but it might be easier to snag a reservation during those off-hours. For Quick Service spots, eating during regular mealtimes can be a large hassle and eating at off-hours can help make that better.
Main Dining Room
People tend to eat breakfast around 7-8AM, lunch around 12-1PM, and dinner around 6-7PM. If you eat your meals outside of these times, then you’ll likely find yourself with shorter wait times, whether you’re using Mobile Order or not. During peak lunch times, you might find that Mobile Order pick up times aren’t available until later or lines to pick up your Mobile Order will be much longer. Plus, peak mealtimes can also mean a slight dip in ride wait times while everyone is busy munching on their food. So, if you choose to eat a little earlier or later than a typical meal time, you might be able to take advantage of those shorter wait times.
30. Visit at slower times of the year to avoid crowds.
If you visit during slower times of the year, you’re going to have a lot of perks. Disney World tends to be busiest around holidays, runDisney race weekends, spring break, and summer. You can typically tell Disney World is going to be busy if a lot of schools around the country have days off.
Tree of Life
If you visit during a typically slow time, you’re going to have a few benefits when it comes to dining. For instance, your reservations might be a little bit easier to get, and wait times might be a little lower if you’re going for Quick Service spots. Beyond that, lower crowds will generally mean more tables will be available. That means more flexibility and more availability with your dining plans!
31. Make plans to visit an EPCOT Festival at least once.
You might want to plan a visit to an EPCOT Festival during your vacation! You don’t need to do this on every single Disney trip, but we do recommend it. Nowadays, EPCOT has festivals going on almost all year round. There are only a few weeks of the year where a festival is not going on! So, you shouldn’t have any trouble working an EPCOT festival into your plans unless you happen to be traveling during one of those off weeks.
If you are going to visit during an EPCOT festival you’re going to be able to eat a lot of smaller (cheaper) portions of a lot of different food items that will fill you up — instead of paying for a large table service meal. Now if it does not necessarily save you money because those little eats can add up. But, it’s a great way to experience a lot of great food, and eating around the festival is generally a really enjoyable experience!
32. Use Mobile Order.
This next tip has been a tip of ours for a while, but it is especially important now. We recommend using Mobile Order so you can skip the line at dining locations. Mobile Order is available at more Disney restaurants (and even candy shops!) than ever and it’s also more heavily encouraged than ever. In many places it is now essentially required. So we do recommend using (and you may find that you’ll HAVE to use) Mobile Order and we’ve got a few tips to help you make it a seamless experience.
Mobile Order Pick-Up Stations
Like we mentioned earlier, pick-up times can get later and later if it’s a busy day and you’re trying to eat during a regular meal time. Wait times to pick up your actual meal can also get busy during peak times. To mitigate this, consider ordering your meals in advance! We like to order our lunch right when we into the park first thing in the morning. You can then select a window for pick up for later in the day. Then, once you’re ready to eat, you head on over during your order window and tap “I’m here” in the app. Planning your meal in advance might seem a little less “fun” or “spontaneous” but it can save you a lot of stress and hassle later in the day.
33. Take home snacks like fudge as souvenirs and gifts.
We certainly love Disney snacks but you don’t have to be in Disney World to be able to eat the snacks. In fact, there are some eats that act as great souvenirs! True, you’re not going to be able to bring home a cup of DOLE Whip (though we do have a recipe so you can make it at home), but you can bring home a lot of great treats from the different bakery cases and confectionaries around Disney World.
There are prepackaged snacks or other items that travel well such as rice krispie treats, fudge, or candy. This can be a great way to bring a piece of Disney home to someone who wasn’t able to come on the trip or to have a little piece of Disney to cheer you up when you’re having those post-Disney blues back home. Check out the souvenir shops and the bakeries around the parks on your last day to see if you want to stock up on any of the sweets that are available. And be sure to ask if any discounts are available on these items at merchandise spots (for example, you can typically grab an Annual Passholder discount at the Main Street Confectionery!).
34. Take a restaurant tour (when available).
Consider taking a restaurant tour! Though many of the behind-the-scenes tours are unavailable in Disney World right now due to the global health crisis, some tours are coming back and others may return in the future. One type of tour that could be fun (if/when available) is a restaurant tour.
We’ll be back soon, Jiko!
Sanaa and Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge both previously offered restaurant tours where you could see the kitchen and learn a lot more about the food that you might be eating there. Magic Kingdom, in the past, has had tours that take you behind the scenes of several different restaurants around the park. So, keep an eye out for these options and see what’s available during your trip.
35. See what special events will be happening during your trip.
Tours aren’t the only unique dining options in Disney World — there are other specialty dining events that you should keep an eye out for as well! We especially like the Food and Wine Classic over at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts and we had a great time trying out the Circle of Flavors: Harambe tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when that was available in the past.
To find out about these events, you can keep an eye out on the Disney website or the website for the respective spots, let your travel agent know that you’re looking for special dining events, follow the social media accounts of the third-party restaurants that might be holding special events, or check the pages of individual restaurants on the Disney World website. You can also check with us here at DFB, as we’re constantly on the lookout for special dining events you can participate in. We also have a month-by-month look of what special events might be going on in Disney World and we’re constantly reporting whenever there’s something new.
36. Keep an eye open for special, limited-time-only eats.
Similar to special events, you’ll want to keep an eye out for limited-time-only eats. There is almost always some kind of limited-time eat in Disney World. Don’t think that if you skip the snack now it’ll still be there on your next trip for you to try. Whether these treats are inspired by holidays like Christmas or Halloween, or special events like Disney World’s 50th Anniversary; limited-time treats are some of our favorite things to look for in Disney World.
Opening Day Celebration Cake
Here at DFB we’re constantly sharing reviews of limited-time treats that you might see while you’re in Disney World so keep an eye on the site to make sure that you’re up to date on all of the latest.
37. Don’t underestimate the portion size of a snack!
Do not underestimate portion size when you’re in Disney World! Some spots in Disney World can have larger portion sizes than you might be used to at typical restaurants or at home. This isn’t just at Table Service restaurants either. Entree portions at Quick Service spots can be large enough to split sometimes and snacks can even be big enough to be a meal.
Don’t forget — Disney has some HUGE portion sizes (sometimes).
If you’re a light eater you might want to consider sharing with your party (which is also a great way to save a few bucks). And try not to over-schedule those dining reservations either. You might think that three Table Service meals a day will be just right, but with those larger portions, you might not need as much.
38. Ask your server for recommendations!
Don’t know what to order at a restaurant? Stuck between 2 or 3 options and you just can’t decide? Ask your server for a recommendation! Disney World Cast Members know their menus inside and out and are happy to help you figure out what meal might be the right choice for you. You can ask them what their favorites are and just go on trust, or you can talk a little bit about the kinds of flavors you like and what sort of portion sizes you’re looking for.
The Cast Members
Your server will likely be happy to help you get the right meal. And, if there’s an instance where your food isn’t quite what you expected, politely speak to your server about it and hopefully, they’ll be able to get you something that is more your taste or bring you something to make it better.
39. Eat at the monorail resorts if you want a break from your theme park day.
We sort-of mentioned this before when talking about restaurants in the hotels, but we couldn’t help but shine a light on one specific part of it again. Want a break from your Magic Kingdom park day? Eating at the monorail resorts can be a great way to do it. Whether you decide to make a reservation at one of the three hotels or if you’re just wanting to go try out one of the Quick Service spots, heading over to the monorail hotels during your park day can be a great way to escape the crowds.
Lunchtime seating in Magic Kingdom can be hard to come by, as can shade and air conditioning. So if you head on over to one of the resorts, you could grab a seat in the air conditioning and take a look around a really cool hotel. The Grand Floridian, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Contemporary all have equally awesome options. So, if you’re not super focused on squeezing every moment you can out of being in Magic Kingdom, taking a break at one of the hotels for lunch might be a good option for you.
40. Bring your own straws!
Bring your own straws. Disney has an environmental initiative that means most dining spots will give you a paper straw instead of a plastic one. If you’re a fast drinker, this might not be an issue for you — but for most of us, the paper straws tend to dissolve a little faster than we’re able to drink the drink.
If you think that you might be stuck with this issue, or if you think you’ll be ordering a lot of frozen drinks, you might want to bring along your own straws. There are lots of great washable, reusable metal, plastic, or silicone straws or even biodegradable disposable straws you can get out there. Disney even sells its own reusable straws now. It’s an easy way to be a little bit more comfortable when you’re trying to grab a sip.
You never know what situations you might find yourself in when it comes to eating in Disney World! Here are some of our tips to handle those unique times.
41. If you have a food sensitivity, allergy, or are eating a special diet, have it noted on the reservation and then mention again at the podium.
If you’re dealing with a food sensitivity or allergy in your party, or you’re sticking to a very specific diet, make sure that you note that on your reservation. There should be an option with all Table Service reservations to note any food allergies or food preferences. Beyond that, if you use Mobile Check-In at the restaurant and skip the host stand, you can typically note those allergies there as well.
You can also reach out to Disney’s Special Diets team with any questions you might have ahead of your trip. You can contact them at Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com.
Satu’li Canteen Allergy Menu
Once you get to your table, it’s likely that your server will ask whether or not anybody has any allergies, but even if they don’t you should tell them. Disney is pretty good about accommodating allergies and your server will make sure that the chef knows about any special needs you might have.
Be sure to also check the allergy-friendly menus for restaurants which you can now see online to see what is available.
42. Gluten-free and vegan celebrations are possible, thanks to Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC.
On a special diet but want dessert? Disney can make it happen. Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC has a location in Disney Springs and they provide vegan and gluten-free desserts. You can get a whole bunch of tasty items there, potentially get some delivered to the restaurant you’re at in Disney World, and even order a custom cake from them.
Orange Blossom Cupcake
If you’re looking for a dessert that fits your diet, ask a Cast Member where you can find some gluten-free or vegan options. Erin McKenna’s can be a good option or you might find another specialty item that’ll fit your needs and satisfy your sweet tooth.
43. Bring water if you don’t like Florida tap water.
If you don’t like Florida tap water, you might want to bring water. Florida tap water has a very distinct taste and it can be a lot to get used to it if you’re accustomed to filtered water. We’ll be real — it’s pretty swampy tasting. Some of us associate the taste with being back in Disney World. Others? Not so much! If you aren’t used to drinking Florida tap water or are very picky about the way your water tastes, you’re going to want to plan for this.
FREE water at the Hub!
There are a few ways that you can do that. You could bring your own bottled water into the theme parks, just keep in mind that you will be toting it around all day. You could also order water to be delivered to your hotel so that you have a stash back in the room. And when in doubt you can always pack a water bottle with a filter or bring flavor enhancers to throw in your Florida water when you’re in Disney World. That way you can still get free water whenever you need it, but that Florida water taste is masked.
44. Plant-based eaters, scope out menus for your plant-based options.
Plant-based eaters, Disney has a lot for you. In the last few years, Disney has totally revamped their plant-based eating options. Disney notes that their ” plant-powered cuisine is made with plant foods like grains, nuts, vegetables and fruit—and without animal meat, dairy, eggs or honey.” To find those plant-based items, look for the green leaf on the menu.
Now, you can find plant-based options at almost every single dining location – and some creative ones to boot. So when you’re headed to Disney World you’ll probably have a number of plant-based options to pick from. However, we do recommend scoping out those options on the menus in advance.
Plus a plant based option!
There are certainly some restaurants that have better vegan options than others. You can find some great recommendations here on DFB. We’ve really enjoyed the vegan lobster roll at Rosie’s All-American Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s made with hearts of palm! But some other plant-based options aren’t our favorite and they might not be your favorite either. It certainly depends on your taste but make sure you check out those menus in advance so that you get the best options for your preferences.
45. Order necessities from a delivery service and have them delivered to your hotel.
If you won’t have a car during your trip, getting the necessities to your hotel room might not be the easiest thing in the world. The good news is you can order necessities from a delivery service and have them brought right to your hotel. We like to use this option even when we’re staying for a few days to get breakfast options delivered to our hotel room. Grabbing some Pop-Tarts and more can help you save a lot of money on breakfast or snacks, especially when the other option is getting a giant pastry from Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company in the park.
Plus, like we mentioned earlier, this can be a great way to get drinks delivered to you so you’re not stuck checking the hotel vending machines or Quick Service locations every time you need a beverage. Every single Disney World hotel room does have at least a mini-fridge, so you should have an option when it comes to storage.
46. Know where to go if you run out of baby food.
Traveling with a baby? You’re going to want to know where to go when you run out of baby food. The good news is that all four Disney parks have a Baby Care Center.
Baby Care Center
The Baby Care Centers have access to baby food as well as baby formula if you might need it. There’s lots of other stuff there too like diapers. We recommend packing enough for your baby as these supplies will come at a premium. But, Baby Care Centers are great in a pinch if you run out. Plus, they have quiet areas to help take care of your tot.
47. When all else fails, order in.
If you are absolutely exhausted after your park day and the quick service locations at your hotel are totally slammed, don’t be afraid to take a meal in your hotel room. You can Mobile Order from a Quick Service location at your hotel or nearby, and you can even use Mobile Order Table Service To Go to grab some favorites to-go from amazing Table Service spots. You can get that food and take it all to your room to rest. There are probably plenty of bad game shows on TV that you can watch and get some peace and quiet.
It can be tempting to sit in the hustle and bustle of Disney World the whole time, but if everyone is a little fried in your party, then heading back to the room for some peace and quiet can be a good move. Unfortunately, room service has been mostly unavailable across the Disney World hotels but we’re keeping an eye out for its return. Right now, it’s generally only available at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. But stay tuned to Disney Food Blog for updates!
48. Order a cake to celebrate a special occasion.
Got a special occasion going on? Order a cake! You can enhance your meal at many Table Service restaurants by ordering a Mickey Mouse Celebration Specialty Cake. It will be listed on the restaurant’s Walt Disney World website page whether or not they offer cakes.
You can also order a Mickey Mouse Celebration Cake from select Quick Service spots, even by using Mobile Order! The availability of these cakes can be limited at times, so consider placing that order early in the day if this is a priority for you.
The Mickey Celebration Cakes give you the choice of chocolate or white chocolate with engraving options. One cake feeds about 4 to 6 guests and you’ll typically pay around $39 for a cake.
You can also grab some sweet treats or order a specialty cake at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC in Disney Springs. Or you can check out the amazing cake creations at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs as well.
What a Cutie!
You can also get a custom cake creation from Disney! As Disney continues its reopening post the pandemic closures, the availability of custom cakes may be in flux. But select locations may have cakes available. With these custom cake creations, you can ask Disney to design something that’ll meet your needs and wants. You can start your custom cake ordering journey by calling the Cake-Ordering Hotline at 407-827-2253.
Also note that you can get some pretty awesome custom cakes created by other individuals outside of Disney, including some businesses run by former Cast Members!
49. Want a place with food & entertainment where your kids can recharge? Go to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater!
This next tip is kind-of specific but it could be a lifesaver in a pinch. If you’re having a big day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios with tired kiddos and just feel like you need a break (but don’t want to make the trip back to the hotel), you do have an option — Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater!
Now, the kicker here is that you do need to make a reservation for Sci-Fi in advance. It’s a pretty popular restaurant. So, if you think you might feel burned out during your Hollywood Studios day, go ahead and plan to visit Sci-Fin Dine-In Theater. Many of the seating options here are designed to look like they’re within old-style cars (fun!) and you’re seated in front of a GIANT projector screen (like a true drive-in theater).
That means your kiddos and you can enjoy the sci-fi movie clips and eat your food with a little bit more peace than usual. Most seating arrangements here are not like a regular table where everyone’s talking to each other the whole time. Instead, you might end up with an hour where everyone can sit down, watch some clips, eat, be entertained, and recharge.
50. Skip breakfast at your hotel if you’re trying to rope drop a park.
And finally, you might want to skip breakfast at your hotel if you’re trying to rope drop the parks. Rope drop is when you get to the park right at open and it typically requires getting to the theme parks before the actual posted opening time. If you’re trying to do this for any park except EPCOT, odds are you’re going to have to leave pretty early in the morning. You might find that the breakfast spot at your hotel isn’t open early enough to make rope dropping feasible (especially if you’ve got a family that eats breakfast a little slow or likes to sleep in until they absolutely have to wake up).
Don’t be afraid to skip breakfast at the hotel and grab it at the theme park. The theme parks have some great breakfast options both at Quick Service locations and as snack options. We certainly don’t want you to try to grab breakfast at your hotel and then miss that first bus over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After all, rope drop could help you ride some of those popular rides before the bigger crowds have arrived.
We certainly hope some of these tips help to improve your Disney dining experience. As always, you can count on DFB to bring you all the news and advice when it comes to Disney World!
Want to see more of our best Disney tips? Watch our video!
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What Disney dining tips are your favorite? Tell us in the comments!
The post Our Top 50 ALL-TIME BEST Disney Dining Tips! first appeared on the disney food blog.