The Basics of Dining at Disney World

Food is a big part of the vacation experience and figuring out dining at Disney World can be a challenge. There are so many options it can seem overwhelming. So let me break it down for you so you will be ready to start planning where you want to eat. 

Where Can You Eat?

Everywhere! There is food around every corner, you will definitely not go hungry at Disney World. There are locations in the theme parks, at the Disney resorts, in Disney Springs, literally everywhere. There are many styles of food locations.

Table Service – These are your traditional sit-down restaurants where you have a server come to your table and you order off a menu. These also include the styles of dining below.

  • Dinner Shows – These are locations that offer a performance as you enjoy your meal.
  • Buffets – Locations where you are assigned a table and a server, but are able to help yourselves to all you can eat buffets.
  • Family Style – Locations where you are assigned a table and a server, you are brought a pre-fixed menu of offerings. These are all you can eat locations and your plates will be refilled as requested.
  • Character Dinning – While you enjoy your meal Disney characters will mingle with guests offering you the opportunity to meet and greet and take photos. There are normally 3 – 5 characters you are able to meet depending on the location.
  • Signature Dinning – These are table service restaurants who’s quality is above and beyond. These restaurants are also considered as 2 table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

Counter Service – These are locations where you place your order at a counter, pick it up and select a table yourself.

  • Food Courts – These are found in many of the hotels. There are small counter service areas as well as self service areas. You pay for your items at one location.

Snack Stands – These are counter service locations that sell smaller fare, like scooped ice cream, pastries, fruits, and other snacks and treats. 

Snack Carts – Located throughout the parks these snack carts mostly serve popcorn and ice cream bars.

Gift Shops – Most gift shops also sell bagged snacks and treats.

Festival Booths – During the various EPCOT festivals there are festival booths throughout the World Showcase that sell foods and drinks themed to that festival. These are most prominent during the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall.

Bars / Lounges – Most of the bars throughout property also offer food options.

** Note – Some locations change their style depending on the meal. For example Be Our Guest Restaurant is counter service for breakfast and lunch, it then switches to table service for dinner. ** 

If you want more details about restaurants in the parks check out my dining guides to each theme park.

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/15/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-magic-kingdom/

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/28/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-epcot/

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/21/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-hollywood-studios/

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/07/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-animal-kingdom/

Character Dinning at Tusker House

What Can You Eat?

Everything! You name it and Disney World has it.

Your standard theme park food is all around you. Burgers, fries, hot dogs, ice cream and popcorn are all available.

Want some healthy options? There are plenty of salads, grilled chicken, fish, or vegetables and fruits available, and they are very easy to find.

Food from cultures all over the world are available in EPCOT and elsewhere on property.

Want award winning Michelin Star food? They have that as well.

Kid’s meals and snacks are readily available.

If you have a sweet tooth your options will feel endless! Cute cupcakes, candy apples, Mickey shaped ice cream bars, and gelato are all available. 

Vegetarian and plant based options are available at almost every food location.

Those with allergies are in luck, as almost all restaurants have allergy menus that point out which of the top 8 allergies are in all the dishes.  All table service locations will allow you to speak with the chef to make adjustments as needed for your dietary restrictions. Just let a cast member know you have an allergy and they will be happy to assist. 

For more information check out my post all about allergies and special diets at Disney World.

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/05/05/allergies-and-special-dietary-needs-at-disney-parks/

Example of an Allergy Menu

Drinks

Those staying at a Disney hotel will have the option to purchase a reusable mug with unlimited refills of soda fountain drinks and coffees at your resort food court during your stay.

Alcohol is available at all locations, aside from those inside of Magic Kingdom. Be Our Guest dinner service being the exception to that rule. Every resort has at least one bar with many featuring lounge areas as well. In addition many specialty non-alcoholic drinks are available throughout property. 

Advanced Dinning Reservations (ADR) 

Dining reservations can be made at all table service locations, plus a few others. Reservations in advance are HIGHLY recommended if you want to eat at any of these locations. 

ADRs can be made up to 60 days in advanced. If you are staying on property you can make ADRs for your entire trip 60 days from the first day of your visit. Reservations can be made online starting at 6:00am EST though the my Disney Experience App or website. They can be made over the phone at 407-WDW-DINE starting at 7:00am EST. 

For the best availability make sure to make reservations as soon as possible. If you want to eat somewhere very popular, like at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside of the castle at Magic Kingdom. You need to make reservations 60 days out at 6:00am EST. These ADRs run our quickly. 

Mobile Ordering

Through the My Disney Experience App you have the ability at some counter services restaurants to order your food in advance. Find the restaurant you want to order from in your app and select order food. Make your selections and once you have arrived at or are approaching the restaurant click the “I’m Here” button. Grab a table and you will get a notification when your food is ready and you pick it up from the pick-up area designated for mobile order. It’s that easy! Make sure you have a credit card linked in My Disney Experience first. You can also use your dining plan credits.

Mickey Waffle at The Grand Floridian Cafe

Disney Dining Plan 

The Disney Dining Plan is an add on you can purchase when staying at a Disney World hotel. Essentially you are pre-paying for your food purchases. 

The dining plan operates off of meal credits and snack credits.

A meal credit is broken down into two categories

  • Quick Service:
    • For Guests ages 10 and older
      • 1 Entrée Meal 
      • 1 Single Serving, Non-Alcoholic Beverage or 1 Alcoholic Beverage, where
        available, for Guests 21 and older 
    • For Guests ages 3 – 9 a Quick-Service meal includes:
      • 1 Combo Meal from the Children’s Menu Offerings
  • Table Service:
    • Breakfast Table-Service meals include:pastedGraphic.png pastedGraphic_1.png
      • For Guests ages 10 and older a Table-Service meal includes:
        • 1 Entrée
        • 1 Single Serving, Non-Alcoholic Beverage or 1 Alcoholic Beverage, where available, for Guests 21 and older 
        • OR 1 Full Buffet (if available) or Family-Style Meal 
      • For Guests ages 3-9 a Table-Service meal includes:
        • 1 Combo Meal from the Children’s Menu Offerings 
        • OR 1 Full Buffet (if available) or Family-Style Meal 
    • Lunch and Dinner Table-Service meals include:
      • For Guests ages 10 and older a Table-Service meal includes:
        • 1 Entrée 
        • 1 Dessert 
        • 1 Single Serving, Non-Alcoholic Beverage or 1 Alcoholic Beverage, where
          available, for Guests 21 and older
        • OR 1 Full Buffet (if available) or Family-Style Meal
    • For Guests ages 3-9 a Table-Service meal includes:
      • 1 Combo Meal from the Children’s Menu Offerings 
        • OR 1 Full Buffet (if available) or Family-Style Meal

A snack credit can be used on a multitude of snacks throughout the park. Menus will have a symbol on them to indicate items that are included as a snack credit. Some examples include:

  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Popcorn
  • Coffee
  • Fruit
  • Epcot festival booth items

All dining plans also include a re-fillable mug. 

** Credits are awarded to each person on the plan, per night of stay. These credits can be used in any combination on any day of your stay.**

Food and Wine Festival Booth Offering

There are Four Types of Dining Plans.

Quick Service:

Everyone in the party (ages 3 +) receives the following for each night of their stay:

  • 2 Quick-Service Meals 
  • 2 Snacks
  • Plus, one refillable drink mug per person (ages 3+) to use at any self-service beverage islands at Disney Resort hotel Quick-Service locations.

Standard Dining Plan: 

Everyone in the party (ages 3 +) receives the following for each night of their stay:

  • 1 Quick-Service Meal 
  • 1 Table-Service Meal 
  • 2 Snacks 
  • Plus, one refillable drink mug per person (ages 3+) to use at any self-service beverage islands at Disney Resort hotel Quick-Service locations.

Dining Plan Plus:

Everyone in the party (ages 3 +) receives the following for each night of their stay:

  • 2 Meals — Any combo of Quick-Service or Table Service 
  • 2 Snacks 
  • Plus, one refillable drink mug per person (ages 3+) to use at any self-service beverage islands at Disney Resort hotel Quick-Service locations.

Deluxe Dining Plan:

Everyone in the party (ages 3 +) receives the following for each night of their stay:

  • 3 Meals — Any combo of Quick-Service or Table Service 
  • 2 Snacks
  • Plus, one refillable drink mug per person (ages 3+) to use at any self-service beverage islands at Disney Resort hotel Quick-Service locations.

*Tipping is not included in the cost of the dining plan. 

Those under 3 do not qualify for the dining plan. They are allowed to share food with other members of your party. As well as enter buffets and family style dining and eat without additional cost. You are also able to order them additional food and pay out of pocket. 

Disney World posts all of its restaurant options and menu’s on their website. So you can select just where you want to eat.

As you can see these is no reason to go hungry at Walt Disney World and there is something for everyone. Food and the experience around it can be a big part of vacation. My recommendation is to go to Disney World with a plan around what and where you want to eat. It will cut down on your stress once you are there and allow you to focus on fun instead of stress about where you want to eat when you are already hungry. 

If you want to eat your way around Disney World I would love to assist you are your travel agent.

Contact me for a free quote today: katiev@themagicsyours.com

Lastly, remember that food always tastes better when it is Mickey shaped. 

Published by katiethemagicsyours

I am in independent travel agent with The Magic's Yours Travel. Here to plan all your Disney adventures, at no cost to you! I am a wife, cat mom, Aunt, Marylander, traveler, runner, and Disney fanatic. I have personal experience with Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line and Disney's Aulani, and I am here to share it with you. Contact me today for a FREE quote at katiev@themagicsyourstravel.com www.themagicsyours.com

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