Dining at Walt Disney World
Disney has hundreds of restaurants, serving items ranging from burgers to escargots. There is most definitely something for everyone. Whether you prefer character buffets, traditional pizzerias, comfort food, exciting ethnic dishes or gourmet haute cuisine, Disney has it. Disney's restaurants are divided into two categories: Quick Service and Table Service restaurants.
1-Quick Service food is generally ordered at a counter or podium and brought to your seat on a tray, like a fast food restaurant. Reservations are not possible for any quick service restaurants except Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom. At Be Our Guest, you can reserve breakfast or lunch and it still only counts as a quick service meal. (Note that dinner counts as a table service meal; see below).
2-Table Service restaurants are sit down meals where you are seated at a specific table and assigned a server that places your orders. Table service restaurants can be self served buffet or family style (where the food is brought to your table in refillable family sized portions), it can be sit down à la carte, or a combination of all three. Reservations may be made up to 180 days in advance. In the case of an on-site Walt Disney resort guest, you can make dining reservations for the first 10 days of your trip 180 days before check in. This gives you up to 10 extra days of leeway time over the general public.
Above: Sci-Fi restaurant in Hollywood Studios.
Below: Character dining with Cinderella (available in 3 locations)
Most table service restaurants use one credit from the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). This includes almost all character meals, buffets, family style meals, à la carte table service restaurants and the Fantasmic Dining Package. There are some dining experiences which require two credits from the DDP. These fall into three categories: gourmet restaurants (like California Grill and Le Cellier), dinner shows (like Spirit of Aloha or Hoop de Do) and the unique experience of eating inside Cinderella's castle in Magic Kingdom at Cinderella's Royal Table.
Above: Chip and Dale's Harvest Feast at the Garden Grill in Epcot.
Disney has a massive array of both sweet and savory snacks to choose from. Some quick service restaurants will allow you to order certain side orders, drinks or desserts as a snack, while other snacks can be found in the carts, shops and stands throughout the park. For a list of my recommended snacks in each park, please click "contact us" and request our snack tips.
Above: Be Our Guest
Only guests staying on site have access to the Dining Plans. These plans give you a certain amount of credits which are combined for the duration of your stay. There are 3 main Dining Plans:
1-Quick Service Dining Plan gives you 2 quick service meals and 2 snack credits per day, plus one refillable travel mug per person. Your quick service meal includes an entree and a drink (alcoholic beverages are allowed at participating locations)
2-Disney Dining Plan gives you 1 quick service, 1 table service and 2 snacks per day, plus one refillable travel mug per person. This will give you an entree, a dessert (no dessert for breakfast or for quick service meals) and a beverage (including the option of a specialty drinks such as beer, wine, a cocktail, smoothie etc.). This is the most popular dining plan and the one we recommend the most, especially for those travelling with families who would take advantage of meeting characters during their meal time to save time waiting in line in the parks. Also many people enjoy having a break in their day to sit down, enjoy the air conditioning and decompress from the parks.
3-Deluxe Disney Dining Plan gives you 3 credits per day (of any meal type, quick service or table service) plus 2 snacks per day, plus one refillable travel mug per person. For lunch or dinner, the Deluxe Dining Plan offers you an appetizer on top of the regular Disney Dining Plan inclusions, and again, an alcoholic beverage is included at participating locations. This is a great plan for foodies or people who love to sit down more than once a day in a restaurant.
Below: Hollywood and Vine with the Disney Junior characters