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10 Things Nobody Tells You About Dining at Disney World

There are so many things to consider when it comes to dining at Walt Disney World. You’ll need to decide whether or not you’ll book the dining plan, which dining plan you might book, how much money you’ll need, and where you should be making reservations. Aside from the popular advice that is often given about dining at the resort, here are ten things that you might not be told before your vacation:

1) There is more to theme park food than burgers and hot dogs

The in park dining options at Walt Disney World are really nothing like the standard theme park food you might expect. If you think your entire dining experience will revolve around burgers, hot dogs, and other various amusement park junk food, you’ll be pleasantly surprised during your next vacation to see that there is much more to it than that. Disney’s quick service options include everything from pizza, to tacos, and even to barbecue ribs, so you should have no problem avoiding those burgers and hot dogs. Of course, if you are a fan of these classic theme park meals, there are some really great places to have them, like Caseys Corner in the Magic Kingdom and Restaurantosaurus in Animal Kingdom.

2) Try the classic snacks

There are certain snacks that have really become classics to have while you’re in Walt Disney World. These might include churros, turkey legs, Dole whips, funnel cake, popcorn, and Mickey ice cream bars for instance. I would definitely recommend trying some of these snacks at least once. If you’ve never had them you’re bound to find a couple of favorites among these popular snacks.

3) Discover your own favorites

Aside from the classic Disney snacks that you’ll find out about soon enough, I would suggest seeking out some of your own favorites. Not every Disney website or food blogger will recommend the same things, and some of the less popular items have actually become my favorites. Read all of the menus while choosing snacks, and choose whatever sounds good to you. It’s helpful to know what the general favorites are, but it’s also fun to go out of your way and figure out your own favorites– like one of mine, the troll horn in Norway!

4) You shouldn’t pay for water

Of course, you wouldn’t be paying for water in a table service restaurant (unless you specifically ask for a bottle of water) however you should not be paying for water at quick service locations either. Simply ask for a cup of water instead of a bottle, and you can easily avoid paying $2.50/bottle throughout your trip. Plus, if you’re worried about the taste of Florida tap water, you’ll be happy to learn that the water served at quick service restaurants is also filtered.

5) Try some first class dining experiences

You may not realize it, but there are plenty of first class restaurants located throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. From signature dining options like California Grille, to the resort’s AAA five diamond award winning Victoria and Albert’s, there are plenty of ways to splurge on a luxurious dining experience while vacationing in Disney.

6) There are lots of different kinds of table service restaurants– and you should try them!

With all of the amazing dining options at Walt Disney World, it is no shock that you’ll have the ability to try different kinds of cuisine that you’ve never had before. Many seasoned Disney fans will recommend their personal favorites, which can be helpful, but I also think that it’s important to look for new things and figure out some favorites for yourself. For instance, if I had gone solely on my family’s recommendations, I would have never dined at Boma, or Whispering Canyon Café, which are currently among my favorite restaurants.

7) Don’t knock quick service restaurants

I would estimate that most Disney fans probably plan to have about one table service meal per day. While I do often plan my trips like this as well, choosing to have more quick service meals might be a good idea for a couple of reasons, such as having a tight budget or picky family members. Quick service dining is also a good idea if you’re short on time in the parks, and don’t want to spend too much time sitting in a restaurant.

8) There are plenty of kid friendly restaurants

The most obvious kid friendly restaurants are of course character dining experiences. Character dining is great because it allows you to meet some of your favorite characters while you dine, therefore freeing up some of your time in the parks. Dinner shows, like the Hoop De Doo Musical Revue for example, are also fun ways to get the whole family together for a kid friendly meal.

9) There are options for adults too

Whether you’re visiting Walt Disney World without kids, or you’re just looking to have a romantic dinner during your trip, there is a variety of dining options for you as well. Check out the signature restaurants around the resorts, or visit one of the many bars and restaurants at Disney Springs. For a more entertaining, but still childless experience, check out Jellyrolls, the dueling piano bar at the Boardwalk, or Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian Village Resort.

10) You’ll be hooked!

No one warned me that I would quickly become borderline obsessed with some of Disney’s restaurants. When I book my advanced dining reservations now, it can actually be difficult to narrow down all of the options because there are certain meals that I just need to have during each trip. After your first time having dinner at Ohana I think you’ll know what I mean.

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About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a recent graduate of Saint Anselm College, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She has always had an interest in Disney history, and spends much of her time researching various topics within this subject area. In the Fall of 2014, she will be participating in the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney Resort as a Merchandise Intern. In Spring 2015, Brittany’s first print publication, Brittany Earns her Ears, will be released. The book will provide readers insight into life as a Disney College Program intern, and will essentially be a sequel to the popular Amber Earns her Ears.