Disney dining is an experience unlike any other. There are a myriad of places to choose from with character dining and cuisine for guests of all ages and tastes. While many Disney Fanatics know the ins and outs of dining at Disney, here are 7 secrets you may not know about dining at Walt Disney World.
7. Book Reservations During Firework Shows
What many people may not realize is that some of the restaurants in the park and at nearby resorts offer stunning views of the night shows and fireworks. This way, you can watch a show while you eat, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone. Next time you feel you have to set up a reservation for an earlier time than usual just so you can head out and see the fireworks, consider watching them from the comfort of your dining table. Restaurants at the Magic Kingdom that offer great views are Cinderella’s Royal Table (reservations required), Crystal Palace (reservations required), Plaza Restaurant (reservations required), Casey’s Corner, Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station. Nearby Resorts that offer not only stunning views, but also sync in the music being played at the park include ‘Ohana (Polynesian Resort), Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), and California Grill (Contemporary Resort). All of these resorts require reservations for a guaranteed spot. Epcot also has a fantastic nighttime display of fireworks, and most of the restaurants in the World Showcase offer window views of this show.
6. Reservations Before Arriving
Since Disney has so many restaurants that guests love, it is not surprising that these restaurants are booked quickly. Nowadays, it is very unheard of to be able to just walk right into the popular (and even unpopular depending on your time of visit) restaurants without hearing “Sorry, the wait is over an hour” or “We’re completely booked for the day”. Gone are the days of spontaneity! If your heart is set on experiencing a character dining or even a well heard of restaurant, your best bet is to make a reservation. Reservations are available to be made 180 days in advance prior to your visit. You may be thinking that this sounds crazy because you may have remembered just walking into a restaurant at the last minute years ago, but don’t expect that now with the high volume of guests throughout the year.
5. Customizing Your Food
No one likes to pay for food they can’t eat. Luckily, Disney is one of the best places for accommodations made for guests with most dining issues. If you have an allergy or special diet with food, be sure to mention this at the time of reservations as well as when you arrive to the restaurant. Disney chefs will tailor your needs with your entire meal to accommodate you. Before you think you can’t eat somewhere, call and ask if they can assist with making your meal customizable for you and your family.
4. Don’t Pay For Water
No one should have to pay for water over and over again at Disney. One water bottle is about $3.00! Can you imagine having to buy a water bottle for each person in a family of four multiple times a day? It adds up! Stop by any quick service restaurant or food counter and they will give you a cup of filtered water. This will especially help those that don’t like the taste of Orlando water (from the fountains).
3. Check Out the Resort Restaurants
Many guests aren’t aware or familiar with the spectacular dining opportunities at the resorts on Walt Disney World property. Not only do these resorts offer various styles of cuisine, but they also include dinner shows, family style eating, character dining, and much more. Whether you’re looking for a romantic place to dine, or wanting something that the whole family can enjoy, looking into the resort restaurants is worth it. The views from these resorts are often stunning, and since Disney pays such close attention to detail, the cuisine at each resort is usually themed with the décor and ambiance. This means you can choose from more styles of food rather than the selected options at the parks. If you are traveling by car, you can park at the resort you are dining at with proof of your reservation. Otherwise, just take one of the complimentary resort buses to the nearest theme park and then hop on the resort bus from there.
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2. Character Dining
It can be really challenging meeting all of the characters you want when trying to fit parades, attractions, shows, and rides into your itinerary. Often times, the lines to meet characters are rather long. A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to enjoy a meal while meeting several characters at one time. Be sure to check out the character dining opportunities at the parks and resorts. Not only are these experiences unique and one of a kind, you will not have to wait in line to meet Mickey and the Gang, Disney Junior friends, or Princesses throughout the day.
1. Save Money With Buffets
If you and your family enjoy larger meals, then buffets are the way to go. You can eat until you belly is content (or stuffed) and skip a meal during the day, or replace a meal with a snack instead of a full entree. Buffets and family style dining is also cheaper for breakfast, so you can start your day with a large, filling meal and then snack during the day until dinner. There is also a lot to choose from, so if you have picky eaters, this may be a great way to ensure there is something for everyone in your party. Sometimes buffets can be pricey for families who don’t really eat too much, so if you feel that it would be a waste, this option may not be best for you and your party.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!