Disney World Table Service vs. Quick Service Dining – Five Major Differences

Credit: Disney

A quick glimpse at the Disney website will reveal no shortage of delicious dining options available at Walt Disney World. The seemingly endless meal possibilities may even be a bit overwhelming for guests weighing out the best food fit for their vacation. A common question from Walt Disney World vacationers centers on the differences between quick service dining and table service. We have broken down the nuts and bolts of these dining options for guests to grasp before tacking Disney dining on the next vacation.

5. Meal Duration

Quick service meals may are of course known for their speed. Quick service dining is the perfect fit for guests on the go that are looking to grab a delicious bite to eat between attractions with no required planning and minimal wait times. Quick service dining options generally involve guests making selections from a shorter menu at a walk up restaurant, food cart or food truck and waiting a few minutes as the order is prepared and released to you at a nearby window. Obviously, this format will result in short food wait times and cut out the time that is generally spent looking over a menu at a table service restaurant and waiting for a cast member to return with each course of your meal.

Table service dining at Walt Disney World is meant to be so much more than a meal. The table dining experience is what fills seats in Disney restaurants as much as the food. Meal duration will last a bit longer at a table service restaurant. No need to worry, meals will not drag on for hours however, Disney ensure that all guests leave feeling satisfied and excited and do not feel rushed.

4. Food Theme

While this point may not always hold completely true I tend to categorize quick service and table service meals by food theme. Unlike other theme parks around the world Walt Disney World truly does do a fantastic job of surpassing the general fair food quality of treats that are so often associated with theme parks. While you will find plenty of hot dogs and funnel cakes to go around you, can also enjoy unique food at quick service eateries. The primary difference in food theme when comparing table service to quick service is the complexity of menu items and on the go eating ease.

Table service meals tend to offer meals that include sides (although a la carte options are available at some restaurants) and may be a little more complex than food at quick service restaurants.

3. Guest Attire

Several table service restaurants on the Disney property ramp up the glitz just a bit more by requiring guests to stick to a dress code. Generally, these establishments have reasonable requests like asking gentlemen to wear collared shirts and asking guests to refrain from beach wear. While only a handful of Disney restaurants do have attire guidelines it is quite common to see guests more dressed up at table service restaurants. Meanwhile, quick service establishments have a much more “come as you are” vibe that welcomes swimsuit cover-ups straight from the pool, shorts clad guests returning from a park and guests running down to the resort quick service cafeteria to grab morning coffee before the children wake up.

2. Character Possibility

While every table service restaurant is not a character meal, all character meals are found at table service restaurants only. While this may seem like an obvious statement character dining can be daunting for Disney newbies. Guests looking to dine with characters need to search character dining on the Walt Disney World website to learn which table service meals they need to pursue to meet their favorite Disney pals while enjoying top notch cuisine.

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1. Price

The obvious detail that first comes to mind when comparing table service with quick service Disney dining is of course pricing. Table service restaurants tend to be a bit pricier than quick service dining options. In addition to the increased cost of dining at a table service restaurant, a minimum 18% gratuity is immediately charged to groups dining with six or more guests. In addition to not requiring gratuity, quick service dining gives guests a bit of leeway to mix and match meal offerings a bit by purchasing individual items and not a whole meal. Both dining options certainly have their perks and all Disney dining is worth a taste. Regardless of if you plan to pursue only quick service dining on your next trip or of you are planning to explore table service offerings, you will not be disappointed with the fantastic Disney meals that await you!

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!

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