Get the Dish on Dining at Disney World from A Real Pro

Buffet Cape May Cafe

Meal times at Disney World are anything but ordinary. Disney dining is a huge draw for foodies and park goers alike. From quick and unique food on the go to traditional food courts to dinner shows and five-star dining, there are so many options at Walt Disney World. In this article you are going to get the dish on Disney dining so you can know before you go and make the right dining decisions for your family.

Learn the Lingo

Disney has a lingo all its own. Understanding some of the terms around dining at Walt Disney World will make the planning and dining experience easier.

Counter Service - Sometimes called quick service, this dining style is cheapest and usually serves guests via short order style or cafeteria style with foods ranging from five to fifteen dollars depending on the item or meal.

Casual Service - Sometimes called table service, casual dining ranges quite a bit in serving style, price and cuisine. Technically food trucks, buffet style, traditional restaurant style service and dinner shows are all classified as casual dining meaning prices range from around fifteen dollars to around sixty dollars per adult, depending on the restaurant.

Fine Dining - Defined as the top in luxury dining these eateries have a fun selling factor like luxury, entertainment or a unique dining experience along with gourmet food that goes with the higher price tag. Fine dining is around forty, to upwards of a hundred and fifty or more per person.

Disney Dining Plan - The Disney Dining Plan is a vacation package option for guests looking to pay up front for their vacation and skip the unstructured spending when they arrive at Walt Disney World.  Be sure to check out our in-depth articles about the Disney Dining Plan to see if it’s a good choice for your family.

Tables in Wonderland - For avid Disney diners this discount card available for purchase at guest services could be a smart way to save on frequent visits to table service and fine dining restaurants.  Check out the Disney website to run the numbers and see if you can save by purchasing this dining card.

Advanced Dining Reservation - An Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) is required at many Walt Disney World eateries and can be placed by phone or online. Reservations fill up quickly so securing ADRs a few months before your vacation is a good idea if you have must do dining experiences on your list.

Disney Dining Budget

Toledo's at Disney's Gran Destino Tower

A good starting place when planning your vacation dining experiences is setting your dining budget. While there are some incredible fine dining options, shows and dining experiences worth a splurge do not feel like you have to overspend on dining at Walt Disney World. Researching restaurant options before vacation on the Disney website is a great idea.  You can filter by restaurant location, style, cuisine, price and serving times to find options perfect for each theme park, picky eater and your pocketbook.

If you are looking for a way to prepay some of your Disney dining, consider purchasing Disney gift cards. Snagging a twenty-five-dollar gift card at the grocery store in the months leading up to a Walt Disney World vacation means you are covering vacation experiences before you arrive at the happiest place on earth.

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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 Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!