DiningPlanningThe ParksTips

10 Quick Tips for Dining at Disney

Having great meals is part of a magical Walt Disney World vacation. Disney restaurants provide unique atmospheres with delicious food choices for Guests to enjoy throughout their trip. Determining where and when you want to eat can be a big undertaking. To help with this process, we have ten quick tips for dining at Walt Disney World.

Use these tips to plan your meals for your upcoming trip to Walt Disney World.

Making Advance Dining Reservations, My Disney Experience
Credit: My Disney Experience

10. Dining Reservations Are Key

If you dream of eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table or enjoying a meal during the fireworks at California Grill fireworks, you must make advanced dining reservations. Guests can book dining 60 days before their Walt Disney World vacation.

Reservations can be made through the My Disney Experience app at 6 am EST. Popular dining locations book up quickly.  Ensuring you are ready on your reservation day is essential for booking those top restaurants.

When booking your reservations, make sure to prioritize those that are more popular later in the trip. This will give you a better chance at snagging those hard-to-get reservations.

Related: The Most Difficult Dining Reservations at Disney

9. Limit the Amount of Table Service Meals

We love having good, sit-down meals at Walt Disney World. They are a nice break from the crowds and the heat. With that in mind, they take up much of your time in the Park. Most sit-down meals can range from an hour to two hours, depending on the time of your reservation.

Spending that much time in a restaurant might be better if you want to maximize your day in Disney Park. Table service meals also include a lot of food. If you plan more than one table service meal per day, you might find that it is way too much food, and a lot is going to waste.

These meals are also more expensive, so limit how many you book to save time and money while at Walt Disney World.

8. Don’t Give Up

Don’t give up hope if you can’t get your desired reservation at the initial 60-day mark. Guests traveling to Walt Disney World change plans all the time. This means that dining reservations become available as people cancel and adjust.

Even if you arrive at Disney without the desired reservation, keep checking the app. You can also consider using the walk-up waitlist. Disney has now added this feature to My Disney Experience, as it is an excellent way for Guests to experience some of Disney’s top restaurants.

Space 220 Lounge
Credit: Disney

7. Visit a Lounge

Another great way to experience some of the great food of Disney’s top restaurants is to visit the lounges connected to them. Many of the top restaurants at Disney, such as California Grill, Tiffin’s, Hollywood Brown Derby, 50’s Prime Time, Space 220, and many others, have lounges next door.

If you can’t get into the restaurant or don’t want to have a full meal, the lounge is an excellent option. Here you can enjoy some of the same entrees and drinks in a more casual setting.

Related: Best Disney Lounges

Satuli Canteen Kids Meal

6. Visit Disney’s Quick Service Locations

Don’t be fooled into thinking you must make reservations to have good food at Walt Disney World. Many great quick-service locations provide excellent dishes. These locations can save you much time and money during your trip compared to meals at the table service restaurants.

Consider eating at off-peak times to skip the long waits and have a quieter meal experience.

Related: Must-Try Quick Service in Magic Kingdom

5. Use Mobile Ordering

When eating at Disney’s quick service locations, use mobile ordering. This feature is found in the My Disney Experience app. Through mobile ordering, Guests can skip the wait and order their food via the app.

This feature can save a lot of time during the day. Guests can place their orders when the Parks open, making it a great activity while waiting in line. Get those mobile orders placed early to ensure your pick-up time and location.

Disney Dining Plan 2024
Credit: Orland Date Night Guide/Disney

4. Think About a Disney Dining Plan

Disney dining plans will be back in 2024, and this is an excellent option for those Guests wanting to make their Walt Disney World vacation more all-inclusive. Disney dining plans allow Guests to prepay for their meals.

Two dining plans are returning in 2024. Dig into what they offer to see which works best for you.

Related: What to Know About Disney Dining Plans

3. Do Cancel If Your Plans Change

If you don’t plan on using your dining reservations, cancel them via the app. Disney has adjusted their cancelation policy, and it is now required to do so only 2 hours ahead of time.

If you don’t cancel your reservation, a no-show fee can be costly if forgotten. Make a note of your reservations so you don’t miss anything.

Disney Skyliner and Disney Monorail
Disney Skyliner and Disney Monorail

2. Plan for Travel

Make sure you plan enough time to get to your dining reservations. If you are eating at a Disney Resort, remember that there is no direct transportation between Disney Resorts. This means you will need to head to Disney Parks and then catch another mode of transportation to the final destination.

This can take up a lot of time, so stay on time. Disney does have some flexibility, but you always want to try to be at reservations early.

Family enjoying a meal in EPCOT
Family enjoying a meal in EPCOT

1. Share to Enjoy More

Disney restaurants have a lot of great dishes to enjoy. Consider sharing to try more of what is offered at these fantastic restaurants. This also works if you eat at quick-service locations or snacking around World Showcase. Sharing food at Walt Disney World is a great way to try more without overeating.

Dining at Walt Disney World is part of the magic. Use these quick tips for a great dining experience during your Disney vacation.


Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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