DiningPlanningThe ParksTips

Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When It Comes to Food At Disney

Delicious meals, snacks, and drinks are all part of a magical trip to Walt Disney World.  If you are planning your first ever trip to Walt Disney World, there are some things you need to know when it comes to food.

You might think that Disney is all burgers, chicken nuggets, and fries, but it is so much more than that.  We are going to help by making sure you don’t make these rookie mistakes when it comes to your food choices at Walt Disney World.


Know the Terms

The first mistake that rookies make when eating at Walt Disney World is they are familiar with the Disney language.  Let’s break down some of the key phrases you will hear when it comes to dining at Walt Disney World.

Table Service:  These are sit-down restaurants where Guests are waited on.  They are typically family-style, buffet, al-a-carte, or prix fixe menus.  Guests need reservations to eat at these.

Advance Dining Reservations (ADR):  This refers to booking those reservations ahead of time.  Guests are able to begin booking those table service restaurants starting at 60-days prior to their Walt Disney World vacation.

Quick Service:  These are counter-service locations that offer more of a cafeteria feel to them.  Guests place their order, pick it up, and then find their own place to sit to enjoy their meal.

Mobile Order:  For Guests wanting to enjoy quick service locations, we highly recommend mobile orders.  This is found in the My Disney Experience app.  It allows Guests to place their order digitally and then pick it up when their return time is ready and the order has been prepared.  This can save a lot of time in line.

Waitlist:  A lot of the lounges or table service locations are now offering a waitlist.  This puts your name on a restaurant’s list and will let you know tentatively how long you have to wait.  It allows you to continue seeing other aspects of a Park or Resort while you are waiting to be notified your table is ready.  These aren’t always available and are limited so keep that in mind when planning.

Rookies often show up at Walt Disney World not knowing what these terms are ahead of time.  This can make dining confusing and often frustrating.

Credit: Disney

Portions Are BIG

If your family normally orders a meal for everyone, you might want to rethink that when at Walt Disney World.  Serving sizes are large and can often be shared between people.  Consider sharing some entrees to save some money as well as to prevent a lot of waste.

Not only are some of the entree sizes large, but there are also snacks that are big enough to make a nice, light meal out of.

With the combination of walking, heat, and being tired, you might not need as much food as you think you will.  Consider sharing instead of over-ordering.

Sautil Canteen

Table Service Meals Aren’t Required

A big mistake that a lot of rookies make is booking too many table service meals.  They think the only way to have a good meal is to be booked at a table service restaurant.  This just isn’t the case.

Not only do these meals take up a lot of time keeping you away from spending time in the Park, but they are also expensive.  Don’t get caught booking a table service meal for each meal of the day or even for every day of your trip.

Many of the quick service locations offer great choices that are going to be cheaper and faster.  It also allows you a lot of flexibility as you determine when and where you want to eat.

Flame Tree Barbecue
Credit: Disney

There are More Than Burgers and Chicken Nuggets

A major rookie mistake that we want to make sure you avoid is thinking you are only going to be able to eat burgers and chicken nuggets the whole trip.  Although you can if you want to, there are so many other options to choose from throughout Walt Disney World.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom and EPCOT are two of the Disney Parks that offer great variety when it comes to food options.  EPCOT provides a variety of international options throughout the World Showcase.  Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Guests can enjoy excellent entrees at Sat’uli Canteen, Flame Tree Barbecue, or Yak and Yeti.

Don’t get stuck thinking that it is all burgers and fries during your Disney vacation.  Head to How to Disney to see all the amazing suggestions we have for eating at Walt Disney World.

Get the Popcorn Bucket

If you are a fan of popcorn, don’t skip out on the refillable popcorn buckets.  These are great investments during a Disney vacation.  Once you purchase the bucket, you are able to refill it throughout your trip for $2 (currently).

We love having this so munch on throughout the Park as well as something for back at our Disney Resort during our breaks or at night.

You can get the regular popcorn bucket, or you can choose to purchase one of the themed ones.  Both are great snacks for the trip.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

Use Mobile Order

We have mentioned this already, but another mistake we see Disney rookies make is not using mobile ordering.  This feature, found in the My Disney Experience app, can save so much time when it comes to eating at Disney’s quick service locations.

Guests are able to select their dining location, their return times, and place their order all while waiting in line for a ride or show.  This allows everyone to think about what they want without the pressure that builds when ordering directly from a Cast Member.

Don’t skip out on this feature.  It is a great time saver and makes it so much easier to navigate the quick service locations.

Those are some of the biggest mistakes that rookies make when it comes to food at Walt Disney World.  We hope that you won’t make these same mistakes during your next Disney trip.

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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