Disney Tips – Dining
You have arrived at the happiest place on earth for a lot us, but what about your dining options while you are there. While you are on Disney property, you have many options available to you. You can eat quick service while in the parks, reserve table service restaurants at the parks, eat at Downtown Disney Marketplace, or if you are staying on property, eat at your resort. But what is the best option? I hope that these tips will help you out!
Disney Dining Plans
If you are staying on Disney property, you have the option to add the dining plan to your reservation. You have many options when it comes to the Disney Dining Plan. The first two levels of the dining plan will provide you with 2 meals and a snack per day. The additional meal is out of pocket. If you are not one that likes table service meals, you might do better with the Quick Service Option. This will provide 2 quick service meals per day, 1 snack, and a refillable mug at the resort. Quick service meals are normally range from sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, etc.
If you like the option of having a table service meal each day, you can choose the regular Dining Plan. This will give you 1 quick service meal per day, 1 table service meal per day, 1 snack, and the refillable mug. This might be a better option if you want to try some of the table service restaurants at the parks such as Liberty Tavern in the Magic Kingdom or a country specific restaurant at Epcot.
The three higher levels of the dining plan will provide you with all three meals each day. You can select from quick service meals or table service meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You also will get two snacks and the refillable mug. There are additional options to use meals for character meals or special meals at the higher end restaurants like Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian. For more information on the dining plans including costs, please visit the Disney website.
There are pros and cons to using the Dining plan. Some have stated they just couldn’t eat all the food for the level of dining plan that they selected. Some don’t like the lack of flexibility if you select quick service but really want more table service meals. However, for those that want ease and convenience and want everything included, check out the dining plans. At special times of the year, Disney even offers free dining plans so keep your eye out for specials, usually during non-peak times.
Not on the Dining Plan or Staying Off Property
If you select to not use the dining plan or are staying off Disney property, you do want to think about your dining options well in advance. This is especially true is you want to eat at some of the more popular restaurants like Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, or the character meals at Chef Mickey’s and other locations. These need to be booked out as far in advance as you can, 180 days usually.
If you have a little one that wants a great character experience, I would suggest Chef Mickey’s. It is a tad pricey but the main characters come by your table for pictures and autographs – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etc. If you are looking for another great kid experience, our kids have loved The Rainforest Cafe which has locations both at Animal Kingdom and at Downtown Disney Marketplace. If you choose to go to the location at Animal Kingdom, try to go early when they first open for lunch and you shouldn’t have a problem with seating, in our experience. At Downtown Disney, you also have the option of TRex which is by the same company as Rainforest but with Dinosaurs.
The best tip I can provide is to plan your meals to keep the cost from getting out of hand. You will easily spend upwards of 60 dollars a meal for a family of 4 at most of the table service restaurants. It can get expensive really fast. One final tip, if you have the ability to make sandwiches and take them with you to the parks, this will save you a lot of money. They will allow food to be brought in to the park and if you have picky eating kids, this may be your best option.
What are some of your favorite tips when it comes to dining at Disney World? Leave me a comment below!