There are over 400 restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. That means there is something for everyone. Here I have some tips and tricks for eating at Walt Disney World because it’s really not as easy as it sounds.
6 month window
If you want to get a reservation for a restaurant you need to plan ahead and book at the 180-day window. This is 6 months before the first day of your vacation. If you don’t plan ahead it is almost impossible to get a table. Especially if you are traveling with more than 2 people.
Almost every menu has a “kid” option
Do you have a picky eater in the family? Don’t worry, almost every menu has a kid option. Examples would be chicken tenders, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, etc.
If you choose to do the Disney Dining plan your Magic Band will be your way of payment. If you are staying on property you can also use your Magic Band to “charge” to your room.
Take it all in/Take your time
You might only be able to go to Disney World once in your life but don’t let that take away from the time you spend there. You don’t need to do absolutely everything. Enjoy the moment with family and friends. Your kids will only be young once so make sure you take time to enjoy every meal together.
Every place has a theme
Every (literally every single one) restaurant has a theme. I mean if anyone knows how to do themes it’s Disney. So if you are looking to eat African food, head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and eat at Jiko. If you are looking for Pizza you have several options; Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios, Via Napoli Reistorante e Pizzeria in the Italy location of EPCOT and even Pizzafari in Animal Kingdom.
*Almost Every Restaurant is available on the Dining Plan
Almost all 400 of those restaurants are available on the Disney Dining Plan so you won’t have to sacrifice amazing food when eating out. You can find a full list of dining plan-approved restaurants here.
It doesn’t have to be expensive
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, Walt Disney World is expensive. But that doesn’t mean your food has to be! According to the WDW Prepschool, the average quick service meal for an adult is about $18 and a table service (or sit-down) restaurant is about $41. Kids meals are about 40-50% of the adult cost. Obviously some places are more or less, such as a signature restaurant is going to be double the price. These are places like character meals.
I would also suggest sharing meals! My family treats a lot of meals like family style. We are a family of 5 now (with my husband) and we usually get 3-4 meals to split between all of us. (Side Note: With all the walking you’ll be doing in the heat, over eating is not recommended. Plus you will want to try as much as possible!)
Most hotel rooms in Walt Disney World have at least a small fridge and some have a microwave as well. Breakfast is the most expensive meal for what you get. Eggs for $30? Not my idea of a good deal. Instead of eating breakfast out in a park, eat it in your hotel room before you leave for the day. A small carton of milk, a box of cereal and you have a cheap meal that will tied you over till lunch time.
Did you know you could bring food into the parks? You can bring any food or drinks into the parks as long as it’s not alcoholic. Bringing sandwiches for lunch is a great way to save money.
Food Allergies and Dietary Concerns
There are so many food allergies and I know how it is to go to a restaurant and not know what to eat. It’s even worse if there isn’t an ingredient list available. Well in Disney you don’t have to worry about it. Almost every menu has a gluten free option. You can also let your server know of your allergy and they will work with the chef to help get you something you are able to eat. Disney wants to make everything magical so they are always willing to help.
You don’t need to go into a park to have an excellent meal. Every resort has at least one restaurant and they are some of the best places I have ever eaten. Seriously if you’re ever in Disney you HAVE to go to Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jumbo House.
Quick-Service can be just as amazing as Table-Service!
It’s easy to think a sit-down dinner is going to be better than a walk-up dinner. However, there are several walk-up dinners I would rather have than the sit-down equivalent. Disney takes pride in everything they do. This means you can count on the Quick-Service meals being just as good (if not better) than a Table-Service meal.