Updated January 15, 2020
Dining at Walt Disney World is an adventure in itself.
Consider this – although vastly different in size, Disneyland and Disney World have nearly the same amount of attractions. It’s true!
So, how does WDW fill four parks while we have only two? A big part of this can be credited to dining.
Follow me for everything you need to know about dining at Walt Disney World.
In this article
Booking Your Trip to WDW
To save on your trip to WDW, I recommend Get Away Today. They’ve been partnered with Disney for 30 years and are the absolute best at what they do.
This link shares all about discounted tickets, packages, their layaway plan, and more.
Fill out this form for a free quote. They’ll find you the best discounts, book your FastPasses, reserve dining and so much more.
Get Away Today books all my Walt Disney World work trips. I used them 3 times in 2019 alone! They’re the most qualified in the industry and I can’t recommend them enough.
- Make reservations online or call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463.
- WDW peeps use the term “ADR” a lot. It means “Advance Dining Reservation”. Here‘s the scoop on ADRs from Disney with FAQs, too.
- If you’re staying at a WDW Resort Hotel, you may make dining reservations starting 180 days in advance of your arrival date. At that time, you can book dining for the entire length of your Resort stay – up to 10 days. So, that gives you some extra time.
- If you’re staying off-site, you may make dining reservations starting 180 days out.
- Disney World includes a similar dining criteria to Disneyland. They have snack kiosks, counter service restaurants (no wait staff), table service restaurants (with wait staff), etc, etc.
- Cancellations can be made to reservations, but they’re a bit tricky at WDW compared to Disneyland.
- Visit this link for WDW’s dining cancellation policy.
Some guests use a Dining Plan, while others prefer to pay per meal. Dining Plans are available to guests staying on-site only. Free Dining is offered randomly throughout the year, but it’s more and more rare these days.
When you book your trip to WDW, you can add a dining plan to your vacation package if you wish.
There are three types of Dining Plans including:
- Disney Quick Service Dining Plan – details here
- Disney Dining Plan – details here
- Disney Deluxe Dining Plan – details here
And, there are pros and cons to Dining Plans –
Pros: Many people love that they can pre-pay for dining and have one more thing crossed off the list before they arrive. It’s also nice to be able to make payments on your trip’s dining if you use Get Away Today’s layaway plan (mentioned above in the first section) rather than possibly paying interest on your credit card purchases if you were to pay as you go.
Cons: Some say that the Dining Plan is often too much for their family and that food (or vouchers) goes to waste. That, of course, means money is wasted. I’ve yet to see any of my friends not buying 20 or more krispie treats and other items that aren’t perishable with their unused snack credits on the last day of their visit, however.
I now pretty much decide what I’m going to eat in the parks based on who offers Mobile Ordering. It’s just so easy to use!
Learn about this option before you visit. It’s very similar to Disneyland’s version and is available on the Walt Disney World app free of charge.
Here‘s the scoop on how it works.
Here‘s a list of participating locations around WDW. Use the filters to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for.
My Restaurant Reviews
I LOVE dining reviews. Continue to check back with this post, as this section will be updated often with new experiences.
California Grill – I’ve dined here a few times and have had a good experience with every visit. The ambiance is lovely with high end decor and modern details. The food is good, but pricey for some. Coordinate your dining time with fireworks at Magic Kingdom, as you can walk out on the viewing deck and watch from there. Music accompanies the show. This restaurant is located on the top floor of the Contemporary Hotel. Video here.
Be Our Guest – Believe the hype. I love this place. Reserve breakfast or lunch for a ‘quick service’ meal that feels way fancier than the quick service label suggests. The castle in which you dine is so over the top and something all guests should see. Walk through each dining room when you go. Be Our Guest offers quick service breakfast and lunch and table service dinner. It’s located inside Magic Kingdom in new Fantasyland. Review here.
Dinner at Ohana – No characters at this meal, but none are needed because all you’re going to be talking about is the food. THE NOODLES. All of it. Review here.
Maria and Enzo’s – This restaurant, along with Enzo’s Hideaway and The Edison, are so much fun if you’re dining in Disney Springs. Review here.
Enzo’s Hideaway – This “underground speak-easy” has beautiful design and good food. Located in Disney Springs. Review here.
San Angel Inn – Find this “Mexican version of Disneyland’s Blue Bayou” in Epcot World Showcase. Review here.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ – Sweet baby Jesus can this man cook. He took comfort food to a whole new level. Don’t miss the Hummingbird Cake. Located in Disney Springs. Review here.
Chicken Guy – With almost every item on the menu priced below $10.00, this option is a bit of an anomaly at WDW. And, it’s GOOD. Located in Disney Springs. Review here.
Happily Ever After Dessert Party – I love dining packages! So, this was an easy sell for me. The food was plentiful and tasty. The location for fireworks viewing was ok. Review here.
Plaza Inn – This is not your Disneyland’s Plaza Inn! Totally different. Located in Magic Kingdom. Review here.
Buca di Peppo – Located in Celebration, Florida, I recommend ordering this food to be delivered to your hotel. The portions are enormous, so you’ll have plenty for everyone. Review here.
Illuminations Dining Package at Rose & Crown – I don’t love Illuminations, but was pleasantly surprised by the food at Rose & Crown. Located in Epcot World Showcase. Review here.
Via Napoli – Find this Italian delight in Italy inside Epcot World Showcase. Review here.
Chefs de France – I hear people love this restaurant. I had a bad experience. I hope to try again soon with different results. Located in France in Epcot World Showcase. Review here.
Toledo and Dahlia – Located in the Gran Destino Tower of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Beautiful design. Great food. Review here.
Nomad – Inside Animal Kingdom, it’s my favorite place to stop for a drink and snack. Review here.
Character meals are a great way to interact with characters on a more personal level than you’ll likely find in the parks.
There are several to choose from around Walt Disney World including at the parks and resorts.
This link lists them all with details on each.
Make a reservation for these meals just like you would any other ADR (advanced dining reservation).
Character meals that I’ve reviewed include:
- Ohana’s Best Friend Character Breakfast Featuring Lilo and Stitch – Located at the fabulous Polynesian Hotel, this meal is best for an off day in between park visits. Ohana’s has a more leisurely feel to it compared to other meals, which is why I recommend including it on an off day. It offers family style dining and is my favorite in all of WDW. The setting is gorgeous, the food is excellent, and the service is awesome. Adults tend to enjoy this meal as much as children, so it’s a good fit for everyone. Breakfast only. Review here.
- Chef Mickey’s – This option is located at the Contemporary Hotel, which is one of my favorite properties at WDW. This is a classic character meal with a buffet ideal for when you visit Magic Kingdom, as it’s in walking distance to the park. While I don’t love Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Resort, I would compare this meal to it based on what it includes. And, I really enjoyed our experience at Chef Mickey’s. Start your day early at Magic Kingdom and then ride the monorail to the hotel to dine in the afternoon when the sun is most severe. Then, walk to Magic Kingdom afterwards or take the monorail back again. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Review here.
- Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White – Find this meal at the Wilderness Lodge and be prepared for a production. You’ll enjoy table service at this location and it’s quite elaborate. Character interaction is entirely more structured compared to other options at WDW. But, it’s still a really good character meal and is a great value because it uses only one dining credit. Dinner only. Review here.
- Tusker House – Nestled into Animal Kingdom Park, this meal is simple and fun. The characters are dressed in the cutest safari gear. Don’t miss getting a good look at Goofy’s outfit. It’s my favorite. There are plenty of classic options food-wise and then some eclectic dishes, too. I loved the ambiance. As with pretty much every part of Animal Kingdom, the theming is fantastic. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Review here.
- Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast – Find this meal inside Epcot in The Land Pavilion. This is where Soarin’ Around the World, Living With the Land and more are located. I enjoyed the family style home cooking and the overall idea of this restaurant, which slowly spins while you dine, allowing you to peek into the Living With the Land attraction. But, this isn’t my favorite meal at WDW. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Review here.
- Hollywood & Vine – I had the best character interaction at this meal! Located in Disney Hollywood Studios, this option includes Disney Junior characters for breakfast and the Fab 5 for lunch and dinner. The food was good and the service was excellent. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Review here.
- Crystal Palace – I enjoyed my second experience here more than the first. This meal is conveniently located inside Magic Kingdom. But, it does have some quirks. Review here.