Skip to Content

Everything You Need to Know about Disney World Dining

HomeDining
Everything You Need to Know about Disney World Dining

For lots of Disney World guests, planning where they’ll eat each day is part of the fun.

Whether you are adventurous or like to stick to the classics, Disney World food options are nearly endless.

But, like with all things related to Disney World, there is a lot to know.

To help you figure out what will be best for your trip, we have a bunch of Disney World dining information, terms, and tips to help you out.

Let’s take a look…

What to expect in this guide

This guide will walk you through all the basic Disney dining information and terminology you’ll need to know, plus we’ll help you with figuring out a budget.

But, we highly recommend that you don’t stop with only reading this one page. You’ll also find that there are lots of additional related articles linked off down below. Make sure you check those out for additional tips, suggestions, and recommendations!

Important: Disney Dining Plan Remains Unavailable

The Disney Dining Plan is currently suspended at Disney World.

Disney has confirmed Disney Dining Plans will eventually return, but we still don’t know when that will happen.

Table Service vs. Quick Service (or Counter Service)

Have you heard these terms and wondered what they were?

In a nutshell, Disney offers 2 levels of dining: Quick Service (which is like fast food) and Table Service (which are places that are a little bit nicer, where the food is brought to you).

Here’s what you need to know about each:

Table Service

Simply speaking, Table Service restaurants are ones where a waiter serves you. Also included in the Table Service category are buffets, all character meals, dinner shows like Hoop Dee Doo, and meals served family-style.

As you can imagine, restaurants identified as Table Service will cost more than other dining options.

Character meals

All character meals fall under the Table Service category. These meals are extremely popular and definitely will require an Advanced Dining Reservation.

Here is what is currently available:

*While not currently considered an “official” character meal by Disney, we have included them in this list because a character DOES make an appearance at the meal.

Signature Dining

Signature Dining experiences are the most expensive of all the Table Service experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort. These meals are known for having the best (and most costly) food options.

Since they are a bit more upscale than other Table Service restaurants, many Signature Dining restaurants are popular options for people looking for someplace to celebrate an anniversary, birthday, etc. during their trip.

Current Signature Dining Restaurants:

  • Be Our Guest
  • The BOATHOUSE
  • California Grill
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Citricos
  • Flying Fish
  • Hollywood Brown Derby
  • Jaleo by Jose Andres
  • Jiko
  • Le Cellier
  • Monsieur Paul
  • Morimoto Asia
  • Narcoossee’s
  • Paddlefish
  • STK Orlando
  • Takumi-Tei
  • Tiffins
  • Topolino’s Terrace (dinner service only)
  • Victoria & Albert’s
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse

Dinner shows

Although Disney used to have 3 dinner shows that were very popular, there is now only 1: Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. The other 2 shows – Spirit of Aloha and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – have closed.

Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

  • Cost: Category 1:$74.00/$44.00, Category 2: $69.00/$40.00, Category 3: $66.00/$39.00
  • Location: Ft. Wilderness Campsites
  • Pros: 1 of the most popular things to do at Disney World, this restaurant combines a funny show with family-style down home food, drinks are unlimited (including beer, wine and sangria for people 21+)
  • Cons: Expensive, usually books up pretty far in advance, somewhat difficult to get to (easiest way is by boat from Magic Kingdom), prices vary by category and time of year
  • Link to Menu

Quick Service (Counter Service)

Quick Service (also called Counter Service) restaurants are ones where you order at a counter, just like you’d find at any fast food restaurant.

seating

While some Quick Service locations have indoor seating, there are plenty that do not. In addition, many Quick Service locations are just windows without any connected seating at all. Instead, you’ll often find nearby tables (both with and without umbrellas) or benches where you can dine.

Kiosks and carts

In addition to regular restaurants, you’ll also find kiosks and carts that often have limited selections, but amazing food options like Dole Whips, Mickey Pretzels, and poutine.

mickey pretzel

And, if you are heading to Epcot during one of its many, many festivals, you’ll find even more options for dining at one of the special festival food booths there.

Mobile Order

Lots of Quick Service restaurants and a few Table Service restaurants at Disney World allow you to order your food ahead on the same day you plan to visit.

Here’s how it works:

  • To start the process, inside the My Disney Experience app, select the “+” at the bottom of the screen and then tap “Order Food”.
  • Select your restaurant of choice and pick an arrival window. The app will default to restaurants near you, but you can search anywhere on property.
  • Put together your order and check-out.
  • Once you arrive to the restaurant, you can hit that “I’m here” button and they’ll get started making your order. When it is done, you’ll be notified via the app with information on where to pick it up.

Important note: The number of spots for Mobile Order are limited, and some Quick Service locations see their Mobile Order spots fill up fast. We recommend you go ahead and snag a spot early (before meal times).

Mobile Order screenshot

Want to know more? Check out the video below.

Mobile order payment and discounts

When it comes to payment for Mobile Orders, you’ll have a few options. 

First, you can use the credit card that is attached to your account. In addition, you can also use Apple Pay, a Disney Gift Card, or even a Disney Reward Card for payment.

mobile order pickup

As for discounts, at this time only Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Member discounts can be applied to Mobile Orders. The discount should automatically be applied if your membership is linked to your accounts. 

Keep in mind that not every restaurant offers discounts, but having the discount applied automatically definitely takes a bit of the hassle out of the process (and it is something that we wish they could do more of!).

Can you mobile order at Table Service restaurants?

Guess what? Disney now has the option to mobile order at select Table Service restaurants.

This is a brand-new feature that is currently only available at a few of the resort Table Service restaurants:

  • Ale & Compass (Yacht Club)
  • Geyser Point Bar and Grill (Wilderness Lodge)
  • Kona Cafe (Polynesian)
  • Olivia’s Cafe (Old Key West)
  • Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  • Steakhouse 71 (Contemporary)
  • Trattoria al Forno (Boardwalk Inn)
  • Three Bridges Bar & Grill (Coronado Springs)

We don’t expect that they’ll be doing the same for any of the in-park Table Service restaurants.

Table Service Mobile Order works the same as what you find at the Quick Service locations.

Table Service to Go on My Disney Experience

The cost of food at Disney World

One of the most frequent questions we hear is “How much should I plan to spend on food at Disney World?”.

The truth is, from trip to trip and person to person, the food costs will vary widely. Opportunities to save on food at Disney World are just about as plentiful as the opportunities to splurge.

storybook dining

You can go big and eat at Table Service restaurants for every meal, or be a bit more conservative and bring food in with you or eat at less expensive options.

We find that most people do a combination of both.

There are 2 main ways to plan for your food costs: averaging (which is easier) and restaurant by restaurant (which is more accurate, but takes a bit of time).

Average Disney World food costs

If you want an “average” amount to plan for, your best bet is to use the average cost of the Dining Plan credits.

While not perfect, it will give you a rough estimate as to what the average prices at most Table Service and Quick Service restaurants will be.

Note: The Disney Dining Plan is currently unavailable, and the most recent numbers we have are from 2020. With that in mind, we recommend you add 10-15% to the numbers below to cover increased prices.

For 2023 that means you should plan to spend about $19/adult at each Quick Service meal and around $42/adult for Table Service meals. Signature Restaurants will cost about double that.

Kids age 3-9 will be roughly 40-50% of the adult costs.

Restaurant by restaurant

If you’re looking for an even more precise dollar amount, we can help with that, too.

First of all, you can always go to the official pages for each of the restaurants and review the menus. Most will have prices there, so you’ll be able to see exactly what things cost.

Do a mock order for yourself and family, and you’ll get really close to what the final dollar amount will be.

If that sounds too tedious, there is another way.

For years, we have compiled data to help people using the Disney Dining Plan figure out the best values for their credits.

But with the DDP on hiatus, the best values aren’t going to help very much.

But what will help are the average prices for meals at each restaurant. And we’ve got that data, too.

Tipping

If you intend to dine at any of the Table Service restaurants, make sure you budget 15-20% of your bill for tips.

Just the snacks, ma’am

Dole Whips. Mickey Bars. Popcorn. Pretzels. School Bread. Churros. Turkey legs.

There is nothing quite like the array and selection of Disney World snack options in the parks.

street corn

Whatever you’re craving – be it sweet or salty or with a little added alcohol, you’ll have a million (rough estimate) options to choose from.

What is the best snack value?

Everybody wants to know the best value when it comes to snacks, and as much as we’d love to compute that for you, it would be a nightmare to maintain. Menus change constantly. Prices change constantly. And with so many snack options around the park, it would be a full-time job just to maintain that list!

In general, though, you can expect the snacks to run $5.00-$8.00 each. Yes, there are some things that are more and some a bit less, but if you are just trying to plan for how much extra cash you’ll need to budget, those numbers should suffice.

Advanced Dining Reservations at 60 days out

Call ahead seating is something that has become popular across the United States, and Disney has their own version called Advanced Dining Reservations.

Unlike the “before times” when dining reservations were made at 180 days, dining reservations are now available to book online 60 days out.

At that 60 day mark, online reservations for select restaurants open up at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, while the phone lines open up at 7 a.m. Always try the website earlier, but keep the phone number handy if there are issues on the website, or you need to speak to a Cast Member – 407-WDW-DINE. 

Reservations for special dining events and things like dessert parties typically open up at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Staying onsite? Good news! At 60 days out, you’ll be able to book that day plus up to 10 additional days. The ability to book the 10 additional days is one of the perks of staying onsite.

Guests staying offsite that want to book at 60 days will need to log in or call each day at exactly 180 days out to snag their reservations.

How do they work?

Your Advanced Dining Reservation works the same way as call ahead seating. This means it’s not like a traditional reservation where you walk in and are seated almost immediately. In most instances, you’ll still have to wait at least a little bit. And at some places, you’ll wait longer than others (we’re looking at you, ‘Ohana).

Instead, your Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) puts you on the list and guarantees you a seat. Depending on how fast or slow the tables are turning over that day will determine how long your wait is. Disney does a good job, however, of timing things out, so *usually* your wait is around 15-20 minutes.

Do I need reservations to dine at Disney World?

The short answer is yes. If you want to dine at a Table Service restaurant at Disney World, you’ll need to have Advanced Dining reservations. Now, with that being said, you’ll always hear anecdotal stories from people that were able to “walk right up to Be Our Guest and get the best seat in the house.”

These stories are not always based in fact.

If you have your heart set on dining at a particular restaurant and want to have control over what time you eat and not be left with only a few options, please make those Advanced Dining Reservations and make them as soon as your plans are finalized.

Do all Advanced Dining Reservations have to be made 60 days out?

Not all reservations will need to be made at exactly 60 days out, but if there are things that you must do or if you are trying for some of the more popular reservations like any of the character meals or the Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s OR if you have a large group, you’ll want to be ready to make those as soon as your booking window opens.

Walk-up and waitlists

In recent years, Disney has begun adding waitlists for some restaurants.

Waitlists are not available at all restaurants, and which restaurants do offer them can vary from day to day.

To access a waitlist, follow these steps:

  • Open up My Disney Experience, select the “+” at the bottom and select “Check Dining Availability”, then select “now.”
  • You’ll see a list of restaurants that offer a waitlist. It is important to note that you can only join a waitlist once you are near the restaurant.
  • You can select a restaurant to see the estimated wait.
Waitlist

How do I check in for an Advanced Dining Reservation?

If you have a table service reservation, many (but not all!) of the restaurants now allow you to use the My Disney Experience app to check in for that reservation online.

If you have push notifications turned on, you’ll oftentimes receive a message that it is time to check in. You can also go into the My Plans section of the app, navigate to your reservation, and start the process from there.

Note: Sometimes only the lead person on the reservation will be the one with the ability to check in on the app.

When you check in you’ll be able to notify the staff of any allergies, celebrations, or accessibility needs.

At that time, you’ll also let them know how many adults and children are dining. In some instances, you can even add up to 1 additional guest.

Dining Check-In

Try OpenTable

The OpenTable site/app has many non-park Disney World restaurants available to book. That includes restaurants located in the resorts and Disney Springs.

The reason this is especially handy is that many of these restaurants only release a portion of their availability to the regular Disney World dining system, so if you can’t find a reservation through Disney, try OpenTable instead.

Disney World food & allergies (and special dietary concerns)

“Amazing.” “Best experience ever.” “I had no idea it would be this easy.”

All things that people with allergies or other special dietary concerns say when they get to Disney World and experience the customer service provided to them.

From the top down, Disney goes above and beyond to make sure guests traveling with any dietary concerns are safe and well taken care of.

If you’ll be traveling to Disney World and are interested in learning more, the best place to start is at the official Disney World Special Dietary Requests webpage.

Want more information?  Don’t be afraid to check out groups like the Disney Food Allergy Group on Facebook. There you’ll find families sharing their personal experiences, which can be invaluable when trying to plan.

How to save money on Disney World food

Whatever your budget there isn’t anything wrong with trying to save a few dollars.

Dining coupons

Mousesavers keeps a great list of dining coupons that you should check out to see if any of the places you plan to eat have offers available.

Eat breakfast in your room

This is one of our favorite ways to not only save a few bucks, but to also speed up your mornings (so you can get to the fun faster!). If you want to save some money, you should think about eating breakfast in your room.

Getting groceries for your hotel room has never been easier, and that means you can have your favorites on-hand and ready to go when you wake up. Fruit, yogurt, granola bars, cereal, protein shakes – whatever your go-to quick breakfast is at home you can have it in your room, meaning not only will you save money you’ll also save time.

Bring your own water to the parks

This is a super simple way to easily save $15/day for a family of 4. Just bring your own water!

One of the downsides is that it can be heavy to carry several bottles of water, so this works better if your kids are old enough to carry their own OR if you’ll be using a stroller. Or, even better, bring reusable water bottles. Disney has begun installing filling stations in the parks, or, you can just refill with free ice water you get from Quick Service locations.

By simply bringing in a bottle of water for every person in your group, you can save a lot of money that you can then use on other important things like Mickey bars!

Share some meals

Some of the portion sizes for meals at Disney World are quite generous, and that means they can be easily split. If you have light eaters in your family or if you’re just not hungry enough to finish something on your own, then sharing a meal is an easy way to save some money.

Plan Table Service meals for lunch or breakfast

If there are some Table Service meals you’d like to try, you can usually save some money by eating them for lunch or breakfast. This is true even for character meals, as the lunch prices are sometimes less expensive than dinner.

Eat offsite for some meals

Have a car? Not afraid of going outside the “Disney bubble”? You’ll find all sorts of restaurants nearby that will cost a lot less than eating inside the park.

One note of warning: A common scam for resort guests are pizza flyers that get shoved under your door. Oftentimes these pizza places are just people trolling for your debit and credit card info – you place an order over the phone, give them your payment info, but no pizza ever shows up. Avoid those scams by only using outside vendors recommended by Disney.

More Disney Dining info

Disney Dining Plan (Currently unavailable)

Important note: The Disney Dining Plan is currently unavailable. Disney has announced that it would return – but at this time, we have no idea on what that timeline might be.

If you are the kind of person that feels better knowing their Disney World food costs before they go, then one of the Disney Dining Plans might be for you.

Is it the most cost-effective? Sometimes. But for some people, knowing the cost upfront allows them to relax on vacation and takes the stress out of their trip.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, we have a huge post all about the Disney Dining Plan (including the best use of your credits) that can help you decide if it is right for you.

Tables in Wonderland card (Currently unavailable)

Important note: The Tables in Wonderland card is unavailable, and Disney has made no mention of its return.

In the past, Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club owners, and Florida residents had the option to purchase the Tables in Wonderland card which gave a 20% discount on food and alcohol as well as giving you free valet parking. This card worked at more than 100 restaurants at Disney World.

Related News

Ellen Tennis

Thursday 30th of May 2019

I super hope you do the air conditioning dining guide!