Dining at Disney!

Know Before You Go!! 

About to dive into Macadamia Nut Pancakes at Kona Cafe!

  • Walt Disney World has more than 140 restaurants on property! That leaves many choices so its important to know a few things before deciding where to dine!
  • 3 Dining Categories to Choose From:
    1. Table Service - There are around 90 "sit down" restaurants located in the resorts as well as the theme parks!
      • You can find anything from a casual, shorts and tee shirt kind of restaurant to a super fancy signature dining experience!
      • Reservations: It is HIGHLY recommended you make reservations ahead of time, meaning 180 days prior to your trip! This can be done on your MyDisneyExperience App or site.
      • Credit Cards: You will need a credit card to hold your reservation. There will be a $10/per person cancellation fee if you do not cancel within 24 hours of your reservation time. Only one person in the party needs to show up to avoid the fee if you cannot cancel it in time or if not everyone in your party.
      • You can pay the bill with cash, credit card or charge your Magic Band.
      • Dress Code: There are a handful of restaurants that require "business casual" attire which includes dress slacks (or dress shorts) with a collared shirt for mens or a dress, jeans, skirts or dress shorts with a blouse or sweater for women. Restaurants requiring this are:
        1. Jiko - The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House)
        2. California Grill at the Contemporary
        3. Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort
        4. Narcoosee's at the Grand Floridian Resort
        5. Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk
        6. Yachtsman Steakhouse at teh Yacht Club Resort
        7. Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge
      • Tipping:  Plan on tipping your server 18-20% of the pre-tax portion of the bill, this includes people on the Dining Plan using credits. An 18% gratuity will already be added for parties of 6 or more (babies are included and it doesn't matter if you have seperate checks).
      • The following dining experiences will include 18% gratuity:
        1. Cinderella's Royal Table
        2. Hoop-Dee-Doo Review
        3. Spirit of Aloha Luau
        4. Mickey's Backyard BBQ
        5. In-Room Dining
        6. Pizza Delivery
      • Tables in Wonderland: This is a card you can purchase that will give you 20% off your bill yet it adds 18% gratuity to your bill so it basically covers your tip plus 2% at several restaurants throughout the parks, resorts and Disney Springs. House of Blues in Disney Springs does not add a tip to the Tables in Wonderland though so be sure to double check before you leave.
      • The top 5 MOST DIFFICULT RESERVATIONS to get are:
        1. Cinderella's Royal Table in the Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom
        2. Be Our Guest in the Beast's Castle at Magic Kingdom
        3. Victoria and Albert's at the Grand Floridian Resort
        4. Ohaha at the Polynesian Resort
        5. Chef Mickey's at the Grand Floridian Resort
      • Cancellation TIP:  If something comes up short notice where you cannot make your reservation, go into your app and modify it vs cancelling it. Push the reservation out to a time you can find getting you out of the 24 hour window. Don't forget to go back in to cancel the new date. This will not work if you are within a couple of hours of your time! 
      • Dining Plan Tip #1: You can use a table service credit at a quick service location if you have one leftover. This is a terrible value but if you don't want to waste it you can use it. 
      • Dining Plan Tip #2: You can split meals to save credits. Not everyone eating has to use a credit!
    2. Quick Service - These are the restaurants where you order at the counter or via Mobile Ordering on the MyDisneyExperience App.
      • Money Saving Tip #1: The kids meals include a side or two plus a drink therefore I typically will order one for myself. They are usually pretty descent sized portions and it will save you money  if you are not a huge eater! 
      • Money Saving Tip #2: All quick service restaurants will give you free cups of ice water so don't spend money on bottled water!  You can get cups of ice water and pour it in a water bottle to keep in your bag for later. 
      • Dining Plan Tip #1: If you are using credits on the dining plan you can order the kids an adult meal and have them share to save credits!
      • Dining Plan Tip #2: A refillable mug is included with the dining plan. If you order a KIDS MEAL at a resort get your drink from the drink station plus you can get a water or juice from the cooler to take with you! 
      • Dining Plan Tip #3: You can exchange one quick service credit for three snack service credits. This has to be done in the same transaction so you have to choose all 3 snacks from the same location. This must be done at quick service locations; not kiosks.
    3. Snacks - Found almost everywhere! You will see a symbol that looks like this:   Image result for snack credit symbol disney
      1. This is only important if you are on the Dining Plan which I will go into later!
      2. Dining Plan Tip: If you have leftover snack credits at the end of your trip you can go to a  gift shop of your resort or park and buy bagged snacks to take home with you!