12 August 2011

Top Ten Disney Dining Tips

My top 10 tips for Dining at Disney World!

Le Cellier Steakhouse
1. Make Advanced Dining Reservations
Making Advanced Dining Reservations is one of the most important tips. If you have restaurants that are on your must do list or are in high demand, like Le Cellier Steakhouse, then make sure to make them at 180 days out if you are visiting Walt Disney World and 60 days out if your are visiting Disneyland. Even during slow season this is important and especially when Disney offers free dining.

2. Take Into Account Park Hours and Extra Magic Hours
Walt Disney World posts their park hours including parades and nighttime entertainment six months in advance. By looking into park hours and what park has extra magic hours when can really help you coordinate your dining.

Todd English's bluezoo
3. Get the Disney Dining Plan 
The Disney Dining Plan can save you plenty of money and makes your vacation stress free. By having everything but gratuity and alcohol paid for up front there is much less to worry about. The plans cans ave you up to 35% off depending on your families eating style. In recent years Disney has offered free dining as a promotion at various times throughout the year. If your interested in this promotion let your travel agent know so they can notify you when Disney releases these promotions.

4. Look for Discounts
There are other ways to save on dining besides the Disney Dining Plan. You can find many other dining discounts available. One that is great for Annual Passholders and Florida Residents is Tables in Wonderland. This saves you 20% off at select restaurant locations.

Another great option is Restaurants.com. They often have restaurants that are around Walt Disney World and even some that are on Disney property like Todd English's bluezoo and Kimonos, located at Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin.

Via Napoli
5. Eat at Less Popular Restaurants
There are some great restaurants that often get overlooked and are hidden gems. Give one of these restaurants or one of the new restaurants a try. By doing this you'll enjoy something new and dine in a quieter restaurant. You'll also find these restaurants to be easier to get an Advanced Dining Reservation at. Who knows you might find a new favorite!

6. Eat Your Meals Later
When deciding when to eat consider a later meal time. This way you're more likely to get a reservation and your meals falls right before the next so you'll save money. Here are some suggested dining times: Breakfast - 10 or 11 a.m., Lunch - 2 or 3 p.m. and Dinner - 8 p.m. or later.

7. Contact Disney with Special Dietary Needs
Disney is excellent at accommodating food allergies, intolerance and special dietary needs. Make sure to contact Disney before traveling so they can make sure they have everything they need to accommodate your request. Once arriving at the restaurant ask to speak to either the chef or manager to make sure everything is the way it needs to be for you to enjoy a wonderful meal. Check out the Special Diet Dining section.

8. Do Your Homework
If you've been to the Disney Parks you know the important of doing your research. With more than 150 dining locations it can be overwhelming if you don't. Check out restaurant menus, read reviews and trip reports, ask questions on Disney fan forums and check the Disney Dining FAQ.

By researching the restaurants you can find which ones have food you and your family enjoy, make sure there is something for that picky eater in your family, find which restaurants already have menu items to accommodate special diets, and more.

This will also help you with figuring out how long it's going to take you to get to the restaurant from your resort, the parks or Downtown Disney. You'll want to figure in the 15 minutes that you need to arrive before your ADR.

9. Theme Parks for Breakfast
Considering making your ADRs for breakfast in the theme park at the earliest available time. This will give you the opportunity to see the park with little to no guests in it. One of the perks to this, great pictures without 100s of people in your photo. Another plus to this is that once the park opens you'll already be there and ready to hit the attractions.

10. Bring Bottled Water
The water in Orlando is awful if you aren't used to it. If you bring your own you won't have to worry about buying bottles of water in the park, which can get expensive when you need to stay hydrated in the hot Florida sun. I recommend getting a small soft cooler that will fit into your backpack, one that is large enough to hold three or four bottles. Something a lot of people do is bring packs of drink mix, like Crystal Light, to add to their water so they don't feel like they've been drinking plain water all day.

BONUS: Check out the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. It's offers samples of food, wine and spirits from around the world. More than 25 countries are represented in the Marketplaces and there are several opportunities to attend special events, culinary demonstrations and wine seminars. It's a must-do for anyone who enjoys food and drinks!

Do you have a tip for dining at Walt Disney World or Disneyland? I'd love to hear them! Please feel free to share in the comment section below.

Disney Babies Blog


  1. Great Tips! We use a lot of them!

  2. Doing my homework about the different Disney restaurants really paid off on our last two trips. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Good tips! We're hoping to go to Disney again in early 2012, and I'm already starting to figure out where we want to eat. :)

  4. Dining planning has always been my favorite part or the pre-trip! Thanks for your sound advice :D

  5. As a mom of three kids who all like different foods, doing my homework is a must when finding new spots to eat. Luckily, we have been able to stick to a lot of buffets, which gives us food for all. Also, I agree about the water! We stock up at the local grocery store (we rent a car) and it saves us a lot of money. Plus, having a dehydrated child is no fun for anyone in the group! :-)

  6. Orlando water is awful and so is anything made with it - like fountain sodas, iced tea, and brewed coffee purchased in the parks or the resorts. We really didn't want to schlep around bottles of water, though, so we found that adding the drink mix packets to the water fountain water was the best compromise. I think a kiwi or lemonade flavor - like Propel - did the best job of making the water palatable. Also, it tastes better cold, so it was better to refill a water bottle from the fountain (which chills the water), add the drink mix, and drink it while it was cold. Then fill it up again later on. Less to carry, in expensive, and we stayed well hydrated.


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