We all want the most out of our Disney vacation as possible. Many guests save up for months or even years to take their family on their dream Disney vacation. This means that you want to see and do as much as you can while you are there. Dining can be a great way to help save you time, and you can use dining to your advantage, so you don’t spend all of your time eating. Here are my top 8 tips for saving time while enjoying Disney dining:
Editor’s Note: We understand that with the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, some of the advice in this article may not apply if you visit while park hours are reduced, capacity limits and physical distancing are in place, and some of our favorite experiences—fireworks, parades, and character greetings—are temporarily suspended. (You can read everything you need to know about the phased reopening by clicking here). We will continue to share articles that give guidance on a “normal” vacation to Walt Disney World, along with any special changes or instructions you may need to be aware of during the phased reopening to provide the best tips we can regardless of when you are visiting. ~ Chad & Cindy
8 – Plan in advance.
Planning for any vacation is always a good idea! You definitely want to make sure that you plan your Dining spots in advance, even quick-service locations. This will help you in making your reservations and putting your plans together so that you have everything organized and ready to go.
7 – Dine on Disney property.
This can definitely save you a lot of time. You don’t want to have to leave property, find somewhere to eat, and then make your way back. It is definitely advisable to do most of your dining on Disney property. There is so much fantastic food to enjoy and so many different restaurants to experience that you will be so glad that you ate on property.
6 – Make dining reservations.
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the booking window is 60 days.
You definitely don’t want to be stuck waiting for an hour or longer to get in somewhere for a meal. That is precious Disney time that you could spend enjoying all of the attractions and magic. If you know that there are table service meals you want to experience, then definitely make reservations. Try to make them as early as possible so that you have a better chance of getting your desired times that won’t coincide with fireworks, parades, or other shows that you want to see.
5 – Arrive 15 minutes early.
Make sure that you arrive 15 minutes early for your reservation. They may be able to get you seated a little early, too, which would save you a little time. At least make sure that you arrive on time, or you could get put behind other parties that have checked in before you or have showed up a little early. You don’t want anyone to get ahead of you; that shouldn’t since that means longer that you are waiting and not out enjoying the parks.
4 – Discuss next plans over the meal.
Spend a little bit of time at your meal, planning your next stop and where your party is headed. This gives you a little bit of time in the air conditioning to cool off and get organized for the following attractions that you plan to hit. Don’t spend too much time on this that it takes away from the dining experience and the magic that is happening around you, but at least spend a few minutes making sure you know where you are heading next. It will save you time when you get moving again.
3 – Plan character dining experiences.
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, character greetings are temporarily suspended. Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood & Vine, Topolino’s Terrace’s Breakfast a la Art, and The Garden Grill at Epcot offer a modified experience.
If you love the characters but don’t want to spend the time waiting in line, then definitely book character dining options. You get to enjoy a delicious meal and still meet many of your favorite characters. It can save you a lot of time and helps keep your kids engaged in the dining experience, too! We find this is a great way to still be immersed in the magic but getting a bit of a break from all the walking while we refuel.
2 – Make the most of buffets.
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, buffets are either closed or the food is brought to your table.
There are many “all you care to enjoy” restaurants across Walt Disney World. If you make good use of them, it can help you skip meals later in the day. This will help save you time and money… double win! Depending on your eating preferences, you could approach it a couple of ways. You could go for a big breakfast then eat light the rest of the day. You could make the midday meal your large meal, especially since it helps you beat the heat and the crowds. You could also eat light most of the day and then have a big dinner to rest before the evening shows and events.
1 – Consider restaurants with fireworks views.
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, fireworks are temporarily suspended.
There are restaurants at the monorail resorts where you can actually see the fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant from the restaurant. The music is piped into the restaurant so that you can hear the music to the show as the fireworks are going off. You still get to enjoy the fireworks while you dine, which is killing two birds with one stone! It is a great way to really be in two places at once! We love these experiences and find them to be a really comfortable and less crowded way to enjoy the experiences.
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