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6 Points to Understanding the Differences Between Disney Table Service and Quick Service Dining

It’s time to make those Disney World dining reservations, but as you browse restaurants you come across Table Service and Quick Service dining experiences. So, what’s the difference and which one do you choose? Wonder no more! Here’s what you need to know to understand Disney’s Table Service vs. Quick Service.


1 – Atmosphere

It seems like anywhere we step foot on Disney World property we are in awe of the atmosphere and different themes around us! The first notable difference in a Table Service vs. a Quick Service dining experience is just that… the atmosphere. At a Table Service restaurant, you can expect to be seated at a table and waited on by a Cast Member which tends to provide a more relaxed sense to the atmosphere. It’s a great place to unwind and take your time while you dine. With Quick Service, the experience is all in the name! It’s a quick meal which can be taken on the run or you can find a table/space to eat on a first come first serve basis. Table Service restaurants are listed with Disney under these categories: Buffet/Family Style, Casual Dining, Character Dining, Dining Events, Dessert Events, Dinner Shows, Fine/Signature Dining, and Unique/Themed Dining. Quick Service restaurant categories are under the categories: Counter Service, Fast Casual, and Food Truck. Enough experiences to meet everyone’s needs!

Sci-Fi Dine in Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Sci-Fi Dine in Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

2 – Reservations

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the reservation window is sixty days.

If you aren’t a planner (it’s cool – sometimes we are spontaneous too!), Quick Service locations will become your new best friend. With Quick Service, any guest is welcome to walk up and order a meal. You don’t have to worry about waiting long or being turned away. Table Service restaurants recommend making advanced dining reservations (180-days in advance of when you plan to dine). Many Table Service restaurants fill quickly, particularly during the busy season. If you don’t have a reservation, you may still be able to eat at a Table Service restaurant with a period of waiting, once again depending on the crowds.

3 – Ordering

How a guest orders and receives food is different between Table Service and Quick Service locations. A Table Service guest will be seated and asked to order from a menu with their Cast Member/server. The food will then be delivered to the table as you enjoy time chatting with your traveling party/family. With Quick Service, guests wait in line and approach a window or counter to place their order. You then wait until your food is brought to the counter (quick – like a fast food joint). After food is delivered you can begin the fun part of finding a table or place to rest while eating! Sometimes this can be tricky during busy seasons, so side tip – dine at odd times in the day (2 pm lunch for example).


4 – Let’s Eat!

Table Service or Quick Service – Disney food is delicious just about anywhere you dine! At Table Service restaurants, however, guests can expect more food selections, a heavier meal, and typically a tastier one. With that being said, some of our very favorite food comes from Quick Service locations. The light, on the go meals served at Quick Service places, are sometimes exactly what seems to hit the spot!

5 – Budget

A great balance between Table Service and Quick Service is a good way to watch the budget. Our daily meal plan usually goes – breakfast in the room, Quick Service for lunch, and Table Service for dinner. Of course, we change it up on occasion so we can enjoy the restaurants we’d like within the vacation schedule we’ve planned. Guests will spend more time and money at a Table Service restaurant than they would at a Quick Service location. Table Service restaurants also request gratuity while there is no need for a tip at a Quick Service spot. On the dining plan? Be sure you are aware of how many credits are allotted per day on your Dining Plan for Quick Service and Table Service locations. You wouldn’t want to use too many or too little credits!

Breakfast with Mickey and friends at Chef Mickey's

Breakfast with Mickey and friends at Chef Mickey’s

6 – Experience

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, character greetings are temporarily suspended. Only Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace’s Breakfast a la Art, Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine, and Garden Grill offer modified character dining experiences. 

With the budget mentioned above, we also suggest you keep in mind that you are paying for an experience while dining at a Table Service location. Breakfast in the room or snagging something from Quick Service is a great budget saver, but a Table Service location such as breakfast at Chef Mickey’s provides a huge buffet of excellent food with some of our favorite characters! The old saying is true most of the time for Table Service vs. Quick Service… you get what you pay for!

We have favorite places to eat at both Table Service and Quick Service restaurants. Which one we decide to go with all depends on what fits the budget and schedule. Have a magical visit to Disney World – and enjoy your meal!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


About Mike & Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire as many MagicBands as possible while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 13 years and are blessed with two children - our 8-year-old daughter and soon to be 2-year-old son. As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.