Disney World provides guests with scads of yummy restaurant options. In the last three years that I have visited, I have ate my way through all the parks and resorts, too. So whether you prefer a hardy sit down meal or just a quick bite, you have so many venues to choose from. Keep reading, to learn a few great tips on how to get the most out of your Disney World dining experience. You’ll be glad you did!
The 6 Best Disney World Dining Tips
1. Bring Your Own Cooler
Although it wasn’t always the case, DW allows you to bring your own cooler into the park. This is a good way to cut down on the cost of lunch or dinner, if you prefer eating light. Avoid packing highly-perishable foods. Food poisoning is no fun, especially when you’re on vacation.
Please note, the only glass containers allowed in the park are baby food jars. Absolutely no alcoholic beverages and if you’re planning to eat and animal kingdom… no straws allowed!
2. Advanced Dining Reservations
Choosing accommodations at one of Disney World’s on-site resorts means you can book dining reservations at least 180 days in advance. If you have your heart set on specific restaurants, you definitely want to take advantage of this perk. Even during value season, it’s extremely hard to walk into a full-service restaurant and expect to get seated.
If you absolutely don’t want to make reservations, you have the best chance of getting seated at one of the following restaurants:
- Tusker House (Animal Kingdom)
- Rain forest Café (Animal Kingdom)
- California Grill Lounge (Contemporary Resort)
- Monsieur Paul (Epcot – France)
- Tokyo Dining (Epcot – Japan)
There are other options as well. This is one of those areas where it really pays to do your research before you leave home. You can check out Restaurant Meal Prices to have a look at restaurant menus, prices, deals, and discounts before you go. You know you want to!
3. Membership Discounts
A surprising number of people are unaware that they can save money on Disney World dining costs when they’re affiliated with certain organizations or offerings. This includes AAA, AARP, Disney Visa cardholders, Disney World annual pass holders and Disney World Vacation Club members.
4. Forgo the Extras
Most of the counter-service restaurants only list complete meals on the menu. However, if you ask, you can typically order anything a la carte. So, if you just want a sandwich, a sandwich is all you pay for. Yay!
5. Save on Beverages
One bottle of water at Disney World costs a fortune. But, there are easy ways to get around that. Save money and help Mother Nature at the same time by purchasing reusable bottles with filters. There are plenty of places around the park to refill them.
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If you’re ok with the taste of Florida water, all of the DW counter-service restaurants provide guests with free ice water, upon request. You can always jazz it up a bit with on-the-go packets of Crystal Light or similar product.
Are you staying at a Disney resort? All of them offer a great deal on mugs, which can be refilled with hot chocolate, coffee, ice tea and Coca-Cola products, at any resort beverage station. At the time of this writing, mugs are $18 plus tax. Think of all the money you’ll save!
6. Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan isn’t for everyone. But, it’s certainly worth mentioning. It’s an option for guests who book their Disney vacation using Disney Vacation Club points or purchase a Magic Your Way Package.
This pre-paid meal voucher system, available in three tiers, provides each person with meals throughout the day… fast food, sit-down choices and snacks. Not every restaurant participates. However, the majority do.
These are just a few Disney World dining tips to help you save both money and frustration. Remember, eating in the park doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s all a matter of how you plan!