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Disney World Planning Basics: Dining Options

A big part of many people’s Disney World vacation is all the delicious food to eat! There are so many dining options (literally hundreds), it can be overwhelming! So here are some of the things that I do when planning where to eat on my trips.

At about seven months before my vacation, I start researching the table service restaurants where I would like to book an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR – Disney World’s version of a reservation). You can book ADRs 180 days in advance and some of the most popular restaurants and character meals fill up very quickly, even the first day they are available! A great place to start your research is Disney World’s official website. On this page you can filter your search by location, type of cuisine, guest rating and cost. This site offers basic information about each restaurant including the current menu and prices. Once I have narrowed my options down, I like to check out The Disney Food Blog. This unofficial fan site is amazing! They have incredible photos, reviews, menus and other guest comments to read, to help you make your final decisions. Then at exactly 180 days out, I go back to Disney World’s website to make my Advanced Dining Reservations.

I like to research counter service restaurant options (places that don’t accept reservations) before my trips as well. If you haven’t been to Disney World before, it is not like a typical amusement park, where you find basically the same food at every restaurant. Even Disney World’s counter service restaurants have lots of variety from place to place. When I travel to Disney World, I am usually traveling with a group and it always includes my young kids. Everyone knows how hard it is to make a decision in the spur of the moment with lots of people including hungry kids! So before our trips, our whole group likes to discuss possible places to eat. Again The Disney Food Blog is our go-to website to figure this out. We check out the photos, menus, reviews and comments to get an idea of where we might like to eat in each park and make a list. That way when everyone in our group is hungry, we just check our list and head to the nearest counter service restaurant we have already preselected. It saves so much time and energy!

How about you? How do you go about choosing where to eat in Disney World? Please leave a comment!

3 comments on “Disney World Planning Basics: Dining Options

  1. I am not a planner, just like to wing it, as far as food is concerned. But I do spend hours looking at the counter service options, always good to have an idea of what you might order. I do love the salads at Backlot Express, in HWS.

  2. Planning for the first meal of the day and the last meal works well. A big Breakfast or a special Character event meal. But during the day timing can change quickly due to weather, ride lines, breakdowns, etc. so those meals are more general in timing even if you have a place in mind.

  3. I have basically lived at WDW since I was about 7. I have some personal favorites of course that are my go to places. I personally really like Harbor House at the Magic Kingdom.

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