A First Timer’s Guide To FOOD at Walt Disney World

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Navigating all the ins and outs of Walt Disney World can be tricky – there’s a LOT that can go into planning a WDW vacation, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Luckily – us here at Chip and Co are ready to help you plan and prepare for the most amazing vacation you’ll ever have!

There are a lot of parts to a Disney vacation, and I recently wrote about one of the tricky ones – choosing a Resort, and today I want to talk about another one that can be tricky but is VERY important – and that is FOOD! Ok, so you might be thinking, what’s tricky about food? You’re hungry, you eat, right? Well, if only it were that simple…read on to see how you can prepare for the feasts that await you at WDW:

Do Your Research: Part of the fun of going on a vacation is researching and planning it – reading all about the different things to do/see/eat – am I right?? Ok, well, maybe everyone doesn’t love planning as much as I do – but fellow foodies can agree with me on this one – food research can be really fun! Start here on Chip and Co’s Dining section, and check out all the amazing dining spots that WDW has to offer. Researching menus and restaurants and cuisine types is especially important for those families dealing with food allergies, intolerances, or picky eaters – there’s nothing worse than sitting down to a nice meal in a fancy restaurant only to find out you or your kids can’t (or won’t!) eat anything on the menu. Disney is great about dealing with allergies and other special requests – and you can always call before your trip to learn more about a specific dining location

Make Those ADR’s: Once you have done some research, you’ll want to pick which table service restaurants you want to eat at during your trip. Once you have that list ready, and if your trip is less than 6 months away, then you can go online and make your Advance Dining Reservations (or ADR’s) for your trip. An ADR is similar to a “call ahead” for a restaurant table – when you arrive at your allotted time, you are put on the list for the next available table. It might not seem like a big deal, but ADR spots for popular restaurants fill up FAST – like REALLY FAST. Learn more about the importance of ADR’s here

DDP Or Not To DDP: DDP stands for Disney Dining Plan, and in a nutshell, it’s a way to prepay for some or all of your Disney meals/snacks. It is a great option for a lot of people, and you will want to look at the different types and options to see if it might work for you. Learn more about the DDP here to determine if it’s something that you might want to add to your Disney trip. I have used it several times and LOVE it – it’s so easy to use, and not having to spend as much money while at Disney is always a good thing to me!

Try Something New: When most people think of “theme park food”, things like chicken nuggets, burgers, and fries (and other fried things!) come to mind – generic, not very good tasting or good for you food is what we have come to expect from your average amusement park. Disney is breaking that stereotype though – by offering fresh & unique meals and treats throughout WDW. From fresh salads to handcrafted sandwiches, 5 star dinners, and cuisines from around the world: French, Moroccan, Italian, Mexican, Irish – and many more – Disney has it all when it comes to food. So I encourage you to step out of your food comfort zone and try something new – after all, you ARE on vacation!

Plan To Eat At “Off” Times: If you’re willing/able to be more flexible with your meal schedule, you’ll have better luck getting ADR’s at popular restaurants, and you’ll also encounter shorter lines and not have to search for tables at counter service locations too. Generally, the noon hour is the busiest at most places – so try to avoid that, and if you can eat an early or late dinner (ie – before 5 or after 6), you’ll have a much easier time getting your food

Dining at Disney is truly an experience like none other – and you’ll definitely want to follow my tips and tricks in order to make the most of your vacation meals!


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Catie Hiltz is an avid Walt Disney World lover who has been vacationing there since she was tall enough to ride Space Mountain. She believes there is something for everyone at WDW-and especially writing about the benefits of vacationing there as an adult
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