Avoid These Top Disney Dining Mistakes

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CP Pooh

There’s a lot of delicious Walt Disney World Restaurants to choose from – and since there are so many, you could easily get overwhelmed trying to figure out where to eat or which places to make Advance Dining Reservations for – but don’t worry if the experience has you anxious – because I have some helpful hints to help get you ready for one of the best parts of a WDW vacation – the EATING!

Here are the top Disney Dining mistakes that you will want to AVOID AT ALL COSTS:

“Oh, we don’t need dining reservations – there are tons of places to eat – we’ll just wing it!” – It’s true that you won’t ever go hungry at WDW – but don’t expect to waltz into Chef Mickey’s at 6pm and get a table (not gonna happen). It’s not necessary to plan every single meal out in advance, but it is smart to make reservations as soon as possible at the table service restaurants you know you will want to eat at. The vast majority of WDW restaurants just don’t do “walk ups” anymore – the Parks are too crowded and most people utilize the online dining reservation system, so best bet on making sure you get that character meal or buffet in is to make your Advance Dining Reservation as soon as you can. Which brings me to my next point…

“We don’t need to make ADR’s right at the 180 mark! We’ll have plenty of time!” – Ok – seriously untrue. Now I realize that it may seem nuts that Disney opens up the ability to make a reservation for a meal a whole 6 months in advance of your trip – but they do, and people take advantage of it – and so should you! Popular meals book up fast – like really fast, within minutes of the website/phones opening up for reservations, so not only should you be making your ADR’s at the 180 day mark, but you should be prepared to get up early, with a list of first picks and backups, and be willing to eat at weird times in case your normal meal time isn’t available. Speaking of times…

Don’t try and eat a “quick lunch” right at 12 noon – Just don’t. It will only result in tantrums, breakdowns, and overall mayhem. The lines start to get long at most Park Counter Service restaurants around 11, and usually the feeding frenzy doesn’t let up until 1pm or so. If you can manage to skip lunch during these times you will be much better off – grab a later breakfast or a snack to tide you over, and then plan to have lunch later in the day

Don’t waste your Dining Plan Snack Credits – This is an easy offense to commit, especially when it’s hot out and you forgot your water bottle and go to buy one and think “oh I can just use a snack credit!”. You’re better off paying cash for the water – or banana, or apple, or chips, or muffin – basically anything under $3 is not worth wasting a snack credit on – try and stick to the items that are in the higher $4 to $5 range – you’ll get your money’s worth that way! Read more about how to optimize your snack credits here

Don’t Play It Safe – Try Something New! – Sure, you can spend your whole vacation eating typical “theme park food” – burgers, chicken fingers, fries, soda, and other deep-fried delicacies – but why not take this chance to try something different? African, Chinese, German, fresh seafood, sushi and so much more is all prepared fresh daily throughout the Parks – so go ahead and be adventurous! Oh, and don’t worry – if you have picky eaters in your family who don’t like the menu or don’t end up liking what they order – you can usually talk to the cast member waiting on you and have something else brought out for them (this IS Disney, after all!)

Follow these Dining tips and you won’t just get fed, but you’ll get to enjoy all that the world of Disney Food has to offer (which is a LOT – trust me!)


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