Dining at Walt Disney World can be a wonderful experience. There are dozens of outstanding table service restaurants and many more counter service venues many of which are also quite good. I’m not going to talk about particular restaurants or even the Disney Dining Plans, I’ll leave that to your judgment. What I am going to talk about are the different approaches to dining that we have tried in the past and give a very basic opinion of each.
- Table Service/Signature Emphasis – At times we have loaded our vacation with ADR’s at the Table Service and Signature Restaurants. If you truly love good food and excellent service, this is a very rewarding approach. There are some drawbacks though. Table service ADR’s are not only very expensive but they are also ‘time hogs”. If you are traveling with kids, getting the young ones to sit still for a table service meal can be a challenge depending on ages and degrees of exhaustion.
- Counter Service Only – There are definite benefits to this approach. Costs are absolutely much lower and you can eat in a sort of “on the run” mode so the heavy time constraints of table service restaurants are eliminated. Another plus is, you are not required to be in a certain place at a certain time because counter service restaurants do not use the ADR system. The MAJOR drawback with this plan – although many of these venues are quite good, overall they are uninspiring. Variety, by necessity, is somewhat limited and a relaxing meal is pretty much impossible.
- Combining Counter (daytime) and Table Service (evening) – Like most things, variety maximizes your experience. I absolutely believe that at least one table service meal per day is essential. It gives you the time and place to relax and reconnect with everyone in the traveling party. Let’s face it, when you are in the parks it’s go-go-go all day long and an evening table service meal gives you a chance to take a breather. You don’t have to limit yourself to one table service/day, and we don’t, the one per day is a minimum. Costs are higher than with the counter service strategy but can be managed.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to approach dining on your vacation. Make your choices and no matter which approach you choose enjoy your food. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Help with Disney Dining Questions (chipandco.com)
- Disney Dining Plan or Deluxe Disney Dining Plan… Which To Choose? (chipandco.com)