The insider guide to Disney Dining


Eloise Barker

Photography by ©Disney

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April 2018

Thanks to Disney Dining, you don’t have to worry about feeding the family in Walt Disney World Resort if you're staying on site. These great value plans let you eat across many of the resort restaurants, whether you’re seeking that Lady and the Tramp spaghetti moment, a spread worthy of the Mad Hatter, or a seat at the Beast’s table.

What’s the best Disney Dining Plan to choose?

Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan

The lowdown: Perfect if your family prefers casual dining, this plan includes two quick service meals at up to 50 locations.

Top tip: Disney are doing their bit for healthier kids’ meals – look out for the green tick that denotes the ‘Mickey Check’.

Where: This plan is included in your stay at any of the Disney Moderate Resorts, like Disney’s Port Orleans Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Other guests can upgrade to this plan for an additional fee.

Disney Dining Plan

The lowdown: This plan includes one quick service and one waiter service meal per day, so you can choose whether to spend more time on lunch or dinner. You can also choose to dine in one of Disney's Signature Restaurants, which require you to redeem two waiter service meals per person. This plan is available at up to 100 locations.

Top tip: Book table service meals ahead of your Disney holiday – you can book up to 180 days in advance using the Disney Reservation Center.

Where: This plan is included in your stay at any of the Disney Deluxe Resorts, like Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Other guests can upgrade to this plan for an additional fee.

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

The lowdown: This plan offers the greatest variety and choice throughout your stay. You can choose three quick-service or three waiter service meals every day, at up to 100 locations.

Top tip: Remember to budget for tipping the staff on what you would have paid. A gratutity will usually be added to your bill.

Where: You can upgrade to the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan for an additional fee.

  • Be Our Guest Restaurant, Magic Kingdom Park.

    Waiter service

    Choose a waiter service meal for your lunch or dinner with the Disney Dining Plan. Disney's Contemporary Resort package includes free Disney Dining* and Disney's 14 day Ultimate ticket. £2597 pp

    Book a stay
  • Satu'li Canteen, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

    Dig in

    Try the ‘steamed cheeseburger pods’ at Satu’li Canteen – Bao Buns with an American twist. Disney's Animal Kingdom package includes free Disney Dining* and Disney's 14 Day Ultimate Ticket.£1712 pp

    Book a stay
  • Whispering Canyon Café, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

    Whaddya want?

    Be careful what you wish for at Whispering Canyon – the servers have a few tricks up their sleeves… Stay in a Disney Deluxe Resort and take advantage of free Disney Dining*.£2924 pp

    Book a stay

Where to go for waiter service at Walt Disney World

’Ohana

Time to learn a new word: churrascaria. Beloved Hawaiian-inspired restaurant ’Ohana is known for it: all you can eat chicken, shrimp and steak served on gigantic skewers. This marching meat forest comes straight to your table. Eat ‘all you care to enjoy’, plus look out for character breakfasts with Lilo and Stitch, and the occasional fire show.

The best bit: Try the pineapple and coconut bread to start but go easy – there’s a whole buffet to come.

Where: Find it in the tropical premises of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. You can eat at the Walt Disney Resort restaurants even if you aren’t staying there.

How to get it: This restaurant is available on the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan as a table service meal.

The BOATHOUSE

The BOATHOUSE Disney Springs is one of the new Disney Springs restaurants and it’s got a perfect waterside setting. Sit outside on balmy Florida nights and look out at the lights across the lake.

The best bit: The famous baked Alaska, with its graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallows, is roughly the size of a glacier and would serve four hungry mountaineers.

Where: One of the new, exciting openings at Disney Springs, you’ll find The BOATHOUSE on The Landing, by the water.

How to get it: Tables are available on the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. This is one of Disney’s signature restaurants, so you’ll need to use two table service meals per person to eat here.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Step into the Beast’s chandeliered castle for one of the most beloved, standout experiences at Disney. Be Our Guest is one of the biggest of the Magic Kingdom Park restaurants. In this family-friendly eatery the suits of armour talk – but the gargoyles at the entrance prefer to grimace. If you choose a table in the West Wing, prepare for its stormy setting and lots of other diners (and maybe even the Beast himself) poking their head in to look at the room.

The best bit: The fillet mignon is one of the best in the resort.

Where: Set in the Beast’s castle, across a moat, up a mountain, in a special corner of Fantasyland in the heart of Magic Kingdom Park.

How to get it: Be Our Guest restaurant is available on all three Disney Dining Plans for different meals. You can get table service at dinner or a quick-service lunch. You’ll wait across the bridge for your table to be ready.

Coral Reef Restaurant

Among the Epcot restaurants, Coral Reef is good value – and a little different. Tables are next to the glass wall of Epcot’s massive aquarium, so you can dine ‘under the sea’. The Seas aquarium is a massive ecosystem, home to 4,000 creatures – including sea turtles (and the restaurant provides tables with a sea life guide). If you don’t get a table near enough to Nemo for your liking (not all are near the glass), then riding the Finding Nemo ride next door gives you another view of the tank.

The best bit: Is that…. Is that a scuba diver? Not on your plate, silly – swimming past the window. Visitors can dive in the tank for an extra fee.

Where: Hidden at the back of Future World, Epcot.

How to get it: This restaurant is available on the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan as a table service meal.

  • The BOATHOUSE, Disney Springs.

    The Captain’s Table

    At The BOATHOUSE, pick from the raw bar, the sea and the shore – whatever floats your boat. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort package includes free Disney Dining* and Disney's 14 Day Ultimate Ticket.£2478 pp

    Book a stay

Where to eat breakfast at Walt Disney World

Chef Mickey’s

Centred around the sleek monorail station, Disney’s Contemporary Resort looks as futuristic as Epcot's Future World. Chef Mickey’s restaurant brings a bit of fun to the main lobby. At the breakfast buffet, there are the famous Mickey Waffles, but the dishiest main event is a visit from Mickey Mouse himself at the character breakfast. At other meals, there’s also a carvery, key lime tart, and build-you-own sundae.

The best bit: Kids will like watching the monorail glide away stealthily above the buffet table. Meet Mickey in the morning and then take that monorail straight into the Magic Kingdom Park.

Where: Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

How to get it: Character dining at this restaurant is available on the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. To meet Mickey, book into Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet. You can also get brunch and dinner at Chef Mickey’s – you’ll need one dining token in each case.

The Crystal Palace

In the bright and airy dining hall of this classy conservatory, join in the ‘friendship day celebrayshuns’ at Pooh Corner with Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and friends. Is that a Heffalump hiding in the greenery?

The best bit: A parade for little ones to celebrate friendship – joined by their new best buddy, Tigger.

Where: Magic Kingdom Park.

How to get it: Character dining at this restaurant is available on the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. Book in for A Buffet with Character.

Whispering Canyon

The joke’s on you if you visit this fun family restaurant – no one whispers here. The servers yell, dish up sass. Kids can race hobby horses around the tables. The food is heavy, All-American fare, like the famous ‘all-you-care-to-enjoy’ breakfast skillets, cornbread, meatloaf, ribs – and bottomless caramel milkshakes. Don’t ask for too many refills unless you like drinking out of a bucket.

The best bit: Ordering ketchup – watch as requesting a bottle of Heinz causes uproar among staff. Next thing you know, everyone in the restaurant comes and gives you their bottle of ketchup.

Where: Shh… You’ll find it at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

How to get it: This restaurant is available on the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan as a table service meal.

Where to eat healthy at Walt Disney World

Satu'li Canteen

Did you know they had chicken on Pandora? This quick-service canteen serves healthy, colourful meals inspired by the bountiful Avatar forests. Grab yourself a bowl.

The best bit: There are plenty of Mickey Check meals here for kids.

Where: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

How to get it: Satu'li Canteen is available on all three Disney Dining Plans as a quick-service meal. You can also order ahead on your mobile.

Katsura Grill

Enjoy quick, healthy Japanese food in Epcot, in the shadow of the pagoda. Enjoy sushi, noodles, or a light miso soup – then a green tea cheesecake for afters.

The best bit: Taiko drummers liven up proceedings with outdoor performances from the main stage of the pavilion’s main pagoda.

Where: Find it in the Japan Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot.

How to get it: This restaurant is available on all three Disney Dining Plans as a quick-service meal.

Tangierine Café

At Tangierine Café there’s a small, select menu with sharwarma (grilled, shaved meat), olives and couscous. Grab a quick bite under the horseshoe arches and stay, as Aladdin would say, ‘one jump ahead of the bread line’.

The best bit: You can meet Princess Jasmine in the nearby Moroccan marketplace.

Where: Head on over to the Moroccan Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot.

How to get it: This restaurant is available on all three Disney Dining Plans as a quick-service meal.

  • Katsura Grill at the Japan Pavilion, Epcot

    Healthy eating

    Tasty, filling and healthy – Katsura Grill fits the bill. Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside package includes free Disney Quick-Service Dining* and Disney's 14 Day Ultimate Ticket. £1401 pp

    Book a stay

Where to get a quick bite at Walt Disney World

Woody’s Lunch Box

There’s a snack in my boot! Pretend you’re a small toy with a big appetite, and visit the new Woody’s Lunch Box, a quick-service restaurant serving American fare. Watch your kids’ jaws’ drop at the prospect of a S’more French Toast Breakfast Sandwich. Babybel provide the snacks. It will be open from 30 June 2018.

The best bit: Pay extra to get your hands on the Alien Sipper: a novelty cup featuring Toy Story’s best-loved baddie: The Claw.

Where: Toy Story Land, Hollywood Studios.

How to get it: This restaurant is available on all three Disney Dining Plans. Woody’s Lunch Box will be a quick-service restaurant.(looks like they also serve breakfast).

Harambe Market

Grab counter service from four stalls in a crumbling African market, including ‘famous sausages’, and unusual drinks. There are shows within the tumble-down inner courtyard.

The best bit: The watermelon lemonade is wonderfully refreshing.

Where: Africa, Disney's Animal Kingdom.

How to get it: The market food is available on all three Disney Dining Plans as a quick-service meal. Harambe Market also accepts mobile ordering.

Typhoon Tilly's

Order bites for buccaneers in this quick-service restaurant in the middle of Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.

The best bit: Kids meals come served in a pail with a shovel – in case you've forgotten that you're on an island paradise.

Where: Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

How to get it: This restaurant is available on all three Disney Dining Plans as a quick-service meal.

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop

A retro ice cream parlour where you can shimmy into a booth and enjoy classic meals: veggie burgers, a turkey club or an egg salad croissant.

The best bit: The Kitchen Sink sundae: eight scoops of ice cream and a whole spray can of whipped cream, complete with ‘taps’. The menu says it serves four... good luck.

Where: Disney's Beach Club Resort.

How to get it: Food at this diner is available on all three Disney Dining Plans as a quick-service meal.

  • Tangierine Cafe at the Morocco Pavilion, Epcot

    So Moorish

    Get a lunch that’s good for you and good to eat at Tangierine Café. Disney's Caribbean Beach package includes free Disney Quick-Service Dining* and Disney's 14 Day Ultimate Ticket.£1319 pp

    Book a stay
  • Harambe Market, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

    Grab and go

    Order ahead on your mobile at Harambe Market and spend more time munching. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge package includes free Disney Dining* and Disney's 14 Day Ultimate Ticket.£1712 pp

    Book a stay
  • Tortuga Tavern at Magic Kingdom Park

Best places for snacks at Walt Disney World

Main Street Confectionery

If you have snack tokens left over at the end of your holiday, head to Main Street Confectionery and pick up some edible souvenirs for your less-lucky relatives back home. Just make sure you don’t eat them between the parks and the plane trip back.

The best bit: The Mickey Mouse red velvet cake pop is one of the most delicious mouse-shaped snacks in the parks.

Where: Unmissable on Main Street, USA, just in the entrance to the Magic Kingdom Park.

How to get it: Every Disney Dining Plan offers two Snack credits a day per person. Use the My Disney Experience app or refer to your printed receipt at each restaurant to find out what you have left over to spend at the end of your stay.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Epcot’s popular fall festival takes over the pavilions around the lake at the World Showcase. Normally you’d pay for the dishes you’ll try, but on Disney Dining you can also use your snack credits on some delicacies, and that way you can try some really exciting food from the stands. That’s not all that’s going on. The Eat to the Beat concert series brings gentle popular bands to the evenings, there are live cooking demonstrations, plus the chance to buy a Mickey mug or some monster-shaped oven mitts in the shops.

The best bit: Look out for lobster rolls.

Where: The big food festival is held at Epcot. Some hotels host extra events.

How to get it: Disney Dining Plan offers two Snack credits a day per person, which you’ll be able to use at the stalls. The Epcot festival is from the end of August to November, every year.

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