There’s a lot that goes into planning a Disney World vacation. You have to buy tickets, make your park reservations, decide where you’re going to stayand (this one’s our favorite) decide where you’re going to EAT.
There’s a lot of things that go into making this very important decision, like the number of people in your party, dietary preferences, as well as the length of your vacation. Luckily, we’re here to help you make this decision easier. Let’s get into it!
When you go to book a dining reservation for your Disney World vacation, it is important to consider any time constraints you might have. The length of your vacation may be the biggest issue you face as it can be hard to pack in everything you want to do even on long trips!
If you’ll only be in Disney World for a few days, you might not want to fill up your schedule with lengthy dining experiences. Each meal does not need to be at a sit-down restaurant, and Disney has some great quick-service options that won’t take up as much of your time.
Another thing to consider with timing is what else you have planned for the day. For example, if you have a 1PM reservation to build a droid at the Droid Depot in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, you probably don’t want to make a dining reservation for Oga’s Cantina at 12:30 PM.
This could cause you to be late to your reservation or to have to cut either your dining experience or a park experience short. Make sure you allocate for plenty of time between experiences.
Click here for our SECRET tip for booking dining reservations in Disney World!
The window to book your dining reservations opens up 60 days prior to your vacation. You may not have your entire vacation planned out 60 days before you leave, but we recommend at least knowing what park you’re going to be in each day, as this will help you when it comes to dining! You don’t want to be making dining reservations for a restaurant in a park you won’t be visiting that day.
It’s also important to remember that restaurants located inside a Disney World park do require valid theme park admission for that day and that you cannot hop until 2PM.
Click here for 56 must-read Disney dining tips!
When it comes to Disney World dining, your budget may be the most important thing to consider. Disney restaurants can accommodate a variety of budgetswith some of them getting pretty pricey.
It can sometimes help to sit down and make a budget when you very first start planning your trip and map out how much you are willing to spend on different facets of your vacation. For example, would you like to splurge on a nice hotel room and skip out on more expensive dining? Maybe you’d like to pass on souvenirs and instead plan more signature dining experiences.
All of this can go into deciding where you want to eat when in Disney World. Table service restaurants tend to be more expensive than quick-service spots, but if dining in a sit-down restaurant is important to you, there are some more budget-friendly table service restaurants, especially if you dine at lunchtime rather than at dinner. Online menus list prices, so you can look ahead of time and see what everyone is hoping to order and about how much that dining experience would cost you.
Click here to see the 5 most expensive things in Disney World that you should still buy!
We recommend looking over the menus at the restaurants to make sure there’s something that everyone in your party would actually want to eat before committing to it. The last thing you want to do is show up for your reservation, take a look at the menu and then realize nothing sounds good.
Menus for Disney World restaurants can be found both in the My Disney Experience App and on the Disney website, so you can check them out beforehand. Offerings are, of course, subject to availability and menus may change before you dine there, but it’s a good idea to take a look to make sure even the pickiest eater in your group will be able to find something. You can also check out the DFB guide to see what we suggest and follow the DFB newsletter for the latest menu updates!
Click here for our guide to eating in Disney World with allergies!
Who Are You Traveling With?
It’s also important to consider the individuals in your group along with their interests! For example, If you are traveling with small children, you might want to reserve a character meal so they are guaranteed to meet some characters.
If you’re heading to Disney World with a group that is more interested in packing all they can into a park day, a sit-down dining reservation may not be the best option. It’s all about knowing what you and your party want to get out of your vacation.
Larger groups can also be harder to accommodate as parties greater than six may have difficulties being able to secure a reservation. You may find yourself needing to split up and make two reservations for around the same time. A travel agent, like our friends over at Small World Vacations can also help with situations like this when helping you book your trip. Remember they are completely free to use and can help take the headache out of planning a Disney vacation.
Click here for our ranking of Disney World’s character dining locations!
Dining reservations can be made 60 days ahead of your vacation and must be canceled no later than 24 hours before the reservation, otherwise you may incur a cancellation fee. As always, keep reading DFB tips on Disney World dining!
Click here for the COMPLETE list of back-to-normal character dining experiences in Disney World!
What is your favorite Disney World restaurant? Let us know in the comments!