Disney World Dining: Don’t Go Unless You Know These 3 Tips

Are you trying to figure out how to make the most of your Disney World dining adventure?

A huge part of any Walt Disney World Vacation is figuring out where you want to eat and actually scoring the prized reservation, and knowing where to go if you couldn’t get a reservation.

No matter if you’re a solo traveler looking for a spot at the bar to enjoy a drink with dinner or going to Walt Disney World with a group of friends who are looking forward to a girls night out, I’ve gathered my top three tips on dining at Walt Disney World along with alternative choices for some restaurants that may be out of reservations.

French Cafe in Epcot. Disney World Dining Quick Service.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.  Which means if you click on certain links, I may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

1. Plan to Book Prized Reservations Early

This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are people who wait until the day they get to Walt Disney World to make a reservation at high-priority restaurants like Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom and are disappointed when there are no seats left.

The best way to guarantee you get to dine at the Disney restaurants you want, that require a reservation, is to book early.

All table service restaurants allow you to make reservations 60 days in advance of a trip starting at 6:00 a.m. EST. Before you go online to make a reservation, you’ll also want to do a little pre-planning to know where you want to eat on what day.

New 10-Course Menu at Victoria & Albert’s Expands Exquisite Dining Experience
New 10-Course Menu at Victoria & Albert’s Expands Exquisite Dining Experience Photo: Disney Co.

Don’t forget to also be flexible and know that some restaurants might already be full when you go to make reservations.

ORDER NOW to secure your Walt Disney World theme park ticket! GET MY TICKETS.

2. If You Don’t Get a Reservation for a Restaurant Keep Checking

Everyone changes plans at some point during their vacation planning for Walt Disney World, which leads to dining reservations getting canceled.

Olga's Cantina Photo Disney World Co
Olga’s Cantina Photo Copyright: Disney Co.

If you really want to dine somewhere like Oga’s Cantina at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort keep checking the My Disney Experience app for reservations to pop up.

My Disney Experience App Ticket Selection
My Disney Experience App

People are more likely to cancel as trips get closer, so the closer to your departure date you check, the more likely you are to score a reservation to a popular spot.

You can also check while you’re at Walt Disney World for reservations. Disney sometimes holds reservations for day-of bookings. All you need to do is be on the My Disney Experience app early in the morning to see what’s available.

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

3. Use the Walk-Up Waitlist or Mobile Order To-Go Features

There are quite a few restaurants around Walt Disney World that use a walk-up waitlist or the new mobile order to-go feature through the My Disney Experience app.

akumi Tei Epcot Japanese Restaurant Duck Disney Epcot Renovations
Takumi Tei at Epcot

With these features you can still enjoy some of your favorite Disney restaurants that you may not have been able to get a reservation for.

What is the Walk-Up Waitlist?

The walk-up waitlist allows you to join a waitlist at a restaurant that you are nearby through the My Disney Experience app. The wait time is displayed on the app and you will get a push notification when you are to return to the restaurant, so you won’t wait to go far.

Star Wars Galaxys Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo at Hollywood Studios Batuu-bon Chocolate Cake, White-Chocolate Mousse, Coffee Custard
Star Wars Galaxys Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo at Hollywood Studios Batuu-bon Chocolate Cake, White-Chocolate Mousse, Coffee Custard

This works best if you’re staying at same Disney resort as the restaurant you want to dine at. For example, you can join the walk-up waitlist for Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort if you’re near by or staying at the resort.

Just hang out by the pool or in your room until your group is called.

What is Mobile Order To-Go?

At some table service restaurants you can also place a mobile order to-go. This is the same process as using mobile order in the parks and resorts for snacks and quick service meals, but you’re doing it at a table service restaurant.

Disney Mobile Ordering Tips and Infograph
Pin for Later!

There are still some issues with this process, such as the lack of ability to modify items with different sides, but if you’re someone who doesn’t typically modify meals this is a great option.

When your order is ready, find the mobile order pick-up location and grab your food and take it outside to a table or back to your hotel room for a fantastic meal.

Disney Mobile Ordering with colorful grilled chicken and rice
Chicken Bowl at Satuli Canteen using Mobile Ordering at Disney

My favorite spot to do this is at Ale and Compass at Disney’s Yacht Club. I typically order in my room, then head down to Ale and Compass Lounge where the pick-up spot is located.

I also order a side of secret menu truffle fries to go with my meal. The fries are not on the mobile order menu so you have to order with a real person to get them.

Disney World Dining Alternatives (If Table Service is Full)

If you used all of our tips and you still couldn’t dine at your favorite table service Disney restaurants, then consider these lounges and quick service alternatives, which still have great food and usually at a cheaper price.

Disney Dining Waffles at Sleepy Hallow with Olaf from Frozen. Disney World Dining Tips.
Waffle from Sleepy Hollow at the Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

  • Table Service: The Plaza Restaurant- typically serves American classics like sandwiches and milkshakes.
  • Quick Service Swap: Tomorrowland Terrace- currently this restaurant is serving the seafood menu from Colombia Harbor House and the lobster roll is delicious.

ORDER NOW to secure your Walt Disney World theme park ticket! GET MY TICKETS.


  • Table Service: Rose and Crown Dining Room- serves traditional British fare.
  • Quick Service Swap: Yorkshire County Fish Shop- serves only fish and chips but that’s likely what you’re ordering inside too.
Rose and Crown Pub Cider with Fish and Chips. Disney World Dining Tips.
Rose and Crown Pub Cider with Fish and Chips

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Table Service: Tusker House- Character family-style dining featuring food with an African influence.
  • Quick Service Swap: Harambe Market– African influenced quick service location near Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Table Service: Hollywood Brown Derby- upscale restaurant serving some of the same dishes as the original restaurant of the same name in Hollywood, California.
  • Quick Service Swap: Woody’s Lunchbox– loaded tater tots and grilled cheese sandwiches grace the menu here. Portions are large but seating is limited.
Toy Story Land Woody's Lunch Box - Breakfast Bowl Tator Tots
Woody’s Lunch Box – Breakfast Bowl

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • Table Service: Kona Café- fresh takes on Hawaiian and Asian cuisine
  • Quick Service Swap: Captain Cooks- Island inspired menu filled with things like pulled pork nachos and noodle bowls.
How to always get your Disney World dining reservation
Save Image on Pinterest for Later!

Final Thoughts on Disney Dining

You now have some of the best Disney World dining tips for your upcoming vacation. Which tip surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments section below.

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

About the Author

Megan DuBois Theme Park Writer

About the Author

Megan is a theme park expert and frequent traveler to magical places. She covers all things Disney and Universal and runs marathons for fun.

She thinks you can tell a lot about someone by the name of their signature lipstick, and hers is NARS Dragon Girl.

UP NEXT: 7 Best Restaurants at Epcot that You MUST Try

Share this article!

Leave a Comment