When it comes to traveling Walt Disney World alone, some of us worry about navigating the parks, others get nervous at the thought of eating alone. I was both!
The stress about steering through Disney World was eased by the Disney app, some research, and on-site patrols. But what about dining alone?
There aren’t any Cast Members or concierges who will dine with you. It would make traveling and dining so easy for first time solo travelers!
Maybe in the future, but right now, the best we can do is just go for Disney world dining – alone.
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The BIG Obstacle
As said before, eating alone in public places can be a big obstacle for a lot of travelers who want to go solo.
It does not matter whether it is at McDonalds or Walt Disney World, eating alone can feel like an all-eye-on-you situation. The undivided attention you get from the waiter can also feel overwhelming.
To every introvert traveler’s respite, Disney has a variety of pro-solo restaurants.
Their easygoing atmosphere combines with on-going activities to keep you company. It may be a movie or a group seating.
Depending on whether your idea of solo dining involves conversations or not, you can choose the best restaurants for Disney dining.
But before we get into it, let us first discuss some pro tips for dining alone.
These tips will help dissipate the nervousness that builds at the mere idea of eating out alone in public.
This newly-found freedom will make you more confident as a solo traveler and you will never again have to look into the list of pro-solo restaurants!
Read on to get the taste of freedom.
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5 Tips on Eating Alone that Always Work
When you think about it, there is no art in eating alone at a restaurant. It is just sitting, ordering, enjoying, and moving out.
Yet, the whole situation feels embarrassing somehow. It makes you feel more self-conscious and even judged at times.
In my case, I would even worry about getting those pitiful looks that, for me, translated to “Poor little girl, eating alone.” It was imaginary but still awful.
If you are anything like me, these tips will help you become more casual and nonchalant about eating out alone.
1 – Make Reservations in Advance
Making advance dining reservation (ADR), at least for the first day, can relieve a lot of tension. It eliminates wait time and cuts out the potential for an awkward “Just you?” at the host stand.
ADRs are allowed to all guests, including those who are staying off-site. You can book a table at least 180-days before the trip, with the help of the My Disney Experience app.
Be Our Guest restaurant will also let you order in advance when you are booking tables for breakfast or lunch. Within 30 days of your reservation date, you can select entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages through My Reservation page.
Do not feel defeated or embarrassed about eating alone. Instead, feel empowered for breaking the stigma and being on your own.
2 – Dine with A Great View
Walt Disney World is full of restaurants that command sweeping views of the magical world. Why not pick one of those for your next solo meal?
Not only will you enjoy a great view, but it will also take your attention away from other people in the restaurant.
Beautiful scenery will work as entertainment, similar to live television. If you are dining past sunset in Epcot, try to reserve a seat that offers clear views of Disney fireworks.
Not a single thought of solo dining can cross your mind when the sky lights up in colorful sparkles.
If you are worried that dining alone will be boring, a beautiful view will change it.
3 – Eat at the Bar or Lounge Area
There are two big advantages of dining at a restaurant bar. One, you won’t be the only solo diner there and two, you can watch exciting kitchen action while eating.
The bar area is, without a doubt, an energy-packed spot where the Cast Members carries out exciting tasks.
If you like meeting new people and having casual conversations over the meal, the bar will offer plentiful chances.
Several restaurants in Walt Disney World flaunt a bar-counter setting. Located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort is one such venue, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a tiki bar that has a lot of adventure in store for you. Sam’s Grog Grotto serves outstanding food, drinks, gift items, and immersive entertainment theming to make you visit spectacular.
You can enjoy a friendly chat with the skippers of the lounge and the adventurers waiting for their adult concoctions too!
Hipster Power Tip: It helps to remember that you are not the only one going solo on a meal. There are many out there doing it and enjoying it, without hesitation. You can do it too.
4 – Catch a Live Show While Eating Alone
When at Walt Disney World, it all boils down to getting entertained. When that is the whole point of the visit, why miss it for a meal?
Book a table during dinnertime entertainment. You will find options galore. Dine at Restaurant Marrakesh to enjoy belly dance, at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater to catch a movie, or at the Polynesian Resort to witness the Spirit of Aloha Show.
Hipster Power Tip: Entertainment will take your mind off solo dining and you will enjoy Disney even while taking a five.
5 – Book the Table During Less Crowded Hours
When nothing else works, book your table or walk into the restaurant during an off-hour. Most resort restaurants are less crowded in the afternoon because everyone is in the park.
You should be able to find the restaurant almost all by yourself.
It will be quieter and more peaceful – a great opportunity to people watch and just savor the food. The chance of scoring a good seat maximizes during these off-hours.
Hipster Power Tip: An empty restaurant works as a great oasis to help you rejuvenate for the next round of traveling and having fun.
Best Places to Eat at Disney World: Solo Traveler’s Guide
To overcome any left solo dining jitters, here is a list of recommended eateries. These are the best Disney restaurants for dining solo.
Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs
Head to Morimoto Asia for the inviting sushi bar and delicious Asian cuisine.
As the name suggests, it is an upscale Asian Fusion restaurant. The menu here is eclectic and made of dishes inspired by Japan, China, and Korea.
The ambiance of this venue is also as striking as the menu. Dripping of elegance from every corner, this restaurant boasts two stories.
Upon entering, you will see a 20-foot, massive chandelier suspending from the ceiling.
Cupped in a luxurious concoction of lounges and private dining spaces is the sushi bar. It is a haven for the solo adult travelers at Disney!
Sitting on the second floor, the sushi bar overlooks a bustling restaurant. It makes you feel less conspicuous and more at comfort.
Read: 9 Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone to Disney World
Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Epcot
Come to Tutto Gusto to sit in its intimate wine cellar and unwind with refreshing drinks and delicious Italian food.
You will love its authentic Italian brasserie and wine bar. The cellar is always teeming with style and coziness. Solo or not, you are bound to feel warm and welcomed.
Its small plates and adequate portions are perfect for table for one. The cellar boasts a rustic setting, dim lighting, a great selection of drinks, and Italy on the menu.
Its bricked, vaulted ceiling transports you into more simpler times, thus helping you forget all about the modern problems of eating alone.
Comfortable couches are great to loosen up. You will not be able to help it but enjoy the moment.
My pro tip to adult solo travelers will be to come after lunch rush or before the dinner rush.
Tune-In Lounge or Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood Studios
Head to Tune-In Lounge for the 50s all-American food or to Brown Derby Restaurant for the 4-6 p.m. happy hour.
It is hard to decide between both when one offers a classic 50s vibe and the other organizes happy hour in a wood-paneled interior.
While both the restaurants have a very different vibe and menu, there are two things they have in common.
The first is that both serve lip-smacking food. The second is that both are one of the best pro-solo restaurants in Hollywood Studios.
Tune-In Lounge has the bar setting, which comes in handy with the solo dining jitters and walk-in reservations.
On the other side, the longstanding Hollywood landmark, Brown Derby offers happy hours off an extensive menu.
If it is your first trip to Walt Disney World, taking time out for this iconic restaurant becomes customary.
If neither works, you know that Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is always there for you.
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Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest appeals with its advance ordering options and the Beast Room.
It is one of the most popular restaurants in Disney World, which is why a 180-day prior booking is almost a compulsion.
While you are at it, you can also advance orders! Isn’t that good news for us, solo adult travelers?
No awkwardness on entry or while waiting for the food. If you can manage, get a booking at the fireworks hour.
It will add to the dining experience when you are leaving dinner. Not that the restaurant won’t make sure of it on its end with its jaw-dropping interior.
Hipster Power Tip: Because the massive ballroom can easily feel loud and lacking in intimacy, solo travelers can go for the quieter and more intimate Beast Room.
On the other hand, you can choose to sit in the chaotic ballroom to become almost invisible.
Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom
Head to the Nomad Lounge to take in the travel spirit and a sense of adventure.
Most people, while in the Animal Kingdom, are inclined to dine in Tiffins. It is the first and iconic restaurant in the kingdom.
However, if you’ve not already set your mind on the famous sister, I would suggest you try dining at Nomad Lounge instead.
The lounge is sited in the same structure as Tiffins. It is wedged between the check-in desk for Tiffins and the Trek Gallery.
It is decked with travel banners which adds an exciting travel theme to the interior. An outdoor, covered patio seating is also available if you are looking for a quieter corner.
It will win your heart instantly, especially with its menu intro and welcome words that encourage you to share your travel anecdotes. Here, you can share your travel memories too.
Just purchase a mini-banner for a dollar!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we have our basics covered, let’s go through a few of the most common questions for dining at Walt Disney World.
Does Disney have a dress code for its restaurants?
The restaurants within the theme parks do not follow a dress code. You can walk-in wearing casuals.
But some resort restaurants have a ‘business casual’ dress code which includes collared shirts for men and a nice dress or slacks with a blouse for women. The dress code-related information will be stated on the restaurant’s information page.
You will find the strictest dress code at Victoria and Albert’s in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Can I eat at a resort restaurant even when I am not staying there?
Yes, Disney allows anyone to dine at their resort restaurants. You do not have to stay on-site for it.
Is sharing a meal allowed at Disney restaurants?
Yes, two people can share a plate at most Disney restaurants, including the popular ones like Be Our Guest or Morimoto Asia.
What to do if I am confused between two dining locations?
Dining at Disney can be overwhelming, given the endless options. When in confusion, do not hesitate to ask for suggestions from a Cast Member.
They are even may be able to get you a difficult reservation.
I can’t find the dish I came for.
The menu keeps refreshing at Disney restaurants. They call is ‘refurbishment’.
If you can’t find your favorite dish, ask what is new and try that. Or simply ask where else you can find it.
Let’s Wrap It Up
Eating alone doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. Dining at Disney is also a special experience, just like riding the Splash Mountain or entering the haunted Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Enter a restaurant the same way you’d enter a theme park – with excitement and expectations of having fun.
Have you ever dined alone at Disney before? If so, let us know which restaurant you think is the best for solo travelers.
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!