What the rest of the world calls fast food, Walt Disney calls Quick Service Dining. These are the restaurants where guests order at a counter, get their food on a tray and find a table on their own. For the most part, Disney Quick Service Restaurants work the same way. But there are a few Dos and Don’ts that will improve your Disney dining experience.

Sunshine Season in Epcot is one of the best Disney Quick Service restaurants. Learn all the Do's and Dont's for dining at a Disney Counter Service restaurant.

Sunshine Seasons quick service restaurant in Epcot offers a variety of healthy choices. Photo Credit: Kuleen Lashley/ Kid-at-Heart Traveling Mom

After 20+ visits to Disney World, I consider myself a Disney Quick Service Dining expert. I actually pride myself on the ability to do Disney Dining the RIGHT way. More than once, cast members have thanked me for the way I placed my order. Take a quick look around any Disney restaurants, and you will see I’m in the minority. Most guests look confused and aren’t sure what they should do. These tips will help you negotiate the Disney Quick Service lines like a pro.

Disney Quick Service Dining Do’s and Don’ts

  • DON’T choose a restaurant just because it is nearby.

    I’ve been there. Everyone in the family is hungry, and you just want to grab food at the nearest place you can find. But if you do, you might find yourself in a seafood restaurant when your entire family hates fish. More likely, you will be at the only restaurant that doesn’t serve chicken nuggets – the only food your child will eat.

    DO your research.

    Before your trip, look the restaurants up on the Disney World website and make a list of ones that have food your family (meaning the picky eater) will eat. If you are already in a park, access the menus from your phone on the My Disney Experience app. Taking a few minutes to research menus could prevent an epic meltdown.

  • DON’T bring your entire family in line.

    There is not enough room in the queue for your whole family. Bring only the number of people you need to carry the food trays. That means one or two people.

    DO Send only one or two people to the counter.

    Divide and conquer. Send one adult and an older child to get the food, and have another adult find a table with the younger kids. They can also grab condiments while they wait for the food. Keep in mind that some Disney quick service restaurants won’t allow people to sit down until they have their food.

  • DON’T decide what to eat while in line.

    Yes, the counter service lines are long, and it looks like you will have plenty of time to decide what to eat before it is your turn. But, just like the ride queues, Disney designs the food lines to move quickly. Don’t get caught at the cash register without knowing your order.

    DO look at the menu in advance.

    Disney cast members usually stand at the entrance of the restaurant or at the beginning of the queue to hand out menus. If not, you can grab one near the cash registers or look at the menu on the My Disney Experience App on your phone. It is much easier to look at the paper menu than the menu screens which constantly change to show all the options.

  • DON’T follow the crowd.

    People have a tendency to get behind guests already lined up on one side of the cash register. But, because you read this article, you aren’t going to do that.

    DO form two lines.

    There are TWO lines for each cash register  – one on the left, and one on the right. Next time you visit a Disney counter service restaurant, step up to the empty side of the cash register rather than falling in line behind everyone else.

  • DON’T wait to mention the Disney Dining Plan

    Using the Disney Dining Plan means you are entitled to certain foods at a counter service restaurant. If you wait until the end of your order to tell the cast member you will be paying with the plan, your family may not get all the food to which they are entitled.

    DO be upfront that you are on the Disney Dining Plan

    Let the cast member know upfront that you are on the Disney Dining Plan. They will make you aware of your options and make sure that you get all the food included in the plan.

  • DON’T lose your receipt

    After paying for your meal, the cast member will always hand you a receipt. Don’t put it in your pocket. Don’t stuff it in your purse. And don’t hand it to your kids.

    DO keep your receipt in your hand.

    After paying for your food at the cash register, you will move on to the counter where a cast member prepares your food tray. You need to present your receipt so the cast member can verify your order.

  • DON’T leave your trash.

    Guests are responsible for throwing away their own trash. Please don’t leave yours on the table.

    DO clean your table

    Please pick up all of your trash, wipe your messes off the table, and put all your trash in the garbage can. If you left a big mess – when you have kids, it happens – notify a cast member. It is also a nice gesture to push in your chairs. These steps make it easier for the cast member wipe down the tables and get them ready for the next guest.

Learn all the Dos and Don'ts of Disney Quick Service Dining

At the ABC Commissary in Disney Hollywood Studios, you walk down the red carpet before ordering your Quick Service meal. Photo Credit: Kuleen Lashley/ Kid-at-Heart TravelingMom

Are you considering the Disney Dining Plan for your vacation? TMOMs weigh the pros and cons with 3 Reasons Why We Love the Disney Dining Plan and Confessions of a Disney Dining Drop Out.

Headed to the happiest place on earth? Traveling Mom recommends Undercover Tourist for discounted tickets.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated by Patty Holliday. The original post was written by Kuleen Lashley.