When planning your Disney Parks vacation, there are a two types of dining choices to make. Table service dining, which may or may not include characters, and quick service dining, which is semi-self serve dining from a counter. Quick service dining, while not as formal as table service, does have a few unwritten rules that will ensure your experience is as painless as possible. Check out our list of the most important Quick Service Dining dos and don’ts!
I consider myself a Disney Dining expert. From making an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) to knowing how to skip the line for a Quick Service restaurant, I have learned lots of tips and tricks to make Disney Dining as pleasant as possible.
A sit-down or table service restaurant is pretty easy to navigate. Check in at the host stand, be seated, and order a meal. Disney Quick Service Dining, however, is a completely different beast! 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.
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Disney Quick Service Dining Do’s and Don’ts
DON’T make a restaurant choice just because it’s nearby.
I’ve made this mistake before. I waited way too late to ask everyone in my party what they wanted to eat, and no one was willing to wait more than thirty seconds for their food. It was bad times. On top of that, it seemed like everyone else in the park decided to take a lunch break right when we did. The lines to order and pick up food were awful. That mistake still haunts me to this day (The whining! Oh the whining!).
DO research restaurants before you arrive.
Just because you didn’t make a reservation ahead of time, doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about mealtime before everyone gets hangry. Take a moment when you enter your chosen park for the day to look at your My Disney Experience app or the park map. Ask a Cast Member for help if you need it. It is absolutely worth it to spend a few precious minutes coming up with a dining game plan rather than just trying to wing it (especially with kids in tow).
DON’T follow other guests into a line.
Herd mentality is a real thing. We follow other folks lined up because we know that’s what we are supposed to do. You have my permission not to follow the crowd on this one.
DO make use of two lines.
There are always 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 decide what to eat while waiting in line.
Counter service lines can be deceptively long. Sometimes, it looks like you will have plenty of time to decide what to eat before ordering. However, 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. (And if you want to skip the line altogether, keep reading!)
DO look at the menu ahead of time.
Advanced planning is so important, even without a reservation. Cast Members are usually on hand with a physical copy of the menu near the entrance to the restaurant. Additionally, full menus are available on the My Disney Experience app. Take a moment to get everyone’s order ready so you can expedite your dining process.
DON’T bring your everyone in your party in line.
Quick Service lines are notoriously small in terms of space. They are meant to shuffle people in and out of the order line as quickly as possible. If you have more than one adult in your party, or a responsible older child, send them to the table while you get in line to order. This will make everyone happier, trust me!
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.
Important note: Not all quick-service restaurants will allow you to save tables during busy times. Your family can also grab condiments while they wait for the food.
DON’T wait to mention the Disney Dining Plan.
Cast Members usually ask right away if you will be using the Disney Dining Plan. However, sometimes they have had a busy day and forget to ask. If you wait until they are totaling your transaction to mention you’re on the Dining Plan, they will have to start over. Don’t waste precious minutes of your dining time with this mistake.
DO mention you are using the Disney Dining Plan right away.
Letting the Cast Member know right away that you are on the Disney Dining Plan is so helpful. They will make you aware of your options, and they will make sure that you get all the food included in the plan.
DON’T lose your receipt.
In this day and age of technological advances, keeping up with receipts can seem like an annoying hangover from the 1990s. It’s not. Your receipt is very important at quick service dining restaurants. Don’t stuff it in your bag, hand it to your child, or throw it away.
DO keep your receipt easily accessible.
After paying for your food at the cash register, you will move 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. Show the Cast Member your receipt. They will check it off to ensure each item ordered is there, and then they will hand it back to you along with your meal.
DON’T leave your trash at the table.
Unlike table service restaurants that have a wait staff, quick service employees are not there to wait on you. Yes, they do clean up around the dining areas, restock the condiments, and generally help guests, but they aren’t supposed to spend all of their time clearing tables. Help them out!
DO clean your table.
If you left a big mess – when you have kids, it happens – let a Cast Member know. It is also a nice gesture to push in your chairs. These steps make it easier for the Cast Member to wipe down the tables and get them ready for the next guest.
Bonus Disney Quick Service Dining Tip
Recently, Disney Parks launched a fantastic service called Mobile Ordering. It’s only available for certain restaurants, but it is a GAME CHANGER when it comes to ordering food (especially if you have a big party).
How to Use Mobile Ordering
From the My Disney Experience app, choose the restaurant you wish to order from. Note: You must be in the same park as the restaurant you order from. No ordering from an Epcot restaurant while you’re in Hollywood Studios, unfortunately.
Place your order from the menu, customize it to your liking, and hit submit for payment options. Credit or debit card payments are accepted, as well as Disney Dining Plan credits! Woohoo!
When you arrive at the restaurant, let them know you’ve arrived by opening the app and clicking on the “I’m here, prepare my order!” button.
The app notifies you when your food is ready.
Head to the area with the “Mobile Order Pick Up” sign and enjoy your meal!