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 including one new process you are going to love!
After more visits to Disney World than I can count, I consider myself a Disney Quick Service Dining expert. Dining at Disney is almost an art form, with people waking up early on their Advanced Dining Reservation Day (ADR) to grab their favorite sit-down restaurants. Here’s a great rundown on how to do Disney Dining the RIGHT way.
A sit-down or table service restaurant is pretty easy to navigate; there’s nothing too crazy about checking in at the host stand, being seated, and ordering a meal. The Disney Quick Service Dining is a whole other animal, however!
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. When you reach the point of no return with hunger, you just make a hard turn into any line that is serving food. It’s tempting to listen to the hungry fam and 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, check locations near you, but then take it a step further and access the menus from your phone on the My Disney Experience app.
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. I promise you, everyone will be happier this way!
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 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. (And if you want to skip this line altogether, keep reading!)
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 2018 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. I do this every time: don’t be like me! And don’t hand it to your kids. Keep that baby out and present because you WILL need it.
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. Hand it over so they can prepare your tray. They will check it off and hand it back to you along with your meal.
DON’T leave your trash.
Guests are responsible for throwing away their own trash. Please don’t leave yours on the table. C’mon man, don’t be THAT guy!
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.
Bonus Disney Quick Service Dining Tip
Check this out.
On a recent trip to Disney World, my business partner decided she needed a Dole Whip. I told her no way- that line was a zillion people long (give or take). Nobody’s got time for that!
But she knew this trick that allowed her to place her order and receive her Dole Whip within 2 minutes.
Want to know how she did it?
Disney’s Quick Service Mobile Ordering via the My Disney Experience app. Total game changer.
Here’s how it works.
From the app, choose the restaurant you wish to order from. There are 24 locations that allow Mobile Ordering at this time.
Place your order from the menu and hit submit for payment options.
Right now, this only works when paying with a credit or debit card. Sorry, Disney Dining Plan users!
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!