The World of Disney food is a complex and ever-changing one, and that makes keeping track of it all darn near impossible. That’s why you have us. 😉 Here we will unravel 21 of the most prolific Myths About Walt Disney World food!
1. The kids’ menu is only for kids.
Y’all, if your vacation is packed full of Advance Dining Reservations and tasty quick service joints, you’ll want to know that this myth doesn’t hold water. Anyone can order from the kids’ menu — and if you or your traveling companions have eyes that are bigger than your stomachs, the kids’ menu might be just right for you! Often you can find similar offerings, both common (like chicken nuggets at Columbia Harbour House) and not so common (like shrimp bowls at Satu’li Canteen).
Whether you’re looking to save stomach space, hate wasting food, or want to save a little money, don’t neglect the kids’ menu! And if you’re too shy to order from the kids’ meal face-to-face with a Cast Member, you can always use mobile order instead!
2. Only sit-down restaurants are high quality.
This might have been true in the old days (okay, even in the not-so-old-days), but now, high-quality eats can be found in every type of food spot: table service, quick service, and snack stalls alike. Some of our favorite snacks can be found at the small stands that dot the parks — including the killer Baked Mac and Cheese Bowls at Eight Spoon Cafe in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
And counter service restaurants around the World have really stepped up their game. We love the various options at Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion at Epcot, where tasty fish tacos and scrumptious desserts are on the menu. And who can forget the quality eats at Flame Tree Barbecue in Animal Kingdom?
You can see some of our very favorite counter service restaurants in Magic Kingdom here!
3. It’s impossible to eat on a budget.
A Walt Disney World vacation is an investment (in fun!) — but it’s a myth that you have to break the bank in order to eat well at the parks! We’ve discovered lots of tips over the years to help mitigate the costs of those quick service and table service meals.
If the Florida heat has you sweating to the oldies, remember that counter service locations in every park will provide cups of free ice water upon request. We recommend asking for a large cup (those little ones don’t last very long).
If you want to capitalize on a great snack bargain, buy your popcorn in a bucket! The initial investment in the refillable popcorn bucket is about $10 at popcorn stands all over the World — but the length-of-stay refills are only $2 each! If you’ve got a popcorn-lovin’ crew and several days of theme park fun on tap, this could be a huge money-saver!
It’s no question that the cost of meals in the Parks can be, well, shocking at times. But many of them are also shareable — and that equals savings whether you’re paying out of pocket or using Disney Dining Plan credits. At table service spots, your meal might even be split and presented on two plates. At counter service locations, just request a second plate if you need one!
And don’t forget that Walt Disney World allows guests to bring food into the parks with them. So if you want to save money on snacks, tote in some sandwiches for lunch, or ensure that you have allergen-free eats if you need them, you can bring in your own! And we all know that grabbing grub at an off-property locale will save money.
4. Same-day Advance Dining Reservations are impossible to find.
You know we always recommend making Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) as soon as you can (180 days ahead of your arrival day if you’re able!), but that doesn’t mean that same-day ADRs are impossible to score. In fact, we’ve heard of guests getting reservations within minutes of looking for them, and some guests even enjoy the spontaneity of dining wherever they can find an ADR on the day they want one!
Two things are typically helpful for finding same-day ADRs: persistence and flexibility. Be persistent: check the Disney World app repeatedly throughout the day. And be flexible: if you don’t mind dining at an off time (say, late night), you might get lucky! Plans change, and guests change their ADRs all the time. You could be the beneficiary!
5. Character meals are only for kids.
If you’ve experienced the magic (or misery, in some cases) of a child meeting his or her favorite character for the first time, you know what a significant memory that can be. And Character Meals are an awesome opportunity to meet several characters at once while enjoying some air conditioning and tasty food. But if you think that character meals are only for kids, you’ve got another thing comin’!
Although every experience at a character meal is different, generally speaking, characters are great at interacting with guests of all ages — even if you’re dining without little ones! Check out our guide to finding out which character meal is right for you!
And while some of us might feel totally at home talking to a massive mouse and a pretty princess, others of us might be a little… unsure. No prob! We recommend coming up with a question or comment about the character’s tale or wearing a piece of clothing that’s sure to generate chatter (think: a fun tee or hat!). Then just relax and have fun!
Looking for some recommendations? Check out some of our favorite Character Meals in Disney World in the video below!
6. You can’t bring in your own food and drinks.
We touched on this one when we discussed saving some moolah in the Disney Parks, but it bears repeating again. Walt Disney World allows guests to bring food and drinks into its parks. And this is super helpful for reasons beyond cost-saving, including if you have a picky eater, dietary restrictions, or a youngster who doesn’t eat enough to justify ordering a full meal.
The rules here are pretty simple: no alcohol and nothing in glass containers (with the exception of baby food in glass jars). That’s it! There are no restrictions for the quantity or type of food you can bring in, so you can feel free to do what’s right or useful for your family! Be sure to read our 13 Questions and Answers about Bringing Food Into the Parks!
7. There’s nothing healthy to eat at a theme park.
This one might’ve been true in years past, but the Walt Disney World Parks are really upping their game to provide healthy options for diners at quick service, table service, and snack stands all over the World. When ordering, look for healthier-for-you sides like cucumber salad or fruit.
As for the kiddos, look for Mickey Check meals on the menus. These meals follow nutritional guidelines that limit saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and calories. And you can always find healthy sides for kids’ meals too!
8. Everything is frozen or processed.
Good news! This myth has totally been busted in the parks of Walt Disney World! There are plenty of fresh options, including snacks and meals, plus organic snacks! We love a spear of fresh pineapple (one of our favorite spots to grab this sweet and tart snack is at Harambe Fruit Market at Animal Kingdom!) and apples served with caramel for dipping.
Many of the table service restaurants at Walt Disney World pride themselves on using seasonal and local ingredients. California Grill does this exceptionally well.
For organic snacks you can grab and go, Hayden Valley provides kid-friendly options like nut mixes at healthier-for-you spots like Anaheim Produce in Hollywood Studios!
9. The Disney Dining Plan is always/never a good deal.
The Disney Dining Plan is a great value — for some guests. But for others (like those who have small appetites or those who prefer simple dishes like chicken nuggets), it might not be worth the costs. And that’s why the DDP isn’t one-size-fits-all!
But we can help! Use our Disney Dining Plan page to learn more about the plans and to read some tips on figuring out if it’s right for you. Use our Restaurant Guide to access menus and reviews to see what you’ll be able to eat while on the DDP (which can help you decide if it’s financially viable for you!).
And our DFB Guide to WDW Dining has a whole chapter dedicated to figuring out whether the Disney Dining Plan is right for you — we even crunch numbers for a whole Disney stay! Get your copy now at DFBStore.com!
Of course, if you’re able to snag Free Dining, you might get yourself a terrific deal! But even Free Dining has some caveats that can complicate things. The best way to bust this myth is to do your homework!
10. Alcohol isn’t served in Disney Parks.
When Walt Disney conceptualized the Magic Kingdom, he decreed that it (and Disneyland over on the west coast) should remain dry, with no alcohol served on the premises (except for Club 33 in Disneyland). But that tradition ended in 2012 when Be Our Guest Restaurant in new Fantasyland began serving adult beverages at dinner.
Now, alcohol can be found in all four of the Walt Disney World parks, at table service, quick service, and snack stands all over the parks. And as of 2018, now that the Disney Dining Plan includes an alcoholic drink for guests 21 and older, drinking at the World is part of the experience for many.
And, WOW, are there ever some fun choices (including non-alcoholic mocktails, too)!
11. There’s nothing but burgers and fries.
How wrong this myth is! Of course, you can find burgers (really good ones at places like D-Luxe Burger!) and fries (we love us some French fries, y’all! Check out our French Fry Crawl in Disney World!) at most restaurants — quick and table service alike. But by no means are these classics the only options!
Walt Disney World is packed with alternatives to burgs and fries, like the absolutely astounding food at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs! There’s nothing ordinary about a plate of glossy Peking Duck!
Bye-bye, burgers and fries! Hello, just about anything you can dream up!
It’s actually difficult to narrow it down, but let’s take Epcot’s Japan Pavilion as just one example of an area with unique offerings in Disney World parks…
12. There aren’t any Romantic Disney restaurants.
Ooh, la, la: you want a romantic getaway with your sweetie while on vacation — but where in the World of cartoon characters and giggling kids can you find a romantic restaurant? So. many. places! For the absolute height of fine Disney dining, splurge on a meal at Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian.
Want your romance with a stunning view? Book a late dinner at California Grill, and watch the fireworks from the resort’s balcony!
While children are allowed in all of these restaurants (Victoria & Albert’s is restricted to diners 10 and up), you’re more likely to find a quieter dining experience than at some of the other, less sophisticated locations.
13. There are no good bars/lounges in the Disney World.
Say what?! Okay, this myth was true in the past — but Walt Disney World has come a long way in providing options for those who enjoy a pub, bar, or lounge. From the authentic Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant to the quirky Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, there’s a watering hole for every Disney drinker!
And for some awesome dueling pianos action, you have to check out Jellyrolls, located at the BoardWalk Inn! This is raucous and totally fun entertainment!
And the newly-opened The Edison brings two stories of drinks, eats, and entertainment to Disney Springs — complete with three bars and lots of variety on the main stage!
Just take a peek at a few of our favorite watering holes!
14. Table service restaurants are too stuffy for kids.
If you’re looking for a stuffy table service experience where kids are persona non grata, you’ll have to look pretty hard at Walt Disney World. In fact, you’re much more likely to find table service locales that have special activities or engagements that appeal specifically to littles!
‘Ohana is one such place (thank goodness, because we wanna go there all the time). Here you’re likely to see a parade of kids shaking maracas (along with their new character pals at breakfast!) or a coconut race where kiddos run around the restaurant with small brooms in pursuit of a rolling coconut!
At Whispering Canyon Cafe, kids may be able to participate in a stick horse race or be tasked with delivering ketchup bottles to other tables. And let’s not forget the fun they might get to have at their parents’ expense! (Recently Whispering Canyon said they were going to tone down the antics, but it’s still a fun and totally-not-stuffy place to dine!)
Cinderella’s Royal Table and Trattoria al Forno’s Bon Voyage Breakfast offer character interactions at their snazzy table service locations, and kiddos are always encouraged to interact with the characters.
In fact, there are several sit-down restaurants where the kiddos are likely to feel right at home.
15. Dining with allergies is too hard.
We know that going on vacation while dealing with food allergies can be a tough — and sometimes dangerous — experience. But Walt Disney World has made a lot of strides over the past several years in providing options for guests with food allergies. This attention to allergens even finds a place at special events — like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, where allergy-friendly snacks and small activities were available for guests who require them.
But dining with special diets is possible just about anywhere in the World, with quick service, table service, and food carts all required to have binders of ingredients for food items, allergy menus, and chefs who can provide one-on-one dialogue about the guest’s needs. Plus there are lots of packaged treats and eats that feature nutritional information on the label, letting guests stay informed.
The most important tip we can offer is to be vocal about what you need — and to check out our Dining with a Special Diet page for even more tips!
16. It’s too hard to visit Disney World with a baby.
Walt Disney World is a place for families — with members young and old. If you’re planning a trip with really little one, don’t fret! There are places designed with you in mind: Baby Care Centers are located in all four parks, and they are terrific, quiet spots to take care of your little one.
Baby Care Centers have private rooms for breastfeeding; bottle warming capabilities; changing tables; feeding areas with highchairs; and baby formula, food, juice, diapers, etc. available for purchase. In addition to the Baby Care Centers, baby and toddler food is available for purchase throughout the parks, including the in the gift shops of Walt Disney World Resorts Hotels.
Disney also offers a ride-switch program, where you and your spouse or other caregiver can both ride an attraction separately (while the other watches the child) without waiting in line twice.
17. There’s no good, high-end food.
Oh, friends, how wrong this is! If you’re looking to splurge on high-end dining at Walt Disney World, there are lots of options for you. The highest of the high-end is Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian, where diners don their finest, and the restaurant serves course after course of five-star cuisine.
While California Grill offers an upscale dining room and food to match, the exquisite design of Morimoto Asia is surpassed only by its stunning dishes — including the highest grade of Wagyu Beef in the world.
Find out where Morimoto Asia — and each of Disney World’s Signature Restaurants — ranks on our list!
18. Disney’s just for kids with no places for an adults-only group.
While Walt Disney World is known for being exceptionally kid-friendly, there are ways to create adults-only memories. The most obvious way is to take advantage of the ever-expansive nightlife at Walt Disney World.
The dining and bars of the BoardWalk Inn offer late-night fun, while The Edison is raising the bar even more, with three bars and a stage ripe with cabaret and live entertainment.
Another way to enjoy (almost) adults-only time at the World is to dine in some of the World’s more romantic restaurants. California Grill is a good bet (although not a guarantee), while Victoria & Albert’s has a no-diners-under-ten rule. Other quiet(er) locations include Citrico’s and Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian, Flying Fish Cafe on the BoardWalk, and Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
For a wild time sans really young kids, try a unique safari offering at Animal Kingdom. The Wild Africa Trek is open only to those eight and older, as is Savor the Savannah: Evening Safari Experience. Both offer special access to Animal Kingdom’s savannahs and safari animals and tasty eats and drinks.
19. There’s always a line for everything.
Well, this is sort of true for a lot of things a lot of the time in the World, but with pre-ordering meals, FastPasses, great kiosk eats, and mobile ordering, Walt Disney World has given guests some options for cutting down on the amount of time they have to spend in line waiting.
Pre-ordering at Be Our Guest Restaurant is one of our favorite ways to save time. And if you’ve waited in the regular ordering line amongst those chattering suits of armor, you know what we mean. Guests with ADRs are able to pre-order up to 30 days before their reservations, thus eliminating the need to stand in line. With your MagicBand, those pre-ordered eats will find you!
Another way to beat the lines at quick service locations is to make a meal of yummy kiosk and snack stand eats. One of our favorite places to do this is at Animal Kingdom, where kiosks like Eight Spoon Cafe serve up stellar (and filling!) eats like Pulled Pork Baked Mac and Cheese! But you can pull this off at any park. Use our Restaurant Search Tool, and narrow your search by Snack Cart and whatever park you’ll be enjoying. Then, check out the menus to find just what you want. You’ll find shorter lines and get to try several smaller bites!
Check out some of our absolute favorite snacks here!
Simply place your order in the My Disney Experience app, paying with a credit card or your Disney Dining Plan entitlements, and then click to announce your arrival once you’re present and ready to eat. You can even customize your order in the app, so if you prefer a different side or need to remove a topping from your burger, you can do that, too!
We’ve even found this is an efficient way to get our hot little hands on a cool little Dole Whip!
And don’t forget to use your My Disney Experience app to book your FastPasses for your must-do attractions ahead of time!
20. All Parks pizza is created equal.
There are lots of unusual eats to be found in the Parks of Walt Disney World, but sometimes, you just want pizza. And we do, too. But not all pizza in the World is created equal! You know all about our love of Via Napoli, with its authentic take on the pizza of Naples, Italy. It’s always a winner!
Seriously, you gotta check it out…
But if you prefer your pizza frozen before it hits the oven, you can do no better than Pizzerizzo! Yup, that’ll hit the spot, too.
21. There’s nothing for vegetarians to eat.
Our final food myth is one that a lot of our readers fear: there’s nothing for vegetarians and vegans to eat. But this myth is totally busted! Last year the Disney parks rolled out a new veggie-friendly menu offering at every single one of their restaurants. That means no matter where you find yourself in Disney World, you’ll have plenty of options! Signature dining like Jiko features an awesome vegetarian menu, while quick service spots like Satu’li Canteen have stepped up the game for plant-based diners as well.
We’ve also assembled some info for vegetarians on our Vegetarian Dining in Disney World page and created a video for our YouTube channel covering this topic! We often hear from guests looking for plant-based diet options, so rest assured, we’ll keep bringing you the vegetarian and vegan hits!
That’s it! Our 21 Myths About Walt Disney World Food and all the myth-busting we could muster!
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