Since Disney World reopened last summer, we’ve seen a LOT of changes. There have been updates on masks, park hours, park hopping, and maybe most relevant to us: dining.
Due to capacity limits and health and safety measures, the way a lot of Disney restaurants function has changed. Quick Service restaurants became almost exclusively available on Mobile Order, and we’ve gotta be real with you…that hasn’t exactly worked out as conveniently as advertised.
Ordering via Mobile Order on the My Disney Experience app has long been one of our favorite tips to give our readers. Pre-closure, it was an under-used feature that could get you your food faster, or at a scheduled time that worked for you, without having to stand in long lines.
Now, however, Mobile Order is the status quo for eating at Quick Service restaurants in Disney World. You’ll be expected to utilize this feature pretty much all the time. And while you can technically go up to the counter and order (for example, if you have an allergy or need to pay with cash), that is no longer the norm.
But lately, we’ve noticed a few issues with the system! First of all, Mobile Order can be one of the longest waits in Disney. If you’re hoping to hop on My Disney Experience right at noon to grab a lunch order, you might end up sorely disappointed. Nowadays, lunchtime is one of the most bogged-down periods for Mobile Order, and you could end up not getting to eat for hours if time slots are already full!
You definitely don’t want to be stranded without a meal — plus, it can be really disappointing if you don’t get to eat where you planned! So here’s a NEW tip: open up Mobile Order a couple of hours before you actually want to eat. Plan ahead and schedule a spot before everyone else does, and you’ll be sitting down with your favorite meal exactly when ya want to be.
The restaurant won’t start preparing your food until you tell them you’re there, so your 9AM fries won’t be soggy by your 12PM arrival time!
However, this is another Mobile Order perk that has gone a little sour. Since you don’t actually hit “Prepare My Order” until you get to the restaurant, there’s a lot of backup in the kitchen during busy times of day! Even if you can get a time slot for lunch and show up on time, you might be waiting well past your arrival window to actually receive your food.
While you’re waiting, you are may not be allowed to enter the restaurant, so you may find yourself standing outside. Suddenly, what’s supposed to be fast and easy has now become a major hassle! So what can you do about it?
Plan ahead. We like to hit “Prepare My Order” when we first start walking over to the restaurant. That gives the kitchen time to get a head start on our order, so there’s a better chance it’s actually ready when we arrive.
And to be EXTRA prepared, we’ve got a few other backup plans for ya! Pack some snacks to tide you over just in case you miss out on a prime meal time window or get caught waiting for a while. And remember to check Mobile Order availability and schedule your meal as soon as you get to the park — or at least once you’ve solidified your plans. This is especially true if there’s a particular Quick Service spot you don’t want to miss out on.
While this is a not-so-glamourous side of Disney, it’s our job here at DFB to give you a heads-up, so you can avoid any hiccups! We’ll keep you posted with plenty more Disney tips and tricks, so stay tuned to DFB.
You’ll Need to Know This if You Mobile Order!
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
WE KNOW DISNEY.
YOU CAN, TOO.
Oh boy, planning a Disney trip can be quite the adventure, and we totally get it! But fear not, dear friends, we compiled EVERYTHING you need (and the things to avoid!) to plan the ULTIMATE Disney vacation.
Whether you're a rookie or a seasoned pro, our insider tips and tricks will have you exploring the parks like never before. So come along with us, and get planning your most magical vacation ever!
Save 25% on the 2023 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining with code WDW2023.
Have you tried to Mobile Order lately? Let us know how it went in the comments!
Thanks Gigi. If I order my meal at Columbia House using the mobile app, and I pick up my meal, can I SIT DOWN and eat my meal in the Columbia House Restaurant? If not, where do I eat my meal? Thanks Gigi.
Remember when you could just eat when and where you wanted while you were in the parks? Disney has made everything so much more complicated and tied to your phone. I remember not so distant past trips where I didn’t even look at my phone all day.
Thanks to Gigi and Jennifer for your advice. It is greatly appreciated. Ron
Hi Gigi. When I order food on Mobile for Columbia Harbor House, and pick it up, can we sit inside the restaurant to eat? Thanks
Thanks Gigi and Jennifer for your information. Ron
Hi! Are the food courts at Pop Century and The Land in Epcot serving food sit down the Pre-Pandemic way or Mobile Ordering Only? Thanks
DFB Gigi says
Hi Ron, yes you can sit inside the restaurant to eat your meal. All mobile order quick service restaurants have seating either inside or outside, sometimes both!
DFB Gigi says
Hi Ron, both Pop Century and The Land area have seating for your meals.
Thanks Gigi. There is such a WIDE VARIETY OF FOOD BOOTHS IN THE POP Century and The Land in Epcot, with NO MENU FOR MULTIPLE BOOTHS, and NO ABILITY TO VIEW THE FOOD BEFORE WE BUY IT, HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT WE WANT TO BUY AND EAT USING THE MOBILE ORDERING. Please help me. I am confused. Thanks
DFB Gigi says
Hi Ron, When you go to mobile order, you will have to scan a QR code for the restaurant with the camera on your phone and the menu with the current items available at that booth will appear for you on your personal phone. POP and Sunshine Seasons also have menus available online. Here is the menu to Sunshine Seasons in The Land Pavilion: Click HERE! And here is the menu for POP Century dining: Click HERE!
Gigi, thanks for your advice. Ron
Hi Gigi. If I can order a meal on mobile from a Quick Service Restaurant and sit down and eat it in the Quick Service Restaurant what is the logic of having to order by mobile and not being able to wait on line to order my food? Thanks
DFB Gigi says
Hi Ron, according to Disney, mobile ordering is supposed to save you time so you’re not standing in line waiting for your food. You can read more about it on Disney’s website by clicking here.
Not sure about the Quick Service crowds and getting seats for a family but On our recent trip ( 2 adults ) at beginning of the month, we had no problems using Mobile Ordering – even without a QR code ( since our smartphones were not THAT up to date.!)
We used the regular Genie ( not “Genie + “) and looked at the “Your Day” screen and then selected the “Dining” option. After that it brought up all the places to eat in the park we were currently in and once we selected a restaurant we could then click on it to bring up their menu.
From there we would try to select a time based on the MEAL and not an exact time which usually brought up more than a couple time slots to choose from.
The main thing to remember is that you really DO NEED TO PLAN Lunch as soon as you are in the park *( or right after breakfast before you leave for the park ) if you need to eat by a certain time ( medications, blood sugar needs, etc. ) Can’t stress this enough !
We only had one ADR Table Service meal for entire week , the rest was arranged via Mobile Order and we enjoyed both the Brown Derby and the Chefs de France using this app.
So it can be done as long as you are early and flexible about where you want to go. Actually prefer this to the 60 days ahead of time for ALL our table service meals !
My husband has an unusual food allergy and often has to ask a cast member for help when ordering at Quick Service. We finally noticed on the Allergen page that if you check off the box that says “OTHER” a cast member will ask you about it when you place your order ! Its hard to see right away so the earlier you pull up the app and select that box – the more time they will have to address your specific need.
Thanks for the info! If you order early and your plans change, is it easy to cancel or revise your order prior to checking in?
Can you use Disney gift cards yet for mobile orders?
DFB Gigi says
Hi Audrey! Yes, you are able to use Disney Gift Cards for mobile orders. The only catch is that you can’t store the card in the app and will have to manually input the card information every time.
where did you get the greek salad with humus pictured above?? it is just titled “yum” would love to find out where to get that.
Hi there, we will have the meal vouchers that were on offer for September. $16 each a day for the 3 of us-$894 for the 2 weeks. Does anyone know if we can use these through the app, and mobile ordering, and also if we can pay for TS meals with them? Thanks
DFB Gigi says
Hi Nate! This salad and hummus is from ABC Commissary.
Mark Faron says
So discouraging. I remember when you could actually go and have a really good, stress free time! Disney, has don It’s best to turn a vacation into an extension of the work week. NO enjoyment.
Hi Gigi. My family and I cancelled our Disney trip this June 2022. We will be going in 2023. I will have about $1300 in Disney gift cards and about $300 in Disney Charge Card Reward Dollars. In past years I was able to use both the Gift Cards and the Disney Reward Dollars for all of our meals. Can I do the same thing next year with the Mobile Ordering. Please let me know. Thanks Gigi.
DFB Gigi says
Hi Ron, yes, you will be allowed to use both Disney gift cards and the rewards on the mobile ordering app. There is a section for those when you get to the payment screen.
Disney has really taken the joy out of vacation. I like to stop and eat when I’m hungry and not try to plan hours ahead. We always enjoyed park hopping and now with the reservation system, that isn’t as easy. I just don’t enjoy Disney anymore. It’s sad how it has changed.
K. Sullivan says
Last Feb. my husband and I wanted to eat at Casey’s Corner. We requested our meal at 5:30pm and got that time. We followed the procedure as requested. However, when we arrived there were no empty tables and no cast members monitoring the seating area. An aggressive woman literally knocked my husband down to get a table. We ended up standing in the sun trying to eat chili dogs while some people were using tables and chairs to store all the crazy junk people lug around now. We decided if we return to Disney we are only doing table service.
Disney, just like other businesses, are still trying to get back to normal after the 2 year pandemic mess. Short on help just like other service companies are.
I’m one of the people that can still go to counter due the the fact that I have to be Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Potato free.
In time Disney will be back to normal so just give them some slack and be patient
Demaris Hill says
Oh goodie! Yet another thing that has to be planned in advance. 😕
How early can you book a slot? Does it have to be the same day abs do you have to be on property to do so?
Omg when the insanity going to stop 🛑 with this stupid mobile ordering. And keeping us on our phones we go on vacation to get away from this as long as people let the very POOR leadership lead them like sheep they will continue to do it and u don’t reward bad behavior and yes we r mad there r people that have health reasons to eat when they have to and my husband is one of them no more pixie dust bob chapek and the other lousy decision makers have seen to that they have disgraced Walt Disney and the dream that it all started with a mouse how sad and Disney did not the top 10 list of the best to for. Vacation and that says something my sister and me grew up on Disney and it needs to look at the management it’s a problem for Disney and needs to open eyes and c what is going on
My husband and sister and her husband r annual Passholders for over 30 years and c how all this has changed and as far as being patient and Giving them slack they will continue to do as they r doing now so we don’t know that we will ever go there again the magic has gone and that woman that knocked that man down to grab a table she should have been thrown out of Disney we have seen physical fights over some of the years and that is so uncalled for we always use our manners and respect others
Terry B says
One thing I love about mobile ordering is that you can’t enter the building until your food is ready. This prevents people from “staking out” a table before they get in line. This could mean another family with their food couldn’t sit because tables were occupied by groups that wouldn’t be served for another 20-30 minutes.
I much prefer the new system.
That is a good idea after much thought we agree as terry b said it does stop people from grabbing tables after people that have already got their food and then can’t get a table to eat at and my family have had that happen and then have to look all around to grab one and have people that r just sitting and waiting for the line to get shorter b 4 they go up and order and then our food gets cold
Very early our vacation in early May, I wanted to eat lunch at one of my favorite QS locations, ABC Commissary. The CM who was greeting guests recommended that I use Mobile Ordering, since the wait in line to order would be at least 30 minutes. Since I hadn’t used Mobile Ordering yet, I followed her advice and placed my order, even though I wasn’t sure how long a wait I would have. She told me that I’d receive notification as soon as my food was ready, so I should sit nearby. Even before I walked away, I received the notification that my food was ready. So, instead of waiting 30-45 minutes in line, I actually was sitting at a table inside just about 5-10 minutes after I placed my order via Mobile.
Even though the Commissary was busy, there were plenty of empty tables available, so either I was very lucky or my timing was perfect. I totally enjoyed my leisurely lunch at my favorite table by the window.
I’ll definitely use Mobile again during our next vacation.
Hi Gigi, when using mobile ordering do we have to type in our credit card information every time we use mobile order? We are planning on linking a credit card to our account so we can use our magic bands to charge with like we normally do.
DFB Gigi says
Hi Bill! You will not have to type in your credit card information every time. You can store the card on your MyDisneyExperience app and it will be ready to use every time you mobile order or make purchases with your MagicBand. The Disney Gift Card is the one that has to be entered every time if you ever use one of those, but credit and debit cards stay on file and do not have to be re-entered. 🙂
Hi Gigi. If we are going to Columbia House or other such restaurants, can we walk in, choose a table to sit at, look at the menu while waiting on line and order our food when we reach the cashier. In other words WITHOUT MOBILE ORDERING. Thanks Gigi
DFB Gigi says
Hi Ron. You are not forced to mobile order. You can stand in line at the restaurant to place your order and have a member of your party search for a table.
I’ve had meals canceled if I didn’t arrive in time to pick it up. So don’t wait too long after ordering!
Harsh Reality??? We just got back from 7 days( 07/14-0721) at WDW and I would strongly encourage everyone to utilize the mobile order feature and not let this article make you think otherwise. The lines of people waiting to order food were crazy long at most places we ate, and I was glad I didn’t have to wait with them. We spent 2-3 days at parks that were at capacity and we were always able to immediately book a food order regardless of whether it was lunch or dinner. I think the longest we waited for food was maybe 10-15 minutes at Cosmic Rays which was fine because it’s air conditioned and it had just started raining. Honestly it’s better to have to wait 5-10 minutes for your food after arriving to the restaurant as it gives you time to wash your hands and find a table before your food is ready.
Wow. Because of this article, I will not be mobile ordering. This is ridiculous. Can they MAKE being at Disney more of a pain to be at? I hate that everything is becoming so laboriously difficult. You’re already tired and hot and now you have to go through this mess.
I guess I’ll be bringing my own food.
Many times, actually standing in line for food takes less time than using Mobile Order (which gives you a window of time when your order will be ready, sometimes an hour in the future). We’ve tested this out several times and have always gotten food quicker by manual ordering than using Mobile Order.