Sure it might seem easy — grab a plate, go get food, rinse, and repeat, but we’ve got some tips that could help you optimize your buffet time and guarantee that you have the best dining experience you can!
Kids Under 3 Eat Free
If you have a child that’s under three years old, you’ll need to know that they can eat free. So be sure to let the Cast Member know if anyone in your party is under three years old. If you have kids under the age of three, this is a no-brainer — TAKE THEM. There is plenty of food variety to please even the pickiest of kids and you’ll save some money in the process!
However, there is a catch — you will need to serve food to that child from your own plate. But they still get to eat free!
Skip Breakfast and Do An Early Lunch
Here’s a little money-saving tip — if you’re visiting a Disney World buffet, skip breakfast and do an early lunch. Why? Because you’ll likely be more full throughout the rest of the day — an early lunch buffet should tide you over for a good long time.
Then later, you can do a smaller late dinner or snack. And you’ll save $$$ in the process.
Learn When To Say “No”
It’s very tempting to want to eat EVERYTHING at a buffet because well, it’s all right there and just so conveniently available. And you’ll want to try everything, too, right? But here’s the thing — if you start to feel full, you need to know when to stop eating. Yes, you paid good money for that buffet and you want to get your money’s worth, but you do not want to overstuff yourself to the point where you’ll feel gross all day.
And that’s SO hard sometimes, but remember that after that huge meal, you still have to go back into the hot Florida sun and walk around a theme park full of other people. Does that sound like fun? We don’t think so.
Always Scope Out The Buffet First
Before you grab a plate and dive in, check out the buffet and the food offerings first. Walk around the entire area and take stock of what’s available. Check out every station so you can decide what you really want to eat.
This will give you a MUCH better experience than if you just load up a plate of random food because you might miss out on something you REALLY wanted — even if you go back later, you might be too full to enjoy something you might have liked even better than whatever you put on your first plate.
Time Your Buffet Time Just Right
If you make your buffet reservation right around the time between breakfast and lunch, you might end up with both breakfast AND lunch at the buffet stations! Two meals in one! Yeah!
And yes, we do this often (here’s when we scored both meals at Tusker House Restaurant) — who doesn’t love the best of both worlds…err…meals?
Don’t Fill Up On Carbs Or Sides
It’s way too easy to go to a buffet and fill up on bread, macaroni and cheese, and potatoes. But you’ll get way more bang for your buck with items like Carved Meats and other higher dollar entrees. Like why eat a big bowl of mashed potatoes at Crystal Palace, when you can get all-you-can-eat Crab Claws?
Or why fill up on rolls when you can get all the Prime Rib you can handle? When it comes to buffets, think BIG and grab those things that would be WAY more expensive on an a la carte menu.
Read Our Reviews
Okay, so here’s our best tip, and yes, we’re biased, but we’ve eaten everything we can at Disney World so you don’t have to — read our reviews! We’ll fill you in on which buffets have the best food, which are the best value, and what each one is like.
We’ll even let you know if we think a buffet is worth the price. So if you’re thinking of booking an advance dining reservation for a Disney World buffet — find a review for it here at DFB first. We’re here for you!
Yes, Adults Can Eat From The Kids’ Buffet
You might not know this, but do not hesitate to check out the buffet section for kids. Just because it SAYS it’s for kids doesn’t mean you can’t load up on some Chicken Nuggets, Tater Tots, and Macaroni and Cheese. And don’t underestimate it either — there’s often some pretty yummy stuff there!
So remember, adults can eat from the kids’ buffet section — and be sure to check it out to see what’s being offered! You might find your next favorite buffet food!
Treat It Like A Multi-Course Meal
Instead of just loading up plates randomly, do as we previously mentioned — scope out the buffet and think of it like courses. When you’re ready to start putting stuff on your plate, start with salads and appetizers, and then move on to entrees, and finish with desserts.
Also, don’t get too much of any one “course,” so you HAVE room for dessert. We usually make two to three trips to the buffet thinking like this. And we’re always satisfied at the end of the meal!
Use Dessert Bowls For Messy Sides
If you plan on getting some messy sides (the kinds of foods that tend to run into other foods, like macaroni and cheese, creamed corn, foods in sauces, runny veggies, etc.), use dessert bowls for those.
Why? This will keep those foods and sauces from running into other foods on your plate and mucking up the flavors.
Don’t Be Afraid To Mix Up Your Foods
Just because certain things aren’t served together doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with your foods. Mix it up a little bit! For example, cut-up chicken nuggets from the kids buffet are great on salad. Some items on the salad bar, like cheese, are delicious on top of mashed potatoes.
Bacon from the salad bar should ALWAYS go on macaroni and cheese. Think creatively to create your own dishes!
Try To Get The First Reservation Of The Day
Another one of our top tips is to get the first reservation of the day, especially for lunch. That’s when the food is the freshest because it’s just come out and been placed on the buffet. It might also get your into the park earlier than most guests which is great for photos.
However, even if you don’t get the first reservation, keep an eye on the food on the buffet, and if it’s low, wait a few minutes and it should be replenished with fresh items. We see this a lot at breakfast with items like bacon! So if you see bacon running low at your breakfast buffet, wait because fresh, hot bacon is on the way!
We hope our tips help you get a great dining experience at the next Disney World buffet you visit. And we’ll keep sharing our top tips with you, so stay tuned!
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What’s your favorite buffet at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!