Frequently Asked Questions
I love Disney Dining, that is no secret. All of the food at Walt Disney World is really good, but of course I do have my favorites. My number one pick for dinner is ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. It is 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan which is an excellent use of your credit. ‘Ohana is an all you can eat meal served up to you family style, which means brought to your table for you. The menu includes meats cooked to you on an open flame grill right in the middle of the restaurant. All you can salad, bread, chicken wings and pork dumplings start of your meal. Then pork, chicken, steak and peel and eat shrimp , noodles and broccoli are brought to your table. Your meal gets finished off by an incredible bread pudding dessert. Oh yum! There is also entertainment during your meal. My very favorite Cast Member, Lipoa who is from Hawaii, comes out and plays the ukalali, hosts coconut races and even teaches the hula. Everyone that participates receives a flower lei. My family loves this meal so much we normally eat here our first night and our last night at Walt Disney World. Here is a tip – try to get a reservation around 8pm. About the time you are starting your dessert the lights will dim and music will be piped in. Request a window seat and you will have a perfect view of the firework show Wishes over Magic Kingdom. It is really a magical way to end the evening!
For breakfast I would recommend the Tusker House at the Animal Kingdom. It is an all you can eat breakfast buffet with a character meet and greet! The food is really great and you will find a lot of unique items on the buffet along with your standard Mickey waffles and eggs. The breakfast is 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. The characters spend a good amount of time at each table and there is even a parade around the restaurant with Goofy. Before you enter the restaurant you will have your picture taken with Donald. He will also sign your autograph book, this will be your only chance to see him during the breakfast. During your breakfast they will bring the photo around and you can purchase it for an additional cost. Don’t be afraid to ask the photopass photographer to take a picture with your phone or camera. I never buy the picture they bring around, in fact the picture taken with my iPhone was much better than the picture they brought around to the table on our last trip! Try to get a reservation for breakfast here before the park actually opens to the public. We always try to get the first reservation of the morning and normally when we have finished our meal the park is just about to open. We always head straight for the Safari, which is near the Tusker House, we normally are able to walk right on. The Safari fills up really quickly and normally has a long wait time. I have found this is the best way to see the animals without having to wait too long. The animals are usually more active in the morning too because it’s cooler.
If you are in the mood for a great sandwich head to Downtown Disney. Earl of Sandwich offers great soups, salads and sandwiches. This place is always busy but don’t let the long lines fool you, they know how to work it and the line moves really quickly. The menu is very affordable and is a local favorite. Try the All American… its delish!
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a magical salon where little girls can be transformed into princesses by Fairy Godmothers! It is so much fun and girls absolutely love it! We have done the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique several times and have never had a bad experience. Girls can get their hair, makeup and nails done. You can also pick out a princess dress at the store for your little one to change into OR you can bring a dress from home! The price of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique depends on how many extras you add on. A trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique can cost anywhere from $55.00-$200. To keep the cost down, we normally bring our own princess dress. So we pay around the $60 mark for hair, make up and nails. They even let her change into her princess dress in their changing room so she literally gets the same experience as the expensive package but for much less.
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique has 2 locations at Walt Disney World. The first location, the one I love, is at the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney. The second location is at Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. Please note if you choose the location in Magic Kingdom, park admission is required. Reservations for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique are a must! Call 407-WDW-STYLE or 407-939-7895. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is for girls ages 3-12 and must be accompanied by an adult.
The Disney Dining Plan was introduced back in 2005 and I happen to love it. But there is very little info provided from Disney on the snack portion of the plan. If you don’t know much about the Disney Dining Plan and head over to Walt Disney World’s website you will see a generic list of snacks that you can use your snack credits on such as single serving popcorn, ice cream novelty, 12 oz. coffee, piece of fruit, 20 oz. bottled soda… that sort of stuff.
In all actuality, there are so many choices for usage of snack credits I am not sure why they list such generic examples. To know items are available to you as a snack credit you have to look at the menu boards. If you see an item listed and it has a purple and white square DDP logo beside it you know you can use your snack credit on this item. Generally anything around the $5.00 mark or less is considered a snack. (There are a few exceptions)
To get the most value out of your Disney Dining Plan try to spend your snack credits on high dollar snack items or things your really love instead of soda and coffee. I wont lie to you, my daughter and I LOVE popcorn at Disney so we normally do use a snack credit on a box of popcorn. And that is ok because we love popcorn. But we also try to use snack credits on higher value foods and then pay out of pocket for the lower dollar amount items we want!
Here are some of my favorite snacks on the Disney Dining Plan.
- Dole Whip Float found at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom
- Carrot Cake Cookie found at the Writers Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Goofy’s Glaciers (which are like frozen cokes) found at Goofy’s Candy Co.
- Fresh, hot and delish caramel corn found at Karamell Kuche at the Germany Pavilion in Epcot.
- All of the sweets and treats found at Karamell Kuche at the Germany Pavilion in Epcot
- Churros and Soft Mickey Pretzels at Magic Kingdom
- Butterfinger Cupcake found at the Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Food from the Food and Wine Festival. Most plates are available to you as a snack credit. The lobster roll is a great value for your snack credits because it is a little over $7.00!
- Homemade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches. Make with 2 fresh and warm chocolate chip cookies and a scoop of your favorite ice cream in the middle!
- Lefous Brew at Gastons Tavern – This is a relativity new snack and unique to this area!
The list can literally go on and on but these are some of my favorites! Most snacks are big enough to share which is really fun too because you can sample a lot of different things that way. My family gets 3 snacks a day and we usually all share which is really nice!
Yes! You will need to have a park ticket to dine at one of the restaurants inside the Disney theme parks. If you have a Park Hopper this really is not a big deal for you. But if you have a standard park ticket, 1 park per day, you need to plan ahead. You cannot go to Magic Kingdom for the day and then go to Epcot for your dinner, unless you have a Park Hopper. That is why planning is so important!
Walt Disney World is a very very busy place and everybody needs to eat. If you want to dine at the best most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World you are going to need to make a reservation. Reservations for dining open up 180 days prior to your arrival date. The best restaurants fill up quickly, I mean literally within minutes of the phone lines being open. Have a plan. Decide where you want to eat and when. Then on your 180 days out day wake up early and get on the phone! Making dining reservations is so important!
If by chance you call for a reservation and the restaurant is already booked up here is a tip – Try calling back around your 45 day out mark. A Disney vacation needs to be paid for in full by the 45 day out mark and unfortunately a lot of people have to cancel their vacations for different reasons. But what this means is that more restaurant seats just opened up. This has worked for me on a number of occasions. You have to be persistent and just keep calling back!
To make dining reservations call 407-WDW-DINE or 407-939-3463
I always encourage families with all ages of children to travel to Walt Disney World, every trip is magical no matter the age. However, traveling with a baby to Walt Disney World does require more packing and planning than that of an older child.
You will want to have a stroller readily available for your use. You can rent strollers at each of the Walt Disney World parks, but you can not take them out of each park. So if you plan on touring your resort, or even walking around to and from the bus, you will need to have your own. If you are not able to bring your own from home rent one from a third party and you can pay to have it for the duration of your trip. The stroller rental companies will usually bring the strollers to your resort and pick them up. They are not very expensive, in my opinion, and offer really nice strollers! It is the way to go.
You will also want to familiarize yourself with where the baby care centers are located inside each park. The baby care centers are great and designed for families with small children and babies! Inside a baby care center you will find high chairs, changing stations, a breast feeding rooms, restrooms and a room with toys and videos for your older children. All of these amenities are included with your park admission. Take advantage of these areas. They are air conditioned and such a reprieve from the Florida heat in the warmer months. Also available in the baby care centers are items for purchase such as baby food, diapers, wipes, medicine, baby clothes and other necessities. Try to pack all you will need for the day, because even though these items are available it’s usually at a higher price.
A baby swap, or rider switch pass, is something else you will want to be familiar with. The baby swap was designed to let both parents ride a ride without having to wait in the line twice. You will need to take your entire party up to the cast member at the entrance of the ride, including the small child. The cast member will hand the adult/parent that is staying with the baby a ticket that looks a lot like the fastpasses. Then the rest of your party can continue into the line to wait for the ride. When they exit the ride you and 2 more people may enter the fastpass line with the baby swap pass. You will have a much shorter wait time and still get to experience the ride! I love this feature Disney has set up and we use it all the time!
You can bring your own food, snacks and drinks inside of the Disney parks in a soft sided small cooler. Keep in mind when packing baby food there are no glass bottles allowed.
Walt Disney World provides a free to resort guest service called the Magical Express. The Magical Express is a shuttle that will pick you up at the airport and drop you off at your resort hotel. Upon landing at the Orlando International Airport you can just bypass baggage claim and head directly toward the Magical express welcome center! Your luggage will be delivered to your resort room up to 3 hours after you check in. All you have to do is sit back and relax in an air conditioned motorcoach all the way to Walt Disney World!
Also being a Walt Disney World resort guest mean you get free shuttle service to and from the Disney theme parks, resorts and the Downtown Disney area. You can travel around the Walt Disney World area by bus, boat and monorail! The transportation is a lot of fun, my daughter once thought it was the funnest part about Walt Disney World. Ha!
Disney transportation is open 1 hour before the Parks open and 1 hour after the Parks close. Additionally buses to and from Downtown Disney run until 2am.
Alternatively, you can rent a car. Parking is free at the Walt Disney World resorts and you can leave the car parked and take the provided transportation to and from the cars. But basically you are spending money on something to sit in a parking lot. You can also drive yourself to and from the Parks if you wish. Parking is free at the Walt Disney World Parks if you are a Disney resort guest.
My personal opinion is to use the transportation provided for you. Disney is very organized and always makes sure you are getting to your destination. I love the Disney transportation!
“Mousekeeping” is the Disney term for Housekeeping. If you are staying at one of the Walt Disney World resorts you will receive daily Mousekeeping service. The Mousekeeping staff is very friendly and they do an excellent job. Depending on who is working on your room, often times you will find towel animals, notes and maybe even your own toys from home placed around the room in a fun way! I once had a stuffed dog TP my room! So fun!
If you feel the Mousekeeping staff has done a nice job it is appropiate to tip them. The standard is usually $1 per the number of people in your room per day. So for our family of 3 we would tip $3.00 a day. Of course, if they did an exceptional job you could always leave more.
Keep in mind that not the same member of the Mousekeeping Staff works on your room each day. So it is recommended to leave a tip each day instead of a lump sum at the end of your stay.
Extra Magic Hours is a benefit to staying on Walt Disney World Property. Each day one theme park opens an hour early or stays open up to 2 hours later than normal park hours. You must be a Walt Disney World Resort Guest to take advantage of the extended hours. Please note that not all of the attractions are open during the Extra Magic Hours, but the most popular ones generally always are!
Walt Disney World does an excellent job of making everyone feel included! Disney dining is no exception. You will all still be able to eat together, no worries. Make sure you tell the Cast Member who you are on the phone with when making your dining reservations about the food allergies. Once you are at the restaurant you will need to mention again about the food allergies. Many of the chefs will be able to make substitutions based on your needs. The sooner you let them know about you special dietary needs the better!
One thing we cannot control on a vacation is the weather. And unfortunately it does rain at Walt Disney World. But you have several options if it rains on your trip. The best option is to bring ponchos from your local dollar store and keep them in your bag you bring to the park with you. If it starts to rain while you are that the parks just pull it out of your back and throw it on. Most attractions stay open during the rain and the crowds tend to thin out. You may have more fun than you think. Another option would be to head to Disney Quest at Downtown Disney. Disney Quest is a multi level building that hosts a ton of interactive video games, and arcade and a really yummy snack bar! But be warned if it is raining Disney Quests gets very busy! Another fun option is to go exploring resorts! The different resorts make great photo opp and you may just find a new yummy snack to try too!
Celebrating a birthday at Walt Disney World is special! I have taken my daughter several times on her birthday and we just have the best time! Here are a few ideas to make your celebration extra special.
- Grab an “It’s My Birthday” button at Guests Services. Be prepared for lots of Happy Birthdays and maybe even a few surprises throughout the day!
- When making dining reservations be sure to mention about the birthday and then again when you check in at the restaurant. You will receive a free birthday cupcake with Mickey sprinkles.
- Let the birthday kid pick out where they would like to eat on their special day.
- Make a reservation for a Princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or a Pirate makeover at the Pirates League.
- Have a special tea at the Grand Floridian
- Dine with the characters. They will make a big fuss over the birthday person.
- Celebrate by having ice cream for breakfast! A Mickey bar is the best choice!
- If you have an older child, treat them to breakfast in bed!
- Decorate your hotel room. When my daughter falls asleep on her birthday eve at Walt Disney World, I have stayed up and decorated the room. When she wakes up she thinks tink and her friends left her a special birthday surprise.
- Instead of bringing gifts, have a spending spree at the World of Disney