Unlocking Disney World Restaurant Secrets: What You Need to Know

When you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, the sheer amount of insider information will boggle the mind. That being said, there are a number of awesome things that you should be aware of when it comes to dining at Disney.

Please note that this article won’t be an “expose” of the inner workings of the food service department at the theme parks, but more about the details about dining at Disney World.


Do you want to dine at Saana at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or see the amazing views from the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort? Well all you have to do is make a reservation and show up. When you arrive, you can grab a “meal” of appetizers or just a drink…but there is no official minimum spend attached to your time slot.

There are exceptions to this rule, but those are usually fixed price menus (like Victoria & Alberts) or all-you-care-to-enjoy meals (like Biergarten or Tusker House)

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Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Imagine having a dish that absolutely shocks you into the oblivion…well there’s a chance that you can ask your server to ask the chef for the recipe. Disney actually produced these cards for servers to give to guests on request.

It was such a popular request that many of the best recipes were collected and put into cookbooks (like all these over on Amazon)


Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Disney Cast Members are awesome, especially when you’re asking for routine things because they’re able to show their knowledge of the workplace.

Picture the situation – you’re in the Magic Kingdom and have a reservation for Be Our Guest at 1pm. Well, if you show up at 1130am, stop into the check-in desk and see if you can move your reservation up. They’re able to see the capacity of the restaurant and can either accommodate you immediately or within minutes.

The other thing that comes up all the time are folks who wait to cancel a dining reservation until the last minute and aren’t too keen to pay the $10 day-of fee. Well, this is a conversation that can be had at the podium of that location OR at another location….because checking into a reservation doesn’t mean that you have to eat there.

Ever wonder what happened to the “Smith Party of 4” at Crystal Palace? haha!

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This is a fun one! As you’re asking for the bill at a table service location, mention that it would be awesome to get a to-go soda refill. Your server is usually more than happy to oblige, but just make sure to provide proper gratuity on the cheque. This is subject to the location having the proper to-go cups, so just ask.

Hope this was helpful! If there are any other tips that you’d like to share – just let us know via DM @StepstoMagic on Instagram!

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