How to Buffet at Disney World

When you’re thinking about going to a Buffet at Disney World, there are many tips and tricks that will make the experience that much more enjoyable. Therefore, we are taking a different approach and taking things to a whole new level!

How to Buffet at Disney World

Side note – we’re using “Buffet” as a verb as well as a noun…because why not?

We’ve got an article about The Best Buffets at Disney World, but this topic will be shining a light on expectations and what will actually happen to you when you’re at a buffet at Walt Disney World!

THE RESERVATION

Keep in mind that you’re going to be eating more at a buffet than at a typical table service or quick service meal. This should be reflected in your reservation, as you probably want to be looking at an earlier time than a regular ADR.

Lunch = Try to get an 1120-1145am reservation, as it’ll get you in before the busy lunch time AND may also give you the turnover between breakfast and lunch.

Dinner = Be flexible in your times. Really your evening reservation will reflect your daily goals and original plans, but at the end of the day…as long as you’re not eating at 8pm, you’re good!

THE ARRIVAL

When you arrive for your reservation, you’re going to want to check-in about 15-minutes prior to your time. Most instances, you’ll be called early…but there are times that you’ll be stuck in the Florida heat (Crystal Palace) or waiting for tables (Chef Mickeys) so be prepared.

After your table is ready, you’ll be lead through the dining room and shown things like the bathrooms and serving area. After being seated, your server will introduce themselves and ask for your drink order…and you’ll very rarely see them again until the very end of the meal.

Our buffet servers have traditionally been great, as they don’t have to do much more than refill drinks and clear plates….but that doesn’t mean that the service will suffer. In fact, some of our best interactions with cast members come from us asking questions about the line-up.

THE BUFFET LINE-UP

There are two things to know about the buffet line itself.

  1. There are two lines with the exact same options starting from the outside-in.
  2. If you would like to talk to a chef about dietary restrictions, they are more than gracious with their time and expertise. Make sure to mention that you’d like to talk to a chef when you check-in.

Each restaurant will have a unique food concept, so check the official Disney World menus before booking…because you don’t want to be caught off-guard. That being said, there are constants at most locations, including a kids section and fun desserts.



CHARACTER MEALS

I have an entire article called the Top Ten Character Meals at Disney World, so if you want to check that out…it’ll be informative when you’re looking at the variety of experiences across property.

That being said, there are a couple things that I should share as a review:

  • Disney Photopass photographers don’t follow characters around at Character Dining. This is due to the changing backgrounds and not having the rights to all the families who could potentially be in the photos. Selfies and making friends with your neighbouring table will help.
  • If you miss a character because you’re in line for food, just let a character attendant know and they’ll make special arrangements. It’s really not a big deal and happens all the time:)

BASIC BUFFET TIPS

So most of these tips are common knowledge, but just in case you’ve never been to a buffet…here ya go!

  • Skip the salads, unless you want a palatte cleanser.
  • Don’t fill up on carbs and breads.
  • Did I mention to skip the salads?
  • Two ways of filling your plates:
    • Larger Plates with less trips
    • Smaller Plates with more trips.
  • Don’t drench your food with sauces…as it’ll just end up blending into a sludge and won’t really be appetizing.

TIPPING

Although you won’t see your server all that much, they 100% deserve a full tip if you come back from the buffet line and see a fresh drink refill, fresh cutlery and no dirty plates.

We suggest checking our Tips to Tipping on a Disney World Vacation article, as it’ll give you a good starting point.



THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE

Buffets at Disney World are a blast, but you should really be aware of the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Great variety of Food
  • Great Service
  • Picky Eaters’ paradise
  • No rush

Cons

  • Expensive when you compare to other table service and quick service meals
  • Busy and loud, especially at Crystal Palace and Chef Mickeys
  • Mixed reviews on TripAdvisor – mostly due to expectations vs value.

Hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out via our Facebook Page! 

Dustin Fuhshttp://www.stepstomagic.com
I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!

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