What are the pros and cons for the different dining options at Walt Disney World? Ignoring the dining plan, and the free dining plan sometimes available, here is what I think. (others will see it differently)
- Good Food. There are many excellent restaurants, of every type. The food is generally comparable to chain restaurants or better. Some of the food is very good.
- You can sit and be comfortable and cool and calm for a while. Hey a break can be a great thing.
- Expense. The food at Walt Disney World is expensive. For instance, a taco sampler entree will run you $25.50 at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot. That is the lowest price entree on their menu. Throw in appetizers, drinks and a tip…And do it every day for a week…Ouch.
- Time out of the parks. You will not be visiting attractions for whatever time it takes you to order, eat, and pay for this meal. Our goal at Disney World is to do the attractions. That is why we go there. Others go there for food..
- Kids preferences. Some kids don’t like sit-down restaurants. Walt Disney World is very, very family friendly and I would not hesitate to take my kids to any restaurant there where they are allowed. But, judge if your kids enjoy it.
You can get some very good food at the MANY sit-down restaurants in Walt Disney World. It is pricey but you get a nice break and that can be a wonderful thing.
Quick Service Restaurants
- As the name implies, it is quick. That gets you back to the attractions quickly.
- Variety. Of course the standards, burgers and hotdogs are available. However, there are also salads, barbecue, fish and chips, fried rice, tacos, clam chowder… Pretty much anything you can imagine.
- You do get to sit inside in many cases and take a bit of a break and cool down.
- Price. While the prices for the Quick Service restaurants is considerably less than the sit down establishments, you should still plan on spending twice as much as you do at home. A hot dog and fries at Cosmic Ray’s will run you over $8. That is the low end with many meals in the park priced between $10-$15. So, though this is the less expensive option, I still list price as a con.
- Quality. The quality is ok. Your pizza slice will not be the best you ever had. Your burger and fries may be a bit like a cafeteria burger. The quality is generally OK, but you will not feel like you just ate anything amazing.
The “quick service”, Disney speak for fast food, is fine. It is over priced, so just expect that. It is what it is. The quality of the food is OK.
- Cheap. Seriously cheap..
- I like PB&J.
- It does not interrupt your day.
- All things considered, it is probably a lot healthier than many of your other options.
- You don’t get the experience of a restaurant.
- You have to carry your lunch around. This can be really easy when the kids are in a stroller. On hot August days when you don’t have a stroller, it is a bigger deal.
- PB&J every day may not feel like a vacation.
- PB&J every day may get boring.
A PB&J pulled from your jacket pocket is the least expensive, fairly healthy, yummy option for a meal. However, if it is not jacket weather you may not want to carry food around all day. Walt Disney World has food of all kinds available to purchase about every 50 feet, so there is no NEED to pack a lunch. Many of the restaurants are good and interesting so you miss that experience by packing a lunch.
We usually mix it up a bit with our meal choices. We will eat one or two sit-down meals during a trip, maybe pack in a pb&j if it fits into our schedule and the weather, and eat quick service meals the rest of the time. My wife and I try to remember to split meals, mostly trying to make sure we don’t ingest 6000 calories per day, but it does help with the expense too.