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Disney Quick Service Dining Do's and Don'ts+−
- DON'T make a restaurant choice just because it's nearby.
- DO research restaurants before you arrive.
- DON'T follow other guests into a line.
- DO make use of two lines.
- DON'T decide what to eat while waiting in line.
- DO look at the menu ahead of time.
- DON'T bring your everyone in your party in line.
- DO send only one or two people to the counter.
- DON'T wait to mention the Disney Dining Plan.
- DO mention you are using the Disney Dining Plan right away.
- DON'T lose your receipt.
- DO keep your receipt easily accessible.
- DON'T leave your trash at the table.
- DO clean your table.
- Where to Buy Discount Disney Tickets
When planning your Disney Parks vacation, there are a two types of dining choices to make. Table service dining, which may or may not include characters, and quick service dining, which is semi-self serve dining from a counter. Quick service dining, while not as formal as table service, does have a few unwritten rules that will ensure your experience is as painless as possible. Check out our list of the most important Quick Service Dining dos and don’ts!
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I consider myself a Disney Dining expert. From making an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) to knowing how to skip the line for a Quick Service restaurant, I have learned lots of tips and tricks to make Disney Dining as pleasant as possible.
A sit-down or table service restaurant is pretty easy to navigate. Check in at the host stand, be seated, and order a meal. Disney Quick Service Dining, however, is a completely different beast! Most guests look confused and aren’t sure what they should do. These tips will help you negotiate the Disney Quick Service lines like a pro.
Disney Quick Service Dining Do’s and Don’ts
DON’T make a restaurant choice just because it’s nearby.
I’ve made this mistake before. I waited way too late to ask everyone in my party what they wanted to eat, and no one was willing to wait more than thirty seconds for their food. It was bad times. On top of that, it seemed like everyone else in the park decided to take a lunch break right when we did. The lines to order and pick up food were awful. That mistake still haunts me to this day (The whining! Oh the whining!).
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DO research restaurants before you arrive.
Just because you didn’t make a reservation ahead of time, doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about mealtime before everyone gets hangry. Take a moment when you enter your chosen park for the day to look at your My Disney Experience app or the park map. Ask a Cast Member for help if you need it. It is absolutely worth it to spend a few precious minutes coming up with a dining game plan rather than just trying to wing it (especially with kids in tow).
DON’T follow other guests into a line.
Herd mentality is a real thing. We follow other folks lined up because we know that’s what we are supposed to do. You have my permission not to follow the crowd on this one.
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DO make use of two lines.
There are always TWO lines for each cash register – one on the left, and one on the right. Next time you visit a Disney counter service restaurant, step up to the empty side of the cash register rather than falling in line behind everyone else.
DON’T decide what to eat while waiting in line.
Counter service lines can be deceptively long. Sometimes, it looks like you will have plenty of time to decide what to eat before ordering. However, just like the ride queues, Disney designs the food lines to move quickly. Don’t get caught at the cash register without knowing your order. (And if you want to skip the line altogether, keep reading!)
DO look at the menu ahead of time.
Advanced planning is so important, even without a reservation. Cast Members are usually on hand with a physical copy of the menu near the entrance to the restaurant. Additionally, full menus are available on the My Disney Experience app. Take a moment to get everyone’s order ready so you can expedite your dining process.
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DON’T bring your everyone in your party in line.
Quick Service lines are notoriously small in terms of space. They are meant to shuffle people in and out of the order line as quickly as possible. If you have more than one adult in your party, or a responsible older child, send them to the table while you get in line to order. This will make everyone happier, trust me!
Read More: Complete Guide to Planning a Disney World Vacation.
DO send only one or two people to the counter.
Divide and conquer. Send one adult and an older child to get the food, and have another adult find a table with the younger kids.
Important note: Not all quick-service restaurants will allow you to save tables during busy times. Your family can also grab condiments while they wait for the food.
DON’T wait to mention the Disney Dining Plan.
Cast Members usually ask right away if you will be using the Disney Dining Plan. However, sometimes they have had a busy day and forget to ask. If you wait until they are totaling your transaction to mention you’re on the Dining Plan, they will have to start over. Don’t waste precious minutes of your dining time with this mistake.
DO mention you are using the Disney Dining Plan right away.
Letting the Cast Member know right away that you are on the Disney Dining Plan is so helpful. They will make you aware of your options, and they will make sure that you get all the food included in the plan. Learn about the 3 different Disney Dining Plans here.
DON’T lose your receipt.
In this day and age of technological advances, keeping up with receipts can seem like an annoying hangover from the 1990s. It’s not. Your receipt is very important at quick service dining restaurants. Don’t stuff it in your bag, hand it to your child, or throw it away.
DO keep your receipt easily accessible.
After paying for your food at the cash register, you will move to the counter where a Cast Member prepares your food tray. You need to present your receipt so the cast member can verify your order. Show the Cast Member your receipt. They will check it off to ensure each item ordered is there, and then they will hand it back to you along with your meal.
DON’T leave your trash at the table.
Unlike table service restaurants that have a wait staff, quick service employees are not there to wait on you. Yes, they do clean up around the dining areas, restock the condiments, and generally help guests, but they aren’t supposed to spend all of their time clearing tables. Help them out!
DO clean your table.
If you left a big mess – when you have kids, it happens – let a Cast Member know. It is also a nice gesture to push in your chairs. These steps make it easier for the Cast Member to wipe down the tables and get them ready for the next guest.
Bonus Disney Quick Service Dining Tip
Recently, Disney Parks launched a fantastic service called Mobile Ordering. It’s only available for certain restaurants, but it is a GAME CHANGER when it comes to ordering food (especially if you have a big party).
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How to Use Mobile Ordering
From the My Disney Experience app, choose the restaurant you wish to order from. Note: You must be in the same park as the restaurant you order from. No ordering from an Epcot restaurant while you’re in Hollywood Studios, unfortunately.
Place your order from the menu, customize it to your liking, and hit submit for payment options. Credit or debit card payments are accepted, as well as Disney Dining Plan credits! Woohoo!
When you arrive at the restaurant, let them know you’ve arrived by opening the app and clicking on the “I’m here, prepare my order!” button.
The app notifies you when your food is ready.
Head to the area with the “Mobile Order Pick Up” sign and enjoy your meal!
Can you use Disney gift cards with the mobile ordering? Thank you!
Nasreen Stump, Road Warrior SheBuysTravel says
At this time they do not take Disney gift cards for mobile orders.
Thanks for the tips. When we went this year my husband had cornflakes and the cast member told us we could chose something else as this was classed as a snack. Also if you have meals left over towards the end of your trip or you run out of snacks you can change meals into snacks, 3 snacks per meal. The staff were so helpful.
Watch out for the guest who asks if you are sitting at the table & when you tell them you and your family are, they proceed to tell you to get up & leave because THEY want the table. We just had this happen to us at Disney World in June 2018 & I was never so shocked in my life by this behavior. This was witnessed by a Disney worker who promptly told the other guest she needed to find another place to sit.
My response would be, “Wanting ain’t getting!”
The pic that’s associated with the pin on Pinterest. The one with the pizza, salad, etc. what restaurant is that? We will be making our first trip and looking for good quick service restaurants.
Update…Can use the dining plan for the mobile ordering
Great article! Quick update they now added the Disney Dining plan to the mobile ordering so you can use snack credits and meal credits to avoid lines.
You can place a Mobile Order as long as the restaurant is open for the day. Also, as of this week, you can use the dining plan to pay using Mobile Order.
That is great news! My son and I will arrive in 20 days and are on the meal plan, I’m looking forward to trying out out the new mobile ordering feature!
Thank you for all the great tips!
Christine Tibbetts says
Practical and specific—- aluablecreporting. Thank you.
Am I understanding this correctly that we can place our order earlier in the morning or maybe even the night before but not submit until we are at the restaurant?
Patty Holliday, Candid SheBuysTravel says
I haven’t personally tried that. But we did place the order on the tram from the parking lot and didn’t submit until we were at the hub. So possibly that would work.
I would double check that it is allowed to send some people to find a table I know not every quick service allows it. Pinocchio Haus by it’s a small world does not let you sit without your food. My friend worked in MK for the Disney college program and her job was to ask people to get up if they didn’t have food. If it’s allowed it’s a great idea!
Patty Holliday, Candid SheBuysTravel says
It’s mentioned in the post that not all locations allow it.
I’ve read elsewhere it’s not a good idea and actually holds up tables in the long run. 20 minutes in line plus at least as much again once you get your food to eat can lead to a table being held up by one group for over 40 minutes. If everyone gets in line or waits to the side, the ordering is just as fast, but the crowds cycles through tables faster because they’re only sitting to eat.
Thanks for the Disney Quick Servce tips. It is also about just being kind and considerate which we often forget, ironically, when we are on holiday.
Coleman, Margaret says
I too have been to Disney for over 20 years and usually make a lot of sit-down meal ” appointments .” I do this not only for the characters but specifically to avoid the lines and the calamity of the quick service places. Although my only child is grown and gone now and our Disney days sadly are over, I want to thank you for writing this article. It is very informative and I appreciate your suggestions, especially about cleaning up after yourselves and using both lines. Those are two things I do remember about the few times we did eat at the quick service places at Disney. I think those tips will help a lot of people who don’t get to go very often and want to take advantage of your wise advice to save time and simply to know what the protocol is.
And don’t forget, you don’t always have to order a meal for everyone. When we’re ot on the plan, I’ll order one adult chicken nuggets for my 2 girls to share, and places like Cosmic Rays and Flame Tree Barbeque have meals big enough for two adults. Also, anyone can order off the kids menu which can be a good money saver if its too hot or too close to a reservation for a big meal!
Kuleen Lashley, Kid-at-Heart SheBuysTravel says
Great tip Charlotte! Thank you for your comment.
We found the burgers HUGE. So we started sharing so we didn’t waste food. It helped us be able to get 3 meals per day ?
How do u utilize the dining plan when 2 people do the ordering for an entire group and its linked to the magic bands?
Kuleen Lashley, Kid-at-Heart SheBuysTravel says
Hi, Lisa! Everyone on the same room reservation will have their dining plans linked together. Only one person on the reservation will need to use their MagicBand at the checkout to “pay” for all the meals with Dining Plan credits.
If you have more than one room reservation, you will need to split the food order for each room.
Yes let’s not forget to pick up after ourselves! Fabulous tips indeed
Slow clap. Nice job laying it all out there!
Good news !!!!The mobile orders can be paid for by credi, beset AND the Disney dining plan.
I’m going to do the DDP for a family of 6. I have 4 children. So when I go up to a quick service to order 6 meals how would they know to give me 6 meals and not over charge me? I’m confused. Do I have my children come with me to order? Or is scanning one bracelet enough to know the order is for 6 people? I’m a first timer. I thought the article was common sense, but I don’t understand how to do the ordering for the entire family and them not charge it to my room. Please clarify or make an article to help explain this.Thanks. Also what if my child wants a snack at 11 but my other chu wants a snack at 2? How would that work? I’m so nervous over this.