Space 220 - Interior Epcot Restaurant

Making dining reservations at Disney World used to be simpler. Make a reservation at a restaurant and then show up at the reserved time — like every other restaurant in the world. However, the arrival of the Park Pass reservation program throws a wrench into the works. With the Park Pass program, you need a specific park reservation to enter that theme park on the date. So to enter Magic Kingdom, you need a Park Pass reservation for Magic Kingdom. The Park Pass determines which park you enter first. If you have a single park ticket, that is the only park you can that day. If you have a Park Hopper ticket, you can go to a different park, but only after you’ve entered the park you have a reservation for and when park hopping starts, which is 2 PM right now.

If you have a single park ticket, you must have both a reservation for the restaurant and a valid park pass reservation for the park the restaurant is in. In other words, if you get an elusive table at Space 220, aka one of the hardest reservations to get at Disney World, be sure to also have a park reservation for EPCOT on that date.

If you have a Park Hopper ticket, be sure that any reservations for before 2 PM are at the park you have a Park Pass for. You can enter another park starting at 2 PM, so if you have a Hollywood Studios Park Pass but you get a 3 PM reservation for Be Our Guest, you will be still able to dine at the Beast’s castle. If that reservation was at 1 PM, you would need to have a Magic Kingdom Park Pass in order to use your reservation.

TLDR: If you have a dining reservation at a restaurant inside the parks, make sure you also have a valid Park Pass reservation and know about the 2 PM park hopping rules!

Space 220 - Interior Epcot Restaurant

If your kid is dining at Space 220, their trip to dine in space just got a little sweeter. Each purchase of a kids meal or a mocktail at Space 220 will come with a pack of Space 220 Collectible Trading Cards. Each pack comes with 5 cards, which feature artwork depicting life in space and facts about space exploration, food in space, and innovations in space technology. Space 220 also offers a "Zero-Proof Sipper" cup shaped like a rocket ship, available for purchase for $12, which includes a specialty space-themed beverage.

If your kid is interested at all in space travel and science, Space 220 might be the must-do splurge meal of your Disney World vacation. If your kid would love some trading cards but you don't want to shell out the cash for the full Space 220 experience, going to the lounge and ordering them a Zero-Proof Sipper is the most affordable option to score this neat souvenir at Epcot.


Wine Bar George Upstairs Patio

Are you at Disney Springs and don't see any dining reservations in the Disney World app? Check again on OpenTable. Many Disney Springs restaurants also use OpenTable for dining reservations, and we've had a lot of good luck grabbing last minute lunch or dinner reservations using OpenTable. As an extra bonus, OpenTable offers rewards and a more lenient cancellation policy, so you might want to use their system over the Disney World app or website when you can.

OpenTable Disney Springs

Here are a few of the Disney Springs restaurants that are available on OpenTable:

  • Wine Bar George
  • STK
  • Terralina
  • Raglan Road
  • Paradiso 37
  • Splitsville
  • House of Blues
  • Planet Hollywood
Disney World Paper Straws

Disney World has gotten rid of all plastic straws in favor of paper straws. Great for the environment. Terrible for sipping on a smoothie.

Avoid the pain of having a paper straw disintegrate one minute into getting your Joffrey's Iced Coffee by investing in a set of reusable silicone straws or metal straws. These are eco-friendly and will save you a lot of frustration as you dine around the World Showcase. These sets come with carrying cases that are easy to keep in your backpack or purse, and they are easy to clean.

Recommended Item: Flathead Silicone Straws 10 Pack. These colorful BPA-free silicone straws are an awesome alternative to Disney's paper straws. Be able to sip your iced coffee on Main Street without the straw disintegrating. If you are visiting WDW with kids, we recommend going for the silicone straws, as they are more kid friendly.

Recommended Item: Green Steel Stainless Steel Straws. The #1 best selling adaptive drinking straw on Amazon, this 5 piece set includes 2 straight straws, 2 bent straws, and a straw cleaner. This is for anyone who would prefer a stainless steel straw to a silicone straw. Comes in tall and medium sizes.

Buffalo Bleu Cheese Popcorn - Epcot Imagination Popcorn Stand - Disney World Snack

Popcorn around the parks costs $5, and souvenir popcorn buckets cost $10 and up. But here's a money saving tip for the snackers out there: You can refill your souvenir popcorn bucket for just $2. So if you buy a souvenir popcorn bucket at the beginning of your trip, you can bring it into the parks and refill for a cheap snack.

The Disney World Dining Plan is actually accepted at many of the restaurants at Disney Springs, including Jaleo, Wine Bar George, Morimoto Asia, Blaze Pizza, and Raglan Road. If you're on the dining plan, lunch or dinner at Disney Springs could be a good idea.

Breakfast coming to Be Our Guest starting March 20

At around $30 a person, Be Our Guest is a pricy option for breakfast out of pocket. However, if you're on the Disney Dining Plan, it is only one counter service dining credit, making it a great value for your plan. Breakfast is typically easier to get a reservation for than dinner. If you're on the Disney Dining Plan, definitely try to dine in Beast's Castle for breakfast.

Be Our Guest - Sandwich - Magic Kingdom Dining - Disney World

Save money at Disney World counter service restaurants throughout the parks by requesting the entree without the sides. They normally don't list this as an option on the menu, but they will do this. By ordering a sandwich without the fries, you can often save over $2!

Cinderella's Royal Table - Magic Kingdom Dining

If you were unable to get reservations to the restaurant of your choice, you might still get in. Just ask the hostess/host if they have had any cancellations, and sometimes you'll be in luck and be able to eat there. Last time my family of 7 went to Disney World, we asked the server at Cinderella's Royal Table and got in because of a cancellation.

This tip has to do with eating at popular restaurants like Be Our Guest for lunch or dinner. Make sure you make your reservations in advance but consider eating a late lunch as opposed to dinner. It is not quite as crowded. Your chances of getting a reservation close to your vacation time are much better (if not booked far enough in advance). Many of the menu items for lunch are on the dinner menu but are much cheaper on the lunch menu. If you book lunch around 2:15 you can see the 3:00 parade right after lunch. Dinner does not start until 4:00 but I believe the last reservation for lunch is 3:00.

Goofy's Candy Co - Walt Disney World

When my husband and I go to Disney World, we never use up our dining plan's snack credits. We don't mind the taste of Orlando's water, and with free water from the counter service restaurants, we don't 'waste' credits on soda pops. Generally, after the first day, we're over-caloried so we just don't use those snack credits. On the last day, we take all our leftover credits to Goofy's Candy Company in Disney Springs and load up on packaged goodies that fit just fine in our carry-on luggage. We've even gotten wrapped sandwiches from the Earl of Sandwich to take with us to the airport with extra counter service credits!

Our family always waits for Free Dining to come around to book our trip. But, not only do we take advantage of that, we add on more food and park days than we are actually staying. It only costs a little bit more. Why would we add on more days if we aren’t staying that long??? You can reserve restaurants that take 2 table service meals and you don’t have to pay a lot more for a more expensive meal. Suddenly eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table doesn’t cost too much!

One of the best ways to save money when going to Disney World is to get the Disney Dining Plan. The price is great, and you get 2 meals a day and a snack, depending on your plan. You can pick and of the restaurants and that includes all of the character meals and nice places in all of WDW. We have done this 3 times already and will do it again this summer.

Pork Belly - California Grill - Disney World Dining

Disney Dining Plan is awesome! Always let the waiter know that you are on the dinning plan when you are seated, some places have unpublished menu items for resort guests on this dining plan, a little more magic offered by Disney World!

Hollywood Brown Derby - Hollywood Studios Restaurant

When making an Advanced Dining Reservation (especially during non-peak seasons), you should try making one as late in the day as possible. In many cases, priority seating is available around the time a park is closing. For example, when we were at the Disney's Hollywood Studios, it was closing at 7 pm, yet we got priority seating at the Brown Derby at 6:50. That allowed us to spend more time at the attractions, and by the time we left the park, we were almost alone as we walked to the exit and there were no crowds waiting to leave the parking lots.

Often the prices at sit-down restaurants are quite comparable to the "quick" food places when you consider all you'd need to buy at the snacky places to make an ample meal, plus you get more food at table service restaurants. More importantly, you'll get a much-needed break to rest and relax, away from the crowds! Eat off-hours and you'll also have the traditional meal hours to take advantage of much shorter lines, while everyone else is busy eating or standing in line at the counter service places! I couldn't imagine going to Disney World and not having a sit-down meal break once a day. Disney restaurants are often very good (check reviews and menus), you can make Advanced Dining Reservations ahead of time so waits aren't usually bad, and they provide atmosphere.

If you really want a reservation, keep checking or the Disney World app up until the day before to check for availability. I checked today for the Cinderella breakfast and got a reservation for next Wednesday, exactly what I wanted. :-) People who made an ADR two months ago are now canceling their reservations.

Akershus - Epcot Character Dining

Character meals at Disney World are a great place to get young kids used to being around the characters. They come around often enough that the kids really relaxed.

Plaza Restaurant - Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Everyone talks about how expensive the food is at WDW, but what we discovered was that though the price seem high the servings were huge. So buy one meal and split it between two people.

If you want to see, take pictures, or otherwise interact with Disney characters, I highly recommend that you schedule a character meal. We did breakfast at both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Although pricey, we got into the parks before other people, ate, interacted and took pictures of at least 5 characters at each venue. This will save an indeterminable amount of time waiting in line elsewhere in the park.

If your family really wants to grab a bite to eat, but the counter service restaurant is crowded, split up. Someone finds a table while another gets the food. It's the best way to go!

Tusker House Restaurant - Animal Kingdom Dining

When going to Animal Kingdom, make sure you make reservations for breakfast for before the park opens. That way you get into the park way early and get first in line onto awesome rides. Also, make sure that you do that on a day the park that doesn't have early Extra Magic Hours.

A very nice place to sit is behind Flame Tree Barbecue in Animal Kingdom. Just follow the path to the left of the counter. There is a lot of covered seating with ceiling fans. It was 90 degrees, and we stayed very cool. This spot is great if you're dining or if you just want to take a break from all the walking.

Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano - Hollywood Studios Restaurant

When I visited Disney World last year, I purchased the Fantasmic Dining Package. I went to eat at Mama Melrose and it was great... but when we got out to go to the show, it started to rain and the show was cancelled! I was disappointed because we had spent so much on the dining package. The next day, I went back to the restaurant and talked to the manager, and they gave us more tickets to go see the show in the reserved seating area. So if you are rained out, you can go back you can get more tickets. I'm sure I could have also gotten this resolved at Guest Relations.

50s Prime Time Cafe - Disney's Hollywood Studios Restaurant

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the 50's Prime Time Cafe -- made of small retro kitchen settings with TVs showing our fave sitcoms of the day -- was awesome! Fabulous service by our "cousins," lots of Mom's rules to follow, camaraderie among each kitchen's guests, and really, really good food. Try the chicken pot pie and S'mores dessert! Priority reservations highly recommended.

Disney Dining Tip: Make sure you try the bakery in Epcot's France pavilion. They have delicious macaroons, strawberry tarts, and other great treats. Sometimes the line is long but it is well worth the wait!

When attempting to find a good location to view Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot's Showcase, some sources recommend snagging a lagoon side table at the Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom pavilion. If you should decide to follow this advice, be prepared to eat more than just an appetizer. The Rose and Crown staff is fully aware of this tip and will only seat patrons who intend to eat a full meal.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop - Epcot United Kingdom Pavilion - Walt Disney World

An excellent option for lunch is the Fish and Chips in the United Kingdom at Epcot -- but don't go in the Rose and Crown Pub. Try Yorkshire County Fish Shop, the food stand located right next to it (towards France). It's a cheaper and faster option, which leaves you more time to experience Epcot!

Storybook Treats - Magic Kingdom Dining

We just returned from Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and were pleased in particular with Storybook Treats in Fantasyland. The ice cream sundaes were to die for and the prices were great! If your family likes ice cream, then this is the place to go. It beats the pre-made ice cream stands found all over the park.

If you plan to eat at the Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom, try and plan your dinner so that you are done 20 minutes before the parade starts. Just step out onto the porch for a great view.

Cinderella's Royal Table - Magic Kingdom Dining

We just came back from a six day trip to WDW and saved over $900 on food. We had a party of six adults and one child and we went on the Disney Dining Plan which I think is part of the Magic Your Way program. For $30 per person per day, we ate like kings. Each day we each got one counter service meal which could be used for lunch or breakfast, (we used them for lunch since it includes one drink, one entree, and one dessert), one snack (ice cream, popsicle, popcorn, soft drink or bottled water), and then one table service meal for dinner. There was a list of restaurants participating in this plan so you had to stick to these restaurants but we got to try so many of the restaurants that we wouldn't have gone to otherwise, including Boma, the Rose and Crown and Cinderella's Royal Table.

Be Our Guest - Sandwich - Magic Kingdom Dining - Disney World

We were lucky enough to get the Disney Dining Plan included in our booking, this was a great bonus it saved us a fortune. Disney has done this promotion several times over the last few years. If you can get the free Disney Dining Plan during your trip to Disney World, I definitely would say get it! It's a great value!!!

Rose and Crown - Epcot's United Kingdom Pavilion - WDW Dining

We like to only eat at the World Showcase restaurants at Epcot, but after our first trip to Disney World we discovered how expensive it was to have dinner there. Now, instead of having dinner, we have a late lunch. Certain restaurants will have a lunch menu, which offers a significant discount over dinner. We try and book the last lunch seating, which works out great! You get a large portion of food at about half the price. Then in the evening, we just grab a snack or eat after we leave the park. It has saved us a lot of money on our Disney World trips.

Fantasmic- Mickey Mouse - Disney World

Use the Fantasmic Dining Package to save time and grab great seats! It takes a long time to get into Fantasmic, but if you eat at one of the restaurants with the Fantasmic Dining Package at Hollywood Studios (Brown Derby, Mama Melrose, and Hollywood & Vine), they offer Priority Seating for the show so you don't have to wait in the line to see the show (which was worth it if you don't have to wait for 2 hours beforehand).

Since we fly down to Orlando, it is not feasible to pack any great amount of food, and we never rent a car since Disney provides ample transportation to the parks. So, to get groceries we send ourselves a care package of non perishable snacks like juice boxes, bottled water (an expensive Disney World commodity), crackers, cookies, and gum (you can't buy gum in Disney World). I call the resort in advance and ask what I need to do to mail myself a package there and we have it delivered to our room upon check in. It works out great for those poolside snacks at the hotel. Just make sure you send the heavy stuff separate from the chips! We tried packing them together but the chips get crushed. (However, Pringles work well). Note: Some hotels will have a small fee for a package delivery. Just check to make sure before sending, as it still might be worth the money to have these essentials.

Epcot dining tip: If you don't mind leaving the park for a little while, head out the World Showcase entrance (between UK and France) and go to the Boardwalk. There are many great dining options, including the Boardwalk Bakery, one of our favorites!

To save time in the morning, I brought my own cereal, bowls and spoons. My husband went to the food court to buy milk for the kids' breakfast and coffee for us. We would take turns in the shower while the others ate. This took us about one hour each morning, and we'd be ready to head into the parks. It sure beats sitting at a table waiting to place orders and get fed. The kids thought it was fun too. We also brought along snacks (zip-lock baggies with trail mix) so that during the day we weren't spending a lot of money on junk food. We usually skipped a sit down lunch and opted only for a sit down dinner. It worked great!

Flame Tree Barbecue - Animal Kingdom Restaurant

Whenever I have visited Walt Disney World (always in July/August), it has been extremely hot. To save money on drinks, ask for a large cup of ice! The ice is free and cools you down. Counter service restaurants will always give you a free cup of ice or water.

I have read several tips about sending packages to your hotel with snacks and other treats in the package. This is very costly even in comparison to buying treats at Disney World. What I have done in the past is pack another suitcase filled with snacks, crackers, candy, cereal bars, or whatever my children like for that moment. This way I haven't spent any money sending a package to the resort AND I have an extra empty suitcase for all the trinkets that are purchased in Disney World.

Arlen shares a tip for saving some money while dining in the parks: "We pack our lunch in the morning and place it in collapsible cooler along with enough cold water bottles for our family. We then take the cooler with us to a Disney World park and place it into a locker at the beginning of the day. We provide our own lunches to save money so we don't feel bad spending at dinner at a Disney restaurant later on."

Lamb Chop - Be Our Guest - Walt Disney World-Dining

The Disney Dining Plan can save you a lot of hassle and planning while you're at Disney World. Plus, if you get it as part of a Disney resort package, you can pay for it in increments before you arrive. Guide2WDW reader Kim writes, "Could my family eat a lot cheaper than what I pay for the Dining plan? Sure. But with the dining plan, we get more character breakfasts and more themed dining than what I would pay for when we got there. Not to mention, when I get there, my entire vacation is paid for and I didn't have to charge anything or worry about trying to save the money to pay for it when I arrive."

Fish and Chips - Yorkshire County Fish Shop - Epcot Dining - Disney World

We just recently went to Disney World in the first week of February. Towards the end of the week, Magic Kingdom was getting pretty crowded and, needless to say, so were the lunch spots. Since we had park hoppers, we took the monorail to Epcot and ate in the World Showcase without hardly any crowd at all. We even had enough time to go on a couple of rides.