Disney World trips are all about great theme parks, fun resorts and lots of food. When it comes to eating, there is no shortage of destinations and options. You’ll catch yourself saying “we still need to eat there” at the end of every vacation.
With such a wealth of food options, it’s easy to bog down a trip with too many dining reservations. In particular, it’s easy to plan out a bunch of table-service meals that require a reservation for fear of missing out. Avoid that temptation as much as you can. Table-service venues are great, but you don’t want to have your trip be consumed by them unless the point of your trip is to experience as many as possible.
Keep in mind that the following recommendations will obviously vary depending on your group, budget and length of stay.
Time is money
Time is your most valuable resource when you’re on vacation. Table-service restaurants can quickly consume a huge amount of your day simply because they aren’t as fast as the appropriately-named quick service. Factoring in travel time, waiting for your reservation and then the actual meal itself, be prepared to dedicate between one and two hours for every table-service meal. You don’t need to do any fancy math to see how that can add up in a hurry if you have multiple reservations in the same day.
Because of time and the portions (more on this below), we try to spread out our table-service reservations. We never book two in a day and usually we won’t even book them on back-to-back days.
This may vary on location and your appetite, but we’ve always been stuffed following a table-service meal. We ate at Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater during our most recent trip to Hollywood Studios and had to be rolled out after a burger, fries and shake dinner. I can’t even imagine trying to do a breakfast buffet or another table-service breakfast in the same day.
Odds are decent that you’ll find one big meal to be plenty even with all of that walking.
Quick-Service isn’t bad
Some of the appeal of table-service venues is the location, atmosphere and opportunity to meet characters. You may not find all of that at a quick-service location, but you will still find some fun locations that are themed well.
Satu’li Canteen is Animal Kingdom may be the best quick-service location in all of Disney World. As one of the newest eateries, it’s hopefully an example of the new wave of dining locations Disney will be adding throughout their upcoming projects. It’s very well themed and it has some outstanding food options.
Other locations, such as the many quick-service options around World Showcase in Epcot, give a good meal at a reasonable price.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that table-service locations are the most expensive in Disney World. Depending on where you live, they may even come across as outrageously expensive.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater’s classic burger with fries was $18. The milk shake was $6. Double that for two people and add in tip and you have a pretty decent check waiting to be paid. Those prices range significantly higher depending on the location. That can be crazy frustrating if you have picky eaters in your group.
We have found Sci-Fi – and many other table-service meals – but it’s important to look at the pricing before sitting down.
Final Table-Service Thoughts
Table-service meals can be pretty awesome. Don’t let this article make you think otherwise. However, they need to be planned just as strategically as your FastPass reservations.