Best Strategies for Eating at Walt Disney World Right Now
I’ve noticed several of MickeyBlog’s Facebook posters share a similar concern.
You’re worried about dining at Walt Disney World during the pandemic. And that’s completely understandable.
Every park guest develops habits over time, but the recent changes may have disrupted them some. So, we’re all starting from scratch.
Here are a few of the best strategies I’ve noticed for eating at Walt Disney World right now.
Whenever I write Disney help articles, I try to remain consistent. A couple of weeks ago, I shared a list of the best places to dine at Disney during the pandemic.
I recently mentioned that one of the things that I like best about Disney vacations is the lack of planning stress.
What I’m about to say is consistent with that, even though I’m saying to plan ahead.
Due to the smaller crowds, you don’t need to book Advanced Dining Reservations. You certainly can, as we’ll discuss.
However, most of your meals will be of the Quick Service variety, as statistics show most guests don’t want to eat inside indoor restaurants at the moment.
What you’ll want to do is pull up the menu for the Quick Service meals you’re considering.
Disney has streamlined the menus at all its restaurants for multiple reasons.
For starters, they’re serving fewer customers during the pandemic. Also, some ingredients have grown more challenging to acquire.
So, when I say plan ahead, I mean that you must check three things.
The first is whether the restaurant you like is open. The second is whether they’re accepting Mobile Ordering. Finally, do they have the dish you want?
You can check this in less than a minute in the My Disney Experience app. We’re not talking about a lot of planning, just a quick verification that what you want is an option.
QR Codes Help
Coronavirus has caused a disruption in many of Disney’s longstanding business practices.
At the parks, Disney encourages interactions between customers and cast members. Well, I should say that they used to do that.
Because of the pandemic, the risk is too significant for social encounters.
Disney has adapted by changing some of its practices, especially at restaurants.
Diners cannot leave their masks on while eating, of course.
To protect everyone’s health, the parks must reduce all interactions between unmasked diners and employees.
You’ll find QR codes at the check-in locations for many restaurants. On your smartphone, you access these codes to tell Disney that you’ve arrived.
In doing so, you skip face-to-face encounters with the workers at the host stand. It’s actually more efficient for you and for Disney.
In other words, this change should have happened long ago.
Once you sit down at your table, you may find another QR code. Pulling up this code will display the restaurant menu.
Yes, you can do the same thing on My Disney Experience. Think of this option as a fallback tactic if you ignored the previous advice to plan ahead.
Use Mobile Ordering
Disney introduced Mobile Ordering in late-2017, not a moment too soon for park guests.
If you’re unfamiliar with the process, welcome to 2020! Many restaurants have utilized smartphone apps to expedite the ordering process for customers.
In the restaurant industry, two of the most significant issues are incorrect orders and meal preparation efficiency.
When customers get their orders wrong, they’re less likely to return to a restaurant.
Conversely, online orders with precise instructions are easy to expedite, allowing restaurants to service more customers per business day.
So, Mobile Ordering helps everyone. You should be using it as often as possible, and I would have said that before the pandemic. In fact, I did!
At the time, I stated: “Mobile Ordering is already the greatest addition to Walt Disney World park visits since Magic Bands, and it should only get better from here.”
Now that Coronavirus has impacted the travel and food industries so much, the statement is especially true.
When you use Mobile Ordering, you can skip the lines and thereby avoid needless interactions.
You’re also more likely to get the meal the way that you want it. As someone with food allergies who eats out all the time, I can say this with complete sincerity.
The accuracy of my meals has improved exponentially since the advent of Mobile Ordering.
I do have one pro tip, though. Some Disney restaurants won’t let people in unless they have a Mobile Ordering meal to pick up.
This causes a strange, frustrating problem at places like Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.
When guests learn about the rule, they tend to stand in the doorway, pull out their phones and order, thereby causing crowds to form.
So, please be aware of other guests while you use Mobile Ordering. You must still honor social distancing.
Advanced Dining Reservations at the Walk-Up List
Okay, let’s presume that you’re one of the people comfortable with dining inside a restaurant right now.
First of all, I have great news. You’ll feel safer at Disney than you would at the little shop on the corner.
However, Disney hasn’t reopened all its indoor restaurants yet. Again, you’ll want to check whether your preferred destination is even open.
Favorites like ‘Ohana, Akershus, and The Crystal Palace aren’t back yet.
You can book Advanced Dining Reservations at the places that have returned. The process has changed only slightly.
Your booking window won’t open until 60 days before your arrival date. As a reminder, it’s been 180 days until the pandemic began.
So, you have less time to schedule your dining reservations. You’re not totally out of luck if you forget, though.
Disney recently introduced the Walk-Up List at many of its Table Service restaurants.
When you view a specific eatery on My Disney Experience, you can see whether it lists Walk-Up List availability.
If so, you add your name to book a table. It’s the equivalent of putting your name down on the waiting list at the restaurant.
This process is still in the early stages, but it’ll especially help fence-sitters.
I’m talking about those of you who haven’t decided whether you’re okay eating indoors at Walt Disney World.
Let’s say that you arrive at the park and recognize how effective Disney’s safety policies are. If so, you’re not too late to eat at your favorite restaurants.
You can check the Walk-Up List to find a place that serves the food you want and add your name to the waitlist.
Disney really has thought of everything with regards to protecting your health during the pandemic.
Thanks to these strategies, you can eat safely without sacrificing meal quality.