Resort restaurants are usually always emptier than the ones at the parks especially if they aren’t character meals. You’ll have better luck just walking up to the check in counter and getting seated immediately. Or worse case, maybe a 5-10 minute wait, max. The only times that I’ve noticed when restaurants are more crowded besides dinner and breakfast is during a really rainy day, since most people tend to hang out at the resorts as opposed to venturing out to the parks.
A lot of people assume that thee are only a few good restaurants at Disney and that they are always 100% booked everyday. But believe it or not, there are actually some other equally as good restaurants and alternatives that people should check out. And best of all, these restaurants are basically hidden gems meaning that they are always emptier than most. For example, some people go to ‘Ohana just for the bread pudding. But did you know that you can get an individual portion from Tambu Lounge, right in front of ‘Ohana? (You can also avoid this situation entirely by using these surefire tips to get an Ohana reservation)
Let’s face it, crowds suck, especially at restaurants. That’s why it’s smart to eat during off times. Now, although slow times are becoming more and more rare at Disney you can still find times that are a lot lighter than usual. Anytime between 2-4 pm is always prime time for emptiness. Early mornings, not too much, since most kids and parents are up pretty early.
Do you prefer buffets? How about character meals? Or maybe a romantic dinner looking out to the Seven Seas Lagoon. You will truly find something for everyone. The hardest part is just making your decision amidst all the choices.
The last thing you’d want to do is show up at a restaurant and find absolutely nothing that’s edible on the menu. That’s why I truly recommend doing your research so that you can find the perfect restaurant that fits yours and even your party’s dietary preferences. This applies to both snacks and full meals.
Just because some restaurants are emptier than others in the morning doesn’t mean that you can just walk in. Now don’t get me wrong it does happen, but since time is usually your most precious asset, the last thing you’d want to do is wait 30 minutes for a table at Captain’s Grill as opposed to making a breakfast reservation for 10 minutes beforehand and walking straight in.
The last thing you’d want to do is get within 2 weeks of your trip and every restaurant that you dreamt about eating at is completely booked. That’s why is’t so important to make advanced dining reservations as soon as it’s 180 until your trip. And if ‘Ohana is on your list, I got you.
The days of having to whip out your credit card to pay for stuff is coming to an end. You can use Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay at all the Disney World parks. I love using these contactless payment methods. I have an iPhone and use Apple Pay all the time. It is so easy to set up and use and really saves you time at checkout. No more digging through your purse or wallet to find your credit card. Just tap your phone or watch to the card reader and the transaction is done. Welcome to the 21stcentury everyone!
MagicBands are worn on your wrist like a watch and are used to store your park admission. They are not necessary, but they are pretty neat and make your day more efficient. Once you get your ticket and a MagicBand, hop onto the My Disney Experience App to sync them together. MagicBands are used for entrance to the parks and for FastPass check ins. They are also used to connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account. According to Disney, they can unlock personalized surprises and experiences inside the parks, too. If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, your MagicBand can be used as a room key. The MagicBand can also be used to charge food and merchandise purchases to your room. That is only available during your stay at a Disney Hotel, obviously. Disney World uses paperless tickets and you actually receive a card for admission. The card is linked only to you by means of a fingerprint scanner at the entrance, however, you still want to keep it someplace safe. I kept mine in my wallet and my friend had hers in a slim fanny pack. Neither of us had any difficulty scanning the cards without having to take them out. I just pulled out my wallet, tapped it to the scanner and was on my way.
If you are not going to rent or bring a car and don’t plan on visiting the other theme parks in Orlando, then I recommend staying at one of the Disney resorts. Check out my review of the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek All the Disney resorts have either a shuttle or Monorail to the park entrances. You also get complimentary MagicBands, as I stated before. The Disney resorts will also pick you up and drop you off at Orlando International Airport. Another really cool benefit is you get enjoy select attractions before or after regular park hours their Extra Magic Hours. This is only valid with a select number of Disney World Resort hotels. This is a great option to avoid having to pay for parking or renting a car.