As and chef and as I got older, I came to realize that one of my favorite things to do at Disney is to eat! Whether you are looking for Chinese or Italian, steak, or seafood, Disney has a restaurant that fits your appetite.
With literally hundreds of dining locations off-property to choose from, Disney needed a niche to keep you inside their resort – dining in *their* restaurants. So, Disney created fantastic themed restaurants and staffed them with some of the best chefs money can buy. But now with there being hundreds of choices for on-property dining, how do you know which one to pick?
You can apply the same principles of booking (remember the 5 W’s and 1 H) to dining. Although using this method will not pinpoint which restaurant you wish to dine at, it will narrow down your choices.
1) *HOW* much money do you want to spend?
2) *WHO* is going to be dining with you? Is it a meal for the family or a romantic dinner for two?
3) *WHEN* do you want to eat? Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
4) *WHERE* are you going to be when you want to eat? Which park or resort?
5) *WHAT* type of cuisine are you hungry for?
6) *WHY* are you not on a dining plan?
*Okay, so I threw that last one in there, but the dining plan really works!*
In order to answer your 5 W’s and 1 H, you first need an understanding of what Disney has to offer and how they put it all together. *Dining Categories* Located within the forty-seven square miles of Walt Disney World® Resort there is an incredible pantheon of dedicated chefs offering culinary delights at over one hundred different dining locations. Keeping true to the magic of Disney, each of these locations offers guests a different atmosphere to complete their dining experience. There are several types of dining experiences at Disney and they are separated into five meal categories:
*Table Service – *A sit down, full service restaurant-style meal served by a wait staff that “can” *include an appetizer, entree and dessert, or a full buffet. Most of Disney’s table service locations will offer guests both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage selections.
*Counter Service – *A cafeteria-style meal in which you will order your food from a menu board and carry it to the table yourself, much like at a fast food restaurant. The counter service locations will offer guests a diverse selection of entrées and desserts, or one complete combo meal. Although some of the counter service locations will offer beer, most rely on non-alcoholic beverage selections.
*Character Dining – *This is an experience like no other, which gives you and your family the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Disney’s most popular characters. Character Dining Experiences are usually all-you-can-eat buffets or family-style meals, although most places will accommodate dietary needs. Character dining is a great way for the entire family to have a great meal while meeting with their favorite characters for autographs and photos.
*Quick Bites – *These are snacks that are usually found in the food carts located throughout the parks and inside the food courts at the resorts. You can choose from a wide variety of items like a frozen ice-cream or fruit bar, popcorn scoop (single serving box), single serving of chips, 20oz. bottle of soda, 24oz. Bottle of water, medium fountain soft drink, or apple juice.
*Disney Signature Dining* – This is the absolute “best of the best” Disney has to offer in the line of dining. At Disney’s Signature Dining locations, top chefs create four and five star quality dining opportunities. There are nine different signature or unique dining locations on property that offer guests the opportunity to experience Disney in a more sophisticated environment. These restaurants are the only place on Disney Property where a dress code is required and enforced. Although the signature dining experiences cost more money, they will create memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.