Beat The Spring Break Dining Crowds At Disney World

But if these busy season times are the only opportunities you have to visit Disney, what can you do?  The theme parks will be crowded – there is no way to get around that.  But by following these simple tips you can avoid some of the huddled masses and get to see and do more than the other guests who don’t know about these top secret tips.  Ok, they aren’t secret anymore, but they are still very useful.

Tip #1 – Get To The Parks Early And Enjoy A Leisurely Meal

Here is a great tip for both enjoying a meal and getting a head start on the day.  Each theme park has at least one Disney character breakfast location that offers breakfast before the park itself opens.  For example, if the park opens at 9am, you can get a reservation (or Advance Dining Reservation in Disney speak) for 8am.  When you get the park entrance you will need to go in through the turnstile marked for Character Breakfasts.  And yes, they will ask you for your reservation number so be sure to bring it with you.  Now, you can enter a nearly empty park, take a few photos, enjoy your breakfast, and be in the park when it begins operation.

The only downside to this tip is getting the reservation.  You will need to book early since Disney character dining locations tend to fill up.  Reservations open 180 days ahead of time.  Be sure to call 407-WDW-DINE first thing in the morning 180 days out, or use the Disney World web site to book your meal.

Tip #2 – Eat When Other’s Aren’t Eating

Lines tend to be longest during the traditional meal hours, like 8am for breakfast, noon for lunch, and 6pm for dinner.  Look for times outside these traditional dining times to enjoy your meal.  You might plan for a late lunch / early dinner at 4pm, and then enjoy a late night snack.  This allows you to get through your meal with much less waiting time – both in waiting to be seated as well as waiting to be served.

By enjoying your meals at off-hours you will get faster seating and faster service.
By enjoying your meals at off-hours you will get faster seating and faster service.

This one may sound counter intuitive, but go with me on it.  The restaurants inside the parks are some of the busiest on Disney property.  On the other hand, there is often more capacity at the nearby Disney Resort hotel restaurants.  Take a break from the theme park crowds by taking a boat, monorail, or even bus to a nearby resort and enjoy the restaurants there.  For example, if you are enjoying the Magic Kingdom, jump on the resort monorail and try out lunch at the Contempo Café, a quick service location at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where you can enjoy a flatbread in the Grand Canyon Concourse as you watch the monorails glide by.

Tip #4 – Eat At Someplace Other Than A Restaurant

So how can you eat at someplace that isn’t a restaurant?  There are actually a few lounges around Disney property where you can order from the menu.  The 50s Prime Time Café has the Tune-In Lounge where you can enjoy a drink and order a full meal from the kitchen.

By eating a meal at a lounge you can enjoy a drink and save some serious time.
By eating a meal at a lounge you can enjoy a drink and save some serious time.

Great Dining Tips

By getting to the parks early for a character breakfast, eating when other’s don’t, enjoying a meal outside the parks, and eating at lounges, you can save plenty of time and still get to enjoy some terrific meals on your Disney World vacation.