Looking to get the best dining value and experience during your Disneyland Resort vacation? Here are our top 10 tips for making your Disneyland dining supercaloriefragiledeliciousexpenseanddessertious!
1. Get a priority seating
If there’s a particular restaurant you want to experience at a particular time without much of a wait, then getting a priority seating is incredibly important. Just call Disney Dining line (714-781-EGOD) exactly 60 days before you want to eat and let them know when you’d like to visit, how many adults and children will be in your party, what you’ll be eating, what you’re celebrating, any special food needs you have, where you’d like to sit, and how generously you tip. That’s all there is to it!
Remember, you can get a priority seating for any of the table-service restaurants, and can also order food ahead for pickup at counter-service restaurants and food carts. There’s nothing like walking up to a popcorn cart knowing that the popcorn’s already made and waiting for you!
2. Do your research
There’s nothing worse than knowing that mealtime is approaching but you have no idea where you want to go to eat. Before making your meal plans, research what restaurants are near to the attractions you want to experience around meal time. Then select the restaurant that sounds best to you, think about the people in your party, and ask yourself these questions? Is there something here that everyone can eat? Will everyone enjoy the theme? Will the atmosphere match our mood? What will everyone say when I tell them where we are eating? Does it matter all that much what everyone else thinks? Do they really have a right to complain when I’m the one planning everything? Why are they all such a bunch of complainers?
3. Eat at unpopular times
This is our favorite tip of them all (which is why we put it in the coveted third position)! You can have a more carefree dining experience if you avoid the crowds by eating at unpopular times. For example, have breakfast before any of the restaurants open, have lunch for dinner, and then have breakfast again for lunch! You can also visit a crowded restaurant during the dinner rush and only order soft drinks — that’s definitely unpopular!
4. Coordinate dining with park hours, early entry, and FASTPASS times
Timing is so important that we have to mention it twice! To fine-tune your meal timing make sure you:
- Avoid making in-park dining reservations for times that the park is closed.
- If early entry is available, you can have breakfast while other guests are either unable to get into the park or are wasting their time in lines that haven’t even had time to become entertainingly long.
- Trick other guests by getting a FASTPASS for a popular attraction and then eating during the FASTPASS return window when everyone else expects you to be on a ride.
5. Lie about your age
If you don’t have a priority seating, you might be able to get a castmember to let you skip the line (or at least convince other guests to give you “cuts” in line) by claiming that you are either near death or a little baby.
You can also save money by claiming that you are young enough to order off the children’s menu (although you may need to pretend that you are several children in order to get enough food to feel full).
6. Eat on the go
Avoid the wait for a table by ordering your Blue Bayou Cajun monte cristo sandwich or Club 33 panda-fillet sliders in a handy “to go” bag.
7. Bring money
It’s a well-known fact that massive bribery can get you better food, better service, and a better table. Unfortunately, it’s also well known that the previous rule doesn’t apply to Disneyland where everything is fair and incorruptible. Even so, it is suggested that you bring plenty of money when dining in the resort in order to avoid delays caused by searching for your wallet, being chased down by a recently stiffed member of the wait staff, and filling out boring police reports.
8. Look for discounts
You likely won’t find them, but looking can be fun.
9. Remember the freebies!
If money’s tight, remember that there are plenty of free items available in or near Disneyland eateries, including water, condiments, coffee additives, napkins, and things people you wish aren’t going to finish.
10. Try new or “under the radar” restaurants
When popular eateries are overcrowded, try some of the lesser-known resort dining offerings, such as the Jungle Dinner Cruise, Cars Land’s Grease Rack, and the trunk of your car where you left the cooler full of Subway sandwiches.