The Delicate Art of Disney Dining Decisions



Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Snacks, snacks, snacks!!! Oh the plethora of culinary options. While there are definitely snacks I think you should make a point to hunt down at WDW, and quick service options I recommend over others, only your table service meals really need planing. We usually have 1 table service a day, and typically it’s dinner. This is for a couple of reasons:

  1. Mornings are the best time to be in the parks. If you arrive at rope drop you can enjoy 2-3 hours of reduced crowds before the late sleepers start arriving.  It’s also cooler in the morning. I don’t like to waste that time eating breakfast. An apple & trail mix on the go, or a cinnamon roll and coffee from Joffrey’s works for me.
  2. Table service meals tend to be more filling. It’s harder to run around enjoying attractions in the hot sunshine with a full belly.

Andy and I love food. Maybe we’re even “foodies.” Trying new flavors and textures of cuisine/wine/beer/cocktails/coffee excites us and we love sharing these experiences together, as well as with our family and friends. Our passion for food and my desire to plan a fluid vacation mean I spend a lot of energy considering our table service reservations during our trip. (Andy would probably claim I obsess, but isn’t planning half of the fun!?)


Confession: I have trouble committing to my dining plans at Disney World. There are so many choices! I make initial reservations as soon as I can.  (180 days out if you’re staying at a WDW resort hotel.) Planning is essential and you’ll hear me say that one million times over. But, I often end up tweaking and changing what I have – chasing the dream of the perfect dining reservations combo. (Is this zeal or obsession?)

It’s a game of strategy. Sort of an algebraic equation:

cuisine type preferences + dining time + restaurant performance + location ÷ favorite must haves + new experiences   = PERFECT DINING PLAN!!


You must balance the type of cuisine you enjoy with the reservation time making sure it’s in the park you’re visiting (or not visiting) that day. I’m constantly combing my favorite Disney sources like Disney Food Blog, for their latest opinions which influence my decisions. Which restaurants are performing consistently high? Which offer amazing service? Finally there’s the pull of old favorites, or forgoing somewhere I had a positive experience a couple of years ago to try something new.

I realize that for some people table service restaurants aren’t that important. Plenty of people are happy to grab quick service for their entire trip. I’m not judging! There are plenty of delicious quick service options. Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom, for example. Or, Earl of Sandwich in Disney Springs. Yummy. (And many more!)


But if you’re going to make dining reservations, and you’re like me, you want to make sure your choices are optimal. So how do you apply that magic formula to your planning? I let the Extra Magic Hours guide when I visit what parks. Depending on the park and its proximate locations (i.e. The Contemporary is just outside Magic Kingdom), I decide the best cuisine location in that area. It’s hard to curtail Epcot and Disney Springs restaurants because of their numerous choices. That’s when I turn to sources like Disney Food Blog, who are eating in the parks frequently, to assist in my decision.

Sometimes I still end up changing my mind. For example, we were planning to dine at Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom on our upcoming trip where dinner is sort of Thanksgiving traditional. Liberty Tree has a fantastic reputation for consistently delicious food. Though it has great ratings, there’s something about the pot roast, turkey and stuffing vibe in June we couldn’t get past. So we opted to try out the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen instead, Magic Kingdom’s newest table service spot. The Jungle Cruise theme has high appeal and the food is reportedly pretty good.

And don’t get me wrong – most table service spots are going to provide you with some tasty chow.  I can’t recall a truly lousy meal on any of my trips. But each trip some spots stand out above the rest.

So my advice? You do you! If you want to go crazy and research – go for it! Or perhaps you want to just roll the dice and choose a spot. Either way, here are the ESSENTIAL THINGS you should do:

1.) Make reservations!! I really can’t say that enough. And make them as early as you possibly can. Trust me.

2.) Ensure your location is convenient. Due to the size of Disney World it can take a couple of hours to get from one point to another. Don’t pick a restaurant in Animal Kingdom if you plan to spend the day in Magic Kingdom.

3.) Make reservations a time that works for your schedule. If a big lunch makes you uncomfortable, skip table service then. Don’t schedule dinner at 5:00 if you normally eat late. Do what makes sense for you and your family.

4.) Have an open mind. Remember you’re on vacation. Wherever you end up dining, relax, enjoy, and savor the experience!


See ya real soon!

M.M. – Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar

DSC05026Pictured above my friends, is pure happiness. A perch in the shade with my favorite ice cream treat in the ENTIRE WORLD: Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar. Welcome back to MUNCHY MONDAY, the tastiest day of the week.

Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar:


Perfection. A frozen serving of silky, creamy vanilla ice cream covered with a thick, rich chocolate shell in the shape of the iconic Mickey ears.

IMG_0644Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar is a whole-lotta-name. My family and I usually just call it a Premium Bar, and I’ll treat you all like one of the gang and refer to it as such here. Sold exclusively by Disney, we can thank Nestle for bringing this delight to us. The bar comes packaged in a red, blue, and white wrapper featuring a smiling Mickey face. (You can see the wrapper stuck under my cup in the picture above.) Now-a-days you can find a Premium Bar just about anywhere on Walt Disney World property. They’re available at all theme parks, as well as Downtown Disney, from an ice cream cart. You won’t have to trek far in any park to find one of these carts set up with a big, blue umbrella and a sign displaying what goodies it offers. You may also be able to find a Premium Bar in the food court of your WDW Resort Hotel. Just ask a cast member if your hotel serves them up.

IMG_0645 Now that you know where to find them, let’s talk strategy. Everyone has a different approach to how they eat a Premium Bar. Hubby, as seen to the left, digs right in, biting off an ear. He prefers to enjoy the chocolate & vanilla flavors together in bites. I’m not really a bite-my-ice cream kinda gal. I like to savor the ice cream slowly as it melts. So I very carefully eat the chocolate shell first and then eat the vanilla ice cream layer by softly melting layer. You can see below, how I’ve already got the side of the chocolate coating off, exposing the vanilla ice cream. My strategy also makes the Premium Bar last longer. Win.

DSC05027Like Pineapple Dole Whip, I shamelessly eat more than one of these during a WDW trip. I simply love them. They’re the ideal treat – sweet, cool, and refreshing. Incidentally, I’ve discovered that despite of the countless hours I’ve spent at Walt Disney World and the many, many times I’ve enjoyed this treat, I have very few pictures of it. I will say that this reason is probably two pronged. Firstly, it’s so tasty you want to eat it immediately, and photographing it doesn’t really come into consideration. Secondly, we usually visit WDW in the summer. And it’s HOT. There is little-to-no time for snapping pictures before you start to have a melting mess on your hands. But the melting mess, especially when you’re a kid, is part of the fun.


Welcome to Munchy Monday!

Welcome to MUNCHY MONDAY, our new weekly installment of the blog focusing on all things delicious at Walt Disney World!

Food is everywhere at Disney World. There are restaurants ranging from the elite Victoria & Albert’s at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, to casual themed dining such as the Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There are Quick Service options at all resort hotels and theme parks – where you can find sandwiches, salads, burgers, tacos, and barbeque, just to name a few. Snack carts offer choices such as ice cream, popcorn, and roasted nuts. There are coffees, wines, beers, specialty cocktails, milkshakes, and even Doofenslurpers (a sweet, slushy drink inspired by the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas & Ferb)!

So as is our goal, we want to help you know before you go. With so many appetizing options to indulge your palette with, MUNCHY MONDAY will help you know what food options are out there, so you can make sure to eat exactly what your mouth desires.

pineapple dole whip soloWe’re going to kick off MUNCHY MONDAY with what we consider to be the holy grail of snacks: Pineapple Dole Whip!!! And we are not alone. This tasty treat has long been a favorite among Walt Disney World guests, and has recently been featured on t-shirts available at WDW.

Pineapple Dole Whip: Soft Serve ice cream infused with Dole pineapple juice. Amazing. This delectable Dole Pineapple Soft Serve can be purchased on its own (how we like it!) or layered with a refreshing serving of pineapple juice, as seen to the right. Eat and sip!

Now that we’ve peaked your interest, here’s how to get your own Pineapple Dole Whip:

Dole Whip

  1. Go to Magic Kingdom.
  2. Head to Adventureland.
  3. Locate Aloha Isle – across from the entrance to Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and get in line.
  4. Eat Dole Whip before it melts!
  5. Pause and enjoy that tropical flavored satisfaction after polishing off every last drop.

If pineapple alone doesn’t thrill you, you can try vanilla or orange Dole Whip Soft Serve, or swirl one of those flavors with the pineapple! Pineapple Dole Whip is only available at two locations in Walt Disney World: Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom and Cook’s Kitchen at Disney’s Polynesian. Aloha Isle offers pineapple spears, pineapple juice, coke and root beer floats, chips, and other beverage options in addition to the soft serve. Its location in the Magic Kingdom makes it the most practical way for most guests to get their fix.

For us, no trip to WDW is complete until Pineapple Dole Whip is consumed. At least once. Or twice… Or as many times as we can justify eating soft serve. Hey, it counts as a fruit serving, right?!?

One of My Favorite Snacks

There are about a million wonderful things about Disney World. Seriously. In a place that is twice the size of Manhattan, that contains 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks, around 25 hotels, and over 100 restaurants, I’ll probably write a million posts easily.

But today, as I sit down to write my second true post, finding a place to begin talking about anything is seeming incredibly daunting. As I’ve been sitting here trying to decide what to talk about I’ve realized that I am hungry. And so, as my stomach is growling at me for an afternoon snack, it seems as though food will be where I begin.

One of my favorite Walt Disney World snacks is a Disney Parks Icon: The Mickey Premium Bar:

Mickey Premium Bars

These can be found all throughout Walt Disney World. Look for an ice cream cart located in the parks, usually under a large blue umbrella. If you don’t see one in your immediate view, walk 25 steps in any one direction and you’ll find one. This frozen treat in the shape of a Mickey head is a rich and creamy vanilla ice cream bar with a thick chocolate coating on the outside. So simple, yet so stinking delicious – especially when it’s hot as blazes outside. Everyone eats his or hers differently, but my technique is to each all of the chocolate coating off first, then slowly enjoy layer by layer of the vanilla ice cream as it slowly melts. If my fervent testimony isn’t enough, let me give you this fact: This is the most in demand snack at Walt Disney World. Yum.