How You Dine at Walt Disney World Has to Change Now — Here’s Why

If you’re heading to Walt Disney World in the near future, you’ll need to prepare for some changes.

Cinderella Castle

Upon reopening, Disney World implemented a number of new policies to help ensure the safety of guests and Cast Members. You might already be prepared to snag your Disney Park Pass reservations, stock up on face masks, and maintain distance from other guests.

But did you know you’ll have to make some big changes to the way you dine at Walt Disney World as well?

No More Eating “On the Go”

All guests age two and older must wear a face mask in the Parks at all times, except while eating and drinking. And Disney recently clarified this policy to state that guests must be stationary and physically distanced from others before removing their face masks to eat or drink — not walking around.

Face Mask Sign

In other words, no more wandering the Park while snacking on a Dole Whip or Mickey Pretzel. If you typically multi-task by enjoying your treats en route to the next attraction, be prepared to take a break to eat them on your next visit to the Parks.

Mobile Order is More Important Than Ever

Guests have been able to use Mobile Order at many Quick Service restaurants in Disney World for several years. And while we enjoyed taking advantage of this feature even before the closure, Mobile Order is even more essential now.

Mobile Order

Disney is highly encouraging guests to use Mobile Order at participating restaurants since it reduces contact between guests and Cast Members. So if you haven’t used this feature in your My Disney Experience app yet, plan to take it for a spin on your next trip.

Reservations for Table Service Restaurants

Reservations have always been strongly suggested for guests interested in dining at Table Service restaurants — especially for super-popular places like Be Our Guest Restaurant, California Grill, and similarly sought-after spots. But now, Table Service restaurants are not accepting walk-ins at all, so Advance Dining Reservations are required in order to dine.

Be Our Guest

And you’ll have to wait until closer to your trip to snag those reservations — Advance Dining Reservations can now be made up to 60 days ahead of time, rather than the previous 180 days in advance. If you usually prefer to dine with a little more spontaneity, prepare to make reservations in advance for this vacation.

Changes to Buffet Restaurants

Once a staple of Disney World dining, guests will not currently find any buffet-style dining around the Resort. Guests can still find all-you-care-to-enjoy meals at several places around property. For example, Garden Grill offers family-style dining, and Chef Mickey’s has reopened for breakfast with a similar approach, in contrast to its previous buffet setup.

Garden Grill Restaurant in Epcot Before the Closures

If buffets are a regular part of your Disney World vacation, be ready to switch things up this time around. And remember, even though there are no buffets right now, you can still look for reservations at a restaurant that offers family-style dining for a similar experience.

There’s no doubt about it, there are a lot of differences in the reopened Disney World Parks. Don’t forget to consider how those changes will impact your dining routine! By planning and preparing for the differences, you can set yourself up for a vacation full of happy memories — and full bellies!

How have you changed the way you dine in Disney World since the parks have reopened? Let us know in the comments!

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