6 Buffet Disasters We’ve Encountered in Disney World

Sometimes, disasters in Disney World are unavoidable.

Our plate

We’ve messed up BIG time in Disney World before, which has resulted in some epic disasters. But if you’ve ever had your dining experience at Disney World not turn out quite like you had hoped, well, you’re not alone.

Buffet dining while at Disney World may feel like the safe dining option initially. Sure, there’s plenty of food, a variety of options for even the pickiest of eaters, and how could it get better when there are characters involved?

Mickey Waffles!

But, we’re living proof to tell you that things don’t always go off without a hitch. Take our advice and learn from our mistakes… or well, observations of mistakes that have helped lead to a less-than-stellar dining experience before these things taint your own!

Beware The Children

Granted this won’t be EVERY child at your buffet but these kinds of meals (especially character dining) tend to attract families. Their variety of foods, opportunities to see characters without feeling like you’re missing out on taking time to eat, and moderate pricing for the value makes them an attractive option.

Disaster strikes!

However, the security and “magical” feeling is one that some kids (and parents) can find themselves wrapped up in all too easily. This could lead to less proud moments from children where we’ve experienced things being swiped from tables or knocked over, children (yes, even small ones) left to their own devices to grab food from the buffet, kids running around, and feeling a little too comfortable to come over and run off with a neighboring table’s belongings.

Avoid Those Late-Night Seatings

It’s so tempting to take that late-night slot for a restaurant you’ve been dying to try, but we’re here to warn you before you confirm that reservation!


Our buffet disasters with late-night seatings range from food being cold, to not replenished or taken completely off the buffet line just as we were seated. To add to this, we know it’s late, you’re just looking to eat and get back to the hotel and chances are the cast members are ready to call it a night, too. The chances of not receiving the most attentive service during these seatings are a likely option, as well.

Interrupting the Buffet Flow

As Crush from Finding Nemo would say (or sing rather), “go with the floooowwww,” and it’s pretty solid advice, especially for a buffet line.

Chef Mickey’s Buffet

While we’re not sure there’s a proper “buffet etiquette” there’s always the opportunity to be polite. It could be so tempting to run up between two people just to grab the one item you’re after (kids are especially prone to this) but it wouldn’t be without potentially ruffling a few neighborly feathers. Or, if you like to go down the line, but then hop out as you skip a few items only to hop back in when you’re ready to grab the next thing for your plate, consider just waiting patiently as you work your way down the line to the things you want most. You’re probably doing a lot of unnecessary footwork, and your aching feet will thank you for this.

Missing Characters

This could debatably be the WORST disaster to encounter during a Disney World buffet meal. It’s incredibly disheartening to feel like you’ve missed the characters as they come around the dining room.

Donald Duck

If you’re not willing to wait or time your chance to grab your meal just right,  you could find yourself dancing opposite of them as they make their way around by your table. Don’t be too discouraged though! The characters do tend to take a small break in between visits around the dining room to give you a chance to enjoy your meal… this is your prime opportunity to chow down. Then, you’ll be ready for the next time the characters come around! If you’re concerned that you’ve missed your visit with a certain character, talk with your server — they can ensure you get to see everyone!

Unequal Menus

It’s not this way at EVERY Disney World buffet meal but this can certainly pose a problem.


Most buffets have equal offerings on two different sides so you can get to your food and through the line faster and return to your seat. However, we’ve encountered a buffet or two where this was not the case. If you find yourself at one of these buffets, you may notice that you’ll see multiple stations for things like appetizers, but only one main course and dessert buffet line.

The Great Debate: Characters or Food

This one is tough and seemed to be echoed by several on our team, so you may find yourself in a bit of a conundrum. Tangent to passing characters like ships in the night on your way to the buffet, what happens when they’re actually stopped at your table?

Sage and Quincy at Crystal Palace

You’ve already gone up to grab your food but the characters have stopped for a chat, and all of that delicious-smelling food escapes your mind while you’re visiting with your favorite pals. The problem we’ve run into here is while you’re visiting and interacting with the characters your food is probably going to get cold. Our best fix to avoid this disastrous scenario is to go light on your first bites until the characters have come around. Then once you’ve had (at least one) chance to catch up, you won’t find yourself trying to eat a cold meal afterward.

We’ve had our fair share of disasters in Disney World but hopefully, you can avoid these scenarios on your next buffet meal. Be sure to stay tuned with us at All Ears for the latest in Disney food news, updates, and more!

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Have you ever experienced your OWN buffet disaster while in Disney World? Tell us all about your experience in the comments below!

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