Walt Disney World (FL)

Tips for Grabbing Food on Busy Days at Magic Kingdom

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Whether your trip to Magic Kingdom brings you there on the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, or just a typically busy day, one thing is for certain–spending the day in Magic Kingdom can make you hungry. On busy days, you can find yourself standing in lines for food that are almost as long as those for attractions. Here’s some tips to help you get the food you want without spending extra time in line.

1. Eat at off-peak times.

Magic Kingdom

If noon is lunchtime for you, and 6 p.m. is your ideal dinnertime, don’t be surprised that a few thousand of your closest friends are also trying to eat at that same time. You can save yourself considerable time by opting to eat early or late compared to “normal” dining times. Even something as simple as grabbing lunch at 11 a.m. or holding off until 1:30 p.m. can cause those lines to shrink significantly.

2. Keep checking the app for sit-down reservations.

On busy days, odds are good that Magic Kingdom will not have times available for sit-down restaurants a few days before your trip, but as you get right up to the cancellation window for reservations, availability can pop up, even at hard-to-get options. (Case in point, at 8:30 a.m. on July 3, I was able to spot breakfast at Be Our Guest for July 4 for a party of 4.)  It is also possible that if Disney sees that restaurants have capacity that isn’t being used, they can add dining reservations to the mix throughout the day, even if they have instituted a no-walk-up policy for that day. Keep checking the app for reservations, and also both check the “Breakfast”, “Lunch”, and “Dinner” options as well as looking at specific times–in some cases, I’ve not been able to find a “Lunch” reservation, but checking for a meal at 11:30 brings up an 11:35 a.m. one because of the way the system seems to define meal hours.

3. Utilize Mobile Ordering whenever possible.

Not all quick service restaurants offer Mobile Ordering, but it is always worth a look before you get in line. Through Mobile Ordering, you’re able to place your order right away and then immediately check in to have that order made. This can be a huge time-saver and also makes sure that everyone in your party figures out what they want to eat and then grabs a table while you pick up the food instead of waiting until you get the food to start looking for a table.

4. Consider a trip to the Resorts.

Unless you’re at the park on an ultra-busy day where there’s the potential for phased closures that might make it more difficult to get back in, leaving the park for a meal can be a wonderful way not only to get food, but to cool off in the heat of the day. Bus service to resorts can open up a world of dining opportunities–from food courts at value and moderate resorts that are usually empty in the middle of the day, to lesser-known table service restaurants. Don’t want to take a bus? Monorail or boat service to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian bring with it some options, and you can always take the short walk over to the Contemporary.

5. Buy snacks early. 

If you know that you’ll want certain snacks during the day, try buying your snacks early instead of waiting until mid-afternoon when everyone’s got a case of the snack attacks going on. Buying popcorn at 1 p.m. for the afternoon parade at 3 p.m. or at 6 p.m. for the 9 p.m. fireworks can save time, and a bucket of popcorn will still be as good a couple hours later. Lines at the Main Street confectionary are fairly short in the morning, but increase as the day goes on, so buying snacks early can save you some time.

What are your best tricks for saving time when it comes to getting food? Let us know in the comments.

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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.