We’re halfway through 2022, and that means a lot of things. First, it means – yay, we’re still here! Second, it means that a lot of dining locations have gotten back into more of a steady-state, so we can finally start to get a feel again for which spots are more likely to have reliably higher satisfaction than others. But before we get into all of the details, let’s start at a really high level. Which parks have the best dining options? And which aren’t great? For example – should I just plan on skipping table service when at Magic Kingdom? Must I seek out the awesome quick service at Hollywood Studios? Let’s spend some time defining what we mean by “best” and “worst” and then use that to make our call.
Explain the Math
What do we mean by “best” and “worst” anyway? We could define the answer to this question a lot of different ways. So let’s go over the 4 different ways that popped into my brain, and then we’ll calculate the answers each of those four ways.
1. Overall Average Satisfaction
This is what comes to mind for me immediately. If I look at all of the scores for all of the dining locations in each park, what is their overall combined average satisfaction? Highest average = best park, and lowest average = worst park. Easy peasy, simple math and hard to argue with, except …
2. Variety of Dining
Who cares if the park average is over 90% if there are only 4 table service restaurants and I can’t get reservations at any of them?! It’s not the best unless I have some locations to choose from. Highest number of locations = best park, and lowest number of attractions = worst park. But …
3. Number of High-Satisfaction Dining Locations
Just because I have a ton of options doesn’t mean that any of them are good. Maybe what I care about is the number (or percentage) of dining locations that score above 90%. Overall number tells me that I have many good dining locations to choose from, and high percentage means that no matter what I choose, I’m likely to get something highly satisfactory. On the other hand …
4. Satisfaction at Highest-Rated Dining Location
I’m a TouringPlans reader, so I obviously do my research. So I don’t care how many are great, or the overall average. I can figure out the very best and just go to that dining location. The park with the highest individual satisfaction score is the best.
Have other ways you would determine “best” park for dining? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll see if I can pull the data for you!
Overall Average Satisfaction
These look … pretty similar. But, you have to remember that we have thousands and thousands of dining reviews. So the differences between each pair of parks other than EPCOT<>Hollywood Studios are statistically significant. That means that we can say, statistically speaking, Animal Kingdom has the best overall Table Service dining and Magic Kingdom has the worst overall Table Service dining. What helps Animal Kingdom out? Three really good locations and only one really terrible one. What dooms Magic Kingdom? Almost everything.
Okay, but for real these look very similar now, other than one obvious outlier. And this time we’re correct about that. Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are all statistically equivalent. The only very obvious winner here is Animal Kingdom. We can very easily see that Animal Kingdom has the best overall Quick Service dining. No easy-to-pick loser, although EPCOT technically has the lowest score so far this year.
Variety of Dining
Hopefully no one reading this is surprised by these results. If you want a wide variety and large number of table service dining locations to choose from, you go to EPCOT. So. Many. Options. And Animal Kingdom has the fewest, although only by a bit. That means EPCOT has the best variety of Table Service dining options, and Animal Kingdom has the worst variety of Table Service dining options. Again, I don’t think we’re going to shock anyone by counting up restaurants. But we’ve got to be thorough!
At least the results here aren’t quite as jarring. We once again don’t have a loser. We have a tie – Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom each have the least number of quick service locations. But EPCOT wins again. And this is without any festival booths, which also are almost-always found around the park, increasing your quick dining options even more.
High-Satisfaction Dining Locations
Anyone getting tired of EPCOT winning yet? Another easy one. There are 10 different table service locations at EPCOT that have over 90% satisfaction so far this year. That’s an impressive number. So not only do you have a lot to choose from, almost all of them are very high quality. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom once again bring up the rear here. Not surprising, since they only had 5 and 4 table service locations to begin with. EPCOT has the most high-satisfaction table service dining locations to choose from.
Aha! My how the tables quickly turn. (See what I did there? Table? Quick? No …) Suddenly Animal Kingdom gives EPCOT some competition on high-quality quick service. And this is truly impressive, because EPCOT had the highest number of overall quick service dining locations, and Animal Kingdom had the least. But a lot of the ones it has are really high quality. You almost can’t go wrong with quick service at Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios on the other hand … pitiful. EPCOT and Animal Kingdom both have the most high-satisfaction quick service dining locations, and Hollywood Studios has the fewest high-satisfaction quick service dining locations.
Satisfaction at Highest-Rated Dining Location
Perhaps not surprisingly, Magic Kingdom hasn’t had much going for it as far as dining is concerned so far this year. But at least in this single case, it comes out the winner. By a hair. Magic Kingdom has the highest-rated table service restaurant in any park. And that winner? Liberty Tree Tavern. Who knew?! The top-rated table service location at Hollywood Studios is the slacker here, since The Hollywood Brown Derby “only” scores 92%.
Score one more for Animal Kingdom! (barely – none of these are statistically significantly different). Animal Kingdom has the highest-rated quick service dining location in any park. That location is Satu’li Canteen. And for once, EPCOT falters on quick service. Its highest-rated location is Sommerfest, coming in at a paltry 94% so far this year.
What Does This Mean For You?
- How you define which park has the best food might be different than how I calculate it here. But we can average the results of each metric presented above (weighting statistically significant differences more than those that are statistically significant) to get overall “best” and “worst” parks for each type of dining location.
- Based on the metrics defined above, EPCOT has the best Table Service dining, and Hollywood Studios has the worst Table Service dining.
- Similarly, Animal Kingdom has the best Quick Service dining, and Hollywood Studios has the worst Quick Service dining.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the results? I know I do! Hollywood quick service for the win! How can anything be worse than Magic Kingdom quick service??? Start up some debate or discussion in the comments below!