How the pandemic changed the way we eat at Disney World

The pandemic has changed MANY things at Disney World, such as transportation, meeting and greeting characters, and even merchandise.

Current merchandise purchase limits

One of the things that has definitely changed is how we eat at Disney World. What’s different about dinner at Disney World now? We are getting into it.

Outdoor dining

Since Disney World reopened after its initial closure due to the global pandemic, outdoor dining has become more popular with some guests.

PizzasRizzo at Hollywood Studios

Outdoor spaces can sometimes offer more social distancing and always have better ventilation, so many people feel safer eating outdoors compared to indoors right now.

Seats near the Plaza restaurant

This means that outdoor seating can be quite popular! In fact, it can be difficult to find a seat in a fast service location. And of course, not everyone eats dinner outdoors, but it has become much more popular (and, for some, necessary) since the reopening of the world.

Rosie’s All American Cafe

Table service to go

In September 2020, Disney introduced Table Service To Go on the My Disney Experience app. This feature works basically the same as the current mobile ordering system, only with table service restaurants.

© Disney

Instead of sitting down to lunch at a table service restaurant, you can use the table service to go and place your order, pick it up when it’s ready, and then take it to another place to eat. But this feature is only available at Disney World hotels.

Sanaa bread service at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The process is very similar to how it works when ordering mobile from a fast service point. Choose the restaurant, choose an arrival window and place your order. You pay for the app, and once it’s time to pick up your order, you can pick it up and you’re done!

© Disney

We’ve seen this feature available at Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Steakhouse 71 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. That’s right, you can order a steak and then take it to your hotel room for a party!

12 oz roasted rib

Many people use this service instead of sitting inside and eating in a restaurant for an extended period of time.

Mobile waiting list and check-in at dinner

The Walk-Up Mobile Waiting List was added to the My Disney Experience app in the summer of 2020 as a way to check current availability at table service restaurants and put your name on the list.

Nomad Hall

Now you can do it with the new Disney Genie system! Genie will show you all the restaurants in the park where you are and their availability, including the option to join the mobile waiting list if applicable. This is very comfortable and can save you a lot of stress when you are hungry!

A preview of how Disney Genie looks on your phone

Mobile Check-In was also introduced in the summer of 2020. This is a way to avoid having to register with the host for advanced dining reservation.

Mobile billing

My Disney Experience should send you a notification when it’s time to book your meal and ask you to check in with your phone. If not, you can scan the QR code in the restaurant lobby and it will take you to register on your phone.

Mobile billing

When it’s time to sit down for your party, you’ll receive another notification to go to a specific place to sit. This system can help increase contactless interactions in restaurants and possibly reduce the number of people who can meet in the billing area of ​​a restaurant lobby.

Menu changes

We’ve definitely seen a lot of menu changes since Disney World reopened in July 2020. On the one hand, some menus have completely disappeared because restaurants aren’t open yet.

Takumi-Tei is closed

Another big change is the increase in fixed price meals we’ve seen at Disney World. For example, lunch at Be Our Guest used to be a fast food meal, but now it’s the same fixed-price meal offered at dinner, which means you pay a price ($ 62 for adults, $ 37 for to children) and you can choose your own snack and by entering a small list of offers and everyone receives the same dessert.

Be our guest

We’ve also seen the introduction of fixed price menus at new restaurants like Space 220 and La Creperie de Paris (although La Creperie also offers a quick service option).

Dinner spread out in space 220

Another change that has affected almost every Disney World restaurant is the limited menus. Most dining sites have reduced the number of items they offer right now.

© Disney || Chefs de France menu

Check out the menus before you go to Disney World so you won’t be surprised that one of your favorite items is gone! I hope the menus return to normal.

Meals of characters

Character meals changed tremendously when Disney reopened. And, they basically changed by disappearing! For a while there were no character meals other than breakfast on the Topolino Terrace. But you can only see characters from a distance during this dining experience!

Topolino terrace

Eventually, more character meals returned, such as Tusker House and Hollywood and Vine. You still had to sit back and only take pictures with characters from afar.

Pluto !!

But that has changed recently! Now you can get up from your desk and take a picture with the characters with social distance.

Look how close we are to Goofy !!

But keep in mind that some character meals are not yet available or are back to normal, such as the Cinderella Royal Table.


As expected, the buffets did not return when Disney World reopened for security reasons. Instead, the restaurants were closed or some became a family meal.

Biergarten buffet closed

Even when the buffet venues were finally reopened, they went to everything you need to enjoy a family dinner, such as Trail’s End and Chef Mickey’s.

Smokehouse Skillet at Trail’s End

But the buffets have recently returned to some places! Crystal Palace was again a buffet and Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge reopened as a buffet.

Boma Boma

However, other places are still family-friendly, so be sure to check before you make a dinner reservation!

No snack in line

This one is pretty simple, but important! You can no longer enjoy a snack while queuing for a walk at Disney World.

Line for Big Thunder

This started when Disney reopened and was very strict, but now it seems to only apply to indoor queues or when the queue you are on moves inside.

Rise of the Resistance starts out, but then moves in

So DON’T buy a Mickey Premium Bar just before you queue for Space Mountain, you’ll have to throw it away!

Ice cream in cup

This is a little weird, but now you can only get ice cream in a cup instead of a cone.

Okay, sure

But, you can still get the cone, it will just be on top of the ice cream in the cup, which makes it look a little fun!

Don’t eat without your phone

It’s hard to make Disney World without a phone these days, and that includes food – now your phone is part of your dining experience! You need it to scan QR codes to access the menus of many restaurants.

QR code menu at Hurricane Hanna’s

It’s also important to order food on your mobile, check your mobile waiting lists, and sign in to your mobile device.

QR code to The Edison

So make sure you have your device and it will keep you charged all day long!

It’s almost impossible to make Disney without your phone © Disney

These are all ways in which food has changed at Disney World since the global pandemic began. Stay tuned to All Ears for more Disney restaurant news and updates.

Click here to see the best restaurants you’ve ever visited at Disney World

What change do you want to keep at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!

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