How COVID-19 changed Disney dining

Guest written by Felicia Troy, AAA Travel Advisor in Massachusetts.

I love Disney, that’s no secret. I couldn’t help but wonder how COVID-19 would impact a visit to the happiest place on Earth. As a AAA Travel Advisor, I take pride in knowing about destinations, so when clients ask for my opinion and expertise, I can offer the right, honest answers. Always, COVID-19 or not, one of the most frequent topics my clients want to know more about is Disney dining and food options. Here is a firsthand look at what I experienced at the parks during my recent visit.

If you’re planning a visit, you will want to download the parks mobile app. This is the easiest way to see all the available food options, menus and locations. In fact, all orders for quick service dining around the parks need to be placed on the mobile app. You’ll be able to find whichever restaurant you like, pick a time and place your order.

The app is also how you let cast members at the restaurant know you are ready and present for delivery. A simple click of the “I’m here” button upon your arrival sends a notification to the pickup window. You’ll receive instructions, such as what window number to approach, and your food will be ready.

During my visit, I did find that there are fewer options than in the past. Many locations around the park had trimmed down menus, with as little as 3-4 options available. I didn’t mind too much, as some of my favorites were still available, and of course…ice cream!

Many park visitors opt for the refillable mugs. They’re more environmentally friendly, hold ice, and are a fun souvenir. While you can still use your mug now, the rules are a bit different thanks to COVID-19. When you fill your mug, a cast member supplies you with a disposable cup that you pour yourself. Not exactly green, but understandable given the current situation.

But not everything is different. I still found making dinner reservations for places including Be Our Guest were quite competitive.

While I was at the park, the dining options at Hollywood Studios seemed the most impacted. I found more places were closed than open. Magic Kingdom was more on par with what I had experienced in the past. However, all parks required you to be stationary while eating, and you could not stroll around with your mask down, eating as you walked through the park. Most everyone adhered to this policy.

The biggest piece of advice I can offer anyone planning a visit during the next few months is to plan. Reservations are key and remember that not all transportation options are up and running, and some of the ones that are, like buses, are running at reduced capacity. Cushion your travel times to be sure you don’t miss your dinner date.

As you plan your trip to the park, your AAA Travel advisor is here to help. Together you and your advisor can find the right resorts, flights, and dining packages to make the most of your time in Florida. To speak with your agent, call 1-800-222-7448. Tell them Felicia sent you! Hear about my entire park experience here, Disney During Covid.