I am heading to DL with my family of 5 later in the afternoon on Dec. 24th. We are there over Dec. 25th and 26th. Working on planning. Meals - I have late lunches/suppers booked, just in case, because I know it will fill up. My question is, is it worth eating in the park? Or should we eat outside? Food carts? Mobile counter service? I’ve made a reservation at PHC Grill for Christmas eve at 6:30pm, Carnation Café for 12:40pm on the 25th (hoping to catch the parade) and Fantasmic! meal package at RBT at 7pm, Dec 26th, Storytellers 1:50pm, Café Orleans at 7pm. I made all of these reservations so I have them, but would like advice. I want to be in the park and enjoying it as much as possible, but planning on taking breaks in the mid-afternoon back at our hotel. Worried about re-entry, but hoping if we go after 6pm, it will work.
A lot of people disagree with my approach but personally, I don’t like wasting precious park time with long meals. There are much better and much cheaper restaurants where I live and I don’t go to Disney for the food (again, a lot of people think very differently, you have to make up your own mind). So basically, my family tends to get stuff from food carts and counter service places whenever we are hungry and we find a line that is not too long.
With just those 3 days of park time, I actually tend to agree that you should limit your in park meal time, ESPECIALLY if you also plan on taking midday break.
That being said, if you can make the 1-2 tables service meal per day your “break” then I would keep your plans with one minor adjustment: drop PCH Grill & do Cafe Orleans that night in its stead. With the 24th being a day subject to blackouts I wouldn’t advise leaving the parks & so Cafe Orleans does just that for you. If you were interested in another resort dining location, then consider Steakhouse 55 at DLH. PCH Grill is one I’d only do for the character bfast as their dinner food is so-so & unless you are staying at the PCH is slightly out of the way of the rest of the resort.
The meals on the 25th make perfect sense and I wouldn’t adjust them at all bc both achieve the goal of relaxing & enjoying entertainment and having 2 such reservations on such a busy day is perfect- I again wouldn’t leave the park midday unless you are absolutely miserable. But I would strongly encourage learning about attractions that also serve as an easy break off your feet within the parks.
Then on the 26th, you could use Storyteller’s as the start of your midday break. Another reason I suggest you move Cafe Orleans to the 24th is that the 2 meals as you have them now are rather closely placed for 2 buffet/big meals so I don’t know that you need them both.
If you are set on doing midday breaks, I limit the time you spend on in-park meals by eating at off-times & relying as much as possible on mobile ordering. You could still limit your meals to 1 planned sit-down meal per day but making them as efficient as possible. Based on what you’ve got already, this is what I could do: 24th book Carnation Cafe as your dinner meal (around 7:30-8) to watch FWs right after from outside on Main St, 25th keep the F! meal package but drop Carnation Cafe (as you’ll have it the night before), 26th pick 1 out of Storytellers or Cafe Orleans (for me that’s a hard choice as they are both among my favorites, but if there aren’t characters meeting at Storyteller’s I would probably lean on Cafe Olreans).