No Dining Reservations...what should we expect?

So, we are not into character meals and there are so many of us that it got to be too much for me to plan dining plans also, so we just decided to wing it with quick service meals. We are staying off site, so planning on doing b’fast at ‘home’ anyway and some dinner if we leave early enough or lunch if we go late.

What should we expect? Got any advice from others who do this? Thanks!

I think it depends on the time of year and what you want. We were able to get reservations day of or walk up at Tony’s in MK and restaurant Marrakech in Epcot, and another place or two in July, with cl between 8-10. That’s for 5 people. Larger parties or busier times of year (like holidays) would be trickier. Lower crowd times are probably easier. QS places don’t need reservations, but if you go at peak times (like between 11:30-1:00 for lunch) you will wait in long lines and have a hard time finding seats right away in some places. It’s probably worth at least scoping out some places in advance and thinking about the time of day you plan on eating. Also knowing what different places offer on menu, which ones have air conditioning or free refills etc might be important too.

I change about half my ADRs after I arrive anyways so you’ll find something to eat. Your bigger problem will probably be getting reservations for a big group, I would consider anything over 4-6 people a pretty big group for getting ADRs. There’s always Disney Springs too if you want Disney food. Most of their restaurants book on opentable also, so if you can’t find availabilty on MDE then use opentable for sure (no cancellation fee for them either, I have several things double booked for just in case)

Quick dining restaurants don’t require reservations. It’s simply walk up and find an open table so you’ll be fine. Of course, the lines can get long so plan accordingly. Have fun!

I probably should have mentioned when we are going! We are going the 1st week of October.

Do all the quick dining restaurants just have tables that you grab, then you go through a line cafeteria style? What is the food generally like at those places? Is it all fast-food type fare or can you get salads or wraps or stuff like that?

Guess I should look at my touring plan and where we will be around 1 or so and look at dining options around where we are?

Fast Food is the model for Quick Service. Generally, there’s a bunch of lines up to a register, you order, and then you pick up your food, and try to find a table.

Avoid planning lunch between about 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM, because the lunch rush sucks. Plan a little extra time (60 minutes is right for my family), because if the lines are long, you will not have time to eat if you skimp on your time allowance. If you get done early, so much the better, you’re ahead of schedule. But if you don’t allow enough time, you might be rushed.

My experience was that the food at quick service restaurants in Magic Kingdom was pretty terrible. Other parks were better, but not great. Go and look at reviews, and try to find somewhere near where you’ll be that doesn’t have low ratings. Touring Plans has descriptions:
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If you just go to the nearest place, you might be in for disappointment and a sad tummy.

Granted I’m a “foodie” who rarely eats at fast food restaurants outside of WDW, but I have found the QS food I’ve had in WDW, and the whole, to be mediocre at best. Certainly better than most other theme parks, but nothing I would go to by choice if I wasn’t a captive in the parks. There is quite a lot of variety available at QSs, although not necessarily all things in all places. Unless it’s a “specialty” place, most of the QSs offer some sort of salad, wrap, sandwich, or some “healty choices”; they’re really getting better at this. But they are “fast food” versions of these on a par with what you might pick up at a grocery or convenience store. Other than the WS locations (which I truly enjoy and look forward to), I would consider QS to be “sustenance” and not a “dining experience”.

EP is the only park with “good” choices. Yorkshire Fish and Chips, Tangerine, and Sommerfest are all good; Katsura is not bad either. Sunshine Seasons probably has the best variety of any QS,and the food is better than average.

In the MK, Columbia Harbor House is about the only one I have liked, although the new menu (that I haven’t had a chance to try yet) at Pecos Bill’s has some promise. The cinnamon rolls at Gaston’s are very good and are typically my MK breakfast.

In AK, Flame Tree gets very good reviews, although I have not tried it yet. Yak and Yeti is pretty good for “Chinese take-out”. I almost always eat at Y&Y (TS) or Tusker House. Kusafari in Africa has some very good breakfast pastries.

Other than cookies and cupcakes, I don’t know if there IS a “good” QS choice in DHS. Pizza Planet was tolerable in a Pizza Hut sort of way, but it’s closed until Nov. When it reopens, I expect the food to be pretty much the same. The one meal I ate at the Commissary was probably the worst meal I’ve ever had at a Disney park.

I’m probably a harsher judge on QS than most because, as I said up front, I rarely eat fast food outside of WDW, and as 3 out of the 4 parks have very good to excellent TS options, I rarely rely on QS to get me through the day.

You’ll be fine with QS, but you might check out the odd TS place to see if they can fit you in.

QS - you could go around 11:30 and still get a table with minimal line up. I wouldn’t wait until noon for lunch, though. The lines move quickly (line up on BOTH sides of the register, not just the right) and the food is not, if fast food. Think burgers, pizza, chicken, tacos, etc. We like it, but we’re easy to please when it comes to fast food. I’d take a Cosmic Rays burger over Mcdonald’s et al. any day. But it’s not gourmet.

Idea for you, when we’re beat from a day of touring, we stop at Publix on the way home and pick up a cooked chicken, some fresh bread, a salad and maybe some Bob Evans microwavable potatoes. Mom doesn’t have to do a lot of cooking, but it’s still homestyle good. Also, people can choose their portions, if you’ve had a big lunch.

Of course, take out or a dinner out is nice, too.

I eat fast food plenty outside WDW, and I would say that QS is not great anywhere around the World, and especially bad at the places I’ve tried in MK.

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I’ve been looking up quick service restaurants today and reviews and someone mentioned that they sometimes monorail it over to Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian for lunch. How long does that take? to get over to the resorts? Is is worth it just for lunch if you aren’t staying there? We are staying off site.

Although I can’t comment on the food quality, the Contempo Cafe is in the CR, and is only a 10 min walk from the MK. The Poly, via monorail, is about 10-15 min each way, not counting any lines you might have. There’s also a QS at the GF, but the name is escaping me at the moment. The total travel time to and from the MK is about the same as for the Poly. There are also launches that go between MK, GF, and the Poly, but I don’t think that would be any faster.

Thanks…will check into that!

I’m not sure if you are still thinking about this, but we did lunch at capt cooks on our trip and thought it was worth the money. If it’s a busy time of day it might be hard to find a table but that’s my only negative. My husband and I both had sandwiches and they were huge. They came with chips and a desert and drink. Our boys both had kids meals and they got big portions too. It was a nice break in our day before heading back to the parks.