Where to Eat in Walt Disney World: Themed Dining, Quick Service and Bookings

Cornel Schalkwyk on 30 July 2022
Less formal dining in Walt Disney World falls under themed dining and quick service. Themed dining in particular can really add to your whole Disney experience. Here I'm going to share my favourites as well as some quick service gems and some booking tips. Let's start with the Sci Fi Dine-In Theater, which is a drive-in movie theatre-style restaurant. This one is mainly about the experience. You literally sit in a 1950s sort of convertible car, which really adds to the atmosphere. There’s an old fashioned movie on a big screen in front of you, and they take orders from the car and bring it out to you. It is a really cute experience. It's quite dark inside and you can see the stars twinkling. It really does feel like you are watching a movie in a drive-in theatre at night.

It's not fine dining, but the food we had was really lovely. I can highly recommend the pan seared chicken pasta. An amazing pasta dish with lemon-butter sauce, rainbow tomatoes, onions and garlic. It was really delicious. If you’re in Hollywood Studios and you don’t want fine dining, I would say the Sci Fi Dine-In Theater is a must, especially from an experience point of view.

Next is Oga’s Cantina in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area of Hollywood Studios. When it comes to themed restaurants, this place is really something to experience. It is styled as the local cantina where all the colourful locals come together to enjoy the music, do their business and so on. There’s a droid DJ and some fabulous characters as well as weird and wonderful drinks. A lot of people go to Oga’s Cantina now mainly for cocktails and drinks and while there is a little menu of finger foods, most go for drinks and to experience the cantina inside.

Top Tip: you will be allocated an area or table but you do not necessarily sit down. You could have a booth where you sit down or they might give you an area at a bar-like table where you stand to have drinks so just keep that in mind.

When we were having our drinks, a couple of Storm Troopers came in looking for someone which was quite a nice add, and gave more experience to the whole theme because it really does feel like you’re in a different world at Star Wars: Galaxy's edge. So Oga’s Cantina, quite expensive, but definitely worth the experience.

My top recommendation for themed dining is definitely the new Space 220 restaurant located in EPCOT. The whole experience starts as you walk into a lift. There’s one hole where you can look up and one where you can look down. As the lift starts to move, you can see how you‘re travelling away from Earth and watch it disappearing below you, everything getting smaller. You arrive at a space station then you go past an area where vegetables are being grown in a cool space-age setting to a check-in area where you get a ticket for your table.

As you walk into the restaurant, there are windows to both sides with views of Earth. As you eat, you look down through the twinkling starry sky, and the scenes and views keep changing. You might see a spaceship going by, a satellite, the moon or two astronauts fighting, as we did. It all makes it such an amazing experience. Then when you leave the restaurant, you literally go back down to Earth. It is genuinely weird to be walking around outside, back on Earth, because you do feel like you’ve been in space. And while the food is not classed as fine dining, it is really good. I had the Neptune Tartare to start, a yellowfin tuna sushi type of starter with sesame crackers, then the Spaghetti & Shrimp with Chocolate Cheesecake for dessert. Divine!

So when it comes to themed dining experiences, Space 200 is completely out of this world. It is difficult to get a reservation here because it’s so good. You have to jump on as soon as reservations open but I highly recommend you try because you’ll love it.

QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANTS: There are absolutely loads of these throughout Walt Disney World. No reservations needed, you can just walk in, queue up and order your food. Some do mobile orders if you have the Walt Disney World app and will tell you when to collect your order.

In the Magic Kingdom park I would highly recommend Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. It's quite a big, quick service restaurant, but the main reason I would recommend it is there's loads of tables available and it has air con, essential for a break from the sun and heat. There’s also a character DJing so something to watch and listen to while you’re waiting and eating.

The next recommendation is Hollywood Scoops in the Hollywood Studios theme park and very well located if you want to see the Fantasmic or Beauty and the Beast outdoor theatre shows. You can take your ice cream from Scoops with you into the shows - and it’s amazing ice cream!

Last, I recommend the Milk Stand in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area of Hollywood Studios. A must-have in this area is a cup of Batuu’s legendary blue or green frosty milk from the Milk Stand!

BOOKING RESTAURANTS: All character, themed and fine dining restaurants require prior booking. Online reservations open 60 days in advance. Anybody who has a Walt Disney World reservation or park reservation can book restaurants 60 days in advance. And if you are an on-site hotel guest, you can make dining reservations 60 days ahead of your check in date, and make up to 10 days of advanced dining reservations that same day. So if you stay for a week, you'll be able to do your dining reservations for your entire week 60 days from your check in date.

Dining reservations open at 6am Eastern Time and phone lines an hour later. I found it safest to be online just before 6am, refreshing the page so I could see as soon as reservations opened.

Top Tip: Before making reservations, make sure you have downloaded the app and set up your My Disney Experience account. You will also need to have registered a credit card for restaurant confirmations.

Restaurants like Cinderella's Royal Table and Be Our Guest will take prior payment for the entire booking. But all the other table service restaurants will take your card details and if you don't turn up at the restaurant, there will be a cancellation fee charged back to your credit card.

I hope this has helped you plan your own trip to Walt Disney World. I am more than happy to talk through any options for park bookings and advise on all aspects of visiting the parks - they are my second home!