Disney World Resort Restaurant ‘Know Before You Go’ Info
Walt Disney World has released new “Know Before You Go” information and policies for its resort hotel restaurants. In this post, we’ll share the latest news and offer commentary about what this means for dining at WDW in the near future, including ADRs, character meal changes, and more. (Updated July 27, 2020.)
Note that some of this info was previously part of our Walt Disney World “Know Before You Go” Resort Info page. However, as Disney continues to release new details about the dining and resort experiences, we felt it made sense to break them out into separate posts (as is the case on Disney’s website) for organization and clarity.
The first thing you need to know before you go to a Walt Disney World restaurant is the rules about what you’ll need to bring. The big one is that face masks for each guest age 2 and up must be worn in all public areas of the restaurant–including while entering and exiting–and can be removed while eating or drinking.
You’ll also need a confirmed dining reservation if you’re a visitor who is not staying overnight at the resort. Resort guests are also strongly encouraged to making ADRs. It’s also highly recommended to have the latest version of the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device, with location services enabled and cashless or contactless forms of payment.
‘Enhanced technology’ will be utilized to maximize your vacation time with family and friends–and minimize your contact with others. This will include increased use of the Mobile Order Service, cashless payments, and scannable codes for select Restaurant Menus. (This means that at a table-service restaurant, you can use your own mobile device to scan a code for access to the digital menu.)
Let’s discuss all of the changes…
Select table service restaurants at Walt Disney World will utilize Mobile Check-in via the My Disney Experience app. This system is exactly what it sounds like–guests use the app to bypass the staffed check-in podium.
When your check-in window arrives, you’ll receive a push notification prompting you to check in via the app. Or, you can begin the check-in process by scanning a QR code located in the restaurant’s lobby. There’s no need to visit the host stand to check in.
From the push notification or QR code, you’ll be able to check in for your reservation–and confirm your arrival time and party details. Once your table is ready, you’ll be notified to proceed to a specified location.
We’ve used Mobile Check-in a few times since the resort restaurants reopened and it has been…fine. Most of the time, the check-in kiosk has no line, no other guests around it, and a plexiglass barrier up (see above). So we’re just standing there using our phones to check-in when we could do the same thing faster by walking up to it.
Restaurant Health Screenings
A new policy as of July 28, 2020 is that guests dining in table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World resort hotels will undergo a temperature screening prior to entering the location.
As with Disney Springs and the theme parks at Walt Disney World, which also require temperature screenings before entry, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional re-screening. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.
This change was just announced and has yet to be implemented, so it’s unclear whether the resorts themselves will have temperature screening tents outside their front entrances (like the parks) run by AdventHealth, or if a Cast Member will conduct the check at the restaurant itself. We’ll keep you posted.
Advance Dining Reservations
Previously, Walt Disney World cancelled all reservations, including Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs). Going forward, Disney has shifted from a 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window for dining and experience bookings going forward to allow guests to make their plans closer to their visits.
ADRs for theme parks have now reopened and can be made and modified via the My Disney Experience app. That’s the route we recommend, as it’s significantly faster and more efficient than calling. If you’d prefer, you can also contact the Disney Reservation Center at (407) 824-1391 to check availability and make reservations.
Resort Restaurant List
Here’s the resort by resort list of restaurants that are reopening at Walt Disney World:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village
- Kidani Breakfast at Sanaa
- Sanaa Lounge
- Maji Pool Bar
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Beaches and Cream Soda Shop
- Beach Club Marketplace
- Martha’s Vineyard
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Trattoria al Forno (this excludes Character Dining, which is temporarily unavailable)
- Pizza Window
- BoardWalk Bakery
- Leaping Horse Libations
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Centertown Market
- Banana Cabana
Disney’s Contemporary Resort & Bay Lake Tower
- California Grill
- Chef Mickey’s (this excludes Character Dining, which is temporarily unavailable)
- Contempo Café
- Cove Bar
- The Wave… of American Flavors
- The Wave Lounge
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- P&J’s Southern Takeout
- Meadow Snack Bar
- Crockett’s Tavern
Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Grand Floridian Cafe
- Gasparilla Island Grill
- Enchanted Rose
- Beaches Pool Bar & Grill
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Olivia’s Café
- Good’s Food to Go
- Gurgling Suitcase
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Kona Cafe
- Capt. Cook’s
- Pineapple Lanai
- Barefoot Pool Bar
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Everything POP Shopping & Dining
- Petals Pool Bar
Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera (please note that the Character Dining experience will be modified)
- Primo Piatto
- Le Petit Café
- Bar Riva
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Artist’s Palette
- The Paddock Grill
- On the Rocks Pool Bar
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Whispering Canyon Cafe
- Roaring Fork
- Geyser Point Bar & Grill
During this unprecedented period, some of Walt Disney World’s cancellation and payment policies have been modified:
- All pre-paid dining and experience reservations impacted by the closure will be automatically refunded.
- Reservations made at locations impacted by the closure will not be charged a cancellation or no-show fee.
- Disney Dining Plans are temporarily cancelled. If you have an existing resort package with a Disney Dining Plan, your reservation will be updated to reflect the removal of the dining plan from your package. The package price will be adjusted accordingly, and you will receive a refund if you have already paid in full or a reduction in amount due if you have not yet made final payment.
Other Dining Changes
Additional changes to Walt Disney World dining experiences include:
- Menu items may vary. For specific menu information, check the restaurant’s online menu when the restaurant reopens.
- Character Dining will not be offered during the initial reopening, with the exception of a modified Character Dining experience at Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera.
- Dinner shows will not be offered during the initial reopening.
- Dining locations will be limited in capacity. Some locations will remain temporarily closed.
- Private dining and in-room delivery will not be offered during the initial reopening window.
- Mobile order service will be offered at select quick-service dining locations throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks (when open), Disney Springs and select Disney Resort hotels.
Commentary on Changes
As you might notice, Topolino’s Terrace is offering modified character dining during the phased reopening. We have already done this and share what you can expect in Our Experience with Modified Character Dining at Topolino’s Terrace.
It’ll be interesting to see whether other restaurants that offered character dining experiences open in modified form, or without characters entirely as the phased reopening continues. Some of these venues previously hosted ‘regular’ meals (in the case of Artist Point, in the not so distant past) and could easily be converted to standard dining.
Another interesting tidbit is that it does not appear that visitors will be allowed into resorts without dining reservations. This might seem like a colossal change, but Walt Disney World has been trending in this direction for the last couple of years. Trying to park at a resort to go to a lounge or see Christmas decorations can be nearly impossible, and security will routinely turn visitors away if they do not have ADRs.
Our expectation is that this is simply a codification of that informal policy, and not something more. Meaning that guests staying at the BoardWalk Villas probably are not going to be stopped from walking around Crescent Lake to Beach Club Villas, but guests staying at Kidani Village likely won’t be able to drive over to Disney’s Riviera Resort for drinks at Bar Riva.
Ultimately, a lot of these new policies are not seismic changes. While they’re billed as temporary, some undoubtedly will become permanent. Specifically, Mobile Check-In and Scannable Menus come to mind that front, as both are the sort of automation (like Mobile Ordering) that could potentially reduce labor costs will also making for a smoother and more efficient guest experience. Other modifications here, like the suspension of character dining, undoubtedly will be temporary. We’ll keep you updated as more changes are announced by Walt Disney World!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think about these WDW dining changes? Any you view as positive or negative? Do you have plans to visit Walt Disney World this summer or fall, or have you cancelled? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Other thoughts or concerns? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
All things considered, I understand temporarily making restrictions etc. However, sadly those that have chosen to stay at Disney Resort cannot actually even get a reservation at their table service restaurant while staying at 60 days out because others too, wish to dine there. I do believe this is not going to be remedied quickly. Thus far, my family has been unable to secure any table service dining at our location. I do wonder how many others with resort stays will continue to experience this. With limited park hours and dining at the parks, and in our case no table dining available to us at our resort (Kidani), our options become order groceries in and cook on our vacation. I am not thrilled about this, but see no true alternatives as Disney Springs has more dining options etc., but must hurry up after a park go to resort, get bus to Disney Springs, eat fast to get bus back. Uber is an option of course but couldn’t do this nightly as would be somewhat expensive back and forth nightly. Because we are larger party I can see why we haven’t been able to score a reservation, but my adult children have tried in their accounts to try and split the size and make two reservations, but that has not worked either. Originally my future son in law was to surprise engage our daughter at WDW, but the closure had us change our plans and stay. We are not upset or angry, however allowing other guests at a resort to dine with social distancing and all folks getting the 60 day window does create an issue for resort guests to utilize their own table service restaurant. I am waiting back on information for the ability to order take out from Sanaa and eat on our balcony, which isn’t ideal but a thought. I cannot get confirmation if they will allow us access to the full menu items for take out availability. Anyone that has information regarding this I would be most thankful to know if it is possible.
Hi Sue! I am reading all of Tom’s posts avidly as we are visiting the week before Thanksgiving. Nothing as special as your family has planned, we just need some magic in our lives. Anyhow, recently Tom wrote about mobile ordering and pick up from Sanaa. Hoping you are able to follow this link: https://www.disneytouristblog.com/sanaa-reopening-review-two-magnificent-meals/
if not, maybe copy and paste to your web browser? Have a magical day!
Any word on the Crystal Palace reopening?
I did see characters out at Garden Grill the other day….
Is there any indication or rumor of other restaurants opening back up? Ohana…. Boma….. ?
We just checked in to the Polynesian today and asked about Ohana and they said they don’t know when it will reopen. I was assuming it will be when the hotel portion opens (which was just pushed back). Making that assumption based on California Grill opening the day the Contemporary hotel opened- after BLT was open for a couple weeks.
Right now, I’m finding the selections for Table Service restaurants to be very poor. We’ve started to look for alternative dining spots because of such changes as Be Our Guest NOT having a lunch menu ($62 pp for lunch? Forgetaboutit) or only 3 entrees and only 1 is seafood at a seafood restaurant (Living Seas in EPCOT). Planet Hollywood is looking better and better every day now. Also, without fireworks, we won’t return to California Grill, as they too have such a limited menu now and $52 for roasted chicken is just insane!
So what do you do if you don’t have cell phones?
They are assuming EVERYONE has the .
When we were there at the end of June, half the time the host checked us in before we could check in on the phone. I don’t think reservations will stack up for that to be a problem for a little while.
With most of the benefits of staying on Disney property being suspended, why would anyone want to stay on property when you can save money by staying off property? I understand a few of these changes but I’m pretty sure that we will be postponing our vacation to 2022.
During this time of profound uncertainty I understand all kinds of rules and restrictions. Not an issue at all. But I find the idea that Disney will restrict my ability to visit another resort to visit a lounge (as in the old Dixie Landings) or visit a food court very restrictive. Over the last 25 years, while staying at one resort, we have visited other resorts to see what the feeling of the resort was. TO decide whether we would feel comfortable staying at a new place. As a result of visiting the resort we could see what parking was like, see where the bus stops were, see what the food court was like(including food offerings). We are not big “sit down dining reservation guests” so getting a sense of the food court is important to us. A good example of a food court investigation is the difference between the food courts at Pop Century and Port Orleans Riverside. Very different. How would I know that unless I visited? So count me as perplexed if Disney plans to restrict a resort guest from visiting a different resort – without the need for a dining reservation.
I love mobile ordering for quick the service items. My only issue is that it doesn’t offer the option to pay by Disney gift card. I wonder if this is something they will FINALLY fix. I buy the gift cards throughout the year at a discount in order to save for Disney and pay for almost my entire trips with them so this would be a huge help.
Sherry, they have updated MDE to allow gift card payments in mobile order! I know we have been begging for this for quite some time. Make sure your app is updated and you should see the option 🙂