I get a lot of weird looks from people when I tell them I’m going to Disney World. . .alone. They can’t imagine what could possibly appeal to me about this vacation destination for families. Many things, actually–the variety of activities available on Disney property, the fact that I get to be a kid again, and the opportunity to enjoy Disney World without having to put someone else’s needs first. The thing that perhaps surprises people the most, though, is when I tell them some of the best food I’ve ever eaten was on Disney property. Yeah, it surprised me, too. Who would expect exceptional dining experiences at a theme park? Believe it or not, Disney World has become a foodie mecca. And now, there is a new resource out there for those of you wanting to maximize your Disney dining experience.
The Disney Food Blog has published an e-book called the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining. I was one of the first to purchase a copy of this food guide, because I know the author, AJ Wolfe: She’s a passionate Disney foodie, a thorough researcher, and knows more than any other human being (who doesn’t work for Disney) about Walt Disney World Dining. Therefore, I knew this book would be full of useful information even for someone like me who has researched the heck out of Disney World’s dining options for my previous trips. Boy, was I right.
I was a little intimidated when I opened up the ebook for the first time and saw that it was 256 pages long. Gulp. But don’t worry, it’s also very well organized. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, you can easily skip to the sections that are of interest to you. Literally, everything you could possibly want to know about dining at Disney World is in this book. I can’t think of anything that was overlooked (and believe me, I tried).
The book is jam-packed with useful information for Disney World newbies as well as experienced visitors, including:
- information about every eatery on Disney property;
- a glossary of Disney dining terminology (do you know what an ADR is?);
- advice for those with dietary restrictions and allergies;
- tips for eating healthy on property (no small feat when surrounded by such tempting goodies all day!);
- a section for families who plan to cook for themselves during their Disney vacation;
- and numerous tips for maximizing the dining experience.
The layout of this book is very visually appealing. I got hungry just looking at the photos. (Damn you, AJ!) If you’re a natural born planner, you’ll be thrilled with the checklists and downloadable planning worksheets, and for the truly lazy (er, time-challenged), there are sample dining itineraries. I would recommend this book even for those of you who prefer to “wing it”. Just download the guide onto your smartphone or an iPad and bring it with you to Disney World. If you have any on-the-spot dining questions, you can easily consult the guide. For instance, if you find that every restaurant you try is booked solid, you can consult the guide, where AJ outlines which Disney restaurants are easiest to get into as a “walk-in.”
Early on in the book, AJ offers her 5 Step Guide to Stress-Free Dining Planning. What makes planning your dining at Disney World so stressful, you might ask? Given how spread out the Disney property is (it covers 40 square miles), and how busy the parks can get, the logistics of eating a meal can be, well, challenging. First you have to figure out whether or not the Disney Dining Plan makes financial sense for you. Then you have to figure out where you want to eat (there are hundreds of restaurants and dining locations on property), if it’s in your budget, and if it’s anywhere near where you plan to be in the parks at a given time. If it’s a very popular restaurant, you certainly need to make a reservation (ADR), and if it’s peak season, you may have to make that reservation 6 months in advance. Without making reservations ahead of time, you could wind up eating a lot of fast food on Disney property, and that would be a shame, because so many of the table service restaurants are terrific.
There are a few sections in particular that I would like to draw to your attention, my fellow solo travelers:
- Solo Dining in Disney World (yay!), page 84. This section includes tips for making your solo dining experience more enjoyable.
- Spots to Enjoy a Show, page 75. When dining solo, it’s always nice to have something to watch since I don’t have a dining companion to talk to.
- Drinking Around the World, page 78 (and the accompanying Index to Bars and Lounges beginning on page 230). One of the perks of traveling as a solo adult to Disney World is being able to indulge in an adult beverage or two every day without worrying about the message it’s sending to Junior.
Is there anything about this book I would change? Not really. Obviously, as a solo traveler, I’d love it if the solo dining tips were expanded more, but that’s rather biased on my part. In summary, I found this guide to be extremely thorough and informative, full of tips and strategies to help Disney visitors save time and money while getting the most out of their Disney dining experience. Given how much money visitors spend on a Disney vacation in the first place, who wouldn’t want to get the most out of the experience? This guide can help you do that.
If you decide to purchase the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, you can do so via the link below. It normally costs $18.95. SoloFriendly readers can get 20% off (for a total cost of $14.95) by using the code “Solo” during the checkout process. If for any reason it doesn’t live up to your expectations, it has a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee, so you really can’t lose by giving it a try.