The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining: A Review

by Gray Cargill on April 12, 2011

Post image for The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining: A Review

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.

Maple Tamarind Chicken at Yak & Yeti

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.
Apple Crepe

The Apple Crepe at Chefs de France

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.

Hollywood Brown Derby

Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant

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.

Click here to buy your Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining.

Gray April 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I like to think she included the solo dining section because she knew I’d be looking for it. ;-)

GRRRLTRAVELER April 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

Disney World… really? Those photos look fabulous! I’m a vegetarian but damn that meat looked seductive even to me. I think it’s wonderful and unique that someone has created a reference book for this experience.

Love that there’s a solo dining section included.

Gray Cargill April 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm

John – Ha, you may be right!

John Fuchs April 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Gray – With all due respect, I think you were wrong in one aspect of your review of AJ’s book. I seriously doubt that there is even anyone who works for Disney that knows as much about food at Disney as AJ. If there is, I haven’t found that person. In general, Disney employees have their own little sphere of reference – get them outside of their home territory and they fail miserably. I think AJ’s book should be available to every Disney employee as a resource. Great review though and I agree with everything else.

The Traveling Fool April 15, 2011 at 4:09 am

Thanks for the great article and the resource. I have never been there but from friends who have they tell me it is definitely not a kids only destination. In fact I have been told that a week is just long enough to really enjoy yourself and take it all in. And any book that has an index to bars has got to be good.

Gray April 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

My pleasure. You really do need a week to enjoy everything (as well as have some downtime!).

Marsha April 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

I’m not a big fan of resorts and such but I have a colleague who’s CRAZY for Disney…this would make a great gift!

Gray April 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

You give gifts to your colleagues? Wow. Can I work with you? :-)

Alouise April 13, 2011 at 1:44 am

I’ve never been to Disney World, but I really would have just assumed that they only had over priced western food. Burgers and fries, that sort of thing. I never knew there was a good variety of dining options.

Gray April 13, 2011 at 2:06 am

Overpriced, yes. And you will find burgers and fries at nearly every counter service (fast food) place. But the table restaurants are worth a trip to Disney World all on their own. I still think wistfully of the blackened catfish and pepperjack cheese grits I had at the Coral Reef…the escargots at Chefs de France…the tandoori chicken at Sanaa….and the polenta at Mama Melrose’s.

lilmissdisney April 12, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I definately understand. I’ve been to Disneyland many, many times by myself and last time I went to WDW I was pretty much alone because the person I was with was at a seminar all day and we only met up in the evenings. I spent the days enjoying the WDW parks all by myself. It is wonderful to go alone!

This book sounds nice. I’m a vegan so I probably wont be getting it, but I do like that she has a bit about people with dietary restrictions and allergies.

Gray April 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm

There is a small section, actually, on vegan and vegetarian dining at the World. I’m not saying that so you’ll buy it, but just so you and anyone reading this know AJ did not leave anything out, including that. But if you’ve been there many times, you probably already know about your vegan options at Disney.

lilmissdisney April 12, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Thanks that is very helpful to know!

Bluegreen Kirk April 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Some people will never understand that just like some prefer always being around people others prefer time alone. I applaud you for enjoying Disney by yourself and never having to not do the things you want simply because you cant agree with others. Disney is great going again in June.

Gray April 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm

You’re braver than I am to go in June. I went in May last time and it was over 90 every day and HUMID. I nearly lost 5 lbs just in sweat. :-)

Hedy April 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I have heard so many rave reviews of it, I may have to check it out.

Gray April 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm

There’s no risk in checking it out.

Tracy Antonioli April 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm

ah–a guide to drinking around the world, eh? that would have REALLY helped me as i guided my single-minded friend through the japan pavillion. she just couldn’t find what she was looking for (and we ended up walking up and down those stairs MANY times!)

Gray April 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Oh dear. See, that’s why I prefer going alone!

Tammy March 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Im leaving for Disney this Thursday morning early! I will meet my daughter and her bus load of cheerleaders for a competition. She will have to stay with her team and I’m off to explore! Help I feel kinda weird going to Disney alone. I really should have some type of Itinerary I don’t want to go aimless. I will be there till Sunday then off to visit family an hour away for a few days.

Help!

I love food but not a big eater. I do drink but not to excess. I do love thrill rides and shows.

Gray March 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

No need to feel weird, Tammy! Take advantage of this opportunity to do things you wouldn’t normally do with your family. Ride YOUR favorite rides, see the shows your family never wants to go to, or just relax by your resort pool. That’s the beauty of going alone. You can do whatever you want at your own pace. You’ve got a little over 2 days to enjoy the parks at your own pace. I would figure out ahead of time whether you want to park hop to all 4 parks or focus on a park or two, because that will make a difference in terms of what kind of ticket you buy.

Sabina April 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Actually, that going to Disney World alone thing does surprise me, Gray. I can’t imagine doing that myself. But you know what’s best for you. Maybe I should go to an amusement park alone some day. I might have more fun than I would ever dream. I’ve never even been to either Disney World or Disney Land.

Tracy Antonioli April 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Yes–you will have more fun than you would ever dream. I took my first–but NOT my last–solo disney trip last month, and it was GREAT. Better than with others, in fact (I had a friend join me for a bit, and while I was glad for her company, I actually heaved a sigh of relief when she left–I could get back to enjoying myself and not worrying about entertaining her.) I ran into quite a few other solo travelers, too! Try it–you’ll love it, I promise!

Gray April 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

LOL, another convert! Go, Tracy!

Gray April 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

You know, Sabina, what many people don’t realize is that Disney is so much more than a theme park. You could spend days of vacation there and not so much as go on a single ride. There are shows, live music, hammocks near beautiful bodies of water where you could sit and read all day, parasailing, horseback riding….and lots of great restaurants.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: