As a tour guide, I am constantly focused on helping my guests save time whenever and wherever possible. Typically, this means securing the best FastPasses, visiting attractions at the appropriate times, and taking the best routes while navigating the parks. However, there are other ways to save time that involve dining options at Walt Disney World.
I always recommend a table-service restaurant for lunch when possible. It gives guests a chance to sit down and recharge their batteries for a fun afternoon. Believe it or not, this can sometimes be a faster option than a quick-service location, especially on a very crowded day. For example if you dine at a spot like Crystal Palace or Tusker House, you start eating shortly after being seated, since they are buffets. You could be waiting longer just to order your food at a counter service restaurant on a busy day. In addition, you are standing up the entire time on legs that are probably already tired.
Now, there are definitely times when a sit down restaurant is just not an option. There are also situations when you may just want a quick snack while walking through the park. When approaching a snack stand or a counter service restaurant, it is human nature to simply get in whatever line you see. However, this could be a mistake that causes you to spend an extra 10 to 15 minutes waiting in line.
Most of the time, there are order kiosks that allow guests to wait on either side of the cast member taking the order. Typically, most guests just get in the first line that they see. However, Disney prefers guests to head the to shorter “side” to balance out the order taking area. Although you may get dirty looks from guests who have been waiting in the long line as you walk right up to the kiosk, you aren’t doing anything wrong and you’re actually helping with Disney’s crowd flow. Here is that exact scenario from a few days ago at Restaurantosaurus in Animal Kingdom.
A similar phenomenon happens at snack stands around the parks. Often times there are side-by-side windows which have queues that enter from the left and the right. It can be confusing, but the exit is typically right in the middle. Again, when people only see one line, they tend to get in it. However, there may be a completely open window on the other side that you can walk right up to. A great example of this can be seen at the Westward Ho Refreshment Stand in the Magic Kingdom. This is also a common scenario at Aloha Isle, home of the famous Dole Whip.
So, today’s tip is very simple: Pay attention to the line structure whenever you go to a counter-service restaurant or snack stand. It could make a big difference!
I hope you enjoy “Tour Guide Tuesday.” If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!