All-you-can-eat restaurants at Walt Disney World: buffet or family style

Much has changed with Walt Disney World restaurants over the past two years. After the pandemic closures, many restaurants opened with modifications to their previous services. Characters have yet to return to some table service locations, and a few table service locations are still closed indefinitely. However, a change made in multiple places at will might be for the best.

Walt Disney World currently offers two types of all-you-can-eat options: buffet and family-style. Restaurants like Cape May Café, Boma and Crystal Palace have returned to full buffet services. Other restaurants like Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House, Ohana, and Trail’s End now offer their family-style cuisine where they used to offer buffets.

Picture: Disney

When it comes to all-you-can-eat dining at Walt Disney World, you’ll pay top dollar. Table service locations that offer all-you-can-eat menus start at nearly $30 per adult and nearly $20 per child depending on the meal and range up to $55 for adults and $36 for children (especially if you choose a restaurant with character). The all-you-can-eat options are great for getting more food for your money, but quality and experience are also something to consider at such a high price. Let’s take a look and decide if family style should be the new normal, or if these places should offer full buffets again.

Family Style

Chef Mickey's
Picture: Disney

Family-style meals at Walt Disney World consist of one serving bringing all menu items to the table in quantities large enough to share between tables. Think of it like having a buffet at your table. You can also request extra servings of any item you like. Many guests (myself included) have noticed a significant improvement in food quality since many restaurants like Chef Mickey’s have moved to family style service. The dishes offered were unique and delicious. It’s also a great option for character meals because it reduces food traffic around restaurants, making it easier for the character to move from table to table and perform their fun dances. You also don’t have to worry about other guests touching, sneezing or coughing up your food. We all know this can happen at a buffet.

There are a few downsides that I noticed with the family style option. First, family-style meals can lead to more food waste using this service. All menu items are brought to the table and if no one at the table likes a particular dish, that entire dish will go to waste. Also, having at least 5-6 serving dishes, along with drinks and plates, creates a crowded table. Overall though, when it comes to family style, I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

So, how about a buffet?…

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