Mobile ordering is slowly rolling out to more and more restaurants throughout the Walt Disney World resort, and you absolutely need to try it.
Hate waiting? Who doesn't, and yet patience has always been the must-have accessory on any Disney World adventure. When visiting a destination this popular, there's simply no avoiding the occasional line. Smart travelers know to show up in Orlando with the expectation of potentially long waits for everything, from hotel check-in, to rides on one's favorite attractions, and certainly when it's time to break for a bite to eat.
For years now, Disney's best and brightest have been hard at work, attempting to eliminate as much lag time as possible; the Fastpass, for example, which allows guests to skip the lines on many a popular ride, is now part and parcel of a visit to any Disney park. More recently, the hotel experience has been nothing short of revolutionized, with the inauguration of both the MagicBand and its best pal, the My Disney Experience app, enabling guests not only to check into their resorts ahead of time, but also to forego that whole room-key-that-keeps-demagnetizing experience, never anybody's idea of a good time.
What's next? Streamlining mealtimes, apparently—after lots of testing, mobile ordering is slowly rolling out, all throughout Disney World, from popular park restaurants like the new Satu'li Canteen at Animal Kingdom, to the much talked-about (and for good reason) gourmet burger joint, D-Luxe, at Disney Springs. It's all part of a growing trend at Disney's Orlando parks that has the guest experience inching ever closer to the way we live and travel now.
From significant upgrades on the dining front as American palates become more cultivated, to the welcoming of ridesharing services into the parks (largely, you use them here the way you would anywhere else) to smarter, better hotel design (mirroring the ongoing elevation of standards across North America), the barriers between the way Disney does hospitality, and the way it's being done outside of resort grounds, are slowly but surely falling away.
It makes sense, then, that mobile ordering—a part of daily life for millions of Americans, many of whom could hardly function without their Starbucks or Panera or Chipotle or Chick-fil-A apps—would be the next big growth area, and it's definitely something you want to know about before your next Disney vacation.
How does it work? Quite simply, mobile ordering works here much like it does anywhere and everywhere else. You fire up your My Disney Experience app—if you don't have an account yet, you can do that on the mobile site, if you like, or even on your desktop computer—and get a credit card number plugged in; once in the app, you just look for the Order Food button, hit it and choose from a list of restaurants.
Each park has a nice selection of options, as of this writing; Epcot's food outlets are proving to be a little slow on the uptake, but on that short list you've got the excellent and affordable Sunshine Seasons in Future World, at least—that's one of the best venues in the park, outside of the World Showcase.
Right now, there are nearly 25 restaurants in total that are going mobile, with more on the way; the user experience is actually quite good—it's all very easy to understand, and you don't have to click around nearly as much as you'd expect. We'd go so far as to say that the process here is actually more streamlined than you'll find on some of the more popular, everyday restaurant apps. Bye, long lines—nobody liked you anyway.