Benefits of Mobile Ordering at Walt Disney World
As a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member, you know your way around Walt Disney World. You’ve visited enough to have a plan for every phase of your vacation. How easily do you adapt when park officials change something, though? Also, are you taking advantage of the most convenient form of dining in theme park history? Let’s find out! Here are the benefits of Mobile Ordering.
During the summer of 2017, Walt Disney World rolled out a new service called Mobile Order aka Mobile Ordering. This system utilizes a part of the My Disney Experience app to allow guests to order food.
You may wonder why you would want to order food on your phone when you’re already at a Disney park. First of all, you don’t have to be in the park. One of the most essential features of this app is that you can order from wherever you on the Disney campus.
Once you’re close to the applicable restaurant, you’ll receive a pop-up notification asking whether you’re ready to have your food prepared. You’re in complete control of your meal preparation, a first at Walt Disney World.
The real reason why you’ll want to become a Mobile Ordering user is efficiency. You’ll save time and aggravation while you’re at the parks. You know from experience that standing in line is the worst part of a park day. Thanks to this service, you’ll skip that part. Instead, you’ll order via your smartphone/tablet and then walk to a special counter where your food will be waiting.
The convenience of Mobile Ordering is readily apparent. You always have your phone with you anyway, right? Thanks to this app, you can pull up the menu for your favorite Quick Service restaurant at any time. From the ordering screen, you can pick your meals and pay for them whenever you like. Then, you’ll pick up your food when you’re hungry and ready to eat.
Here’s a real-world example to drive home the point. Think about when you’re standing in line at Splash Mountain on a hot Florida day. You still have 10 minutes before you reach the front of the line queue and board your boat. However, you’re past the fans and feel the full weight of the sun on your back.
You need a distraction, and you also need a cure for the hangry. You can kill the proverbial two birds with one stone by pulling out your phone and looking at the menus of various participating restaurants at Magic Kingdom.
At the time of publication, the park has five full-time Quick Service eateries, one part-time lunch/dinner place, and two locations that serve snacks. And yes, you can order a Dole Whip through this service!
Once you find the food that you want at the appropriate restaurant, you place your order. Voila! You’ve killed your extra time standing in line. Plus, once you’ve gotten dripping wet on the ride, you can walk right up to the restaurant’s Mobile Order counter, grab your food, and then sit down and dry off. It’s ridiculously convenient in addition to being efficient.
Mobile Ordering comes with several other ancillary benefits. For starters, you’ll get a much more accurate meal. The harsh truth at Walt Disney World restaurants is that the places are loud, and it’s tough to hear.
When you order something, the cast member taking your order may not understand you. Even if they do, there’s always a chance that someone in the kitchen will get the order wrong. Inaccuracy is a basic part of doing business at counter service restaurants.
When you use Mobile Ordering, your accuracy soars. You’re picking the foods that you want, the condiments that you want, and other instructions. You’re in complete control of the ordering process, which means that the only way that something goes wrong is human error…YOUR human error!
Speaking as a picky eater with food allergies, I have exponentially more confidence with Mobile Ordering than I do when talking with a cashier.
Card-less Like Magic Bands
By now, you understand the point of Magic Bands. You attach an active credit card to your device. From that moment forward, you can pay for anything at most Walt Disney World stores and restaurants without getting out your wallet. It’s a genuinely cashless transaction.
Amazingly, Mobile Ordering is even better in this regard. Your My Disney Experience account has a credit card on file, just like your Magic Band. When you order and signal that you’re ready for billing, you don’t even need to tap a Magic Band to a reader! The transaction goes through automatically.
Available at Some DVC Resorts
At the end of this article, I’ll list all current participating restaurants in the Mobile Ordering program. For DVC members, however, a couple of places stand out from the rest.
At first, Disney only offered Mobile Ordering at park restaurants. In recent months, they’ve loosened their rules a bit and expanded options for park guests. Four different resorts currently have restaurants with Mobile Ordering enabled.
Two of these locations are at DVC properties. The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House and the Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort both accept Mobile Ordering. I can’t speak for you, but the addition of Contempo Café is a game-changer for my family.
When we stay at Bay Lake Tower, we usually eat here at least every other day. Being able to order our food on the app and then pick it up right before we board the monorail is a game-changer. Obviously, food isn’t allowed on the monorail, and so we must eat it before then. Since the Contempo Café is only about 20 feet from the security checkpoint for the monorail, it’s incredibly convenient for our vacationing needs.
By the way, the other two hotels are Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Both of these places have nearby Disney Skyliner stations. So, you may find them useful when you’re roaming the Disney campus, too.
Works with the Disney Dining Plan
At first, one of the flaws with Mobile Ordering was that it didn’t work with the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). Since so many DVC members use one of the dining plans, this drawback was enough of an issue that I wouldn’t recommend it to some friends.
Thankfully, Disney has since updated the Mobile Ordering system. It now accepts dining plan entitlements, and I find that useful for multiple reasons. First of all, I like Mobile Ordering for all of the reasons listed here.
More importantly, I find this system much easier for finding out how many daily entitlements I have remaining on the dining plan. Historically, I’d have to ask a server or a cast member in my resort’s lobby for the information.
I should mention a couple of drawbacks about Mobile Ordering in the interest of fairness. The first is that discounts are still not available through the app. In other words, those of you who have annual passholder and DVC membership discounts have two choices.
You’ll cede the discount and pay full price. Or you’ll have to skip Mobile Ordering and stand in line. This is less than ideal and something Disney will hopefully address soon.
Mobile Ordering still isn’t available at most resort restaurants, either. While a couple of Quick Service establishments participate, Disney has yet to enable Mobile Ordering at Table Service restaurants. For my family, that’s a heartbreaking oversight, as we eat sit-down meals much more often than counter service ones. Again, this is something that Disney should add soon.
Until then, here’s the current list of Disney restaurants that have Mobile Ordering available:
- ABC Commissary
- Aloha Isle
- Backlot Express
- Casey’s Corner
- Catalina Eddie’s
- Centertown Market
- Columbia Harbour House
- Contempo Café
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
- D-Luxe Burger
- Electric Umbrella
- Everything POP Shopping & Dining
- Fairfax Fare
- Flame Tree Barbecue
- Harambe Market
- Liberty Inn
- The Lunching Pad
- The Mara
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café
- Pinnochio Village Haus
- Rosie’s All-American Café
- Satu’li Canteen
- Spyglass Grill
- Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
- Woody’s Lunch Box
Please note that some of these restaurants are seasonal and currently not in operation. When you are ready to pick a meal, the Mobile Ordering app will show a list of active program participants. So, you thankfully can’t order at a place that’s closed.
In my opinion, Mobile Ordering is only about three enhancements away from being the future of all Walt Disney World restaurant orders. It’s nearly perfect as is, just not available at enough locations.