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The Saving Tables Debate

We have all been there…balancing the tray of food in one hand, little hand in the other, and searching for somewhere to sit. In Disney World this has become an issue because of those who sit before they get there food, or those in general taking up tables with food they brought into the Parks. I have touched on this awhile ago, but I have eaten in the Parks ALOT since moving here. Enjoy my two cents on it.

I have done it both ways. I have kept the family with me and we all ordered, than found somewhere to sit. When the kids were younger, I would sit them with myself or Craig, and the other would order and grab the condiments. I understand both sides of the issue, because both offer realistic outcomes. Noone is holding a table to be spiteful, they hold it because they want to sit and eat their overpriced Disney food in peace without having to fight it out among others for a table.

When you walk into a busy Restaurant and you see the tables being snatched up, I think it gives you that “need” to find one as well, and find it quick. Add the fact that your little one is starting to have a melt- down, the last thing you want to do is have your child in line with you while you are not only trying to order, but balance the food as well.  For this reason, I know I would rather have a parent dealing with the kids at the table and getting everyone calmed down so you can have a nice meal together, while the other parent is getting it.

Now, I also understand that when you have your crying child in your arm, and food in the other, and you are walking up and down looking for a table and see others saving that it can be VERY annoying. Unless you are in the Parks at peak times, the wait in line isn’t usually too bad. I have heard the debate that if I held a table with my kids, and let’s say Craig is at the counter ordering, that somehow the time frame it is taking him to order would be the same amount that someone could have been eating/using your table. I am going to argue this, none of our orders have been more than 10 minutes long, so unless you eat really fast, I would have given up my table and you will still be using it after my food HAS come to it.

Here is the other side to this, I LOVE grabbing a table to myself. My favorite spot is Cosmic Rays on the balcony, where I sit with my meal and just breathe in all the yummy goodness of the Magic Kingdom. Anyone can have the rest of my chairs, but I am NOT a fan of someone joining me. I have had it happen to me in Epcot, and because the tables were VERY limited, I thought they meant could they use mine after I was done. Nope, they sat right down next to me to eat.  When it’s my alone time for me, and it’s seriously my decompressing time, I am there alone for a reason. I don’t expect others to get that, but I don’t feel that I should be made to feel guilty that I enjoy having it to myself.  Ray’s has an ABUNDANCE of tables, and even at peak, sitting with my meal and enjoying the moment is not a crime.

I have heard of others joining others and it has worked out, that is great. But I feel asking to join others takes a lot of moxy when we all know that our family vacation time is precious and with the heat and crowds, sometimes the last thing anyone wants to do is try and converse with people you don’t know.

I fully believe the reason that this debate ever started was simply because we all have had a hard time getting a table. So once you know you have had a hard time getting ANYTHING, the next time you LEARN. It comes off as being selfish, or inconsiderate to others, but you have walked this road already and you know that you HAVE to find a table ASAP or you will search and search while your food gets cold.

Recently I was sitting at the Yak and Yeti Counter Service area at a table for three people. Someone asked to use one of my chairs, I said “Sure!” As I ate, I took a moment to just exhale and enjoy the moment.  People were walking around me, glaring that I was done eating. I had barely been there 15 minutes.  If you plan on “hovering” around me while I am still eating, I am not going to be that willing to say “Sure, have my table” when I am done. If you ask me politely if you can have it when I am done, or if I am going to be leaving soon can you have it, I have no problem respecting and answering that.  After the dirty looks, I saw a couple who was looking and I was getting ready to leave. I simply got up and said “Would you like my table?” They were both so happy and thrilled, and it really made my day to help someone out.

My advice is that you need to do what is best for you, follow the rules of the Parks, and use common sense. I do believe that Rays and Pecos Bills has it right where they sit you after you have your food, that way you are GUARANTEED a seat so there is no “urgency” to sit the family down right away in the first place.


  1. Well…I usually avoid controversial blog posts (such as the refillable mug debate..) but as its your blog I’ll leave my opinion (not saying its right or wrong).
    My partner and i vacation child free at WDW and deserve the same level of service as everyone else. We queue to get food and we’re happy to stand with our tray whilst others at tables finish their meal and move on, freeing up a table for us to eat and move on. This to me is the natural process and I also like the idea of CM’s being around to assist with seating.
    But as we’ve said many times before…just because WDW is a magical place it doesn’t mean that everyday problems or habits are left at the gates 🙂


  2. It is nice to have someone seat you. Also, I found that not going right at lunch hour is fantastic. Hardly anyone there.


  3. Wow….never saw that happen where people just sat down with a stranger to eat lunch. but we eat our lunches early so to avoid the crowds. 11am lunch and 4pm dinners.


  4. Really great post!!

    I just wanted to say in alot of Europe it is common to share tables. I have sat down at nice redtautants to have dinner. I would be there 15 minutes and someone would come up and ask “Is this free?” and sit down.

    Just possibly cultural awareness.


  5. We’ve done it both ways… just depends where we are and when and how long the lines are. We also try not to linger as to give someone else use of the table when we are finished eating. I will say when kiddos were younger it was nice to sit down, feed the baby and have that done by the time hubby came back to the table with the food. But that is another touch and go subject… LOL I did have to giggle when reading this post Amy as you were writing it with WDW in mind, this could also be a post regarding dining at an In N Out Burger! 🙂 LOL


  6. We usually find a table first. We are a family of 5. We have a 12, 4, 2 yr olds and waiting in line with the 5 of us and the kids are tired and hungry is not an option. Especially since my oldest is autistic but if he is having a good day he helps my husband. My husband is the one who goes up to gets our food. But we also try to eat early before the food rush.


  7. Last time we were eating at Casey’s it took forever to find a seat. We started eating with our tray on top of the garbage can! LOL When we finally snagged a table, we ate, and then when we were just about done, we saw a man with children put his tray up on the garbage can to start eating. My husband went and grabbed him to come take our table before we left so that they would have a place to sit. I see both sides of this debate. And certain restaurants, like Casey’s, with limited seating makes it very hard.


  8. We have done it both ways too. I think at some of the restaurants I have seen it posted to have one person wait in line to order to keep the lines down. I think as long as you are getting food from that place that you should be able to get a table. We usually don’t stay too long…as soon as we are done eating we usually leave and we keep the table and area clean for the next family. Here’s a new debate…why do people leave all their napkins on the ground and some even leave their trays/cups/plates at the table when they leave. Or if they spill something or get ketchup on the table why don’t they wipe up after themselves?


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