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Disney World Brings Back a Pre-Covid Favorite

The pandemic caused a lot of food-service changes at the Disney World theme park in Florida, and one beloved experience has slowly been brought back.

When people pay thousands of dollars to visit Disney World, they want the full experience. 

During the worst of the pandemic that simply was not possible. Disney (DIS) was forced to modify some operations to deal with the restrictions the pandemic created.

That included some big things like the parks reservation system, social-distancing measures, temperature checks, and letting only a few people into stores at a time. Those changes were somewhat mitigated by the smaller crowds due to the company reducing capacity to allow for social distancing.

Those measures, aside from the reservation system, went away months ago and Disney World has mostly returned to normal. But given the cost of visiting the theme park with a family, some people don't want just nearly normal --  they want things to be the way they were before the pandemic.

That may never fully happen as the reservation system and limited park hopping (based on capacities) might never go back to what they were. Disney has, however, brought back one very popular dining option. 

Disney Food Lead JS

Disney Has a Deep Food History

When people go on vacation, they tend to put diets and sometimes even common sense behind them. You're on vacation, so it's important to extract every bit of value possible, and that can sometimes mean eating a bit excessively.

Disney has generally made that possible with its wide array of buffets. Before the pandemic, the Florida theme park offered a variety of all-you-can-eat self-serve choices -- everything from relatively affordable character breakfasts to higher-end dining experiences (often with characters as well).

For a period, the pandemic seemed as if it would end the concept of the buffet. With a disease that can be easily spread by contact with not just other people but with surfaces as well, the buffet concept was one of the first to disappear during the worst of the covid pandemic.

Local Chinese buffets pivoted to other business models, or they closed. The cruise lines had to move to a crew-member-served model rather than self-serve, and that was after they were closed for more than a year. And Disney either closed its buffets or moved them to a family-style model.

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But as vaccines became available and things slowly returned to normal, some buffets have returned. The major cruise lines quietly went back to the self-serve model and Disney World has slowly been bringing back its buffets.

Disney Brings Back Its Buffets

Disney World has mostly been quiet about its dining changes. The company hasn't wanted to call a lot of attention to any areas where it has dropped or loosened covid-related protocols. 

The company has slowly been bringing its self-serve buffets back, according to Theme Park Tourist.

"Walt Disney World currently offers two types of all-you-care-to-eat options: Buffet and Family Style. It seems to be the case that more and more restaurants are now returning to the prepandemic buffet style, including Cape May Café, Boma, and Crystal Palace. Hollywood & Vine will join this list as of Aug. 28," the website reported.

Boma is a higher-end restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, while Crystal Palace is inside Magic Kingdom, and Cape May Cafe is at the Disney Beach Club resort. 

Hollywood & Vine is located in Disney's Hollywood Studios and it hosts a special Disney Jr. breakfast buffet as well as other character options.

The company has also quietly brought back buffet breakfasts at a number of restaurants, but it has not resumed all its buffets.

"There are still many other Walt Disney World restaurants like Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House, Ohana, and Trail’s End which still offer their food family style when previously they offered buffets," Theme Park Tourist added.

Disney has not commented on whether some of those eateries will remain family style.