Best Disney Dining Plan Table Service Credit Uses


So you want to maximize your table service credit value on the 2015 Disney Dining Plan by eating at the most expensive restaurants? We don’t blame you! The Disney Dining Plan is expensive, as is Disney dining in general. Taking a trip while on the Disney Dining Plan can be a great way to efficiently hit the more expensive restaurants at Walt Disney World when on a budget. Note that he restaurants here offer the best ‘value maximization’ of table service Disney Dining Plan credits because they serve the most expensive meals (meaning greater savings), but this list is entirely objective. In other words, best “value” is solely in terms of money, not quality.

This list calculated the most expensive meals by taking the highest entree, dessert, and beverage and adding them together (tax and tip are not included). We did this as opposed to taking the median or mean since, if you’re truly concerned with saving as much money as possible, you’re going to be ordering more expensive menu items. Additionally, when we tested doing medians, restaurants that are clearly expensive dropped off of the list. Tutto Italia, for example, has a large menu with cheaper salads and sandwiches. However, the standard Italian entrees–the items most people order when they’re on the Disney Dining Plan–are mostly expensive.

We feel considering only the more expensive menu items is most helpful to Guests looking to maximize their Disney Dining Plan value, but your mileage may vary. Despite their higher menu prices, two-credit “Signature” Dining are not as good of a value due to its cost of 2 credits, so you will not find any two-credit restaurants on this list. Let me reiterate this, as some readers have asked about them: the total cost of meal at a Signature Restaurant is $75 per person, it is still not a better value than a 1-credit restaurant with a total cost of $50 per person, because the Signature Restaurant charges 2 credits, making its per-credit cost for that $75 meal equal to $37.50. For this reason, Signature Restaurants are among the absolute worst uses of Disney Dining Plan credits, objectively speaking. If you are on the Deluxe Dining Plan or simply have credits that will go to waste, you should definitely consider Signature Dining as opposed to these 1-credit restaurants.

Again, this list is completely objective. If a restaurant ranked better thanks to its pricier options, it’s on the list, regardless of whether we think its food stinks. When actually planning where YOU want to dine on your trip, it’s very important to consider quality of food, not just prices, when determining where you want to eat. We thus recommend weighing these “value maximization” lists we have along with our subjective Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews when making your Advance Dining Reservations.

The biggest change brought by our most recent update to this list is that Le Cellier (lunch) falls off the list due to it becoming a two-credit restaurant for lunch. Some readers expected Be Our Guest Restaurant would join the list for dinner, but due to its reasonably-priced desserts, it falls short of the top 10. Due to some recent changes, San Angel Inn is also not on the list (its  “Traditional Mexican Special” includes dessert and a soft drink). Instead, Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Grand Floridian Cafe join the list for the latest update. Several restaurants shuffled spots this year, due to some fairly substantial price increases at a couple…and some price decreases(!) at a couple!

With that said, let’s take a look at the list…

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1. Tutto Italia – The menu here seems to change partly (I think) due to the Free Disney Dining Plan. It seems like when that is being offered, a few of the $30+ items are not on the menu. If the Tagliata di Manzo, Lamb, or the Swordfish are on the menu, this is the #1 restaurant thanks to those and pricey and decadent Italian desserts. If those items are not on the menu, it might fall to #2, depending upon what is on the menu. All desserts are expensive, but you should, “leave the Cannoli, take the Copetta Sotto Bosco” if you want to completely maximize value. The Cannoli is a good option for value, too, though. Despite it being #1, we’re not fans of Tutto ItaliaTotal Value: $51.00.


2. Whispering Canyon Cafe – Surprised to see Whispering Canyon Cafe this high up the list? Us too. However, thanks to the Grilled New York Strip and the Sheriff’s Shakes (which, last we had heard, are still considered a drink on the Dining Plan), Whispering Canyon Cafe passes other restaurants with similar prices. A favorite of ours (which you can read about in our Whispering Canyon Cafe Review), the Canyon Skillet, also offers excellent value as an entree.  Total Value: $47.67.

3. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Akershus is a good value if you’re looking solely at price (if you’re there at the “right” time, it’s the #1 restaurant!), but remember that it’s a princess buffet that also includes a photo package. If you’re paying out of pocket, you’re paying a premium for the princesses, but you’re paying an even bigger premium for the photo package. We’ve never eaten here, but we’ve heard the food is only decent. Point being, you might nix this option if you don’t have kids or you aren’t keen on eating with princesses. Ranked #4 by median price; actual prices vary by season. Total Value: $42.59-$55.37.


4. The Wave – The Wave is a favorite of ours, so we’re happy to see it make the list. The Grilled Beef Tenderloin offers the best value here. Surprisingly, the Wave is also a very economical restaurant if you’re paying out of pocket at lunch, with several delicious choices for under $20! Total Value: $46.67.

5. Grand Floridian Cafe – This one is a bit deceiving. There are lone expensive items in each category that put Grand Floridian Cafe on this list. By ordering the second-best items instead of the best ones, the “total value” of Grand Floridian Cafe drops to $33.67. I really love the steak at Grand Floridian Cafe, and it’s worth going for that…but not for much else. Basically, if you’re not going to order the Bone-In New York Strip Steak, take this off your top values list. Total Value: $46.27.

6. Chefs De France – Chefs De France has several expensive entrees, but the most expensive, and most mouth-watering, is the Filet de boeuf grille, sauce au poivre vert Gratin Dauphinois et haricots verts. The slightly cheaper Duck is also a great entree choice for maximizing value (and it tastes great). We aren’t big fans of Chefs de France, but it is a popular restaurant among other Disney fans. The last time we ate there on the Dining Plan, I was able to substitute the French cheese plate (typically an appetizer) for my dessert. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you may want to inquire about this, but don’t be surprised if you’re told that you can’t.  Total Value: $46.19.

7. Coral Reef Restaurant – The New York Strip Steak propels yet another restaurant onto this list. If you’d rather have seafood at this seafood restaurant (and it’s some of the best seafood on property in our opinion, even if it gets hit or miss reviews sometimes), fear not, as several fish entrees are priced in the mid-$20 range, and also provide excellent value. Total Value: $45.67.

8. Wolfgang Puck Cafe –  Wolfgang Puck Cafe has an expansive menu, and although desserts (the menu items that seem to be outcome determinative in these rankings) aren’t all that expensive, several entrees and non-alcoholic DDP drinks help push Wolfgang Puck Cafe into the #6 spot. We have yet to eat here, but it looks like we might want to eat here or at Wolfgang Puck Express the next time we’re in Downtown Disney and on the Disney Dining Plan! Total Value: $43.85.

9. Kona Cafe – The New York strip steak is $3 cheaper here at $28.99, but in my opinion, this is the best N.Y. strip steak on property, and desserts here are also excellent. Combined these tantalizing options with the wonderful ambiance of the Polynesian Resort, and you have a wonderful option, both in terms of value-for-money and in general, with Kona Cafe. Total Value: $40.97.

10. Sanaa – This restaurant is a new favorite of ours, and another one I’m really pleased to see make the list. Once again, the New York Strip is the most expensive item on the menu. (It’s $1 more expensive than Kona Cafe’s, but Kona Cafe’s dessert is $1 more expensive, making them tied for 10th on the list.) With so many unique and flavorful items on the menu, we’ve never tried the N.Y. Strip steak here, but given the quality of Sanaa’s other items, we have no doubt that it’s delicious. If you’re not on the Disney Dining Plan, consider stopping in for lunch, where you can find very low crowds, great service, and some delicious (and cheap!) menu items. Total Value: $40.97.

So there you have it–the top Table Service restaurants on the 2015 Disney Dining Plan if you’re looking to maximize your value. Although this list provides the absolute best values on property, our research into all dining menus has indicated that if you like New York Strip Steaks, you’re going to do well on the Disney Dining Plan! They rarely cost less than $26.99 at any restaurant, and cost $29.99 or more at a lot of restaurants. After that, the price of desserts is the biggest factor here (ranging from high prices of $6.49 all the way to $14) and whether or not the restaurant serves smoothies, shakes, or some other sort of specialty non-alcoholic drink that is included on the Dining Plan.

Remember to always consider whether a particular restaurant or dish appeals to you before making your ADRs. While value maximization can be fun, it should not be the ‘end-all, be-all’ of your Disney vacation planning. Eating things you like is far more important!

Hopefully this list helps you get more bang for your buck on the Disney Dining Plan. Check out our Best Counter Service Credit Uses on the Disney Dining Plan and Most Cost-Effective Disney Snacks blog posts to get even more value out of the Disney Dining Plan!

Planning a Disney trip? Read our other Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews and our 101 Delicious Walt Disney World Dining Tips. If you are planning a Walt Disney World trip, make sure to also read our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!

For updates on Walt Disney World, the latest news, and tips, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

Your Thoughts…

What tips do you have for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan? If you have any tips to maximize your value at other Table Service restaurants, please share them in the comments!

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79 Responses to “Best Disney Dining Plan Table Service Credit Uses”

  1. Kristina says:

    Great list – some of these restaurants I’ve yet to try so they will be going on my list :) We have ADR’s for Tutto Italia this October so I was very excited to see it in the #1 spot.
    I always thought Kouzzina was a signature restaurant and never gave it a thought when making our dining plans, I’ll be considering it now.

    • bright629 says:

      You better hurry:) Kouzzin closes for good on Sept 30th. I haven’t seen any information as to why; it seems to consistently get strong reviews.

  2. T.J. Powell says:

    One of our favorites is O’Hana at the Polynesian Resort. It is a buffet style but you never need to leave the table :) The meats are excellant. Heck of a value on the DDP.

  3. L. von Drake says:

    Posts such as these, what I like to think of as the “gritty realism” posts (the ones that pose such questions as “when does this bus actually get here?” and “how much is this meat really costing me?”), are some of my favorite posts, peeling away, as they do, the misty-eyed wonder and giving us good, basic information to help us budget our time and money. Not that there is anything wrong with misty-eyed wonder. I always enjoy a Figment story, or a partner’s statue story, or a getting married to my sweetheart with fireworks story–at least as much as the next person. But still, it’s good to get some basic information from a seemingly credible source who has spent time making a study of the various issues. I also like the adventurous posts in which you race walk to Peter Pan’s Flight or venture into Columbia Harbour House, or dance joyously through the park at 2:00 AM, but that’s not really relevant to the present topic.

  4. Katie says:

    This post is helpful–but it also illustrates why we are not fans of the dining plan. Despite accusations from some members of my family that I only order the most expensive thing on the menu (to which I reply: it’s not my fault that I happen to like lobster and steak!), I’d rather not spend my vacation worrying about whether I am ordering expensive enough to save the highest possible amount of money.

    • Mark D. says:

      I never understand this way of thinking. While it is great that you can order the highest priced menu item while using the dining plan, I alway just choose what I want to eat. I don’t understand why anyone would order anything other than what they would enjoy the most just because they have the option of ordering something more expensive.

      • Kari says:

        I never understood it, either, Mark D. We are vegetarians and still find the Dining Plan (when free!!) to be an awesome discount for our traveling party of 6-7. Awesome food and you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll get enough or have to pay!

      • Candee says:

        What we love about the dining plan is you don’t have to worry about the price it’s paid for and I never worry if we got the best deal! it’s paid for before we leave our house and we just go and enjoy! We went one time not doing the dining plan and the whole time I was watching every penny. If you worry the whole time about what you are spending then the dining plan is great as you go to whatever restaurant and order what you want!! have fun

  5. Alex says:

    Tom: This is another great article. I did similar research for our trip and we decided to get Tables in Wonderland over participate in the dining plan for this very reason. My wife just isn’t going to eat steak every meal, so it doesn’t make sense for our family. Further, there is just no reason for everyone at the table to order a dessert. With four adults on our last trip, we normally ordered 3 appetizers and 2 desserts, while my wife and her mother split an entree. Thanks again for the hard work.


  6. I very much appreciate the objective point of view! Some of my clients love learning how they can maximize their dining credits and I plan on referring them to this (and related) posts. Thanks!


  7. Ken says:

    In all of this, what isn’t mentioned is the big problem with the DDP, the cost for my 11 and 13 year old children. We have to pay $52 becuase they are on the “adult” plan, but at the sit down meals they’re still only eating chicken nuggets and fries, or pasta, or a burger. This kills the plan for my family. Why Disney doesn’t let them get an extended kids menu or something is beyond me.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, this is definitely a problem for those with kids who Disney considers “adults.”

    • Kristi says:

      I am right there with you. We’d love to see more meal options with a real entree (fish/steak) for kids. The only one we’ve found is at Coral Reef in Epcot, Be Our Guest in MK, and 50’s Prime Time in HS.

    • Jenny says:

      If a person is paying adult prices, then it should be an adult meal.

    • David Meyer says:

      I will be having a similar dilema with my 4 kids in October. But here is a question:
      At table service restaurants where a 10 year old is going to just want chicken nuggets anyway, can I just pay for the nuggets out of pocket and save the T.S. credit for one of the adults to use later?

      • Tom Bricker says:

        This certainly is a dilemma. On the one hand, what you want to do is technically prohibited by the rules. On the other hand, if you tell the server at the beginning of the meal that your 10 year old is on a separate check, the server should accommodate you. I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t…but you never know.

        If it were me, I’d at least try it. YMMV, though.

      • Don says:

        We did exactly that the last time….I can’t recall the restaurant we were at but the waitress just considered it a ‘cash’ sale and we had one extra adult meal on our card to use later.

    • bright629 says:

      We had the same dilemma. We will be visiting Disney World in the end of September and our daughter is 10. We discussed our options and decided to use the disney dining plan but part of our decision making process included the fact that our daughter enjoys a healthy, diverse diet and is very excited to get to order off the adult menu.

  8. Joyce says:

    Great info! I started researching restaurant costs to see if it was worth it for 2 adults and 2 grandkids. Some don’t post the costs, kids menu, etc so it was hard to see if it really was worth it. We typically would share a dessert and not eat steak every night. Plus the kids like to eat real people food sometimes not just pizza, nuggets and mac & cheese. You certainly helped me make a decision. Thanks!

  9. stacy says:

    many people including my hubby are steak lovers but steak is not something that i typically order and it almost seems like the restaurants were valued based on ordering expensive meat. maybe you should have a seafood lovers version. i did eat at coral reef but it def wasn’t my favorite. they did successfully prepare mahi mahi but it was either that or salmon or fried shrimp. not many “quality” seafood entre selections for a seafood restauant with a huge aquarium inside. it is more of a casual place. i would like to see Corall Reef become more upscale with food and decor even if they had to go to 2 meal points. we were on deluxe dining but for times when u just want a quick meal it really does seem wasteful. i went to mexico in epcot and they wanted to charge 1 full meal for just guacamole so i passed. also a pizza counts as 2 adult meals. that is crazy when a whole pizza prob cost them less than $1 to make. i thought the breakfast buffets at tusker house and 1900 park fare were well worth the points regardless of price point. food and character experiences were great at both. we also did narcoosees and california grill and cinderella castle which were 2 pts each

  10. The Chad says:

    One thing to consider as I have not yet done the math… have you explored using 2 sit downs for the more expensive places, ie: Fulton’s or Le Cellier, and eat ‘cheaper’ the other nights of your stay while on the deluxe dining plan?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      There is no situation where using 2 credits for a Signature meal is a better option than the above. I’ve done the math! :)

  11. Lisa says:

    Although, this is not a most expensive restaurant, I think you might want to add this to your list due to the freebie of the appetizer.

    Reserve the Mama Melrose with Fantasmic Dining Experience. Each adult gets a free appetizer. (Not sure if that is just people on the Dining Plan or not). So if you add in a free appetizer, you can really get the most out of the Dining plan!

  12. Kath says:

    I was wondering if you go to a signature restaurant that requires 2 credits do they allow you to split a plate so you “pay” 2 credits instead of 4? Has anyone seen this work at the above places? Can a child get adult dish at the signature and above restaurants (this would be 2 credits as well)?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It would work in theory, and I don’t see why a restaurant would object, but technically everyone in your party on the Disney Dining Plan is supposed to eat together. I have never actually seen that rule enforced.

      Children can no longer use their credits to order adult meals.

      • tim says:

        Is it strictly enforced that kids cannot order from the adult menu? 2 yrs ago they ( cs employees) allowed us to order a chkn finger basket for the kids to split instead of the kids nuggets. Our motive was based on taste, not value, as they didn’t like the nuggets nearly as much as the fingers.

    • J.P. says:

      Yes, my guy and I have done this many times. We are grazers, so we share meals nearly every time we eat at Disney – even breakfasts! That way we can visit more restaurants and try more, different things. It doesn’t matter if we’re not stuffed after the meal because we’re going to be eating again soon anyway!

      • Brifraz says:

        Thanks for that post. We are going with summer with a 10yr old and have been wondering how they look upon sharing of entrees. We want to go to Citricos and maybe another Signature, but were concerned that we couldn’t do 2 meals (4 credits) to be shared by the 3 of us. Glad to hear that we can!

  13. FL UI says:

    I’m going to have to say i’m not much of a fan for this dinner plan, not to sound repetitive but ordering the most expensive meal on the menu is not always the mission. I usually base my order on what i feel like eating at the time, not order whatever’s expensive.

  14. Patty says:

    # 2 & 5 are booked for this coming April also booked at Mama Melrose…….Can’t wait!!

  15. Wendy says:

    Just a note about Akershus, we had lunch there in Oct. 2012. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and plan to go again. The food was not “too” Norweigan for our kids (ages 3,5, and 7). As usual, it was a lot of food. We could have made a meal out of the Taste of Norway bar. On our next trip we are planning to try Cinderella’s Royal Table, but we’re going to double up on princesses and dine here again, just because we enjoyed it so much. I have heard that breakfast is pretty basic, but we’ll definitely go for lunch or dinner again.

  16. Mia says:

    Can you eat at Rainforest Cafe on the dining plan?

  17. Stephen says:

    I enjoyed reading your article. I’ve been to WDW many many times, but this is the first time we’ve decided to try out the DDP. The promotions were so good this season that it made sense to give it a shot.

    I’m sure the answer to my question that follows is available somewhere on the disney site, but I thought I might throw it out there.

    One of the main reasons I wanted to get this is because I know we’re going to get breakfast every day at the resort, and we will want to eat at some great restaurant every night (Anything from Chef’s du France to California Grill and Raglan Road in Downtown). Lunch is a bit more on a whim, but occasionally we stop a bit longer at places like the SciFi cafe.

    So I guess my question is. Does it make sense (and is it possible), to just pay out of pocket for all lunches, and save those credits for the pricier meals?

    To someone else’s point, I don’t want to spend my trip obsessing about how to make my DDP work the best, but if there is a “best practice”, that will allow us to stretch our money further doing it one way or another, I appreciate that advice!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You can certainly pay out of pocket for any meal you so choose.

      My recommendation would be to pay out of pocket for breakfast (or possibly a snack credit), use a quick service credit at lunch, and use a table service credit for dinner.

      I would never use 2 credits for a signature restaurant unless the credits would otherwise go to waste, but would instead pay out of pocket for those meals.

      I can understand not wanting to obsess over how to make the plan work best. The parameters I’ve described above are pretty much all we normally do when using the Disney Dining Plan, but we have knowledge of how to maximize the Plan, so I figured I’d put that info out there for others.

      • Julie-Anne says:

        You have it spot one here Tom!!

        I was lucky enough to book one of the free dining packages on offer last year for 2013. Due to choosing Port Orleans Riverside to stay we got the counter service plan free which I upgraded to full dining for 280 good ole English pounds. I love reading peoples trip reports and their restaurant/food reviews and over the years have chalked up a number of places I want to eat, have already eaten at some but due to past budget restrictions, not all. So this years trip will see us eating at many of those “to do” restaurants e.g. California Grill, only because we’re on the dining plan. I’ve gone through the menus at every restaurant/food court and I kinda know what I’m going to choose and I to be honest there is not once have I looked and thought “go for the most expensive dish” I’m going to go for the dishes that I think I’d like and that I’ve read good reviews about. Having said all that, it’s going to save me an absolute fortune!! Even if I didn’t get the free part of our package I think I would definitely consider the DP for future visits, my son and I love our food, we enjoy good food and on every trip most of my spends have gone on food, so for me the dining plan is a no brainer. Really looking forward to using it.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Have fun–we can’t wait to try California Grill after it reopens, too!

  18. Chris says:

    A tip for some people. Most people aren’t walking around starving 24/7. If you time your ADR correctly, a quick service meal for either breakfast or lunch and then a well used snack can offer plenty of food for most people. This can save you a lot of money. Sometimes people use a snack credit for something basic like a banana when you can go to France and get a ham sandwich on a croissant for a snack credit. If you try and plan it out correctly, you can be full all day long using the credits on the DDP.

  19. Jenn says:

    Thank you for your posts! SOOO helpful! I have been having fun checking out the costs of various meals and inserting them into an excel sheet I’ve made. For those that criticize ordering only the most expensive items in order to get the dining plan for a value? I must say, that I’ve entered in prices for the items I’ve wanted, not the most expensive, and have still found it to be a good value when you want to experience many different restaurants. Sure, you can eat cheaper. But for us, it’s the experience!

    I will say I haven’t booked any table service options according to this list (though they sound amazing), but your snack option list and quick service list have opened my eyes to MANY possibilities! So, thank you!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Glad it’s helpful! As for the value of the Disney Dining Plan, a lot of that depends upon the restaurants where you eat and how you would eat if you weren’t on the plan. Whether it’s a good or poor value really depends upon your personal circumstances.

      Good luck with your WDW trip planning!

    • Hilary says:

      I think the dining plan makes it easier on you to spend the extra money on nice meals than paying out of pocket when you are down there. It is hard for me, as someone with a modest budget, to spend over $100 on a meal. When we go out at home we usually spend between $25-$40 on a meal. But when I have the dining plan I eat whatever and wherever I like. I enjoy that freedom. We also end up doing a lot of character meals with the children that I probably wouldn’t want to pay $50-$60 for myself if I didn’t have the dining plan.

      Plus we usually get the dining plan for free. I have travelled to Disney World in 2007,2008,2011,2013 and coming up again this Sept. all with the Free dining plan.

      • Marlene Barron says:

        Hi Hilary:

        Have you already booked for September of 2014 with the free dining plan? My husband and I have visited in September of 2010, 1011, 2012 and 2013 with the free dining plan and are hoping that it will again be offered for 2014.

      • Don says:

        and you know for certain there is free Dining this Fall? Are you in the ‘know’ some how that none of the rest of us are?

      • Elle says:

        The free dining offer for Fall 2014 starts on May 7th!

  20. Nate says:

    How is Jiko not on this list? Aren’t almost all of their entrees in the $50 range?

  21. Mike says:

    GREAT LIST… I’ve tried a few of those you chose and have recommended to my friends. I will try a few of the other choices you picked on my next trip this year. Where does Garden Grill come in on your list?

  22. Lori says:

    We currently have reservations for our upcoming trip at what I think are pay one price–Chef Mickey’s, Boma, Ohanas, Liberty Tavern –how do these compare for dining plan?

  23. Johana DeBernardo says:

    we are staying at the cabins at Fw this september.
    We are on the dining plan. I was wondering where the best place to get a breakfast meal using a quick service credit? I do not want to use a table service credit for a breakfast, but i am looling for more than just cold cereal or pastries.

  24. Rick says:

    Sweet! We went 5 for 5 on our trip. Really enjoyed Kona, Sanaa was a great expierience but some of the seasonings can be different, and a great dinner at the Wave the last night. Spent 2 credits the last night to eat in the castle during Wishes with our 8 and 5 yr old children. May not have been the best bang for our buck, but an amazing expierence (actually the steak seemed “pre-fired”) Had left over snack credits and did some damage on the way out of Art of Animation picking the most expensive things we could find!

  25. Rich P says:

    One of the ways we maximized value on the counter services was to split an adult combo between two children. Both child and adult counter service credits are the same, but children are expected to order a child’s combo. By ordering an adult combo and splitting it between two children. We saved 1 credit at every counter meal. You need to pay cash for an extra beverage but the trade off is worth it.

  26. Emmanuel says:

    What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & help other users like its helped me. Great job.

  27. marie says:

    They changed the plan for 2014 A LOT and some of the restaurants are not longer part of the plan such as Tutto Italia or Wolfgang Puck Cafe so do you think the plan is still worth the money?

    • Hilary says:

      Both Tutto Italia and Wolfgang Puck Cafe are on the list of 2014 Dining Locations on the Disney website. Some of the restaurants that are not operated by Disney (these are many of the ones in Epcot and Downtown Disney) take longer to renew their contracts and get added to the list a little later than Disney owned restaurants.

  28. MrsM says:

    Maybe you did and I just didn’t see it, but I would love to see a post about maximizing value at table service restaurants without the dining plan. If I’m paying out of pocket and am on a budget but still want nice dining, where should I eat?

    After our last trip I know we are done with the DP. After we got home I priced what DH and I ate on our last trip and compared the out of pocket costs to the DP cost. We spent on average $10 more per person per day with the DP. We were eating food because we “needed” to and not because we were actually hungry.

  29. Hilary says:

    I think you should add the Hoop De Doo Revue to this list. The food is very good and you get a show while dining. It cost my family of four $250 to see the show but we can use two dining credits and see it as well.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      This list is purely based on the numbers, and in terms of numbers, Hoop De Doo Revue isn’t even close to making it. The dining shows are actually very poor uses of credits since they require two credits and don’t cost that much (relative to a 1-credit meal).

  30. tommy says:

    this list claims to have no 2 credit restaurants. but when i look… most of them are 2 ticket places.

  31. Michele says:

    I may have missed something but I noticed there are no character meals on here…is this because they are not worth it or because you just didn’t add them? We have 2 young children and plan to eat 4 character meals when we visit in October/November. I would love to hear your thoughts.

  32. wauden says:

    Is there a dining plan that only includes sit down meals be they lunch or dinner? I am not interested in fast food or snacks, so would the dining plan be a waste for me?

  33. Neil Yaremchuk says:

    We received complimentary Dining Plans with our stay at the Port Orleans Riverside back in December 2013. We opted to upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan for around $180 (3 days, family of 4; 2 adults and 2 kids.) No doubt the plans are expensive but we ate mostly at Table Serve restaurants versus Quick Serves. First, my kids have food allergies and the TS restaurants offer more whole foods and less processed foods. I refuse to feed my kids grilled cheese, hot dogs and nuggets for an entire week; they ate steak, grilled fish and chicken. Second, we don’t rush through our vacations so I don’t consider enjoying a seated meal a waste of our time. Third, we ate at restaurants that we would normally not have tried such as the California Grill. It was worth swapping our breakfast meal points and doubling down at dinner. Fourth, my wife and I are on vacation; it’s what we worked hard for to enjoy. Not having to prepare a meal puts us all on vacation.

    I admit, I normally don’t eat that many snacks and desserts. It is a lot of food. However, on the nights that we didn’t want desserts, we gifted those desserts to people at adjacent tables who may not have the DDP. We indulged, sure, but far from gluttony. We saved every receipt and compared to a budget (I agree on preplanning the vacation finances)on what we would have spent if we went as a cash customer. Our DDP allowed us to eat almost $300 over what we would have budgeted.

    You can eat a crappy prefab burger at Pecos Bill for $9 or use your meal point and enjoy a Wagyu burger instead if that even matters to you. It matters to us. No doubt Disney does not make eating an affordable experience but your guides definitely help.

  34. Betsy says:

    We will be visiting Disney in December 2014 and got the deluxe dining plan. We’d like to have nice breakfasts and dinners (sit down table service) and more on the go (quick service) lunches. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Our food experience is important to us :)

  35. Amy G says:

    I am suprised you don’t have the Hoop Dee Doo Revue on there! They serve the BEST fried chicken and strawberry shortcake with a foot stomping good time! 2 meal credits and totally worth it when seats are anywhere $65-$130 a piece. :-)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      From a purely objective perspective (this list is quantitative, not qualitative), Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue doesn’t make the list, as its per-credit “cost” is lower than the 10 restaurants listed here.

  36. Kim says:

    I want to do a dining plan and i’m traveling with one other person. We are planning to share our lunch and dinner (since they are kinda picky eaters and i know they won’t eat as much). Do they also have to get a DP? Or can I just get it?

  37. Sharon R says:

    Hi, knowing that this list is purely objective, and that your full dining reviews are obviously completely subjective, I am wondering: do you have a post that might rank dining locations in terms of both being good candidates for your dining plan AND are great places to eat?

  38. Diana says:

    My daughter (5) and I are taking out first Disney World vacation this Christmas December 23-2nd. We have the dinning plan. I am a foodie and she tends to eat like a bird and can be picky. I am torn between the DDP and paying out of pocket since we could probably share one entree and be fine. I have ADRs at 5/10 nights at signature restaurants. We skipped 2 nights reservations for TS to help even things out. Even with that we are still over 3 dining credits per person. While we do have the quick service i am thinking most of the time we will not get a true foodie experience… How do we mix value and pleasure in your opinion? I was also wondering if we could share some meals on the DDP to strech our credits out further for example at quick service lunch or breakfast?? Thanks for any tips.

  39. MrT says:

    Unless I missed it here and everywhere else I’ve looked, I can’t find any post on whether I can use my beverage credit for the French Press coffee at Kona cafe. Does anyone know if you can use the beverage credit for this?

  40. Sharon says:

    We always get the Dining plan when we go to Walt Disney World. There is something about not having to worry about paying for meals while we are on vacation that I love. I don’t always get the most expensive but I love the idea of not having to worry about having enough money to pay for our food. We have our favorites that we always go to including the Garden Grille and Teppan Edo in the Japan pavilion at Epcot but we are happy with our choices.

  41. I love the article, but there are many restaurants to choose from, and sometimes you would like to eat at the parks. It would be a great idea if you do similar reviews for each park dining options. If you have ranked the best 10 restaurants per park, it would be a great help for us.

    I hope you decide to do it.

    Thanks for taking the time to sharing this information with everybody.

    Best regards,

    Humberto Garcia

  42. Mario says:

    I will be going with my wife and our daughters to Disney this upcoming December. Already have reservations at Art of Animation. I have a Disney dining plan. I would like to eat at Cinderella’s Castle, Be our Guest and Chef Mickey. Any recommendations to maximize our Disney Dinning Plan. We will be there 8 days/7 nights.

  43. Hannah says:

    Amazing blog, thank you so much! I haven’t even booked yet and am obsessed! What I can’t work out though is whether for those restaurants requiring 2 credits, whether you can just use the one and pay the extra out of pocket? I’m guessing it’s both credits or all out of pocket but just wanted to check!


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