Snack prices at Walt Disney World vary considerably, and snack credits included in all of the 2013 Disney Dining Plans, even $2 differences in snack prices can add up over the course of an entire trip. Since snack prices are lower than Table Service meals and Counter Service meals, there’s generally less of a difference between high and low snack prices than there is between high and low priced meals, but it’s still worth paying attention to snack prices if you want to maximize your total value on the Disney Dining Plan. Here are our top ways to use your Snack Credits on the Disney Dining Plan.
Since there are exponentially more snacks available on Disney property than there are other items, some snacks aren’t always available, and their prices can fluctuate (most prices have increased incrementally on the 2013 Disney restaurant menus), it’s not feasible for us to give a dollar-to-dollar breakdown, so this is more of a general top 10 than our Table Service and Counter Service credit-value maximizing articles.
Changes to this list for 2013 are revisions of price ranges, the addition of a couple seasonal items that appeared during the Christmas 2012 season, and the addition of LeFou’s Brew. New Fantasyland opened in late 2012, and LeFou’s Brew, the specialty beverage somewhat akin to Butterbeer (not in taste) from Wizarding World of Harry Potter, made the list thanks to its $4.50 price. The Warm Cinnamon Roll available at Gaston’s Tavern (and at Main Street Bakery…at least until it becomes a Starbucks (and probably even after that)) did not make this list due to its price. However, it’s a borderline good value, and it’s worth noting that this is a cult favorite among Walt Disney World fans. We don’t care for the Cinnamon Roll, but we are definitely in the minority for that! The other signature item at Gaston’s Tavern is the pork shank (pictured above), and unfortunately, it is not a snack.
Items that qualify as snacks for the purposes of the Disney Dining Plan are denoted by a little purple and white “DDP” symbol on the restaurant menus across property. Some items that are considered snacks in some locations aren’t considered snacks elsewhere. Make sure to consult the menu before ordering any item you deem a “snack” as Disney may not agree!
1. Food & Wine Festival Kiosk Snack Portions -If you’re visiting during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival (late September through November, yearly), read no further than #1 on this list. During the Food & Wine Festival, you should be using ALL of your snack credits at the temporary kiosks set up during Food & Wine Festival. In past years, snacks priced all the way up to $7 have been considered snacks on the Dining Plan. At $7+, the lobster roll above is the absolute best way to use a snack credit at Walt Disney World, in terms of value. Check out our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Snack Reviews post for other good values and a listing of our favorite snacks. Normally, if a snack exceeds around $4.50, it is excluded from snack credit status, making those $6 and $7 snacks a great use of snack credits! Let’s just hope Disney doesn’t wise up to this wonderful use of snack credits anytime soon, and start excluding these foods from Snack Credit “status.”
2. Dole Whips, Dole Whip Floats, or Citrus Swirls – Ahhh, the legen (wait for it) DAIRY Dole Whip. We love the Dole Whip so much that we made a “Dole Whip Appreciation” page here on the blog. (The moment you make a blog page “appreciating” a Disney snack is a no-turning-back moment of geekdom.) Of course it was going to make an appearance on this list. While the Dole Whip itself isn’t a great use of a snack credit, the Dole Whip Float, priced just above $4, is a great use of a snack credit. Likewise, the Citrus Swirl, which returned in 2012 after a long absence, itself isn’t actually a great use of a snack credit, but it’s so delicious that it gets a shout-out here. If you want to maximize your value, definitely go for the Dole Whip Float. Kids, if you’re reading this, Dole Whips are a nutritious dining option any time of the day. Trust me, I’m a doctor. (Minor Note: juris doctor–not doctor of medicine.)
3. “Homemade” Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches – These are not the ice cream sandwiches that you can find at various ice cream carts every 10 feet in Walt Disney World (I really think there might be more of them than there are DVC kiosks!). These, for lack of a better term, are “homemade” right in front of you with freshly baked cookies and hand scooped ice cream at only a few locations in Walt Disney World, the most popular of which being the Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom. We are big fans of the Christmas and “Birthday Cake” (pictured above) varieties sometimes available at Sleepy Hollow and Electric Umbrella.
4. Zebra Domes - These bad boys can be elusive. Sometimes, you can find them on the Boma buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Sometimes, you can find them for sale at Mara. If you’re eating at Boma, get them there for “free.” If you’re not eating at Boma, use a snack credit to get them at Mara, where their almost-$4 price makes them a good use of snack credits. That is, assuming you can find this endangered species of snack!
5. Butterfinger Cupcakes - …Or any specialty cupcakes available at Starring Rolls in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Thanks to exposure on some big-name podcasts, this item has recently become exploded in popularity. Believe me, it lives up to the hype. It’s so rich and decadent that Sarah and I can barely finish it even when we split it, but it’s soooo good. And priced around $4, it’s an excellent use of a snack credit!
6. Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar – A plain ole ice cream bar that is merely shaped like a Mickey head? Minus the Mickey shape, you could find this anywhere, right? RIGHT?! Wrong. There’s something magic in the…err…milk(?) that they use to make these bad boys, and somehow, this readily available ice cream bar is really something special. Seriously, if you’ve never given it a chance, you owe it to yourself to try this iconic treat. This is one case where an item that is mass-produced and available everywhere really lives up to (and exceeds!) the hype.
7. Napolean Cake – Epcot has two stellar permanent snack locations in the World Showcase. One, the Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot France, is where you’ll find this delicious treat. There are about 10 items here that each exceed $3.45, which, in my mind, qualifies them as reasonably good values. A few items are priced at $4, making them excellent values (unless you’re visiting during Food & Wine Festival!).
8. LeFou’s Brew - This signature beverage of New Fantasyland has already proven quite divisive. Some people love its sweet apple taste, others find it to be an overload of glorified sugar water. We both happen to like it, but it definitely is sugary. Since this is the signature drink of New Fantasyland, you should at least give it a try (we recommend ordering one cup for your party to split to start, and then ordering more as necessary). For a snack credit, you can get a “normal” cup of LeFou’s Brew, but not the souvenir goblet. Don’t lose too much sleep over not getting the goblet, as the it is poorly made and might not even survive your trip home.
9. Key Lime Pie – If you can’t make it “all the way” to the World Showcase, make a stop at Sunshine Seasons in the Land pavilion, where there are a plethora of $3.50+ snacks, including the excellent Key Lime Pie. You really can’t go wrong with any dessert at Sunshine Seasons, but based upon our scientific studies, this is the best dessert offered, and a great use of a snack credit.
10. BabyCakes NYC – Okay, so this is a place rather than a specific snack. Sort of a cop-out, I know. Much like the Butterfinger Cupcake, BabyCakes NYC has set the Disney community ablaze in recent months. Unfortunately, since this explosion, Sarah and I have not had the chance to test BabyCakes’ gluten-free and vegan desserts (fear not, carnivores, as most good desserts (besides BBQ Ribs Ice Cream) don’t have meat in them, anyway). However, based upon the resoundingly positive word-of-mouth surrounding this place from trusted friends of ours, we’re willing to put BabyCakes on this list based on reputation alone. Obviously it also has several items on its menu that meet the “value maximization” requirement for inclusion on this list, too!
If this list doesn’t activate your sweet tooth, I don’t know what will. This just scratches the surface of value-maximizing snacks (and snacks in general) at Walt Disney World. Remember that while value is important, ordering snacks you enjoy is even more important (which is why you’ll often see us with the cheap School Bread from Norway instead of expensive snacks)!
Hopefully this list helps you get more bang for your buck on the Disney Dining Plan. Check out our Value-Maximizing tips for Counter Service restaurants and Value-Maximizing Tips for Table Service Restaurants to get even more value out of the Disney Dining Plan!
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What tips do you have for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan? If you have any tips to maximize your value on other Walt Disney World snacks, please share them in the comments!