This list ranks the best table service restaurants at Walt Disney World for maximizing the value of your credits on the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. Even if you’re visiting during Free Dining, you want to get as much bang for your buck as possible and this covers the top uses of the most valuable credits. (Updated June 4, 2023.)
In a nutshell, the Walt Disney World table service restaurants that offer the best ‘value maximization’ of Disney Dining Plan credits are the ones serving the most expensive meals. The pricier the menus, the greater savings on the DDP. That also means that this list is a terrible resource if you’re paying out of pocket. It’s basically the exact opposite of our regular list of the Top 10 Best Value Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World.
Essentially, this list is an objective resource ranking the best 1-credit table service restaurants at Walt Disney World. 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 entries on this list are calculated 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.
Alcoholic beverages are included on the 2024 Disney Dining Plan, which was a change made several years ago. This has had a minor impact on the rankings, albeit to a lesser degree than our Best Counter Service Values on the Disney Dining Plan. One thing to keep in mind is that there are a handful of Magic Kingdom restaurants that do not serve alcohol, so if you’re chasing the best value, those few restaurants should be avoided.
As a general principle, there are a few guidelines about what you should and should not eat to maximize your table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan. Three easy rules of thumb are that character dining, steaks, and seafood will work out in your favor. At the other end of the spectrum, vegetarian or plant-based dishes are a poor use of credits.
You should also avoid Signature Restaurants if you want the best value. This means you’ll want to skip Citricos, Narcoossee’s, Tiffins, Brown Derby, Be Our Guest Restaurant, and every other 2-credit Signature Restaurant. This includes Cinderella’s Royal Table, the flagship princess meal at Magic Kingdom.
Sadly, it also means skipping Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at EPCOT and Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White. Previously, both of these restaurants were in our top 5 on this list–and you still might find them on other, outdated resources. Unfortunately, these have been elevated to 2-credit status for the 2024 Disney Dining Plan and are no longer a great–or even good–value as a result.
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 $100 per person, it is still not a better value than a 1-credit restaurant with a total cost of $60 per person. (It’s simple math: $60 x 2 = $120 > $100.)
Finally, we want to stress that these rankings are very tenuous for 2024. In response to reader requests for recommendations, this list has been updated for the first time in over 3 years and is accurate as of June 2023. Of course, there’s still roughly half a year before the 2024 Disney Dining Plan is available and can be used, and a lot can change between now and then.
Specifically, we want to draw your attention to the World Showcase restaurants on this list (all of them), as well as Disney Springs restaurants. A few of these make the cut due to 1-2 expensive menu items. If past precedent is any indication, it’s possible–if not probable–that some of these will be removed or excluded from the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. If that happens, these rankings could change.
On the other hand, all of the character meals, buffets, and prix fixe restaurants that make the list now almost assuredly will make the final cut for best use of table service credits on the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. For how the rest of the list changes, check back on January 9, 2024 for our next update!
N/A. 1900 Park Fare (Temporarily Unavailable) – The restaurant with character(s) at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and like the hotel itself, this is arguably the flagship character dining experience in all of Walt Disney World. While earlier meals are more eclectic in the characters featured, dinner is a Cinderella-bration. The meal is called the “Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner,” and every characters that appears is from that animated classic.
Thanks to seasonal pricing, 1900 Park Fare is (potentially) one of the best values on the Disney Dining Plan. Beyond that, it’s also among the best character meals at Walt Disney World in terms of cuisine. There’s something for everyone, from crowd-pleasing fare for kids to dishes with an international flair for adults. If your kids are into Cinderella but you want slightly more inspired cuisine, this is a great option.
As noted above, 1900 Park Fare is temporarily unavailable as it has still not reopened following the closure. However, the main building and lobby of Grand Floridian are slated to be reimagined in Summer and Fall 2023, and our expectation is that 1900 Park Fare will reopen by Christmas 2023. If so, it’ll participate in the 2024 Disney Dining Plan, and almost certainly make the top 10. If not, we’ll remove it from the list.
10. Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Is there any surprise that a restaurant with both steak and seafood–the two most expensive types of entrees on any Walt Disney World restaurant menus–makes this list? If anything, the big surprise should be that Toledo doesn’t rank higher.
For those unfamiliar with it, Toledo is the rooftop restaurant that opened last year at the new Gran Destino Tower. Not only is it a great use of Disney Dining Plan credits in terms of bang for buck, it’s a great restaurant, period. We love this restaurant, and highly recommend one of Toledo’s several spectacular steaks.
9. Via Napoli – This is a tricky one. Via Napoli has built a sterling reputation on its glorious pizza pies, but if you order one of these, the value is below-average on the Disney Dining Plan. Instead, you have to look to the traditional Italian menu choices, and choose one of the $40+ options.
8. Chefs De France – Chefs de France has several expensive entrees, but the most expensive 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).
7. Tutto Italia – Another World Showcase option in the Italy pavilion, Tutto Italia may or may not make the list for the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. The menu here changes a lot, and we strongly suspect that has been dictated by the DDP in the past (especially Free Dining). It seems like when that is being offered, a few of the $40+ items are not on the menu.
If the Manzo Brasato, Bistecca, or swordfish are on the menu, this is a very high ranking restaurant thanks to those and excellent Italian decadent desserts and overpriced alcohol. If those items are not on the menu, Tutto Italia might fall right off the list, depending upon what is on the menu.
6. Garden Grill (Lunch or Dinner) – Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast hasn’t changed much in the last few years, but despite that, it has inched its way up this list thanks to price increases.
The food here doesn’t quite compete with newer character meals at Walt Disney World, but the all-you-can-eat fare is both approachable and crowd-pleasing, and we prefer Garden Grill to Chef Mickey’s, both of which rank higher here.
5. ‘Ohana (Dinner) – We think ‘Ohana is one of the most overrated restaurants at Walt Disney World. We also think it’s a must-do for first-timers. That might seem difficult to reconcile, but ‘Ohana is a Walt Disney World institution for good reason. That reason is not the food. It’s also not the prices. (Although the food does taste a lot better if you’re not directly paying for it out of pocket!)
Rather, because dinner at ‘Ohana is the foundation for a “core memory,” to borrow a line from Inside Out. Longtime fans keep coming back to ‘Ohana because it’s an emotional experience evoking all sorts of nostalgia and fond memories. There’s also something to be said for the actual atmosphere, with the fireworks, views of Cinderella Castle, and Electrical Water Pageant. Then there’s the communal energy and vibe that yes, in fact, ‘Ohana does mean family, in the immortal wisdom of Lilo & Stitch. For all of these reasons, we recommend ‘Ohana to those on the Disney Dining Plan.
4. Chef Mickey’s (Dinner) – One of our absolute least favorite meals at Walt Disney World, Chef Mickey’s makes the list because it’s an objective one, not because we want to see it here. The food is undeniably awful–if it can even be called food. Beyond that, the ambiance is loud and the decor is dated.
However, wonderful character interactions here will likely redeem Chef Mickey’s in the eyes of many families, and if your kids are picky eaters, they might just like the food. Chef Mickey’s utilizes seasonal pricing, and during busier times of year, it’s one of the absolute best uses of a Disney Dining Plan credit if you’re going for value.
3. San Angel Inn Restaurante – This is one of two table service restaurants at the Mexico pavilion in World Showcase at EPCOT. San Angel Inn Restaurante is the one inside the pavilion, overlooking the Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride. Basically, it’s the Walt Disney World equivalent of the iconic Blue Bayou Restaurant Blue Bayou (for those unfamiliar, Blue Bayou overlooks Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean).
Despite this, San Angel Inn has a poor reputation among many Walt Disney World fans, criticized for its bland and basic cuisine. We think that’s excessively harsh–but have to admit that the ambiance has always been exceptional and the food has been far less than exceptional. In any case, you really can’t go wrong with the Carne Asada at San Angel, which is a Mexican twist on the New York Strip. So long as you order that–and only that–it’s a great use of Disney Dining Plan credits. (It’s also a surprisingly delicious steak!)
2. Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine (Fantasmic Dinner Package) – This is one I’m hesitant to include because the Fantasmic dining package isn’t something some people want (without the package, this wouldn’t be on the top half of the list), but it does provide value–and we highly recommend the reimagined Fantasmic.
1. Teppan Edo – This is the teppanyaki-style steakhouse in the Japan pavilion of World Showcase at EPCOT. Teppan Edo is located on the second floor of the the Mitsukoshi Department Store adjacent to Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya (formerly Tokyo Dining).
Teppan Edo has been one of the best objective values on the Disney Dining Plan for years, but it appears poised to claim the #1 spot due to massive menu price increases, in particular on the Hotate (ocean water scallops) and, to a lesser extent, the various steaks. Another change that has helped push Teppan Edo over the top is the addition of the pricey Yuzu Mousse Cake; previously, the dessert menu only had inexpensive options.
Of course, entrees are the star of the show at Teppan Edo. The various steaks, combos, and the Hotate have all been menu staples for at least the last decade. Accordingly, we doubt those will be removed, but the portion sizes could decrease or certain items could be excluded from the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. Regardless, Teppan Edo is a strong pick that lands a spot in the top 10 even without the Hotate!
So there you have it–the top Table Service restaurants on the Disney Dining Plan if you’re looking to maximize the value of your credits. As you can see from the many caveats on this list, we aren’t big fans of some spots on this list. Objective cost and subjective value definitely aren’t the same. We happen to care more about the latter, but if the former is more important, that’s your call!
Finally, it’s worth noting that the difference between a “great” value restaurant and an “only okay” one can come down to (literally) a couple of menu items. All it takes is one high-priced steak or seafood dish; if you won’t order those, a great restaurant can fall to the good or middle tier.
Moreover, restaurants that have expensive cocktails or glasses of wine also perform better than spots with basic beers or standard alcoholic drinks. After that, the price of desserts is the biggest factor here (ranging from high prices of $7 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 Advance Dining Reservations. 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!
What tips do you have for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan? Any favorite restaurants or menu recommendations for making the most of the Disney Dining Plan? Do you make a point of maximizing your value even when taking advantage of the Free Dining promotion? If you have any tips to maximize your value at other Table Service restaurants or any questions about the Disney Dining Plan, please share them in the comments!