Another Disney Dining Plan Must-Eat Restaurant!
A couple of months ago, we shared “Walt Disney World’s BEST Dining Plan Counter Service Restaurant.” In response to that, and really every list ranking WDW’s top quick service restaurants, readers keep bring up a certain dining spot as their favorite. Awkwardly, it’s one that we panned in our first (and only) review of it: Polite Pig.
We’ve found that Polite Pig has a rabid fanbase, and many readers have disagreed with our disappointment in the fast casual restaurant. It probably ranks right up there with our Tony’s Town Square Review and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Review as the “most disagreed with” that we’ve posted. Which is absolutely fine–tastes vary, preparation and quality can be inconsistent, etc–as a diversity of opinions and disagreements are encouraged here.
In fact, as we noted in our review, we were still cheering for Polite Pig to get it right. We even recommended those on the Disney Dining Plan to roll the dice and give it a chance, since it’s a good value from a strictly objective perspective. We were recently on the Disney Dining Plan and found ourselves at Disney Springs, so we decided to take our own advice…
Rather than rehashing details about the local husband and wife team that operate Polite Pig, the fast casual nature of the restaurant, or its “streamlined hipster with a pig motif” design sensibility, I’ll simply direct you to our full Polite Pig Review for basics about the restaurant. All of that info remains accurate.
Since our previous time reviewing Polite Pig, most of the menu and pricing likewise remains about the same. One thing we’ve noticed is the addition of new permanent items that are mostly priced at the lower end of the spectrum. Polite Pig has proven fairly popular with Walt Disney World guests, but its menu was definitely top heavy with more expensive options when it opened. Great news for anyone on the Disney Dining Plan–not so much for cash-paying Walt Disney World tourists or the local audience that Disney Spring often draws.
Since we were on the Disney Dining Plan, our mission was to simply order the most expensive items on the menu in order to maximize the value of our counter service credits.
This meant ordering the Baby Back Ribs, Cedar Plank Salmon, or Beef Short Rib–the three menu options all over $20 each.
Never one to resist the siren song of ribs, that’s what I ordered.
For the sake of a more ‘diverse’ meal, Sarah opted for the Cedar Plank Salmon.
Each item in the “From the Smoker” section of the menu is served with jalapeÃ±o cornbread, signature polite slaw, and a choice of one market side.
Although this section of the menu is the most expensive, it also includes the most. The market sides alone cost $6, and are not included with anything in the other menu sections. Once you add a market side to those items, you’re looking at comparable costs.
The Baby Back Ribs with the polite rub and layla’s sweet bbq sauce were pure redemption for Polite Pig after the disappointing brisket.
These had hearty amounts of tender meat practically falling off of each bone, with the restrained amounts of rub and sauce enhancing (rather than overpowering) the natural and spectacular flavors of the meat. The fat to meat ratio was perfect, as was everything else about this. I could eat these every day for the rest of my life (which would probably be cut short if I did!) and never get tired of them.
These instantly take the crown of ‘best ribs at Walt Disney World’ and are alone worth the trip to Polite Pig. I’m not sure they’re $5 better than what Flame Tree BBQ serves, but if you’re using the Monopoly money of Disney Dining Plan credits, these are the superior option. (Especially with that glorious Mac & Cheese as a side!)
The verdict on the Cedar Plank Salmon with maple-dijon glaze isn’t quite as glowingly positive.
As with the items we reviewed previously, this is something we really wanted to like. In fact, it could’ve been much better on a different day. The glaze was delicious and the cedar plank really enhanced the flavor of the fish, making this so close to greatness. Unfortunately, it was a bit overcooked and dry, and not even the superlative preparation could fully overcome that.
This puts us in an odd spot in terms of a recommendation. If this were properly cooked, we’d be singing its praises, ranking it above the salmon at Wolfgang Puck Express (which we loved). However, that wasn’t the case, and even if it were, this is a small counter service meal for $22. (Of course, if you’re paying with Disney Dining Plan credits, that price is irrelevant.)
On another positive note, both of our sides were fantastic. Sarah ordered the Tomato and Watermelon Salad with feta, basil, and pickled onions. She found it to be refreshing and exceptional, with fresh ingredients that worked really well together.
Going in the opposite direction, I opted for the Mac & Cheese with aged cheddar and breadcrumbs. It’s a simple, heavy, and decadent dish–perfectly executed comfort food. I have had this before and would order it again.
Ultimately, our reactions here more or less mirror those from our first visit, albeit with the Baby Back Ribs being a huge bright spot. It still seems that there are issues with quality control/consistency and portion sizes, especially given the high prices. (For about the same money, we could do larger meals at a handful of table service restaurants around Disney Springs.)
If paying out of pocket, we’ll continue to look elsewhere. While Polite Pig has some really good food, it’s tough to say these meals are worth over $20 each, especially with excellent and cheaper alternatives at Disney Springs and throughout Walt Disney World–or even on Polite Pig’s own menu.
With all of that said, we enjoyed our most recent meal at Polite Pig, enough that we’d absolutely return again in the future…if we’re on the Disney Dining Plan. For us, Wolfgang Puck Express still has it beat in terms of overall quality, but Polite Pig is a close #2 in terms of counter service credit uses. Even if Polite Pig does remain a bit of a gamble, the upside is too difficult to ignore–we’ll take the risk given the potential rewards!
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Have you dined at the Polite Pig? What did you think of your meal? Agree or disagree with our assessment? Even if you weren’t 100% satisfied with your meal, do you think Polite Pig is worth the gamble on the Disney Dining Plan? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!
You have to do what’s right for you and go where you want to go. If you had all your Fastpasses you can be done quickly. Some people enjoy shopping and trying new food, some people won’t leave the park. I am older and went out early and came back hung at the pool during the hottest part of the day, took a nap and was out for night. This worked great and I did everything I wanted to!
We have loved our 3 visits to the Polite pig. Add one of the amazing bourbon based cocktails and the DDP value is over the top…..I will also add that especially for a counter service spot, their service is a plus.
Is it quick dining plan for those meals at Polite Pig?
I tried some things there before and liked it. They have some interesting offers.
I tried Polite Pig last May and find I am in agreement with your review. Flame Tree in Animal Kingdom easily is a better choice. However, Flame Tree also takes an odd flavor note as if there was chili powder in the seasoning. (Just checked the recipe. There is). I may never be pleased with Disney BBQ living in the shadow of Memphis Tennessee. Best bet would be Hard Rock’s pork sandwich at Universal.
Disney Springs has too many excellent options for me to eat at an “ok” restaurant. $22 is only $6 less than my all-time favorite Disney Springs meal, the mole chicken at Frontera Cocina. I’ll skip the Polite Pig. Thanks for the review!
I ate at Polite Pig just a few days ago while at Disney Springs. It was my first visit. I was not impressed at all. The food was not all that good at all. I timed my visit to also get one of those famous Gideon chocolate chip cookies at 11am. The cookie was good, but definitely not amazing as some posts shout. Huge disappointment!!! The staff was also very rude in my opinion. I was waited on by a guy named Jose and his tag said he was a “trainer” and it looked like he was helping other staff with some questions. The place was not busy yet so nobody seemed overwhelmed with work. Jose was far from friendly. Overall, not a good first impression. Probably will not go back. On the way out a large family was deciding outside whether to eat at Polite Pig or Deluxe Burger. I suggested Deluxe Burger. Sorry Polite Pig … Jose caused you to lose my future business and you also lost that family’s business as well. If you wanna call yourself POLITE Pig, please at least have members of your management team to be polite.
Our family just dined there a few weeks ago and we had the same experience. Food was good, prices not so great, but the guy taking our order was rude and dismissive. I have no problem paying theIr prices but when the staff makes NO attempt to be nice to their clients it speaks volumes about a company. Obviously, I’m not the only one who this has happened to so needless to stay we won’t be going back.
We ate at polite pig a few weeks ago mainly because of the dining plan value.
It’s not as good as it used to be but it’s a really great deal for quick service; especially when you add the cocktails.
Deluxe burger doesn’t include the fries with the same credits anymore so it’s not as good a deal.
I went to the polite pig on my first day there. I was really hungry after the travel day, I am not on the food plan I don’t think for one it’s a good deal. I enjoyed the the brisket and the bbq sauce was great both kinds. I got a Caesar salad for a side it was very tangy . I would definitely go there again. My only deterrent was the food and wine festival, I went three nights in a row….so good!
Restaurant reviews really need to be in two separate categories. Mainly inside the parks and then a different one for those at Disney Springs or in resorts. Since only a fool would go to one of the latter on a park day, especially with the higher cost of park tickets, crowds, and reduced operating hours, there’s no reason to even compare the two groups.
If you’re a passholder, doing a park and Disney Springs in one day is pretty common. Even if you aren’t, plenty of people want to escape from the park crowds for awhile. You can pop over to a resort for lunch or avoid departing crowds at the end of the night by leaving a little early to get dinner. Not to mention many of the outside restaurants (especially at Disney Springs) are open much later than the parks, so you’re just extending your day and not missing any park time. There are also far fewer higher end dining experiences inside the parks, so if that’s what you’re looking for on vacation you’ll need to venture outside regularly.
Those are all the reasons I like to compare all my Disney dining options, not just ones in certain areas.
MAYBE if you’re a local passholder. There’s no way in hell that i’m going to waste three hours or more of park time to leave a park for lunch. Yeah, if say AK closes early I could see going to DS. But mostly that would be arrival or departure day when we aren’t going to a park. The only allure for DS for me coming in from out of state is under those circumstances. Sure, i know some people don’t know any better. Some even go back to a resort to use the pool and that’s equally crazy. With the reduced park hours these days and the longer waits, you have to maximize in-park time!
Almost forgot. I can go to a mall for shopping at home, so most of the newer stores at DS are a waste. The Lego store is cool, and Christmas store, and of course the Disney store but most aren’t anything special at all.