Top 10 Restaurants for Free Dining at Disney World

Free Dining has returned for 2024, which means it’s time to start making Advance Dining Reservations for popular Walt Disney World table service restaurants well in advance (hence the name). This post covers tips for making the best ADRs to get the most bang for your buck (so to speak) out of Free Dining.

It’s probably worth pointing out that this list can also be used for the regular, paid 2024 Disney Dining Plan (DDP). There’s no material difference between the two, save for one costing money and the other being “free” (air quotes since there’s the opportunity cost of a different discount). If anything, Walt Disney World vacation planners should have more of an incentive to squeeze the most value out of the DDP as possible when they’re paying for it out of pocket.

This list focuses on the Free Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World because it’s the most popular promotion of the year. Its popularity is predicated upon the tremendous value that it offers to guests, particularly those who plan well. To maximize your savings, you are going to need Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) well ahead of time, because you’re essentially “competing” with everyone else who also booked Free Dining for the best/most valuable restaurants.

For step one, make your ADRs as far in advance as possible. We cannot stress this enough: you will need ADRs if you’re visiting during Free Dining. This is because Walt Disney World veterans who book the promotion year in and year out make ADRs as early as possible, meaning that once your travel dates arrive, most of the best restaurants will already be fully booked.

Although ADRs have gotten easier to book in recent months, that will all change once Free Dining returns. Trust us, it always does. Even when Free Dining falls during a time of year when the parks aren’t particularly busy, demand for ADRs is high due to the promo. Accordingly, you’ll need to make reservations early or luck-out last minute.

Personally, there’s no way I’d roll the dice on Walk-up Waitlist if doing the Disney Dining Plan, regardless of whether I paid for it or it was “free.” To that point, see our Guide to Advance Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World for tips & tricks to score elusive ADRs, info about the 60+10 rule, and everything else you need to know.

You should at least make reservations for the restaurants you really want, and that are good choices from a value perspective during the Free Dining promo. Not sure which restaurants you really want that are good values?

Here’s our list, based on a slew of factors including value-for-credits, cuisine quality, theme, demand, and “other” (in one case)…

We want to start by noting that the former #1 and #2 restaurants on this list, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at EPCOT (lunch and dinner only) and Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, have been removed for 2024. You might still find these recommendations elsewhere on other sites (or even on other posts here that I’ve yet to update), but that information is outdated.

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 restaurants are never as good of a value due as 1-credit ones, 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.)

San Angel Inn

The #5 restaurant on our Best Themed Restaurants at Walt Disney World list, we consider San Angel Inn to be Walt Disney World’s Blue Bayou, with an experience here is every bit as good. I can’t say that we were overwhelmed by our last meal here as fans of Mexican cuisine, but the food skewing towards the Tex-Mex might be a good thing if you’re not used to authentic Mexican food.

We think San Angel Inn has improved in recent years, and the overall experience is excellent. If this doesn’t appeal to you, just about any of the 1-credit table service restaurants in World Showcase offer about the same level of value.

Whispering Canyon Cafe

I’m intentionally trying to limit the number of restaurants on this list outside the parks (surprisingly not that difficult given the best options at resorts are Signature Restaurants that require 2 credits, and are typically poor value as a result), but there are a couple that are worth diverting park time to try.

Whispering Canyon Cafe is an easy pick thanks to its rambunctious and fun atmosphere, plus the skillets (including a plant-based one for the vegetarians/vegans out there). Read our full Whispering Canyon Cafe Review for other menu highlights and more!

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood

Located in Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs, this restaurant is even more difficult to access from the parks. But those who put in the effort will be rewarded with one of the absolute best restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. Even Michelin agrees, eschewing pricier and fancier options to recognize Toledo. Subjectively, there are few picks that are as good as Toledo.

Toledo also performs well from an objective perspective. When it comes to the Disney Dining Plan, it should be no surprise that a restaurant with both steak and seafood–the two most expensive types of entrees on any Walt Disney World restaurant menus–right in its name makes this list.

Not only is Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood 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.

Via Napoli


This can be a brilliant use of a credit or a terrible one depending upon how you play it, and it’s on this list to break that down, more than anything else. If you’re wanting pizza (as you should!) skip it. If you want one of the more expensive entrees and desserts, it’s one of the best values on the Disney Dining Plan. If you use a credit on an individual pizza and lower-priced dessert, it’s not so good.

The larger pizzas require multiple credits (2 for Large, 4 for Metro), so don’t think you can beat the system here. It’s a great restaurant no matter how you slice it, but that pizza is tough to resist. If the traditional entrees don’t sound as appealing, we recommend Teppan Edo or Biergarten, instead. Totally different cuisine, but comparable value and quality.

Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine

Minnie’s Seasonal Dine is the easy pick in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That might come as a surprise to some of you who experienced Hollywood & Vine during the “dark years” when this was one of the worst buffets at Walt Disney World. Now, the food is better than expected, and the character interactions are fantastic. We are especially big fans of Minnie’s Holiday Dine, as well as Minnie’s Halloween Dine.

Other sure-fire alternatives in Disney’s Hollywood Studios are Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (the ambiance there is unparalleled), but it’s only a strong value if you get the steak, and 50’s Prime Time Cafe. We are big fans of both of those restaurants.

Tusker House

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With Tiffins being a Signature Restaurant, it cannot be recommended on the Disney Dining Plan (even though Tiffins is amazing!). In terms of value maximization, there aren’t really any table service restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom fit the bill. The excellent Yak & Yeti is also relatively moderate on the menu front.

Still, this list isn’t all about value maximization, so we’re going to go with Tusker House here (Yak & Yeti would be a fine alternative). It’s not the greatest for character encounters, but the best food of any character dining location (and right up there with Boma as the best buffet at Walt Disney World) and incredible ambiance more than make up for that.

Coral Reef


So there are three Epcot restaurants on this list, and none of them are Tutto Italia, objectively one of the top restaurants on our Best Values on the Disney Dining Plan list. What gives? Well, that list is objective, and this also takes subjective factors into consideration.

Subjectively, we aren’t huge fans of Tutto Italia, and think maximizing value without consideration is pointless without taking quality into account. At Coral Reef, you get excellent value for your money and incredible ambiance.

‘Ohana (Dinner)

‘Ohana has great food, nice ambiance, and just this certain energy about it. I have difficulty articulating what makes ‘Ohana special, but it is, and I view it as a quintessential Walt Disney World experience. I can’t be the only one who feels that way, as ‘Ohana is one of the most difficult ADRs to score.

Cape May Cafe is potential alternative here in that it’s somewhat similar in nature to ‘Ohana at dinner (albeit not menu) and an objectively better value on the Disney Dining Plan. However, we prefer the experience at ‘Ohana.

Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends

The newest character meal at Walt Disney World is Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera. This is located on the rooftop at Disney’s Riviera Resort, the new DVC property connected to several other resorts as well as Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via Skyliner. (Point being, it’s easily accessible for many guests who aren’t staying here without jumping through a ton of inconvenient hoops.)

Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino’s Terrace is Sarah’s favorite character breakfast at Walt Disney World, and this is another one that made the list at her insistence. Objectively, the bang for buck here is not tremendous. However, it’s subjectively an excellent pick–arguably the best character meal at Walt Disney World.

(Note: Walt Disney World mistakenly updated its website to indicate that breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace would require 2-credits on the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. That has since been corrected back to 1-credit.)

Crystal Palace (Dinner)

This one is all Sarah. I’m slightly more cynical about Crystal Palace at dinner, although I must admit that we haven’t done the version with characters since pre-closure, so it’s been a few years. We’ll definitely be remedying that soon, though, and taking advantage of its exceptional value for money on the Disney Dining Plan.

I don’t want this list to be all character meals–and it very well could–so here are some others that are worthy of consideration from a balanced (objective meets subjective) perspective:

  • Garden Grill (lunch and dinner)
  • Chef Mickey’s (breakfast)
  • Cape May Cafe (breakfast)

Objectively speaking, Chef Mickey’s at dinner is the best value character meal on the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. However, we aren’t huge fans of the food–we prefer the breakfast buffet, even if it is cheaper. Your mileage may vary, so that’s something to consider.

Honorable Mention: 1900 Park Fare

Walt Disney World has announced that 1900 Park Fare will reopen on April 10, 2024, albeit with major changes to the character lineup. This was previously one of the best uses of a table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, and that should continue to be the case when it reopens.

Disney has informally indicated that it’ll continue to be a 1-credit meal. However, they’ve also removed reference to the Disney Dining Plan on the official website and no pricing info is available. There’s also the question of quality–both of the cuisine and experience. All of those unknowns make 1900 Park Fare only an honorable mention for now. We’ll have updates when more is known, plus a full review in April 2024.

DISHONORABLE MENTION: Be Our Guest Restaurant (Dinner)

This used to be the toughest ADR to score for Free Dining and in general. However, Be Our Guest Restaurant has changed its menu and became a 2-credit Signature Restaurant. You can read about this in our Be Our Guest Restaurant Prix Fixe Dinner Review.

It’s now a poor value on the Disney Dining Plan, and should be avoided by value-seekers. The only reason we’re mentioning it is as a ‘heads up’ for those who didn’t hear the news or read outdated advice. Be Our Guest Restaurant used to be the second-best use of a Disney Dining Plan credit. Now, it’s not even in the top 30.

If you’re looking for something in Magic Kingdom, another good alternative is Skipper Canteen, which is a lot less popular, but almost as good. It just misses this list on its own merit because of that lower popularity and due to lower price points.

Obviously, there is a lot of “your mileage may vary” to this list. This list tries to balance value (even though you’re not paying for the Disney Dining Plan, you still want to squeeze as much value out of your credits as possible–otherwise why not just eat cheaply and go for a resort discount?), food-quality, and theme. In so doing, it features a lot of restaurants that wouldn’t make an objectively “best value” list (and skips ones that would). Hopefully, that makes it a good resource as you plan ADRs for Free Dining!

Planning other aspects of a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

Do you agree with our list of the top ADRs for Free Dining at Walt Disney World? Do you have any favorites that didn’t make our list? Any other spots you’re considering? Do you agree or disagree with our selections? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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