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Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Table-Service Values for 2012

Now that you’ve booked your 2012 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations. Which restaurants are credit-worthy?

The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a meal plan with a set price in exchange for a certain number of credits. Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit, but are you getting the best value?

Stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to my top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants. I think some of them will surprise you!

Criteria Used

When we looked at values, our main criteria was price. These restaurants offer a great bang for your buck when paying with the Disney Dining Plan.

We also looked at enjoyment level and food quality, but these criteria were secondary and tertiary to cost. Note that these aren’t necessarily our favorite restaurants, but they are good values for one Disney Dining Plan credit.

Tutto Italia

Tucked into the Italian pavilion at Epcot, Tutto Italia Ristorante boasts regional cuisines from Italy in an Old World setting. Table service is attentive, although the fine-dining atmosphere can lead to longer waits.

This restaurant serves up a Roasted Rack and Leg of Lamb ($34) as an entree. End your meal with Copetta Sotto Boscue, a dessert specialty comprised of berries, zabaglione cream, gelato, and chocolate sauce, which has an out-of-pocket price of $14. When both of these items are ordered, Tutto Italia becomes quite possibly your best one-credit table-service value in Walt Disney World.

There’s also a Veal Roast which would run you $31 out-of-pocket but… perfectly worth one dining credit!

Veal

Tutto Italia is closed for refurbishment until the end of April, 2012. When it re-opens, guests will find new carpet, lighting, furniture, and decor. Plus, there will be the new Gusto Wine Bar for your sipping pleasure!

Kouzzina by Cat Cora

Kouzzina, a Boardwalk Resort, specializes in Mediterranean-style cuisine by Celebrity Chef, Cat Cora. The lobby shelves are even filled with her family photos! Your table-service credit goes far here when you order the Wood-Grilled Steak with its $34 price tag. And the extremely welcoming staff makes the value even better!

Flank steak and crushed garlic potatoes

Flank steak and crushed garlic potatoes

For dessert, we’re recommending the Baklava — a walnut and cinnamon pastry accompanied by pistachio gelato ($9.49).

San Angel Inn Restaurante

Underneath twilight lighting inside the pyramid of Epcot’s Mexico pavilion, San Angel Inn provides a fun place to dine for a romantic meal or a family dinner.

Sample the cuisine by ordering the Traditional Mexican Dinner ($34), then savor a delicious dessert priced $7-8.

Newly Updated San Angel Inn in Epcot

After your meal, try on a sombrero at the indoor village!
Photo Source: Scott Sanders

Les Chefs de France

Attentive service and delicious French cuisine can be found in a cozy corner of Epcot’s France pavilion at Les Chefs de France. We love the window tables for a true Parisian experience.

And if you time your visit just right, you’ll be entertained by the adorable Chef Remy.

On recent visits, the entrees have been consistently delectable and the desserts absolutely divine!

Profiteroles

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with an oven-fresh baguette! Price-wise, dinner entrees run between $26-$35, and desserts all run over $7 each. You’ll get the best trade-in value with your dining plan credit when ordering the Grilled Tenderloin of Beef ($35).

Rainforest Cafe

The eats at this restaurant can really stretch your vacation budget. If you have kids that are begging to dine with the audio-animatronic animals, Rainforest Cafe is a great choice for your table-service dining credit.

Seafood lovers and landlubbers will find plenty of entree choices! Out-of-pockets guests will pay about $38 for the Primal Steak with Coconut Shrimp making this a great value for your table-service credit! With two locations (Downtown Disney Marketplace and Animal Kingdom), it’s easy to work this restaurant into your itinerary.

For dessert, try the Tribal Cheesecake (an $8 value)!

Honorable Mentions

You’ll get a pricey entree and wonderful dessert for $40-41 when paying cash at these honorable mention restaurants at Walt Disney World:

Dining at the dinner buffets at Cape May Cafe, 1900 Park Fare, Chef Mickey’s, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall are a great use of your table-service credits.

Sit-down meals at Whispering Canyon Cafe, Coral Reef, and Le Cellier (lunch only) should also be on your radar when seeking out the best values for your Disney Dining Plan credits.

What Do You Think?

What would your picks be for getting the most out of your DDP one-credit meals? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments section below! You can see our 2011 picks here!

*For purposes of comparison, the standard dining plan will cost adults $51.54 per night per adult (ages 10 and up) and $15.02 per night per child (3-9) during value and regular seasons. The same plan will cost adults $53.54 per night, and kids $16.02 per night during peak season.

For more of our favorites, check out our Best Disney World Restaurants series! For more Disney Dining Plan details, check out our Disney Dining Plan Pages.

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36 Comments

  1. Jenny says:

    I haven’t eaten at any of these places (with the exception of rainforest cafe but i haven’t eaten there in disney either)

  2. Jenny says:

    but they all look like great deals, especially tuttio italia!

  3. Kelly says:

    Rainforest Cafe didn’t used to be on the dining plan. When did that change? I don’t suppose the T-Rex Cafe is on the dining plan now too, is it? Since it’s owned by the same company that owns Rainforest Cafe.

  4. NotChris says:

    Some of the dinner buffets might be in this range too. Allears lists the price of Akershus at $44, that might include the peak surcharge.

    Kelly: T-Rex is a 1 credit in 2012. Everything except for the Swan Dolphin restaurants seems to be on the plan now.

  5. Michael says:

    @Jenny T-Rex Cafe is included. They added a bunch of previously not included restaurants as of 2012 including Fultons Crab House, Wolfgang Puck Dining Room, Bistro de Paris, Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex Cafe, Bongos Cuban Cafe,Crossroads at House of Blues, Portobello Yacht Club and Paradiso 37, not mention a hand full of quick service places.

  6. Jason says:

    My wife and I have eaten at all of these multiple times. I have never looked into the dining plan, and I am shocked that some of these are only one credit (that explains why we always could get last minute seating and now we can’t). Anyway, the only one that I would not go out of my way for is Rainforest. My son turns 4 next week and, although we have taken him in the lobby, we have always been able to avoid eating there by telling him, in our opinions, that the food is not very good and it is really expensive. Akershus, Whispering Canyon, Coral Reef, or Le C! are all much better choices. Once again, I don’t know anything about the dining plan, but with this list I would imagine that Restaurant Marrakesh is one credit as well and should be on everyone’s ‘to-eat’ list also if you are around EPCOT.

  7. Teri Dalco says:

    is Teppan Edo on there now too?

  8. Kristina says:

    I have to say without a doubt one of my most memorable meals was at Norway…..with the princesses.

    Yes, I am childless 30 year old…..but I had a great time meeting the princesses (and asking them questions about how their prince is doing).

    Now onto the more important part, the food.

    This was (IMO) a great value b/c you get a complete meal….and it isnt a buffet (except for the appetizer). The fishes were tasty, my particular favorite was the peppery salmon. And being a NY Metro gal, I love a good lox with capers/onions/egg. was EXCELLENT! The other salady stuff was delish, from the pickled beets to this tortellini salad. Everything was good.

    My fish dish was delightful…my parents enjoyed their meatball and salmon dishes. And the desserts were just fantastic. Marscapone cheese & fruit pasty (yes, it was warm when it came out). That rice pudding (whatever they call it) was awesome….and a chocolate mousse. Mmmmmmm

    The only ‘complaint’ was that the food came out too quickly. Other then that, complimentary photos that are added onto our photopass…it was a good deal. Which isnt included in the price if paying out of pocket.

    The per person price isnt what you would end up paying for out of pocket. Because our fancy Voss water would have been extra, and we got an extra set of photos. We saved just about $400 for the six of us on that dinner.

  9. John says:

    Being a bit of a food fanatic, I really loved Disney back in the early 2000s. The restaurants were individual, authentic and really delivered great meals. They had their own character, often driven by the chefs, and it promoted a creativity and a level of service that was truly special. IMHO, the dining plan has just about ruined all of that, and Disney as a “foodie” destination. The menus have steadily become more limited and homogenized around the parks, and the meals are clearly more tailored towards the tastes of the masses. They now approach dining with more of an industrial cafeteria style approach, focused on getting you in and out as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, out of pocket dining costs have skyrocketed. Personally, I think this is a direct result of Disney’s push to promote use of the dining plan, and correspondingly to promote vacation packages at onsite resorts by often including a dining plan in pricing. Maybe it works for some people, but I personally think what they offer now is a shadow of what they were doing 10 years ago, and as I really like to enjoy nice meals with my (large) family on vacation, we find ourselves going to Disney less and less often as a result. Luckily, the Orlando area has some fantastic non-Disney dining options that can be enjoyed for a fraction of some of these “signature” destinations.

  10. chantel says:

    now that Portobello is on the plan, it’s definitely one of your best 1ts choices…@Jason, Le Cellier is now signature dining, and is 2 ts credits…and not worth 2.
    Tutto is definitely the biggest value for a TS, and Kouzzina is excellent –for breakfast as well!

  11. Mark D. says:

    Forget the value, you need to go to Kouzzina because the food is fantastic there. It is currently the only must-do for us on every trip because the whole family loves it.

  12. John says:

    Mark D – couldn’t agree more. Kouzzina has been given some pretty unkind reviews on some of the more popular Disney boards, so when we all went there last summer, I was not expecting much. As it turns out, it was one of our favorite meals of the trip. Generous, well prepared, authentic food, a great atmosphere and (always a hit with me) some terrific a fairly priced wine flights. Absolutely loved it. We went back there for Breakfast when we went to Food & Wine last October, and that was excellent too. All I can assume is that whoever is leaving those reviews is wholly unfamiliar with authentic Mediterranean cuisine and just doesn’t like the style.

    We’re going back for another big family trip this summer (before our annual passes run out), and we’ve got another big meal here circled in red on the calendar.

  13. Laurie S. says:

    OHana is also a great value on the dining plan. With taxes and tip, the meal runs close to $40 per person out of pocket, which is just slightly less than the dining plan cost per day. The food is delicious, and PLENTIFUL!!

  14. Sherri Erwin says:

    Love Kouzzina and Chefs de France. I would add Grand Floridian Cafe and remove Rainforest Cafe (quality issues). Sanaa is an honorable mention, for me.

    Also, if you take the DDP and just try to milk it for all it’s worth, you might be disappointed overall. If it fits with your dining style, do it. But if you take it just to see how much you can get out of it, you would be better off without the plan and eating your way.

  15. Sherri Erwin says:

    Oh, and if Kouzzina isn’t your thing, maybe consider Raglan Road? Another good honorable mention.

  16. Sarah Orr says:

    Loved Kouzinna a couple of weeks ago! I had the pork Oak fired pork tenderloin and it was amazing. One of the best meals I’ve ever had at WDW.

  17. Heather says:

    LOVE Le Cellier and I think using table service for lunch is a great way to take midday break and maybe not have to rush to an evening show that night. Kouzinna is on my list–I haven’t had great experiences at celebrity chef restaurants but this one sounds like a winner! I also think Raglan Road and 50s Primetime Cafe are worthy of a mention. Great food for the money.

  18. canadianslovewdw says:

    one thing i would say is instead of only going for the most expensive. we like to try things we normally wouldnt pay for…

  19. JoAnn says:

    Les Chefs de France, 1900 Park Fair, Cape May Cafe and Whispering Canyon are on my list for this year.

  20. heidi says:

    Fultons Crab House, Wolfgang Puck Dining Room, and Bistro de Paris are 2 credits. Le Cellier is 2 credits at dinner only.

  21. MrsHolland says:

    Teppan Edo for sure! It was an amazing meal, with a little show included. After filling up on all the meat, veggies, noodles, and amazing desserts, I suddenly felt like I couldn’t even attempt to go down the steep stairs, and would much rather have been rolled back to ground level. It’s a must-do on the Holland Family list for each trip.

  22. Galloping Gourmand says:

    A one credit value, to me, must be near signature meal in quality. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the park. It must be unique in it’s offerings and try to do something special. For that reason I’m seconding Kouzzina which wins on all accounts for me.

    First, it’s unique in WDW. When you go to Kouzzina you are getting a cuisine, greek, that you cannot find at any other WDW establishment. Many places offer steak, none offer it cooked and served with Satlsa. You can get fish at other places, but not whole fish. Every place offers chicken, but not cinnamon chicken. And to my mind other than feta you can’t get the cheeses they offer there as well. Kasseri Cheese? This is the only place.

    Next, it’s Disney trying to do something they have never really done: they brought in a celebrity chef and let her post the restaurant among her flagships. The only other “celebrity” chef is Wolfgang Puck, and to be honest his place in Downtown Disney feels like it’s one among many. Kouzzina definitely isn’t. Her website lists it first among all of her other places, so you know that her fingerprints are active and all over it if she’s funneling her fans there.

    Finally, though it’s different and therefore not for everyone, it’s just plain good food. Period.

  23. I do love the San Angel Inn

  24. Alan says:

    Kim, you’re spot on with your picks. Tutto Italia is a great bargain. I hope the rehab doesn’t bring a menu change. It is nice that the Rainforest is now on the dining plan.

  25. Manda says:

    Our family will never do WDW without the dining plan again! With proper planning you can make it worth the money and if you can score a free dining plan during your stay, there is no question. Great suggestions! My husband & father are still trying to figure out the recipe for the pork chop at Tutto Italia :)

  26. Danica says:

    Did I just read the new dining plan brochure for 2013 correctly? It now lists LeCellier for lunch as 2 table service credits! Anyone know if this is true?

  27. AJ says:

    Danica — Looks like it based on the brochure! I haven’t heard anything official about it yet besides that. We’ll have an update tomorrow with our 2013 Dining Plan overview post.

  28. Kim says:

    Danica – unfortunately, I’m reading Le Cellier as two credits for LUNCH and dinner. :-(

  29. Ellie says:

    Help, I am going in Feb of 2013 and it looks like tons of resturants have now been removed from the dining plan. I was really looking foward to going to downtown disney but now it looks like we are limited to where we can eat at. We already purchased the delux dining plan…Also not sure if the snack point values on items are changing as well?!?

  30. AJ says:

    Ellie — Many of the non-Disney-owned restaurants will not confirm with Disney until the end of December. Most of them, if not all, will still be on the dining plan next year. Not to worry — this happens every year.

  31. Jen says:

    Our best meal, best service, was at Teppan Edo. We were celebrating my son’s birthday and the chef was just amazing. The food was wonderful. Definately want to go back.

  32. Jennie says:

    If you are a family of 4 on the Dining Plan, who want to eat at Rainforest Cafe, is it possible to order just 2 meals to share and only use 2 of your dining credits instead of ordering 4 big meals that no one can finish and waste 2 credits?

  33. AJ says:

    Jennie — I believe you’d be able to do this, but there may be a plate-sharing additional cost. I’ll double check with Erin and Kim, our DDP gurus!

  34. Holly and Judy Brugha says:

    We would add The Wave at the Contemporary Resort to the list. Our family went here in December 2012 and I loved it. It is one credit – I had the filet!

    We would also submit Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our family ate breakfast here and we were amazed at all the choices (including grilled asparagus, carved meat, custom omelet station etc.)

  35. Dani says:

    If you go to Kouzzina skip the baklava & get the galaktaboueko for dessert! It is the best custard you will ever have, you can get baklava anywhere.

  36. Angela says:

    Sanaa! Don’t forget Sanaa. It was our first meal at Walt Disney World, and now it’s our tradition every year. Delicious food in a warm atmosphere with a view of the savannah — It can’t be beat.

    Also, we recently visited Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom — best lunch we’ve had in 3 visits to WDW.

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