Tip from the DFB Guide: 6 Important Disney Dining Plan Pros and Cons

Hemming and hawing about whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is right for your family? We know the feeling!

That’s why our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book includes a fully updated Disney Dining Plan chapter and price analysis for 2013. Pick up your copy here for an extra $4 off using code 2013 for a limited time!

This will help you determine what combination of Dining Plan, Hotel Discounts, and other variables will help you save the MOST money on your next Disney World vacation.

Today, let’s take a look at a few of the Disney Dining Plan Pros and Cons we include in the DFB Guide to help you make your decision this year.

Snack Credits: Use 'em or Lose 'em!

3 Important Disney Dining Plan Pros

There are many reasons that Walt Disney World guests cite for investing in the Disney Dining Plan. Here are just a few of the many we include in the DFB Guide:

  1. Pre-Payment. Your meals will be pre-paid, which means pre-trip budgeting can be easier.
  2. Flexibility. You can use all credits on the same day, or space them out throughout your trip. Also, each family member can use the credits as they would like; the whole family does not have to dine together.
  3. Nicer Options. You’ll likely eat at nicer restaurants and order more expensive meals.

3 Important Disney Dining Plan Cons

Some guests to Walt Disney World opt to pay for their meals out-of-pocket, and here are a few of the many reasons why that we cite in the DFB Guide:

  1. Strict requirements. Everyone on your vacation package (and in your hotel room) must be on the same Disney Dining Plan and be using the same type of Walt Disney World tickets.
  2. No appetizers on the Standard Plan. If your family would rather share an appetizer and pass on individual desserts, the Disney Dining Plan will not save you as much you would expect.
  3. Unused credits = lost money. If you do not utilize your credits effectively and/or have credits left at the end of your trip, you will not be using the full benefits of your pre-paid plan.

So What’s the Right Choice?

These pros and cons, in addition to dozens of other variables — like how much your hotels costs are, how much your family eats, what kinds of discounts you can get, whether or not Disney is offering the free Disney Dining Plan, which Dining Plan makes the most sense for you and your family, etc. — is what makes this particular choice so very difficult for folks planning their next trip to Disney World.

That’s why We took a whole chapter in our new 400-page E-book to [Read more…]

News! A la Carte Menus at Pepper Market in Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Recent changes at Pepper Market at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort have resulted in brand new lunch and dinner menus at the food court.

Over the past several months, Pepper Market has gone through a series of menu changes. Prior to December 2011, the counter service spot offered a unique cafeteria-style experience, allowing guests to select their meal from a wide array of items. In early 2012, the restaurant switched to a buffet service; and on January 1, 2013, the new a la carte menu went into effect.

While the restaurant’s popular all-day buffet (and never-ending burritos) is gone, the meal is still a Quick Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, and the lunch and dinner menus are varied and interesting.

Pepper Market Entrance

Guests can still expect a healthy assortment of Mexican- and American-inspired dishes, including the popular burrito with steak, rice, and beans … and a lot of delicious cheese sauce!

The burrito at Pepper Market is a crowd pleaser.

Here’s a peek at the new, a la carte breakfast and dinner menus (lunch is still [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: January 20, 2013

How’s your 2013 going?

Beignets Now in the Magic Kingdom at Tomorrowland Terrace!!

Mine’s going great — there’s so much happening food-wise at Disney parks and resorts right now, and so much coming down the pike!!

We’ve got a TON of great news for you on the round-up today, including a review of the brand new Les Halles Bakery in Epcot’s France, the dates for the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, a peek at the Tomorrowland Terrace’s new breakfast menu, the new all-day menu at Le Cellier, and more!

To quote Peter Pan, “Here we gooooooo!!”

Disney Dining News

Catch up on food news from Disney…

We’ve got additional food news, including Citricos Italian Wine Dinner at the Grand Floridian, restaurant closures, Martha’s Vineyard Menu at Yacht and Beach Club Resort, Habit Heroes re-opens in Epcot, Spirit of Aloha closing for brief renovation, and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Sara McCaslin tweeted one of our favorite Disney indulgences – cheese plates! This one is from the Flying Fish Cafe.

Flying Fish Cheese Plate

And via email, we received this message from Susan Tribelli: “I have to say my husband, who is a culinary school graduate, thought the Grand Floridian cafe had gone downhill, but we got the fish, which I thought was super good.”

Red Grouper at Grand Floridian Cafe

DFB Podcast Episode 12

For our podcast listeners (and those of you who aren’t listeners, yet, but are about to become listeners!!), we have the 12th episode of the DFB Podcast ready for downloading!

In this episode we cover the latest Disney Food News and have a discussion about dinner shows in Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

We also answer a couple of listener questions, and reveal the answer to (and winner of!) our Episode 11 trivia question.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes! (We love your comments, reviews, and feedback!

Take a listen from the DFB Podcast Episode 12!

On to the Round-Up!

WDW for Grown-Ups shares four delicious breakfast options at Walt Disney World.

Cake Wrecks features adorable cakes including Wall-E and Piglet. Sweet!

Studios Central looks into the origin of Toluca Legs Turkey Co. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney Hipsters laments about the lack of good vegetarian eats at the Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom.

Yesterland returns to Disneyland’s Blue Ribbon Bakery!

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World re-visits favorite Disney dining adventures from 2012.

DisneyParks announces a Robert Olszewski Product Release & Signing for the Plaza Restaurant/Plaza Ice Cream Parlor sculpture. Wow!

News! Le Cellier Lunch Menu Changes

With Le Cellier Steakhouse now a TWO table-service credit restaurant for both lunch and dinner on the Disney Dining Plan, the restaurant has changed over to an all-day menu (effective January 16, 2013).

Located in Epcot’s Canada, this signature restaurant’s all-day menu means that guests looking for a burger will no longer find one here. (Total bummer, as it was one of our favorites.) But the lobster mac ‘n cheese will now be available for lunch and dinner.

For starters, Le Cellier’s chopped lobster salad or bowl of the cult favorite Cheddar Cheese Soup are excellent choices. Don’t forget about the poutine fries, too (Hubba Hubba)!

Plus, the seasonal salad now being offered is greens with duck prosciutto, blue cheese, fig-almond cake and a soft-boiled egg.

Poutine Fries...two orders...don't judge

Entrees are still plentiful, and steak-focused. Canadian-raised beef choices include a grilled bone-in ribeye, New York Strip, and the famous (and awesome) Filet Mignon.

That Filet Mignon is a fan favorite with its white truffle-butter sauce and wild mushroom risotto.

Mushroom Filet Mignon with White Truffle Butter Sauce and Micro Chevril

Vegetarians will continue to enjoy seasonal offerings, including a winter squash ravioli with sage brown butter. And the menu includes year-round sustainable seafood by Chef Al Youngman.

For dessert, the Maple Creme Brulee and Trio of Chocolate are [Read more…]

News! Participating Restaurants for the 2013 Disney Dining Plans Updated

Great news! Walt Disney World has now updated the 2013 Disney Dining Plan brochures with the completed list of participating restaurants.

Guests headed to Disney World in 2013 will want to check out the new information before planning their Advance Dining Reservations. These updates are effective January 1 – December 31, 2013.

To see changes to the overall 2013 Disney Dining Plan, click here!

New Restaurants on the 2013 Disney Dining Plan

Lots of new spots have opened in Disney World this year, and that means there are new restaurants on the list! Check out Be Our Guest Restaurant, Monsieur Paul Restaurant, and Splitsville with your DDP credits this year!

Interestingly, Gaston’s Tavern seems to be missing; however, this may be an oversight as we know from the Gaston’s Tavern Menu that there are DDP snack options available. We’ll watch for further updates.

See all 2013 Disney Dining Plan restaurants here!

Be Our Guest Bridge Entrance

2013 Disney Dining Plan Brochures

Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan

Standard Disney Dining Plan

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan

Premium Disney Dining Plan

Platinum Disney Dining Plan [Read more…]

News! 2013 Disney Dining Plan Pricing and Updates

Details for the 2013 Disney Dining Plans are being unveiled!

You can see updated pricing for the 2013 plans below (thanks to reader Pudge the Fish for this!). And there are price changes as well as clarifications that you need to know about if you’re planning a 2013 trip.

The major stand-out seems to be that Le Cellier in Epcot is listed as two table service credits for both LUNCH and dinner meals.

2013 Disney Dining Plan Pricing

As always, the price has gone up on many of the plans. See calculations below…

Quick-Service Dining Plan
(all year long)
$37.58 per night ages 10 and up
$14.32 per night age 3 to 9

2012 was $34.99 and $11.99.

See more info on the Quick Service Dining Plan page.

Be Our Guest Restaurant will be a new addition on the 2013 Disney Dining Plan

Standard Dining Plan
(Value and Regular Season)
$55.59 per night ages 10 and up
$17.16 per night age 3 to 9

2012 was $51.54 and $15.02.

(Peak Season)
$56.94 per night ages 10 and up
$18.16 per night ages 3 to 9

2012 was $53.54 and $16.02.

Read all about the Standard Dining Plan!

Deluxe Dining Plan
(Value and Regular Season)
$99.97 per night ages 10 and up
$26.84 per night ages 3 to 9

2012 was $85.52 and $23.79.

(Peak Season)
$102.27 per night ages 10 and up
$28.91 per night ages 3 to 9

2012 was $89.52 and $25.79.

We’ve got all the details on our Deluxe Dining Plan page.

Le Cellier Lunch

The 2013 brochure now shows Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot as a two table-service credit restaurant for lunch! Since March 2011, the restaurant has been a one-credit location for lunch and a two-credit location for dinner.

Other Clarifications

There have been a few changes made to the Disney Dining Plan brochures for 2013 as well.

Special Dining Events
The brochure this year spells out clearly that “special dining events with special menus offered at certain table-service locations” are not included in the [Read more…]

Snacks Series: Ham and Cheese Croissant in Epcot

Sometimes burgers just won’t cut it and you need a little piece of heaven for lunch, right? Who hasn’t felt that way after a few days in Disney World?

So here’s a quick Friday Afternoon Cost-Saving tip for ya: Fill up for less on one of these amazing ham and cheese croissants at Boulangerie Patisserie. Awesome, right?! And the last time we were there, you could get one of these babies for a single Disney Dining Plan snack credit!

Stop by France's bakery for a filling snack!

Enjoy your lunch at the nearby indoor seating area, or outside at one of the bistro tables! And since you’re keeping it “light” and inexpensive for this meal, you’ll be able to sample some more mouthwatering treats on your adventure through Epcot!

Boulangerie Patisserie Epcot

Don’t miss other delicious snack items in Epcot! We’ve included over 100 photos and reviews of our favorite snacks in the new Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks!

This e-Book has detailed reviews, information, and full-color photos of [Read more…]

Top 6 Disney Dining Plan Snack Credit Values for 2012

As always, we want to make sure all of us are getting the best value with our Disney Dining Plan snack credits!

For those who are unfamiliar with the Disney Dining Plan, it’s a way for guests to pre-pay for their dining when visiting Disney World. “Snack credits” are used by guest to purchase items like popcorn, candy, ice cream, and other low-cost treats.

I’ll list my top six choices, then you tell me your experiences. Let’s work together on finding the best snack credit deals!

Note that snack credits are usually accepted for items that are a single serving, and cost $4.50 or less (though some cost as much as $4.99 out of pocket).

1. Bakeries

A Disney Food Blog staff and reader favorite — bakeries! Not only can you use your snack credit for some incredible treats, but you can also get a pastry for your morning meal. Hey, it’s vacation!

Don’t forget to check out our Disney World Bakery Throw Down to see some of the very best spots to spend those credits.

Disney World Cinnamon Roll at Main Street Bakery

Consider some of these options at bakeries around Disney World: cinnamon rolls, butterfinger cupcakes, caramel cupcakes, white chocolate elephant cupcake, crepes, school bread…and so much more!

These are all great deals for one single snack credit.

2. Ice Cream Sundaes and Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Recently, I’ve been overwhelmed with what kinds of sundaes you can get for a snack credit in Disney World! Easily costing $4.50 or more out of pocket, these sundaes are awesome deals!

Stop by Storybook Treats in the Magic Kingdom to snag a Cookie Fudge Sundae that you can easily split between two! Other options at Storybook Treats include a Brownie Sundae and a yummy Strawberry Shortcake Sundae!

Hot Fudge and Caramel Cookie Sundae at Storybook Treats

Another ice creamy treat that’s not-to-be-missed is the homemade ice cream cookie sandwich. You can get these at all four parks, and while the snack credit payment option [Read more…]

What’s Your Ideal “Disney Dining Plan”?

So, yesterday there’s a bit of a to-do about the Disney Dining Plan. Apparently there’s a typo in Disney’s official PDF describing the Standard Disney Dining Plan, indicating that an appetizer is available with all table-service meals.

Incorrect Info in DDP PDF

Based on calls to Disney Dining (speaking to supervisors and managers), Erin heard that this is, indeed, just a typo and not a change in policy. But if it WAS true, that’d be awesome!

And this got me thinking… what if we could design our very own Disney Dining Plan based on the way we and our families eat in Disney World!?

What Would YOUR Ideal Disney Dining Plan Look Like?

So what if they introduced a “Magic Your Way Dining Plan,” where guests could build their own individualized plan off of a base plan? Let’s dream a little, shall we?


Customize your counter service : table service : snack ratio!
One thing that we keep hearing: the Standard Dining Plan is too little, the Deluxe Dining Plan is too much (and yup, we know…it TOTALLY works just fine for some folks.) So, what if you could change things up a bit?

Not a big fan of sit-down breakfast? You could add more counter service meals or snacks in to make for a light first meal o’ the day. What if your little ones have no interest in sitting still for table service? Not a problem! Which brings us to another pie in the sky option…

Different people in your party could have different dining plans!
Maybe your 3-9 year old eats like a linebacker and doesn’t order off of the children’s menu. Or maybe he or she eats like a bird, and you’d rather choose a different level for him or her. Or maybe you have a [Read more…]

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!


Tutto Italia is closed for refurbishment until [Read more…]