More Great Disney Dining Tips from the Experts!

A while back, we polled Disney Food Blog readers — Disney fans who have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt — on their top Disney Dining Tips.

Not surprisingly, the top tip mentioned was the advice to make Disney Dining Reservations, since you don’t want to be shut out of your favorites or from the most popular restaurants. So this time around we thought it would be fun to ask about their SECOND best Disney Dining Tips!

Read on to see what our Disney Food Blog twitter followers shared as their second best Disney dining tips, and be sure to share in the comments whether you agree or disagree! Share YOUR tips to help your fellow Disney lovers!

Enjoy Some Disney Snacks

We LURVE our Disney snacks around here! And so do our readers! Many of the tips we received were about the favorite classic pre- and post-meal goodies we all love to tuck into in the Parks.

While Brian C. had a unique, sweet option on the mind (“Try the beignets!”), Twitter pal Amber B. writes, “Do NOT skip the Schoolbread!” We can heartily agree!

Norway School Bread

Whether you prefer a sweet or salty treat, there are plenty of cupcakes, cookies and specialty pretzels to choose from.

And if you need a little help selecting the treat you’ll try first, make sure to download our DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks and our DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks.

Eat at “Off Hours”

Disney vacationers cannot live on snacks alone, though—there are too many great Disney restaurants!

Several of our twitter friends recommended taking advantage of “off” meal times by enjoying a late breakfast/early lunch, or a late lunch/early dinner! This is when the restaurants are less likely to be packed with families sticking to the traditional meal times.

Coral Reef in Epcot is even more serene during non-traditional dining hours!

Paul B. tweets, “Off hours eating leads to taking advantage of shorter attraction lines during the normal meal times.”  So while everyone else is waiting in the lunch line, you’re able to hop onto Splash Mountain with a much shorter wait.

And when you are ready to enjoy your late lunch, not only will you have a quieter, more intimate meal, but you’re more likely to get a coveted window seat or other special seating area (like a car-booth at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater). Dining bonus!

Awesome convertible car booths at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Visit the Resorts for Meals

If you’re not able to take advantage [Read more…]

The Fantasmic! Picnic Package Returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a Limited Time

Great news for Spring Breakers in Disney World!

From March 24-April 4, Taste of Hollywood to Go — otherwise known as the Fantasmic! Picnic Package — returns! You’ll get to enjoy a quick, delicious meal and reserved seats for Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Choose Your Picnic Meal!

Choose from five boxed meals!

Fried chicken with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn and carrots, and warm apple crisp.

Fried Chicken!

Veggie sandwich with avocado, orange and tomato salad, tabbouleh, and chocolate cake.

Veggie Sandwich!

California and tuna sushi roll with beet and apple salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster.

Sushi Roll Picnic option!

Cajun shrimp salad with beet and apple salad, ginger-marinated [Read more…]

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…]