Disney World dining is one of the top categories of questions that I get daily so I’ve got answers to some of the most frequently asked questions as well as the best restaurants to choose whether you’re paying out-of-pocket or using the Disney Dining Plan.
I also have a quick tip about splitting your days when you’re staying at an on-site resort near 1 of the theme parks.
These are notes from this episode. There’s much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.
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Frequently asked questions
Do I have to stay on-site to eat at Disney World restaurants?
No, anybody can eat in any of the restaurants. If you choose a restaurant inside 1 of the theme parks, a park ticket will be required.
Are Advanced Dining Reservations canceled if I cancel my hotel reservation?
No, they aren’t.
Are dining reservations required for babies and toddlers?
Yes, they should be included but you don’t have to order them their own entree at the meal.
If I’m on the regular Disney Dining Plan, how do I pay for all 3 meals with credits?
You can share entrees at Quick Service restaurants to stretch your credits and/or pay for some things out-of-pocket.
Can I order just dessert?
Yes, you can order whatever you want.
Best Table Service restaurants when paying out-of-pocket
If you’re not on the Disney Dining Plan, you can eat at the best restaurants for the least amount of money by choosing breakfast or lunch instead of dinner and you can also share entrees at non-buffet and non-family style restaurants.
These restaurants offer the best value when paying out-of-pocket:
- Trail’s End ($18 average meal price)
- Beaches and Cream ($20 average meal price)
- Grand Floridian Cafe ($15-26 average meal price)
- Rose and Crown ($28 average meal price)
- 50s Prime Time Cafe ($29 average meal price but splitting entrees and desserts is easy here with such big portions)
Best Table Service restaurants on the Disney Dining Plan
Focusing your meals on dinners and character meals will generally give you the best value for your Disney Dining Plan Table Service credits.
Here are the best Table Service restaurant values on the Disney Dining Plan:
- Chef Mickey’s dinner
- Crystal Palace dinner
- Ohana dinner
- Boma dinner
- Garden Grill dinner
- 1900 Park Fare dinner
- Cape May Cafe dinner
- Whispering Canyon Cafe dinner
- Tutto Italia dinner
- Chefs de France dinner
- Biergarten dinner
- Via Napoli dinner
- Teppan Edo dinner
- Marrakesh dinner
Quick tip of the day
If staying in an on-site resort near Magic Kingdom or Epcot, consider spending the first part of your day at a park and then the evenings at the park that you’re staying near to save transportation time.
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Do you have any questions or additional suggestions about Disney World dining? Feel free to share in the comments.
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Monday 14th of September 2015
Great tips! You will really get lost trying to choose your best dining experience when in Disney. If only you can experience them all. Thanks for narrowing it down for us.
Jorie Von Ohlen
Monday 10th of August 2015
so if you can't get an ADR for a table for a sit down restaurant in the parks are you completely out of luck? My BF and I have been trying for months to get lunch or dinner reservations for the sci fi drive in for months with no success and I swear I have seen videos where people have walked up and simply had to wait longer then those with reservations.
Thursday 30th of October 2014
Could you tell me which quick service restaurants within the parks offer the largest portions? We are on the dining plan but would like to split some of our quick service meals in order to have 2 per person on one day. We have one day without a table service due to spending 2 on Hoop Dee Doo. Thanks!
Thursday 3rd of July 2014
Can you make a suggestion on how much I need to budget for food. I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip for 7 days/6 nights. I was going to order breakfast items, snacks, drinks, and fruit from garden grocer. Then budget money for lunch, dinner, and a treat. So I was thinking $10 per treat and $15 per meal. I don't think we will spend $10 on treat, just wanted to be safe. So for four people, $40/person/day. I don't think that's enough. Please help.
Friday 4th of July 2014
How many people are in your group? Are you just figuring on yourself? Or others, too?
I can give you suggestions based on our experience with a family of four:
Lunch - $15 to $18 per head
Dinner - $20 to $35 per head (sometimes more, depending on the place)
Snacks - $10 - $15 per head (this depends on whether you or not you are including drinks)
Monday 30th of June 2014
Quick question: Can you divide how you pay for things? Like if we go to a restaurant and my husband wants to use his dining credit (assume table service meal) because he's getting a steak and it's silly to pay out of pocket, but all I want is an appetizer, can we use credit for him and pay out of pocket for me? Or does the whole bill have to be paid the same way?