Disney World dining tips – PREP045

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.

Become a WDW Prep To Go Patron

WDW Prep To Go Patrons pay a little to unlock even more content than what’s on the main podcast feed, such as a private FB Group and exclusive audio that’s released on a private podcast feed.
Become a Patron Now

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:

  • Akershus
  • 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.

Subscribe to get new episodes

There are a few ways to get new episodes of WDW Prep To Go.


Do you have any questions or additional suggestions about Disney World dining? Feel free to share in the comments.

Ready to book a trip for 2018 or 2019?

The handpicked team of agents at Perfect Story Travel can help you out. Fill out the info below to get started.

Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

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

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.


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.


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.

Maria B

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)

Maria B

I just saw that you said a family of four. Sorry about that. Yes, between $40 and $50 per head, per day, should be enough.


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?


Sharon Wells

My question is, I havemade dining reservations for our whole party of 5, will I be charged if one of us doesn’t come to the meal? My husband is disabled and gets sick frequently, he might not want to go to all the breakfasts and dinner I’ve reserved.

Maria B

No, it works as a declining balance. You start with so many quick service credits, table service credits, and snack credits. They get deducted when you use them. There is no penalty if someone at your table does not eat or if they do not show up for the meal. The only concern you might have is being left with unused credits that you paid for.


My understanding on reservations (regardless of payment method) is that you are charged $10 per person who does not show. So if you say, make a reservation for 5 people, but only 3 show, you will be charged $20 (I assume to whatever card you used to hold the reservation – but that’s an assumption).

Hope that helps some!

Maria B

I didn’t know that applied to the dining plan, too! Thanks for the information.

Animal Kingdom Epcot Hollywood Studios Magic Kingdom Water Parks
Behind the Seeds tour
How the Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot works
Early Morning Magic - fantasyland
A guide to Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom
foodandwine 300x215 - Food and Wine Festival has begun! Here's an overview.
Food and Wine Festival has begun! Here’s an overview.
Planning Process Overview Step 1: Pick a Date Step 2: Lodging Step 3: Make a Daily Plan Step 4: Dining Step 5: Park Touring Step 6: Extra Magic
Behind the Seeds tour
How the Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot works
Disney World short trips Short trips to Disney World
Our best tips for planning a short trip to Disney World
Disney World Thrill Rides (1)
Top Disney World thrill rides in each of the parks
Babies and Toddlers Characters General Reference Group Travel Luxury Saving Money Special Needs Technology Transportation
Everything you need to know about MagicBands
How MagicBands at Disney World work
Tips for planning disney world arrival and departure days 300x215 - How to plan Disney World arrival and departure days
How to plan Disney World arrival and departure days
Tips and tricks for booking flights to Disney World | WDW Prep School
Complete guide to flights for your Disney World trip