Great Places to Eat When You’re Using the Disney Dining Plan
On January 9th, 2024, Disney will give its loyal fans the one thing they’ve desired the most.
For the first time since early 2020, the Disney Dining Plan will return.
Disney offers this wonderful option to help guests budget their meals more efficiently.
By using the dining plan, you basically pay for your meals before you leave for your trip. So, while you’re on vacation, you don’t worry about money.
The feeling is liberating, and I speak from experience here. I’ve almost always used the dining plan for my trips.
Here are ten places where you should eat when using the Disney Dining Plan.
Columbia Harbour House
Something you’ll love about the Disney Dining Plan is that it comes in two forms.
You can purchase either the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan or the Disney Dining Plan.
The Quick-Service version provides you with two Quick-Service meal entitlements per day.
Meanwhile, the Disney Dining Plan offers one Quick-Service and one Table Service meal daily.
You’ll find the Quick-Service option works well at various Walt Disney World theme parks, which operate more Quick-Service than Table Service eateries.
For example, when you’re standing in line at Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom, you’re also right beside Columbia Harbour House.
This restaurant has operated since the early 1970s, and it has always served the same succulent seafood.
Lobster Roll fanatics rave about the recipe served here, and the unique early American seaport hotel theming. Plus, its convenience can’t be beaten.
You can order while standing in line at Haunted Mansion and then eat afterward.
The Crystal Palace
The flexibility of the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) works in your favor during a vacation.
You’ll discover that the dining plan allows you to eat at some of Disney’s most popular restaurants and even some of the most unique meals.
For example, a handful of Disney restaurants host character meals. During these encounters, you’ll eat at the Disney equivalent of an upscale buffet.
Think Vegas…but better! I say this because Disney characters will roam around the dining room, interacting with guests.
At The Crystal Palace, you can meet various residents of Hundred Acre Wood. Yes, I’m talking about Winnie the Pooh and his friends!
You’ll love all the photo ops with characters like Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger.
The food is terrific as well, with an excellent combination of carved meats, including prime rib.
A meal here costs $59 per adult and $38 per child aged three to eight. However, you can book it for one DDP Table Service entitlement.
Deals like this exemplify the tremendous value of the dining plan.
Flame Tree BBQ
Something that will surprise you about Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the cuisine.
You may think of this place as a zoo, but park officials have designed it as a cultural melting pot.
The menu reflects the diverse nature of the themed lands.
You could feasibly use your Table Service entitlements at eclectic eateries like Yak & Yeti Restaurant or Tusker House.
One option would allow you to delight in Indian and Asian recipes, while the other focuses on several aromatic African dishes.
You can’t go wrong with either, but there’s an equally good Quick-Service restaurant closer to the front of the park.
Flame Tree BBQ serves some of the tastiest barbecues in Orlando, but your meal comes with a show!
The birds in the area are smart. They roost near the outdoor tables in hopes of picking up your scraps once you’ve finished.
Flame Tree BBQ somehow feels like the perfect Animal Kingdom dining experience for this reason…but it’s in the conversation for best BBQ at Walt Disney World as well!
Garden Grill Restaurant
EPCOT also hosts a character meal that participates in the DDP. For a single Table Service credit, you can eat at this spinning restaurant.
You’ll find the eatery on the second floor of The Land pavilion, and its location hints at its style of food.
Disney grows many of its own vegetables in this pavilion, making Garden Grill’s food the freshest possible.
Also, the restaurant slowly spins, allowing you the occasional glimpse of the adjoining attraction, Living with the Land.
Most importantly, Chip and Dale host this feast. They’ll come to your table and entertain you while you dine on the rustic, hearty goodness.
Ordinarily, a meal here costs $55 per adult and $36 per child at lunch/dinner. Thanks to the DDP, you pay just the one entitlement, though!
You won’t always dine at the theme parks during your Disney vacation.
In fact, if you’re anything like me, you’ll leave the parks and eat at a nearby hotel restaurant, preferably where you’re spending the night.
Disney incentivizes guests to adopt this approach. It hosts some of the finest dining experiences at Disney resorts.
For example, audiences adore ‘Ohana, which serves a family-style Polynesian meal and one you’ll never forget at that.
A server will bring your entire table several courses of food, including the fabled Bread Pudding for dessert!
The flavors of ‘Ohana have evolved into a multigenerational affair, with many Disney evangelists fighting for reservations.
Dinner at ‘Ohana currently costs $59 per adult and $38 per child. Again, a single DDP entitlement will buy you the same meal!
PS: After you’re done with dinner, you should consider hanging out at the hotel, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
The beaches here are an excellent place to watch the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks!
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café
You wouldn’t expect bold southwestern flavors available at Magic Kingdom, but that’s the genius of Disney operating so many different themed lands.
You can head to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which will open in 2024.
While you’re there, you can order a meal at Pecos Bill. Whatever kind of nachos you like, they sell!
The most popular batch is unquestionably the Pork Carnitas Nachos, though.
Once you’re done, you can finish your meal with delicious Churros. You’ll discover the tastiest ones at Walt Disney World at Pecos Bill!
You can use a dining plan Snack credit to snag a Churro!
Your dining plan isn’t just usable at the parks and resorts. It extends to Disney Springs as well!
In fact, you may find the best cuisine/food value here out of anywhere on the Disney campus.
For instance, Raglan Road perennially scores extremely high among tourists. As I type this, it’s currently ranked in the 92nd percentile on TripAdvisor.
Guests adore the authentic Irish cuisine, and the occasional dance routine disguised as a dinner show doesn’t hurt, either.
You’ll find a wide variance of prices at Disney Springs eateries, especially in the Table Service category.
A couple could pay $80 or more for a meal here…or two Table Service entitlements. You can guess which one provides better value!
You wouldn’t expect Pandora – The World of Avatar to host one of the most flavorful restaurants in Orlando…but it really does!
Disney chefs created some daring entrees for the Pandora experience. However, they also empowered guests with unique flexibility here.
You can use a Quick-Service dining credit to order a protein bowl. You’ll choose the components of the dish, or you can select one of the basic bowls.
These dishes combine flavors in a way that frankly shouldn’t even be possible at a theme park grab-and-go eatery.
This is haute cuisine disguised as that lunch place near Avatar Flight of Passage!
Remember to finish your meal with Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse, one of the best desserts at Walt Disney World.
Woody’s Lunch Box
In terms of food quality, Woody’s Lunch Box may offer the best value of anything at Walt Disney World.
In terms of the best use of Quick-Service entitlements, it’s not quite as good.
I say this because Disney has priced meals at Woody’s Lunch Box so reasonably that you don’t really need to use an entitlement here.
However, you have them and might as well use them! And you will NOT believe how delicious the comfort food is at this restaurant.
Seriously, we have dined here at least once during every vacation since the restaurant opened. It’s a must-do for us thanks to the world-class combo here.
You can order a grilled cheese sandwich and tater tots (which they call potato barrels) followed by a Pop-Tart (which they call Lunch Box Tarts).
Your tastebuds will adore you for the rest of the day. Oh, and if you want to eat lighter, the Totchos are among the best snacks at the park!
World Premiere Food Court – Secret Menu
You’ll find another hotel restaurant option you should consider at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort.
The World Premiere Food Court is easily accessible to guests staying at the various All-Star properties.
While the food here isn’t quite as good as some of the other options we’ve discussed, there’s a trick you can use!
Ask to see the Secret Menu available at the World Premiere Food Court! It’s a whole thing.
You’ll get dinner and a show when you order here. So, you can add a bit of fun to your Quick-Service meal!
Also, World Premiere Food Court works similarly to a mall food court. You’re sure to find something here for everyone in your traveling party!
As you can tell, Disney’s two dining plans provide exceptional value for guests.
You should speak with a MickeyTravels agent to find the best fit for your family for your unforgettable 2024 vacation!
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Feature Photo: Disney