Walt Disney World offers three different dining plans for guests to purchase when they are staying at one of their Disney resorts. There’s the Quick-Service dining plan, which includes meal credits to be used at the quick-service restaurants found on Walt Disney World property. There’s the Deluxe dining plan, which gives guests 3 meal credits for each day of their vacation to be used at any type of Disney dining experience. Lastly, is the Disney Dining Plan, which is what we are discussing today. The Disney Dining Plan costs $78.01/adult/night and $27.98/child/night. The plan includes 1 table service meal credit per night, 1 quick-service meal credit per night and 1 refillable mug.
Today, we’re going to be looking at the 5 best restaurants to dine at when you are on the Disney Dining Plan. The restaurants we’re looking at are table service restaurants and will require the 1 meal credit provided as a part of your plan. We’re not including quick-service restaurants, because they are very comparable for price. We’re not including the signature restaurants on this list either. The signature restaurants require 2 meal credits, leaving you less meal credits for the remainder for your vacation. A topic for another post, another day.
I also did not include buffet restaurants on this list. The reason for that is, they are by far the best value. These 10 buffet restaurants can be the most expensive and therefore the more buffets you eat at during your Disney vacation will increase the value of your dining plan. The cost for buffets vary on the time of year but they are typically around the $50 mark per adult.
To find out which restaurants were the best for the Disney Dining Plan, I combed through all the menus of the table service restaurants on Walt Disney World property. Looking through the menus I looked for the most expensive entree on the menu. The restaurants with the most expensive entrees made this list. For each of these restaurants I compared their dinner menus. Breakfast menus are always less expensive than dinner menus. Great for out of pocket, but not great when you’ve already forked out your dining money and want to recoup or surpass. So these five restaurants that made the list give the opportunity of eating some of the most costly food items on property while having paid for an average table service restaurant. Take a look.
5. Boatwright’s Dining Hall
Coming in at number five is Boatwright’s Dining Hall. This hidden gem is found at Port Orleans-Riverside, a moderate Disney resort. Open exclusively for dinner from 5pm-9pm, Boatwright’s Dining Hall is an open concept restaurant with a small dining area serving southern favourites. Tucked inside the main building of Port Orleans-Riverside, many guests miss this resort table-service restaurant. What puts Boatwright’s on this list is its “The Big Easy”, a 10-oz Grilled New York Strip with Crawfish Mac and Cheese and a Blackberry Port Demi. It’s priced at $36. We dined here on our vacation back in 2016. My husband got the Prime Rib, which he loved and I had the Turbodo Barbecued Ribs, which were also tasty. Because this restaurant flies under the radar, it’s very easy to grab a last minute reservation. If you’re staying in the Disney Springs resort area you can jump on the boat and head down that way. Otherwise it can be a bit of a hike for other guests. If you are coming for your 5th or 15th trip, than I would definitely make an effort to dine here. If you’ll be travelling to Disney for your first and only trip the dining plan value is not worth the extra effort to get here.
4. Teppan Edo
Our fourth restaurant is found in the Japanese Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. Open for lunch and dinner, Teppan Edo features Teppan-yaki-style cooking. Which means the chefs will cook on table top stoves right in front of the guests. Giving you an unforgettable meal. When dining at Teppan Edo you’ll be given a variety of stir fry choices, what you want on top and the vegetables along with it. So guests can choose between meat options, seafood options and vegetarian choices. This is what puts Teppan Edo number four on our list. One of their combinations of choices is listed at $37. This is the Asakusa, a combination of steak and shrimp. The majority of choices on the menu are above or around $30. Which increases your bill and the likelihood that you’ll surpass your investment. Teppan Edo is open from 12:00pm until 3:45pm for lunch and 4pm-10pm for supper. This restaurant is popular so if you want a reservation it’s best to book 180 days out or you may have to adjust when it is you want to dine to make sure you eat here.
3. Ale & Compass Restaurant
Another resort table service restaurant makes the list at number three. The Ale & Compass Restaurant is found off the lobby of the Yacht Club resort. A deluxe resort in the Epcot resort area, neighbouring the Boardwalk and Beach Club resorts. Ale & Compass Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Offering a wide variety on their menu, the item that puts them on this list is the Coast Clambake. At $40, guests can enjoy Maine Lobster, Clams, Corn and Potatoes. Other than the T-bone steak on the menu, the items are priced fairly low. So if you are a lobster lover than this is a great chance to enjoy the meal at low cost, because you’ve paid for already through the dining plan!
One of our favourite restaurants is second on the list. Trattoria al Forno has a wonderful character breakfast featuring Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, Ariel and Prince Eric. With delicious offerings including the Swimmers Delight, an egg white omelette with smoked salmon and goat cheese, and the Royale Breakfast, Oak-grilled steak with egg torque. But what puts Trattoria al Forno on the list is their dinner offering: Pesce al Forno Intero, a whole-roasted fish with seasonal vegetables, priced at $41. Trattoria al Forno is an Italian restaurant located on Disney’s Boardwalk, a Deluxe resort found on Crescent Lake. Along with this impressive seafood dish they have many pasta choices, and a Oak-grilled Strip Steak. We love this restaurant. We have had fantastic service, signature restaurant caliber. It’s a must on my list, and with the value you’ll be coming out ahead on your dining plan investment.
Bongos Cuban Cafe
The very last restaurant on our list is found on the West Side of Disney Springs, Bongos Cuban Cafe. This table service restaurant serves a variety of Cuban fares: steaks, shredded beef, ribs, slow-roasted pork and the dishes that put Bongos at the top of this list: the Seafood Platter and the Seafood Combo. The Grilled Seafood Platter has Warm Water Lobster Tail, Gulf Shrimp, Sea Scallops, Mussels, Clams, Calamari and Fresh Fish. The Seafood Combo has all the same seafood just with a different sauce, a Criollo Sauce. Both of these dishes are priced at $45.00. So after you add your drink, approximately $8, and your dessert, approximately $8, to your bill your individual total is $71, nearly the cost of your daily Disney Dining Plan. Which means your 2 snacks and quick service meal for the day are basically free! Bongos serves lunch and dinner 11am-3:55 and 4:00pm-11:00pm. You should be able to make a last minute reservation here, so no need to get up bright and early 180 days before.
So there it is friends. 5 of the best restaurants for your Disney Dining Plan. Probably not the ones you were expecting. Only one is even at a park. But these are the restaurants with the most expensive options on their menu, giving the largest possibility of saving more money than you spent on your Dining Plan. For more tips on the dining plan, check out these previous posts:
Happy Planning, Friends.