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Disney Dining Plan Restaurants To Avoid

The Disney Dining Plan can be a great way to make your Disney Dining experience more enjoyable and it can be a way to save money.

What you do NOT want the Disney Dining Plan to be is a way to spend more money than necessary at Disney World.  That is why we have created a list of Disney Dining Plan Restaurants to avoid.

Disney Dining Plan Restaurants To Avoid!
This is a list that looks purely at the financial side of the equation and let's you know which restaurants are not a good use of your Table Service Dining credits.  This does not say that these places do not have great food or are not fun dining experiences.

When you are paying for the Disney Dining Plan an adult costs $41.99 per day.  This entitles you to:
  • One Table Service Dining Credit
  • One Quick Service Dining Credit
  • One Snack
Financially speaking you need to look at what you would spend if you were not using the Disney Dining Plan and just paying for each meal as you go.  There are many ways to value each component of what you receive with the Disney Dining Plan, but a good calculation estimates that of the $41.99 each day, approximately $22 - $23 goes towards the Main Entree (or $28 for a buffet) for your Table Service Credit. 

This is the barometer that we will use to evaluate whether it makes good financial sense to "spend" a Table Service Credit at a particular restaurant.  If the entree is less than $22 - $23 (or $28 for the buffet) then you are actually paying MORE than menu price for that meal by using a Dining Plan credit.  You will be amazed how many restaurants are on this list.

The List Of Restaurants To Avoid (Using The DDP)
  • Donald's Safari Breakfast - Tusker House
  • Tusker House - Lunch
  • Yak & Yeti ( a couple entrees above $22)
  • 50's Prime Time Cafe - Lunch & Dinner
  • Sci-Fi Dine In Theater - Lunch & Dinner
  • Hollywood & Vine Character Breakfast
  • Mama Melrose's - Lunch & Dinner
  • Biergarten - Lunch
  • Chef de France - Lunch
  • Le Cellier - Lunch (unless you order the steaks)
  • Nine Dragons - Lunch & Dinnner
  • Restaurant Marrakesh - Lunch
  • Rose & Crown - Lunch & Dinner
  • San Angel Inn - Lunch
  • Tokyo Dining
  • Crystal Palace - Breakfast & Lunch
  • Liberty Tree Tavern - Lunch
  • Plaza Restaurant
  • Tony's Town Square (unless you order steak)
  • Boma - Breakfast
  • Sanaa - Lunch & Dinner
  • Beaches & Cream
  • Cape May Cafe - Breakfast
  • Kouzzina - Breakfast
  • Big River Grille & Brewing Works
  • ESPN Club
  • Shutters
  • The Wave - Lunch
  • Maya Grill - Breakfast
  • Trail's End Restaurant
  • 1900 Park Fare Breakfast
  • Grand Floridian Cafe
  • Olivia's Cafe
  • Kona Cafe - Breakfast & Lunch
  • Turf Club Bar & Grill - Lunch
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe - Breakfast & Lunch
  • Captain's Grille - Breakfast & Lunch
  • Raglan Road - Lunch
  • Captain Jack's
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Wolfgang Puck Cafe - Lunch

Some of the almost universal trends are that breakfasts and for the most part lunches are not good uses of your Table Service Credits from a financial point of view.  Many restaurants may have one item on the menu above the $22 threshhold, but if you don't order it then you are better off paying directly. 

Enjoy Your Vacation, But Avoid Overpaying
As you may have noticed there are many wonderful restaurants on the list.  By all means continue to visit them, but keep in mind that they are not a good use of Disney Dining Plan Table Service Credits.

Use the Disney Dining Plan when restaurants that cost more than $22 per entree make up the majority of your personal Dining Plan for your vacation. 

The Disney Dining Plan can still end up saving you a lot of money, but it all depends on how you use your credits.  Use them wisely and have a great vacation!

6 comments to "Disney Dining Plan Restaurants To Avoid"

  1. meredy338 says:

    So, do you have a list of what 2 table service restaurants are not a good value on the dining plan. I don't want to spend two credits if it's not worth it! Is the cut off $44 per entree?

  2. meredy338 - For the Disney Signature Restaurants that take 2 Table service credits you would be looking for entrees that are greater than $44 to make it worth using the two Table Service credits to pay for it. Most Disney Signature Restaurants have some entrees below that value and a couple that are above. If you are going to order the $30 - $33 entree then it doesn't make sense. If you go to Narcoossee's and order the Surf & Turf for around $58 then it is a great deal.

  3. Anonymous says:

    what you failed to memtion is you get an entree dessert and appitizer plus beverage with each meal , the vaule is there

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with "Anonymous". You also forgot that you get a quick meal and snacks. So ya, the value is there.

  5. Christine says:

    Jamie did consider the cost of the beverage and dessert. (You no longer get an appetizer.) Note that he said a buffet would need to cost $28... more because beverage/dessert and included in the price.
    The new pricing for 2011 is $46 for off season and $48 for peak. Kids are $12/$13-- pretty much a slam dunk for value no matter how you cut it.
    Most quick service entrees are $10-$15, with drinks about $2. I will take a dessert if included, but generally wouldn't pay for one alone. So, if I figure I would pay an average of $14 for a quick service meal and $3 for a snack, I need to get about $29 of value out of dinner. (based upon off peak price) So, if you assume $2 for a drink and $7 for dessert, your entree would need cost least $20 to break even with what your dining plan cost. A lot of places have desserts for less than $7 and entrees for less than $20! We have reservations for the 50's Prime Time in HS, and I noticed that the prices aren't much more than many QS meals, just as Jamie pointed out.
    Thanks for the list! It will help us consider which places to use cash and which to use dining credits.

  6. Anonymous says:

    However, if you are getting free dining (which I fully acknowledge is their way to get you to pay full price for the hotel), then it's not so much of a big deal.

    If you figure a snack to be $4, a quick service entree to be about $10, with drink $3 and dessert (even if I normally wouldn't always get this) is $3, then your meal needs to total $25 with drink, dessert and entree to break even. I agree that you get more value off of the more expensive dinners, and breakfast isn't much of a good deal, but if you had an expensive steak the night before and really want to go to Sci-Fi, go for it. The appeal of the dining plan is not to worry so much about the cost and just order what you want. Most everyone at least breaks even in the long run, and some can use it to a fuller advantage.

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