Continuing the theme of Disney Dining with Free Dining on the horizon…Disney’s Dining Plan offers credits for table service meals. You receive one credit per person for each night you stay at your Disney World resort hotel. A handful of Disney restaurants and dinner shows require 2 dining credits based on the cost of their meals or the experience provided. These are categorized as either Signature Dining or Dinner Shows. While many Disney veterans will argue that you lose money by choosing 2 credit dining options, I argue that some are just too hard to pass up! Plus, all Disney dining locations provide you with so much food that it’s almost hard to use all of your credits during your visit.
The 2 credit dining restaurants are as follows:
- Artist Point – Wilderness Lodge
- California Grill – Contemporary
- Cinderella’s Royal Table – Magic Kingdom
- Citircos – Grand Floridian
- Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Café – Downtown Disney
- Fulton’s Crab House – Downtown Disney
- Flying Fish Café – Boardwalk
- Hollywood Brown Derby – Hollywood Studios
- Jiko – Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Le Cellier – Epcot
- Monsieur Paul – Epcot
- Narcoossee’s – Grand Floridian
- Yachtsman Steakhouse – Yacht Club
Dinner Shows which are also 2 credits include (some alcoholic beverages are also included for adults at these locations):
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – Fort Wilderness
- Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – Fort Wilderness
- Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show – Polynesian
While I haven’t dined at all of these locations, the food I have tried is definitely a cut above the rest. I’d absolutely go back to any of the signature restaurants again without hesitation.
Is it worth it?
Value of worth is really based on your definition of “worth it”. If you’re going purely based on dollar value and paying for the Dining Plan out of pocket, dining at a 2 credit location may not recoup the cost you paid for it.
A very quick math lesson on Disney’s dining plan for an adult assuming a very common vacation of 7 days, 6 nights.
Per night cost for an adult $64.58.
- Subtract a per day cost of $3 for the cost of the refillable mug ($17.99 for length of stay if purchased out of pocket)
- Subtract $4 for snack credit (any good snack will be around the $4 mark or above)
- Subtract $9.79 + $2.99 + $3.29 = $16.07 (the average cost for a counter service meal with fountain drink and dessert included as part of your quick service credits).
- This leaves $41.51 to make up for in cost for a table service meal each day.
- Subtracting $3 for a drink and $8 for a dessert, that leaves the need for about a $30 entree for each counter service meal. While that sounds excessively expensive, that’s pretty easy to find in Disney.
Now for the argument of using a 2 credit table service meal. You’re not likely to recoup the cost of about $65 in an entree (assuming that a dessert costs a little bit more at a signature restaurant). Does that mean I don’t dine at signature restaurants, definitely not! It’s some of my favorite food and a totally different atmosphere and amazing service. If you choose a signature meal, you’ll likely be able to share a different 1 credit table service meal which will tilt the scale back to the green (1 and 1/2 times the cost of a table service credit is definitely feasible at a signature restaurant where some entrees are upwards of $50 – and worth every delicious morsel!)
I argue from the other side that any meal is “worth it” with free dining. While you are not getting a discount for your room, at a moderate resort, the discount over a 6 night vacation is only in the realm of $200-$300 while free dining can save you well over $1000. How’s that for math?
Yeah, me too! It’s the continuous debate among Disney veterans, and those that just like to argue about things. There’s no right or wrong answer to Disney dining. The only right answer I have for you is check out the menus. If the food looks good, make a reservation. Don’t listen to one bad review online or one good review from a friend. Every experience is different and things change over the years. Enjoy yourself! You’re on vacation. Try something new. And overall, HAVE FUN! It’s the only place you can be an adult but act like a kid again!
Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!