Dining values at Walt Disney World

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As much as we all enjoy eating at Walt Disney World, you can find yourself feeling sticker shock when the wait staff brings your bill (unless you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, where the sticker shock comes well before your trip).

But, don’t fret. I’m here to help and to tell you that, yes, dining values can still be found on Disney property. Here are a few of my picks for great meals, snacks and drinks on a budget. This doesn’t mean that these are necessarily the least expensive items, but rather the best items and experience for the price. If you’re on the dining plan, you’ll likely want to go for the most expensive item you can get with your credit, but if you’re paying out-of-pocket for food, this list is for you.

Share your thoughts in the comments, along with your picks for dining values.

Table Service Appetizer: Bread Service with all 9 Accompaniments at Sanaa, $13.99

Sanaa Bread Service with all 9 Accompaniments
Sanaa Bread Service with all 9 Accompaniments

This one lives up to its reputation as a unique, filling appetizer that will satisfy multiple people. First, Sanaa, the table service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani Village, is an outstanding value overall with unique cuisine, beautiful decor and animals wandering just outside the restaurant. The bread service is simple in concept, but complex in flavor. You get a variety of freshly made naan bread to enjoy with dipping sauces arranged in order of spiciness. One version of the bread service comes with three sauces, but we recommend getting the full nine, which is a mere $2.50 upcharge. This is also one dish where the restaurant actually increased the portion. In 2014, when the photo above was taken, we were given three pieces of naan, but when we returned a year later, it came with five pieces of naan, which makes this an appetizer that can be comfortably shared among a table of four.

Table Service Entree: A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes at 50’s Prime Time Cafe, $23

A Sampling of Mom's Favorite Recipes
A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes (Disney)

We love the kitschy 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the entertaining surroundings and interactions with cast members, along with the reasonably priced entrees.  One way to save money on Disney dining is to share entrees between two people. Our pick here, A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes, is the perfect sharing dish since it comes with fried chicken, meat loaf, pot roast and veggies. Pair this assortment of homestyle dishes with the Beer-Battered Onion Rings and two people can enjoy a satisfying meal for $30 total.

Quick Service Snack: Nudel Gratin at Sommerfest, $4.29

Nudel Gratin
Nudel Gratin (Disney)

Billed as a baked macaroni with cheese custard, the Nudel Gratin dish is served at Sommerfest in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion. While it may not look like much, it’s a square of gooey, tasty richness. If your appetite is lighter, or you’re doing some snacking around the world, this dish could even substitute as a light lunch. If you’ve been to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, the Nudel Gratin costs less than the vast majority of dishes served at the booths, but gives you more food. That’s value.

Quick Service Entree: Braised Pork at Be Our Guest Restaurant (lunch), $16.99

DSC00609
Braised pork

Strictly from a food standpoint, this dish isn’t the best quick service value out there in terms of the amount of food for the money. Instead, this is a case where the value is more in the experience of dining in the Beast’s castle without paying the higher prices that you would pay at dinner. The food is a notch above your typical counter service, it’s a more pleasant experience with the food being brought to your table on real dishes instead of paper plates. Out of the lunch entrees, which range from $12.99 to $16.99, this dish is my favorite, with the fork-tender pork with gravy and mashed potatoes and green beans jardiniere a savory change from your typical quick service offering. Be Our Guest also has self-serve drink dispensers where you can get refills to your heart’s content. Yes, you may spend a bit more here than you would over at the nearby Pinnochio Village Haus, but the atmosphere is worth it.

Drink: Imperial Sampler beer flight at Rose & Crown Dining Room, $12

Imperial Sampler beer flight
Imperial Sampler beer flight

There’s no getting around it, Drinks are expensive at Walt Disney World. Even the cheapest beers will run you more than $6 at most places. If you enjoy imports or craft beers, expect to pay $8 or more. So yes, the $12 Imperial Sampler at Rose & Crown in Epcot’s UK Pavilion is a relative bargain. Here you get five pours of what I’d estimate to be around 5 ounces each: Bass Ale, Harp Lager, Strongbow Cider, Boddingtons English Pub Ale and Guinness Stout. It’s a nice assortment of imported drinks, probably equal to drinking a couple beers and costs just $3 more than what you would pay for a single pint of any of these selections. As far as drinking bargains go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the late afternoon happy hour specials at a couple places in Disney Springs: House of Blues and the Hole in the Wall Bar near Raglan Road.

Dessert: Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich, Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, $7.49

waffle
Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich

Technically, this isn’t an actual dessert, but when you’ve been filling up on heavy cupcakes and ice cream all week, something like this offering at Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom can be a refreshing change of pace. Once again, this is a dish that’s easily shared (use a knife and fork rather than eating it like a sandwich). There’s no skimping on the fruit here, with plenty of strawberries, bananas and blueberries on top of a fluffy waffle smeared with Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread. It’s a great combination that isn’t entirely empty calories, and there’s something to be said for that.

So those are my picks for dining values at Walt Disney World. I’m sure you have favorites of your own. Please share them in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Dining values at Walt Disney World

  • July 5, 2016 at 7:30 am
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    Thanks for the suggestions, but the BOG braised pork is now $16.99 and the Sleepy Hollow fruit and Nutella waffle is $7.49, per the menus on Disney’s site. I’ve found the TP menus usually to be accurate, but I’m a little surprised to see BOG hadn’t been updated since January.

    Reply
    • July 5, 2016 at 10:32 am
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      Thanks for the corrections. I’m disappointed that the BOG braised pork had a $2 price increase, but that speaks to the popularity of the restaurant. You’re going to pay more there than your typical quick service lunch, but you’re still going to get the experience of dining in the Beast’s Castle, spending much less than you would for dinner.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2016 at 9:27 am
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    Articles like this are why I haven’t used the dining plan since my kids became Disney ‘adults”. You can eat much, much cheaper with much more variety.

    Some of our favourites:

    Magic Kingdom: Table Service: The Plaza, Quick Service: Pinnochios (pizza)
    Epcot: Table Service: Via Napoli (pizza), Quick Service: Tangerine Cafe
    Animal Kingdom: Quick Service: Yak and Yeti express or Flame Tree BBQ
    HS: Table Service: 50s or Sci Fi Diner, Quick Service: Sunset Ranch Market or Starring Rolls

    Reply
    • July 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm
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      Want to save money and eat good food.
      Order pizza/ any type of meal, from a local restaurant or pizza place off
      Disney property (such as Giordanos ).
      The front desk will be happy to supply you with a list of places or just google them.
      They are more than happy to deliver it to you however, per disney policy you must meet the delivery person in the lobby.
      Remember to ask for plates,utinsels
      And drinks they will bring it all to you. There are also grocery stores that will deliver groceries to you.

      Hope this helps, It worked for us !

      Reply
      • July 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm
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        We get grocery delivery for every trip. With a DVC room the kitchen, be it mini fridge and microwave in studios or full kitchen in larger suites, we make use of them.

      • July 6, 2016 at 12:35 am
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        That’s a great option, especially if you’re relying on Disney transportation and don’t have the luxury of your own vehicle.

  • July 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm
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    My personal favorite is in magic kingdom. There is an ice cream shop on main Street sells a two scoop Sundae for around seven bucks. I think it’s Edy’s ice cream plenty big enough to skip lunch if you are having an early dinner.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2016 at 3:13 pm
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    Braised pork kids meal at BOG is enough food for probably 90% of adults, and compared to most kids meals at WDW- it’s actual food.

    Reply

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