When the Disney Dining Plan first rolled out, it was rare to find a restaurant that required 2 table service credits to cover the meal. However, with the rise of fine dining options at Disney, we have also seen the rise of meals that are more expensive – both out of pocket and in terms of the Dining Plan. This can definitely be hard to navigate around if you’re trying to make dining reservations for a first time visit. Which ones require more credits and how do you know?
Lucky for you, I’ve broken down ALL the dining options that require 2 credits. In addition, I’ve provided alternatives for you if spending 2 dining credits on a meal is not something you’re interested in doing. You’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to get your dream dining reservations and budget your credits accordingly!
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There are only two dining experiences in the Magic Kingdom that require 2 dining credits. The first is Cinderella’s Royal Table character dining experience. While you’re eating, Disney princesses come to your table and interact with you, giving you a one of a kind experience you can’t get at other meet and greets! The food is one of the better rated menus in the park as well. Be Our Guest is not a TRUE character dining experience, but you do get to take a picture with the master of the castle before you are seated.
It should be noted that Be Our Guest only requires 2 dining credits for dinner. Dinner is a table service meal, whereas the breakfast and lunch options are both 1 credit quick service meals. The reason they upped the dining credits is (probably) due to high demand, but also because of the fixed course French menu and customized dessert platters.
One thing that Disney does really well is character dining. Thankfully, there are a few options that are only 1 dining credit, and will still make kids faces (or adults!) light up! If meeting princesses is your thing, check out Akerhaus at Epcot. A variety of princesses meet and greet guests on a daily basis at this Norwegian inspired restaurant. This is one of my personal favorites! Don’t worry if you have picky eaters – there’s plenty of Mickey waffles and mac and cheese to go around, despite the theming.
If you need to stay in the Magic Kingdom to fit in with touring plans, I recommend The Crystal Palace. Winnie the Pooh and friends meet guests all through at the day at this buffet meal. If you want to meet up with Mickey and Friends, Chef Mickey’s character dining is just a monorail ride away at The Contemporary Resort!
The most coveted restaurant reservations at Walt Disney World can be found in Epcot. Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion was one of the hardest reservations to acquire! Because of this, they upped the prices. However, people still flock to this restaurant for their legendary steaks and rib eyes. Another fine dining option in World Showcase is Monsieur Paul. This gourmet dining experience is named after the French chef Paul Bocuse, and the fancy French dishes like black-truffle soup and escargot bring foodies to this classy restaurant daily. Both of these options are formal dining options, so don’t expect to be let in with your sneakers and Mickey ears. If you’re looking for some of the quietest and classiest dining options, though, these spots are for you!
You don’t have to spend 2 dining credits and show up in black tie to get a good steak at Disney World! Toldeo – Tapas, Steak and Seafood is one of the newest Disney Dining options. It is opening at the top of the new Gran Destino tower at Coronado Springs resort, this restaurant serves up fancy dishes with a Spanish twist. Bonus – it’s just one dining credit! If you’re looking for more of a seafood option, and need to stick around Epcot, check out Coral Reef Restaurant. Not only is it just 1 credit with great seafood, but it has a spectacular aquarium setting.
There’s only one restaurant at Hollywood Studios where you need to spend 2 dining credits. The Hollywood Brown Derby is modeled after the restaurants of the same name from the Golden Age of Hollywood. When you step inside, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of 1940’s California. Unfortunately that upscale experience comes with a price. 2 credits will get you access to some delicious food though. Additionally, you can get the Fantasmic! dining package here as well as the special “Dine with an Imagineer” dining, so it really is a one of a kind restaurant!
If you’re looking for a dining package and upscale food, check out Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. You don’t even have to leave the park! I picked this one as an alternative because it still has the fancy feel and delicious pasta dishes – at a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can get the Fantasmic! dining package at this restaurant as well. It’s the perfect choice if you want more of a selection when it comes to main courses, as well as the benefit of the dining package!
Animal Kingdom also has only one restaurant that requires 2 dining credits. The beloved Tiffins restaurant is a unique, upscale dining experience in the most unique Disney park. The theming of this restaurant is inspired by the traveling that the Disney Imagineers who developed Animal Kingdom experienced. The menu specializes in Pan-Asian dishes and seafood.
There’s two great restaurants to experience in Animal Kingdom if you’re looking for Asian or African flavors – Tusker House and Yak and Yeti are two great alternatives. Tusker House as more African inspired dishes, whereas Yak and Yeti is geared towards Asian cuisine. Tusker House even has new dining packages for the River of Light nighttime show! They may not have the most upscale menu, but both restaurants have the theming DOWN and provide one of a kind experiences.
Disney Resort Restaurants
Restaurants around the Walt Disney World resort off a number of fancy dining options. Primarily, these restaurants are fine dining atmospheres with steak and seafood dominating the menu. California Grill is high in demand due to its great location. Situated at the Contemporary resort, this restaurant provides excellent views of the Magic Kingdom. Naturally, dining times during the fireworks shows are completely packed. Citricos, which is down the lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, has an amazing selection of pasta and seafood dishes with a Mediterranean twist. For more of a classic New England style seafood joint, you’ll find Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian is the place to be.
Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk specializes in – well, fish! This is a great place to go if you’re a fan of fresh caught selections like swordfish, but there are great steaks and other meat dishes on this menu as well. If you take a walk around the boardwalk you’ll find the Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. This is THE place to go if you’re craving a fantastic sirloin or porterhouse. Across the world at Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll find Jiko – The Cooking Place. Here you’ll find super unique dishes like wild-boar tenderloins. Talk about a cultural experience!
If you’re really craving Italian food, check out Tony’s Town Square Restaurant down the road from the Grand Floridian at the Magic Kingdom. This restaurant is inspired by Lady and the Tramp, and they’ve really improved the menu in the last few years. At the Yacht Club Resort, you can get seafood for half the price at Ale and Compass Restaurant without even leaving the resort! They also have a great breakfast buffet. Finally, while it may not have the fancy steaks you can find at the other restaurants, ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort is a dining experience not to be missed. People rave about this character dining experience (at breakfast only) centered around Hawaiian culture. If you can’t get to Aulani – this is a close second!
The Boathouse at the Landing in Disney Springs has amazing seafood, but the architecture of the restaurant is what really makes it stand out. Just about every kind of seafood platter can be found here, so if you’re really craving some fresh lobster or shrimp, head on over. Also in the Landing is STK Orlando, which is a sleek restaurant catering more to millenials that has amazing steaks on the menu. Trendier options like sliders are also available, once again showing Disney’s dedication to the younger generation. Paddlefish is another seafood restaurant that took the place of the old Fulton’s Crab House. This restaurant is also very aesthetically pleasing, as the restaurant itself is in a real riverboat that will instantly remind you of the Mark Twain riverboat. Finally, the Landing is also home to Morimoto Asia. This restaurant is fantastic if you’re looking for some of the highest quality Asian fusion food at Walt Disney World.
Disney Springs has some great restaurants hidden in it’s vast selection of dining options! One of my favorites is Paradiso 37 – Taste of the Americas. You’ll find American inspired flavors from North, Central and South America. Any picky eater can find something new to try on the menu. Also, who says you HAVE to eat on the riverboat to get a good view of the lake? We sat near the back of the patio at this restaurant and had an amazing view!
Another get place to get ethnic food that is an alternative to Morimoto Asia is Bongos Cuban Café. This Cuban restaurant not only has amazing dishes but also has that classic Havana theme you’ll find if you visit the actual country of Cuba. Finally, an alternative to the pricey pasta dishes is Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante. They even serve brunch if you’re having a late day at the parks!
When it comes to Disney dining, there are SO many options it’s hard to go through them all! If you need more information on Disney dining and all the restaurants available, I recommend The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. They break down every single dining option for you so you can make the perfect plans for your party. Going to Disneyland? There’s a guide for that too!
What is your favorite alternative to the pricey options at Disney? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter! You’ll get my FREE WDW Prep Checklist when you sign up!