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New Disney Dining Plan Restaurants for 2012: 2012 Dining Plan Update

Walt Disney World photo
by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 01-27-2012
  

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Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Dining  

One thing you can always guarantee about Disney, it’s full of surprises.


So perhaps it should really have come as no surprise when they announced changes to their popular Dining Plan for 2012.

The Disney Dining Plan has been run for a number of years, most recently with three plans to choose from. The first, the Quick-Service Dining Plan, gives you two counter-service meal credits and one snack credit per person per night of your stay. The Basic Dining Plan comes with one snack credit, one counter-service meal credit, and one table-service meal credit for each night of your stay for each person. The final plan, the Deluxe, gives you three meal credits, usable for either counter- or table-service meals, and two snack credits per person per night. All the plans also come with a refillable beverage mug (refillable at your resort only) for each person on each plan.

How you use these credits is entirely up to you, but until details of the 2012 Disney Dining Plan were revealed, there were a number of restaurants that had never been options before. In particular, Downtown Disney was lacking in Dining Plan restaurants, something which had always personally disappointed me. That’s now been corrected.

Taking a look around Downtown Disney, there are two new Signature restaurants added to the line-up. Signature Dining Experiences require using two table-service meal credits per person, and these are generally the finer dining options at Disney. The two new Downtown Disney additions are no exception, although they don’t come with the same dress codes that some of the other Signature restaurants do.



Downtown Disney - Portobello photo
Downtown Disney - Portobello

The newly remodelled Portobello. - photo by chezp

The first is Fulton’s Crab House, a place that serves up, as you’d suspect from the name, the most amazing seafood. The prices are pretty amazing too, particularly on the dinner menu, which has always put us off from anything but lunch. You can bet we’ll finally be trying out dinner, compliments of the Dining Plan. Fulton's has  some superb views across the lake at Downtown Disney. The last time we were there for lunch, it was lovely to be able to stare out across to the Rainforest Cafe and take in the beauty of the location. The only negative is that we did find it quite noisy, with its wood flooring.

The other Signature Dining option here is the Wolfgang Puck Dining Room, which is upstairs from Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe. It’s been a number of years since we last ate here, but our dinner was quite something. The Dining Room lends itself more to the atmosphere of a traditional Signature restaurant, as it was fairly quiet on the night we ate there. We found it to be a very romantic location, with a wonderful menu. Perhaps this is another one we’ll head back to.

All the other Dining Plan additions at Downtown Disney are one-credit locations, and there’s certainly a mixture of cuisines and atmospheres to be found here! I’m delighted to see T-Rex join the Dining Plan line-up, as we’ve been more impressed than we thought we would be by their food, and the atmosphere is superb in here. Even if you don’t want to dine here, you should at least have a look inside to see what they’ve done. The portions are certainly filling, and I have to be honest, you either need to head here hungry or have a big appetite to make full use of your dining credits. I’m personally satisfied with the Supersaurus appetiser sampler, and nothing else, as I find the entrees too much to manage.

Their sister restaurant, also operated by Landry’s Restaurant, is the Rainforest Cafe, and both their Downtown Disney, and Animal Kingdom locations have been added to the Dining Plan. We’ve never dined at either at Disney, although we’ve visited the London location several times now. Again, it’s another fun family location for a well-themed meal that will keep the family entertained.

The next two options are very different, offering some unusual cuisine. The name, Bongos Cuban Cafe, gives you just a small clue as to the cuisine you can expect to get here. Never having tried Cuban cuisine, I was unsure about it when we visited a couple of years ago, but I was pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors we experienced. It wasn’t a bad meal at all, although my abiding memory is how quiet it was, although admittedly we were eating at a traditional “off” time, during the late afternoon. Perhaps its introduction on to the Dining Plan will help to deal with that issue?

Paradiso 37 features cuisine from the 37 countries of the Americas, and during our lunch there, we enjoyed our meals, again finding them full of flavor and unusual, although the service left a bit to be desired. I thought at the time that it was an interesting concept, but did wonder about how widespread its appeal would be to Disney’s audience. Like Bongos, perhaps that’s why it’s joined the Dining Plan?

The House of Blues is a more traditional option, offering Cajun and Creole dishes, although sadly my memories of our meal here are mixed, as I wasn’t feeling well during our dinner, meaning I was restricted to a salad. However, there were certainly good comments about the food my fellow diners enjoyed.

To me, one of the hidden gems at Downtown Disney is Portobello, which specialises in Italian dishes. We’ve had a couple of wonderful meals in here, and we’ve found the atmosphere to be very pleasant, while the food is superb. Again, we’ve found it to be quieter than we expected, and hopefully this place will now become known to a much larger audience with its addition to the Dining Plan. It’s certainly worth checking out, as in our experience, you won’t be disappointed by what you find.

The final table-service restaurant to be added to the 2012 Dining Plan is another signature restaurant, and one that, to date, we’ve never sampled. Bistro de Paris is located in Epcot's France, and is hidden away upstairs from the hustle and bustle of Chefs de France. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place, although its lack of inclusion on the Dining Plan has been one reason for not trying it. I’ve already made it clear to my husband that this is going to change on our December 2012 trip, as I can’t wait to try it!

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what you can expect to find at the new table-service additions to the 2012 Dining Plan. I’m delighted at this pleasant surprise, and can’t wait to sample what some of them have to offer on our next trip.




Downtown Disney - Marketplace - Fulton's Crab House photo
Downtown Disney - Marketplace - Fulton's Crab House

This is a photo of the front side of Fulton's Crab House in the Marketplace at Downtown Disney. - photo by DeBestWife




About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:
Veggie Dining At Disney - Table Service Locations last updated 12/11/2008
Veggie Dining At Disney - Counter Service Locations last updated 12/04/2008
The Kosher Traveler At Walt Disney World - A Guide last updated 02/05/2009
Dining at Walt Disney World - An Introduction last updated 2/5/2009
Yachtsman Steakhouse From a Vegetarian's Point of View - A Dining Review last updated 5/14/2009




Reader Comments:


I thought the QSDP went down to 1 snack credit this year? Did they stick with the 2 snack credits....that's great!

I actually just looked up the pdf and it still says 1 snack credit per QSDP night :( I'm really hoping that it's just not been updated and your article is correct in stating 2 snack credits remain....we love using those at F&W.

     TheRatPack on January 26, 2012 @ 8:32 pm
I noticed this article says the Quick Service Dining Plan includes 2 snack credits per person per night, but I believe for 2012 they have reduced it to 1 snack credit per person per night. :-(

Oops! Sorry, RatPack, I didn't see your post before I wrote this comment!

     Disneydork on January 26, 2012 @ 11:20 pm
Sorry you are entirely right - I don't know how that one slipped through. My apologies. :blushing:

     chezp on January 27, 2012 @ 1:30 am
Fixed! smiley for :)

     Belle* on January 27, 2012 @ 6:42 am
Well Pooh! I was hoping they'd left it at 2.....guess we'll either have to upgrade or pay for that second snack.

     TheRatPack on January 27, 2012 @ 2:36 pm
There were changes to the dinning plans for 2012 that were not mentioned. 2 that I know of is that they have decreased the number of snacks from 2 to 1 for the quick service plan, but did not increase the price. And added the refillable mug for the regular dinning plan ( 1 snack, 1 counter service, 1 table service).

Thanks,

     pandao on January 30, 2012 @ 11:34 pm
and our TA just printed out the new plan and it looks like the basic dining plan included appetizer, entree and dessert again. is that correct?

     oldmom on January 31, 2012 @ 12:03 am
pandao;3867291 >There were changes to the dinning plans for 2012 that were not mentioned. 2 that I know of is that they have decreased the number of snacks from 2 to 1 for the quick service plan, but did not increase the price. And added the refillable mug for the regular dinning plan ( 1 snack, 1 counter service, 1 table service).
Thanks,


A couple of people had already pointed out about the number of snack credits for the quick service dining plan, which is a mistake in the original article.

The refillable mug is mentioned as being in all the dining plans. The introduction paragraph was intended to be just that, an introduction to the idea of the various dining plans, rather than looking at what was different to previous years, with the main bulk of the article focusing on the new restaurants for 2012. smiley for :)

     chezp on January 31, 2012 @ 1:28 am
oldmom;3867301 >and our TA just printed out the new plan and it looks like the basic dining plan included appetizer, entree and dessert again. is that correct?

Not as far as I can see from the Disney print out of the basic dining plan - it still says entree and dessert for lunch and dinner. Admittedly, this is the UK version, so if the US version is any different, then that would be very interesting and the first time Disney had done that...

     chezp on January 31, 2012 @ 1:30 am
how strange, its on the one she gave us. i'll have to call and ask. it seemed odd.

     oldmom on January 31, 2012 @ 7:39 am
An appetizer is not included on the basic Dining Plan for 2012. :no They do refer to an "appetizer" as being included in the Kids Menu in some places but this is not a traditional appetizer, just some fruit in most cases.

     Belle* on January 31, 2012 @ 10:10 am
chezp;3867333 >A couple of people had already pointed out about the number of snack credits for the quick service dining plan, which is a mistake in the original article.

The refillable mug is mentioned as being in all the dining plans. The introduction paragraph was intended to be just that, an introduction to the idea of the various dining plans, rather than looking at what was different to previous years, with the main bulk of the article focusing on the new restaurants for 2012. smiley for :)


I appreciate the new restaurants being focused and in no way was I trying to start a thread on '2011 versus 2012' but it looks like I did...sorry. I was just excited really as I thought that maybe Disney had given up the idea of removing that extra snack....sorry again that I kind of turned your article in to something other than what it was intended to be.

     TheRatPack on February 1, 2012 @ 6:31 am
TheRatPack;3868220 >I appreciate the new restaurants being focused and in no way was I trying to start a thread on '2011 versus 2012' but it looks like I did...sorry. I was just excited really as I thought that maybe Disney had given up the idea of removing that extra snack....sorry again that I kind of turned your article in to something other than what it was intended to be.

No problem whatsoever! smiley for :) I'm just sorry the mistake about the snack credits crept in in the first place and got people's hopes up... :(

     chezp on February 1, 2012 @ 1:42 pm
Woo Hoo.... I am just super excited to see new restaurants added to the DDP, especially T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe, as we have wanted to try those, but have always been on the DP. This Fall we are headed to WDW with 12..6 adults and 6 kids..and we will definitely be trying some new food spots smiley for :)smiley for :)smiley for :)

     rmanzer on February 15, 2012 @ 8:54 am
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Updated 01-27-2012 - Article #772 



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