Published: July 7, 2014 at 11:12 AMSo happy to see all my favorite places at Universal on this list! They do a great job with all their full service restaurants and deserve a little recognition :-).
Published: July 7, 2014 at 11:18 AMEveryone made the list except for animal kingdom and seaworld.
Published: July 7, 2014 at 11:48 AMNow, I'm very excited to try Monsieur Paul.
Published: July 7, 2014 at 2:17 PMI'm hoping that the weekly lists will encourage more rating and reviewing on the listings section of the website. We get great traffic here on the blog, but I want to make sure that all our blog readers know that we've got this wonderful resource up there under the "Park Guides" link at the top of the page, too.
Published: July 7, 2014 at 2:57 PMI always enjoy lists like these since it informs me of places to go. I respect this list, but I do have to disagree. While Harry Potter is leaving Disney in the dust, it certainly isn't in the food category. I think Mythos is the best at Universal, but it might not make my list. It is good, no doubt, but Boma and many other places at Disney are way in front of it. Also, you have the themed restaurants like Biergarten which are amazingly fun with great food. The last time we ate at Biergarten, there was a couple that comes to Orlando once a year just to eat there. I suppose the restaurants in the hotels do not count, and I understand that, but you could have a great time just eating at Epcot and doing nothing else. I would love to see Universal embrace its parks with better dining that is themed. Dinner in Dracula's castle (with wine, of course) would be awesome. Please, however, don't sacrifice those awesome attractions with restaurants, though.
Published: July 7, 2014 at 3:09 PMWas curious if Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld got edged out by fractions of point by Confisco
Published: July 7, 2014 at 8:04 PMRemember, these are based on OUR ratings. So if your favorite restaurant didn't make the cut, or wasn't as high as you'd have thought, ask yourself one question:
Do you feel lucky? Well, do you punk?
No. Ask yourself "did I vote for/review my favorite restaurant?" and if your answer is no, then that's something you might consider rectifying in the future.
My favorite restaurant in Orlando is Le Cellier, so it was up there, but not quite as high as I'd have liked. I can't really argue with the list as a whole. I haven't been to Lombard's, Confisco, or Monsieur Paul so I can't really say.
Published: July 7, 2014 at 9:27 PMThe dining selection is excellent, but extremely expensive. For the most part, you should perhaps visit one or two top rated restaurants if this is important to you and you can afford it and you have a discerning palate. Otherwise it matters little if you skip them. Frankly, I found the Disney Dining Plan to be an excellent value and I highly recommend it if you want the full Disney Experience by eating a table service meal every day. The value is more increased at characters meals and very popular locations including "Be My Guest". You can combine points to eat at the "Brown Derby".
I am very interested in trying out the restaurants at Dragon Alley and Hogwarts.
Published: July 8, 2014 at 11:39 AMA lot of great restaurants on the list, and I'll definitely have to take the time to add ratings from my recent trip. I'd recommend against buying the Disney Dining plan, at least without doing the math to see how it will work for your specific eating plans. We did 7 days at WDW, plus a day each at Universal, SeaWorld, and Siesta Key, each day with one table service meal, a counter service lunch and a counter service breakfast. Since all the menus are online, we were able to determine what we would likely spend each day on food based on what restaurants we planned to visit. For us, we found that the per person food costs (including the non-Disney days) would total $1274.67 with the Delux Dining Plan, $941.49 with the Standard Dining Plan, and $590 with no Dining Plan. There are likely scenarios where the dining plans make financial sense, but make sure to do the math yourself to ensure you're actually getting a deal.
Published: July 8, 2014 at 2:21 PMThe universal restaurants on the list actually have very reasonable pricing for sit down restaurants. Meals there are not much more than the quick service establishments. I've eaten at all four Universal sit downs on the list and the food was very good and a good value. And you just can't beat the theme & sight lines at Mythos.
Published: July 8, 2014 at 4:21 PMSince you did the math, you arrived at "$941.49 with the Standard Dining Plan" for a 10 days per person. This is rather high. The Disney Dining Plan costs $60 per person per day. For 7 days, this means you pay $420 per person. The balance is $521.49 that I assume you're paying for breakfast and the 3 extra days at other theme parks.
The Disney Dining Plan doesn't pay-off for breakfast. There is more value from lunch and dinner since they include the drink, entree and dessert. Breakfast omits the dessert. Plus, the more expensive entrees are for lunch and dinner. Since the quick and table service meals are quite filling, I am usually not hungry in the morning. A snack for breakfast is sufficient. Some hotel rooms offer refrigerators. I store my breakfast snacks there for convenience.
It's a big mistake to call the Disney Dining Plan a deal. It is not. It is a pre-paid meal plan that ensures that your 2 meals (lunch and dinner), 1 snack, and 1 resort mug is covered in a trip where it is already extremely expensive to eat there. In my own analysis, I am likely ahead at least $10 per day, but sometimes I could be behind depending on where I eat. On average, you expect to get your money's worth. This is fine since you don't know if Disney will inadvertently increase prices.
One thing to keep in mind, Disney already makes its money from the food. There is tremendous mark-up on the food at the restaurants. Disney is pricing their dining plans based on what customers are ordering on average. They aren't losing money, nor are they profiting much more by offering the plans. Customers will know if they are gouged from the dining plan itself and will avoid it if they think it isn't a good deal.
Doing the math for vacation is fine, but it is still a vacation. If you really want to save money, skip some table service restaurants and bring an occasional snack. You can also use your snack credits for breakfast. I believe I benefited from the plans, which is why I recommend it.
Published: July 12, 2014 at 9:41 AMIt's not a fun vacation when you have to learn where and when you can eat with the Disney Dining Plan. It's like a college meal plan you have to eat huge amounts of food to cover your cost and you have to learn where it's accepted. Plus to book the more popular restaurants you have to book and plan at least 6 months out or even more.
The majority of theme park restaurants are built for quick service and high volume. There are better cheaper restaurants on yelp.