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This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog.


JF-BrownDerby

There are a ton of great places to eat on Disney property and I’ve tried most of them (and I’m working on the ones I haven’t!), but what if you just want drinks and a quick, sweet snack later at night? The good news is, most restaurants have a bar attached or nearby that serves the restaurant’s menu. I’ve compiled a list here which is by no means complete, but I think it’s close to the best choices for a quick late night nosh on property.

5.  Brown Derby Lounge in Disney Hollywood Studios (pictured above).

Confession: This location, part of one of my favorite signature restaurants, is kind of a cheat: You’re not exactly in the restaurant. Instead, you’ll eat outside in the lounge area, a pretty little walk-up place that lets you people watch and snack. It’s especially nice in the early evening, when you’re “snack” hungry but want something a little more upscale than a Mickey Bar or a carrot cake cookie. Bonus: If you want something that’s not sweet, they have great tapas-style plates.

4.  Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot’s UK Pavilion.

Well, it’s a British-style pub so it’s kind of a given that you’ll find great beers on tap plus a lively crowd that gets even livelier after dark, but if you’ve got a hankering for something sweet, try the Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s a caramel, moist, pudding-like British tradition that deserves your attention right now if you haven’t tried it yet.  Oh, and don’t share. I mean, share your beer if you must, but keep the dessert to yourself.

Do you ever find yourself doing something in a Disney park you wouldn’t do anywhere else? Like how you rationalize eating an entire cupcake as big as your head? Or putting pink glitter in your hair? Well don’t feel alone. There are thousands of other guests who share your secret shame. Now, I’m not saying I do all of these, but let’s just say I’m, ahem, familiar with the following:

10.  Hunting down the biggest snack that will count as your snack credit.

And why wouldn’t you? If you want to beat The Mouse at the dining plan, you’re practically obligated to do so.

kitchen sink

9.  Feeding the kids a Kitchen Sink for dinner.

Six months later when the kids are complaining about having to do their homework and eat vegetables and how you’re the worst parent ever, whip out those pictures and silence them (almost) immediately.

Using the Disney dining plan isn’t as straight-forward as simply walking into a restaurant and handing over your Key to the World Card: While all credits are created equal, not everything you buy will be. While it’s obvious that missing meals is essentially throwing money away, so is using a snack credit for a soda. Fortunately, using the plan effectively is actually quite easy. Here are the top ten tricks that will help you get the most out of the plan:

10. Use your dining plan for character meals and other more expensive dining locations. Look at it this way: For guests 10-years old and up, the dining plan costs $56 per person per night: This gives you a table service, meal, a quick service meal, a snack, and a refillable mug. If you estimate $4 for a snack, and $14 for a quick-service meal, you still need to “spend” $38 on your table-service meal that day. That’s not difficult to do if you’re eating dinner at location like Boma or Ohana, but if you’re eating at Via Napoli or 50s Prime Time Café, your tab is going to come in at around $30 per person. Not only did you not break even that day, you actually lost money.

9. Pay out of pocket for less expensive meals and you avoid the scenario above. This only works if you plan on eating more table-service meals than you’re actually allotted on the plan.

8. Avoid using your snack credits for drinks. As noted above, the dining plan works best when you save your credits for more expensive items, so save your credits for items cupcakes or ice cream (both $4 or more) and pay out of pocket for your drinks (usually under $3).