Walt Disney World dining packages and dessert parties: Are they worth the price?

in Disney, Food, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

disney world dining packages

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Walt Disney World offers a variety of amazing entertainment for guests of all ages, from nighttime shows to epic fireworks. To make your viewing experience more accessible and convenient, Disney offers guests the opportunity to book reserved entertainment seating in advance through Dining Packages and Dessert Parties. Dining Packages allow guests to dine on a price-fixed meal at a qualifying Walt Disney World restaurant and then view a nighttime show from a specified viewing area. Dessert Parties provide guests with a variety of sweet treats, snacks, and drinks to enjoy before or after viewing fireworks in an exclusive area.

Both Dining Packages and Dessert Parties are offered at set prices for adults and children, although these prices can be pretty steep. The question is: is getting a reserved spot for a nighttime show worth paying the hefty price tag? Let’s break down the pros and cons of Dining Packages and Dessert Parties to figure out which ones you’re better off skipping and which ones are worth it.

Benefits of Dining Packages and Dessert Parties

There are many reasons why Walt Disney World visitors purchase Dining Packages and Dessert parties for their vacations, perhaps the most popular being the convenience and peace of mind that come with having a reserved seat for a popular nighttime show. Some Dining Packages allow guests to use only one Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, so if you already like the restaurant you will be eating at for the Dining Package, then using one credit could make it worth it. Most Dessert Parties provide guests with an all-you-care-to-enjoy dessert, snack, and beverage buffet, making them more valuable to dessert and snack lovers (especially when they offer more unique or themed foods). All in all, Dining Packages and Dessert Parties keep attracting guests time and time again because of the convenience they offer.

But are they worth it?

Prices vary depending on the Dining Package and Dessert Party that you choose, but generally adult prices can range anywhere from around $35 to around $80 per person. Of course, not all Dining Packages and Dessert Parties are created equal, and although guests’ preferences can vary, there are some options that are more valuable than others.

If you are on the Disney Dining Plan and you are able to purchase a Dining Package using only one Table Service credit and no additional cost, then that Dining Package is going to be worth it for you because it will cost you the same as it would if you were just eating at the restaurant without receiving the reserved entertainment viewing. For example, you can use one Table Service credit to dine at Tusker House and receive reserved seating for Rivers of Light.

Some Dining Packages are worth it if they provide access to an experience that you are truly looking forward to, such as a live concert at Epcot. If you’re visiting Epcot during one of the festivals that offer live concerts, then it may be worth it for you to pay out of pocket for a Dining Package so you can have reserved seating for a musical performance that you want to make sure you see. Since Epcot concert series Dining Packages will typically cost two Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan, then this is a Dining Package you would only want to pay for out of pocket, if you want to get your money’s worth.

If you are paying out of pocket for a Dining Package or Dessert Party, then you want to consider everything you are getting in what you pay for: food, entertainment, and any extras. For example, the Fantasmic! Dining Package or Dessert Party isn’t ever going to be worth the steep price for either when getting a FastPass for Fantasmic! is almost guaranteed to be accessible for your party. The Dining Package is only worth it if you are on the Dining Plan and only need one Table Service credit, but the Dessert Party doesn’t offer an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet, so you better skip that one.

Some Dining Packages and Dessert Parties include more than just food and reserved seating for entertainment, but their higher price doesn’t always make them worth it. For example, the Festival of the Lion King Dining Package Tier 1 includes reserved seating for Festival of the Lion King, a three-course meal at Tiffins, and a guided safari tour. However, considering the high price point of $99 for adults and $49 for children (and the fact that you can easily FastPass Festival of the Lion King and the safari), it would be less expensive for you to pay out of pocket for a meal at Tiffins instead. 

So when purchasing a Dining Package and Dessert Party, evaluate how many people you are traveling with and whether or not it will be worth it for everyone attending the event. While they can be convenient, they aren’t always worth the price.

IllumiNations Dining Package
Image copyright Disney

Dining Package with the best value

If you’re paying out of pocket and not using Dining Plan credits, the Dining Package with the best value is arguably the Rivers of Light Dining Package for breakfast at Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The cash price is equal to the price of each meal without the reserved VIP seating. Plus, if you make a breakfast reservation for late morning at around 10 a.m. and you stay until after lunch begins, then you will have access to the breakfast and lunch buffets for only the breakfast price, which is less than lunch and dinner. And since this is a character meal, you are automatically getting great value if you are traveling with your family or you love meeting Disney characters, since you won’t have to wait in line to meet them.

Dessert Party with the best value

Given the price and what is included in every Dessert Party offered at Walt Disney World, the Dessert Party with the best value is arguably the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at Epcot. At $79 for adults and $49 for children, this Dessert Party is not inexpensive by any means. However, when you look at what is included, it’s probably more worth it for you to attend this Dessert Party than any other on Disney property.

Guests will receive access to an all-you-care-to-enjoy dessert, snack, and beverage buffet, which includes foods that are themed to “Frozen.” You will have a special VIP viewing area of IllumiNations, and after the fireworks, you will be escorted to the Norway Pavilion to ride Frozen Ever After, an attraction that is notoriously difficult to snag a FastPass for and generally has a very long wait time. If you’re a “Frozen” fan, you love dessert, and you want to pay for an experience that will give you more than just a good view of the fireworks, then this party is likely your best option.

If you want to take a look at all of the Dining Packages and Dessert Parties to decide which is right for you, below is a list of every Dining Package and Dessert Party at Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World Dining Packages

disney world dining packages
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Fantasmic! Dining Package

Choose to dine at one of three participating restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and receive a voucher for reserved VIP seating for Fantasmic! in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Your meal will include one entrée, non-alcoholic beverage, and dessert, or one buffet meal.

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano:

  • Lunch/dinner — $43 for adults and $18 for children, or one Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan

Hollywood & Vine:

  • Breakfast — $46 for adults and $28 for children, or one Table Service credit
  • Lunch/dinner — $60 for adults and $36 for children, or one Table Service credit

The Hollywood Brown Derby:

  • Lunch/dinner —$63 for adults and $22 for children, or two Table Service credits

Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package

This package includes a meal at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Magic Kingdom for lunch and reserved viewing for Festival of Fantasy in the afternoon. Your meal will include an appetizer, entrée, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage. This Dining Package costs $54 for adults and $19 for children, or one Table Service credit.

Festival of the Lion King Signature Dining Package

There are two options for this dining package: Tier 1 and Tier 2. Each option provides you with VIP seating for Festival of the Lion King and a three-course meal at Tiffins, the signature restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. However, Tier 1 also includes a guided safari tour, making it the more expensive option.

Tier 1: Lunch/dinner — $99 for adults and $49 for children.

Tier 2: Lunch/dinner — $74 for adults and $29 for children. 

Rivers of Light Dining Package

Choose between two participating restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and receive a voucher for VIP seating for Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A meal at Tusker House will include a buffet meal, while a meal at Tiffins will include an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

Tusker House:

  • Breakfast — $39 for adults and $24 for children, or one Table Service dining credit
  • Lunch/dinner — $52 for adults and $32 for children, or one Table Service dining credit

Tiffins:

  • Lunch/dinner — $67 for adults and $26 for children, or two Table Service dining credits

IllumiNations Dining Package

Epcot just introduced the IllumiNations Dining Package, which provides guests with a dinner at Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot’s U.K. Pavilion and views of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks as they dine. The meal includes a price-fixed menu and a selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This meal is $85 for adults and $35 for children. This dining package is not eligible for the Dining Plan.

Candlelight Processional Dining Package

During the holiday season, Epcot offers a Dining Package for the Candlelight Processional. Lunch and dinner dining packages are available for a wide variety of restaurants in Epcot. Each Candlelight Processional Dining Package includes one appetizer, one entrée, one dessert and your choice of non-alcoholic beverage at select full-service restaurants (or one full buffet where applicable). All dining packages include guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional. Pricing information is not currently available, but Walt Disney World will publish pricing on the official website closer to the holiday season.

Concert Series Dining Package

Epcot also offers Dining Packages during the theme park’s seasonal festivals, such as Flower & Garden and Food & Wine, that provide guests with reserved seating for one of the many concerts during the festivals.

For example, the Garden Rocks Concert Series Dining Package includes breakfast, lunch, or dinner at one of the participating restaurants in Epcot, as well as guaranteed seating for one of the three concerts that day. Each meal varies in price, or you can use two Table Service credits on the Dining Plan. Below are the participating restaurants and meal prices for the Garden Rocks Concert Series Dining Package.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Norway Pavilion:

  • Breakfast — $63 for adults and $38 for kids
  • Lunch/dinner — $73 for adults and $44 for kids

Biergarten Restaurant, Germany Pavilion:

  • Lunch/dinner — $55 for adults and $31 for kids

Chefs de France, France Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $72 for adults and $19 for kids
  • Dinner — $80 for adults and $25 for kids

Coral Reef Restaurant, The Living Seas Pavilion:

  • Lunch/dinner — $67 for adults and $22 for kids

The Garden Grill Restaurant, The Land Pavilion:

  • Breakfast — $49 for adults and $30 for kids
    Lunch/dinner — $63 for adults and $38 for kids

La Hacienda de San Angel, Mexico Pavilion:

  • Dinner — $82 for adults and $25.75 for kids

Nine Dragons Restaurant, China Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $50 for adults and $16.99 for kids
  • Dinner — $58 for adults and $18.50 for kids

Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $52 for adults and $19 for kids
  • Dinner — $63 for adults and $19 for kids

Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, United Kingdom Pavilion:

  • Lunch/dinner — $57 for adults and $21 for kids

San Angel Inn Restaurante, Mexico Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $70 for adults and $23 for kids
  • Dinner — $82 for adults and $25.75 for kids

Spice Road Table, Morocco Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $52 for adults and $19 for kids
  • Dinner — $63 for adults and $19 for kids

Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $65 for adults and $20.50 for kids
  • Dinner — $78 for adults and $23.50 for kids

Tokyo Dining, Japan Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $65 for adults and $20.50 for kids
  • Dinner — $78 for adults and $23.50 for kids

Tutto Italia Ristorante, Italy Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $64 for adults and $22 for kids
  • Dinner — $70 for adults and $25 for kids

Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, Italy Pavilion:

  • Lunch — $54 for adults and $20 for kids
  • Dinner — $57 for adults and $24 for kids

Walt Disney World Dessert Parties

Rivers of Light Dessert Party
Image copyright Disney

Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party and After Fireworks Dessert Party

Magic Kingdom offers three different dessert parties for the Happily Ever After fireworks. These vary in price and provide guests with two different viewing areas for the fireworks depending on how much money they are willing to spend and where you would prefer your viewing area to be. Each Dessert Party includes an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet of desserts, fruit, and appetizers, as well as non-alcoholic beverages.

Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience

This Dessert Party includes a selection of pre-prepared sweet and savory snacks for adults and children and an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage in a souvenir cup, as well as reserved VIP viewing for Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Unlike other Dessert Parties, the food is not all-you-care-to-enjoy and you are instead given a box of food to bring with you and eat while you watch the show. Prices are $39 for adults and $19 for children.

Frozen Ever After Dessert Party

Guests of the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at Epcot will receive all-you-care-to-enjoy desserts and snacks and VIP viewing for IllumiNations. After the fireworks, you will be escorted to the Norway Pavilion for a ride on the Frozen Ever After attraction. This is $79 for adults and $49 for children. Disclaimer: this is not a character meet-and-greet event.

Rivers of Light Dessert Party

This Dessert Party includes all-you-care-to-enjoy desserts, snacks, and beverages prior to a showing of Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as reserved seating for the performance. The prices are $79 for adults and $47 for children.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party

The Dessert Party offers guests “Star Wars”-themed desserts, charcuterie, and specialty beverages prior to a VIP viewing of the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show. The buffet is all-you-care-to-enjoy. This costs $79 for adults and $45 for children.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party

During the holidays, Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a Dessert Party with VIP viewing of the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! nighttime show. Prices vary depending on the dates you plan to go, but you can expect anywhere between $79 and $89 for adults and  $45 to $49 for children.

Have you ever purchased a Walt Disney World Dining Package or Dessert Party? Was it worth it? Share your experiences with us!

2 Comments

  1. Jen

    We have done the turkey house for river of lights viewing which was the best deal at only one dining credit and great food with characters and laid back atmosphere and great seats for the night time show. We also did Frozen ever after dessert party which was amazing for the lovely desserts and drinks and the fact that you sit at a private table the entire time. Our all time favorite was of course the happily ever after dessert party which we got an awesome buffet (better than frozen in my opinion) with drinks and savory options as well. You get a sit down table and an incredible view of the beat show on property. If I had to pick one I would pick that one!

  2. Bill upcamp

    No go early get a better location.

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