Best Trip Tips: Dining Plans

*If you are vacationing at Walt Disney World in 2018 follow this link to get 2018s dining plan.*

Those of you new to Walt Disney World vacationing or those who are coming back for the first time in a long time Dining Plans are an entity of their own. Walt Disney World has created dining plans allowing guest to have an inclusive vacation, having meal credits for table-service restaurants, quick-service meals and snacks. These plans are available to those who are staying on site at a Walt Disney World resort. Children 10 years and older are considered adults, children 3-9 years old fall under children. The dining plan is linked up with your room reservation. There are three plans:

Quick-Service Dining Plan

Disney Dining Plan

Deluxe Dining Plan

Quick Service Dining Plan

Costing $48.19/adult/night and $20.88/child/night. This plan provides you with 2 quick-service meal credits and 2 snacks per night of stay. You also receive a refillable mug. This plan is simple and less expensive then the other two plans. With each meal you will receive a drink and an entree. This is the first year the quick-service meal does not come with a dessert. There are now 2 snacks instead of 1 snack per day. This is a great move because if you’re enjoying a quick-service meal for breakfast, what are you going to get to go with an already big breakfast, an apple for later in the day that is now bruised and warm from your bag? No thanks. Snacks can be used for bagels, fruit, drinks or our favourite mickey novelty items. Yum. This plan is great for the family that wants to go, go, go on your Disney vacation. You don’t want to spend 1 hour of your day sitting and eating a meal, you want to spend that time going on rides or watching a parade. All of the quick-service meals are large meals so don’t be concerned that you will go hungry. Let’s say you order the Beef Pot Roast at the Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll have season vegetables and potatoes with that. Talk about a hearty meal. These meals aren’t what you’d expect for fast food. Which is why it’s called quick service. Yes, you can find burgers and fries but you can also find flatbreads, pasta dishes and entree salads.

Disney Dining Plan

Costing $69.35/adult/night and $24.95/child/night. This plan includes 1 table-service meal credit, 1 quick-service meal credit, and 2 snacks per night of stay. You also receive a refillable mug. This plan comes with strings. To use these table-service meal credits you need to eat at a sit down restaurant. If you’re like me, restaurants are a big part of your Disney vacation and this suits you. If you wouldn’t be going to a sit down restaurant on a daily basis during your trip then this plan will not compliment your vacation. For a majority of the restaurants you need reservations ahead of time, and I’m not talking a couple days before, I’m talking 180 days before. So if you’re planning to wing your trip do not do this plan. A table-service credit includes drinks, entree and dessert. A quick-service credit includes a drink and an entree. A snack could be a muffin, a bottle of water, a bag of chips, a cupcake, a box of popcorn. On this plan you will receive plenty of food but it does require planning to make sure you get those sit down restaurants. The best bang for your buck with this plan is to do as many buffets as you can. Buffets are expensive because many have character meet and greets. The food is good and you get some entertainment value. When choosing this plan you won’t be paying for your gratuities. So make sure to include that in your budget.

Deluxe Dining Plan

Costing $106.68/adult/night and $38.75/child/night. This plan includes 3 meal credits (can be quick-service or table-service) and 2 snacks per night of stay. Also you receive a refillable mug. This dining plan is made for the family who plans to eat at 2 sit down restaurants a day or who plans on eating at the Signature restaurants, which require 2 meal credits. California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Le Cellier Steakhouse at Disney’s Epcot would be examples of Signature restaurants. This dining plan requires planning, making sure you have reservations at restaurants ahead of time. Many of the Signature restaurants get booked very early so be sure to reserve 180 days before to ensure you get the restaurants you wish. On this dining plan you receive an appetizer, entree, dessert and beverage with all of your table-service meals. That’s an appetizer for each person. Adding another $20-40 value to each sit down restaurant meal. Quick-service remains the same as the other two dining plans: entree and beverage. The offering of snacks remain the same as well. If I were using this plan I would plan to do a daily sit-down breakfast and a nightly Signature restaurant. If you planned this correctly you could definitely make this plan worth you’re while. Again this plan does not include gratuities, so when your bill shows $140 you’ll be expected to pay a 15% to 18% tip.

These dining plans are a great way to pay for a good chunk of your trip before your arrive. Pay for your dining plan months before you go and enjoy it while you’re there. It does give you some freedom with your wallet. Instead of looking for the cheapest thing on the menu you’ll be looking for what you most desire, or what’s most expensive. It does get a little complicated trying to keep track of all the meals. Anyone linked to your reservation is on your dining plan. We took my sister and hubby on a trip once and all of our dining plans were lumped onto one reservation so it added a head ache trying to make sure no one took anyones snacks or meal by mistake. The best thing to do is get a print out at the concierge desk at the end and beginning of each day. These will show you how many meals you started with, how many you’ve used and how many remain. They can even break it down by magic band. You can also restrict who can redeem. When redeeming your credits your receipt will show how many credits remain for your reservation. This can be confusing if you’ve explained to your teen that they get 6 snacks for their vacation. When they redeem their snack their going to see how many remains for everyone for the rest of the vacation. So be cautious and make a clear plan with all the guest on your vacation.

Happy Dining.