Every year Walt Disney World does a very good job of tweaking a few things to react to comments made by guests and to respond to the overall change in culture. The dining plan would be the one thing that you can count on changing every single year. The first time we used the dining plan, in 2012, it included appetizers, entree, dessert, drink with meal and coffee or tea for meals at Table-Service restaurants. The second time we used the dining plan, in 2013, it included entree, dessert, drink with meal and coffee or tea at Table-Service Restaurants. The last two times we went it included entree, dessert and drink with meal at Table-Service Restaurants. It’s very important to check to see what the latest dining plan includes before making your plans and reservations. You want to make sure you are get the most value for your dollar.
Dining plans are available to those staying at a Walt Disney World resort. You can use your meal credits at restaurants at any of the four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, resorts and ESPN Wide World of Sports.
For those of you familiar with the dining plan offerings the only difference between 2017s offerings and 2018s is beverages. At a meal you can choose an alcoholic or specialty beverage. Now in the description of alcoholic beverages it says: wine, beer, cocktails, mixed drinks and sangria. It says some exceptions apply. So be sure to ask your server first. Specialty beverages are smoothies, milkshakes, coffee, tea and of course you can still choose soda. The specialty beverage is something they offered a few years ago so I’m glad to see it’s returned.
Children 10 and up are considered adults, children 3-9 will be considered kids and will have to order from the children’s menu and littles under 3 are free. Your dining plan is linked up with your resort reservation. Here are the three different dining plans:
Quick-Service Dining Plan
The Quick-Service Dining Plan is great for the family who doesn’t want to spend a lot of their time at restaurants. Sitting and waiting for meals to arrive, for your table to be ready and to be at a reservation for a certain time. This is perfect for the family who plans to get every single ride in and see every stage show and parade. This dining plan costs $52.49/adult/night and $21.74/child/night. With this dining plan you get two quick-service meal credits a day (an entree and beverage), two snack credits a day, and a refillable mug. Quick-service means you won’t have to pay any additional tips and means you eat when you want and where you want. The quality of food is stellar. Yes, you’ve got your typical cheeseburgers and fries (as they are at any table-service restaurant) but so are some more diverse choices. If you’re dining pool side at the Maji Pool Bar at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village you can choose between Roast Beef on a Baguette, or Roasted Turkey on a Whole Grain Sandwich. Doing a quick-service dining experience at Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom? Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe has a Fajita Platter, Veggie Rice Bowl and Soft Tacos. Making this dining plan ideal for anyone looking to save on cost and time without having to cut back on quality.
Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan involves more planning than the above quick-service. The eat at the most popular restaurants and to alleviate waiting for a table you’ll need to make reservations ahead of time. The cost of 2018s Disney Dining Plan is $75.49/adult/night and $25.80/child/night. By purchasing this dining plan you will receive 1 table-service meal credit, 1 quick-service meal credit, and 2 snacks per day. Plus a refillable mug. With each table-service meal you get to choose an entree, dessert and a beverage. The beverage can be alcohol if you are above the age of 21. If you are under 21 you can choose between a soft drink, coffee, tea, or specialty drink. Quick-service meals include an entree and beverage. Again it can be an alcoholic drink or specialty drink. For those on this plan the best bang for your buck are buffets, which run high in price. This also will save you time in the long run because the majority of the buffets are character dining. While you eat your meal you get some great character meetings with favourite characters. Giving you more time to enjoy the parks and resorts. There are plenty of table-service restaurants located at the resorts across the property. So you don’t have to worry about only having options at the parks. This is the dining plan we always choose. Dining is a big part of our Walt Disney World vacations. Restaurants at Walt Disney World are a cut above the rest, and we truly limit our lifestyle back home so we can vacation large. Just be sure to watch out for Signature Dining Restaurants as they will charge 2 meal credits. No big deal, you’ll just have to make sure you have one less dining reservation.
Deluxe Dining Plan
The Deluxe Dining Plan gives you limitless options. With the deluxe plan you receive three meal credits that can be used on either a quick-service meal or a table-service meal per night of stay, 2 snacks per night of stay and one refillable mug. Each meal comes with your choice of beverage, alcohol or specialty options available. If you plan on enjoying many of your meals at Signature Dining Experiences then this plan will allow you to eat at one every day without having to make adjustments. Many of the top restaurants on Walt Disney World property are Signature Restaurants so if you find yourself wanting to eat 5 out of 7 meals at one of these restaurants this plan is well suited for your needs. Also if you want to enjoy some of the pay-ahead dining options, these also take 2 meal credits, you’ll find yourself wanting to sign up for this plan. The cost for the deluxe plan is $116.24/adult/night and $39.99/child/night. To me it seems like a lot of food to consume during your vacation unless you want to do all Signature Dining. Also if you want to eat every meal at a restaurant. We normally eat our breakfast in our room so we don’t use meal credits for that meal. I could see us opting for this plan if we were vacationing without kids. Being used to paying for extra people and then not have to use those funds for them, I would reallocate them to the Deluxe dining plan. Again, if you think you’ll be dining at Le Cellier, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Narcosee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas, then choose the Deluxe dining plan.
We continuously choose the dining plan because we love not having to worry about paying for our meals while we’re on vacation. It’s paid for ahead of time and we can pick what we want on the menu without having to worry about the price. I’ll tell you friends once you try it you won’t go back. If you’re on the fence you have until 48 hours before you arrive to add it to your reservation. Happy Planning.