Disney Dining Plan

If you don’t know already, you will soon find out as you continue reading (which I hope you do), that I am a huge proponent for dining in Walt Disney World and encourage everyone to do so as much as your wallet or credit limit will allow.  Just kidding on the credit limit thing.  I am also in favor of being financially savvy so budget to allow yourself to eat in the World a few times during your trips.

I like seeing all those zeros!

Now for those of you who have been financially savvy enough to save so much that your piggy bank looks as though it is about to give birth to little piglets…(see what I did there?) you might be interested in the Disney Dining Plan.  You pay up front for the plan as part of the Magic Your Way Package and you receive credits for meals and snacks according to how many nights you stay.

“What do get in this dining plan?” you ask?  Be patient and I will tell you.  I know I said “plan” but there are actually a few “plans.”  So what you get in the plan depends on which plan you get.  Okay, I am starting to confuse myself so let’s move on to the plans.

Quick Service Dining Plan:

2 counter service meals, 1 snack, 1 resort refillable mug

Here comes dessert!

Dining Plan: 

1 table service, 1 counter service meal, 1 snack, 1 resort refillable mug

Deluxe Dining Plan:

3 meals (counter or table), 2 snacks, 1 resort refillable mug

Premium Dining Plan: 

3 meals (counter or table), 2 snacks, 1 resort refillable mug

Also includes numerous recreation activities, admission to Cirque du Soleil show, La Nouba, and Disney Children’s Activity Centers and also select Theme Park Tours.

Platinum Dining Plan:

3 meals (counter or table), 2 snacks, 1 resort refillable mug

The Platinum offers everything  the Premium Plan does and adds Disney’s PhotoPass Photo CD, Fireworks cruises during Wishes and IllumiNations.  Reserved seating at Fantasmic!, and Spa Treatment

Cracker Jacks made a great snack during Fantasmic! later than night.

Alright, there are the facts.  Now for what you are really looking for…my opinion.  The Disney Dining Plans are convenient and do offer a great deal of food (and experiences for the higher end plans) for the price.  Before I answer your question as to whether I would ever purchase one of the plans let me say this, we did use the Dining Plan on our last trip and my mom and I will be using the Quick Service Plan in November which I am excited about but no, I would never pay for one of the plans (foreshadowing a future post).

Legendary Dole Whip! Worth skipping dessert for!

For one, my piggy bank is far from giving birth and I would rather use the money I would spend on the plans on some other experience.  The plans will provide you with a lot of food.  More than I need but if it is there I will eat it.  Let me tell you, I ate a lot of food when we were on the plan last time.   Sometimes I was too full for dessert or didn’t care for the dessert they offered (only at counter service) but because it was on the plan, I got it.  If I was to pay out of pocket, I would order water (to save $ and because I am not dependent on soda) and I wouldn’t always order desserts especially at quick service restaurants.  In fact, I would pass up dessert at a quick service almost every time and spend that money on a snack elsewhere in the parks because there are so many great snack options.

You could even split a side or a whole meal with someone else in your party for a few meals without going hungry which will allow you to experience many more restaurants on your trip without slaughtering your little piggy bank.  I am all for experiencing as much as possible without going broke or into debt!

*A few notes about the credits: 

Snacks on Dining Plan

  • Look for this image on menus for eligible snacks
  • Each meal consists of entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage.
  • The amount of credits are based on the night stay but multiple credits can be used in one day until the total for the say is depleted.
  • Some table service restaurants on the dining plan will take 2 off your credits (character dining, dinner shows, upscale signature restaurants)
  • Gratuities are not included so budget to tip!
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4 Responses to Disney Dining Plan

  1. kshbrower says:

    I just read that you can’t get the free dining with a room discount. After reading up on this and doing the math though, it looks like if you’re staying at a value resort and planning to eat in the parks and not bring in your lunch, then you’ll save more by doing free dining than getting a room discount, even if you eat on a budget.

    If you stay at a deluxe resort, it’s better to get the room discount and add the dining plan or pay out of pocket. In this case, I feel like if you plan to eat counter service, you can save by paying out of pocket, but if you want to eat in the restaurants, it might be worth it to add the dining plan.

    For moderate resorts it’s more of an even savings either way.

  2. Pingback: October 2012 Trip Report | A look at the magic Walt brought into the World!

  3. Pingback: Free Dining | A look at the magic Walt brought into the World!

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