**Note that due to COVID-19 Disney is no longer accepting or reserving Disney Dining plans for the remainder of 2020. If you purchased a dining plan with your reservation you should have been automatically refunded.
Did you know that Disney World offers a dining plan to guests staying at the resorts? Here I talk about the different types of dining plans, and what is included in each plan.
The dining plan is an amazing deal for some, but for other people you may find it to be a huge expense that is not worth the price. Is the dining plan right for you? Let's talk it out!
The Disney dining plan is a prepaid option for resort guests. You pick your plan, and your food is covered from the day you check in to your resort until midnight on your check out day.
There are four different dining plans offered by Disney:
The dining plan rates are based on the plan that you pick:
The dining plan can definitely be confusing. As a quick and easy rule, a quick service restaurant is one where you order from a counter and find your own seating. A table service restaurant is one where you can make a reservation ahead of time, and a waiter is there to serve you. The snack credits can be used at many different places. You will find snack booths around the parks. You can also use snack credits at stores that sell snacks and drinks (such as general stores at your resort).
To find out if a specific restaurant is eligible for the dining plan, you can check the My Disney Experience app or website. Or my complete of restaurants for each park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios).
For Quick Service meals that accept the dining plan, you can expect the following to be included:
For Table Service meals that accept the dining plan, you can expect the following to be included:
You can redeem Snack Credits at most Quick Service restaurants, Outdoor carts, and shops around the parks. If you are unsure if an item qualifies, ask a Cast Member or look for this symbol:
You can typically expect the following items to qualify for snack credits (this is not an entire list, but examples of common items):
The dining plan might be a good fit for you if:
You might not like the dining plan if:
Generally speaking, you can estimate each credit to be worth $5 for snack credits, $18 for quick service credits, and $41 for table service credits.
So if you are considering the dining plan, you will want to make sure the food you are ordering is that amount or higher.
If you think the dining plan is right for you, you must be staying at a Disney World resort to buy it. If you are buying a package through Disney (Room and tickets) you will be given the option of adding the dining plan when you buy online.
If you are buying your tickets elsewhere, fear not! You can still call Disney to add the dining plan to your package.
If you are a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) member (or are renting DVC points) you can also call to have the dining package added to your reservation.
If you buy the dining package, know that everyone on your reservation MUST be on the dining package. And you have to have the package for your entire stay. So if you are staying for 7 days, you will have the dining package all 7 days. And if you have a picky eater, you can't leave him or her off of the dining package.
Another thing to understand about the dining package is that when you check in, all of your dining credits are given to you at once as a pool for your entire group. For example, if there are 3 people traveling for 5 days, and they get the regular dining plan they will have access to 15 quick service credits, 15 table service credits, and 30 snack credits on the day they check in. You and your group can distribute them however you want amongst your party.
If you have a child under 3 you wont need to buy the dining package for them. You could purchase the plan for them by calling Disney, but since they don't need a park ticket it doesn't make financial sense. If you have a 2 year old who loves to eat you are better off paying for them out of pocket.
Lastly, you can use your dining credits to buy food for other people. So if you are meeting friends at the park and want to pay for their food with your credits, you can definitely do that! As long as the person paying with credits is present it should not be an issue.
If you decide to use the dining plan, there are definitely some ways that you can maximize your plan.
If you are dying to try all of the restaurants at Disney, the dining plan might be for you. If you are looking to save money on dining, there are other better options for you to save money on food.
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See you at the parks,