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Using the Dining Plan at Disney World

by Jamie Rumph

Using the Dining Plan at Disney World

All You Need to Know!

Cinderella's Royal Table - signature dining

The dining options at Disney World are endless and so are the ways to pay!? Of course cash and credit cards are always accepted, but so are dining plan credits.? Here’s how!

What is the Dining Plan All about?

Disney introduced the dining plan to give guests the opportunity to have a more “all inclusive” option when planning their Disney World vacation.? Simply select the plan that works best for your family and enjoy eating throughout the park without worrying too much about budget throughout the trip!? Depending on how you use your credits, you may still incur some out of pocket dining expenses.

About the Dining Plans

Here I’ll tell you all about Disney’s three dining plans, give you the details, and then you’ll be able to decide for yourself if it’s a great add on to your Disney vacation!

Disney’s offers 3 dining plans to suit everyone’s dining needs while visiting Disney World.? “Disney’s Quick Service?Plan“, the “Disney Dining Plan“, and “Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan“.? Each plan works the same way, but have different options as to where and how you use your credits!

A few things to know before we get started:

  • You MUST be staying on property (at a Disney World Resort) to be eligible to purchase any of the dining plans.
  • Guests staying at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin, or at a Good Neighbor hotel can not add the dining plan to their vacation package.
  • All guests staying in the same resort room must have the same package components.? So if Mom and Dad are wanting the dining package, but they don’t want to purchase it for the kids because they don’t eat that much, it won’t work.? Everyone must have the same magical extras if they’re in the same room.
  • Children under the age of 3 don’t require a park ticket and therefore also don’t have the option to purchase the dining plan.? They can eat off of their parents plates for no cost.
  • Gratuities are not included in the dining plan for table service restaurants except where noted.? 18% gratuity is automatically added for parties of 6 or more.

So, now that we have those items covered, let’s look over the plans themselves.

Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan Details

The lowest cost option is Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan.? Remember quick service means walking up to a counter, ordering your food and carrying a tray to a nearby table to eat.

The great thing about quick service dining at Disney World is that it’s so much more than hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries!? There are some really yummy “real food” options and extra good junk too!

Another great thing about quick service dining is that reservations are NOT needed!? You order when you’re ready!

As of February 2018, Disney now offers guests the opportunity to pre-order quick service meals from your My Disney Experience app, pay with your dining plan or credit card, and skip the line to pick it up your food!? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!

But, I digress.? Back to what’s included in the Quick Service Dining plan.

For 2018 guests who purchase the quick service dining plan will receive the following for each person, per NIGHT of your stay:

  • 2 quick service meal credits that include an entree and beverage
  • 2 snack credits
  • 1 refillable mug that can be filled at your resort quick service soda fountain. Only in the resort, not in the parks.

Disney’s Dining Plan

Disney’s Dining Plan, the middle of the 3 dining plans, and most popular among guests, has a mix of both quick service and table service options.

Table Service restaurants are restaurants with a wait staff.? They most often require reservations, which can be made at 180 days prior to arrival.

Occasionally I have had some luck getting into a table service restaurant on the day of my visit as long as I don’t have a large dining party, I am flexible on seating time, and I’m not looking for the restaurants that are the most popular.

For those visiting Disney World, I do highly recommend you have reservations, which can be made beginning 180 days prior to arrival.? One a day is enough in my opinion, unless you are visiting Disney to eat yourself silly, then make all the reservations each day that you’d like!

For 2018 guests who purchase the Disney Dining Plan the following is included for each person, per NIGHT of your stay:

  • 1 quick service credit (entree and beverage)
  • 1 table service credit
    • breakfast includes entree and beverage, lunch and dinner include entree, desert and beverage
  • 2 snack credits
  • 1 refillable mug that can be filled at your resort quick service soda fountain. Only in the resort, not in the parks.

Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan

The great big eat your way through Disney World plan!

This isn’t a totally true statement.? Depending on how many signature dining reservations you have, the deluxe plan maybe the way to go.? Signature restaurants are those table service locations that require 2 dining credits per person, rather than your standard one per person at each meal.? I will list Signature dining locations below, although they are subject to change at any time!

For 2018 guests who purchase the Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan the following is included for each person, per NIGHT of your stay:

  • 3 meal credits
    • Notice it says meal credits and not quick service or table service credits.? These credits can be used for either type of meal.? Obviously the more expensive the meal, the better value you’re getting out of the plan.
    • All quick service meals include entree and beverage.
    • When dining at a table service location:
      • Breakfast includes an entree and beverage
      • Lunch and dinner include an appetizer, entree, beverage and dessert.
  • 2 snack credits
  • 1 refillable mug that can be filled at your resort quick service soda fountain. Only in the resort, not in the parks.

Guests on the deluxe dining plan also have the option to order in room dining (aka room service) for 2 dining credits per person, gratuity included.

Beverages and Snacks – What This Includes

Beverage options include alcoholic or specialty beverage (mixed cocktail, beer or wine, milkshake, smoothie, hot chocolate, soda, coffee, or tea) where available.

The alcoholic and specialty beverage addition was added for 2018 guests.? Let’s hope it continues!? When ordering an alcoholic beverage especially wine or mixed drinks, check with your server to make sure the desired beverage is in fact covered to avoid any confusion in the end.

The snack list is endless, but this doesn’t mean that all snack options are the best bang for your buck when it comes to the dining plan.? Snacks on the dining plans have about a $5 value, so if you’re getting a snack for $5 or up, you know you’re getting your monies worth!

Anything below $5, you should consider paying out of pocket.? However, having too many snack credits left over at the end of your vacation also wouldn’t be a great value.? So be mindful of where you’re at with credits throughout your vacation!

Disney Dining Plan Icon

Snack List

Some snack options, but certainly not everything!? Qualifying menu items are noted on the menu showing the above icon.

  • Popcorn
  • Churros
  • Mickey Shaped Pretzels
  • Candied almonds (one of my favs)
  • Mickey Ice Cream Bar or Sandwich
  • Water bottles – I don’t recommend this!? Ask for free water at any quick service location, or at Starbucks – my fav place to get a large free ice water, and save your snack credit for something else
  • Fruit – not a great value, but avaliable
  • Coffee at any coffee shop including Starbucks and Joffrey’s!? A great value especially if you like the big one with extra shots that typically add up the price.
  • Pastries
  • Cupcakes
  • Ice Cream Sundaes
  • The ever popular Dole Whip
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Soup/Side Salads
  • Some small bites at the Epcot festival kiosks
  • and more!

Cost Per Night For Dining Plan Options

Adults ages 10 and up Children age 3-9
Quick Service Dining Plan $52.50 $21.75
Disney Dining Plan $75.49 $25.75
Disney Deluxe Dining Plan $116.25 $39.99

The estimated value for each meal is:

  • Snack credit – $5
  • Quick Service credit – $18
  • Table Service – $37

So as long as your meals are close to this price or more, you are getting a good value for your money.

Extra Tidbits

  • All dining credits are loaded into your account at the time of check in and are not specific to one person.? The entire party will share dining credits, so use them as you see fit!
  • You can order pizza to your room for 2 dining credits.? It includes one pizza, 2 beverages and dessert.? Gratuity is included.
  • To see your available credits, check your receipt each time you dine, or ask for your balance at the concierges desk at your resort.
  • To maximize quick service credits, have smaller children share adult quick service meals.
  • Pack sandwich baggies in your park bag.? You can use those to take the leftovers with you.
  • If you don’t have enough dining credits for all of your reservations, pay out of pocket for the lowest price meal or consider upgrading to the Deluxe Dining Plan if you’re several credits short.
  • Your dining credits are good on your day of check out until 11:59 pm.? At this time they expire.? They can not be saved or transferred to another guests account. It’s a use it or loose it type situation.
  • For dining reservations inside a park, a ticket is required for entrance.

Signature Dining Locations

Signature dining locations are those that require 2 dining credits per person.? Simply put, this meal would be more expensive when paying out of pocket than other restaurant locations and therefore Disney covers this cost buy requiring 2 dining credits per person.? These are some really fantastic dining locations so don’t discount them just because they require more credits.

Also to note, just because they’re listed as signature doesn’t mean they aren’t kid friendly.? They are!? You are at Disney World and one of Walt’s greatest desires was to build a place that family’s could enjoy together.

  • Artist’s point, Wilderness Lodge (dinner)
  • Boat House, Disney Springs (lunch,dinner)
  • California Grill, one of my favs! Disney’s Contemporary Resort (dinner)
  • Cinderellas Royal Table, Magic Kingdom, gratuity included in cost (breakfast, lunch,dinner)
  • Citricos, Grand Floridian (dinner)
  • Flying Fish, Boardwalk (dinner)
  • Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood Studios (lunch, dinner)
  • Hoop de Doo Musical Review, category 2 or 3 seating, Disney’s Ft. Wilderness, gratuity included (dinner show)
  • Jiko, Animal Kingdom Lodge (dinner)
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse, Canada/Epcot (lunch, dinner)
  • Monsieur Paul, France/Epcot (dinner)
  • Morimoto Asia, Disney Springs (dinner)
  • Narcoossee’s, Grand Floridian (dinner)
  • Paddlefish, Disney Springs (previously Fulton’s Crab House (lunch, dinner)
  • STK, Disney Springs (lunch, dinner)
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, category 2 or 3 seating, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, gratuity included (dinner show)
  • Tiffin’s, Animal Kingdom (lunch, dinner)
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (dinner)

Locations NOT included on the Dining Plan

  • Capa, 4 Seasons Resort
  • Citrico’s Chefs Domain, Grand Floridian Resort (Citrico’s itself will use 2 table service credits per person, if you opt for the Chef’s Domain experience, dining credits are not accepted.)
  • The Edison, Disney Springs (opened January 2018, it’s dining plan status may change)
  • Il Mulino, Swan Hotel
  • Shula’s Steak House, Dolphin Hotel
  • Todd English bluezoo, Dolphin Hotel
  • Victoria and Albert’s, Grand Floridian Resort
  • Wanyama Safari, Animal Kingdom

Favorite Dining Locations at Disney World

Want to know my favorite dining locations around Disney World?? Click here!? While I have not tried every single dining location, I’ve covered quite a few!? Some I repeat simply because I like them so much!? Of course this does not help with covering them all!? Have a favorite I haven’t listed?? Email me and tell me what location I should go try!

I think I’ve covered it all!? Have questions?? You can email me at jamie@LOTMV.com.

Don’t forget to follow along on my Facebook page, Love of the Magic, for daily Disney World updates and information!

last updated: February 4, 2018

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