Disney’s dining plans can be a confusing, but it’s meant to simplify your your trip. Adding the dining plan to your package reservation essential makes it an all inclusive stay! So what do you need to know about it and is it for you?
Adding the dining plan to your reservation
In order to add a Dining plan to your reservation, you must be an on site guest and booking as a package ($200 deposit required and final payment due 30 days prior to your arrival). Disney does allow room + dining packages with no tickets and full packages with room, tickets, and dining coupled together. Military families can only book room + dining packages (tickets must be purchased separately from their local ticket office. If you elect to add the dining plan to your package reservation, each guest in your room MUST be included and it must be for your entire length of stay (there are some ways around this policy including booking a “split stay” reservation).
What about free dining?
The free dining promotional offer has been available over the last several years. Disney used to offer the same discount for January and February, but that seems like it is going by the wayside with other similar promotions (discounted but not free). During the fall months, Disney has offered this promotional offer for select dates but I think we’re all waiting for the year when it does go away. These big package promotions are used to help fill unbooked rooms but with overall park attendance up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go.
All of Disney’s dining plans provide you with dining credits to be used during your stay. Your credits are broken down into credit categories – quick service, table service, and snack. All of your credits will be given to you upon your arrival at your Disney World resort to be used any way you choose during your stay. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll receive credits for each NIGHT you stay.
Who gets credits?
Anyone on the dining plan age 3+ will receive credits. Children under age 3 are free at Disney and therefore will not need their own credits. This means they must share with a sibling or another adult at any plated table service meal and quick service locations. Credits are broken down to child credits (ages 3-9) and adult credits (ages 10+). This is important for table service and buffet restaurants. Child quick service credits can be used for adult meals (SHHH! Little known fact – helpful if you stretch your dollar and share more meals during your stay).
Dining Plan Options
Disney has 3 dining plans for 2017: Quick Service, Plus Dining, and Deluxe Dining. Regardless of your choice, each member of your traveling party will receive a refillable mug to be used at your resort. It can actually be refilled at any resort during your stay. No refills at the parks though!
The quick service dining plan provides you with 2 quick service credits and 2 snacks for each night stayed.
- Each quick service credit comes with an entree and non-alcoholic beverage whether you use it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
PLUS dining (or the Disney dining plan) provides you with 1 table service credit, 1 quick service credit, and TWO snacks for each night stayed.
- Quick service credit comes with an entree and non-alcoholic beverage whether you use it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Table service credits come with an entree, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert. No dessert will be offered if you choose to use a credit at breakfast.
- Table service credits can also exchanged for a buffet or family style meal.
The Deluxe Dining Plan provides you with 3 credits which can be used for either table service or quick service and 2 snacks for each night stayed.
- Quick service credits come with an entree and non-alcoholic beverage.
- Table service credits come with an appetizer, entree, non-alcoholic beverage, and dessert. No appetizer or dessert will be offered if you choose to use a credit at breakfast. (This is an appetizer per person – not for your entire group so if you have a group of 4 you will receive 4 appetizers)
- Table service credits can also be exchanged for buffet or family style meals.
What is a snack?
Disney suggests a piece of fruit or box of popcorn as a snack. I suggest any drink at Starbucks (yes my venti raspberry white chocolate mocha was covered!), a cupcake, Mickey premium bar, giant pretzel, etc. There are so many great snack options available at Disney, so don’t limit yourself! In years past, there used to be a correlation to a dollar value for snack credits but I’ve seen snacks that are anywhere from $5-8!
What about two credit dining options?
Several Disney table service restaurants require 2 credits on Disney’s Dining Plan. These are listed as “dinner shows” or “signature dining” when searching for dining options. These include:
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- Le Cellier
- Monsieur Paul
- Hollywood Brown Derby
- Yachtsman Steakhouse
- California Grill
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
- Mickey’s Backyard BBQ
- Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
- Artist Point
- Fulton’s Crab House (becoming Paddlefish in Late 2016)
- Flying Fish
- The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe
As always, this is subject to change and up to Disney’s discretion!
What about tipping?
All table service restaurants do require gratuity. This includes buffet restaurants. This is NOT optional as your servers are providing you a service. The exception are the dinner shows and Cinderella’s Table which have gratuity included in the price of the experience.
Should I add the dining plan to my package reservation?
Generally yes! Most families benefit from one of Disney’s dining plans. You have a lot of food but it doesn’t limit your options/choice in terms of menu items. Disney says you can save up to 15% on your food by choosing the dining plan. Out of pure curiosity, I kept all of my receipts from a recent trip and we came out ahead after we used all of our dining credits!
Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!w!