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11 Things You May Not Know About Walt Disney World Dining Plan

Disney Dining Plans are a popular way to turn your trip into an All-Inclusive vacation.  These dining plans must be booked through Magic Your Way Vacation Packages.  They offer a variety of packages that include dining credits for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at most Disney dining locations.  You can use the dining plan to create a vacation full of your favorite Disney flavors.  Stuff your belly with these 11 things you may not know about the Disney Dining Plan.

11.  Must Stay At Disney Resort

Guests new to Disney vacation planning may not realize that you must book overnight accommodations at a participating Disney Resort to purchase the Disney Dining Plan.  Ask for the Disney Dining Package when making your room reservations.

10.  Refillable Mugs For Resort Only

I was surprised to find out that the refillable mug included in your dining plan can only be used at Disney Resorts.  The refillable mug is a 16 oz insulated mug that has unlimited refills of soda, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate during the length of your stay.  It is still a valuable commodity but it would be an added perk to fill up at quick service locations in the theme park too.

9.  Gratuity Not Included

The Disney Dining Plan does not include gratuity for your server.  It is important to factor that into your budget.  Parties of 6 or more have a 18% gratuity added automatically to their check.

8.  Some Restaurants Take Two Credits

Make sure to allot two table service credits to meals at popular restaurants such as Cinderella’s Royal Table and California Grill.  All locations categorized as Signature Restaurants and Dinner Shows require the extra table credit to dine.  You can find a list of these restaurants on the Disney website.

7.  Disney Springs Accepts Credits

Restaurants such as Rainforest Cafe and Bongos Cuban Cafe at Disney Springs also accept the Disney Dining Plan. This makes for a memorable dining experience outside of the theme park or your resort. Disney Springs is also a great location to use those extra snack credits you may accrue during your stay.

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6.  Be Our Guest Is Quick Service

Dine at Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest restaurant using only a quick service credit for breakfast and lunch.  This allows guests to experience the atmosphere and cuisine of this popular dining location without using up a valuable table service credit.  Make reservations in advance though because the secret is out and this fills up fast!  Dinner at Be Our Guest is table service only.

5.  Deluxe Dining Plans Have No Table Service Limit

If you crave character dining and plan to sit down for many table service meals then you may consider the Deluxe Dining Plan.  With this plan you have no limit on table service credits per day.  You can choose a character meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you desire.  I like this plan because we can have time to rest and relax during meals and incorporate our character meet and greets into meal time.  Our park time can be used to ride attractions and not standing in line for a character autograph.

4.  Credits Expire At Midnight On Check-out Day

You have until the clock strikes twelve to use all those dining credits!  Don’t forget this tip when planning out your meal credits.  Check the bottom of your meal receipt to see how many credits you have left.

3.  Once A Year It’s Free

History sometimes repeats itself, as does the Disney Free Dining promotion.  Typically once a year this special promotion rolls out to guests offering a free dining plan with the purchase of park tickets and a resort stay.  It is by far one of the most popular Disney promotions and typically happens in the fall.

2.  Character Meals Are Included

Coveted Disney Character Meals are included in the plan.  You don’t have to use extra credits for character dining like Chef Mickey (with the exception of Cinderella’s Royal Table).  This is a major savings when you look at the price tag of paying for these meals out of pocket.  If character dining experiences are important to your family’s vacation then I would recommend the Disney Dining Plan.

1. Alcohol (Specialty Beverages) Included

Alcohol is now included in the Dining Plans. While this does mean a slight increase in price, we are surprised the increase isn’t more drastic. The great news is you don’t have to get an alcoholic beverage to enjoy this new perk. Disney is allowing for “specialty beverages” which do include alcoholic drinks for guests 21 and up, or non-alcoholic specialty beverages like milkshakes for guests of any age.

About Lauren Young

My name is Lauren Young.  My first trip to Disney was as a toddler before I could even remember Mickey and Main Street.  We've celebrated family reunions to first dates in the happiest place on earth! Fast forward to today where I enjoy seeing the magic of Disney World through the eyes of my three kids. I'm a proud Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer wife, stay at home mom of three under the age of 5, wannabe domestic goddess, a writer, and a southern Georgia peach thru and thru! Before my kiddos took over my 9 to 5 (or shall I say MY ENTIRE LIFE), I happily worked in the travel industry.  My days were filled with planning corporate retreats & beach weddings at a beautiful resort on the Oregon Coast.  Well I tossed the sand filled high heels and have fully embraced the spit up stained loungers life.  But a girl still has to make time for her other loves, right?  So in those spare minutes of the day you will find me blogging on my travel website, Swoon Me Away (www.swoonmeaway.com).  I also enjoy trying to be crafty, planning fabulous parties and daydreaming about my next Disney vacation!