The Disney Dining Plan is a pricey investment. For this reason, you’ll definitely want to get the most out it during your visit. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure you get your money’s worth. Here are our top 13 tips for doing just that.
1. Go Big or Go Home
First and foremost, you will want to go for the pricier items on the menu. All meals in any given restaurant will cost you the same number of credits, so why not go big? After all, when steak is the same price as a salad, it just makes sense to go with the steak.
2. Choose Character Meals
In the same vein as the tip above, try to use your table-service credits for character meals. These meals are almost always buffets and they include character interactions. For these reasons, they are some of the pricier meal options on property, meaning using table-service credits for these meals is actually a very good value.
3. Skip Two-Credit Meals
That said, some character meals and fine dining experiences cost two meal credits. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid these two-credit locations. Although they are certainly awesome experiences, and they are also quite spendy, they still aren’t worth two whole credits.
4. Order Pizza
If you do decide to go for a two-credit meal and you’re left a few credits short for the rest of your trip, you might consider ordering a pizza from your resort. Pizzas require two meal credits, but can easily feed four or more individuals.
5. Use Snacks for Breakfast
Using meal credits for breakfast is not usually a good value. Instead, use a snack credit to pick up a pastry or breakfast side at your resort. Fill up your refillable mug and enjoy your light breakfast before heading to the parks.
6. Substitute Often
Disney Dining Plan meals include an entree, a side (or two), a drink, and a dessert. That’s a lot of food. If you don’t want the dessert or drink, consider trading them out for a packaged side or bottled drink that can be enjoyed later in the day. This will save you a snack credit and help prevent the misery brought on by overeating.
7. Grab Take-Home Snacks
Many people get to the end of their vacation only to find they still have tons of leftover snack credits. If this happens to you, trade those credits for some packaged take-home treats in one of the on-property shops. By doing this you can take some Disney home with you!
8. Find Refillable Drink Stations
If you enjoy drinking soda, you might want to seek out the in-park dining locations with self-serve drink stations. These include Sunshine Seasons, Electric Umbrella, Restaurantosaurus, and Backlot Express. By dining at these locations, you can refill your drink, meaning more bang for your buck.
9. Make Use of Your Mug
All dining plans include a mug that can be refilled in any Disney resort. Make good use of this mug by refilling it in the morning before hitting the parks, and in the evening when you return to your hotel. It’s also great for grabbing coffee during breakfast, and if you choose to eat lunch or dinner in your resort, you can use your mug for your beverage and trade the included drink for an extra side or a dessert.
10. Hydrate for Free
Bottled water can be purchased using a snack credit, however this is far from a good value. Free cups of water can be ordered from any counter-service location on property, and we’ve found that the free water at the in-park Starbucks stores is just as good as bottled water.
11. Share with Littles
Little kids under age 3 aren’t charged at buffets and can easily share with parents and siblings in other eateries. Therefore, we recommend sharing with the tiniest travelers rather than purchasing meals for them.
12. Order Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages are included on the Disney Dining Plan. These beverages can be obtained in place of a soft drink with quick-service or table-service meals. Be sure to make use of this option in order to get the most out of your dining plan.
13. When in Doubt, Count It Out
On average, quick-service meal credits are worth $18. Meanwhile, table-service credits are worth about $37 and snack credits around $5. If you aren’t sure you’re getting the best value, do the math. If your purchase doesn’t cost at least as much as the credit you’ll be using to obtain it, it’s not a good value.
Hopefully these tips help you get the very most out of your Disney Dining Plan and your vacation. After all, everyone deserves to have a magical time while in Disney World!