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A Temporary Replacement For The Disney Dining Plan?

Disney dining plays a large part of any Walt Disney World Resort vacation for many Guests. This is especially true when Guests realise the extent of the dining options available to them when in the Disney Parks or exploring the Disney Resort hotels. From full-service dining restaurants to quick-service meals, and the many counter service locations to redeem a snack credit or two, there is something to suit every appetite.

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Credit: V Mills

Disney Dining Reservations

When it comes to full-service Disney dining, there has been a rise in the need for advanced dining reservations when choosing to eat in Walt Disney World restaurants. You could say that some advanced dining reservations are like gold dust; they’re incredibly hard to come by, even 60 days out of a Guests’ vacation. These full-service Walt Disney World restaurants include:

  • ‘Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Village
  • Le Cellier in EPCOT
  • Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom
  • Tusker House Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Oga’s Cantina in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort
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Credit: V Mills

Securing an advance dining reservation has been made increasingly difficult over the last 2 years due to the Covid pandemic. From the requirement of physical distancing to limiting the number of Guests in enclosed spaces, reservations have undoubtedly been limited. Of course, demand is still there, and as the Disney Parks seem to be attracting larger crowds as the year progresses, dining reservations are likely to go quickly.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Some Guests may have thought that the absence of the Disney World Dining Plan would have impacted the availability when making dining reservations. With Guests unable to add Disney Dining Plans to their Walt Disney World vacation, some may have expected reservations to be more readily available.

A Temporary Replacement for the Disney Dining Plan

Speaking of the Disney Dining Plan, we are still yet to hear when it will return to Walt Disney World. Whilst the Walt Disney Company has previously given indication that Disney Dining Plans will be available once again, Guests are very much left in suspense waiting for the Disney dining package to return.

In the last 48 hours, Disney Parks have released information that suggests that there is still waiting to be done before the Disney Dining Plan will return. Just yesterday, Disney Parks U.K. released information to Guests from the United Kingdom about a new vacation package that will be made available to Guests from May 26, 2022.

Advertised by the slogan ‘the magic is yours’, this is set to be the best offer for Walt Disney World vacations in 2023. From May 26, U.K. Guests can book to stay in select Walt Disney World Resort hotels and receive up to $1200 dining and merchandise credit per room.

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Credit: Disney Parks

Terms and conditions for this vacation package are not yet available to view, but we are expecting that Guests will need to stay in a Deluxe Disney Resort to receive the maximum dining credit of $1200. Last year, a similar offer was available to U.K. Guests booking their 2022 Disney vacation, for a limited period of time. This offer entitled Guests to a dining credit based on the Disney Resort they chose to stay in. Deluxe Resorts came with the full entitlement, whilst Moderate Resort Guests received a smaller credit.

Is the dining credit comparable to the Disney Dining Plan?

Whilst we haven’t experienced a Walt Disney World trip where a dining credit has been part of the vacation package, we have previously used the Disney Dining Plan. The Disney Dining Plan includes:

  • 1 full-service meal
  • 1 quick-service meal
  • 1 alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 snacks

When taking a Disney vacation, where our reservation included a free dining plan, we always made sure that every Disney Dining Plan credit was used throughout our time in and around the Disney Parks and Resorts. When taking advantage of the free dining offer, we’d keep track of the amount of dollars we would have spent, had we paid in cash. Limiting the number of Signature Dining and Character Dining experiences, and dining in locations that offered the best value-for-money added to our total credit redeemed. We’d also swap any quick-service Dining Plan credits that we hadn’t used for Disney snacks to take home. Generally we’d redeem around $1900 worth of food, drinks and Disney snacks over a two-week vacation.

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Credit: Disney

With this in mind, it is likely that this offer will provide Guests with a lesser experience to the one they would have had if they were using the Disney Dining Plan. The $1200 dining and merchandise credit will cover a large cost of food during a vacation, but Guests will still need to set aside dollars to cover all of their Disney food. Of course, the Dining Plan limited Guests to using their credit for Disney food and drinks, whilst this new credit can be used to purchase Disney merchandise too. This may add to the Disney experience for some Guests, providing flexibility when it comes to using a Disney credit, rather than only being able to use it for Disney food.

The Return of a Disney Guest Benefit

We previously reported that a free Disney Dining Plan was a benefit that was no longer available to Guests visiting from the U.K. Whilst this is being replaced with an alternative, there is another benefit that has previously been available to Guests that is returning.

Guests who make a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation from May 26, will also be eligible to receive $200 spending money, for free. This is not limited to use, as it is provided to Guests via a Disney gift card. Guests can use their spending money to enjoy Disney Dining, purchase Disney merchandise, and even use it to cover experiences available at an additional cost, around the Walt Disney World Resort.

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Credit: Disney

Bookings Available Now

Whilst this offer only comes available on May 26, Guests from the U.K. are able to book their 2023 Walt Disney World vacation now. Guests can reserve dates for the entirety of 2023, through to December 31.

We’re excited to find our more information about this new offer available to international Guests later this month. Stay tuned to find out more information, as we discover exactly how Guests can take advantage of this Disney deal.

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!