DOs and DON’Ts of the Walt Disney World Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan is a great add-on option for guests to have an all-inclusive style vacation.  This allows guests to pre-pay for meals.  There are three different options to choose from so that guests can select the one that works the best for their family.  If you are considering the Disney Dining Plan, then you will want to check out these great DOs and DON’Ts of the Disney Dining Plan:

10. DO make Dining Reservations.

If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, then you should definitely make your dining reservations in advance.  Many of the popular dining locations book up quickly and you don’t want to miss out on some of your most desired options.  If you table service entitlements with your dining plan, then you will want reservations for those options.

9. DON’T waste any of your dining entitlements.

Be sure to keep track of how many entitlements that you have left.  If it looks like you are going to have entitlements left, don’t leave those behind.  You can convert dining entitlements to snack entitlements so that you can purchase a variety of pre-packaged snacks.  Then at least you can take some of those great items home with you for a dose of Disney at home.

8. DO leverage snack credits to your advantage.

Depending on which Disney Dining Plan you are on, you can make your dining entitlements go further by using snacks as mini-meals or breakfasts.  There are a lot of great items available with the snack entitlements that will be delicious and tide you over until a full meal so that your dining entitlements can go further.


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7. DON’T use snack credits on bottles of water.

If you are out and about in the parks, don’t waste snack entitlements on bottled water.  You can get free cups of ice water from many of the quick service locations and stands.  No need to spend those snack entitlements on it so that you can use them on much more tasty items.

6. DO run the numbers and verify that the dining plan is the right choice for your family.

The dining plans aren’t always the best value for every family.  You will want to run the numbers to determine what will work best for your family’s budget.  You have to consider the different dining plans and the dining habits of your family when on vacation.  That will help decide if the dining plan will give you the desired savings and benefits.

5. DON’T forget to factor tips into your budget.

Gratuities are not included in dining plans for many of the table service locations.  You will want to budget and plan ahead for the cost of gratuities so that you aren’t surprised when those costs start adding up by the end of your trip.

4. DO take advantage of all of your specialty or alcoholic beverage selection.

The dining plans have now added a specialty or alcoholic (for adults who are 21+) beverage option to meal entitlements.  This is new for guests who are familiar with the dining plan, so you will want to take advantage of this and try out some of the great beverage options that you normally would have had to pay extra for.  We already recommend taking advantage of every aspect of your dining plan entitlements so that you get the best value.

3. DON’T always order the same things.

Don’t order the steak at every restaurant just because it is the most expensive.  Also, don’t just order the same things that you would normally order at a restaurant just to stick to familiar items.  Go outside of your comfort zone and try something new.  You might find a new favorite item that you would have never known about.

2. DO utilize your refillable resort mug.

With each of the dining plans, guests get a refillable resort mug.  You can definitely make this work for you to have unlimited drinks (sodas, teas, coffees, etc.) while at the resort.  This will save you from having to stock those things in your room separately.

1. DON’T go in without a plan.

If you don’t plan out your dining, at least a little bit, you will run the risk of not making the most of your entitlements.  You will also run the risk on missing out some of your favorite locations and must-try items.  You could also waste time in your vacation by waiting around or looking for options for dining when you don’t have a plan.

About Christy Caby

I am a long time Disney addict! This love began as a child and stayed with me in my teen years. I completed the Disney College Program, was engaged and honeymooned at Disney, visited WDW while pregnant with each of our two boys, and have brought our boys since they were babies (they are now 5 and 2). We have over 10 Disney World vacations under our belt. Our recent adventure was a big move from St. Louis, MO to Florida! We knew that we needed more Disney magic that just a couple times of year, and we worked hard to make it happen! Now we hit the parks almost every weekend! We are working to dine at every location, experience every attraction and look for every hidden Mickey! We want to be able to say that we have one it all! We are branching into the Cruise Line and are planning a trip to Disneyland in California next year. To say that we are Disney addicts may be an understatement. When I am not at WDW with my family, I am reading Disney blogs and news, crafting (usually Disney décor for our home), planning Disney vacations for others or working on my dissertation for my doctoral program. I am a Project Manager by profession, so I have mastered fitting everything into a tight schedule! We feel we lead an exciting life where we get to spend a lot of time together doing what we love! I love being able to this love and Disney magic with everyone else so that others can make the most of whatever time they get to have at the most magical place on earth!