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Understanding The Disney Dining Plan At Walt Disney World

We absolutely love the Disney Dining Plan!  Our family always takes advantage of the dining plan option when we book our Walt Disney World vacation.  Before you make a decision on whether to book the plan or not, it is important to ensure that you understand all of the details on how the plan works.  Here is a rundown of what to expect with the Disney Dining Plan options:

 

15. Evaluate if the dining plans are right for you.

The dining plans don’t always make sense for every family, so it is a good idea to review the plans and run the costs to determine if it will be the best option for your family so that you ensure you get the best value out of it.

14. The dining plans are only available to guests with a Walt Disney World vacation package.

The dining plans can’t be purchased by everyone.  You have to book a vacation package that includes a resort stay and park tickets in order to purchase a dining plan.  The plans are only available for guests that are staying on property.  The dining plan can be added to the package at the time of booking or a few days before arrival.

13. DVC Members and Annual Passholders can purchase a dining plan, too.

If you are a DVC Member you can still purchase a Disney Dining Plan to add to your package. The same is also true for Annual Passholders who have booked a resort stay.  These two scenarios don’t require the typical package requirements in order to book.

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12. There are different types of plans to meet your needs.

There are three different types of plans to consider depending on your family’s dining habits and budget.  The options are:  Quick Service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan and Deluxe Dining Plan.  There is also a Premium and Platinum dining plans, but those aren’t as popular.  They are basically the Deluxe Dining Plan (but no meals require 2 entitlements) and also include a ton of other experiences like tours, spa experiences, golf, etc.

11. Understanding the Quick Service Dining Plan.

The Quick Service Dining Plan is the lowest cost of the three dining plan options.  The plan includes two quick service meals and 2 snacks per paid guest, per night of stay.  Each paid guest will also receive a refillable drink mug, too.

10. Understanding the Disney Dining Plan.

The Disney Dining Plan is the mid-tier plan and includes 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal and 2 snacks per paid guest, per night of stay.  Each paid guest will also receive a refillable drink mug, too.

9. Understanding the Deluxe Dining Plan.

The Deluxe Dining Plan is the most expensive of the dining plans.  It includes 3 meals (your choice of quick service or table service) and 2 snacks per paid guest, per night of stay.  Each paid guest will also receive a refillable drink mug, too.

8. What does a dining entitlement include?

A quick service dining entitlement includes one main course and one drink.  The drink option includes one non-alcoholic or alcoholic (guests 21+).  A table service dining entitlement includes one main course, one starter and one dessert (starter and dessert is only for lunch and dinner) and one drink.  The entitlement would also cover a buffet selection.  The drink option also includes one non-alcoholic or alcoholic (guests 21+).

7. How the child entitlements work.

Kids who are under the age of 3 aren’t eligible for the dining plan, but they are able to share food with others in the party so you don’t have to purchase them a separate meal unless you want to.  For kids who are ages 3 to 9, they will be on the kid’s dining entitlements and will have to order from the kid’s menus where applicable.

6. Gratuities are not included in the plan.

If you dine at a table service location, it is generally expected that you would pay gratuities to your server.  The gratuities are NOT included in the dining entitlement unless you are dining at a location where the full cost of the meal already factors in gratuities (dinner shows, Cinderella’s Royal Table, etc.).  You can charge the gratuities back to your room or pay with cash, credit, gift card, etc.

5. What snacks are included?

Guests will find a variety of different snack options that are eligible for the snack entitlements around Walt Disney World.  Guests can check any menu for the Dining Plan logo to find the items eligible to use for the snack entitlements.  They will include a variety of drinks, chips, fruit, sweet treats, savory treats and more.  You will be surprised at how many different options there are to use the snack entitlements for.

4. Alcoholic beverages are now included.

We mentioned earlier that the meal entitlements now include alcoholic beverages.  This was a newer add to the Disney Dining Plans, which now adds this drink option for guests who are 21 and older.  Guests who are of age will be able to receive one alcoholic beverage with a meal entitlement.  If you aren’t a drinker or are underage, then you can enjoy a specialty beverage like milkshakes, mocktails, smoothies, etc.

3. There are often seasonal free dining plan promotions.

If you keep your eyes peeled and can travel when the promotion is offered, you may be able to pick up a free dining plan. Disney frequently releases a free dining plan promotion a couple times a year.  It will offer a free dining plan to guests with stays at select resorts.  The offered meal plan depends on the type of resort booked, but can be upgraded to the meal plan of your choice for an added cost.

2. There are multi-entitlement meals.

When selecting your table service dining locations, you will want to verify the number of entitlements that the meal will charge.  There are dining locations that will require 2 entitlements per guest.  These are typically the Disney Signature Dining locations, dinner shows, Cinderella’s Royal Table, etc.  These are great dining options, but you will want to be sure that you have planned accordingly for your meal entitlements.

1. You can cash out remaining entitlements for snacks.

If you have any meal entitlements left at the end of your vacation, then you can cash each entitlement in for 3 snack entitlements.  This will allow you to pick out some of the pre-packaged Disney snacks and treats that you can bring home with you. At least this way the entitlements won’t go to waste and you can bring home a little bit of Disney with you!

About Christy Caby

I am a diehard Disney fanatic! I fell in love with all things Disney from an early age and that only increased once I first visited Walt Disney World! It led me to complete a yearlong Disney College Program working at merchandise locations within Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM Studios at that time) and I worked for Disney Parks & Resorts Technology in Project/Program Management. Now I get to write about Disney and help others plan their magical vacations! Disney holds a special place in the hearts of my entire family as my husband proposed there, we honeymooned there, took trips while pregnant with each of my boys and have visited with them many, many times from 8 weeks old through now. One of my favorite memories from each trip is always the look on my kids’ faces the first time they see the castle. I’d love to help you plan your magical vacation! Request a free quote at http://magicalvacationplanner.com/staff/christy-caby/ or look for me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/christy.caby. Have a magical day!