Disney World Dining Plan

A point of much heated debate regarding dining at Walt Disney World for Disney enthusiasts is the Disney Dining Plan.  Some people swear by it while others think it is not worth the money.  The dining plans are offered to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and when purchased, entitle them to a certain number of meals and snacks per night. You are charged per night of your stay and everyone staying in your room must be on the same dining plan.

We have used Dining Plans in the past and will not rule out using it in the future.  We think the value of of it depends on how you use it and you’ll need to make a decision on whether it is right for you or not.  There are a few different levels.  We will cover the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan, the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan here.  All plans come with a refillable drink mug per person which is redeemable at any self service drink island at any resort.

TS = Table Service
QS = Quick Service (counter)

2015 Dining Plans
[wptg_comparison_table id=”2″]
* – redeemable as quick service or table service

2016 Dining Plans
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* – redeemable as quick service or table service

Basically what happens with the plans is you get meal and snack credits.  Even though you get assigned credits per night of your stay, you can redeem as many or as few as you want within one day.  Also, there are certain restaurants that require two Table Service credits such as Cinderella’s Royal Table or any restaurant labeled as “Signature Dining”.

All credits must be used by midnight on the day of your checkout or you lose them.  Don’t fret.  If you find yourself with extra credits of any kind on your last day, they are all redeemable for candy at Goofy’s Candy Company and several other places.  You can always also use meal credits left over at Earl of Sandwich and bring sandwiches with you to the airport or in the car for meals on the trip home.

Snack credits can be used at many locations for a wide variety of items.  You can even by bottled water with them.  Generally speaking, any food item that is around $5 or less can be purchased with a snack credit.  There is a special symbol displayed at locations where you can use snack credits and meals.  It looks like this: disney_snack_credit

Each meal credit, whether it a Table Service or Quick Service comes with an entree, desert and non-alcoholic drink.  The Quick Service deserts usually are not very good with a few exceptions.  We recommend swapping the desert out for fruit or something else.  You can always ask a cast member at your restaurant what you might be able to get in place of the desert.

If you are using a Table Service credit, everyone at the table must be on the same dining plan.  Also, gratuity is not included with few exceptions.  Double check your bill, though.  Gratuity will be added in certain circumstances such as parties of six or more.  One note on the children’s menu at a Table Service restaurant: if your child does not see something on the menu that appeals to them, ask your server if a regular menu item can be substituted in a “child size”.  This is not always accommodated but frequently is.  It’s worth the question.

In all cases, after you use a credit, your receipt will display how many of each credit is left at the bottom of your receipt.  That makes it easy to identify quickly how much you have left for the remainder of your trip.

There is much more to the Disney Dining Plans.  Is one of them right for you?  You’ll need to do some math to figure that one out.  If you typically don’t eat desert or drink water with your meal you may want to examine some other options such as Tables in Wonderland which we have used several times.

If you’re thinking that two meal credits and one snack may not be enough for you to eat you may be surprised at just how much food you get.  We have always had credits left at the end of our trip when using a Dining Plan.  Our kids have always been delighted to run through Goofy’s Candy Company to stock up on sugar for our 12 hour ride home.

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