If you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation with your family, you are most likely looking to save a few dollars here and there and wondering if the Disney Dining Plan makes sense for you. I. can make sense, but it is important to understand that it probably won’t be cheaper. For everything you get, if you optimize your purchases, it can be less cost overall. That is a lot of work even for one person and it’s near impossible for a family.
The savings are marginally better than the same purchases without the plan. Any deviation will spoil the savings and may cost you more. However, if you simply enjoy the freedom of prepaid bills and ordering whatever you want, a dining plan may work for you and your family. There are three types of plans and ways to optimize them. You also get a refillable cup for the length of your stay with every plan purchased. However, you can only use these at the resorts.
The regular Disney Dining Plan aligns with the offerings at the moderate resorts. You get two meal credits for each night of your stay. Note: your credits are not issued according to the number of days. The meal credits are good for quick service one and one table service restaurants. Signature and fine dining restaurants require two meal credits per person. Quick service meals include an entree and a drink. Table service meals include an entree, drink, and dessert. Needless to say, meal credits used on quick service when they can be spent at table service is not the best value. However, using a table service credit at quick-service locations is an option.
In addition to the meal credits, you also get two snack credits per night. Although credits are doled out according to the number of nights in your stay, They are not rationed out over the course of your vacation. You get all of the credits at once to do with as you please. You can have snacks all day long with no meals, or have three meals at all signature restaurants in one day, as long as you have the credits.
The value Dining plan is exactly like the Disney Dining Plan, only the option for table service is completely removed. Value resorts only have quick service dining, so this meal plan reflects that. You get the same number of credits, but fewer choices you have to make. It’s also much easier to gauge the value of a Value Dining Plan because the prices are more level and predictable.
The Deluxe Dining Plan modifies meal credits in the other direction. both meal credits are good for table service restaurants, or if you see fit, quick service. Deluxe resorts have some of the best dinings at Disney World. restaurants include California Grill, Flying Fish, Victoria and Alberts, Jiko, The Yachtsman and more.
The Dining plan is prepaid and meals have the same cost regardless of what you order. With no dining plan, you decide what you want You can order an appetizer, you can scrap dessert, you can eat what you want without concern over whether it’s the best value for your meal credit. When everything is a flat rate it encourages you to buy the most expensive things whether you want them or not. No plan gives you control over your budget.
To maximize your dining plan use table service credits only for table service meals. If possible save both for dinner and enjoy a signature restaurant. Use snack credits on substantial snacks with a value of over $5. and make them mid-day meal substitutions to hold you until dinner.
Always order the most expensive thing on the menu in order to achieve the most savings. remember, savings are marginal, so only do the plan if you already plan on going big. Remember that other food not included on the credits will cost additional money.
Disney is now offering a free dining plan.
Summer 2020 Free Dining Deal:
- June 27 through June 28, 2020
- July 5 through July 7, 2020
- August 29 through September 8, 2020
This offer must be booked by January 16, 2020, and it follows the normal rules of Free Dining.
Most notably, Value and Moderate Resort guests receive the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan, while Deluxe and Deluxe Villa guests receive the standard Disney Dining Plan.
Another thing to note is that this offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, Disney’s All Star Movies Resort, and Little Mermaid Rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
There is a minimum stay needed for this offer (4 nights from our mock-bookings), and your package must include a room at select Disney World Resorts and a park hopper or park hopper plus ticket option.
Important Details to Remember about Disney World Free Dining…
- The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.
- Theme park tickets valid for admission beginning on the date of check-in and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on the length of stay and ticket.
- Advance reservation required.
- Some table-service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.
- Children ages 3 to 9 must choose from the children’s menu, if available.
- Gratuities are not included.
- It cannot be combined with any other Disney discount or promotion.
- Everyone in the same room must be on the same package.
- Offer excludes some room types.
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