The Disney Dining Plan is one of the most popular offerings Disney has, and can be obtained with a Magic Your Way Package. It is also offered occasionally in special promotions for free dining, which when they do happen, they go fast. With several tiers with a variety of options, it’s quite likely they have at least one that appeals to you. The basic gist is you pay Disney the amount of the plan and you get a variety of credits that can be used at a variety of Table Service, Quick Service, and Snack Kiosks all over the parks and resorts. Though some things are not covered, such as alcoholic beverages and tips. Speaking of tips if you have a party of 6 or more, you will automatically be charged an 18% tip. They can add the automatic tip if you order things not covered on the plan as well, like an alcoholic drink. Also worth a note is some Table Service places cost more credits than others, and excluding Cinderella’s Royal Table, photos are not included.
There are several plans to choose from and all plans now have the changes listed Disney Dining Plan Changes Coming May 31 | Stitch’s Home:
- Quick-Service Dining Plan
- Disney Dining Plan
- Deluxe Dining Plan
- Premium Dining Plan
- Platinum Dining Plan
- Includes 2 Quick Service Meals, 1 Snack, and 1 Rapid-Refill Resort Mug per person per night of package stay.
- Any non-used credits and the ability to use the Rapid-Refill Resort Mug expire at midnight on the last day of stay.
- Each meal at Quick Service includes: Breakfast – 1 entree and a non-alcoholic beverage. Lunch and Dinner – 1 Entree, 1 Dessert, 1 Non-Alcoholic Beverage.
- Redeemable at most Quick Service locations and many Snack locations. Look for the Disney Dining Plan Symbol.
- Note the following are not included: Alcoholic Drinks (I realize I’m saying this a lot, however, if you forget they aren’t included you could wind up with a huge bill). Items that count as more than one serving such as a box of donuts, items sold in collectible containers, items sold fom Recreation Rental Counters, Iems that are consiered merchandise like bottle toppers and glow cubes.
- Includes 1 Quick Service Meal, 1 Table Service Meal, 1 Snack, and 1 Rapid-Refill Resort Mug per person per night of package stay.
- Redeemable at most locations at the parks,resorts, and Downtown Disney/Disney Springs.
- Does not include everything not included with Quick-Service Dining Plan and Special Dining Events with special menus offered at certain Table Service locations.
- As mentioned above tips aren’t included with the exception of Cinderella’s Royal Table, Dinner Shows, and Private In-Room Dining. You must provide a second payment method if one was not provided at check in.
- Some locations have a seperate prix fixe menu that items can be ordered from. Some of those will add a surcharge on top of the dining credits.
- Guests under three are not eligible for the Dining Plan, but can share off an adult plate at no charge. You could also use another credit instead paying out pocket for a meal for them with the May 31 changes.
- Table Service meals are often quite popular and fill up fast, your best bet is when possible get a reservation 180 days out.
- Each meal at Quick Service includes: Breakfast – 1 Entree and a Non-Alcoholic Beverage. Lunch and Dinner – 1 Entree, 1 Dessert, 1 Non-Alcoholic Beverage.
- Each Meal for Table Service includes: Breakfast – 1 entrre and 1 Non-Alcoholic Beverage or 1 full Buffet. Lunch and Dinner – 1 Entree, 1 Dessert, and 1 Non-Alcoholic Drink or 1 full Buffet Note Buffets exclude speciality drinks typically.
- Table Service count as one Table Service Credit per person. Signature Dining counts as 2 per person. Dinners shows can get category 2 or 3 seating on the Dining Plan and count as 2 Table Service credits per person, and Category 1 at the 8:30 Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue depending on availability. Private In-Room Dining will take 2 Meals from each person and includes an a single serving Entree, Dessert (lunch and Dinner), and a Non-Alcoholic Beverage. Pizza Delivery counts as 2 Adult Meals and includes 2 single serving Non-Alcoholic Drinks, 1 Pizza Entree Item, and 2 Desserts. Character Dining can take one Table Service credit or two depending on the location. The ones that count as two (currently) will be listed down below.
- Same as 2015 Dining Plan except meal credits per day.
- Includes 3 Meals, 2 Snacks, and 1 Rapid-Refill Resort Mug per person per night of package stay.
- Private In-Room Dining (for each person) and Pizza Delivery are 2 Adult Table Service Meals.
- Private In-Room Dinning includes appetizer for lunch and dinner
- Signature Meals include an appetizer.
- Can get Category 1-3 seating at All Dinner Shows depending on Availability.
- Same as 2015 Premium Dining Plan except meal credits per day.
- No Pizza Delivery
- Includes In-Room Child Care (minimum 4 hours, maximum 6 hours). Tip not included. Can be reserved 90 days in advance upto 24 hours in advance. Like all cancelations, requires 24 hour notice to cancel.
- Access to a Fireworks Cruise to view Wishes or Illuminations. One cruise per package stay, weather permitting. Space is limited and you may be seated with others.
- Access to 1 Spa Treatment: 50 minute Swedish Massage, 50 Minute Stone Crop Facial, 50 Minute Rejuvenating Citris Facial, One Spa Manicure and Pedicure Combination. Requires reservations. Some treatments available only at specific locations.
- Prior to closing, access to The Richard Petty Junior Ride Along Experience
- Access to 1 flight per person per package stay to Characters In Flight
- Access to additional tours: Backstage Magic, Disney’s Dolphins In Depth Tour, Epcot DiveQuest Tour, Epcot Seas Aqua Tour. Seasonally Disney’s Holiday D-Lights.
As you can see there are a lot of options to consider. First off think about your budget, think about how many meals you plan to eat, and run the math to get a rough estimate of how much you’d pay for your party out of pocket if you didn’t use the Dining Plan. Compare that to the price of the Dining Plan (assumoing it’s not a Free Dining Offer). That will give you an idea if it’s worth it to you and your party. On the Premium and Platinum plans, you can see they offer a lot of bonuses for around the resorts or tours. It’s a good idea to consider how much time you plan to use those benefits versus just going to the parks. For instance if you have your heart set on one tour or just th La Nouba certificate, but have no intention of using anything else, there’s a really good chance you’d be better off going with a cheaper plan and paying for the activity out of pocket.
So how exactly does it work? Your points are tracked for you and accessed with you MagicBand or Key to the World Card. Simply tell the server or Quick Service person you are using the Dining Plan. Each time you use them the reciept will show you the remaing credits. The order the credits are used doesn’t matter. Just remember if they aren’t used you don’t get a refund for those points. If you have a special diet, you can still use the Dining Plans, just note it with the reservation or tell the Quick Service person when it’s your turn in line. They will get you squared away with your needs. Disney is awesome about that. Something that would be nice for them to add to My Disney Experience site and app is the ability to pull up your Dining Plan Balance.
The last piece of the puzzle for Table Service, Character Dining, Signature Dining, and Dinner Shows is as mentioned they tend to be popular, so you need to make a reservation if you want to have a chance at getting into some places. Disney calls these ADRs (Advance Dininng Reservations) and they you can start trying to make them as a Resort guest 180 days out from your trip. Don’t get me wrong it is possible to get into some closer to time and some even on the day of, however, If say you want a shot at dinner for Be Our Guest then you better start calling or having your travel agent calling 180 days out or as soon as possible. In Be Our Guest’s case, it can be hard to land an ADR even at 180 days out since it’s the new place almost everyone wants to try. You can call Disney to make reservations, or make them thru My Disney Experience (app or website). One thing to note is many of these now require a credit card to make the reservation. This is to keep the amount of schedule and no show down by charging you $10 a person if you don’t show up without canceling at least 24 hours in advace.
Currently there is very little to no difference in the 2016 Dining Plan options. Mostly they just gave the brochures are new look for the new year. Next week we’ll dive into FastPass+.