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Disney Dining Plan - is it Worth it?

By Olan Suddeth [ 45 ]

Rating: rating is 1 out of 5 for Disney Dining Plan - is it Worth it? (46 votes)  

If you are using Disney's website to build a vacation package (which is a great way to do it, by the way), you'll notice more than one opportunity to upgrade your Magic Your Way package with the Disney Dining Plan. Likewise, if you speak to a Dinsey rep on the telephone, they will certainly offer this to you. Aside from resort selection, adding a dining package will be the single largest expense that Disney collects from you. So is it worth it?

Well, that depends.

If you are not staying at a Disney property, this is a moot point - the dining plans are sold as an addon to your resort stay. If you are staying at a Disney property, but intend on doing a lot of the other things that Orlando has to offer, then it is probably not worth it to you to purchase a dining plan. However, if you are staying at a Disney resort, a dining plan is a great option to consider.

How it Works

Depending on which dining plan option you go with, you are given a certain number of credits to use - one table service, one counter service, and one snack per day per ticket is the standard package. However, all of the credits are available to you immediately upon check in, so if dad wants two snacks on the second day of your trip, he can go ahead and use an extra snack credit on that day.

Your park passes/room keys are loaded with your dining plan info, so you never have to worry about cash (except for gratuities) when paying for your meals. Simply present one person's ticket (Disney's system knows you are a family, and knows how many total dining credits are available to your family as a whole, no need for each person's ticket at every meal), sign the receipt, and you are done.

The Standard Dining Plan

  • One Table-Service meal including entrée, dessert or full buffet and non-alcoholic beverage
  • One Quick Service meal of either a complete Combo Meal or one entree with one dessert (Lunch or Dinner)
  • One Snack - choice of a frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle, fruit bar, popcorn scoop (single-serving box), single-serving bag of snacks, single piece of whole fruit, 20-oz. bottle of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite or Dasani water, 22-oz. fountain soft drink or juice, 12-oz. coffee, hot chocolate or hot tea, single-serving prepackaged milk or juice

    The Deluxe Dining Plan

  • Three meals per day (instead of the two provided under the standard plan). Includes appetizer and dessert (lunch or dinner, where offered).
  • Your choice of table service restaurant or quick service restaurant at every meal.
  • Two snacks per day, instead of the one provided under the standard plan. See choices above.
  • One refillable resort mug (per person, per package)

    The Quick Service Dining Plan

  • Two Quick Service meals of either a complete Combo Meal or one entree with one dessert (Lunch or Dinner)
  • Two Snacks per day. See choices above.
  • One refillable resort mug (per person, per package)

    Do note that on any plan, children (3-9 years old) are required to order from the children's menu if one is available at your current restaurant.

    Also note that on any plan, you may trade one table service meal credit (or one meal credit, period, on the deluxe plan) for a character dining experience at most restaurants that offer them. Some of the pricier character dining meals require you to trade in two table service meal credits for the experience.

    Furthermore, you may trade two table service meal credits (two meal credits under the deluxe plan) for one of the following: one Signature Dining experience, One dinsey Dinner show (category 2 or 3 seating), or One Private Dining meal.

    In 2008, Disney did away with the appetizer on the standard plan, which is a bit of a shame - it was fun to be able to sample the different ones available. Appetizers are now only included in the deluxe plan.

    Finally, be aware that a very few locations (mostly third party ventures such as the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom) do not take Disney Dining. However, the vast majority - even the little ice cream carts and churro stands - gladly take the dining plan.

    The Bottom Line

    My family has done Disney both ways - with and without the dining plan. After our trip with it, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the way to go. On the standard plan, we ate very well indeed - in fact, on the last day, we were scrambling to use up our remaining snack credits!

    If you will eat inside of the parks for most (or all) of your meals, the dining plan will not only save you (at least a little) money, but you find that you will get more food than you probably would have; after all, who orders dessert with every meal? With the dining plan, you get it! It's nice to not have to worry about paying for food during your trip; naturally, you have already paid for it, but I personally enjoy knowing that I won't have to worry about budgeting in meals during the trip. It's nice to not need to look at the menu prices, and to simply be able to order any meal that you like. Likewise, it is very convenient to simply swipe your card for that midafternoon bottle of water or extra soda, rather than have to fish out cash for it.

    Every family has different needs, but for my money, the Disney Dining Plan is some of the best money you will spend on your trrip.

    Article Copyright By Author. All Rights Reserved.    Date Added: January 24, 2008

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