Using the Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan can be very confusing for both new and returning guests. For today, we are going to focus on the most popular choice in dining plan options which is magic your way plus dining also known as The Disney Dining Plan and Base Dining Plan. Your other options are the quick service plan and the deluxe plan.

The dining plan offers guests one quick service meal, one table service meal, and one snack per night of their stay. Each guest also gets one resort refillable mug per stay.

Price: In 2013 the plan will run you $55.59-56.59 per adult and $17.16-$18.16 for children ages 3-9. Prices are dependent on the time of year you travel.

Benefits of the plan: The biggest benefit of the plan is that you will not (in theory) have any out of pocket food expenses during your trip. You can order what ever you like off the menu and do not have to worry about price. The other benefit is you will have plenty of food to eat, often more than you can eat.

Can you explain the difference between a quick service meal and a table service meal?

A quick service meal is any meal where you order from a cashier or computer terminal and pick up your food on a tray. You then seat yourself at  You will then seat yourself. There are two exceptions to this. At Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch only you will order from a computer or cashier and then sit down and your food is brought to you.  The same is true of Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney which is open for all three meals. Quick service breakfasts include an entree and a drink and quick service lunches and dinners include an entree, drink, and dessert.

A table service meal is one where you are seated at a table and served by a waiter. At breakfast they include an entree and drink or one full buffet. At lunch and dinner they include and entree, drink, and dessert or one full buffet.

What constitutes a snack?

There are many snack options for guests on the dining plan. Generally speaking a snack will come in under $4.50 so look for things in that price range. Choices may include fruit, ice cream, cookies, popcorn, soup, egg rolls, cereal without milk, beverages, rice treats, chips, pastries, baked goods, bagels, and candy.

Using your credits: You can use your credits however you choose. For example if you are two adults on a five night trip you will have ten quick service credits, ten table service credits and ten snacks to use before you check out. You can use them however and wherever you choose as long as that restaurant participates in the dining plan. Signature dining restaurants, dinner shows, room service, and pizza delivery will all cost two table service credits so this is good to keep in mind when planing your reservations.

Saving money:It used to be a huge benefit of the dining plan was the fact that you could save a good percentage of money on food. Now the prices are a bit less conducive to saving. I think you will still come out slightly ahead with the dining plan if you plan what you are going to eat and use your credits wisely. The big benefits are the desserts which are included in lunch and and dinners that you may not otherwise purchase and the refillable mugs if you use them. A quick service meal that would cost you $15.99 out of pocket would not include a dessert, where as that same $15.99 used as a dining plan credit will include a dessert. Here is a tip: Often when on the dining plan we will eat a quick service lunch at the hotel. We order bottled waters as our beverage and a giant cupcake or cookie as our dessert. We then use our refillable mugs to grab a drink to go with our lunch. When we are done, instead of eating dessert we go back to our room and refrigerate the water bottles and desserts to enjoy as a midnight snack when we get back from the parks later in the evening.

Tips and Tricks

1. As mentioned above if you are dining at your resort for lunch or dinner, grab a dessert and bottled water and save it for later!

2. Use a snack credit as a mini meal. This works well at breakfast by choosing a bagel or pastry or at lunch by choosing a hearty soup.

3. Do not use snack credits on bottled water. This is a good item to pay for out of pocket.

4. Split meals. You are allowed to split meals and this will stretch your credits. We often split lunches. Sandwiches can be huge and often will feed two of us.

5. Buffets are a great use of table service credits. Buffets are expensive, but you can eat as much as you like for your dining credit. If you choose a buffet with characters you will even get the added benefit of meet and greets without the lines!




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