Select Page

By Devo CabDisney

There are so many questions to be asked when planning your Walt Disney World vacation. That ugly little word “money” will inevitably sneak its way into that conversation. And at some point you’ll probably ask yourself “Is it worth it?” I often hear people ask “Is the dining plan worth it?” The problem with that question is that it’s all subjective. So, let me help you make an informed decision.

First you need to understand how the dining plan works. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you may purchase the dining plan as part of your Magic Your Way package. But what plan do you need? What do you get with that plan? There is a lot of information in the dining plan so it can seem a little overwhelming, but in reality it’s pretty simple. Essentially, you are pre-paying for your meals. You are paying for “credits” that are exchanged for your meals. There are different types of credits.

Table Service Credits. Think of this as a nice sit down meal with your family. Think Be Our Guest Restaurant or 50’s Prime Time Cafe. You will receive an entree, a dessert, and a beverage.

Quick Service Credits. This is meal credit is exactly how it sounds. Think fast food with Disney flair. Examples would be Casey’s Corner or Pinocchio Village Haus. You will receive an entree, a dessert, and a beverage.

Snack Credits. This really is as simple as it sounds. I like to use mine for Dole Whips and Mickey Pretzels. And if you’re a big fan of Starbucks like I am, you’ll be happy to know that you can use your snack credits to purchase any size Starbucks drink.

Now that you know what you will receive with each credit, let’s look at each dining plan option and what credits you will receive.

The 2014 Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan
2 Quick Service Credits per person per night of your stay.
1 Snack Credit per person per night of your stay
1 Refillable Mug per person per night of your stay

The 2014 Disney Dining Plan
1 Table Service Credit per person per night of your stay
1 Quick Service Credit per person per night of your stay
1 Snack Credit per person per night of your stay
1 Refillable Mug per person per night of your stay

The 2014 Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
3 Meal Credits (Quick Service OR Table Service) per person per night of your stay
2 Snack Credits per person per night of your stay
1 Refillable Mug per person per night of your stay

One thing you should know is that any table service meals you may choose will most likely require reservations. You will have the opportunity to make any dining reservations 180 days in advance of your first day of check in. 180 days? That’s crazy, I know. But trust and believe, if you want to dine at a particular restaurant just save yourself the frustration and call 180 days out and make reservations. You can make your reservations online, but I much prefer to call. You just cannot beat talking to another living and breathing human being.

WDWSCS

Now let’s talk about snacks. Snacks can be purchased everywhere and it’s actually pretty easy to figure out what you can buy with your snack credits. Just look for the symbol that you see above. That will let you know that is available for purchase using your snack credits. And let me tell you, they are everywhere. Don’t limit yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

WDWDPR

You’ll want to keep track of your credits, but that’s easy. Each time you purchase your meal or snack you will receive a receipt. That receipt will provide information regarding how many credits you used for that purchase and your remaining credit balance.

WDWDPB1

You’ll going to need to do some research to figure out what restaurants require table service or quick service credits. I couldn’t possibly list them all here, but you can easily find a complete list of places to eat on the Walt Disney World website. There you will find a list of restaurants along with their menus and pricing. You’ll also find out if they participate in the dining plan, if they are a quick or table service restaurant, and how many credits they require. Most of your table service restaurants will require only one table service credit, but there are some that will require two. There are also a few restaurants that do not participate. Yes, this is a lot to think about. But all this information is very easy to find. There are also some great resources such as brochures that break down all this information. Any of these brochures can be downloaded on Walt Disney World’s website.

WDWDPB2

Personally, I prefer the Disney Dining Plan. I’ll tell ya why. I’m the type of person that likes to be in a park when it opens for the day and be at the park when it closes for the evening. I do not leave the park in the middle of the day for a nap or pool time at the resort. But, even I cannot deny the need to sit and relax for a minute. So I like the option of having a nice sit down meal during the day. Also, I like to do a lot of planning in advance, but I do not want to over plan it. I like to have a game plan but I need plenty of room for spontaneity. So I have my one table service meal planned, but I can take advantage of that quick service meal at any time I choose.

What is my number one tip for the Dining Plan? The tip! Yes, you heard that right. Gratuity is not included in your dining plan for your table service meals. You will need to factor that in when you are planning. The good thing about the Dining Plan is that you don’t have to worry about the price of the items you are ordering while you’re on vacation [BOW]. But with a suggested gratuity of 18% – 20%, your tip could become pretty significant with higher priced menu items. And we all know that the food in Disney World isn’t cheap. Just please don’t be that person. You know; the guy that orders $150 worth of food and leaves a $2 tip.

So, there’s the basics! As you can see, I really couldn’t tell you if the dining plan is right for you or not. Only you can answer that for yourself. But, I would encourage you to try it at least once because the true answer is only found in experiencing it for yourself. And if you are anything like me, I think you’ll walk away knowing you made the right choice!

For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with all things Disney. My love for Disney started long before our first family vacation to Walt Disney World when I was five years old. However, the obsession began several years later when we visited Disneyland. I love and appreciate the attention to details in everything they do. I love that Disney encourages you to believe in something bigger than you and to have the drive to pursue your dreams for as far as they can take you. In my spare time I enjoy reading, painting, theatre, cooking, gardening, and collecting Disney memorabilia. I live Tennessee with my husband and our Italian Greyhound Jesse.