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By: Kid @ Heart Disney Devo
The planning has begun, you know- when you will arrive and depart, the resort you will be staying at, and if you will be flying or driving.

One of the decisions you need to make while you stay at Disney is what restaurants you want to dine at, and if the Disney Dining Plan is going to be offered as free perk for staying at a Disney Resort.  If not included in your package, you need to decide what dinning plan do you want to purchase.

Animal Kingdom’s Rain Forest Cafe

The plans you have to choose from, including a refill mug, are of the following:

  • Quick Service Dining:  2 Counter quick service meals and 1 snack
  • Regular Dining :  1 Counter quick service meal, 1 table service meal, and 1 snack
  • Deluxe Dining :  choice of either 2 quick service or 2 table, 1 quick / 1 table, and 2 snacks

Cost of the plans for 2013 are as follows per person per night:

  • Quick:    Adult ( ages 10+ ) $37.58 / Child ( ages 3-9 ) $14.32
  • Regular: Adult        ”            $55.59 / Child         ”         $17.62
  • Deluxe:  Adult        ”            $99.97 / Child         ”         $26.84

When using your Disney Dining Plan, you can use it towards these things:

  • Table Service Credits – used at participating table service restaurants and includes entree, dessert, and non alcoholic drink.
  • Counter Service Credits – used at participating counter service restaurants and includes entree, non alcoholic drink, and if eating lunch or dinner dessert.
  • Snack Service Credits – used at many locations including food carts, can get everything from bottle water or soda, ice cream, soft pretzels, and many other snacks.
  • Refillable Mugs – with your Disney Dining Plan, each guest 3 and older, gets a refillable mug that you can use at your resort only for free refills.  If you were to purchase the mug without plan it would cost you $13.
 Refillable mug to use at your resort
One thing to keep in mind:  If the promotion is going on for the free Disney Dining Plan and you book your vacation at a value resort, you will get the quick service plan.  But, you can upgrade to the standard for $20 per adult and $6 per child per night.
If you are planning to do Character dining and / or if you wish to dine at the more expensive restaurants, I recommend purchasing the regular dining plan, if it is not free. This is because it will save you some money attending these events.

 Keep in mind paying out of pocket for the dining plan or getting free might not be as good as getting 30% off select resorts.  It maybe cheaper and economical to pay for your meals as you go.
The other thing that is not included in the Disney Dining Plan is the gratuity. This peaks out at 18%, but you can leave what ever you can afford and how good your service was.
When we travel to Disney World, we are always fortunate to receive the free dining plan. This is because the resort we stay at has the regular dining plan.  We always like to do at least one character dining and if you have young children, character dining is something you definitely would want to consider to create memories.
 So as you are planning your next Disney trip, don’t forget to consider the dining plans!
Enjoy your vacation.