Choosing a Disney Dining Package
Choosing a Disney Dining package can be a tough choice in the planning stages of your Disney trip. I highly encourage the Dining Plan to everyone that stays onsite. There are so many good restaurants to choose from, and in the hot Florida sun, good fine and cool restaurants will be a lifesaver!
What is the Dining Plan?
Essentially, Disney dining gives you the ability to pre-pay for food. So during your stay at Disney, you can carry around a card (called your “Key to the World”), you present that card at restaurants, and you get a specified amount of food each day, depending on the plan you choose. You also will get a certain number of snacks to use each day.
Which Disney Dining Package Should You Choose?
There are three different Dining Packages that we will look at. Take your time to investigate each one, and decide what works best for your family.
If you choose the Quick-Service Dining plan, you essentially get 2 counter meals and 1 snack, per day, per person. The counter meals come with a desert during lunch and dinner, and also include a drink. You can find a wide variety of counter meals at all four parks and Downtown Disney. Snacks can be used on candy, ice cream, and soft drinks. You’ll see a little “Snack” symbol on menu’s at all counter locations. This symbol will help you learn which items you can use your snack credits on.
While the quick-service dining plan is perfect for a weekend get-away, it can get old if you are there for a week. You’ll quickly notice that many of the counter restaurants are using the same food, and after 7 days of eating fast food-type meals for lunch and dinner, you will probably start getting a little sick of the food.
Courtesy of Disneyparks.go.com
Most of the restaurants that Disney is famous for cannot be used with the Quick-Service Dining plan.
As such, I recommend QSD only for spur-of-the-moment trips or weekend getaways.
Standard Dining Plan
The normal dining plan also includes 2 meals a day and 1 snack per day, just like the QSD. However, one of those meals is a table-service meal, which allows you to eat at many of the fine dining establishments across Disney.
You won’t regret this choice, as some of the restaurants are truly unforgettable. From the popular Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian resort to the cuisine from the world showcase in Epcot, the standard dining plan will really enhance your trip.
I would advise you to be cautious when booking reservations however. Many of the nicer restaurants, such as Le Cellier and the California Grill, charge 2 table-service meals per person. When researching the restaurants, you will want to keep this in mind.
Also, the plan does NOT cover alcohol or your tip. You still will need to tip based on the total bill, which will be clearly shown on your check.
I highly recommend the standard dining plan for all trips to Disney, as the food is amazing and without the dining plan is extremely expensive.
Deluxe Dining Plan
The Deluxe dining plan is almost too much food to eat. Disney gives you THREE meals per day, and you can use them at either counter or table service restaurants. You also get 2 snacks per day. It’s very difficult to eat this much food, but the dining plan does give you the ability to book reservations at the high-end restaurants that charge 2 credits and still come out ahead.
The deluxe dining plan is about $30 more expensive per day, per person. That can be a lot of money. However, if you can afford it, you won’t lack for food for your entire trip.
One thing that can happen with the regular dining plan, is that you end up paying for breakfast, and you probably will buy another meal here or there, if you eat at a 2 credit dinner reservation. With the deluxe plan, you will never have to buy a meal.
It is very likely that you will waste credits on the deluxe plan, so consider the dining habits of your family before making the choice.
However, if you love fine-dining, and if especially if the cost is enough for you to bear, I would recommend the Deluxe plan, as it will without question provide you with all the food you need for your entire vacation!
Your Disney Trip
We hope these tips help you in your planning of a wonderful Disney vacation! Once you’ve booked, you are ready to move on to reservations and detailed trip planning, which is where the fun truly begins!
Now that you have all the information you need on booking, let’s look at something really important! How to save money! Our next series helps you save money while at Disney World in a variety of areas!