The Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World
OVERVIEW: THE DISNEY DINING PLAN(S)
(This page is one of a series explicating Walt Disney World lingo, abbreviations, and FAQ for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.)
There are several Disney Dining Plans available to guests at Walt Disney World resort hotels. The basic premise of these plans is that by pre-paying many of your meals, your budgeting is simplified, and, quite possibly, you might save money.
(See this for the official Walt Disney World website material on all of these plans.)
The rationale is that those eating a number of sit down (“table-service,” in Disney lingo) meals will save money by purchasing the dining plan.
Buying this plan, however, raises a couple of complexities.
First, to get the maximum value out of it, you really should eat at some of Walt Disney World’s best loved dining settings. These can sell out months in advance, so you should follow this site’s advice on when your plans should be firm.
Second, while you are actually at Walt Disney World, there can be confusion about which credits apply to which settings, and what items are included and not included. The itineraries of this site take care of most of this for you.
MORE DETAIL ON THE DISNEY DINING PLAN(S)
All of the Disney Dining Plans work basically the same way.
- You buy the same dining plan for each person registered in your hotel room, for each night of your stay. (You can’t buy it for kids under three, and kids three to ten have special, much lower, prices.)
- When you check in, you will be granted a certain number of credits of various types for each night of your stay. These credits can be used on any day of your stay, and by any member of your party, except that you can’t trade kid credits for credits for those 10 and over.
- So, for example, you could use none of your credits on one day, and have half of your party use all of your remaining credits the next.
The plans vary by what credits you get, and how many per night of your reservation.
The basic plan, called the Disney Dining Plan, is the one recommended for those following the itineraries of this site, as they will save money from using it for all the meals the itineraries present, rather than paying cash for all of them.
THE DISNEY DINING PLAN
In the Disney Dining Plan, you get one table service credit (think waiters), one counter-service credit (think fast food) and one snack credit (think bottled water, ice cream, or an apple) per person 3 or older registered in your room, per night of your stay. You also get a refillable mug.
- The table service credit includes an entrée, dessert, and a beverage—but not an appetizer, and not a tip
- The counter service credits also include an entrée, dessert and beverage
- These credits expire at midnight on the last day of your stay (that is, midnight of your check-out day)
- As noted above, you can mix and match among your party
- So you can use no credits one day, and use credits for two table service meals per person the next. You can also swap them among members of your party, except that people ten and older can’t use the kid credits you buy for kids between 3 and 10. Kid credits also have to be used on children’s meals, if they are available at the establishments you are dining in
For 2012, for most of the year, the Disney Dining Plan costs $51.34 per night of your reservation for those ten or older as of check in, and $15.02 per night for kids between three years old and ten.
(You can’t not get it for a registered person, or for fewer than the nights you have reserved.)
There are, however, price seasons to the Disney Dining Plan—both official and unofficial.
- Officially, the price for the Disney Dining plan goes up to around $59 for adults and $16.02 for children for reservations whose check-in date is during the spring break season, summer, and the later part of December.
- Unofficially, the Disney Dining Plan has been offered for free in parts of August and September for years now. The 2012 free dining program can be found here.
SOME COMPLEXITIES WITH THE DISNEY DINING PLAN
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