g. How to Eat at Walt Disney World
By Dave Shute
OVERVIEW: HOW TO EAT AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
When you make your Walt Disney World hotel and ticket reservations, also sign up for the package “Magic Your Way Plus Dining,” and request a refrigerator for your room.*
Assuming you eat where this site’s itineraries suggest you do (see Where to Eat), this can save you a some money.
If you can’t, see What if You Can’t do the Dining Plan?
THE DINING PACKAGE
The “Magic Your Way Plus Dining” package, usually called the “Dining Plan” or “Dining Package” for simplicity, gives you 3 credits per person per night of your stay, to be used any day of your trip.
- One credit can be used for a snack (think bottled water or an ice cream cone),
- One credit for a meal at a “counter service” restaurant (think cafeteria), and
- One credit for a meal at a “table service” restaurant (think waiters).
The plan costs during most of the year ~$51 per day per person 10 and older (including tax; add another $6/day for tips), and ~$13 per day including tax for people younger than ten (add $3 per day for tips). Prices are slightly higher during the busy seasons–see this for more on Dining Plan price seasons.
Only hotel guests of Walt Disney World Resorts can buy the dining plan–so the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green, etc, are all excluded.
If you analyze the menus of the restaurants this site recommends, you will discover that taking this approach can save money. The budget (see What to Budget) assumes you sign up for this dining plan.
COMPLEXITIES SOLVED FOR YOU
There are a couple of complexities to this, all reflected in the budget and the To-Do List.
- One is that several of the table service meals on the basic and many other itineraries actually take two table service credits each, as they are high-demand, expensive, signature events
- Second, partly as a result, you won’t have enough table service credits to cover all your table service meals
- Third, some of your meals are outside the Disney parks and resorts system and not eligible for credits
Your To-Do List, budget, and itineraries assume that you will use your credits for your most expensive eligible meals, that you will pay cash for the remainder, and instruct you on which meal is which.
Note that when you make your advance reservations (on your To-Do List), some special meals for which demand is high will require a credit card to make the reservation, even though you intend ultimately to use table service credits to pay.
This is simply Disney’s way of making sure that you attend the event you have reserved. You will be able to use your table service credit on actual arrival–just make sure you tell your waiter!
*The refrigerator is free at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and until the spring of 2012, was $10/day at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Starting in the spring of 2102, the Pop refrigerator is no additional charge, and you don’t need to request it any more.
It permits you to keep milk, water, OJ, fruits, vodka, etc., in your room to use on the days when you will be eating breakfast in your room. Each resort has such items available for purchase in its gift shop and/or counter service restaurant.
You are eating breakfast in your room these days for two reasons: first, these are the days you need an early start (see your itinerary), and eating in your room speeds things up–letting you sleep later!
Second, because the dining plan only gives you two full meals a day, you don’t have enough credits to cover all of your meals. An in-room breakfast is the least expensive meal to pay cash for.
MORE ON WALT DISNEY WORLD DINING
- How to Eat
- The Disney Dining Plan
- What if You Can’t do the Dining Plan?
- Where to Eat
- Dining Alternatives
- The Comprehensive Guide to Walt Disney World Dining
- Character Meals and Dinner Shows Ranked in Order
- Table Service Meals at the Parks Ranked in Order
- Table Service Meals at the Resorts Ranked in Order