Disney Dining Plans – Which One is Best for Me?

Depending on who you talk to when starting to plan your Disney trip, I can promise there will be some division on whether or not you should get the dining plan. Some will say it is not worth it because it is so much food and others swear by it. Ultimately, the choice will be up to you.

Personally, I am a huge fan of the Dining Plan. I love knowing that my meals are paid for so I don’t have to worry about budgeting for my meals while I am trying to enjoy my vacation.  I know, chances are I may be spending a little more than I would otherwise, but the peace of mind knowing it is all paid for is part of why I love it.

If you are considering a Disney Dining plan for your next trip, keep in mind this option is only available when you are staying on Disney property.

There are 3 Dining Plan options to choose from (If you click on the plan name, you’ll be taken to Disney’s PDF with more details) :

2017 Disney Quick Service Dining Plan

  • 2 Quick Service Meals (per person, per night)
  • 2 Snacks (per person, per night)
  • A refillable drink mug eligible for refills at self-service beverage islands at Quick-Service locations at any Disney Resort hotel

2017 Disney Dining Plan

  • 1 Table Service Meal (per person, per night)
  • 1 Quick Service Meal (per person, per night)
  • 2 Snacks
  • A refillable drink mug eligible for refills at self-service beverage islands at Quick-Service locations at any Disney Resort hotel

2017 Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 Table Service or Quick Service Meals (per person, per night)
  • 2 Snacks (per person, per night)
  • A refillable drink mug eligible for refills at self-service beverage islands at Quick-Service locations at any Disney Resort hotel

 

Which plan you choose is ultimately going to depend on your dining style.  If you like to eat whenever you feel like it, the Quick Service plan will be a better choice for you. If you like a balance between having some meals scheduled and some meals more spontaneous (or if you are planning to do Character Meals as part of your trip since those can get expensive), then the Disney Dining Plan is your best choice.  If you are someone who no matter what feels like you have to have 3 meals a day, then you probably want to go for the Deluxe Dining Plan.

My personal choice is the Disney Dining Plan.  I like the mix of nice sit-down/buffet options and casual quick-service options.  I don’t often have a huge appetite when I have been out in the heat, so doing 3 meals a day on the Deluxe plan would be a stretch for me.

Something you have to keep in mind as well is that Quick Service meals are actually much bigger than you would expect.  It’s often not your typical fast food meal you would get at home…it is usually a lot of food.  I can promise you that you will not starve by any means!  Haha!

When choosing a Dining Plan with Table Service options…you will have some planning to do.  Most (if not all) Table Service restaurants in Disney World take reservations, which means they can fill up fast.  This creates the need for Advance Dining Reservations (also known as ADRs).  Advance Dining Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.  If you are staying onsite and have already booked your trip (dining plan or no dining plan), you can book all of your dining reservations 180 days prior to your arrival date.  If you are staying offsite and want to make reservations, you will need to go in each day at the 180 day mark from when you want to dine.

I know, I know.  I am sure you are thinking “How can I decide where I want to eat 6 months before my trip?”

If you are a planner like me, this will not phase you…I started planning our table service meals as soon as I started planning our trip.  If you are not a planner…that is where a travel agent can be a huge help.  If you let them know what type of food you like and what type of dining you are looking for, then can help make your reservations for you.

I’m sure you noticed the 2 Snack options per night for all of the dining plans.  There are so many snack options, I could not even begin to list them all.

Snacks are available at most Quick Service locations as well as various carts and kiosks around the parks.  If a menu item has the below logo next to it, then it is considered a snack and can be purchased with your snack credits.

DDP Snacks

Anytime you use meal or snack credits, make sure you check the bottom of your receipt, as it will tell you how many credits of that type you have remaining.

Just a few more things to remember:

  • Just like your Magic band is your Room Key and Park Ticket, it also holds all of your dining plan information.  And you will need the PIN you create during online check-in (or onsite check-in) to redeem dining credits.
  • Tips are not included with your meal credits, so you will need to plan accordingly for those.  I carried any envelope in my bag labeled “Tips” with enough cash to cover our tips for table service meals.  If you do this, make sure you keep it somewhere safe.
  • Have fun and enjoy all the delicious dining options Disney has to offer!

I hope this answers at least a few questions you may have about dining plans at Disney!  If you have questions, feel free to post in the comments and I’ll try to find the answer if I don’t know!

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