How to Maximize the Value of the Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan can be a fun and delicious addition to your trip to Walt Disney World if you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel. Purchasing a plan entitles you to a set number of meals and snacks each day. But while the plan may make it easier to anticipate your out-of-pocket expenses, is it really a good value? If you plan ahead, the Disney Dining Plan can be a valuable option for a decadent vacation!
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of the Disney Dining Plan:
Know What You Get With Your Plan
The standard dining plan currently offers credits for each participant to receive the following each day:
- 1 Quick-Service Meal – One entrée and one beverage (non-alcoholic or alcoholic for adults over 21)
- 1 Table-Service Meal – One entrée, one dessert (not available at breakfast), and one beverage (non-alcoholic or alcoholic for adults over 21), OR one buffet
- 2 Snacks
If that doesn’t quite fit your needs, there are some variations on this plan:
- The Quick-Service Dining Plan offers two quick-service meals, two snacks and no table-service meals.
- The Deluxe Dining Plan offers three meals a day (at either quick-service or table-service restaurants) and two snacks.
Regardless of which plan you choose, familiarize yourself with what is included so that you can be sure to get everything that you paid for.
Read Menus Before You Go
Walt Disney World restaurant menus are available online, giving you the perfect opportunity to plan ahead. Not only can you see what restaurants interest you most, you can also crunch some numbers to find the best values for your credits.
For instance, some restaurants are pricier than others. For a table-service credit at one restaurant, you might select at $14.00 entrée. At a different table-service restaurant, you might enjoy a $30.00+ entrée with that same credit. Similarly, snack credit options range from just a couple dollars each to nearly $10 each.
The rule of thumb is to only use the dining plan if possible, but if you are big eaters and will still need to pay for some additional food in cash, make sure you use the dining plan for the more expensive meals.
Make Reservations in Advance
Table-service and even some quick-service restaurants require reservations. While technically you could go up the day of and hope to snag a seating, this is unlikely at many popular locations. Booking ahead can help ensure you get to eat where you want and when you want. You can start booking 180 days before your arrival date, and many popular options fill up quickly. Don’t see the reservation you’re looking for? Keep checking back! Other families may change their plans, so reservations could open up at any time.
Don’t Let Credits Go to Waste
Letting credits go unused is like throwing away money. If your vacation is about to end and you haven’t used all those credits, now’s the time to stock up! A lot of packaged treats count as snack credits, so you can use up your remaining credits on snacks for the trip home. Plus, if you still have quick-service credits, these can generally be converted into additional snack credits.
If you make the most of it, the Disney Dining Plan can be a fun indulgence on your next Disney vacation and keep you from mindlessly overspending during your trip! Learn more about how to save money on your Disney vacation right here.