With our 180 day countdown fast approaching, we’re starting to consider our dining plan options for our trip.
Dining plans are essentially your meal tickets: depending on what you have, you can get certain meals, simple.
Now you don’t have to have a dining plan. Some people prefer to just pay for all their meals as and when, it all depends on your budget (and appetite!).
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, here are some basics for Disney beginners:
1. There are two types of meals, Quick-Service (QS) and Table Service (TS). Quick Service, aka Counter Service, is what it is says on the label: anywhere where you serve yourself or order fast-food style, whereas Table Service is anywhere with a proper restaurant format: waiters take your order etc.
2. ‘Snacks’ can be found everywhere, and cover a tonne of things from coffee to ice-cream to popcorn to cupcakes.
3. Credits rollover – if you don’t use your snack credit one day, get two the next day! Some TS restaurants require 2 TS credits, so depending on your dining plan, you may skip a big meal one day to save your credits, or if like us you’re planning on taking a day or two out of the park, the credits from those days can be used later in your stay.
4. At breakfast, QS credits cover an entree and a non-alcoholic beverage, and TS credits give you an entree and non-alcoholic beverage OR a buffet (if available)
5. For lunch or dinner, QS credits get you and entree, a dessert and a non-alcoholic drink, and TS credits cover an entree, dessert and non-alcoholic drink OR a buffet (if available)
6. Kids aged 3-9 have to order kids meals, but there is nothing to stop anyone over 10 ordering a kids meal.
7. Children under 3 are not covered by Dining Plans, but they can share from an adult meal at no additional cost, or order their own meal for the regular price.
8. Depending on which resort you stay at, you can have in-room dining or pizza delivery!
9. At any counter service restaurant you can ask for a cup of ice water for no charge.
10. Like a particular meal? You can ask for the recipe!
11. To be in with the best chances of having the best meals, make sure you make ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations).
There are 3 main dining plans – Quick Service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan and Deluxe Dining Plan.
2 x Q-S meal credits, 1 x Snack Credit and 1 Refillable Resort mug per person per day
1 x Q-S meal credit, 1 x T-S meal credit, 1 x Snack Credit and 1 Refillable Resort mug per person per day
3 x T-S meal credits, 2 x Snack Credits and 1 Refillable Resort mug per person per day.
When choosing a dining plan, think about whether or not you’ll save money by upgrading. If you are on the Quick Service dining plan, but plan to pay for a TS meal daily, it may be cheaper for you to move to the Disney Dining plan. Alternatively, if you fork out for Deluxe Dining but your kids prefer to eat counter service, you might find you’ve wasted a lot of money on food you didn’t have. Visit the Disney World Official website to find menus and prices, work out what you might end up spending, then compare it to what your considered dining plan might cost. Disney Food Blog have a list of all the places to eat in the parks, along with menus, reviews, and details of what dining plans they accept.
For our party, we’ll be using the Disney Dining Plan. This gives us the option of a table-service meal everyday, and as we’ll be spending a few days out of the park, the rollover credits give us the opportunity to have some of the better meals that require two credits.
My best piece of advice to you is to do your research – it’s fun, I promise! 🙂