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6 Reasons We Absolutely Love Walt Disney World’s Dining Plan

Walt Disney World offers the Disney Dining Plan to its on-property guests as an add-on component to their vacation.

The Dining Plan divides most Walt Disney World fans. Some love it, others hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle: I think it’s not always right for everyone on every vacation. But, it can be a wonderful way to try new food while on vacation. Disney touts it as a way to save money, and you can, if you usually order expensive menu items and dessert. Folks with smaller appetites might find the Dining Plans offers too much food.

Guests can choose from three Dining Plan Packages: the Quick Service Plan (2 counter service meal and 2 snacks per day, plus the refillable mug); the regular Disney Dining Plan (1 counter service meal, 1 table service meal and 2 snacks per day, plus the refillable mug); and the Deluxe Dining Plan (3 meals which can be either counter or table service and 2 snacks per day, plus the refillable mug). The amount of meal credits allotted for your vacation is based on how many nights you stay in a Disney owned hotel. All dining plans will last your entire stay as you can’t choose to have the plan for only a couple nights and not the rest of your trip.

With the logistics out of the way, here are six reasons to love the Disney Dining Plan!

6. Rapid Fill Mugs

The Dining Plan includes a Rapid Fill Mug for everyone in your party. These mugs are plastic, handled cups with a microchip in the bottom that communicates with fountain drink dispensers when activated. These mugs are available for purchase for those not on the plan as well. With the Rapid Fill Mugs, you get unlimited refills at counter service restaurants in the Disney resort hotels. My favorite aspect of the mugs is that you can fill them at any resort, not just the one you’re staying in. So if you resort hop (like at Christmas time to see all the gorgeous decor), don’t forget your mug!

5. Easy to Budget

Something I really love about the Disney Dining Plan is how easy it is to budget out your vacation. I don’t mean that as it will make your vacation less expensive, but that you will know up front how much your food will cost. It takes the guesswork out of your pre-vacation budgeting. You know how much your vacation will cost you before your trip even begins. The only caveat here is that the Dining Plan does not typically include tip at any table service restaurants, any alcohol (this changes in 2018… see below), and most plans do not include any appetizers. So don’t forget to factor those into your vacation budget.

4. Experience New Restaurants

Being on the Disney Dining Plan is perfect reason to try a new-to-you restaurant. You’re not paying for it outright, but with dining credits. Somehow, paying with credits makes an expensive meal easier to swallow. And, since you get to enjoy an entree and a dessert, you can really get to know a new restaurant. I tried Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time while on the Dining Plan, and it’s now my favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World!

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3. All Inclusive Feel

Imagine getting the bill for your meal, and instead of pulling out your wallet, you hold up a wrist and have your MagicBand scanned and the bill just disappears. Same goes after ordering at a counter service restaurants. Pretty great right? Being able to pay for meals ahead of time makes your actual vacation a breeze. The only thing you have to keep track of a how many credits you have left!

2. Lots of Food

There are several packages in the Disney Dining Plan, but all of them give you a ton of food! Depending on your plan, you’ll get two or three full meals (which includes dessert at lunch and dinner!). Plus you get snack credits which can be used on ice cream, popcorn, Starbucks drinks, cupcakes, etc. It may not seem like a lot of food on paper, but the portions are huge, and you will not go hungry!

1. Alcohol and Specialty Beverages

As of the start of 2018, alcohol is included in the Dining Plans. While this does mean a slight increase in price, we are surprised the increase isn’t more drastic. The great news is you don’t have to get an alcoholic beverage to enjoy this new perk. Disney is allowing for “specialty beverages” which do include alcoholic drinks for guests 21 and up, or non-alcoholic specialty beverages like milkshakes for guests of any age.

Spend some time looking through menus and reviews before deciding whether a Disney Dining Plan is right for your family. Like I said, it’s not right for everyone all time. Reconsider whether adding a Dining Plan is right for your upcoming vacation, even if it hasn’t been right for you before!

About Robin Swanson

Robin’s Disney journey began with Beauty and the Beast bedsheets, a Jasmine dress up set, and a purring Nala plush. As a child in the 1990s, the renaissance and classic animations alike captivated her imagination. In 2008, Robin visited Walt Disney World for the first time, and the obsession really took hold. Since then, Robin has enjoyed visiting the Happiest Place on Earth many more times. She lives in the Chicago suburbs where she is wrapping up a Masters in writing. When not at Disney World, Robin enjoys researching fairytales, eating ice cream, Netflix binging, reading and, of course, planning the next Walt Disney World vacation!