Navigating the Dining Plan can get a little overwhelming. What plan is best? What restaurant is best? How do I know I’m getting the most for my money? Well, I’m here to help with that last question with these eleven tips.
11. Do Your Research
Walt Disney World has tons of dining options, ranging from snack stands to fancy signature restaurants. Do your research on the various locations. Disney Dining is a terrific place to start to find restaurant reviews and tips, but also make sure to read other blogs and ask friends and family for advice as well. Then, filter all those opinions through what will work for your family.
10. Pick The Right Plan
The Dining Plan works in three tiers. Each tier doles out meal and snack credits according to the number of nights in your trip. The Quick Service plan includes two Quick service meal credits and two snack credits per night. The standard Disney Dining Plan includes one Quick Service credit, one Table Service credit, and two snack credits per night of your stay. And the Deluxe Dining Plan includes three meal credits, which can be divvied up as Quick or Table Service as you choose, plus two snack credits per night. All three plans also come with the Rapid Fill mug that can be filled at any resort Quick Service station. Find current prices for these plans on the official Walt Disney World website.
9. Make Advanced Dining Reservations
Don’t trust your meal credits to fate. Make meal reservations ahead of time. This is where that planning comes into play. Look at reviews and menus online to find the perfect restaurants for your family.
8. Bring Your Appetite
The dining plan includes a lot of food! At each meal, you’ll get an entree with a side, a non alcoholic beverage, a dessert (at lunch and dinner only). If you have multiple light eaters in your family, a dining plan may not be the best choice for you.
7. Go During Free Dining
At certain times of year (often in the fall), Walt Disney World offers a free dining promotion. The promotion typically requires guests book a rack rate room and ticket package. Guests staying in a Value and Moderate resorts get the Quick Service plan for free, while guests staying in a Deluxe resort get the standard plan for free. As always, talk to a vacation planner or crunch some numbers to determine if this promotion is right for your family.
6. Order the Steak
You could easily substitute the steak for fish of the day, the counter service combo meal, or any other specialty item. The idea here is to order an expensive entree item, often a steak, to get the most out of your dining plan. Avoid ordering a garden salad, macaroni and cheese, or chicken fingers for every meal to really get the most bang for your buck.
5. Go Beyond Soft Drinks
The Disney Dining Plan includes a specialty beverage with a meal which can include an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. This allows you to think outside the soft drink box! Just remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
4. Character Dining
Many of the Character Meals around Walt Disney World are available for one meal credit, making them a fantastic option for families– sit down in air conditioning, while the characters come to your table, what’s not to love? Some good choices include Crystal Palace (Winnie the Pooh and the gang), Tusker House (Mickey and Friends in safari gear), Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Belle and a rotating group of princesses), and O’hana (Lilo and Stitch).
3. Trade for Snacks
Quick Service credits can be used instead for three snacks at a single kiosk or snack location. This option is perfect for guests visiting during International Food and Wine Festival!
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2. Make Snacks a Meal
For folks who aren’t big breakfast eaters, or maybe had a big breakfast and don’t need a full lunch, a snack credit can be used in place of a meal credit. A muffin or cinnamon roll can be a tasty breakfast, while a container of fruits or veggies can be a light lunch. Use your snack credits to fill out your meals.
1. Two Credit Meals Aren’t A Good Use of Credits
Generally, meals that cost two credits aren’t a wise use of credits. Take a look at the prices, they aren’t actually twice as much as one credit meals, so why pay twice as many credits? If you really want to dine in a Signature restaurant (those that cost two credits) you may be better off paying out of pocket. That is, unless you otherwise wouldn’t use all of your credits!