6 Reasons Why We Love The Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World

The Disney Dining Plan is a popular add-on to a Magic Your Way vacation package. It is, quite simply, a way to include the cost of your meals in the total price you pay for your Walt Disney World vacation. There are currently three different Dining Plans available; Quick Service, Regular, and Deluxe. The benefits of each plan can change from time to time, but here’s the current rundown. With Quick Service, you will receive two counter service meals and two snacks for each night of your stay. The Regular Plan allows one counter service and one table service meal, plus two snacks. On the Deluxe Plan you will enjoy three meals and two snacks for each day. The meals can be either counter or table service. Each plans includes a Refillable Mug for resorts refills.

You must be on the plan your entire stay as you can’t buy it for just a couple of days. The number of days on your plan is the number of nights that you will be staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. For example, if you are taking a five day, four night vacation and add the Regular Dining Plan, you’ll receive four counter service meals, four table service meals, and eight snacks. The restaurants on the Disney Dining Plan change from time to time, to find out about the place where you plan to eat just visit the restaurant’s page on the Walt Disney World website. It will say whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is accepted right above the View Menu link. One thing to remember about the Disney Dining Plan, at the table service restaurants the tips are usually not included, so don’t forget your server.

Here are six reasons why we love the Disney Dining Plan.

6. Refillable Mug Is Included

A nice extra with the Disney Dining Plan is that each member of your party receives a refillable mug. You can fill it up with coffee in the morning, and ice cold lemonade when you get back from a long, hard day of fun. Refillable mugs can’t be used in the parks, but you can use them at any of the Disney owned resorts, so bring yours along if you plan to go resort hopping. Refillable mugs make great souvenirs, so you will have something to remember your trip by without shelling out any extra cash. Once you get home, the mugs are microwave and top shelf dishwasher safe.

5. Great Value for Character Meals

Love character dining? Then you will want to add the Standard or Deluxe Disney Dining Plan to your vacation package. You can use your table service credits for character meals, which could end up costing less than buying each meal and paying out of pocket. Keep in mind that Cinderella’s Royal Table will cost you two table service credits instead of just one. The same is true for many of the other signature restaurants, so check when you make your reservation because you don’t want to run out of credits.

4. Leftover Snack Credits

With the Disney Dining Plan, you will have a lot of food. Many guests find that they still have credits left on the last day of their vacations, and they don’t want to waste them. Those credits will expire at midnight on the day that you checkout, you can’t save them for your next trip. What you can do is to stock up on snacks to take home with you. Go into a store that sells sweets like lollipops and crispy rice treats, and ask a Cast Member what you can use your snack credits for. Some places will also allow you to trade in a counter service credit for three snack credits, so you won’t waste your credits. Use the snacks you bring home as souvenirs for family and friends, or hide them away for when you need a Disney break.

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3. Alcohol (Specialty Beverages) Included

Alcohol is included in the Dining Plans. The great news is you don’t have to get an alcoholic beverage to enjoy this perk. Disney allows 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.

2. Free Dining

Sometimes the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan is offered for free. The dates are usually released in the spring, and they are normally for days in the fall. When Free Dining is announced, book your trip right away because there are a limited number of spots, and they will go quickly. The resorts that offer Free Dining change, depending on where there are empty rooms. There are also other contingencies, such as you must stay a minimum number of nights, you must include theme park tickets, and you can’t combine the savings with most other discounts. Free Dining is extremely popular, but it is not a guarantee. Disney could decide to end the program at any time without notice.

1. The Food Budget Is Set

One of the nicest things about the Disney Dining Plan is that your food budget is set. You will not have to worry about spending too much on food, and you won’t even think about leaving Walt Disney World property in order to find a cheap meal. You will be able to try the fantastic Disney restaurants while on your vacation, and the cost will not be a factor. Don’t even look at the prices, just order what you want. The kids can have their favorites as well. Knowing that your food is paid for will take some of the stress out of your vacation.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.