Disney World Dining Plan Guide

2021 Walt Disney World’s Dining Plan

Are you wondering whether the Disney Dining Plan is a good option for your family? The Dining Plan is available to all guests staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel. It can be a great way to budget for all your family meals whilst staying at Disney World.

You pay a set price for each member of your party and then you are given dining credits to use on meals at Disney World. How many credits you get and how you can use them depends upon the Dining Plan type that you choose.

So it pays to understand something about each different Dining Plan and get an idea of how it works before deciding whether to add it to your Magic Your Way Package.

Have a browse through this guide to help you decide it the Disney Dining Plan is worth purchasing for your Disney World vacation. Learn what is included and what you will have to pay extra for.

What is the Disney Dining Plan?

Walt Disney World Magic Your Way Dining Packages

The Disney World Dining Plan is a way to prepay for some or all of your meals at Disney World.

The plan is open to any Disney World resort hotel guest as part of an add on to a Magic Your Way Package. The Dining Plan is available at a per-day cost and there are several different options depending on the dining options that you need.

There are different levels and prices for each Disney Dining Plan level.

The Dining Plan can prove to be an excellent value for a Disney World vacation – so it is well worth looking at what your options are.

What is a Disney World Magic Your Way Package?

To understand the Dining Plan you need first to know what the Magic Your Way concept is really about.

Firstly is applies only to Disney World resort hotel guests.

When you have a reservation at a Disney World resort hotel you have the option of purchasing a Disney Magic Your Way Package. This can prove to be an excellent value. There are various different types of Magic Your Way Package which vary in price and benefits.

The base Magic Your Way Package includes your hotel accommodation and a Disney World basic park ticket. You can add on Water Park Fun and More, Non-Expiration and Park Hopper options to your ticket for an extra cost.

Other benefits included in the base Package include commemorative luggage tag, $15 voucher for Downtown Disney Planet Hollywood restaurant, Miniature Golf certificate valid for one round at either Disney’s Fantasia Gardens or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf course, extra 90 minutes of watercraft fun when you buy 60 minutes at Sea Raycers by Sea Rays, and a card valid for 30 minutes of play at any resort video arcade.

So that is the basic Magic Your Way Package.

Now let’s go through the various Disney Dining Plan Options that you can add.

Magic Your Way Package With Quick Service Dining Plan

You can add a Quick Service Dining Plan to your Disney Magic Your Way Package.

The Quick Service Dining Plan includes 2 Quick-Service Meals and 2 snacks per day.
What is a Quick Service Meal? You can choose one entree or combo meal, a dessert for lunch or dinner, or juice for breakfast, and a nonalcoholic beverage.

A snack covers many items including a fountain service drink, a piece of fruit, pastries, popcorn, or a frozen ice cream novelty. All snack items are marked on menus – with a Mickey Mouse Ear symbol!

Also included is one refillable drink mug per person.

Each guest in room 3 and over is entitled to 2 Counter Service Meals and 2 Snacks per day.

When you check in the meals are ‘credited’ to your account. Say you stay for 5 days you will have 10 Counter Service Meals and 10 Snacks. You do not have to use an equal amount per day or use them for the same person. So you can save them up to use 3 on one day and 1 on another for example.

You can use the Dining Plan credits up to midnight on the day that you check out. After that, your credits are lost.

The cost of the add on Quick Service Dining Plan is $29.99 for adults and $8.99 for children aged 3 to 9 per person per day.

The Quick Service Dining Plan is new for 2009 and it will be interesting to see how many guests buy this plan. Personally I cannot see that much value in this plan. I would think that most guests would use their credits and then also have to buy an additional counter service or restaurant meal in the day. So of all the Disney Dining Plans, this is perhaps the one that offers the least value in my opinion.

Disney Magic Your Way Plus Basic Dining Plan

This Disney Dining Plan option includes 1 table service meal, 1 counter service, and 1 snack per person per day.

The cost of this option per person per day is $39.99 for adults and $10.99 for children aged 3 to 9.

There are over 100 Disney restaurants that participate in the Disney Dining Plan for the table service option.

When you check into your Disney World resort hotel you will receive credits for the total amount of dining options for the duration of your stay. You can use the credits as you want to – you do not have to use an equal amount each day. But you must use all of your credits before midnight on the day that you check out or you will lose them.

The Basic Disney Dining Plan option can prove to be an excellent value and is very well worth considering for your vacation.

Disney’s Magic Your Way Plus Deluxe Dining Plan

The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan includes 3 meals,2 snacks, and a resort refillable mug. The meals can be either full service or counter service meals.

So this Dining Plan option is much more flexible than the basic plan – and it most certainly includes a lot of food! You could have a restaurant service meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And of course, if you are still hungry after that then there are 2 snacks to be eaten as well!

The cost of the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan? $69.99 for adults and $19.99 for children aged 3 to 9. That is per person per day and children must choose from the Child’s menu if there is one available.

is the Deluxe Dining Plan worth it? Well, it would certainly cover all your food options. Many guests report that it is more than enough food. The advantage is that you know that you have all your meal options covered. It can also be a great choice when you know that you are going to use some of the restaurants which require 2 full-service credits.

What Is Included For A Table Service Meal on a Disney Dining Plan?

What is actually included on the Disney Dining Plan for your table service meal?

For lunch and dinner, adults can choose an entree and a dessert, with a nonalcoholic beverage. Or you could choose to use the credit for a full buffet. For breakfast, adults can choose from an entree, juice, and a non-alcoholic beverage or a full buffet.

Children choose from an appetizer, entree, and dessert for lunch and dinner with a beverage. For breakfast, the child has the option of an entree, juice, and a beverage. A child can also choose a full buffet for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

If there is a child menu available (and they’re pretty much always is) then a child aged 3 to 9 has to choose from that menu for it to be counted as a credit.

Gratuities are not included for table service meals. A service charge of 18% will be added to a bill for parties of 6 or more. A gratuity will also be added to items not included in the dining plan – such as alcoholic drinks for instance.

How Can I Make a Reservation For A Disney World Restaurant?

How do Disney Advance Dining Reservations Work?

If you are visiting a Disney World resort or park and want to eat in a full-service dining restaurant you would be well advised to make Advance Dining Reservations in advance. This is particularly true if you are on the Disney Dining Plan – otherwise, you may not be able to get into the restaurant of your choice.

How do you make an Advance Dining Reservation?

You call 407 WDW DINE up to 90 days in advance. Anyone can do this – even if you are not a resort hotel guest. However, if you have a reservation at a Disney World resort hotel you can add an extra 10 days to this booking window, so you do have an advantage in getting the reservations that you want.

You will be given a confirmation number. Always make a note of this and bring it to the park – mistakes do happen sometimes and having the ADR confirmation number can help to clear this up.

If you are a Disney World resort hotel concierge guest then as soon as you have made your reservation ask for Advance Planning to contact you – they will help you with your Advance Dining Reservations. This is an excellent benefit which you will have as a Disney concierge guest so it is a great idea to make use of this service.

At the moment Disney World is implementing a new system for reservations which will incorporate dining, recreation, and tour bookings. The system is being overhauled so at present you can only make Advance Dining Reservations up to 22nd March 2009.

Always have different choices available as your first option may not be available.

Some ADRs will require a credit card guarantee meaning that you will be charged if you do not cancel in advance. Always make a note of this so that you can be sure that you cancel if you need to.

Most restaurants to not require a credit card guarantee but be sure to cancel if you know you aren’t going to show up – this means that another guest will get the chance of an ADR.

If you don’t get your first choice of restaurant and you really want to dine there? Keep trying, There are cancellations. As a last resort, you can also try a walk-in. Sometimes they are available so it is always worth a try if you don’t have an ADR.

People often ask me whether they really do need to make Advance Dining Reservations. My answer if always a very definite yes – if you want to be sure of your first choice then you do have to plan ahead. Due to the success of the Disney Dining Plan, it is getting more and more difficult to get a ‘walk-in’ table at a restaurant. I am not saying that walk-ins aren’t available – they are – but if you want your first choice then you do need to plan ahead!

Disney World Free Dining Plan

When does Walt Disney World offer a free dining plan?

Sometimes as part of a special offer to its hotel resort guests offers the Dining Plan free of charge. This is one of the best offers for any Disney vacation package and is worth looking out for.

Historically Disney has offered this at slower times most usually January and September. Unfortunately, there aren’t any offers at the moment for the Walt Disney World Free Dining Plan but I will post them here as soon as there are.

Which Disney World Restaurants Participate in the Disney Dining Plan?

Most Disney World resort and park restaurants are included on the Disney Dining Plan. But there are some exceptions – Victoria and Albert’s at The Grand Floridian Resort for example.

There are other restaurants that will require 2 table service credits. These include:

  • California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort
  • Citrico’s and Narcossee’s at The Grand Floridian Resort
  • Flying Fish at the Boardwalk
  • Hoop Dee Do Musical Review at Fort Wilderness
  • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness
  • Disney’s Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Resort
  • Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse
  • Safari Celebration Dinner at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios
  • International Dinner and Illuminations Dessert Party at Epcot
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom

This list may not be exhaustive so always check with Disney when making your Advance Dining Reservations.

How Can I Use My Disney Dining Plan Credits?

The Disney Dining Plan is very flexible.

When you check into your Disney resort hotel you will be given your Key To the World. This serves as your room key as well as having any other options that you purchase loaded on to it. So it will have your tickets if you purchase those and any Dining Plan credits.

You do not have to use the same amount of credits each day. So for example on the Basic Dining Plan, you could save up your table service credit and not use it one day, so that you can use 2 credits the next day.

Any restrictions? You do have to use your credits by midnight on the day you check out of your Disney hotel. Or you lose them!

How can you know how many credits you have left? Just ask any Cast Member at the check-in desk of your resort, your concierge or at any Disney dining place. They will be able to tell you how many credits are left.

It is important to keep a track of your credits so that you can ‘budget’ them and not lose them!

Is the Disney Dining Plan The Right Option For You?

The EverythingMouse Opinion On The Disney Dining Plan

Most Disney World guests think that the Dining Plan offers excellent value and would use it if they visited the resorts again.

My own experience is also very positive. I always book a Dining Package when I stay at a Disney hotel. It offers great value and you know what to budget in advance.

It will be interesting to see how popular the Quick Service Dining Plan is. This is new for 2009 and I have to say that I am not sure how valuable this will be unless guests are planning to eat outside of Disney World. And in general Disney guests stay on property so I think that those that choose this option may wish they had spent the extra to upgrade to the Dining Plan.

Are there any downsides to the Disney Dining Plan? To get maximum value you do need to plan ahead and understand the options that you had. I am a little obsessive about getting value for my money so I tend to plan things down to the last detail to get the maximum benefit! So I plan. A lot.

I have to say that even with all my research and the fact that I know Disney inside out I did find the plan restrictive at times. I planned everything and still didn’t quite have enough credits for everything that I wanted to do. My solution? The Deluxe Dining Plan. I know this isn’t an option for everyone but it covers everything. No decisions about when to use that counter service credit!

Whichever Disney Dining Plan you choose you are pretty much assured that you will save money. Just work out the plan which is going to be the best one for your family using this guide and go ahead and enjoy the fabulous dining choices Disney World has to offer!

Our Family ‘s Favorite Dining

  • Whispering Canyon Café, Wilderness Lodge (bottomless milkshakes and outrageous, sassy fun servers)
  • Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion, Epcot (the chef grills fresh food at your table) Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show, Fort Wilderness Campground (good food, good entertainment with audience participation)
  • The Crystal Palace, a Buffet with Characters at Magic Kingdom (wide variety of buffet choices and lots of character interaction)
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, Hollywood Studios (especially with Fantasmic! Dinner Package, delicious Italian)
  • Coral Reef, Epcot Living Seas Pavilion (wait for a table close to the giant aquarium)
  • Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, Beach Club Resort (the Kitchen Sink is excluded from the dining plan but fun to have)
  • Boma’s, Animal Kingdom Lodge (mildly exotic but not too much so)
  • ’Ohana, Polynesian Resort (great atmosphere, great barbeque, all you care to eat)
  • Tangerine Café, Epcot, Morocco Pavilion (counter service, try the shwarma)
  • Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, UK Pavilion, Epcot (the crispy beer battered fish is great but you can also get it at their counter service location)
  • ’50s Prime Time Café, Hollywood Studios (have fun with the feisty waitresses)
  • Katsura Grill, Epcot, Japan Pavilion (counter service, satisfying)
  • Cosmic Ray’s, Magic Kingdom (counter service – hearty meals)
  • Earl of Sandwich, Disney Springs (counter service, a wide variety of delicious sandwiches, good salads)
  • Wolfgang Puck Express, Disney Springs (counter service, very nice choices, great chicken)

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