Walt Disney World Resort offers 3 different dining plans for guests staying at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. There’s the Quick Service Plan, the Disney Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. My husband and I decided to try out the Disney Dining Plan, which is Disney’s “middle” plan, for our adult-only anniversary trip last month. I’m going to go over what the Disney Dining Plan is, how we used our credits, and if we felt it was worth the price.
When you pay for the Disney Dining Plan, you are pre-paying for your meals and snacks. Each plan gives you a certain number of credits to use towards meals during your stay. On the Disney Dining Plan each guest on the plan receives 1 table service credit, 1 quick service credit, and 2 snack credits per night of their stay. So since we had a 5-night/6 day stay, we received 5 table service, 5 quick service, and 10 snack credits each. Each table service credit includes an entree, a drink, and a dessert. Quick service credits include an entree and a drink. For the drink, guests can choose a regular fountain drink, specialty drink, milk, ect. or an alcoholic beverage if they are 21 or over.
Almost all of the restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort accept the Disney Dining Plans and there are a ton of options for using your snack credits. Using your credits is really easy! Just scan your MagicBand at the restaurants, kiosks, and carts where the Dining Plans are accepted and the correct number of credits will be deducted. At the table service restaurants your waiter will scan your band for you. Credits are good until midnight the day you check out.
It’s really easy to keep track of your credits too! Most of the time a Cast Member will let you know how many remaining credits you have after you use a credit, and even some of your receipts will show you how many you have left. The easiest way to track them, however, is through the My Disney Experience App. I’m embarrassed to say it took me a few days to realize that the app kept track of my credits! It’s also good to note that you can spread out your credits however you want to during your stay. If you want to have 2 table service meals in one day, you can use 2 table service credits on the same day! Or you can combine some of your table service credits to eat at a signature restaurant (which uses 2 table service credits per guest).
For our trip we did 3 table service restaurants, 1 signature restaurant, 5 quick service restaurants, and a lot of snacks! If you are visiting the Walt Disney World Resort during one of the Epcot festivals, you can use some of your snack credits at the smaller food kitchens located around Epcot. We were visiting during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and used some of our snack credits on some delicious smaller meals which were great for lunches!
The table service restaurants we ate at were: Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. For quick service we ate at Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom Park, Backlot Express at Hollywood Studios Park, Riverside Mill Food Court at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe at Magic Kingdom Park, and Restaurantosaurus at Animal Kingdom Park.
It’s recommended to make reservations at the table service restaurants so I made those 180 days in advance. We love the atmosphere at Whispering Canyon Cafe and the food is delicious. We both ordered our own skillet meal (which was a lot of food by the way) and took dessert to go since we were so full! For lunch at Yak & Yeti my husband had a burger with fries and I had sweet & sour chicken. Both meals were tasty and we still managed to save room for dessert: cheesecake with strawberry and mango sauce, and fried wontons. 50’s Prime Time Cafe has been one of our favorite Disney restaurants for a while now. Fun atmosphere and yummy comfort food. I had the meatloaf while my husband got the sampler. We each had a milkshake as our drink (their PB&J one is amazing!) and once again had to take our dessert to go since we were stuffed. We used 2 table service credits each for our anniversary dinner at California Grill. Each of us ordered a steak (both were delicious), I had a strawberry creme brulee for dessert and my husband had a lemon meringue cannoli. We paid extra and got an appetizer, braised beef short rib wontons, which was so good!
Pizzafari is a great pizza quick service restaurant in Animal Kingdom park. We each got pizza that came with a side salad and a drink. At Backlot Express in Hollywood Studios we each had a bacon cheeseburger with fries and slushies. The burgers there are really yummy. At Riverside Mill Food Court I love the station where you can make your own pasta. You choose the type of noodles, the sauce, and the meat (if you want any). Delicious! And it comes with a breadstick. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe is my favorite quick service that serves Mexican food. My husband had the fajitas and I got pulled pork nachos. The serving sizes are great and the food is fantastic! There’s a buffet with toppings so you can decide what you want to put on your nachos, fajitas, etc. Restaurantosaurus is a cute quick service location in Animal Kingdom park. I got the bacon cheeseburger combo which was great because it came with dessert but was still just a quick service credit! My husband also got a burger. Yummy food and the dessert that came with my combo was a warm caramel chocolate brownie.
There are SO many snack options for the dining plan! Some examples that Disney gives for snacks are a popcorn scoop, ice cream novelty, and a 20 oz. drink. We looked for more unique or more pricey snacks. Specialty ice cream, food items from the outdoor kitchens at Epcot (my favorite was the Honey Bee-stro), and a waffle from Sleepy Hallow at Magic Kingdom park are just a few of the things we used our snack credits on.
So, was the dining plan worth the cost? We did end up saving some money by using the dining plan, so it was worth it for us. To figure out if it’ll be worth it for you, you’ll need to do some math and a little planning. Deciding where you’d like to eat, if character buffets are important to you, looking at menus to see what you’d order and the price are just a few things to think about. Having the dining plan is also a convenience so you don’t have to think about paying for a majority of your food while on your trip. However, gratuities at table service restaurants are not included in the plan.
For our trip we wanted to try lots of different foods so we planned a table service meal for once a day. If you don’t think you’ll eat at table service restaurants much on your trip, you should try the Quick Service plan instead. We did have a table service breakfast reservation at Kona Cafe but since breakfast on the dining plan only includes an entree and drink, we decided to pay for that out of pocket. To make the most of the regular dining plan we tried to order the more expensive items on the menu at restaurants. For snacks, we tried to get the ones that were $5 or more.
So I would say if you like to eat at table service restaurants, try lots of different foods, or experience character meals, the regular Disney Dining Plan is worth paying for. If food isn’t a big deal for your trip, then it probably wouldn’t save you any money to get the plan. For help with booking a magical Disney vacation with (or without) the Disney Dining Plan, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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