Disney Dining Plan – Pros & Cons 2018
Disney Dining Plan Pros & Cons 2018
Disney Dining Plan 2018 Pros & Cons Walt Disney World. Disney Dining Plan is huge to many visiting Walt Disney World. The Disney Dining Plan has some new changes in 2018 that could impact your visit. In this post, I will express the difference between Disney Dining Plans and what the ins and outs of dining plans are, I will compare each plan and give my recommendation, let’s get started.
These are the basics of each plan.
Disney Dining Plan Basics:
There are three levels of the dining plan.
— Quick Service Dining
— Disney Dining Plan
— Deluxe Disney Dining Plan
Any of these three levels of dining plans must be booked with a “Magic Your Way” package. Magic Your Way packages include Park tickets for everyone in your party and a stay at any Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
Purchasing discounted park tickets from a Disney Licensed Broker, such as UndercoverTourist, you can still purchase the dining plan as long as you book a hotel on Disney property.
Quick Service Dining
Quick Service (counter service) restaurants that do not require reservations. These are self-serve and not just your basic hamburger/hotdog theme park fair. Stay with me I will explain. With a Quick Service plan, you receive two quick service meals per day two snacks per day and a refillable resort mug. Each entitlement is per person, per night of stay.
NOTE: Disney has and is still improving their Quick Service menus. There is a large selection of Quick Service dining meals such as chicken and ribs, surf and turf, pasta dishes, and sushi. Wolf Gang Puck Express is a Quick Serve credit with waiter service, BIG BANG for your buck.
Disney Dining Plan is a mix of Quick Service and Table Service options. Table Service restaurants require reservations which are either full-service restaurants or buffets. Guests have one table service meal, one quick service meal, two snacks and one refillable resort mug per person per night of stay.
Deluxe Disney Dining Plan
Deluxe Dining Plan is three meals a day. It also is the most expensive add-on option to “Magic Your Way” package. Guests choose any combination of three meals a day, table service, quick service, two snacks and a refillable resort mug. Each entitlement is per person per night of your stay.
New for 2018 guests have many new beverage options including non-alcoholic specialty beverages and for guest 21 years and older; beer, wine, and cocktails.
If you are a bit confused maybe this breakdown will help:
- Each quick service meal includes (breakfast, lunch or dinner):
– 1 non-alcoholic beverage or an alcoholic beverage for guest 21 and older table service meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
– non-alcoholic beverage or an alcoholic beverage for guest 21 and older
Quick service restaurants, most outdoor carts, and select merchandise locations have Disney Dining Plan snack items. Look for DDP menu icon.
-Frozen ice cream, popsicle or fruit bar
-a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, Sprite or Dasani water
-a piece of fruit
There are so many snack options in the Disney Dining Plan. I recommend you take notice of menu options to get more bang for your buck. Here is an example, instead of getting a popsicle/ice cream pop why not pick an ice cream cone or sundae.
I cannot stress more— look at your options.
Many guests enjoy character dining.( You absolutely will not look silly if you do not have little ones with you, it’s a fun experience and a great photo op.) Children love getting autographs from their favorite characters, many character dining venues required two Table Service credits- beware of these two credit table service before you book your reservations.
Other two Table Service credit dining experiences are Signature Dining restaurants. Signature dining is a more elegant table option with a wide selection of cuisine.
Two table service credits for each person dining will be redeemed.
Dress code for Signature Dining is resort casual with a few exceptions, be sure to check dress code when booking your reservations. Please, no swimsuits, coverups, tank tops, or torn clothing.
Dinner shows such as Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review and Spirits of Aloha required two table service credits.
Private in-room dining also requires two table service credits as well as pizza delivery. Pizza delivery includes one pizza, two beverages, and two desserts.
It’s a lot of information and can be very overwhelming.
Just hang on, I will get to pros and cons, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty.
With the Disney Dining Plan, guests have a number of credits that are redeemed for table service meals, quick service meals or signature dining and snacks. In essence, it’s a pre-paid meal plan. Your credits are stored on your Magic Band.
Note-My Disney Experience App now tracks your unused dining credits. If you have an iPhone or any smartphone be sure to keep track of all your Disney reservations.
After each purchase of food, a receipt will be provided showing remaining credits, however, if you’re like me, receipts are/can be easily misplaced.
Just like everything in Walt Disney World, there is a price increase every year for the Disney Dining Plan. There are a few questions you must ask yourself for making such a purchase. Is DDP worth it? How much will it be if I paid out-of-pocket? Will it be too much food? Will it be enough of food? Should I purchase the Deluxe Plan? How much money is the Disney Dining Plan?
Let’s Talk Money
The Quick Service Plan for 2018 is $52.50 per person, per adult (10 years or older) and $21.74 per child (3-9 years old) per night. The regular Dining Plan is $75.49 per adult, per night (10 years and older) and a child is $25.75 per night( 3 to 9 years old). The Deluxe Dining Plan is a whopping $116.25 per adult, per night( 10 years old) and a child’s price of $39.99( 3 to 9 years old) per child, per night.
Disney is hoping you purchase the Deluxe Plan, simply because Disney knows just about most people cannot eat all the food. Many meals are not redeemed as well as snacks, Disney already has your money, it is your loss.
These credits are not viewed as a set dollar value, for example, a table service credit can be redeemed at a restaurant ordering a grilled chicken meal and a lemonade. You are using one dining credit OR, order steak and a glass of wine, it is still one credit. Your choice of restaurants, also depending on your order choices, justifies the value.
There are many pros and cons that accompany the Disney Dining Plan, here are some:
-All your meals and snacks are pre-paid, you do not need to carry so much money.
-You can order without the guilt of price. Frequent Disney Dining Plan participants feel their food is already paid, no matter their menu choice. No depriving yourself of what your taste pallet is yearning for.
-Ordering up. Dining at quick-service restaurants or table service, you are able to choose the most expensive menu items that maybe you would not order paying out of pocket
– Knowing ahead of time the cost of your meals helps keep your budget under control.
– Traveling with adult family members such as teenagers who may explore the parks without mom and dad can have some freedom. They are able to pick up that snack, QS etc… LOL, mom and dad are paying.
-Able to experience dinner shows by using two table service credits (per person). Some people would never have experienced these dinner shows if not for the Disney Dining Plan.
-People feel encouraged to try restaurants they have never tried before.
-Snacking is easier when you have credits. Without snack credits, the prices may stop you from snacking.
-There is a lot of food, more than what the average person eats.
-Children who are in “adult” price category find it impossible to eat the amount of food the plan provides. Parents see this as a waste of food and money.
Note: If your child orders from the children’s menu, you are losing money since you must pay the adult plan price.
-Planning all aspects of your Walt Disney World vacation around your table service reservations.
-Gratuity is not included in the Disney Dining Plan price. Remember- when you “order up” to get more bang for your buck, your gratuity will be higher.
As you can see, there are so many pros and cons. I have participated in the dining plan quite a few times and I have opted not to participate in the Disney Dining Plan. I did my own experiment, I paid out-of-pocket, I was sure to save all of my dining receipts, I added them up when my Walt Disney vacation came to an end. It turns out to be cheaper without the Disney Dining Plan. Was it a huge amount? It was $174.00 cheaper. NOT huge, but I thought about what $174.00 could buy.
I know hundred $174 isn’t a large amount of money but $174 can buy souvenirs, and extra at night stay in a value resort, a rental car for the week, an upgrade on airfare, and another ticket into the park. I haven’t written off the Disney Dining Plan, I participate depending on what kind of Disney vacation I am planning. Sometimes when I visit Disney I plan on light park activity and sometimes I plan on hitting the parks hard. When my Disney vacation is consumed by several days in the parks, I find the Disney Dining Plan a bit stressful. When you are in the parks waiting on lines, having a mental plan of the next pavilion to hit and realize you don’t have time because your dining reservations are on the other side of the park and you have to hustle to make it on time. I find it stressful.
It’s all up to you, No matter the plan you choose or any at all, remember to ENJOY. Cherish the time spent with family, memories last a lifetime. I don’t remember what I ate as a kid visiting Walt Disney World, I remember the fabulous times spent with my family. Len and I had made so many memories and still continue to do so. I cherish the time we spend together.
Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.
Tell me your experiences. Do you agree with this post? Do you feel the Disney Dining Plan is worth the price? I would love to hear your stories. I would love to read one of your cherished memories. Share your thoughts.