I’m excited to have Hannah Rinaldi of Eat, Drink, and Save Money on All Day Mom today with a fantastic breakdown of the Disney Dining Plans! Disney vacation planning can be overwhelming! Hannah has you covered: she compares the features of each Disney Dining Plan so you can choose the Disney Dining Plan that fits your Disney vacation budget!
I love food with a passion. I always have. Because of my love for food, visiting Disney World is more than rides to me. In fact, I don’t even like Magic Kingdom. Instead, I live for Epcot. As a kid, I loved being able to learn about different cultures around the world. Now, I love being able to eat and drink my way through the different countries.
Picking a Disney dining plan is a very personal decision. Don’t trust articles that recommend one plan over another. I’ve read countless blogs that will tell you some of the plans are a waste of money, and there is only one, or no, plan that you should purchase. I’m here to tell you that isn’t true! The plan you choose depends on what you like to do when in Disney. Here is an overview of the three plans, and how to decide if it’s the right one for you.
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Which Disney Dining Plan Should You Choose?
Deluxe Dining Plan
This plan is the only way to do Disney if you are a foodie. If you are a die hard Disney fan who want to ride all the rides and spend no time in restaurants, this is not the plan for you.
Disney World has over a dozen signature dining restaurants (more here: http://www.disneydining.com/signature-dining-with-disneys-dining-plan/) that serve food from award winning chefs. However, you need to have plenty of time on your hands to get the most bang for your buck.
What’s included in the plan:
- 3 Meals of your choice per night of stay
- 2 Snacks per person per night of stay
- refillable resort mug.
- $109.53 per night for adults ages 10 & up, $29.86 per night for children ages 3-9.
- A “Meal” includes entrée and non-alcoholic beverage at breakfast, appetizer, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage at lunch and dinner. At a buffet you will receive a full buffet and beverage.
How to get the most out of this plan:
- The best restaurants (including character meals) require 2 of your meal credits. If you want to eat like a king, use a snack credit for breakfast, go to a mid-level restaurant for lunch and go all out for dinner. During our last visit we did this and had surf and turf several times throughout our stay. I’m not kidding when I say it was the best foodie trip I’ve ever been on. You can also make small meals through Epcot your “snacks”.
- Don’t eat any of the quick service meals. They still take up a credit, but they are nothing compared to the amazing meals you will get at the 5 star sit down places.
Plus Dining Plan
This is the best plan for families who still love food, but have kids who are more interested in other parts of the park. Personally, I think this is the plan that you should do once your kids are over the age of 10. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay $110 every day for a picky 10 year old to eat.
What’s included in the plan:
- 1 Table Service Meal per night of stay
- 1 Counter Service Meal per night of stay
- 1 Snack per person per night of stay
- refillable resort mug
- $60.04 per night for adults ages 10 & up, $19.23 per night for children ages 3-9.
- A “Meal” includes entrée and non-alcoholic beverage at breakfast, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage at lunch and dinner. At a buffet you will receive a full buffet and beverage.
With this plan you can still double up your table service meals to put two together in order to attend a nicer restaurant or character meal. Disney meals can be eaten in any order- you can eat all your meals in one day if you want, and have none left for the remainder of your trip (I don’t recommend you do that).
Quick Service Plan
This is the plan for the super busy family who doesn’t care about quality of food, and wants it to be quick and easy.
- 2 Quick Service Meals per night of stay
- 1 Snack per night of stay
- refillable resort mug
- $41.99 per night for adults ages 10 & up, $16.03 per night for children ages 3-9.
- A “Meal” includes entrée and non-alcoholic beverage at breakfast, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage at lunch and dinner.
This plan works best by doing your “snack” for breakfast, then using your other meals for lunch and dinner. The con to this plan is that you can’t use your credits towards sit down restaurants such as character breakfasts.
As you can see, there are many different pros and cons to each plan. What works for you really depends on what you want to do on your stay.
It’s important to note that the meal plans are only available for guests who are staying in the resort and have purchased a vacation package. You may find that you are happier staying off site and paying for individual meals. The cheapest way to do Disney is to bring your own meals. Yes, you can bring your own food into the park!
The snacks are my favorite part of the meal plan because you can use your snack points for all sorts of goodies, from Starbucks coffee to cookies in the gift shops, to super fancy foods in Epcot. I’m convinced I could survive in Disney on the snacks alone.
For a full list of restaurants, check out this website: http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/dining/disneydining.cfm
For a fun list of the best snacks, check out this website:
As a frugal living blogger, I should probably advise you to stay outside of the park, and to make all your meals. But you only live once! We love saving up money for our vacations and splurging on food. Before we had kids, we could actually eat more than $110 worth of food on the Deluxe Plan every day. I actually considered that plan to be an excellent deal. Now that kids are in the picture, we will have to pick a new plan. Toddlers in sit down restaurants are not my idea of a vacation. Picking a meal plan all depends on what works for you!
Disney Fans! Check out these Disney posts!
Read Disneyland on a Budget and build your vacation fund from $0 to Disney!
Disneyland on a Budget $5 Challenge: What Can You Get for $5 at Disneyland?
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