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Walt Disney World Dining Plans: All You Need to Know

By Edited Apr 13, 2016 0 0

There are three different dining plans that can be added to a Walt Disney World Vacation package.  Each has its own unique little twists, but there are also a few similarities between each plan.  Make sure if you are adding a plan, that you know how it works and have chosen the right plan for you.

What Is a Walt Disney World Dining Plan and How Do They Work?

All Walt Disney World Dining Plans are a way to pre-purchase your meals, or some of your meals depending on your plan.  For every night that you are booked into a Walt Disney World Resort room, you receive x amount of daily credits to be used at any time during your Walt Disney World stay.  All unused credits expire on midnight of your check-out day.  So, if you check-in to your resort on Sunday and check-out on Friday, the number of credits you have are your daily credits x5 and expire on midnight of Friday if unused.  On the same note, if you choose not to have an appetizer or dessert at your meal (if included), you will forfeit that part of your credit.  While you do receive daily credits based on the number of nights you have booked, your credits can be used in any order, on any day during your vacation.

You must have booked a Walt Disney World package to purchase a Disney Dining plan.  A package can include many things, but it must include staying onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort and a ticket purchase tied to your room reservation—made at the same time you book your resort reservation.  You do not need to add your dining plan at the same time you book your basic package.  You may add (or change) the dining plan up to 72 hours prior to your check-in day.  Note: Packages must be paid for 45 days in advance of your check-in date.  Adding a dining plan (or choosing a higher priced dining plan) will require you paying for your dining plan in full at the time you add it.  Additionally, everyone on the same reservation age 3 and up must have the same dining plan.    

What each dining plan includes is slightly different.  There are certain things that are the same across all dining plans.  Gratuity is not included.  You must pay for all tips based on the total of your order out of pocket, unless otherwise noted.  If you have a family of 6 or more, you will have an 18% gratuity automatically included.  Children ages 3 – 9 must order off the children’s menu if one is included.  Ages 10+ are considered adults for the dining plan.  Alcoholic beverages and some bottled drinks are not included on the dining plan.  You cannot share credits with anyone not on the dining plan, i.e., buy lunch for someone else.  Children ages 2 and under must eat off an adult’s plate or have their meal purchased separately.  Not all restaurants at Walt Disney World participate in the dining plan, and others require two credits per meal (signature dining).

To redeem your credits, you must have your Key to the World Card—also known as your room key.  Each person does not need to have one, but only one person in party; each key tracks all the credits through a remote system.  When you go to pay for your meal, your server or cashier will scan your card and the proper credits will be deducted from your account.  You will then be given a receipt showing what you have left to use.  Mistakes do happen, so make sure to check your receipt; it is easier to fix a mistake on the spot than later at the resort. 

Quick Service Dining Plan

The daily allotments for the Quick Service Dining Plan include 2 credits for participating counter service restaurants and 1 snack credit per person.  You will also receive one refillable mug per person, to be used only during your stay at counter service restaurants at your resort.  The cost is $34.99 per night for each adult and $11.99 per night for each child.

The Basic Dining Plan

The daily allotments for the Basic Dining Plan include 1 snack credit, 1 counter service credit and 1 table service credit at participating restaurants per person.  You will also receive one refillable mug per person to be used at counter service locations at your resort during your stay.   During value and regular season, the cost is $51.54 per night for each adult and $15.02 per night for each child.  During peak and holiday season, the cost is $53.54 per night for each adult and $16.02 per night for each child.

The Deluxe Dining Plan

The daily allotments for the Deluxe Dining Plan include 2 snack credits and 3 meal credits, which can be used at either table service or counter service restaurants, per person.  You will also receive one refillable mug per person to be used at counter service locations at your resort during your stay.  During value and regular season, the cost is $85.52 per night for each adult and $23.79 per night for each child.  During peak and holiday season, the cost is $89.52 per night for each adult and $25.79 per night for each child.

What Is a Snack?

Snack credits can be used for a variety of items.  Some items that count as snacks include a 20 oz. bottle of a soft drink or water, one whole piece of fruit, single serving popcorn or bag of snacks, 22 oz. soft drink from a soda fountain, 12 oz cup of coffee/hot chocolate/hot tea, frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle, or fruit bar, or a single serving of pre-packaged milk or juice.

What Does a Counter Service Credit Include?

What is included as a quick service meal is basic.  You receive an entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage.  At lunch and dinner, you will also receive a dessert. 

What Does a Table Service Credit Include?

Table Service credits vary slightly on what is included depending if it is a deluxe or basic dining plan table service credit.  For the basic plan, you receive an entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage OR access to the buffet for breakfast.  For lunch and dinner, it includes an entrée, one non-alcoholic beverage and dessert OR access to the buffet.  Children also receive an appetizer.  Desserts may not be swapped for appetizers. 

The Deluxe Dining Plan table service credit includes an entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage OR access to the buffet for breakfast.  At lunch and dinner, the table service credit includes an entrée, one non-alcoholic beverage, an appetizer and dessert OR access to the buffet. 

What about In-Room Dining?

You may order room service using your dining plan.  Ordering off the regular menu from room service is treated like any signature restaurant—two meal credits per meal are deducted from use.  For pizza delivery, you will receive two desserts, two non-alcoholic drinks, and one full pizza at the cost of two adult meal credits.  With in-room dining, gratuity is included and not extra.

Now that you know about the Disney Dining Plans, all you need to do is decide which, if any, you want and to make your Advance Dining Reservations!

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