Did you know that guests staying at a Disney resort have the option to purchase a Disney Dining Plan? Well they can and I have put together 10 great Disney Dining Plan tips to help you understand it and get the most out of it.
But before we get to the tips lets take a quick look at what is available. There are three levels of Disney Dining Plan. They are the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan, the Disney Dining Plan, and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. The Quick-Service is the cheapest and the Deluxe is the most expensive.
The following images explain what each plan includes.
And now on to our 10 Great Disney Dining Plan Tips
The Disney Dining Plan may or may not save you money.
Getting a Disney Dining Plan is not always a promise of saving money. The plans can save money but they can also cost more than if you had paid out of pocket. To save money you often have to buy the most expensive items available.
Even if you do not save money a Disney Dining Plan may not be a bad idea. There is something comforting about having everything paid before you start your vacation and it is a good way to stay on budget.
2. The plan is based on the number of nights you are staying in a Disney resort not the number of days.
You receive snack, Quick-Service, and Table Service credits (depending on your plan) for each night you stay. Plan accordingly when deciding whether to use one of your credits or pay out of pocket.
3. You lose any unused credits.
Disney does not issue a refund so you better use those credits or lose them. Credits expire at midnight on the day you check out.
4. Each person over three gets a refillable mug.
Use your mug at any resort. If you use a Quick Service credit at your resort get a bottle beverage you can take back to the room or ask a Cast Member if you can trade your drink for a snack.
You cannot use your mug at the parks.
5. You can use your credits any time you want.
If you want to use them all on the first day (and you are really hungry) you can do that. Or you can spread them out. But remember if you do not use them you lose them.
6. Trade a single Quick-Service credit three qualifying snacks.
Still have credits at the end of your trip? There are lots of good snacks you can take home and share (or keep to yourself I am not judging!) All three snacks must be claimed in the same transaction.
7. Your remaining credits are listed on your dining receipts.
Keeping track of how many credits you have is important. You do not want to run out unexpectedly nor do you want to have any left over. Your dining receipts will list how many you have left or you can check at Guests Services in the parks or the concierge at your resort.
8. Make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) as early as possible.
Anyone can make dining reservations 180 days in advance starting at 6 am eastern standard time but guests staying at a Disney resort have a special advantage. They can make reservations for their entire trip (up to 10 days)180 days before check-in. So if your trip is 7 days you can actually make some reservations 187 days in advance. This can really help for those hard to get reservations like Cinderella’s Royal Table.
9. Sometimes it is better to pay out of pocket.
Some meals cost more than one credit. Signature dining costs two credits. This is for the very upscale restaurants like Le Cellier in Epcot. Cinderella’s Royal Table is also two credits. Dinner shows like Mickey’s Back Yard BBQ are also two credits. It is also two credits for in-room pizza delivery.
Sometimes it makes more sense to pay for these dining experience out of pocket rather than trade two meals for one.
10. Tips are not included.
Tips are not included in your dining credit if you dine at a table service restaurant. You are not required to tip (but I highly recommend it!) unless your party is six people or more. Disney charges these larger parties an automatic 18% gratuity.