Whether you are traveling on your first Walt Disney World vacation or your fifth, it’s important to understand all of the nuances of Disney Dining. From the dining plans to the character meal experiences, there are so many options and choices that it can get confusing. Here are 9 things to know about Disney Dining, including the Disney Dining Plan. Read review of Walt Disney World restaurants on TripAdvisor.
- There are three primary Disney Dining Plans – the quick service plan, which offers 2 quick service credits and one snack credit per person per day, the deluxe plan, which offers three quick or table-service credits and two snack credits per person per day, and the standard plan, which offers one table service, one quick service, and one snack credit per person per day. All three offer a resort refillable mug for each person on the plan. Only onsite Disney guests are eligible to purchase the plan.
- Advance dining reservations (ADRs) can be made 180 days in advance -Either go online (starting at 6am ET) or call (starting at 7am ET) to make your reservations. And yes, many of them DO need to be made that far in advance, including popular options like Be Our Guest, Ohana, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. You can view reservations on the My Disney Experience app.
- Snack credits – The dining plans all offer snack credits, which can be used on many different snacks including popcorn, ice cream, rice crispy treats, and water. Be sure to strategically plan out your snacks so use credits for more expensive snacks and pay cash for cheaper ones.
- Disney dining plan credits can be used in any order on any day of your trip – Even though you get the credits allocated per person per day, they do not need to be used that way. You can use all of your snack credits in one day, for instance. Credits are loaded onto your MagicBands.
- Onsite guests have a slight advantage when making reservations – onsite guests can book all of their dining reservations (up to 10 days) 180 days from their check-in date.
- Restaurants charge a no-show fee if you don’t cancel 24 hours in advance – for most restaurants, this fee is $10 per person for no-shows. Some meals and shows require a full upfront payment, and if you don’t cancel in the time frame, you forfeit the entire amount. This relatively new policy helps prevent guests from making multiple reservations for the same meal so they can choose the most convenient one at the time.
- Optimizing the plan – you are likely to need to purchase some food out of pocket, even with the dining plan. Do some research in advance to figure out what the least expensive meals are.
- Websites that can help you plan – speaking of research, there are lots of sites to use. My favorites are the Disney Food Blog and the Disney website.
- If you can’t get reservations – keep trying! Guests DO cancel and you are still very likely to find the perfect reservation. Resort concierges can also help you check for availability once you are on property.
I am a Disney Parks Moms Panelist, but all opinions are my own.
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