What is the best Disney Dining Plan for you and how can you and maximise your credits?

It’s very easy to be caught up in the magic at Walt Disney World, even before you get there! This could be the reason why so many holidaymakers overspend when it comes to purchasing their Disney Dining Plan. 

It can be tempting to go all out and spend big on your Walt Disney World Resort holiday and the Deluxe Dining Plan is as big as it gets as far as food is concerned. But if you’re travelling with friends or family who are on-the-go thrill seekers, the Quick-Service Dining Plan may be your best bet. 

Before we get into the finer details, let’s begin with the basics:

  • The Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is a prepaid meal plan that guests purchase with their packages through Disney as a way to budget their meals and potentially save money 
  • Guests receive a set number of credits that they can use on snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • There are separate plans for different types of holidaymakers
  • The DDP is only eligible for guests staying on-site

There are three different plans within Disney Dining

1)    Quick-Service Dining Plan
The lowest tier of the DDP includes two counter-service meals, which are combo meal (entrée plus side) and a drink, including alcoholic beverages for adults. The plan also includes two snack items and a refillable drink mug, which is only for use in the hotels. The meal and snack credits are available for each night and the refillable drink mug is available for the length of your stay.

The Quick-Service Dining Plan is the most convenient and simple plan for families on-the-go or for groups wanting to briefly stop for causal meals and snacking between the fun and excitement of the parks.

2)    Standard Disney Dining Plan
This is the standard meal plan offered by Disney. It allows for each person named in the room reservation to have one counter-service meal and one sit-down meal, which consists of an entrée, dessert and beverage (alcoholic option for adults) brought to you by a waiter and a refillable drink mug, which is only for use in the hotels. The dessert option can be substituted for a side salad, soup, or fruit plate as a part of Disney’s healthy eating initiative. The sit-down meal and counter-service meal credits are available per-night and the refillable mug is available for use for the length of your stay. 

This meal plan is perfect for families and groups that are looking for a more chilled out and relaxed stay at the resort and who have time for sit-down meals in between their adventures in the park. 

3)    Deluxe Disney Dining Plan
The upper echelon of the Disney Dining Plans consists of three meals at your choice of table service or counter service restaurants per night, two snack tokens per night and a refillable drink mug that can be used for the entire length of your stay. The refillable drink mug is only available for use in the hotels.  

This plan is ideal for families and groups that are looking to enjoy their stay at the resort at their own pace. The Deluxe Dining Plan is the most comprehensive of the lot and offers most meals available at the resort, spoiling you for choice. 

Free Disney Dining promotions

In the past few years Walt Disney World has offered a dining discount in their quieter periods to keep the resort busy.  Walt Disney World  rolled out their Free Disney Dining (FDD) offer on 19th April 2018 and the consensus is that over the summer, holidaymakers can book packages that may include the FDD offers for their 2019 Walt Disney World holiday.

In order to be eligible for FDD, you need to purchase a package that includes a hotel room and tickets for the parks. Your FDD will depend on which hotel you book – for example, guests that stay at a value resort may be eligible for the Quick-Service Dining Plan for free, whereas guests that book a moderate or deluxe villa may be given the standard Disney Dining Plan for free. 

Which Disney Dining Plan is right for me?

Now that you know what each of the Disney Dining Plans are, it’s time for you to decide which tier you fall under and what is the most reasonable plan to purchase. If you’re travelling with a group of friends whose sole purpose at the resort is to rush to the best rides and attractions, the Quick-Service Dining Plan is the best option – you’ll be able to snack and quickly dine before you’re off again. 

However, if you’re visiting with the family and have young children who need a rest from the constant walking around, either the Disney Dining Plan or Deluxe Disney Dining Plan are the better options. You’ll be able to enjoy all the attractions and at the same time you can make plans for more formal meals at some of the resort’s finest eateries, served by a waiter. 

How do I make the most of the credits?

It’s worth bearing in mind that meal plan credits do not take into account the dollar price of the dishes or the type of dining establishment. If you have a sit-down meal option, be sure to make the most of this at the best Disney Dining Plan participating restaurants. 

For example, whether you choose to eat at an economical venue and purchase a sandwich, water and ice cream dessert or at a more high-end restaurant where you feast on swordfish with a glass of wine and a tiramisu for dessert, the cost in credits is the same. If you’ve purchased a plan that entails a table-service dinner, you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck and these are some of the best restaurants in our opinion:

1)    Morimoto Asia
Costing only one table-service credit for lunch and two for dinner, we recommend you hit this new hotspot based in Disney Springs as your afternoon meal. Serving Pan-Asian cuisine and a menu created by the famous Iron Chef Morimoto, you’ll be getting a great deal using your credits, as you would be paying more if you were spending cash. 

2)    Cape May Café
An excellent choice for dinner, where you’ll be able to choose from crab legs, steamed clams and mussels, calamari, and more. One reason this is a popular choice is the generous portion sizes, meaning your credits will keep you feeling fuller for longer. 

3)    Chefs De France
Clever Disney holidaymakers will always try to use their meal credits at venues which would cost more if they were paying cash. And Chefs De France has many high value dishes to choose from. The filet de boeuf grillé and the duck are some of the more expensive options on the meal and they taste delicious too. 

Quick-Service Dining Plan

The Quick-Service Dining Plan allows you two snack items, making it a perfect choice for those always on the move around the parks, but what are some of the best snack options? 

1)    Dole Whip and Floats
Frozen soft-serve as a pineapple float or a small cup of deliciousness, it’s no wonder the non-dairy frozen work of art is only available in the Magical Kingdom. If you want to totally maximize the value of Dole’s products, then pick the Dole Whip Float, as the portion is much bigger than the cup, so you’ll be getting all the great taste for a bit longer.

2)    Ample Hills Creamery
Located on BroadWalk, this ice cream joint is regarded by holidaymaker bloggers as the best ice cream in all of Walt Disney World. The Ooey Gooey Butter Cake is one of the most recommended of the mouth-watering ice cream flavours on offer. 

3)    Homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches
Not to be confused with the ice cream sandwiches you’ll find every ten feet in ice cream carts, the one we’re recommending are available at Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom and made fresh to order. Some of the most scrumptious ice cream flavours include peanut butter, chocolate chip mint and classic vanilla. 

One common misconception is thinking your meal credits can be carried over if you don’t use them on the expensive options. This is wrong and you won’t want to find this out the hard way, so use your credits wisely!

Walt Disney World Resort is full of wonderful places to eat that you can’t find anywhere else so be sure to use your credits at eateries you can only find at the most magical place on Earth.

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