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Disney Dining Plans: Eating Up The Magic
Disney Dining Plans
Have you, or will you in the future, use a Disney Dining Plan?
In an effort to give you the feel of all inclusive vacation, Disney has created several dining plans to fit just about any budget. Dining plans can only be purchased as an addition to a room/ticket package, however, so to get one you have to stay on Disney property.
The Dining Plan Basics
Every plan comes with Quick Service and/or Table Service credits. Quick service includes any approved restaurants on property that you stand in line to get food. Table service includes any of the sit-down restaurants on the property, and these often require reservations. A meal on any plan always includes one entree and one non-alcoholic beverage that does not include a souvenir cup, and some plans include appetizers and desserts.
Each plan comes with 1 or 2 snack credits that can be used for many of the snack items found throughout the property, such as bottled soda or individual servings of popcorn. There are some limits, such as no souvenir items or multiple serving items, and some of the more expensive or specialty snacks may not be included.
Disney does not have any restrictions about what meals you eat or how fast you use your credits. However, Disney also does not take responsibility for your use of credits. You can, if you really want to, use all of your credits the very first day, but once your credits are gone, you are going to be paying cash from that point on.
Meal plans also include a free refill mug that can be used at any Disney Resort hotel to get free drinks from the time of your check-in until the time you check out at the self-serve stations in your hotel. The mugs do not get you free drinks in the parks or restaurants.
One very important note - with a very few exceptions like room service or dinner shows, paying by meal credit does not include any gratuities. So make sure you have some way to leave your server a good tip for the great service you are bound to receive.
The Disney Quick Service Dining Plan
The Quick Service (QS) plan includes 2 QS meal credits and 1 snack credit per person, per nights stay. So if you stay for 6 nights and 7 days, you will get 12 QS credits and 6 snack credits. Those credits can be used for any meal at an approved restaurant, or any approved snack, anywhere on Disney property.
This is the ideal meal plan if you don't normally eat breakfast or don't want to be bothered with making reservations for Table Service (TS) meals. This plan will run you about $45 dollars a night per person as part of your package plan.
The downsides are that there are no eligible character meals with this plan and no extra goodies to sweeten the deal like with some of the other plans. There's also no room service included, not even the pizza delivery of the cheaper hotels.
The Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan steps it up quite a bit with this plan. You get 1 QS credit, 1 TS service credit, and 1 snack credit for about $65 dollars a day. The QS and snack credits are the same, however, the TS service opens a plethora of dining opportunities that can quickly make this plan worth every dollar.
With your TS credit, you can now enjoy any of the buffets, make reservations for a really swanky dinner, or even enjoy some of the character meals Disney is so famous for. As with all things, there are some limitations. Certain restaurants and character meals are either not included, or require the use of two credits per meal, so read your literature carefully.
The Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
This is the price point where you can literally plan all of your meals ahead of time if you need or want the ability. You get 3 TS credits and 2 snack credits per person per day and TS credits can be used at any approved QS or TS restaurant, character meal, and dinner show. Some meals will cost you two credits, however, so if you are on a budget, make sure you don't overspend your credits and leave yourself without meals the last couple of days.
As an extra bonus to this meal plan, at this point, you also get to add an appetizer and dessert to every lunch and dinner if the restaurant has them. The plan will cost you just about $115 a day per person, but it's easy to make it worth that with very little planning.
The Disney Premium Dining Plan
This is where the dining plans start getting really interesting. The number of approved restaurants that are available to you increases significantly, the special meals only cost 1 credit now, and you get 3 TS meal credits and 2 snack credits per person per day. That alone justifies the $210 a day price tag. But wait... there's more!
With this meal plan, you also start receiving the bonuses that really make a Disney vacation a complete vacation, no matter who you take along. Dad loves golf, but hates theme parks? Send him to the 3 championship golf courses or the 9 hole walking course, complete with lessons, green fees, club and cart rental, range balls, and unlimited use of all of those things and the courses. It's all included with his dining package. There are even two miniature golf courses, so dad can take the little ones to do something he enjoys!
And that is just one of over a dozen additional activities that are included in the price of your dining package. Others include boat and jet ski rentals, use of the children's activity centers, in room child care, and horseback or pony rides. Again, all included, all you have to do is call and make the arrangements. There are of course limits, mainly due to space only holding so many people legally, so reserve early.
The Disney Platinum Dining Plan
And here we have the granddaddy of them all. This is truly the luxury do it all dining package, and it comes with a price tag of around $260 per person per night. You get all the same credits and bonuses of the Premium plan, and then they made sure you REALLY get to do it all.
Have you heard whispers of the exclusive Victoria & Albert's, and how hard it is to get in there? Yep, even this famed location is included in this plan. You can't get the chef's table or the alcohol without extra charge, but you do get first chance at the tightly controlled reservations and you can pay with just 1 dining credit per person.
On top of the fantastic fun to be had in the Premium plan, now you can send dad to get a private 45-minute lesson with real PGA professional staff. How about a romantic carriage ride? Or hay rides for the kids? You get those, too. Oh, but there is so much more.
Every person gets one prime ticket to the Disney exclusive Cirque du Soleil show, a flight in a hot air balloon, and anyone over age 12 gets one 50-minute world class massage of their choice at one of the top-of-the-line Disney spas. To top it all off, you will now have access to over a dozen behind the scenes and backstage tours, including diving in the Seas, playing with the dolphins, and getting a sneak peek in the Epcot greenhouse. Truly the designer package, stuffed to the brim with luxury, for everyone on your trip.
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