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Tips about Disney Dining Plans

disney dessert

If you’re planning your first time Disney trip, or are a veteran but want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your vacation, the Disney Blog’s deals writer Chris Wood has more great tips for you.  This time around, it’s how to make the most of the Disney Dining Plan.

First tip: your Dining Plan benefits start when you check in, so you can begin using them immediately, even if it’s hours until you’re able to get into your room.  This is especially beneficial to know if there’s going to be a meal time between your arrival and when you’re able to put your things away.

The second tip has to do with something that can be confusing: how the more restrictive plans, which come with a limited number of dishes per meal, work with buffets.  Wood has the answer to that question: at buffets, it means access to the buffet and one drink.

Third tip: the Dining Plan is flexible.  You don’t have to use an allotted number of table-service credits per day.  You can use a bunch one day and none the next: it’s all up to you.

Fourth tip: each member of your resort reservation is allotted a certain number of dining credits.  However, they are not strictly assigned to each person.  If you take your trip with someone who isn’t interested in using his/her table service credits, you can spread those out around the rest of your group as you choose.

Fifth tip: The more expensive options on the menu don’t cost more dining credits than the cheaper ones.  If you want to splurge all your dining credits on the expensive stuff on the menu, and then pay for the cheaper stuff in the future, you can do so.

The sixth tip is kind of related to the fifth.  If your Dining Plan isn’t going to cover every meal on your vacation, pay for the least expensive ones yourself.  Then save up your dining credits for a couple fancy nights out; note that some of the most expensive restaurants at Disney cost 2 dining credits, not just 1.  That’s for the whole restaurant, not just specific menu items.

The seventh tip is about moderation.  Resist the temptation to use your snack credits for drinks.  Drinks will always cost less than food, so even though it might make it easy to use a snack credit for a drink, save yourself the extra expense and save it for the real goodies.

Eighth tip: There is a difference between a child’s meal service credit and an adult’s meal service credit, but there is no such distinction for snack and quick-service credits.  You have to use your child’s meal service credits for an actual child-sized meal, but there is no such thing, credits-wise, as a child-sized snack or quick service.  If you and your child want to swap portions, Disney doesn’t care.

Ninth tip: The refillable mug you get with your Dining Plan can only be used at your resort.

The last tip: the desserts that come with the quick-service meal aren’t very good, at least not according to Wood.  He recommends you save yourself the empty (and tasteless) calories and ask for fruit or yogurt or a drink with that credit instead, and splurge on good desserts elsewhere.

The Disney Blog’s Chris Wood is always full of great tips about trips to Disney.  If you’re considering going and purchasing a meal plan, keep some of these things in mind.


*(The above image by meshmar2 is licensed under the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License).