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How to Get the Best Value from Your Disney Dining Plan at Disney World
Hooray! As of today, dining plans are FINALLY back at the Walt Disney World Resort!
Let’s be honest, food at Disney World is very expensive. You can certainly save money by bringing food, drinks, and snacks with you into the parks, but if you’re planning to purchase food in the parks, you may be wise to consider one of the Disney dining plans. Disney dining plans are available to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel. You can currently choose from the quick service dining plan and Disney dining plan when you book a vacation package at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
Character meals are some of the most expensive meals at Disney World. You can spend over $50 per person for a dinner with Mickey Mouse and friends at Chef Mickey’s! This is a great use of a Disney dining plan. Plus, your whole family will love having characters come visit with you at your table for photos and autographs. You can review all of the character dining experiences here.
Use Snack Credits Wisely
We typically don’t recommend spending snack credits on items less than $5. If you’d like a soda or bottle of water, it’s often better to purchase these out of pocket. Some of our favorite snacks are ice cream, cupcakes, funnel cakes, pretzels, popcorn, and breadsticks. You can even enjoy almost all Starbucks beverages with just a snack credit! So, go ahead and add that extra pump of syrup… it’s still only one snack credit!
Consider Meal Times
Breakfast is a less expensive meal than lunch or dinner, especially when it comes to table service meals. If possible, we recommend booking lunch or dinner for your table service meals as they would normally cost more if you were paying out of pocket. You’ll also get dessert included with your table service meal during lunch or dinner only. If you’re on one of the dining plans that only include two meals per day, breakfast is also an easy one to “skip.” You can use your snack credits to cover that meal or even pack cereal bars from home for an on-the-go meal.
If you are visiting during any of the annual festivals at Epcot, plan to use as many snack credits there as possible. All of the festivals offer snacks and drinks at the booths set up throughout the World Showcase, and even Future World, at times. These snacks can often be $8 or more when purchased out of pocket so they are a great value on the Disney dining plan.
The Festival of the Arts runs select dates in January and February. The Flower and Garden Festival usually runs from March through May. The Food and Wine Festival usually kicks off at the end of August and runs through mid-November. The Festival of the Holidays runs from Thanksgiving through December.
Who doesn’t love dinner and a show? There are a few dining packages available with the Disney dining plan. You can enjoy a reserved viewing area for a parade or show with the cost of your meal. These dining packages cost the same number of credits that you would have spent otherwise. You can choose from:
- Fantasmic! Dining Package at Hollywood & Vine, Mama Melrose’s, and Hollywood Brown Derby
- Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package at Tony’s Town Square
- Candlelight Processional Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants
- Garden Rocks Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants
- Eat to the Beat Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants
- Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants
You can treat yourself to a specialty drink with your table service meal at no additional cost. Alcohol is now included with the Disney dining plan. Or, if you prefer a kid-friendly drink, there are often specialty drinks available for guests of all ages. Just ask your server what options are available at each location.
Use Your Resort Refillable Drink Mugs
All four of the Disney dining plans include one resort refillable drink mug per person, age 3+. They can be refilled not only at the resort that your family is staying at, but ANY Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. You can fill your mug before you leave the resort in the morning, enjoy time by the pool with it, or even leave a park to refill your mug at a neighboring resort. You can get soda, Powerade, coffee, and tea in your mug.
Spend Leftover Credits on Prepackaged Snacks
If you happen to have any leftover snack credits at the end of your visit, be sure to spend them before you leave! All Disney dining plan credits are available until midnight on the day that you check out. You can find a variety of prepackaged snacks (or drinks) at the parks and resorts. If you aren’t visiting a park, stop by Goofy’s Candy Company Disney Springs. Goofy’s has a line of Disney gummies, jelly beans, licorice, and more that travel well. There are also prepackaged rice krispy treats you can take home.
You can keep track of your Disney dining plan credits in the My Disney Experience app or at the bottom of your receipt. It will automatically update each time an entitlement is used to reflect your remaining credits.
What are your favorite ways to use the Disney Dining Plan?
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