Disney Dining Plan Explained
I decided to sticky this post, since the Dining Plan is one of the most popular planning topics!
What is the Disney Dining Plan? How much does it cost? What do you get? Is it worth it? I hope to answer all of these questions for you! (Make sure you read parts 1, 2, and 3!)
I will not discuss the Premium and Platinum packages here, if there is interest, I'll write an article for you.
The Disney Dining Plan is basically pre-paid dining at about a 30% discount. There are currently three Dining Plangs--they are the (basic) Dining Plan, the Deluxe Dining Plan, and new for 2009 the Quick Service Dining Plan. The Dining Plan is ONLY available to guests staying in Disney resorts. It is also tied to the number of NIGHTS in your room, not days. For example, if you are staying Friday-Sunday, that is 3 days and 2 nights, so you would be able to purchase 2 nights' worth of the Dining Plan.
There are basically four categories of dining at Disney--table service, counter service, snack, and signature. A "table service" restaurant is a sit-down place, such as Olive Garden. This also includes buffets. A "counter service" or "quick service" is fast food, such as McDonald's. And a "snack" is, well, a snack. "Signature dining" is a more upscale table service and counts as two table service credits per person.
A table service credit includes 1 entree, 1 dessert, and 1 non-alcoholic beverage (lunch and dinner), or 1 juice, 1 entree, and 1 non-alcoholic beverage (breakfast), or 1 buffet and non-alcoholic beverage. Children must order off of the children's menu, and may get an appetizer. Gratuity is NOT included.
A counter service credit includes 1 entree OR 1 combo meal, 1 dessert, and 1 non-alcoholic beverage. Children must order off of the children's menu, if available.
A snack is usually defined as edible non-alcoholic non-merchandise under $4.
The original, basic Dining Plan includes, per person per night, 1 table service credit, 1 counter service credit, and 1 snack. The 2010 cost is $41.99 per adult per night (regular season) or $46.99 per adult per night (peak season), and $11.99 per child per night (regular season) or $12.99 per child per night (peak season). The 2011 cost is $45.99 per adult per night (regular season) or $47.99 per adult per night (peak season), and $11.99 per child per night (regular season) or $12.99 per child per night (peak season).
The Deluxe Dining Plan includes, per person per night, 3 meals (which can be used for either table service or counter service), 2 snacks, and 1 refillable resort mug (per person). The 2010 cost is $71.99 per adult per night, and $20.99 per child per night. The 2011 cost is $78.99 per adult per night, and $21.99 per child per night.
The Quick Service Dining Plan includes, per person per night, 2 counter service meals, 2 snacks, and 1 refillable resort mug (per person). The 2010 cost is $31.99 per adult per night, and $9.99 per child per night. The 2011 price is $34.99 per adult per night, and $11.99 per child per night.
There is also a Wine and Dine package available for $39.99 per night (per reservation, not per person), which allows you to add 1 bottle of wine to your table service meal per night.
Click here to see a list of the 2010/2011 Disney Dining Plan Participating Restaurants.
Keep in mind children under the age of 3 do not need to purchase a dining plan. Children under the age of 3 may eat off of your plate at all restaurants, including buffets, but if you want them to have their own meal at any other restaurant you must pay out of pocket. Children ages 3-9 are charged the child rate, and children 10 and older are charged the adult rate.
Peak Seasons: 2/12/10 - 4/10/10, 6/4/10 - 8/14/10, 12/17/10 - 12/31/10
Peak Seasons: 2/17/11 - 2/26/11, 3/11/11 - 4/30/11, 6/3/11 - 8/13/11,12/23/11 - 12/31/11