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NEWS: Disney World Makes a Major (and Welcome) Change to 2018 Dining Plan

We have long been big fans of the Disney World Dining Plan. Depending on how your family eats, you may or may not save a little bit of money. The real attraction for the Dining Plan is the ability to know up front what you are going to spend on food and then enjoy your meals without worrying about prices if your teenager decides to order the filet mignon. As much as we’ve enjoyed the worry free aspect of the Dining Plan over the years, there has always been one big thing not included that would make it perfect in our minds. Fantastic news out of Disney World about a major change coming to the Disney World Dining Plan in 2018 that finally solves that problem.





 

In our opinion, the one major thing missing from the Dining Plan was the option of choosing an alcoholic beverage with a meal. Starting in 2018, that will no long be a problem as beer, wine and cocktails will now be included in the Quick Service, standard Disney Dining Plan, and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan!

Here are all the details from Disney:

New for 2018 vacation packages! Guests have several new beverage options available including non-alcoholic specialty beverages and, for Guests 21 and older, beer, wine and cocktails.

Each Quick-Service meal includes (for breakfast, lunch or dinner):

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older—2018 plan only)

Each Table-Service meal includes (for breakfast):

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older—2018 plan only)

-OR-

  • 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal

Each Table-Service meal includes (for lunch or dinner):

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Dessert*
  • Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older—2018 plan only)

-OR-

  • 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal

*Ask your server about potential substitutions, but substitutions are not guaranteed.

Snacks:
At Quick-Service restaurants, most Outdoor Carts and select merchandise locations, snacks may include a single serving of items such as:

  • Frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle or fruit bar
  • Popcorn scoop
  • 12 oz. coffee, hot chocolate or hot tea
  • Prepackaged milk or juice
  • Piece of whole fruit
  • Bag of snacks
  • 20 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola®, Sprite® or Dasani® water
  • 20 oz. fountain soft drink

Beverages (2018 plan only):
Guests under 21 years of age can choose one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests 21 and older can choose either one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single-serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) within their meal entitlement.

A single-serving non-alcoholic beverage includes items such as:

  • Artisanal Milkshakes
  • Fresh Smoothies
  • Premium Hot Chocolate
  • Soda, Coffee or Tea

A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items such as:

  • Beer or Cider
  • Wine or Sangria
  • Mixed Drinks and Specialty Cocktails

Most beer, wine and mixed drink beverages included, some exceptions apply. Guests 21 and older must present valid ID to be served alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with a Quick-Service or Table-Service meal entitlement.

While prices have not been officially released we ran some sample reservations with and without the dining plans. While the prices vary, it appears the Quick Service Dining Plan will be around $53 per adult, per day and the regular Disney Dining Plan will go for around $76 per adult, per day. Most families simply need to do the math to see if the Dining Plan is truly a good value for their family.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Reasons We Love the Disney Dining Plan

By Christy Caby

The Disney Dining Plan is definitely a must for us when we are on vacation.  We have always bought the dining plan and found the value in having the plan, even if the costs don’t always equal out to completely match what we might have paid separately.  (Usually it does save us money since my husband is a big time steak eater.) If you aren’t quite sold on the dining plan yet or know what value it can provide, here are 7 reasons why my family absolutely loves the Disney Dining Plan:





 

7 – A vacation with an all-inclusive feel.

One of the greatest things about trips to Mexico or cruise experiences is that all-inclusive feel that you get.  There is just something about showing up and not having to worry about very much.  That is exactly one of the benefits that the Disney Dining Plan provides.  Your meals are all taken care of and you can experience your meals and snacks without worrying about pulling out your wallet every time.  You just have to keep track of your entitlements, which they will help you with at any of the restaurant locations or your resort front desk.

6 – Easy budgeting in advance.

The dining plans help family to budget for their entire trip in advance. It would be a huge mistake not to have a healthy budget for dining at Disney.  Many families experience sticker shock when they realize just how expensive the food and many of the dining locations at Disney can be.  The dining plan gives you a set cost that you pay in advance before your trip, so that the money you bring with you really is for souvenirs and additional activities.  It is great to have one less thing to worry and stress over.

Rapid Refill Mugs

5 – Rapid Refill mugs.

Each paid member of your party on the Disney Dining Plan, adults and children alike, will all receive rapid refill mugs.  It is great that each person gets their own mug, so they can make their own drink selections for the duration of your trip.  The mugs get picked up and activated at Disney resort gift shops and then you can refill them over and over again during the duration of your stay.  You can fill up before you head out to the parks, too, so you have coffee or soda to start the day.  You also get to keep the mugs and take them home with you, so it makes a great souvenir and a great cup to use once you are sadly back at home.

4 – The flexibility in using entitlements.

The entitlement structure is extremely flexible.  You don’t have to use your allotment of points each day.  You can save the up for a specific dining experience that may be more entitlements or maybe a day when you plan to do more dining that another day.  You can also save up the snacks so that maybe you snack around Epcot one day for meals instead of having snacks each day.  I love how it is customizable and easily tailored to each family and their needs/habits.  You don’t have to feel locked in to a set time or cadence for planning your meals.




 

3 – The opportunity to try new things.

This is definitely a big plus.  When you are paying large prices for dining experiences, you may be apprehensive about trying some of the restaurants or different meals out of fear that you won’t like it or it would feel like a waste.  For many people, the psychology changes a little bit when they are on the dining plan.  When you aren’t actually shelling out your wallet each time you don’t feel as much like it is hitting you in the pocket book to try something new.  You can also use this opportunity to try the most expensive items on the menu since there will be no added cost for you!  You don’t have to shy away from ordering the steak every meal if a steak is what you would truly love to have!

2 – Don’t have to tell the kids “No”.

Not saying that kids don’t need to hear the word no from time to time, because they definitely do.   Sometimes it is just nice to not always have to say no or be so worried about your budget that you don’t want to let the kiddos indulge a little.  Depending on which dining plan you have and which entitlement you are using they come with drinks, so the kiddos can get a break from the cups of water if they tend to like a little something different to drink.  Many of the meals may also include desserts, so where you might have had to tell them no before, it is included now.  We usually limit our children’s dessert/sweets intake, but on a Disney vacation, we know they are burning off that extra energy and love that we can give them a little bit of a treat to really enhance their already magical vacation!  Sometimes it feel so good to say, “Yes”.

1 – Tons of delicious food!

A meal on the dining plan is usually way more than most people can eat, at least not consistently for 2-3 meals a day.  It is a lot of food!  We actually love that about it.  We always leave feeling like we got what we wanted to eat and satisfied.  We never feel like we skimped, ate lighter or did without in order to conserve costs.  You also get a great sampling of items so you get to try and experience more of what the restaurants have to offer instead of just one dish.  Plus, you’ll be doing a ton of walking, so don’t feel bad about having that dessert!



For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.






 

About Chad & Cindy Nykamp

Chad and Cindy met during their college days and both being huge Disney fans, it was a match made in heaven. They took their first family vacation to Disney World in 2004. Chad had gone as a child, but this would be Cindy’s first trip-a trip which she had dreamed of since she was a little girl. The trip was magical and began a Disney obsession that hasn’t stopped since. They traveled back year after year, sometimes many times a year. They watched their three kids grow up at Disney and inherit the same love of Disney. In 2010, their dream of living in Orlando became a reality. With Disney World as their backyard playground, they enjoyed even more time in the parks. Friends and family soon made them their go-to-people for Disney advice. With their love of Disney and desire to share that love and knowledge they gleaned over the years, they decided to launch DisneyLists.com in August of 2015. They still can’t believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!