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Mickey & Minnie Dining
Photo Credit: Disney

8 DO’s and DON’Ts for the Disney Dining Plans

The Disney Dining Plan can be a real value for so many families. It is vital for you to run the numbers and see if the Dining Plan works for your family. Some guests don’t care so much if they come out ahead, but more like that, the meals are pre-paid, so there are no surprises on vacation, and you get the all-inclusive feel. If you do opt for one of the Disney Dining Plans, then here are 8 DO’s and DON’Ts that you will definitely want to know:





 

8 – DO make advanced dining reservations.

This is definitely an important reminder. You will definitely want to make reservations as early as possible for all of your table-service dining experiences. The restaurants at Walt Disney World are extremely popular and fill up quickly. You won’t be thrilled if you have to wait a long time to get in or if you have trouble getting in at all to use your entitlements.

7 – DON’T waste your snack credits.

The average snack that is approved for the dining plan is around $5. Try to pick snack items that are around this price. Not only that, but don’t waste your snack entitlements on beverages, especially water. Sodas come with your meal entitlements, and you can get cups of water for free at many quick-service locations. You are much better served using your entitlements for food items that are unique to Disney, so you get to enjoy even more Disney food.

Pastries at Le Petit Cafe

6 – DO consider dinner shows when considering 2-entitlement meals.

We absolutely love the dinner shows! They are “All You Care to Enjoy,” so you get to fill up on as much as you want. This is especially great if you skip lunch and then plan to have a large dinner, thus helping to save up the entitlements. Not only can you eat as much as you want, but you can also enjoy all you can drink various alcoholic beverages, too! There are selections like sangria, a couple of mixed drinks, beers, and a couple wines. For those that enjoy adult beverages, this is a real treat! Gratuity is also included in the price, which means it is covered by your entitlements, so you don’t have to budget for that!

5 – DON’T overdo the 2-entitlement meals.

I know I just told you that you should try out one of the dinner shows, but don’t overdo the 2-entitlement selections. There are several restaurants around Walt Disney World, and not all of them make the most sense to use your entitlements for. If you want to enjoy the restaurant and know you will have to buy some of your meals, you will want to compare to see if your entrée and meal will actually equal double of a normal table service meal. If it doesn’t, then this might be an excellent meal to pay for out of pocket if you know for a fact all of your entitlements are accounted for.





 

4 – DO get the most bang for your buck when making meal selections.

When you dine at one of the restaurants, pay attention to the prices. If you tend to shy away from the most expensive steak on the menu because of the cost, you don’t have to do that now! You can order whatever entrée is offered on the menu, and you won’t pay anything extra for it! This gives you that true all-inclusive feel to the vacation, which is a fantastic feeling. Try new things and enjoy the more expensive meals for a change! This will also help to get the most out of the cost of your dining plan, too!

3 – DON’T forget about budgeting for gratuities.

Unless you are dining at a quick-service restaurant or one of the dinner shows, your gratuity is NOT included with the dining plan. These costs can definitely add up, so you will want to include them in your vacation budget. The servers make the majority of their pay from your tips, and they are definitely well deserved! You can charge the gratuities to your room, or you can pay with your card, Disney gift card, or cash.

Chef Mickey's Buffet

Chef Mickey’s Buffet

2 – DO consider buffet meals.

The buffet meals are actually quite expensive, especially at breakfast. One of the great things about them is that if you have children under 3 in your party, they eat for free! Children under 3 can’t have a dining plan, which means they either share with you or you have to purchase them something separately. These meals give you a lot of value for your plan and can help you fill up to allow you to skip a meal. Skipping meals is especially helpful if you are trying to save entitlements for 2-entitlement meals or if you are on the Disney Dining Plan, which only offers one table-service entitlement per night of your stay.

1 – DON’T leave any unused credit.

If you come to the end of your vacation and have unused meals or snack credits, DON’T WASTE THEM! You can convert meal entitlements to 3 snack entitlements. With the snacks credits, you can purchase a wide variety of things. These types of things also include pre-wrapped candies, cakes, cookies, lollipops, and other snacks. They are all Disney themed, and many of them even Mickey-shaped. This lets you take back a little bit of Disney magic with you and enough to share with the folks back home!



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 Christy Caby

Hi! I’m Christy, and I am a wife and mother of 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2). I first fell in love with Disney when my mom took me when I was a child. After that I proceeded to go to WDW for my senior trip with my friends, and I completed a year in the Disney College Program (working in merchandise at Mickey’s of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I shared my love of Disney with my now husband and sucked him in. He proposed at Disney, we honeymooned at Disney, we started bringing our boys before they were born and then as early as 8 weeks old. We then continued to vacation to Walt Disney World 2-3 times per year. We decided that what makes more sense than just moving to Orlando so that we could live the Disney life and be here for all of our favorite events and seasons every year. That is exactly what we did! Now we are at the parks a couple times a week and go for most events and major holidays. We can’t get enough and get to experience Disney in a whole different way. I love to share this love and passion for all things Disney with the world and hope that I can help others appreciate the magic that Walt Disney World has to offer!