The Disney Dining Plan can be confusing, so we’re here to make it simple!
There’s no doubt that traveling to Walt Disney World Resort is an exciting and magical time! If you’re staying in a hotel for an extended amount of time, though, you can’t exactly prepare your family home-cooked meals every day, so you are going to have to eat out. A lot. Now, finding food at Walt Disney World is not a problem. With more than 140 restaurants on property, there’s something for every Guest’s preference! However, paying for every meal out can put a pinch on the wallet. There are ways, of course, to pack your own snacks and small meals. You can even have groceries delivered to your Resort room! We’ll save that discussion for next week, though. Right now, let’s take a look at the Disney Dining Plan, what the various options are, and how they actually work.
My sister and her family are planning a trip to Walt Disney World. Despite having been there too many times to count over the years, they have stayed on property only once and have never taken full advantage of being a Walt Disney World Resort Guest. It’s shocking, I know! So in my attempt to explain the many benefits of being a Resort Guest, I suggested they purchase the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). I sent her the below links and general overview, but her reply was, “This looks like a foreign language!” I get it. Our first couple times utilizing the DDP confused us too, so I clarified the Plan, and I wanted to share the information with you too.
1) Quick Service Plan – You get 2 Quick Service + 2 Snacks per person per night of your stay. This is counter service only, no table service restaurants, no reservations. Think fast food like burgers and pizza. Think your Resort food court or places like Casey’s Corner and Cosmic Ray’s at Magic Kingdom, Sunshine Terrace and Electric Umberella at Epcot, Pizzafari and Flame Tree Barbeque at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and ABC Commissary and Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Snack credits apply to things like bottled water or other bottled beverages, popcorn (non-souvenir bucket), Mickey icecream bars, chocolate-covered bananas, a piece of fresh fruit, a single-serve bag of Mickey pretzels, or other small items.
2) Disney Dining Plan – You get 1 Quick Service + 1 Table Service + 2 Snacks per person per night of your stay. This means you get 1 counter service meal as described above, 1 sit-down meal at a full-service restaurant that [usually] requires a reservation, and 2 snacks (see above). Think places like Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic), San Angel Inn (Epcot), Tusker House (Animal), or Mama Melrose (Hollywood). Keep in mind that Character dining experiences and restaurants classified as Disney Signature Dining require 2 Table Service credits per person.
3) Disney Dining Plan Deluxe – You get 3 Table Service meals + NO Quick Service + 2 Snacks per person per night of your stay. That’s right, you get no counter service with this plan, just 3 full-service meals a day (described above) and 2 Snacks (described above). This works well if you plan on a lot of Character dining or Signature Dining experiences, but otherwise, it is a lot of food.
So, in even simpler English, here’s how it works:
Let’s say you purchase the regular Disney Dining Plan. For each night of your stay, each member of your party will receive 1 credit per day for a Quick Service meal “QS” (counter service/fast food, like Pecos Bill’s or Restaurantosaurus–think hot dogs & hamburgers), 1 credit per day for Table Service “TS” (sit-down restaurants where you need a reservation and are served by a waiter/waitress), and 2 Snack credits per day (bottled water, popcorn, Mickey icecream bars, etc.–can also use to buy a piece of fresh fruit, single-serve bag of chips, etc., in hotel food court). So, if you stay 7 nights, you will have 7 QS, 7 TS, and 14 Snacks per person total. You may use the credits however you wish. The balance will be shown on the bottom of your receipt every time you buy food. Keep in mind since you have only 1 QS per day, you will likely purchase breakfast in the food court with your own money (or lunch, if you chose to use credits for breakfast). Make sense?
If you purchase the Quick Service Plan for a 7 night stay, you will receive 1 QS and 2 Snacks per person per night of your stay, equaling 7 total QS meals and 14 total Snacks.
If you purchase the Disney Dining Plan Deluxe for a 7 night stay, you will receive NO QS meals at all, but you will get 3 TS and 2 Snacks per person per night of your stay, equaling 0 QS, 21 total TS meals, and 14 total Snacks.
Things to remember:
- You can use Snack credits for individual breakfast items that you do not order at the counter. Things like little cereal boxes (1 credit), milk to go with it (1 credit), a banana (1 credit), an apple (1 credit), an orange (1 credit), and refrigerated items like little fruit cups and salads should be 1 credit each also. ***Always ask a Cast Member to make sure the item in question qualifies as a Snack credit, because classifications change from time to time!*** If you find you have snack credits left at the end of the week, you can use them to buy small bags of pretzels, cookies, or candies to take home for gifts for friends, or to keep the magic alive when you return home. 😉
- Most sit-down, reservation-required restaurants are only 1 TS credit per person. However, Character meals, dinner shows (Spirit of Aloha Luau, Hoop-de-do Revue) and restaurants that are Disney Signature Dining cost 2 TS credits per person! If you do a Character meal like Cinderella’s Royal Table, it will cost 2 TS credits per person. We always budgeted this by sharing meals elsewhere (they give you a ton of food) and using fewer TS credits at those meals, buying with our own money a QS meal for dinner one day instead of using a day’s TS credits, or just purchasing a less expensive TS meal somewhere else and saving those credits to use on the expensive Character meal.
- You can use credits at Starbucks!
- Alcoholic beverages used to not be included in TS, but they are now. 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.
- QS meals include 1 entree & 1 beverage. Beverage can be non-alcoholic, alcoholic for Guests 21+, or specialty (milkshakes, smoothies, hot chocolate, etc.).
- TS meals include 1 entree & 1 beverage OR 1 buffet or family-style meal & 1 beverage. *For lunch/dinner, you also get a dessert, which you cannot decline, no matter how full you are! Beverage can be non-alcoholic, alcoholic, or specialty (milkshakes, smoothies, hot chocolate, etc.).
- Tip is extra!
- When you make dining reservations, be sure to note your food allergies, and when you get to the restaurant and are seated, if your server doesn’t mention the allergies noted, tell them, and they will send out the chef to talk to you.
Whew, I think that pretty much covers it! Did I leave anything out? I hope this helps you understand what the Disney Dining Plan offers and how it works. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below!
One of our favorite Table Service restaurants at Disney Springs is Raglan Road. Their bread pudding is to die for! Walt Disney World Facts published the recipe in a March 2010 blog post.
Here it is:
1 loaf Pullman or Texas toast (I substituted raisin bread.)
1 lb Kerrygold butter softened (I used Land ‘O Lakes.)
2 C Sugar
1 qt Crème anglaise (see below)
1 C Raisins soaked in Irish mist or water (I used raisin bread instead of adding raisins.)
• Combine the sugar and butter, spread evenly on the bread slices to make sandwiches, stack together and cut of the crust.
• Cut the “sandwiches in ½ on an angle (from corner to corner)
• Butter the inside of 8 oven proof cups or preferred baking dish. One by one dip the “sandwiches” in the anglaise and place in the baking dish, layer the bread and a sprinkling of soaked raisins as you go until done
• Bake covered in a Bain Marie at 375 degrees for 35 minutes until it rises a bit. Remove the cover and bake an extra 10 minutes until slightly brown. (I do not own a Bain Marie, so I assembled the bread pudding in individual ramekins, placed them in a 9×12 cake pan and filled the cake pan with about 1 inch of water.)
• Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with remaining anglaise and caramel sauce (see below).
6 Egg yolks
2 C Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 qt Heavy cream
• Heat the cream and vanilla on the stove until it almost starts to boil. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk well.
• When the cream reaches the almost boiling point, turn off burner and remove the pot from the flame. Temper the yolks by ladling a small amount of cream to the bowl and mixing well. Then add the yolk sugar mixture to the cream, whisk well so that it does not curdle. Place over a low flame for 2 minutes whisking until it starts to thicken. Strain and allow to cool to room temperature.
½ lb Butter, chilled
1 C Brown sugar
1 C Heavy cream
• Combine the sugar and butter in pot and cook over a medium high flame. Whisk well to combine. When sugar is melted and it starts to boil turn off the stove, remove from the flame and whisk in the cream to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Home Economics
SKILL LEVEL: Middle Grades, High School
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