Disney Dining Plan Tips & Tricks {Updated for 2019!}

Posted in Disney World
on June 25, 2019

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Here are my best Disney Dining Plan tips and tricks for making the most of the plans at Walt Disney World, current for your 2019 vacation planning!

If you want some basic info, check out my Disney Dining Plan 101 post. I suggest reading that post first if you are new to the plans or the following information may just confuse you.

Tip #1: Take Advantage of the Dining Plan’s Flexibility

My first of my Disney Dining Plan tips is that the plans are much more flexible than they sound.

The credits you receive for each member of your party are actually pooled together and can be used in any combination on any day of your trip.

For example, you can eat only Quick Service meals on one day and the next day use two Table Service credits to enjoy dinner at one of Disney’s fantastic Signature restaurants.

Plus your credits are good from the time you check into your resort (which we often do as soon as we arrive, as early as 8 am) until midnight on the day you check out.

This means you can stretch your 5 nights of the dining plan into 6 days if you use your credits wisely.

Just understanding these basic Disney Dining Plan tips can help you have a much better experience with the meal plans!

Tips & Tricks for the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World!

House-made Gelato at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Tip #2: Share Credits & Use Them However You Want

The second of my Disney Dining Plan tips is you do not actually have to use a credit for every member of your party every time you dine.

For example, one Table Service credit includes:

  • One entree
  • One dessert
  • One beverage

However, if your spouse wants a beverage and entree and you want an appetizer and dessert, you two can essentially “share” one Table Service credit and just pay for your appetizer out-of-pocket.

This can really help you get the full value of the plan, save your credits for a Signature restaurant, and avoid wasting food (a common complaint about the plan).

To do this, just tell your server that you’d like to use one table service credit from your dining plan charge the appetizer to our room. You can then scan your Magic Band for both reasons and be on your way!

Tip #3: Choose Restaurants That Maximize Your Credits

Tips & Tricks for getting the most out of the Dining Plan at Walt Disney World!

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

The third of my Disney Dining Plan tips is to eat at the locations that give you the best value for your credits. 

There are definitely certain dining locations that give you the best value on the Disney Dining Plan. That said, I would suggest that you don’t let this fact drive your decisions about where to eat on vacation.

If you want to eat somewhere but it isn’t necessarily the best value on the plan because the entrees are less expensive than other places, then, by all means, eat there!

Overall, you will get your money’s worth out of the Disney Dining Plan almost anywhere you eat, so try to dine as if you weren’t bound by the plan.

You’ll get incredible value if you are able to get the dining plan for free with Disney’s popular “Free Dining” promotion, which you can read all about in this post. 

California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Locations in which the total cost of your Quick Service Meal is above $20 and Table Service is above $45 give you the best return on your investment on the Dining Plan.

Here are some of the best locations for getting the full value out of the plan (find all of their menus here):

Quick Service

  • Flame Tree Barbecue (Animal Kindgom)
  • Sunshine Seasons (Epcot)
  • Tangierine Cafe (Epcot)
  • La Cantine de San Angel (Epcot)
  • Be Our Guest – Breakfast/Lunch (Magic Kingdom)
  • Columbia Harbor House (Magic Kingdom)
  • Peco’s Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe (Magic Kingdom)
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (Magic Kindgom)
  • Landscape of Flavors – Lunch/Dinner (Art of Animation Resort)
  • Pepper Market – Lunch/Dinner (Coronado Springs Resort)
  • Wolfgang Puck Express (Disney Springs)
  • The Polite Pig (Disney Springs)

Table Service 

  • Fantasmic Dining Package (Hollywood Studios)
  • Chefs de France – Dinner (Epcot)
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Epcot)
  • Tutto Italia -Dinner (Epcot)
  • Crystal Palace – Dinner (Magic Kingdom)
  • Boma – Dinner (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  • Cape May Cafe – Dinner (Beach Club Resort)
  • Chef Mickey’s – Dinner (Contemporary Resort)
  • ‘Ohana – Dinner (Polynesian Resort)
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe – Dinner (Wilderness Lodge)

Signature Restaurants

  • California Grill (Contemporary Resort)
  • Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian Resort)
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club Resort)
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table – Dinner (Magic Kingdom)
  • The Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Tips and tricks for maximizing the Dining Plan at Walt Disney World, including how to get the most for your money and take advantage of the value in the plans.

Steak for brunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table

The best use of Quick Service and Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan tend to be for lunch and dinner.

It is very hard to get good value out of your credits for breakfast. I would suggest eating a light breakfast in your room (check out how to get groceries delivered to resort for free in this post) or paying for breakfast out of pocket at your resort.

Sometimes my husband and I share a huge breakfast platter at our resort for around $10 (paid for out of pocket) and we are full until lunch.

 

Tip #4: Use Snack Credits Wisely

Snack credits may seem like a throwaway addition, but if used wisely, they really can increase the value of your Dining Plan.

Each member of your party will get two snack credits per day as part of every Disney Dining Plan!

I estimate the value of a snack credit to be around $5. If I want a snack and it is less than $5, I usually pay out of pocket for it, even if I’m on the Dining Plan.

Tips & Tricks for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World!

Frushi at Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

If you happen to be visiting Disney World during one of the Epcot festivals, you can get incredible value out of your snack credits.

Most non-alcoholic drinks and food items available at the Marketplace Booths are “snack credit eligible”.

Some of these items are in the $7-$10 range which can double the value of your snack credit.

Last visit we had eight snack credits that we used to make a meal of eating our way around Food & Wine festival. It was so much fun and we got incredible value of out of the snack credits (get all of my Food and Wine Festival tips in this post). 

Tips and tricks for maximizing the Dining Plan at Walt Disney World, including how to get the most for your money and take advantage of the value in the plans.

Wine & Cheese Sampler at the Food & Wine Festival

If you want someone to help you pick the best restaurants AND make all of your dining reservations for you (at no cost to you), then I strongly suggest that you get a free quote from my expert Disney travel agent Siera at Destinations in Florida! 

Disney Dining Plan Tips #5: Get Alcohol, Appetizers, and More

Even though Table Service credits include only an entree, dessert, and a beverage, there are instances where you can get much more using the Disney Dining Plan.

And starting in 2018, you can get a specialty drink OR single-serving alcoholic beverage with every meal on the Disney Dining Plans!

I’m happy to report that pretty much ANY alcoholic drink is included in the Dining Plan.

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World! #disneyworld #familytravel

Patron Margarita and Fish Tacos on the Disney Dining Plan

For example, you can get a top-shelf Patron Lime Margarita from La Cantina de San Angel in Epcot that would cost $15.75 out-of-pocket as your drink with a Quick Service credit!

If you are going to get an adult beverage with lunch and dinner anyway, the Dining Plan makes it very affordable to do so.

Here are other ways to get more with the Dining Plan:

Get an Appetizer with the Prix Fixe Dinner Menu at Chefs de France

Another great use of one Table Service credit is the Prix Fixe menu at Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavillion.

You get to choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert from a set menu and all are included with your one table service credit.

Though this restaurant sometimes gets spotty reviews, I think the food is excellent (though not very adventurous), the atmosphere lively, and the servers helpful and eager to talk about their country and cuisine.

Get a Cheese Plate as An Appetizer at Several Signature Restaurants

Signature Restaurants are the high-end dining establishments at Disney and all require two Table Service credits.

However, several restaurants include their Cheese Plate as one of their options for dessert, which means you can order it as part of the dining plan.

The cheese plate is usually fantastic and pricey (some upwards of $20) and you can have it served before your meal as an appetizer.

One member of your party will have to give up their dessert entitlement, but most folks share desserts anyway so that likely won’t cramp your style too much.

Get Preferred Seating with the Fantasmic Dining Package

One of the best uses of one Table Service credit is the Fantasmic Dining Package at Mama Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios.

Not only do you get preferred seating to the Fantasmic show for the evening (the not-to-be-missed nighttime show at the Studios), but you’ll also get your choice of an entree, dessert, and beverage.

The trade-off is that you’ll eat at an off-peak time (lunch or an early dinner). You can also get a Fantasmic Package at Hollywood & Vine (for 1 credit) and The Hollywood Brown Derby (for 2 credits).

Tip #6: Kids Under Three Eat for Free at Certain Restaurants

Tips and tricks for maximizing the Dining Plan at Walt Disney World, including how to get the most for your money and take advantage of the value in the plans.

Desserts at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, one location where kids under 3 eat for free

You may have noticed that the children’s dining plan is for kids ages 3 to 9. What about one and two-year-olds who seem to eat their weight in food each day, you say?

Well, you will either have to purchase food for them out of pocket or dine at restaurants where they can eat for free.

Disney’s policy is that kids under three can eat off of their parents’ plates at any buffet.

This includes all of the character meals and any other buffet such as Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge) and Biergarten (Epcot). And they don’t physically have to eat off of your plate, you can get them their own plate of food at no charge.

Even better, at any all-you-care-to-enjoy table service meal (such as the Garden Grill, ‘Ohana and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall), kids under 3 can get a kids’ meal off of the menu totally for free.

I was really surprised when I learned about this about a year ago and it has influenced where we decide to eat with our daughter while she is still in the under-three crowd.

Tip #7 – How to Get the Disney Dining Plan Without Buying Park Tickets

Loaded Nachos at Pecos Bill’s, Magic Kingdom

The official line from Disney is that the Dining Plan must be purchased as part of a package that includes a minimum of two-day park tickets. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

The one we have used most frequently is that anyone staying in a room booked with Disney Vacation Club points can add a Disney Dining Plan to their reservation without also adding park tickets.

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s super flexible version of a timeshare and there are nine different deluxe resorts with DVC rooms at Walt Disney World.

Anyone can stay in a DVC room by “renting” points from a DVC owner (check out my post all about how to rent points to save bunches on deluxe accommodations here). 

Another exception to the package requirement is for Annual Pass Holders, who can add the Dining Plan to a room-only reservation without having to buy an additional ticket.

Members of the military can also add a dining plan to their resort stay without having to buy park tickets (which can be bought at a steep discount at a military base or Shades of Green – thanks for this info, Peg!).

Tips and tricks for maximizing the Dining Plan at Walt Disney World, including how to get the most for your money and take advantage of the value in the plans.

Quick Service at Columbia Harbor House

I have also been able to call Disney and have them add a Dining Plan to a room-only reservation without tickets, as long as the reservation was made directly with Disney.

If you booked a room-only reservation with a travel agent (get a free quote from my travel agent Siera here), you can have them add the Dining Plan without having to purchase park tickets. 

Just keep in mind this will turn your room-only reservation into a package, which has more strict cancellation policies. Here is a great resource from Mousesavers on the different cancellation policies. 

Tip #8: One Time I Recommend The Deluxe Dining Plan

The last of my Disney Dining Plan tips is about the Deluxe Dining Plan.

I generally do NOT recommend the Deluxe Plan – it is a ridiculous amount of food and few humans could get their money’s worth out of the plan.

The one instance for which I recommend the Deluxe plan is for a split stay – this is when you break your vacation up between two different resorts on two separate reservations.

Any Disney Dining Plan has to be purchased for every night of your stay and for everyone in your room. But this only means you must have it for the entire reservation – you can have it for the first part of a split stay and not the second.

If you don’t mind switching resorts once during your stay, you can rent points for just one or two nights and add the dining plan for that part of your stay.

This is the one instance I have found when you may be able to get your money’s worth out of the Deluxe Dining Plan.

My husband and I stayed one night in a DVC room and added the Deluxe Dining Plan for just that night.

We got our refillable mugs (which we could then use for the rest of our stay), two Snack credits each and three Table Service credits each to use over the course of those two days.

We used the Deluxe Plan credits for all of our meals for both days so it worked out to be far less than we would have paid out-of-pocket for our food!

Note:  You can add the dining Plan to a one-night reservation booked with DVC points, but you can no longer add a dining plan to a one-night reservation booked through Disney. The minimum for adding the dining plan when you book with Disney is a two night reservation. 

My Experiences with the Disney Dining Plan

In my opinion, the dining plans are not for everyone on every trip.

They make the most sense for guests who plan on eating several Character Meals or buffets, have big eaters in their party (think teenage boys), and those who don’t mind being nailed down to a schedule.

On the other hand, it doesn’t work as well for light eaters, those who prefer Signature restaurants, or those who like to be spontaneous and not be held to hard-and-fast plans for their dining.

My husband and I have taken advantage of a Disney Dining Plan on many occasions and I think it is really fun.

I like the freedom to choose any entree on the menu without worrying about how expensive it is (otherwise I can’t shake the inner cheapskate, even on vacation).

Tips and tricks for maximizing the Dining Plan at Walt Disney World, including how to get the most for your money and take advantage of the value in the plans.

Brazilian Crispy Pork Belly at Food & Wine Festival

How To Decide If The Dining Plan Is For You

The way I decide if the Dining Plan is best for our trip is I first try to make a rough plan of how we plan to eat on the trip. Sometimes we like to eat at several Signature restaurants and eat snacks or share a quick service meal for lunch.

Other times we have planned on several buffets or all-you-care-to-eat experiences. Then I decide if we can get the same experience with the same type of food for less using the dining plan. Sometimes we can, but sometimes we can’t.

In my experience, servers actually like it when guests are on the dining plan. It guarantees that they will spend a minimum amount on food and (hopefully) tip accordingly.

Guests on the dining plan are also more willing to take suggestions for more expensive entrees and desserts since they are already included with their plan.

Here is a link to my in-depth post that compares eating with the Disney Dining Plan vs no dining plan to help you decide if the plan is right for you. 

Disney Dining Plan Tips & Tricks Summary

To summarize, the Disney Dining Plan is just one way to experience the amazing dining options at Walt Disney World.

And if you’re able to get it for free (read my post about the popular free dining offer), it is an especially inexpensive way to try out different restaurants.

If want help planning a vacation with or without the dining plan, I suggest getting a from my expert Disney travel agent, Siera with Destinations in Florida.

She can help you find the right resort, book your dining reservations, FastPasses, and more, all at no additional cost to you!

I hope you found my Disney Dining Plan tips helpful! If you have any questions, leave a comment below or join the discussion in my free private Facebook group for my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse.


Tips and tricks for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan #disneyworld #disneyplanning
Tips and tricks for getting the most out of the dining plan at Walt Disney World! #disneyworld #familytravelTips & tricks for getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World!

93 Comments

  • Megan

    I have two questions…

    On the Disney dining plan at a TS restaurant can you swap the dessert for an appetizer?

    If you’re dining at a signature restaurant and using 2 TS credits do you then revive an appetizer and dessert or is it still one or the other?

    September 1, 2019 at 10:29 am Reply
    • Leah

      These are good questions, Megan! First: you can swap your dessert for a soup or salad if the restaurant offers them. But no, you can’t swap the dessert out for any appetizer. An exception would be a restaurant that has a cheese board listed as a dessert as well as an appetizer. Then you can have the cheese plate as your “dessert” but have it brought out first in the meal. If you are use the standard Disney Dining Plan and using 2 TS credits at a Signature then yes, it is still a dessert credit that you can swap for a soup or salad, but not both an appetizer and dessert. If you have the Deluxe Dining Plan then yes, you always get appetizer and dessert with any TS credit. I know it is super confusing but hope that made sense!

      September 2, 2019 at 6:26 am Reply
  • Joanna

    Reading this review gives me a couple of questions. So, it’s just myself and daughter on this trip with middle dining plan. Right now I have 4 TS credits each and will be over by 6 TS meals schedule. Are the TS broken down between adult and child or lumped together?. Could I pay for my meal with credit and out of pocket for my daughters meal.? Or pay $250 to upgrade to deluxe. I then also saw about the split stay . I do have a room only night but if I added delux to one night I would need to use all 3 credits in 1 day. So overwhelming. Any thoughts would be appreciated. TIA

    August 24, 2019 at 8:37 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Joanna! Yes, Table service credits do differentiate between adult and child. You’ll see on your receipt how many adult TS credits you have remaining and how many child TS credits. If you do the Deluxe plan for one night (and this will now only work if you are renting DVC points – regular room reservations need at least 2 nights to add the dining plan) then you will actually have 2 days to use all 3 credits. We split them up over lunch one day and then lunch and dinner the second. Hope that helps!

      August 24, 2019 at 5:20 pm Reply
  • Maryjean Hancock

    I have friends that live in florida visiting us a disney springs for dinner can i save and use a couple of quick service credits for them?

    August 13, 2019 at 12:27 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes, you can definitely use quick service credits for your friends!

      August 14, 2019 at 6:46 am Reply
  • John

    We use to use to counter service credit for a table service can you still do that? or can you use two table service credits for the spirit of Aloha Dinner Show? and Counter service for snacks? Plus Can you upgrade from the quick service plan if your on the Free Dining plan to the Regular Dining plan? Thanks

    August 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi John! You can’t use a counter service for a table service unfortunately. Yes, you can use 2 TS credits for the Spirit of Aloha dinner show. The only way to use a counter service credit for snacks is to use it for 3 snacks at the same location in the same transaction. This generally only makes sense at an Epcot festival booth. And yes, you can definitely upgrade to the DDP from the QS plan if you get it with a Free Dining package and pay the difference. Here are more details: https://thebudgetmouse.com/disney-world-free-dining/

      August 13, 2019 at 7:27 am Reply
  • Suzie Brewer

    A bit of information that I never see on any of the dining plan reviews is this- At $116/ day the deluxe dining plan breakdown is 3 table service meals that include appetizers at lunch and dinner- for $35 each. Paying with cash for almost any signature meal would be more than $70. In fact Spirit of Aloha costs $= win for deluxe dining plan. You can easily spend over $80 for Morimoto Asia. Breakfast at Tusker house is $35. Tier 2 dining for Festival of the Lion King is $74. Be our Guest is only $60 so I might have considered paying for that rather than using a credit, but I think if I use my credits I will be on the plus side. I am figuring $6 for each snack, because I will be getting the best deal I can with them. So, right now, with 3 credits left I only have to get a total of $11 to break even, (and most of our snacks will be food and wine festival items) so if I use my last 3 on quick service or what ever it will still be ahead of the game. Yes, it is a lot of food. But if I had done the regular dining plan I would not be doing so many fun things. I would not have paid out of pocket to go to Morimoto Asia. I would have done Be our Guest, but I certainly would not have used 2 credits on that plan to pay for it. We are staying 6 nights, and going to parks 5 days. Mostly people should know that table service credit cost is less with the deluxe plan and you can get more included.

    July 26, 2019 at 7:57 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks so much for all of this info, Suzie! There are definitely instances where the Deluxe Plan is worth it!

      July 27, 2019 at 6:11 am Reply
  • Robert

    You say that you can start using the dining plan credits once you check-in. Does that mean if you use the online check-in, you can start using the credits early the morning of arrival without going to the resort? We have a split stay coming up and am thinking about getting dining plan for second half of our trip.

    Thanks!

    July 23, 2019 at 10:15 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes, you got it right. Use online check-in and you can start using your credits right away that morning that you check-in!

      July 26, 2019 at 6:39 am Reply
  • Jeanette

    Hi! I know you can use a TS credit at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian. But can you order the steak that cost $95 or $45? I wasn’t sure if it would be included.

    July 14, 2019 at 2:21 am Reply
  • Cheryl

    Hi there! Thanks for all the tips! I know you can use the quick service meals and get 3 snacks instead, can you do a table service meal for snacks or a quick service meal and snacks?

    June 21, 2019 at 11:24 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Cheryl! Unfortunately I’ve never heard of anyone having success with trading table service meals for anything else. I have heard that some people have been able to trade one quick service meal for three snacks as long as it was at one dining location – such as one food booth at Food & Wine festival or at a quick service restaurant. But since there isn’t anything official from Disney on this front, your mileage may vary.

      June 23, 2019 at 5:20 pm Reply
  • Tonya Meaney

    Is it still true that if you have a QS meal, you can get a snack item instead of the drink?

    May 21, 2019 at 7:34 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes, in my experience that still works!

      May 23, 2019 at 1:43 pm Reply
  • Britney

    Can you not use the Disney dining plan in universal studios? I have tickets for multiple parks in the next couple months, and wanting to know what parks I can use the dining plan at and what parks I cannot. Thanks!

    May 7, 2019 at 12:15 pm Reply
    • Leah

      The Disney Dining Plan is only good at Disney World parks and resorts, unfortunately.

      May 11, 2019 at 6:20 am Reply
  • Dottie

    I have a few questions. We are going in Dec 2019 and no free dining plan is available this year due to star wars opening. We’re staying on site – 2 rooms. 1) Does everyone in the room have to take the dining plan? 2)I had bariatric surgery and can’t eat more than a child’s portion will they allow me to use a child’s plan/menu – I hate to waste food? 3)My husband is a veteran (not retired military) does he get a reduced rate on his plan?

    April 22, 2019 at 7:53 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Dottie! If your two rooms are on two separate reservations then you can add the dining plan to one room and not the other. We do this all the time! This works best on the quick service dining plan. You can definitely order off of the kids’ menu but it isn’t a good value on the plan. You could strategically use your QS dining plan credits for the most expensive meals. Unfortunately, there aren’t any veteran discounts for the dining plan (or even rooms or tickets that I know of – he’d have to be retired military to get those).

      April 24, 2019 at 6:33 am Reply
  • Jennifer Waltman

    A few things…first, there are first hand reports that some restaurants are not allowing the sharing of credits anymore between rooms, so the days of buying deluxe for one room and sharing between 2 may be limited…or, it could just be a fluke. Second, the dining plan is a perk of staying on property, and is not limited to packages with tickets. You can call and book a ticketless package any time with just room and dining. As someone who does this for a living, I am 100% certain on this one as I book them all the time.

    March 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks for the updates, Jennifer! I’ve booked a dining plan without a package myself so I know it can be done, I just neglected to update the post. I’ll get the changes up today! Have you personally had a restaurant not allow you to use credits for others? I just had a reader report that she used her remaining credits to pay for another family’s meal. I have yet to actually hear from someone first hand who wasn’t allowed to use their credits for someone not on their reservation. I’ve used my credits to pay for others’ meals many times, as recently as late 2018. So far it appears to be rumors but if this new policy is confirmed first hand then I will make the changes. Thanks again!

      March 4, 2019 at 8:20 am Reply
  • Lori

    I would like to share deluxe credits with my adult daughter in another room however I’ve been reading on a Disney forum that this is no longer allowed in 2019. I hate to buy the plan then get down there and they have to spend a fortune out of pocket if sharing is forbidden now. Is there anywhere this is in writing so I’m safe?

    January 16, 2019 at 1:07 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Lori! I have used our credits to pay for peoples’ meals who were not on our reservation before MANY times. I have searched for any reason to think this has changed for 2019 but I can’t find any evidence of that anywhere. So, as far as I know, nothing has changed with Disney’s policy and you are still able to use your credits however you’d like. I recently had a reader who bought dinner for another family with their extra credits at the end of their trip and I’m sure it made that other family’s day!

      January 18, 2019 at 12:02 pm Reply
  • Patches

    Can cocktails be made non-alcoholic and still included as our beverage on the dining plan? I like mixed drinks sometimes, but it’s more alcohol than I would prefer. DD10 always seems to want the fruity drinks which obviously she can’t have unless non-alcoholic as well.

    January 14, 2019 at 11:44 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hey Patches! Yes, you can get any drink made non-alcoholic unless it’s already mixed (e.g. frozen margaritas). And there are lots of fun speciality drinks for kids.

      January 14, 2019 at 1:23 pm Reply
  • Nae

    Hi! I read where it is possible to share credits. My family and I have plans to travel summer 2019. Two adults and two kids and we were planning on getting the deluxe plan but I’ve been reading where it is so much food. A friend of ours will also be there with her daughter the same time, would it be possible for us to share our credits with them at meal times? I’m not really sure how that works especially for table service

    December 28, 2018 at 12:41 pm Reply
    • Leah

      HI Nae! Yes, you definitely can share credits with others who aren’t on the plan. In fact, it’s a great way to save money and be able to use all of your credits. You can use as many credits as you want anytime you eat.

      December 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm Reply
  • Joan Lokey-Drayton

    I would suggest to anyone from England to get the meal plan. As the breakfast is £35- 50. Lunch can set you back £ 30-110 and dinner was£150- 220. I did not use my table service wisely and I had run out off credits 2 days prior to departure. Pay for all table credits requiring two credits with the meal plan. I needed water in my room for medication and I was buying the water for £3.30 per bottle. I started using the snacks. My mistake is that I planned too many meals we do not eat that much and I was wasting the food if you do a speciality breakfast, do not try to have a speciality lunch/dinner on the same day.

    December 21, 2018 at 11:27 pm Reply
  • Melissa

    I saw another blog that suggested this but I don’t know how old it was. Can you pay out of pocket for kids table service meals if you are planning more table service meals than allowed on Plan, saving credits for higher priced meals?

    November 2, 2018 at 12:24 am Reply
    • Leah

      Good question, Melissa! On the Dining Plan, you can only use Table Service kid’s credits for kid’s meals. So there wouldn’t be any benefit to paying out of pocket and saving credits at Table Service meals. But at Quick Service locations, you can use your credits for adult meals OR kid’s meals. So you could potentially use your Quick Service Credits only when you are buying higher-priced meals and pay out of pocket for kid’s meals. But this only works at Quick Service locations. Hope that makes sense!

      November 2, 2018 at 8:38 am Reply
  • Amy S

    We sometimes do a split stay with our DVC, stay a 2 different resorts, and will pick the quick service only dining plan for one part of the trip and then upgrade to a regular or deluxe for the time in the other resort that way we can get the signature restaurants in during the other half of the trip. Left over snack points are used for goofy gummies and other edible souvenirs. Also the one time we had extra deluxe meal points because we had a day no one was hungry we used the points to secret santa another family’s meal that night. Turns out it was the mom’s birthday, it felt great to spread some extra pixie dust that night.

    August 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm Reply
    • Leah

      These are all great ideas, Amy! We often do a dining plan for part of a split stay, too. I bet that family is still talking about when you treated them to dinner… what a wonderful memory and how generous of you to share!

      August 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm Reply
  • kela

    We’re staying at the GF with a deluxe DDP. We’re wanting to invite my parents over one night to have dinner with us. Would we be able to use some of our credits to pay for their meal at Citricos in addition to ours? Basically I guess I’m saying we’d use 8 credits for all of us as opposed to just 4 for my husband and I.

    July 9, 2018 at 3:42 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes, Kela you can definitely use your credits for their meal! I’d recommend it actually because the Deluxe Plan is SO much food! Enjoy 🙂

      July 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm Reply
  • trish

    My family splits the larger breakfast at our hotel before heading to parks and it saves some quick service points. My daughter loves the eggs and I like the waffles. Hubby is happy with some bacon and maybe a muffin as a snack! Alos because we get the mugs we get a water bottle with our breakfast so we use that instead of out bottle supply. It’s not a major tip or savings but it works for us.

    June 16, 2018 at 10:36 am Reply
    • Leah

      That’s great advice, Trish! I agree those breakfast bounty platters are huge!

      June 17, 2018 at 11:43 am Reply
  • Jamie

    Hello, I had a follow up question to a question by Kristen about purchasing the meal package at one DVC property, but not for the entire trip. So, if I’m military can I just say I need a deluxe meal plan for 3 nights (when I’m staying for longer)? Also, just to clarify, it would carry over until the fourth day correct? So you could stretch your 3 day deluxe package to four (full) days correct? Thank you for your time!!

    June 13, 2018 at 2:02 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Jamie! First, yes: when you get a dining plan for a three-night stay, it DOES carry over until midnight on the fourth day (the day you check out). So yes, you can stretch 3-night Deluxe Plan into 4 days. Next, you would have to do a split stay (two different reservations, even if staying at the same resort) if you only want the dining plan for part of your stay. And here is info on using the military discount with the dining plan: http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/dining-plans-with-military-discounts/ Hope that helps!

      June 13, 2018 at 5:56 am Reply
  • Dining Review: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe – The Budget Mouse

    […] I love the choices at Pecos Bill and think the food quality is excellent. It is a decent value on the Disney Dining Plan, though there are places where you will get more for a quick service dining credit. I think it is […]

    May 8, 2018 at 6:03 am Reply
  • Jessica

    Hello! I am looking to go to the California Grill using 2 table service credits on the disney dining plan. My question is, I see there is a steak for one priced at $75! Is this something I could order as my entree on the dining plan, or is there a limit to how expensive your entree can be? Thanks

    April 29, 2018 at 5:39 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Jessica! You can get the steak! Any entree that serves one person is generally included with the plan. Go for it!

      April 29, 2018 at 7:09 pm Reply
  • Dining Review: The Polite Pig in Disney Springs! – The Budget Mouse

    […] To wrap up my Polite Pig review, I thought the food here was above average for Disney World, but it didn’t knock my socks off. That said, it is a tremendous value for a quick service credit on the Disney Dining Plan (check out all of my tips and tricks for using the plan in this post). […]

    April 8, 2018 at 8:58 am Reply
  • PegP

    Those booking a resort using the military discount can book a resort room and dining plan without purchasing park tickets. The military-discounted park tickets can’t be purchased on the Disney site or by phone because you have to show your military ID, so Disney allows the military the option of buying a dining plan without purchasing park tickets through them. Park tickets are purchased through the IT office at a military base or at the Shades of Green military resort on the Disney property.

    April 4, 2018 at 9:05 pm Reply
    • Leah

      This is awesome information, Peg! I had no idea about this. I’ll update the post with your info. Thanks so much for your contribution!

      April 5, 2018 at 6:06 am Reply
  • disney deluxe south america offer 2018 – Cruise Liners

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  • Ultimate Disney Vacation Tips | Serendipity and Spice

    […] To do the dining plan or not?  That is one of the biggest Disney vacation debates of all time!  Many people say it’s not worth the money– I personally think it’s worth every single cent!  Typically we try to travel while Disney is having their promotion with the Dining Plan for free but last year we didn’t get the dining plan and I swore we would NEVER do Disney again without it.  I love that the dining plan gives us the ability to disconnect from the cost of every single meal…we don’t have to stress about the kids being finicky and not eating the $120 meal that we just purchased so they could meet Jake and Sophia.  If Little Man wants a Mickey shaped pretzel then he gets one without a thought because it’s part of his snack credits.  He knows that once those credits are gone then they’re gone…it definitely cuts down on the “I wants” when at the parks.  You be the judge.. read 101 Disney Dining Plan Tips from The Frugal South. […]

    January 15, 2018 at 5:19 pm Reply
  • Nina-Marie

    Please note that I saw on the Disney Website that the Fantasmic package for 2018 will no longer include an appetizer. So now you’ll only get a soft drink, entree and dessert. Another value down the drain.

    September 23, 2017 at 10:28 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks so much for the update, Nina-Marie. It was such a good deal I guess it was inevitable!

      September 25, 2017 at 9:50 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I’ve updated the post to reflect the change. Thanks again. 🙂

      September 26, 2017 at 8:59 am Reply
  • Terri

    How does pizza delivery work on the dinning plan.

    April 13, 2017 at 8:27 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Pizza delivery costs 2 Table Service credits on the dining plan. You’ll get a large pizza, 2 non-alcoholic beverages, and two desserts. The cost is not per person, but 2 TS credits total. I wouldn’t recommend using Dining Plan credits for pizza delivery since I estimate the value of 2 TS credits is around $70, but you’ll only get roughly $35 value out of the meal.

      April 13, 2017 at 8:37 pm Reply
  • Disney World: A Guide | Where Paige Went

    […] it, as veggie options are typically significantly cheaper than meat dishes. Feel free to check out this blog for great tips on utilizing the plan, if you do decide to purchase. This blog has a helpful […]

    April 6, 2017 at 12:50 am Reply
  • Noelle

    I have been to Disney World once with a dinning plan but it really made all the difference. They are really great for big parties(more then 2 or 3) and takes the stress out of worry about food money or if u will be able to eat where u want.

    March 26, 2017 at 8:32 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I agree, Nicole, a dining plan can make vacation much more enjoyable!

      March 26, 2017 at 8:44 pm Reply
  • Tricia

    Another way I save and use points is splitting a breakfast at hotel. Most have a “big breakfast” platter with eggs, waffle, potatoes and meat. Me and my daughter share. She loves the eggs and potatoes I eat waffle and meat. We get a water bottle as drink and then use our dining mugs for coffee and juice! A great way to share the quick service!!!

    March 16, 2017 at 4:19 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks for the great tip, Tricia! I agree those bounty platters are definitely big enough to share… and they are SO GOOD!

      March 16, 2017 at 8:08 pm Reply
  • Vanessa Sylvia

    I am going on a mini-honeymoon in Disney the end of December (30 December – 3 January). I am trying to decide between the Disney dining plan, or the deluxe dining plan. My fiancé (who isn’t as well versed in all things Disney as I am) is suggesting the basic Disney dining with one counter service, one sit down, and snacks. Knowing that I want to take him to some of the places that need two dining credits (La Cellier, The Boathouse), would you recommend the deluxe? It has been a while since I have gotten the meal plan, and I have never tried the deluxe before. We cant splurge on a lot, and since I believe the food will be my fiancés favorite part, I was considering splurging on the meal plan.

    Thanks in advance!

    February 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Vanessa! My sister and her husband splurged on the Deluxe Plan for their honeymoon. They said that, while it was fun, it was just too much food. They said they would get the standard plan next time and pay out of pocket for anything beyond what they got with that plan. I think you would save money that way, still have the fun experience of being on a Dining Plan (it is really cool!) and not be so stuffed you can barely move. Hope that helps!

      February 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm Reply
  • Jen

    One tip that we realized half way through our trip was that for Quick Service meals they don’t differentiate between Adult and Kids. So for lunch I could get 1 QS adult meal for both kids instead of using 2 QS credits for 2 kids meals. (Note, this is not the case for Table Service credits.)

    February 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes! Thanks for sharing this awesome tip, Jen! It is a great way to stretch Quick Service credits. You could likely have enough for free breakfast everyday if you did this at each lunch! Also good to know if your kiddo gets tired of the kid’s meal options, which can be kinda boring after a while.

      February 21, 2017 at 8:56 am Reply
  • Alyce

    We are going to Disney World for the first time next month. We have a reservation at Cinderellas Royal Table for breakfast. I’m not a big breakfast eater, and my question is if I can share an entree with my mother that’s going with us? I was curious because I don’t eat much for breakfast and this would save us 2 dining credits.

    February 12, 2017 at 8:55 pm Reply
    • Leah

      That’s a great question, Alyce! Cinderella’s Royal Table is a like a buffet in that you are charged a set price each person in your dining party. You do choose an item (or items since it is actually “all you care to enjoy”) off of a menu but you will be charged for each person at the table regardless. We ate breakfast there in November and I personally thought the experience was worth it for two table service credits. The food was excellent but not the highlight – the setting and the princesses are the main attraction! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

      February 13, 2017 at 5:14 am Reply
  • Kristen

    We have a 3-night DVC reservation using point rentals and are in a queue for an additional 3 nights at a separate DVC resort. Can we purchase the dining plan now for the 3 nights and stretch that out over our 6 night stay?

    February 11, 2017 at 6:40 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I wish the plan worked that way but unfortunately it doesn’t. If you add the dining plan to the first reservation, you will have to use the credits by midnight on the last day of that reservation. So at least that gives you four days to use the credits with one day overlapping into your next stay. I have done this and had no trouble transferring credits when I changed rooms, by the way. Have fun!

      February 12, 2017 at 7:19 am Reply
  • Erika

    Im curious about QS meals at the resort. Do you still get a drink? Isnt that redundant since you have the refillable mug.

    February 9, 2017 at 10:41 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Erika! Yes, you still get a drink with your QS meal at the resorts. However, you can substitute anything that qualifies as a “snack” for the drink. So if you prefer ice water or are using your refillable mug, I suggest grabbing a snack for later or a dessert instead of the additional drink!

      February 10, 2017 at 6:08 am Reply
    • Amy

      On our trip last year, we ate a few nights at our resort & we chose bottled drinks with our meals, such as chocolate milk. Since our room had a fridge, we had them for breakfast. Rather than purchase breakfast, we brought items to eat in our room. Saved us money.

      March 3, 2017 at 10:16 am Reply
      • Leah

        Thanks for the awesome tip, Amy! We do the same thing, right down to the chocolate milk. My daughter only has chocolate milk at Disney World so she thinks they only make it there. We’re going to keep that illusion going for as long as possible. 😉

        March 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm Reply
  • Sandra

    My son is crazy for characters so we always splurge and do the deluxe dining. We have a big breakfast and a big dinner and use extra credits for things like the dinner shows and a meal at the castle. We also usually squeeze in a pizza delivery to our room at some point, which makes the extra credits nice.

    February 5, 2017 at 9:54 pm Reply
    • Leah

      That’s great, Sandra! Sound like y’all have so much fun!

      February 10, 2017 at 6:10 am Reply
    • Lesli

      We are going in July with our four year old and I did the deluxe for these reasons. We are doing a dinner show, three character meals and I plan on ordering pizza the night we arrive. Plus, my husband and I are semi-foodies (met working in a restaurant) and I have no doubt he will fly through those snack credits, lol.

      February 25, 2017 at 11:41 am Reply
  • Ali

    How many credits do the meals at the signature restaurants cost?

    February 5, 2017 at 1:57 am Reply
    • Leah

      2 credits 🙂

      February 10, 2017 at 6:11 am Reply
      • Ali

        If I have a picky 3 year old can I just let him eat off my plate?

        February 18, 2017 at 6:43 am Reply
        • Leah

          Hi Ali! It depends on the restaurant. At a regular table service restaurant, yes! I’ve shared a meal with my little one many times. At a buffet or “all-you-care-to-enjoy” meal (such as character dining) there is a set price per person, regardless of how much or little someone eats. So you would be charged the kid’s meal amount there, which is MUCH lower than adult prices thankfully!

          February 18, 2017 at 7:09 am Reply
  • Melissa Nicholson

    Don’t go to flame tree barbaque they are not very nice. They won’t substitute anything my kids don’t eat beans so I asked for fries they said no. Wanted just an order of fries and onion rings for my oldest they said no and not in a nice way at all

    January 29, 2017 at 6:47 am Reply
    • Leah

      Sorry to hear you had a negative experience at Flame Tree, Melissa. I guess you can’t substitute fries for the beans. They should have told you in a nice way.

      January 29, 2017 at 2:07 pm Reply
    • Romo Ruz

      Visited Flame Tree the first week in January and I changed items in the selection with no problem. I do not like beans and they changed for fries. Guess I got a nice Cast Member.

      February 21, 2017 at 9:06 pm Reply
      • Leah

        Thanks Romo, that’s good to know!

        February 22, 2017 at 6:40 am Reply
  • Michelle

    Can you pay out of pocket for kids table service meals if you are planning more table service meals than allowed on Plan, saving credits for higher priced meals?

    December 31, 2016 at 7:54 pm Reply
  • Cathy

    Be careful if you have more than 1 room and going to Be Our Guest. We had 4 rooms and 10 people and told there would not be any problems. They never asked for anyone’s bands but my daughters. When we tried to explain to the manager that we needed to devide yo the credits she said they would not be a problem. Well went to dinner and my sons room had no credits because they had taken 10 credits off of his room instead of 3. We had to charge it back to the hotel and then try to straighten it out. This took us a couple of hours and took us away from enjoying our stay at the park.

    December 27, 2016 at 5:09 pm Reply
  • Jen

    I know you can share quick service meals. Did I understand that you can now share table service meals? Is that a recent change? Thank you!

    October 27, 2016 at 8:02 pm Reply
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  • 2016 Free Dining at Walt Disney World Resort is here! - The Frugal South

    […] The best deal of the year is here at Walt Disney World Resort! Yesterday Disney released their super-popular Free Dining promotion, which means that you get a “free” dining plan for everyone in your travel party when you book a non-discounted vacation package. Travel dates are 8/23/16 – 10/1/16, 11/15/16 – 11/21/16, 11/26/16 – 11/28/16 or 12/10/16 – 12/21/16. Get all of the details here. And be sure to check out my tips and tricks for maximizing the dining plan in this post! […]

    April 26, 2016 at 8:13 am Reply
  • Disney Dining Review: Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom - The Frugal South

    […] Steamed Fresh Broccoli for $12.49. We were on the Dining Plan for this part of the trip (read my dining plan tips and tricks here) so I also got a side of coleslaw and a lemonade slush to complete the […]

    April 24, 2016 at 9:46 pm Reply
  • Disney Dining Plan 101 - The Frugal South

    […] One approach to dining at Walt Disney World is to use one of the Disney Dining Plans. These plans have been around since about 2005 and are basically a way to “pre-pay” for dining before your vacation starts. In this post I will share basic information about the plans, including recent updates that allow for much more flexibility. Keep in mind that the plans are certainly not for everyone on every trip, and while they seem complicated at first, are actually pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you know the basics but are looking for some tips & tricks, check out this post! […]

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