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Top 5 Reasons I love Disney's Dining Plan

Disney's Dining plans are among the hot topics you'll come across when planning a Walt Disney World Vacation...along with EPCOT is just for adults, Animal Kingdom is a half day park and pool hopping.  For those of you who follow the blog, it's no surprise I'm a fan of the Disney Dining Plan. You can find several articles throughout the blog dedicated to just that. Today I want to talk about why my family and I love the plan.

First let's talk about what you get and the cost. Today the Plus Dining Plan will cost you $67.33 per adult and $24.22 per child, PER NIGHT of your vacation.   Remember no matter which Dining Plan you choose, it's tied to your resort stay so it must be booked for every night of your vacation. (Pricing for 2017)

What do you get for that price? From 
1 Table-Service Meal
Each (adult or child) table-service meal includes 1 entrée, 1 dessert (lunch and dinner only) and 1 single-serving, non-alcoholic beverage  Or 1 full buffet

1 Quick-Service Meal
Each quick-service meal includes 1 entrée or 1 complete combo meal, 1 dessert (lunch and dinner only) and 1 single-serving, non-alcoholic beverage.(No Snack in 2017)

1 Snack (2 in 2017!!)

1 Resort-Refillable Drink Mug Per Person
Bring your Resort mug to any quick-service restaurant at your Disney Resort hotel and refill it as often as you like! YOUR RESORT ONLY

Once you check-in at your resort your Magic Band will become activated and your dining plan is loaded right onto the band.  Your credits are POOLED. So let's say a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children 8,6) are staying 4 nights. Their Magic Band would have:

8 Table Service Credits (Adult)
8 Table Service Credits (Child)
8 Counter Service Credits (Adult)
8 Counter Service Credits (Child)
16 snack credits
4 Refillable mugs

Ok enough information overload! Le'ts get to the Top 5 Reasons I LOVE Disney's Plus Dining plan!!

#5 Flexibility
Since your credits are pooled, you can use them anytime you want!  You'll have access to your credits from the minute you check-in until midnight the day you check-out.  For instance let's say you don't arrive until 7 p.m. and you ate on the plane, you won't lose your credits! You can use them anytime during your trip.  Maybe there is a day everyone wants to skip breakfast and have a big lunch, that's ok!  Or maybe you want both breakfast and lunch (counter service), that's ok too!

Just remember that Table Service credits should be planned ahead with reservations. Most times of the year it's nearly impossible to just walk up to a table service restaurant.  To book Table Service restaurants you'll need a credit card to guarantee the reservation. If you cancel the same day you are charged $10 per person (some restaurants and packages have a different cancellation policy). 

#4 Prepaid
One of my favorite things about a Disney vacation is that when I arrive, everything is taken care of!   My room, tickets and food are already paid for!  The only thing I have to worry about is gratuities at my Table Service restaurants, any extra's I want to get (wine, appetizers, etc) and souvenirs! Everything is pre-paid AND I'm not restricted as to what I can order!  If I want steak every night, then I can order Steak!  There is no special menu for Dining Plan participants. Order what you'd like off each menu! Remember you each get an entrée, a dessert (lunch and dinner only) and a single-serving, non-alcoholic beverage,  or 1 full buffet.

Character dining like this buffet at 1900 Park Fare is included as a Table Service Credit!

#3 Convenience
Did I mention how easy it is to use?  Anywhere you go where you see the Disney Dining Plan logo, you can use your credits!

Each menu at counter service and snack locations will display the logo:

Just order, tap your band, enter your pin number and off you go!

Cast Members are more than willing to help so if you aren't sure what's included just ask! Most people get it down within the first day or so!

Special Tip!
While not advertised, Disney typically doesn't distinguish between the counter service and snack credits...that means that you can share! Disney's portions are HUGE so if 2 adults want to share a breakfast platter, Disney doesn't care! Sharing is NOT allowed at Table Service restaurants. It also means kids can order from the adult menu!

#2 Savings
I think this is where people waiver on the plan. I know it's a lot of money, but so is the cost of food at Disney.  Do you have other options? Sure! You could book the Quick Service Plan . You can have groceries delivered to your room (or snag them yourself if you are driving) but most rooms only have a small dorm style fridge so unless you are staying in a Villa, you won't be able to feed your family for your entire stay out of your small fridge.

#1 Food
Bottom line is we like to eat. When we go to Disney, half the fun is the food we get to try! We get to eat at our favorite restaurants, indulge a little and relax. Even if the Dining Plan came out as a wash for me, we would still opt for it.  We never know what we'll want to order and we like being able to relax and not think about what the cost would be.  For us we weigh both the cost of the dining plan and the convenience.

Plus we get to enjoy a lot of food we don't at home! Some of our favorite options are unique offerings...remember Disney isn't all Chicken Fingers and burgers!

Pork Nachos from Captain Cook's at the Polynesian.
Normally $8.29 but part of Disney's Dining plan!

For a lot of first time visitors I think it's hard to gauge how much food would cost you out of pocket vs. the dining plan. Does it work for everyone? Nope!  I do feel for most guests it can be a great advantage and make your vacation seamless!

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