5 Reasons to get the Disney Dining Plan

Funnel Cakes at Disney Hollywood Studios - Photo by Steps to Magic

The Disney Dining Plan is constantly changing, but when you look at the core of the offering…it can definitely be a great way to experience as much of the cuisine at Walt Disney World as you would like.

Here are the 5 Reasons to get the Disney Dining Plan

Please note that the Disney Dining Plan is a product in which people are given the option to purchase when they stay at a Disney Resort. Like anything at Walt Disney World, there’s a market for each offering, and it’s about knowing whether or not you’re able to make it work or if it’s better to pay out of pocket. If you want more information about the Disney Dining Plan as a whole, read our article here.


Credits to Dollars

Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods at Satu'li Canteen
Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods at Satu’li Canteen – Photo by Steps to Magic

Let’s start off with the #1 reason to get the Dining Plan, because there’s a really good chance that this will help the most. Character meals, buffets and expensive entrees are the only ways to “win” at the Dining Plan.

Believe me…I love the Dining plan, but unless I get at least 75% of the Advanced Dining Reservations on my list, there’s a good chance that I’ll just end up paying out of pocket. Oh, that’s a great segway…

You Don’t Have To Commit Immediately

So you book your resort, your airfare…and then you start making your dining reservations via My Disney Experience. If you don’t get what you want, or end up with extra ticketed activities (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) or non-dining plan meals (Victoria & Albert’s)…maybe it won’t work out. Well the nice thing is that you can add the Dining Plan to your reservation a minimum of 7 days out.

Why 7? It’s an easy number to plug into your calendar without stressing out. I think the official number is 3 or 4, but knowing that you have time is a huge bonus for the process!

Flexibility in Plans

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe – Photo by Steps to Magic

With three different plans (Quick Service Plan, Disney Dining Plan and Deluxe Plan) there are plenty of options to play with, which means that you’re able to truly explore the gambit of dining at Disney World. I’ve done both the Quick Service and DDP, but my dream is the Deluxe Plan.

The only reason I haven’t gone there yet is because my partner is Vegetarian and we just haven’t been able to get the right options…yet;) I’ve helped friends to plan for the Deluxe option, and it was an absolute blast!


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Snacks

Main Street Confectionary
Main Street Confectionary – Photo by Steps to Magic

I’ve got an article that breaks down the best snacks for the Disney Dining Plan, but needless to say…Dole Whips, Starbucks Frappuccinos and so much more!

We’ve actually used a snack credit for a late breakfast at Gaston’s Tavern for a giant cinnamon roll, which actually saved us a meal! We’re not breakfast people, so having snacks to get through until a lunch reservation actually helps a ton!

Scheduling

Be Our Guest Restaurant
Be Our Guest Restaurant – Photo by Steps to Magic

The Dining Plan allows for you to build your vacation in two ways. The first is at 180 days, where you can get your ‘Gotta Do’ restaurants (ADR’s to get ASAP article has a list of our favs) but then when you get to 60 days out and able to book your Fastpass+ reservations…it’s really helpful to know which theme parks you’ll be at.

Quick Service vs Disney Dining Plan

Casey's Corner on Main Street USA
Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA – Photo by Steps to Magic

Let’s say that you’re booking a last-minute trip to Disney and you’re starting your plans one or two months out and unable to get the best ADR’s. Well, it’s not unreasonable to choose the Quick Service plan (2 QS meals & 2 snacks per day) over the Disney Dining Plan (1 Table Service, 1 QS & 2 snacks per day).

When it comes down to it, you know that you’re going to be spending money on food while you’re on vacation…so knowing that ahead of time and budgeting accordingly is why the Dining Plans are a great way to go.


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Is the Disney Dining Plan best for every situation?

Sci-Fi Dine-In
Sci-Fi Dine-In – Photo by Steps to Magic

Nope. In fact, I put together the 5 reasons why you shouldn’t get the Disney Dining Plan because I wanted to give both sides to the offering.

At the end of the day, this is another way to enhance your vacation to Walt Disney World, but by no means is it the hidden gem steal of a value that it used to be back 5-10 years ago. It’s a lot bigger, with annual changes that sway more folks away from getting it as an impulse buy and making it so paying out of pocket is actually cheaper in some cases.

Know your family, know your situation and be knowledgeable about the three dates:

  • 180 days to start booking your advanced dining reservations
  • 60 days for FastPass+ reservations because you’re staying at a Disney Resort and
  • 7 days out to make your final decision on the Dining Plan

Still wanting more ideas for experience on your next Disney World vacation? I love sharing more and more content to keep your trip planning juices flowing to build the excitement!

5 Reasons to get the Disney Dining Plan - #StepstoMagic
5 Reasons to get the Disney Dining Plan – #StepstoMagic

Written by Dustin Fuhs

I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality! If you want more Theme Park fun - listen to the We Like Theme Parks Podcast at https://welikethemeparks.podbean.com/

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