Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Using the Dining Plan while at Disney World

Dining at Disney!  I have been getting lots of questions now that the trip is closer about how to actually manage the dining plan at Disney.  On the regular dining plan (not quick service) you have table service, snacks, quick service and a refillable mug to use while there. You should have your table services booked WAY in advance...by me (180 days).

  • ·        ·        Refillable mug: you will pick this up in the food court at the resort once you check in. They are for sale and are on display in different colors. There are usually at least four different colors.  We pick a different color for each person in our party then we can easily keep track of ‘who’s cup is whose’ while there.  These include unlimited refills throughout your stay while at your resort (not at the parks) and drinks include Coke products, coffee, hot and iced tea and hot chocolate. Choose your cup and go to the cashier, let her know you are using your dining plan to pick up your cups. There is no additional fee if you have the dining plan. These are almost $20 each if you are not on the dining plan.  If you believe everyone in your group will want the same color bring a sharpie to mark the bottom with the correct name.

·       ·        Meal Credits: you will have as many snack and quick service credits as NIGHTS you sleep at Disney. So, a 6 night stay has 6 quick service and 6 snacks for each person 3 or older in your group. When you check in all the snacks and Quick services for your entire stay will be added to your Magic Bands.  You can use them daily or all at once, these are very flexible. Each time you use a snack or quick service credit you will receive a receipt showing your balance. These will all be combined for your entire room. Pay attention and ask a lot of questions. Since you can also 'charge to your room' you need to be clear you are using dining credits not paying for it with your room charge.

  • ·        Snacks: These include most things at Disney $5 or less.  These can be found at your resort food court and throughout all parks and the Downtown Disney area.  On store and restaurant signs the symbol below will appear to alert you to items that can be used as snack credits. My favorite snacks are at EPCOT in Germany at the caramel store.  Common uses of snack credits: drinks, popcorn, Mickey ice cream bar. I prefer to use them to buy the most expensive snacks available (like those at EPCOT).  Some candy from different countries found in EPCOT shopping stores are available as a snack credit. When in doubt ask a cast member to clarify, they are happy to help. During September and October EPCOT has the Food and Wine Festival and most booths sell amazing options as snack credits including items as expensive as $8. So don't use your snack credit for a banana at your resort!

  • ·        Quick service credits: these are walk up dining locations. These are at every resort, Downtown Disney and all parks.  This includes a meal, drink (non-alcoholic) and dessert

  • ·        Money saving tip: this may or may not still work!! In the past, Disney did not distinguish between a child and an adult on the quick service meals.  This means that if you were to go up to a cast member to order at a quick service location and order 2 adult meals and swipe your  Magic Band and your spouse were to go to another cast member and order 2 more adult meals they would count the same as if you ordered 2 adult and 2 children’s meals.  This allows you to get more food and share to conserve your meal credits.  For instance, when we were a family of 2 adults and 2 children under 9, we would go buy 2-3 quick service adult meals and share them.  This would give us meal credits to use for occasional breakfasts.  The only trick is that your account will state there are only 2 adults, thus only 2 adult meals can be purchased at one time by one person at one register.  I always assume Disney would find this loophole and close it but doubt that is the case, give it a try!
·        Quick Service meals can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
·        You might be asking, “What do we do for breakfast??”  You have options:
o   You can eat at your resort food court by using a quick service credit or paying out of pocket.
o   You can eat at any park by using a quick service meal credit or paying out of pocket.
o   WE pack a suitcase including cereal, Entenmann’s donuts, baggies (to put dry cereal in), granola bars and powder for flavored water. If you are flying Southwest and get two free pieces of luggage you should have space.

  • ·        There are refrigerators at all Disney resorts. 
  • ·        Money Saving Tip: When buying a quick service meal at your resort you will get a meal, drink and a dessert. You do not need a drink because you have your refillable mug.  Instead go get a large milk, juice or powerade.  This can be stored in your refrigerator for breakfast.  Instead of dessert grab some donuts for breakfast!
      Keep in mind if you people in your room that are not your family (grandchild, niece or nephew) their dining plan will be entwined with yours.  Thus you will need to keep track yourselves of what meals are your and which ones are theirs.

S    Since all meal plans in one rooms are connected, one person can pay for everyone's meals with their Magic Band while everyone else finds a table.

·        Don’t stress about dining, you will be a PRO by day two! AND ask questions, lots of questions of the cast members at dining locations and they will help you better understand the dining plan. Many times if you ask they are incredibly helpful and offer you advice to save money.
  • Email any additional questions: dillontravels@gmail.com

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