The 2014 Disney Dining Plan-Costs, Tips, and Information

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How much is the Disney Dining Plan?  Is it worth it?  I’m not traveling unless I get Free Dining!  These, and many other questions and comments are shared in Disney Facebook groups and come to my inbox on a daily basis.  My personal favorite, “Which Disney Dining Plan is right for me?”  With the 2014 travel season upon us, and many booking Disney trips for this summer, let’s talk the nitty-gritty of Disney Dining.

There are several tiers of Disney Dining Plans available to guests.  The Quick Service Dining Plan is $39.64/night, Basic Dining is $58.66/night, and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan is $104.94/night.

The Disney Dining Plan allows guests to prepay for their meals and snacks before they visit the Walt Disney World Resort.  It can only be added to a room and ticket package.  Each plan offers a set number of meal and snack credits that can redeemed in all four of the Disney parks.  The credits can be redeemed for counter service {aka fast food}, table service , or signature meals {aka fine dining experiences}.  The credits are stored on the MagicBands, and are deducted upon scanning your band when you pay for your meal.  You’ll receive a receipt that will tell you how many dining entitlements you have remaining.  The Quick Service Plan offers two counter service meals and one snack per person per night of your stay.  The Basic Dining offers one counter service, one table service, and one snack per person per night of your stay.  They both offer a resort refillable mug.

Since the dining entitlements don’t have a dollar amount, you can order whatever you want off the menu.  For example, you can visit an inexpensive restaurant and enjoy a water, sandwich, and ice cream for dessert and this would count as a table service credit.  On the flip side, you could visit the same restaurants, and enjoy braised pork, soft drink, and tiramisu using the same one table service credit.  It allows a lot of flexibility, and the ability to try new foods without worrying about cost.  Some advance planning will get you the biggest bang for your buck.

“Free Dining” is the widely popular Disney Parks promotion that is offered periodically throughout the year.  Guests wait very impatiently for Free Dining to come available.  It can be a huge money saver, especially if you are planning on purchasing the Disney Dining Plan.  The Basic Disney Dining Plan is “free” during this promotion to guests in a Deluxe or Moderate Tier resort.  Guests in Value Resorts receive the “Quick Service Dining Plan” for “free”, but can pay to upgrade to the Basic Dining if they choose.  The cons to free dining are that you end up paying the rack rate on your resort stay, and full price on a minimum required amount of park tickets.

Deciding on the best Disney Dining Plan for you is a tough one.  How does your family eat?  Do you enjoy a large meal at breakfast?  Or do you prefer to eat granola bars while you are heading out the door and look forward to a larger lunch later?  If you want character meals, then you for sure want the Disney Dining Plan.  However, if your family prefers to visit as many attractions as possible and don’t want to spend time sitting down for one meal a day, then the Quick Service Dining is the best option.  Our family has personally purchased the Quick Service Plan, and then paid out of pocket for one or two character meals.  We get to enjoy the experience of the character meals, without having to stop so often at a table service restaurant.


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