What You Need to Know About the 2016 Disney Dining Plans

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2016 Disney Dining Plans

2016 is right around the corner – can you believe it!  And people are getting their Walt Disney World vacations for next year booked and planned.  One aspect of a Disney World vacation that can often lead to questions is the Disney Dining Plans.  What are the Disney Dining Plans?  How do they work?  Are they worth it?

This post is for all of you with questions regarding the 2016 Disney Dining Plans.  I’ve done Disney both with and without a dining plan.  I’d consider myself an expect on how they work.  I’d also like to think that I have a great idea as to when they are most cost effective and when it might be better to skip them.  Hopefully I’ll answer all of your questions in this post, but just in case I don’t, you can always email me at alissa@worldofmagictravel.com with any additional questions you have as you are planning and booking your Walt Disney World vacation.

So first, let’s take a look at the different Disney Dining Plan options available and what is included with each.

Quick Service Dining Plan

  • 2 Quick Service meals (Breakfast includes an entree and beverage; Lunch and Dinner include an entree, dessert and beverage)
  • 1 Snack
  • 1 Refillable Resort Mug

Total Cost: Guests ages 10+: $42.77; Guests ages 3-9: $17.54

Plus Dining (Standard Dining Plan)

  • 1 Table Service meal (Breakfast includes an entree and beverage; Lunch and Dinner include an entree, dessert and beverage; Buffets are all inclusive)
  • 1 Quick Service meals (Breakfast includes an entree and beverage; Lunch and Dinner include an entree, dessert and beverage)
  • 1 Snack
  • 1 Refillable Resort Mug

Total Cost: Guests ages 10+: $61.82; Guests ages 3-9:$20.98

Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 Table Service (or Quick Service) meals (Breakfast includes an entree and beverage; Lunch and Dinner include an appetizer, entree, dessert and beverage; Buffets are all inclusive)
  • 2 Snacks
  • 1 Refillable Resort Mug

Total Cost: Guests ages 10+: $111.73; Guests ages 3-9:$32.56

*All beverages included on plans are non-alcoholic. 

**If you look at the participating restaurants (mostly in the Table Service category) you will probably notice several missing that were included in 2015.  This is nothing to worry about.  There are several restaurants (mostly in World Showcase in Epcot) that are managed by third party corporations.  Those usually take until the end of the current year to get contracts renewed and have them added to the dining plan.  We face this every year and every year they are added by January!

A few general things to note:

  • You must be staying on property at a Walt Disney World Resort to add the dining plan to your package.  You do NOT have to have tickets to add the dining plan, however.
  • The number of credits you have is based on the number of nights in your stay, not the number of days.
  • You can use your credits in anyway you want.  For example, if you’re on the Standard Plan you can use 1 Table Service meal for breakfast and one for dinner on one day of your trip and then two quick service meals (ie: lunch and dinner) the following day.
  • Credits expire at 11:59pm on the day of checkout.
  • You can use one quick service credit to get 3 snacks at one location during one transaction
  • Some meals are considered Signature Dining experiences.  Those require two Table Service credits if on the Standard or Deluxe dining plan.
  • Meals are tracked electronically using your Magic Band.  You will set up a PIN code that you will use to redeem your meals.
  • Gratuity is not included.  You can charge the gratuity to your Magic Band (if you have added a credit card to your room at check-in) or use another form of accepted payment such as a credit card, cash or a Disney Gift Card.
  • For parties of 6 or more guests, a gratuity of 18% will automatically be added.
  • Children under the age of 3 (so 0-2 years of age) are not eligible for a Disney Dining Plan.  That said, they are able to eat off the the plate of anyone in their party for no charge.  At a buffet that means that they can get their own plate but there will be no cost incurred for their meal.
  • Guests who do not want a dessert will now have the ability to substitute that dessert choice for either a side salad, a cup of soup, or a fruit plate. Do keep in mind that this is only available upon request and substitutions may be limited. Guests will not be able to select an appetizer option instead.

And now a few tips if you decide to use a Disney Dining Plan:

  • Reservations for Table Service meals open up 180 days (or 180+10).  Book your meals early – things will fill up!
  • If you have the Standard Dining Plan I’d do mostly Table Service dinners – the value is better!  Even still, I’d suggest a lot of buffets/all-you-care-to-enjoy meals!
  • If you’re on the dining plan with children under the age of 3, buffets and all-you-care-to-enjoy meals are your friend!  Plus they are the character meals, which is great for the little ones!
  • Don’t “waste” your snack credits on things like water and whole fruit.  There are several snack options at Walt Disney World that would actually work for a light meal!
  • If you’re visiting during Food & Wine or Flower & Garden it might be a good idea to save you snack credits since you can use them at the food booths!  We like to save several of them up and snack around the world in place of one of our meals (this leaves us with an extra QS meal that we use up on our last morning).

I love talking Disney!  And especially talking Dining at Disney!  Are you interested in planning a trip to Walt Disney World in 2016 and want to know if the a Disney Dining Plan is right for your group?  Or maybe you just want a little extra guidance planning that magical vacation “home.”  Let me help!   I am a true Disney Addict and also a Travel Magician with World of Magic Travel, the preferred agency of Chip and Co and the Disney Addicts! Email me today at alissa@worldofmagictravel.com to start planning your “Magical” vacation! –Alissa

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