Today’s Question comes from Sara who writes:
“If we choose a meal plan does that mean all our meals are already paid for? which meal plan is best for a family of 4 with a 4yrold and a 2yr old we will be at the Disney resort for about 5 days but only doing actual Disney parks for 2 or 3 days we want to do at least one character meal?”
Hi Sara! I’m so glad you asked about the Meal Plan. Its something that seems like it should be simple, but just ISN’T at all.
First question: If we choose a meal plan does that mean all our meals are already paid for?
YES – When you pay for your Magic Your way package and add a meal plan then the allotted number of meals on the plan + the number of nights you stay at the resort = how many meals you have available during your time in the parks. Example: Quick Service 2 meals & 2 snacks per person + 3 people in your party (over 3 years of age) + 5 nights at the resort = 30 meals and 30 snacks paid for in advance. All you will have to do is order, present your room key which they swipe, and it “debits” the meal from your “account”.
NO – It does not mean that you can walk into any restaurant at WDW (like you can at all-inclusive resorts) and have your meal paid for. You have to use the “style” of meal (Quick Service or Table Service) in the amount based on which plan you choose. You can read about the plans at http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/disney-dining-plan/ if you need details of what is included. You cannot “trade in” Quick Service or Snacks for Table Service Meals.
Second Question: Which meal is best for a family of 4 with a 4year old and a 2 year old?
This is really up to the individual family because I have no idea how much your 4 year old eats. If he/she is anything like MY 4 year old then they rarely finish a plate. This may be perfect for you because your 2 year old can then share with sister/brother.
You will also have to determine how important it is for you to do a Character Meal. Make sure you’re getting the best deal and crunch some numbers. If you move up to the MYW plus dining plan then it includes character meals, but it includes FIVE of them! And if you’re not planning on being in park that much it might actually end up being more of a waste of money than if you just did the Quick Service Meal Plan and paid for one Character Meal. I personally am PRO Character meals, it saves you a lot of time because you’re not standing in line for autographs as much, but given your situation it is really a choice your individual family has to make.
Third Question: We will be at the Disney Resort for about 5 days, but only doing the actual Disney Parks for 2 or 3 days
Remember that it is the number of nights at a resort that determine how many meals you receive. In your situation, if you were to choose Quick Service you would have 30 meals and 3o snacks total. What many people don’t know is that with a meal plan is that all of those meals are “bankable”. So in your situation, you have 5 days worth of 2 meals/2 snacks, which is 10 total meals and 10 total snacks PER PERSON. You are only planning on being in the parks for three days. So in reality you can eat 4 quick services one day, and 3 quick services the other two days and 3+ snacks a day and still be fine. You could eat at Starring Rolls for Breakfast (HWS), then have Casey’s Hotdogs (MK) for lunch, and Pecos Bill (MK) for Dinner and STILL have a meal to spare not to mention enjoying a Dole whip and a Mickey Ice Cream Bar. And that’s for every person over three in your party on the cheapest meal plan available. The down-side? You can’t trade in Quick Service meals for Character Meals. So a Character Meal comes out of pocket.
I hope that helps you a bit in your decision making process and provides a little more clarity on the often confusing meal plan!
Have a Magical Day!
Love, The Disney Diva
- Disney World Quick Tip – Enjoy Snacks as Your Meal (chipandco.com)
- A Guide to Disney World Theme Park Restaurants (chipandco.com)