I love talking about Walt Disney World with anyone who will listen, especially those who have never visited before. Nothing brightens my day more than having someone who has never been contact me for help with their first ever trip. I get so excited for them and I really appreciate having the pleasure of helping them to plan such an important family trip.
I am not a travel agent, nor do I have the skills of a travel agent. All I can offer is my advice from my own personal experiences and the first-hand knowledge gained from my travels to WDW this past many years. My children are always telling me I should go back to school and become a Disney travel agent but, as I tell them, I am looking forward to actually being able to stop working one day not start a whole new career from scratch. I am looking forward to spending my retirement years at Walt Disney World, after all. Still, if I had known 20 years ago what I know now, that is exactly the path I would have taken.
I was recently contacted by a very sweet lady who had some questions regarding her upcoming first-time Disney trip. Her questions revolved mostly around the free dining plan she was lucky enough to secure for herself and her family. Specifically, she asked questions about Cinderella’s Royal Table and her other choices for table service meals. She also asked for advice on maximizing her free dining benefits while incorporating some additional meals.
I thought that maybe others were having the same questions, so I thought I would share the advice I gave to her with all of you. This information will be of the same value to those who are paying for the dining plan. Just to be clear, the Disney Dining Plan affords you 1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, and 1 snack per person per day.
Here is the advice I offered:
1. I believe it is a great idea to use a table service credit for a character breakfast on your first full day at Walt Disney World. Good choices are Chef Mickey’s, the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare, and the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, just to name a few.
2. Using snack credits for breakfast items and having breakfast out by the pool, and then letting the kids have a lazy morning swimming and having some fun at the resort, is another great idea. Your kids will love you for it.
3. If you plan to head to Downtown Disney after a day in the park, but you are unsure about eating at Downtown, an alternate idea would be to take a bus from the park to any resort of your choosing and have a meal there. You should choose a resort you are really interested in seeing and have dinner, then check out the property. Afterwards, take that resort’s bus to Downtown Disney.
4. If you are interested in a signature dining experience, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, but you cannot decide whether or not you want to use 2 table service credits per person for the meal, try paying for some less expensive meals and go ahead and use the credits. For example, breakfast dining is the least expensive meal, so you might choose to pay for a breakfast at Chef Mickey’s in order to save some TS credits.
Let’s look at this idea more closely. For this example, I have based the figures on a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 children. The charge for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s is $26.62 for adults (2) and $13.99 for kids (2). So, that would be 81.22 to pay for Chef Mickey’s instead of using the 4 TS credits.
Another example would be breakfast at Hollywood and Vine. Here, the cost for adults is 24.99 (2) and 13.99 for kids (2). So, that would be 77.96. If you pay for this you will save 4 TS credits.
So, if you decided to pay for both breakfast meals, you would be paying a total of $159.18 which is still cheaper than paying for Cinderella’s Royal Table at $173.00. If you do not want to use them for a signature dining experience, you will be able to use TS credits you saved for more dinner-time meals, if you choose to use them that way.
There are many options to maximizing the meal credits based on your family’s wishes. If you have specific dining questions, feel free to call on the experts at Disney Dining at 407-WDW-DINE.
Whether you are lucky enough to get free dining or if you have to pay for it, these tips will still help in your planning. Either way, I hope you will have a magical vacation with your family.
- Disney Dining Plan or Deluxe Disney Dining Plan… Which To Choose? (chipandco.com)
- Fun With The Disney Dining Plan (onlywdworld.com)
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