Welcome to Week 6 of Disney Wednesdays! Today we’ll talk about dining options. If you want to get caught up on the series, here are the other posts!
If you have been following this series, you should have already made your budget, decided when you are going, how you are getting there, where you are staying, and your ticket option for your Disney World vacation. Today we will be discussing one of your other biggest expenses: the food.
You have a few options when it comes to eating at Disney World. The first is to bring and cook your own food. Disney World allows outside food in the parks. You are allowed to bring a soft sided cooler. Hard sided coolers, glass bottles, and alcohol are not allowed. My first trip to Disney World we packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and crackers, fruit, and bottled water and had picnics in the parks. If you have a hotel room with a full kitchen or kitchenette, you can take advantage of this and cook your breakfast and dinner each day. I know several people who take their slow cookers on their Disney vacations. Throw your favorite slow cooker recipe in before you leave for the park, and when you return to your hotel you will have a family favorite ready and waiting for you!
Your second option is to pay for your meals out of pocket. This option is ideal for families who only drink water with their meals, skip desserts, share meals, and/or only order off the kids menu. The average price for an adult quick service entrée is $10.00. This does not include a drink or dessert.
Your third option is the Disney Dining Plan. I often get asked if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it. For my family, the answer is yes. I love knowing that our meals are prepaid for. My husband and stepdaughter always get sodas with their meals, my daughter always drinks milk or juice, and everyone in my family always has dessert. After walking around the parks all day, we deserve a little treat, right? We also prefer to have at least one table service meal a day. The way I look at it, our table service meal costs the same as the dining plan, so in a way, we are getting our quick service meal and snack for that day for free. The best way to see if the Disney Dining Plan is a good fit for your family is to plan out a mock day of the food you would eat. Then add up the cost of your mock day. If the cost exceeds the price of the Disney Dining Plan, then the Disney Dining Plan is for you! If not, then you would be better off paying for your meals out of pocket.
There are a few variations of the Disney Dining Plan. First is the Quick Service Plan. This plan includes 2 quick service meals and one snack per person per night. It also includes one refillable resort mug per person. The cost of the 2013-2014 Quick Service Plan is $39.64 per adult (anyone over the age of 10) per night and $15.75 per child (ages 3-9) per night. Children under the age of 2 are free to eat off of an adult’s plate. When Disney World offers free dining, this plan is free for guests staying at the value resorts for the specified date requirements. Guests staying at the value resorts will also have the option to upgrade to the basic Dining plan (which we will discuss next). Guests will simply pay the price difference between the basic and Quick Service Dining Plans.
Next is the basic Dining Plan. This plan includes one quick service, one table service, and one snack per person per night. It also includes one refillable resort mug per person. The cost of the 2013-2014 basic Dining Plan is $58.66 per adult per night and $18.88 per child per night. These prices may fluctuate slightly depending on seasonal prices. When Disney World offers free dining, this plan is free for guests staying at the moderate and deluxe resorts for the specified date requirements.
The last major dining plan is the Deluxe Dining Plan. This plan includes 3 meals (your choice of either quick service or table service) and two snacks per person per night. It also includes one refillable resort mug per person. The cost of the 2013-2014 Deluxe Dining Plan is $102.94 per adult per night and $28.00 per child per night. Just like with the basic Dining Plan, these prices may fluctuate slightly depending on seasonal prices. This option includes a lot of food! It is ideal for families who are foodies or who plan on eating at a lot of table service restaurants that require two table service credits such as Cinderella’s Royal Table. I have never seen this option given during free dining; however, guests can always upgrade to it and pay the difference if they wish.
If you are planning on traveling between September 29 to October 2, 2013, October 18 to November 2, 2013, November 11 to November 23, 2013, or December 12 to December 22, 2013 I have good news for you! You may be eligible for FREE DINING! You must book at least a minimum of a 6-night/7-day stay and must book your package by September 15th. This offer excludes Campsites, 3-Bedroom Villas, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, and The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
To pick Alexia’s brain more about dining plans or specifics about the free dining dates, request a quote here.