(We Have Fun Too)
Plan Or NO Dining Plan
Disney World has
so many restaurants,
ranging from snack, and counter-service types, buffets, and
full-service sit down.
If you're staying
at any of the Disney resorts for at least a week, you need
to consider whether or not you're going to spend cash or purchase
one of the Disney Dining Plans.
There are snack
stands in every theme park, as well as restaurants
of every type. Every resort has at least one restaurant, so
if you like to eat, or for those of you that just eat because
(sigh) you have to, you can spend a pretty penny at
Disney World just on food alone.
Now if you're staying
at one of the resorts in a vacation home that has a full kitchen
with refrigerator and stove, you can bring all your food,
or go to a grocery store - but unless you're on a really tight
budget, you're not going that route.
What fun is that?...
You're at Disney
World to have fun, and part of the fun, at least in my 50+
year old eyes, is to eat at the restaurants.
Plus, to get the type of groceries you need at reasonable
prices, you'll probably have to go to one of the stores off
of Disney property, and that means either driving down to
Orlando, from in my case, West Virginia - OUCH! - Too long
a drive for me, or flying in and renting a car... (A HUGE
SIGH) Just the thought of these options is getting too
stressful for me :-) ...
The way I see it,
you really only have two options:
- Bring a ton of money (credit cards, etc.)
- Buy one of the
Disney Dining Plans
There are great
advantages to the Disney Dining Plans:
You save up to
30% on your food purchases, especially at the snack stands
when you have the Disney Dining Plans versus paying cash
The Disney Dining
Plan goes on your room key card, so you can basically travel
thruout Disney World, eat and get in and out of your room
with the one key card. You can also put the gratuities on
the key card, but remember, you need to pay that bill before
you depart Disney.
Once you decided
that the Disney Dining Plan is the way to go, you have a choice
to make there. There are several dining plans depending on
whether you are going to run the theme parks and barely eat
or go to enjoy the fine dining.
I've tried two
of the Disney Dining Plans. Below is a brief description of
both based on Disney's 2010 prices. The prices are based on
the nights you stay and are per person. For
example, if you have a family of four with a 5 and 7 year
old, and you're staying for 5 nights, you'll pay for two adults
(10 years old and up) and two children (3-9 years old) - for
5 nights each.
Dining Plan - $41.99 a day per person (10 years
old and up) and $11.99 a day per person (3-9 years old)
- Each person gets each day:
(1) Table-Service Meal - sit down at a table with
a server. Reservations recommended.
(1) Quick-Service Meal - get in line, get a tray,
get your food and find a table to sit down and eat.
(1) Snack - ice cream bar, cone, etc., popcorn,
soft drink, bottled water, fruit cup, or something
along those lines
Dining Plan - $71.99 a day per person (10 years
old and up) and $20.99 a day per person (3-9 years old)
- Each person gets each day:
(3) Table-Service Meals - If you want to eat at
a Quick-Service restaurant, you can use one of your
Table-Service meals. Again, for all Table-Service
restaurants, reservations are recommended.
(2) Snacks - ice cream bar, cone, etc., popcorn,
soft drink, bottled water, fruitcup, or something
along those lines
(1) Resort Refillable Drink Mug - gives you unlimited
refills on soft drinks at your resort... Really handy
on those hot days!
Again, I've tried
both and I prefer the Deluxe Dining Plan - Not because I like
spending the extra money, but because one of the main reasons
I go to Disney World is eat at the restaurants.
Now, using my experiences
with the Disney Dining Plans as examples...
In June of 2008,
my daughter Luvenia, my granddaughter Fernan and I were at
Disney World for a week. We had the Regular Dining Plan. It
was nice, but there were a couple restaurants, like Le Cellier,
that I paid extra because the Regular Dining Plan didn't cover
everything. For instance, you couldn't get the appetizer and
the dessert - one or the other... HEY! What's up with that!
We also went to
Cinderella's Royal Table and I ended up paying cash for the
entire meal because we needed 2 Table-Services for each of
us, and had we used them, we would have run out before our
stay was up - Would not have been good!
and I visited Disney World again in December of 2009 (this
time as Disney Vacation Club members), to honor our dear friends,
and Terri Rosenhan as they renewed their wedding vows for
their 10th anniversary. After the ceremony, the four of
us and dear friends Mike and Sondra Branson, and their son
Hayden, went to the California
Grill, and again I paid extra because we were on the Regular
Later in the week,
we ended up at Le
Cellier with the
Rosenhans, and yep, you guessed it - I had to pay extra
I probably won't
purchase the Regular Dining Plan as long as I go to Disney
On the other hand,
in December of 2008, Cindy
and I stayed another week at Disney (yes, twice in one year),
and had the Deluxe Dining Plan...
We probably gained
20 pounds between us, but it was GREAT! On the day we were
to depart, we were literally spending our snack options while
waiting on the Magical
Express to come. Seriously, Cindy
went to spend some while I waited to make sure the Magical
Express didn't come. When she came back, I went to finish
them off. We came back with a bunch of snacks. We were so
full from our meals most days, we didn't use them.
Now, I'm not advocating
that you purchase the Deluxe Dining Plan, or that you use
any of the dining plans. The choice is up to you, but I just
wanted to give you some real life examples in case you haven't
been to Disney World before.
If you like really
keep in mind that while some of the restaurants at Disney
World take two (2) Table Services from the Disney Dining Plan,
some of the really expensive restaurants
don't accept the Disney Dining Plan at all... I think someone
needs to tell Mickey!
Do some serious
planning ahead of time, and make the choice that's right for
Enjoy your dining
experience at Disney World!
Julius Covington, Sr.