The Disney Dining Plan is returning, but is it worth the cost?

Disney World has undergone numerous changes since the start of the pandemic, with many modifications aimed at making the park feel more like it did before the temporary closure in 2020. However, one offering has been slow to return, and Disney World visitors have eagerly been awaiting its comeback: the Disney Dining Plans.

The wait is finally over, as Disney dining plans are now available for guests booking vacation packages as of January 9th. This means that visitors can once again enjoy the convenience of having their meals bundled into one price, including snacks, quick-service meals, and sit-down character meals.

So, what exactly is the Disney Dining Plan? It allows guests to prepay for a specified number of meals and snacks for their Disney World vacation and receive meal and snack “credits” to use during their stay. The number of credits received depends on the length of the trip. For example, a three-night stay would come with three days’ worth of meals and snacks to redeem.

One of the advantages of the Disney Dining Plan is its flexibility. Guests are not required to redeem a set number of meals and snacks each day, allowing them to use them anytime during their stay. Any unused credits can be carried over to the next day, ensuring that visitors won’t miss out on any meals or snacks. In fact, if there are leftover snack credits at the end of the trip, guests can stock up on prepackaged treats to take home.

There are currently two Disney Dining Plans available for the 2024 vacations: the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. The Quick-Service Dining Plan offers two quick-service meals per night stayed, one snack or nonalcoholic drink per night stayed, and a refillable drink mug with unlimited refills at the resort. The Disney Dining Plan includes one table-service meal per night stayed, one quick-service meal per night stayed, one snack or nonalcoholic drink per night stayed, and a refillable drink mug with unlimited refills at the resort.

A quick-service meal includes an entree and beverage at any eligible quick-service dining location, while a table-service meal includes an entree, buffet or family-style meal, and a beverage at any participating table-service restaurant. Snacks can include single-serve items like popsicles, ice cream bars, popcorn, soda, Dole Whip soft serve, coffee, pastries, and fruits.

It’s important to note that the Disney Dining Plan must be purchased for the entire party (except for children under age 3) and can only be used by guests listed on the reservation. If a dining plan is purchased for a child age 3 to 9, they must order from the children’s menu at restaurants that offer it.

The cost of a Disney Dining Plan varies depending on the chosen plan and the length of the stay. Prices start at $57 per night for adults and $23 for children. Tax is already included when redeeming a credit, but guests will have to pay out of pocket for tips at table-service restaurants.

There are two ways to purchase a Disney Dining Plan. It can be included when purchasing a Disney World vacation package online, over the phone, or through an authorized Disney vacation planner. Alternatively, it can be added at any time after the vacation package is purchased until the day before arrival.

Now, the question remains: is a Disney Dining Plan worth it? To find out, a test was conducted on the day the dining plans returned. The table-service Disney Dining Plan was purchased as part of a two-night stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The plan included one quick-service meal, one table-service meal, one snack per day, and a refillable mug. The total cost of the dining plan was $188.56.

Credits were redeemed for meals and snacks during the stay, including a menu Francais at Chefs de France, a ribs, chicken, and pulled pork sampler at Flame Tree Barbecue, a Dole Whip pineapple juice float at Tamu Tamu, a lunch buffet with Fantasmic Dining Package at Hollywood and Vine, and guacamole with totopos at La Cantina de San Angel.

Overall, the Disney Dining Plan provided a convenient and filling way to enjoy meals at Disney World. It allowed for flexibility in choosing when and where to use the credits, and the variety of dining options provided something for everyone. While the cost of the dining plan should be considered, it can be a worthwhile investment for those who want to make their Disney World experience more convenient and inclusive.

In conclusion, the return of the Disney Dining Plans is a welcome addition for Disney World visitors. It offers the convenience of bundled meals and snacks, along with the flexibility to use credits throughout the stay. While the cost should be taken into account, the dining plans can enhance the overall Disney experience and make visitors feel like things are back to normal again.

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