So, you’ve chosen the perfect Walt Disney World Resort for your family’s vacation. Wonderful! That’s no small feat considering the dizzying array of fun choices on the huge property. Your next decision as you dream about Character, Signature, and quick Service Dining, is the Disney Dining Plan that will work best for you.

This is the tenth year that Disney has offered Dining Plan options to add to vacation packages. They have proven very popular for good reason. If you know how to maximize your dining credits, and you know I’m going to help you with that, you can save significant dollars on Disney’s food and drink choices!

Disney Dining Plan choices family vacation eating outMost Disney World guests do choose a Disney Dining Plan. The most popular Dining Plan, called Plus Dining, offers each guest one Table Service meal (this can be a sit-down and order off a menu or buffet), one Quick Service meal (order at a counter) one Snack and one refillable drink mug for use at your resort per person per night of your stay. This plan is currently $60.64 per adult per night of your stay and $19.23 per child ages 3-9. Children under 3 eat FREE. You will quickly find that this price point is a much better value than trying to eat the same offerings and paying out of pocket every day. Many character buffets cost almost this much! I’ll be happy to explain it more! I estimate that 80% of my families choose this plan and always select it on repeat visits.

The Quick Service Dining Plan is for families on the go who do not want to stop for Table Service meals! $41.99 per adult and $16.03 gets you two Quick Service meals and one Snack per night of your stay. You also receive the refillable drink mug for use at your resort. Remember, character dining is Table Service so this plan does not work well for families who want to do any character meals. Young couples traveling without children and on a budget appreciate this plan.

The Deluxe Dining Plan is for foodies. Disney has some excellent restaurants and this plan is for guests who like to relax and enjoy their meals. Character dining, Signature dining and very few Quick Service meals are the reasons to choose this plan. At $109.53 per adult and $29.86 per child, it is a fantastic value. In addition to the entrée, dessert and beverage of the Plus Dining plan, an appetizer per meal is a hallmark of Deluxe Dining. Three meal credits (Table or Quick Service), two snacks, and a refillable drink mug accompany this plan. Signature restaurants will take two Dining credits. My family has enjoyed this plan as our children have gotten older, eat more food, and appreciate high-quality meals.

signature disney dining plan animal kingdom jikoWhat are the Signature restaurants? Mmmmm… my mouth waters just thinking about them. Walt Disney World has about 12 Signature restaurants in the parks and resorts, each offering delectable cuisine in an upscale atmosphere that yes, you may enter with your children! While the dress code is slightly more restricted (no tank tops for men, no ripped clothing, etc), it’s pretty liberal and you and your family will feel welcome everywhere from California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Resort (beautiful fireworks viewing) to Le Cellier in Epcot’s Canada to Animal Kingdom Lodge’s fabulous Jiko to the only Signature character meal, Cinderella’s Royal Table in Cinderella Castle. Try sushi, bison, escargot or stick to some of the best filet or lobster you’ve eaten in these excellent restaurants. Your children can expand their palates or find safe, familiar favorites. We have enjoyed date nights, Thanksgiving, and week-long splurges at Signature restaurants. My children have expanded their palates and manners here, and we wouldn’t have done them without the Deluxe Dining plan.

I am often asked if the Dining Plan restricts guests to certain resorts, parks, or even entrees on menus. The good news is that Disney offers great flexibility on each plan! You may use your plan property-wide and order anything on the menu! Table service meals include an entrée of your choice, any dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage. Quick service meals are exactly the same. Yes! You get dessert here, too! Hundreds of items are considered snacks. Choose wisely with a muffin or cereal and this can be your breakfast! I prefer to use my snack credits for some of the delicious treats in the bake shops, Dole pineapple Whips in the Magic Kingdom, Mickey ice cream bars, specialty soft pretzels or beautiful caramel confections in Epcot’s Germany. Well, I have more favorites, so email me and I’ll give you a run down!

The Disney Dining Plans are available for on-property guests. I would love to answer your questions about the plans, restaurants or anything Disney related!