Last week I did a basic overview of the Disney Dining Plan and what is included in each plan. If you missed it, you can catch up here. This week I am going to talk about how to decide if the dining plan is right for you and if so, which one do you choose?!
First, you must be staying at a Disney resort to be able to take advantage of the Disney dining plan. You are able to add it onto your Magic Your Way Package if you would like. Even though I have not yet used the dining plan (we haven't stayed on property . . yet!) I know that I will use it on our next trip. One great benefit is that you are able to pay for all your meals before you even go on your trip. Wouldn't it be nice to go on vacation and not have to worry about how you are going to pay for things? Another great thing is you don't have to mess with cash (except for tips if you are on the basic dining plan or above) so you don't have to fumble with your wallet each meal. You just give your server or swipe your Key to the World card and you are done!
However, the dining plan is not for everyone. If you are staying in one of the villas or a room with a kitchen or mini-kitchen and plan on saving money by cooking several meals or most meals in your room, the dining plan will probably not be for you. There are plenty of ways to save money on meals while at Disney, which I will talk about more next week.
If you do decide that a dining plan is the way to go, now you must decide which plan to go with. This will depend on what type of meals you like to eat, how you tour the parks and many other things. If you like to go, go, go for your entire vacation and don't like to stop to eat at a sit-down restaurant, then the Quick Service plan is probably for you. This allows you to eat at counter service restaurants, which are basically fast food. You have a large variety of food, but you order and seat yourself. These restaurants are typically much quicker to get in and out of and do not take much time out of your day. This plan can also be good for those with small children who do not like to wait on their food at a restaurant.
If you like to tour a little slower, or just like a little break during your day to sit down, cool off and relax, then the Basic Dining plan is probably best for you. This will allow you a counter service meal, plus a table service meal each day. We like to use the table service either for an early breakfast or a dinner so we can relax at the end of the day. If you are looking to have several character meals, then this would be a great plan as you really get your money's worth from those meals. We like to do at least 1 character breakfast on a trip and for me, that would be worth it!
With the Deluxe Dining plan, you get so much more! There are 3 meals (can be quick service or table service) included in this plan. This would be perfect for those who are real foodies or like to eat 3 meals a day, each day. If you are not planning on having any meals in your room, this would be a great plan as you would have everything taken care of and you wouldn't have to worry about missing a meal or paying OOP for anything. With a small child, this probably wouldn't be best for us, but we are planning an anniversary trip with just my husband and I and we will more than likely use the Deluxe Dining plan. This would give us an opportunity to really slow down and enjoy all the delicious and different menus that Disney World has to offer!
Hopefully now you have been able to decide if a Disney Dining plan is right for you and if so, which one to choose. Next week I will talk about ways to save money on food at Disney World, if you are not utilizing the dining plan.