Disney World Disney Dining Plan Tips
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Use your leftover dining plan snack credits to buy gifts for friends at home! Goofy's Candy bags are often one snack credit. Same goes for candy apples and rice krispie treats! - Kristy
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you're flying, though, keep in mind that TSA at the Orlando airport may ask you to take out all food items from your carry-on bags for examination when you pass through the security line.
My family of four (kids are 18 and 15) just returned from Disney World. We stayed at Pop Century and had the quick-service dining plan. The best value we found in using our quick-service dining credits was for a whole pizza at the hotel food court. A whole pizza was only two quick-service dining credits and it came with two desserts and two drinks. Since we had our refillable mugs, we traded the drinks for two more desserts. Desserts included hand-dipped ice cream sundaes, milkshakes or ice cream cookie sandwiches, all of which were huge and delicious. We were each able to have two large slices of pizza and a dessert of our choice for only two credits. Also, we all prefer to drink water rather than soda, so we found that when using quick-service credits in the park, we could request a free cup of ice water and trade a drink credit for an extra dessert that we saved for a snack later in the day. Extra chocolate cake from Cosmic Ray's is always a treat! - Amy from Baltimore
A tip in a previous newsletter mentioned the problem of switching hotels while on the dining plan. It is true that your MagicBand will not work (for dining only) until after midnight on the day you check out of one hotel into the next (therefore you cannot charge a meal on the dining plan with your MagicBand all your next day). But guest services will write down the numbers that you need to give at the restaurants so that they can be manually entered and you do not have to pay or charge them on your credit card and be reimbursed. After midnight, when your dining plan becomes activated on your MagicBand, the dining credits are just automatically calculated and deducted. This was how it was handled for us in October when we moved from the Cabins at Fort Wilderness to the BoardWalk. It went very smoothly. - K.G.
The dining plan is a huge plus for our family. We love not worrying about prices, and we consistently save tons. One thing to note when you're figuring out if it works for you, make sure to include the Orange County tax of 6.5 percent. When you're on the dining plan you don't have to pay that as well, which can tip the scales in the favor of the dining plan if you're on the fence. - Britney Phillips
We just returned from Disney World (not our first time). We discovered if you are on the dining plan and do not stay at one hotel for your entire stay, you REALLY need to plan. We stayed Saturday night at hotel #1 and knew enough to use all our meals before checking into hotel #2 on Sunday morning. What we DIDN'T know, is that our second dining plan wouldn't work with our MagicBands until after midnight on Sunday. We had to charge our meals and then have the hotel take the meals off our bill. They were willing to do so, but you should keep your receipts to make it easier on all. My advice is that if you use the dining plan, stay in the same hotel for your entire visit. (Disney cast members we spoke to are aware of this problem, but have not yet found a solution.) - David Bowman
During a recent trip using the dining plan, my friend and I found out that you can no longer exchange a quick service meal for snacks. Having some extra quick service credits toward the end of our trip, we opted to get a nice ham and cheese on a French baguette from the bakery in Epcot's France pavilion the day before leaving for home. We placed it in the fridge in our room and took it on the plane, as we were flying around lunchtime. We had a great sandwich to enjoy (since we got nothing on the flight) on our way home. - Bonnie L.
We recently participated in Mama Melrose's Fantasmic! Dinner package. I wanted to let everyone know that on the regular dining plan under the Fantasmic package, we were able to order an appetizer, entree and dessert per person. The appetizer was no additional money and was included for the Fantasmic package under the regular dining plan. This is an excellent way to capitalize on a one table-service credit meal. - Jessica Stahl
Some of the holiday snacks and beverages are part of the Disney Dining Plan snack program. Look for the DDP symbol on the menus. - Deb Wills
One of the best things I found to buy with the Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits are single serving items at the resort's quick service dining area. We go down to the quick service dining on the first morning and buy a couple bagels, some yogurt, single-serve cereals boxes, single-serve milk, bananas, and muffins. We bring them back to the room and use them for our breakfasts in the room each morning. We never have leftover credits that way and don't have to use a meal credit for breakfast. If you don't have a refrigerator in your room, bring a soft collapsible cooler bag, fill it with ice and put your cold stuff inside, replenishing the ice each morning. - Linda Brantner
At the end of our last trip, we had quite a few counter service meals remaining. Since we had a 17 hour drive ahead of us, we went to Disney Springs the morning of our departure. There we used our free dining plan meals that remained. We purchased breakfast pizzas as well as regular pizzas which we later used for lunch [storing them in the cooler and eating cold}. Wolfgang Pucks has great food! This saved us purchasing meals an entire day as we had leftovers. We also earlier in the week spent a day at the coast, using our free dining plan to purchase sandwiches/sides and drinks to take along for a picnic lunch. - Joyce Anderson
Just got back from a wonderful 11-day trip to the "World." While there, we had the chance to use the new RFID key cards. One note of caution, many of the cast members are getting used to the new technology. We were surprised to see we had seven snacks left on the last day of our trip. When we looked at our room charges, we saw that many of the snacks we thought we were using were actually being charged to the room. So we had to rush to use all of our snacks. Make sure to specify to the cashier that you want to use a snack and then check your receipt, or you will end up with a carry-on bag full of Mickey-shaped Rice Krispy treats! - Garrin L. Goebel
The Disney Dining Plan is a must, especially since we usually get it for free in the fall. We also bring a case of water bottles and cereal to eat in the room for breakfast. - Tammy W.
We love the Disney dining plan, but have learned that three meals a day, even counter service, can be a bit much, and if one of the meals is a buffet -- calorie overload! We discovered that by having a late breakfast (often snack credits) on a buffet day, we could save that counter-service credit. Then, on our last day, we could use it, plus any leftover snack credits, to get food to take on the plane ride home that afternoon. Earl of Sandwich makes sandwiches that are wrapped well enough to be carried around, and Goofy's Candy company has lots of bags of candy that are one snack credit each. By taking an extra-large tote purse with me, I could carry two sandwiches, two cookies, and whatever candies we got and not have to rely on buying airline food. Next time, we may try combining two of our table-service credits and eating an upscale meal! - Joyce A. Deen
We love using the dining plan, however, sometimes we feel overwhelmed by all the sweets. When we have a quick service meal we get the chocolate chip cookie (it's pre-wrapped) instead of a dessert. Then we can eat it when we want or take it home with us. Also, when we do a quick service my husband and I share a soda and get a bottle of water to carry with us instead of getting two sodas that we don't normally finish. This keeps us from using a snack credit on bottled water later on. - Pam
We learned a helpful hint regarding the Standard Disney Dining Plan (counter and table service meals) from one of the wonderful servers at the Port Orleans Riverside Mill Food Court while purchasing dinner on our last evening. Though we had made priority seating arrangements long in advance of our trip, we had canceled a couple of table service meals during our week's stay. This left us with zero counter service meals and four table service meals remaining on our plan on our last day of vacation. We had intended to pay for our counter service meal that evening, but the helpful cast member told us that you can always use a table service credit for a quick service meal (just not the other way around). So we saved $24 that we would have otherwise spent, thinking we had used up our counter service credits. So if you have table service meals left toward the end of your stay with no plans to use them at one of the table service eateries, you can use them at any of the counter service restaurants. Just tell the server you'd like to use table service credits to pay for your meal. We will likely use the Counter Service Dining Plan next trip (the older I get, the less inclined I am to be held to the "tyranny of the spreadsheet" to coin an AllEars® phrase!), but it's comforting to know there is a way to use leftover credits if needed. Thanks again for all that you do to bring us a bit of Disney magic every week! - Laura Lee Mildon