Ever since Disney World closed and reopened a few months later in 2020, things have been pretty different.
Restaurants, resorts, and attractions have all been reopening as things somewhat return to “normal.” Certain offerings have been suspended while health and safety regulations change frequently. One of the most missed things at Disney World is the Dining Plan, and today, we’re asking the question: will it return this year?
What is the Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Dining Plan is an offering that guests can add to their Disney World Resort package to pay for meals in advance. (Or, at least, you USED to be able to add it on.) You’ll pay a set fee for the dining plan option of your choice, and in return, you and the members of your party will be given “dining credits” to spend on food during your trip.
The credits are split into three categories: those for snacks, quick service meals, and table service meals. Depending on which plan you choose, you’ll get a certain number of credits from each category each day, and then you can use them wherever you’d like in the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. The more expensive the item that you “buy,” the more worth you’re getting out of that credit!
Why Isn’t It Available?
The Dining Plan was halted when the parks closed in March 2020, and it hasn’t resumed since. When the parks opened back up later that summer, the dining plan didn’t come back because restaurant capacities were limited and not all the dining locations had reopened yet.
At the time, it definitely wasn’t fair to pay for the plan if there was a chance that you wouldn’t be able to get the dining reservation you wanted or find a Mobile Order window because of closures and capacities. There were also some major menu changes and supply issues during that time, so it wouldn’t have been a full value.
When Will It Come Back?
Well, unfortunately, that’s the question of the hour (or the question of the past two years!). Disney hasn’t said much, but they did mention that the dining plan WILL come back in the future…although that announcement came several months ago, in June of last year.
At this point, only a few dining locations are still closed, and restaurants are allowing more guests than they were before. If the dining plan did return, it would be much more likely that you could get the most “bang for your buck.” So what’s Disney waiting for then?
Well, it’s possible that the company is waiting to bring back the plan until they reopen the last few restaurants that are closed — places like 1900 Park Fare, Victoria & Albert’s, or Akershus. We’re also still seeing some issues with limited staffing in the parks, and Disney may be waiting to beef up restaurant staffing a little bit so that they can crank out more orders per hour at quick service restaurants. Either way, dining isn’t completely the same as it was pre-pandemic just yet.
However, with the looming promise of the dining plan’s return, it seems like 2022 is the perfect time to bring it back! There’s still plenty of time left in the year for this change to happen, and we’re already starting to see some big changes for Disney World. Resort guests are already getting perks like Early Theme Park Entry, Hey Disney, and early booking time for Individual Attraction Selections…why not add another perk to the list? And on top of that, Disney could bring it back as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations!
We recently had a reader reach out and share that Disney accidentally added the Deluxe Dining Plan to their reservation package (in March 2022). So that could be a sign that the plans will be returning soon! When they told Disney about the mistake, the Dining Plan was quickly removed from their plans, and we haven’t seen any more updates on the plan so far.
We’ll make sure to keep you updated if any more news is shared on the return of the dining plan, so stay tuned to AllEars. We’ve got you covered with all the latest from Disney World!
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Have you ever used the Disney Dining Plan? Tell us in the comments!