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Planning a Disney World vacation is a big deal. You spend a lot of time, money, and effort to have an amazing trip, but does the Disney Dining Plan need to be a part of it? (read more)
I'm rather new to Disney vacations. My parents tell me they took my sister and I when we were little, but I don't remember it.
I do distinctly remember going with my mom when I was a teenager, probably 14 or so. She had a work trip in Orlando, so she pulled me out of school for a few days and brought me along.
She also bought me a 75 pound rubber snake from a kiosk near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. She had to pay extra to get it on the plan back home.
That's not something I'm likely to EVER forget. It was the epitome of a cool parent thing to do.
That was the extent of Disney for me until just a few years ago when my husband I decided to take our kids on a Disney Cruise. Since then I have consistently either met up with friends, taken my family, or gone with just my mom or husband at least twice a year.
Still, I'd never really used the Disney Dining Plan until I booked a trip for my mom and I in 2017.
I say "never really" because I did have the Dining Plan when I took the family in 2015 (I think it was 2015), but I didn't pay a ton of attention to it. I know we used it all, there's that.
Now though, I know a whole lot more.
WHAT IS THE DISNEY DINING PLAN?
The Disney Dining Plan is a way for you to pay for your snacks and meals in advance of your trip. You pay on the front end so you don't have to think about the cost of the meals while you're in the parks having the best day of your life.
If you want a snack, you just go up to the counter, verify that your snack is on the Dining Plan, and tell the cashier you'd like to use a snack credit, easy.
They deduct the credit from your total, no money is exchanged, and you head off on your merry way.
For budgeting purposes, it's a great way to know what you're spending up front, without having to worry about extra costs you weren't planning on when you booked the trip.
LET'S DEFINE SOME TERMS
We're going to talk about Snacks, Quick Service, and Table Service.
A Snack is exactly what it sounds like, a snack. You will see a little icon next to snacks that are included on the Disney Dining Plan.
A snack could be anything from a bottle of water to some of the tasty treats found at the Epcot kiosks. There's a wide variety to choose from.
For budgeting purposes, the average value of a snack credit in 2019 is $5.
The icon looks like this:
The cup in my mom's hand was a snack credit in Pandora, and it was amazing!
Soda for number one son, snack.
Soda, and a churro with chocolate dipping sauce, two snacks.
Sugary drink with sugar crusted straw, snack.
Some amazing stuff at the Epcot kiosks during The Festival of the Holidays are also snack credits.
Quick Service is a term used to denote a place you eat where you can sit down, but waiters are not dedicated to your table. You'll find these places all over the parks, and at your resort.
Think of it like McDonald's. You order, you wait, they call your name, you pick up your food, and then you can eat it there, on a bench, as you walk, or at your hotel room.
Each Quick Service meal comes with an entree and a drink. If you're 21 or over, it can be an alcoholic drink as long as you're in a park that serves alcohol.
Examples of non alcoholic drinks would be:
Examples of alcoholic drinks would be:
The approximate value of a Quick Service credit is $18.
Table Service is exactly what it sounds like. You eat at a traditional restaurant, you have a dedicated waiter, meals are typically more expensive, the location is nicely themed. It's just like having dinner at a nice restaurant at home, only better, cause it's Disney.
Table Service inclusions are broken up into Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Lunch and Dinner Include:
The approximate value of a Table Service credit is $41.
HOW MUCH IS