If you haven’t heard, there’s a lot of Disney Dining Plan buzz going on!
First, Walt Disney World has released a new FREE DINING discount! You must check in on one of the following dates, but the discount will extend for your full stay: June 27 or 28, July 5, 6, or 7, August 29 – September 8. The discount requires a minimum stay and at least 4-day Park Hopper tickets. Free dining can only be booked from now until January 16. Contact a travel agent NOW to take advantage of this great offer!
Second, and separate from above, we now see the new year’s price increases reported several months ago for the Disney Dining Plan in 2020. The Disney Dining Plan helps many families plan, budget and afford an array of delicious foods and the necessary fuel to power through the parks on a Walt Disney World vacation! Like many things WDW-related, we knew to expect a price increase in the new year. While price jumps are always hard to swallow for Disney guests (pun intended), one thing we can count on is getting value in return for our money spent.
Here is a breakdown of the current pricing model.
Quick Service Dining Plan which provides: 2 quick-service meals, 2 snacks, and 1 refillable mug
Adult $55.00 ($52.50 in 2019) and Child $26.00 ($23.78 in 2019)
Standard Dining Plan which provides: 1 table-service meal, 1 quick-service meal, 2 snacks, and 1 refillable mug
Adult $78.01 ($75.49 in 2019) and Child $30.51 ($27.98 in 2019)
Deluxe Dining Plan which provides: 3 table-service or quick-service meals, 2 snacks, and 1 refillable mug
Adult $119.00 ($116.25 in 2019) and Child $47.50 ($43.49 in 2019)
Here’s what you get
Quick-Service meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner include: 1 Entrée + 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)
Table-Service meal for breakfast includes: 1 Entrée + 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older) OR 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal
Table-Service meals for lunch and dinner include: 1 Appetizer (on Deluxe Dining Plan only) + 1 Entrée + 1 Dessert + 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older) OR 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal
Beverages: Guests 21+ can choose either one non-alcoholic beverage or one single-serving cocktail, beer, or wine with their meal. Younger guests under 21 can choose one non-alcoholic beverage.
Snacks sold at quick-Service restaurants, many outdoor kiosks and kitchens and certain merchandise shops, include a single portion of: Frozen ice cream novelty, Popsicle or fruit bar, Popcorn scoop, 12 oz. coffee, hot chocolate or hot tea, Prepackaged milk or juice, Piece of whole fruit, Bag of snacks, 20 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola, Sprite or Dasani water, or 20 oz. fountain soft drink.
The last bit of buzz going around is the newest change in Disney’s communication of Dining Plan credit use policies. As of January 1, 2020, quick service credits and all Deluxe dining plan credits are NOT pooled and are split by child/adult. Previously for guests who checked in before January 1, 2020, the system allowed you to pool all quick service and all deluxe dining plan credits before. In other words, this meant that child credits could be used on adult meals because they were pulling from the same share. With the new updated communication from Disney, it will be less likely that this practice will be accepted.
At table service locations, children ages 3-9 years old have only been offered items off the kid’s menu when using the dining plan. This remains the same. It is often reported that cast members will make exceptions and allow children to order off the adult menu even when paying with a child table service credit, but this is not official and is up to the cast member’s discretion who is serving you.
As for quick service locations, you will pay with an adult quick service credit when ordering off the adult menu regardless of child or adult designation. This is not so much a new update to the system, but rather Disney more clearing communicating the system to guests and leaving less room for interpretation. We have no reports yet on the topic and whether cast members can make an exception and use a child quick service credit to buy an adult quick service meal.
As of now, you should be able continue to “trade” quick service credits for three snack credits if you choose.
Why do these changes in wording matter? In the past, families have pooled their credits and split them up between adults and children in the travel party. This change will require families to adjust finances regarding trip spending when it comes to dining moving forward. You will still be able to book dining 180 days in advance, but it is also important to note that if you change a package less than 30 days before check-in, you will be charged a fee.
What do you think of the recent changes? To this day, the free-dining promotion is a coveted incentive for planning a Disney vacation because of the savings on food. While the policy communication may make some guests adjust their expectations, it continues to be a cost-effective way to enjoy all the delicious food Walt Disney World has to offer!
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