This post is by my friend Alexia. Alexia is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for Destinations in Florida. When she is not helping plan magical vacations you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Get the best price on your Walt Disney World Vacation Package… Guaranteed! Get FREE DINING if you book a Disney Resort Package between 8/25 and 9/27 – click here for a quote!
If you have been following this series, you should have already made your budget, decided when you are going, how you are getting there, and where you are staying for your Disney World vacation. Today we will be discussing one of your other biggest expenses: the food.
You have a few options when it comes to eating at Disney World. The first is to bring and cook your own food. Disney World allows outside food in the parks. You are allowed to bring a soft sided cooler. Hard sided coolers, glass bottles, and alcohol are not allowed. My first trip to Disney World we packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and crackers, fruit, and bottled water and had picnics in the parks. If you have a hotel room with a full kitchen or kitchenette, you can take advantage of this and cook your breakfast and dinner each day. I know several people whose slow cookers are their best friends on their Disney vacations. Throw your favorite slow cooker recipe in before you leave for the park and when you return to your hotel you will have a family favorite ready and waiting for you!
Your second option is to pay for your meals out of pocket. This option is ideal for families who only drink water with their meals, skip desserts, share meals, and/or only order off the kids menu. The average price for an adult quick service entrée is $10.00. This does not include a drink or dessert.
Your third option is the Disney Dining Plan. I often get asked if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it. For my family, the answer is yes. I love knowing that our meals are prepaid for. My husband and stepdaughter always get sodas with their meals, my daughter always drinks milk or juice, and everyone in my family always has dessert. We also prefer to have at least one table service meal a day. The way I look at it, our table service meal costs the same at the dining plan, so in a way, we are getting our quick service meal and snack for that day for free. The best way to see if the Disney Dining Plan is a good fit for your family is to plan out a mock day of the food you would eat. Then add up the cost of your mock day. If the cost exceeds the price of the Disney Dining Plan, then the Disney Dining Plan is for you! If not, then you would be better off paying for your meals out of pocket.
There are a few variations of the Disney Dining Plan. First is the Quick Service Plan. This plan includes 2 quick service meals and one snack per person per night. It also includes one refillable resort mug per person. The cost of the 2013 Quick Service Plan is $37.58 per adult (anyone over the age of 10) per night and $14.32 per child (ages 3-9) per night. Children under the age of 2 are free to eat off of an adult’s plate.
When Disney World offers free dining, this plan is free for guests staying at the value resorts for the specified date requirements. Guests staying at the value resorts will also have the option to upgrade to the regular Dining plan (which we will discuss next). Guests will simply pay the price difference between the regular and Quick Service Dining Plans.
Next is the regular Dining Plan. This plan includes one quick service, one table service, and one snack per person per night. It also includes one refillable resort mug per person. The cost of the 2013 regular Dining Plan is $56.94 per adult per night and $18.16 per child per night. When Disney World offers free dining, this plan is free for guests staying at the moderate and deluxe resorts for the specified date requirements. The last major dining plan is the Deluxe Dining Plan. This plan includes 3 meals (your choice of either quick service or table service) and two snacks per person per night. It also includes one refillable resort mug per person. The cost of the 2013 Deluxe Dining Plan is $102.27 per adult per night and $28.91 per child per night. This option includes a lot of food! It is ideal for families who are foodies or who plan on eating at a lot of table service restaurants that require two table service credits such as Cinderella’s Royal Table. I have never seen this option given during free dining; however, guests can always upgrade to it and pay the difference if they wish.
If you are planning on traveling between September 2, 2013, I have good news for you! You may be eligible for FREE DINING! You must book at least a minimum of a 5-night/6-day stay and must book your package by July 2nd and September 25.