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6 Tips to Help Maximize the Disney Dining Plan

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I admit I never buy the Disney Dining Plan. I do, however, use it to its fullest when it is offered through a “Free Dining” promotion. I have lots of little tricks I like to use to get the most benefit from the plan. I never use the dining plan credits (table service or quick service) for breakfast. Breakfast is the least expensive meal you can purchase so that’s the meal I chose to pay for when using the basic Disney Dining Plan which gives you 1 table service, 1 quick service and 1 snack per day.

The Disney Dining Plan can help give you the opportunity to eat at some of the restaurants you wouldn’t normally choose because of the cost. Based on how your family likes to eat, only you can decide if the dining plan is worth purchasing for your family. If you are a frequent visitor buy the dining plan – or the next time you get a “Free Dining” promotion – keep all of your receipts that show what the meals would have cost versus what you paid for the dining plan to do your own comparison. If you do purchase the plan or get it free under a promotion, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Don’t use your snack credits on drinks. The cost of a drink is much less than the cost of a decent snack. If visiting during a festival like the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I often save all my snack credits for my Epcot day and use those snack credits to purchase my food samplings from the many kiosks open during the festival. If there is no festival happening during your visit, you can use a snack credit for a light breakfast (muffin for example) or to pick up a late night before bed snack on your way back to your room. Always use your snack credit for the most expensive snack items allowed.

Don’t use your table service credits for two-credit dining.Two table service credit meals are always a better value if you pay for them out of pocket. Check all of the menus on-line when planning your meals and do the price comparison. I would recommend skipping these types of meal when you are using the dining plan since you won’t want to pay out of pocket for a meal when you have already paid for the dining plan. However, if you do get dining during a free dining promotion, that’s a different story.

disney-dining-planEat things you normally wouldn’t eat because of price – order those expensive meals/entrees.The easiest and quickest way to get the most of your dining plan is to order all those expensive entrees you normally don’t order because of the price.

Use your table service credits for dinner – not lunch.Dinner costs more than lunch so use your table service credit for the most expensive meal of the day and your quick service meal for your light meal. I will sometimes switch around my meals and eat my large meal (table service) mid-day and then a quick service meal before heading back to the hotel in the evening.

Don’t order pasta or vegetable plates.If you and your family are vegetarians, don’t buy the dining plan. Vegetable plates and pasta dishes are usually the least expensive items on any of the menus and you definitely will not be getting your money’s worth. 

Extra Tip: If at the end of your stay you find you haven’t used all of your snack credits, head to the shops and pick up Mickey Rice Krispie Treats or Disney candy to take home!