Deluxe Dining Plan – Is It Worth It?

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Ever asked yourself this question?

Many have…we say yes it is,

get our takes on getting the most out of it.

The Quick Facts ? WDW Deluxe Dining Plan

Everyone in your party gets 3 credits a day for table service dining. The simple math is 3 x party members = credits per day allocated for table service dining. My family has 5 members, therefore we get 15 credits to use for table service dining. Adults get alcohol, kids get specialty kid drinks. Everyone in your party also gets 2 credits a day for snacks. Again 2 x party members would get you the days total credits for snacks.

Let's Get Mouse Faced - Deluxe Dining Plan - California Grill Spicy Kazan Roll
California Grill
Spicy Kazan Roll ? with Crab, Shrimp, Scallops, Tuna, Fireball Sauce

Is the Deluxe Dining Plan for you?

Ask yourself these questions.

  • If it is your first trip to Disney? – No
  • Is it the only trip you plan to make to Disney?.ever? – Maybe, probably yes!
  • Do you have young kids? – Yes!
  • Do have teenagers that need lots of food fuel? – Yes!
  • Are you traveling with family or anyone who needs some built in breaks? – Yes!
  • Have you left previous Disney vacations totally exhausted? – Yes!

How Much Is It?

Click for Disney Dining Plan Info.

Why we use the Deluxe Dining Plan.

 

Her take:

Disney?s Deluxe Dining Plan made our vacation magical instead of a whirlwind of magic!!

I will start by saying, I do not recommend the Deluxe plan for your first trip, or when the goal of your trip is to get as much as done as humanly possible in the least amount of time. The Deluxe Dining Plan may be for you if you are looking to relax a little on your Disney vacation or you have been there and done that a few times over the years. It may be for you if are traveling with grandparents, small children or anyone else that could use some built in time to rest their feet. In our opinion there are very few reasons not to do the Deluxe Dining Plan.

?Free Dining for kids? was the promotion last summer when we initially decided to add the Deluxe plan to our July trip for purposes of -escaping the heat, rope dropping and character meals. We planned to use the first Table service Credit of the day to enjoy the perks of getting in early, meeting several characters or princesses while indoors, and getting ahead of the crowds that were gathering at the gate. We did not anticipate enjoying the additional benefits as much as we did. Not only did we hack our way into the park before it opened and beat the heat, we gave our feet the rest they needed, but our kids also got to sit and unwind a bit from all the excitement. Sitting in the glorious air conditioning, and trying new foods, we talked about our favorite things that we did and what we were headed to. Our kids recounted their favorite moments from the parade, and what they talked about with Ariel. Laughing and connecting over meal times (like in those Disney commercials you see on TV) instead of being herded through the order lines and left to carry your food through the restaurant looking for just one sticky little table to huddle around. Side note- One the most frustrating things I encountered at Disney were the quick service meals. I was ready to explode after using the silly kiosk at Be our Guest for lunch. ( I will cover that later- mobile order if you can! ) Quick service can be just that. A quick sit, munch and go. Rushed and little sticky, I do not call that vacation.

After our table service meals on the Deluxe plan, we were recharged and ready to go. We found our kids had less meltdowns and did not ?expire? as quickly as usual. (which is super helpful when most park days are 14 hours long!) ?Our overall experience was so inspiring we said ?We will never do it again without the Deluxe plan!? This changes everything!

We enjoyed character meals, buffets, signature meals, Cinderella?s Royal table and more- we had the best trip ever!

How we use the Deluxe Dining Plan.

The first thing you need to know about the Deluxe Dining Plan is that your credits are pooled. We found out about three days into our first time on the Deluxe Plan, that we didn?t have to order the sad kid garden salad as the appetizer for our kids. If they wanted shrimp cocktail or fried ravioli, they could get it! Unlike the Quick Service and Standard Disney Dining Plan, Deluxe credits are NOT specifically labeled for adults or kids. Each credit is equal. What does that mean? For each night that you are booked at a Disney resort, everyone in that room gets 3 table service meals a day in your ?pool?. That means you can utilize this pool of credits for adults and pay for cheap kids items out of pocket. Take our family for instance: 2 adults 3 kids (9, 5, 4) The 5 year old and 4 year old hardly eat sometimes and even when it is a bowl of cheesy mickey shaped goodness. It is just not gonna get eaten. When we eat at most restaurants we use our credits for the 2 adults and the 9 year old, then pay for $8 macaroni out of pocket. Why? Because we?ve now managed to save those credits for another meal/day, etc.

Ever wanted to go to a signature dining restaurant? Well, those signature dining restaurants take take 2 credits. If you manage to save a couple credits here and there you can use those credits at 2 credit Signature restaurants. AND while at those 2 credit restaurants DO NOT use your credits on the kids…unless you like using 2 credits (worth about $70) for Macaroni or Popcorn Shrimp.

People also don’t realize those credits DO NOT expire until the end of the day on your check out day. If you check-in on Sunday and check out on Friday you get a set of credits for Sunday – Thursday (because it is by nightly stay). However those credits don’t expire until end of day Friday. If you use those credits in a smart way you then get to use those “leftover” credits on Friday ? which is why we pay for the cheap kid’s meals out of pocket…if they are even awake…

How we hack our way through the Deluxe Dining Plan?

Many people also don?t realize that kids can eat from the entire menu on the Deluxe Dining Plan?.hold the phone…let me break that down a bit further. Our voracious 9 year old can order a shrimp appetizer, steak dinner with side and dessert. Each person, not just the adults at the table, can get an appetizer from the full menu, each person could order the most expensive entree (get more than you paid for) on the menu and a dessert. We get appetizers to share and enjoy trying new things (without worrying that we ordered the wrong thing because the waitress is coming and you only have 20 seconds to read the menu before she asks if you want try something! ) ?

Another important aspect is the payment. We have gone to Askershus Princess breakfast in Epcot once not on a Dining Plan and once on the Deluxe Dining plan. When paying out of pocket, even when we were aware of the prices and budgeted nearly $200 for the experience, we still had some ill feelings, that we stuffed down deep inside, about such a hefty expense- we had only been in the park for an hour! It set the tone for the day- we were thinking about budget and the overall expensive nature of Disney vacations. By comparison when we visited the same princess buffet on Plan, We left feeling elated at our execution of our plan to 1) get into the park early, 2) eat with princesses and 3) ride Frozen Ever After with only a 10 minute wait, 4) saved money! Instead of 200$ for 5 people for breakfast- Our plan divided into three meals comes out ?to about $110! Perfect start to the day. Skipping around in a nearly empty World Showcase, ready to take on Epcot! The Dining plan made a big difference in how we felt about everything. It was paid for and it had a more realistic value for the experience. That it one example, on one day of our Deluxe Dining trip.

His Take:?(I was skeptical that we could possibly get enough value out of the Deluxe Plan.)

My Favorite 1 Day Magic Kingdom Example on the Deluxe Dining Plan:

  • Breakfast at Chef Mickey?s (used 5 table service credits) – see our full review here
  • Lunch at Cinderella?s Royal Table (used 10 table service credits)
  • Dinner at Skipper Canteen (used 4 table service credits)
  • Snacks at Gaston?s Tavern (used 4 snack credits)

Meals would have cost: $718.26 ? keep in mind that is paying for Cinderella’s Royal Table…which is prepay.

Snacks would have cost: $12.40

Total for Day would have been: $730.66 (get your Most Expensive Day Every shirt here)

Out of Pocket Spend: $22 (dinner, soda at snack)

Spend on Deluxe Plan for the Day: $362.97 + out of pocket total from above = $384.97

Tips for the Day: $66.97 (would have been paid either way)

So what would have been $730.66 was only $384.97 = savings of $345.69

What did we eat you ask??

My Favorite 1 Day Magic Kingdom Example on the Deluxe Dining Plan

What does Disney say about the Deluxe Dining Plan?

*this information was last updated on 10/17/2018 ? click here to see what the latest information may be

What’s Included ? Everyone in the party ages 3 and over will receive the following each night of their package stay:

  • 3 Meals
  • 2 Snacks

Each Guest ages 3 and over will receive a refillable drink mug, which is eligible for refills at self-service beverage islands at Quick-Service locations at any Disney Resort hotel. Guests ages 3 to 9 must order from a children?s menu, where available.

Guests have several new beverage options available including non-alcoholic specialty beverages and, for Guests 21 and older, beer, wine and cocktails.

Each Table-Service meal includes (for breakfast):

  • 1 Entr?e
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)
  • -OR- 1 Full Buffet** or Family-Style Meal

Each Table-Service meal includes (for lunch or dinner):

  • 1 Appetizer
  • 1 Entr?e
  • 1 Dessert*
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)
  • -OR- 1 Full Buffet** or Family-Style Meal
  • Beverages: Guests under 21 years of age can choose one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests 21 and older can choose either one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single-serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) within their meal entitlement.
  • A single-serving non-alcoholic beverage includes items such as:
    • Artisanal Milkshakes
    • Fresh Smoothies
    • Premium Hot Chocolate
    • Soda, Coffee or Tea
    • A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items such as:
    • Beer or Cider
    • Wine or Sangria
    • Mixed Drinks and Specialty Cocktails
    • Most beer, wine and mixed drink beverages included, some exceptions apply. Guests must be 21 or older and present valid ID to be served alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with a Quick-Service or Table-Service meal entitlement.

Snacks:

At Quick-Service restaurants, most Outdoor Carts and select merchandise locations, snacks may include a single serving of items such as:

  • 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
  • 20 oz. fountain soft drink

Other Magical Dining Experiences to Redeem Table-Service Meals

  • Character Dining: Dine with some of your favorite Disney Characters! Have your camera ready for this experience that adds a little extra magic to your Table-Service meal.
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table requires that 2 Table-Service meals will be redeemed per person.
  • Merchandise or photo imaging products that may be offered for sale at Character Dining Experiences are not included. Gratuities are not included unless otherwise noted.
  • Signature Dining Restaurants: Experience an elegant Table-Service option with a wide selection of cuisines ranging from traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean to premium steaks and fresh seafood.
    • Each meal from a Signature Dining restaurant includes:
      • 1 Appetizer
      • 1 Entr?e1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older?2018 plan only)
      • 1 Dessert

*Two Table-Service meals for each Signature Dining restaurant meal ordered will be redeemed from each person?s meal plan balance. The dress code for Signature Dining restaurants is Resort casual. Not permitted in dining room: tank tops, swimsuits or swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cutoffs, torn clothing of any kind or T-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics.

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