The Disney FREE Dining Promotion often opens doors to many restaurants that may have been out of a Disney World Guest's budget and gives them the opportunity to explore the varied dining options. That being said it is important to be able to take full advantage of the Disney FREE Dining opportunity.
Here are some guidelines to follow for those staying in a Disney World Moderate, Deluxe, or Deluxe Villa Resort and receiving the Disney Dining Plan for FREE:
■Eat what you and your family like. Although eating the most expensive items on the menu, make your savings sound impressive, if you don't enjoy the meal it’s not worth it.
■MAKE DINING RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME! This cannot be stressed enough. With nearly everyone getting this deal the restaurants will be crowded and many will not have available space for walk-ups. Call 407-WDW-DINE to make reservations (or go online at: Disney Dining Reservations) before you get to Disney World. Currently you can make them up to 180 days prior to your arrival.
■You will receive 1 Table Service credit, 1 Quick Service Credit, and 1 Snack credit for each person in your room for each NIGHT you are staying.
■Top Table Service Restaurants to consider when using the Disney Dining Plan: Le Cellier (Lunch only), Le Chefs de France, Coral Reef, ‘Ohana, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Crystal Palace, 1900 Park Fare.
■The Dining Credits are given to you as a lump sum when you check in. You may use them as you wish. You are not limited to using just one credit of each type per person per day. If you want to have two Table service meals the first day and zero the next that is fine.
■After each Dining Plan purchase, your receipt will let you know how many of that type of credit you still have remaining.
■You get the most value out of your table service meals if you can use them for dinner.
■If you have young children consider eating at one or more character dining meals. These not only have personal character interaction, but they are buffet style meals. This reduces the wait time for hungry, impatient children.
■Look at the restaurant menus prior to your trip. You can look at: Allears.net for frequently updated menus for Table Service and Quick Service locations.
■By reviewing menus ahead of time you know what kind of food is available at each location and you can plan where you want to eat your Quick Service meals.
■There is much more to eat for quick service meals than hamburgers and fries. For an article about some of the best Quick Service Options: Maximizing Disney World Counter Service Credits.
■Many of the best Quick Service Options provide a lot of food for one credit. Consider sharing a meal at lunch, so that you will have extra Quick Service credits to use for breakfast.
■Snacks are very useful - Don't forget about them. Many people use them for breakfast items - like pastries and danishes. Others love the mid-day desserts and treats. A good rule of thumb is to use the credits instead of using cash whenever the credits can be used.
■If you want to maximize your snack buying power check this article: Maximizing the Disney World Snack Credits.
■Lastly, planning ahead (like you are doing now!) can take the stress out of the Dining Plan and make it what it should be: A great way to enjoy the great Dining experiences that Disney World has to offer.