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2010 Disney Dining Plan Explained

Dining during your Walt Disney World Resort vacation should be one of the highlights of your trip.  One way to make sure that you have a wonderful dining experience is to take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan or one of the other Dining Plans that are offered exclusively to those who are staying at either a Disney World Resort or a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Resort.

The Disney Dining Plan is a pre-paid meal option that can be added to your vacation package to make your vacation an "all-inclusive" experience.  This can reduce stress during your vacation, help with budgeting for your trip since you will know how much you will be spending on dining, and it can save you money.

Disney Dining Plan Basics
Here are some basic highlights of the Disney Dining Plan:
  • The plan is based upon the number of nights you stay in a Disney Resort hotel.
  • You must purchase the plan for the entire reservation period. (example if you are staying at the Polynesian Resort for 6 nights, then if you choose the Disney Dining Plan, you must purchase it for 6 nights).
  • Everyone staying in your room or suite must participate.
  • Adults are considered to be anyone ages 10 and up.
  • Children are considered to be anyone from ages 3 through 9.
  • Children under the age of 3 cannot participate, but they may eat food from their parent's plate or food may be purchased separately at each dining location if desired.
  • Upon check-in you will immediately have access to all of your dining credits for your stay.
  • You may "spend" the credits in any order and use at any time during your stay.  You are not limited to one per day per person of each category of credits.
  • There are 3 categories of credits to spend: Table Service, Quick Service, & Snack.
  • Table Service is a restaurant where you sit down and are waited on.  You can order off a menu or choose food from a buffet, depending upon the restaurant.  For the Disney Dining Plan: One (1) Table Service credit entitles you to an entree (or buffet), a non-alcoholic beverage, and a dessert.
  • Quick Service is a restaurant where you order at a Counter, receive your food and then take it yourself to your table.  For the Disney Dining Plan: One (1) Quick Service credit entitles you to an entree (or combo meal), a non-alcoholic beverage, & a dessert.
  • Snacks are items that a considered to be single serving in nature and generally sell for $4.00 or less.  Snack Credit eligible items are designated on posted menus with the Dining Plan Snack symbol.
Where Can You Use Dining Plan Credits?
The Disney Dining Plan credits can be used at over 100 different restaurants throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.  You can find a list of participating restaurants at: Only WDWorld Disney Dining Plan Fact Page.

You will find dining locations in each of the Disney theme parks, at each of the Disney World Resorts, Downtown Disney, and the Disney Boardwalk.  There are very few dining locations on the Disney property that do not participate. 

What About Character Meals?
There are 10 different dining experiences with characters that only cost one (1) Table Service credit with the Disney Dining Plan.  Some favorites include: Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort, Princess Storybook Dining in Epcot, & Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner at the Grand Floridian Resort.

Dinner Shows & Signature Dining Opportunities
You can even use the Disney Dining Plan to attend one of Disney World's Dinner Shows or eat at several of their Fine Dining experience restaurants.  Each of these does require the use of two (2) Table Service Credits per person.  Here are some of your options: Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, California Grill at Contemporary Resort, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Narcoossee's, Hollywood Brown Derby, Citrico's, Jiko - The Cooking Place, Artist Point, & Flying Fish Cafe.

You can also use your Dining Plan credits (2 per person) to eat at Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom for Fairytale Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

How Does The Dining Plan Work?
After you check in to your resort the Disney Dining Plan Credits are added to your Keys To The Kingdom Card (aka room key).  Any time that you wish to spend your credits at a Dining location, you tell your server (or cashier at a Quick Service Restaurant) that you are using the Disney Dining Plan.  If you need help they will explain what will be included during your meal.  You will order off of the normal menu like everyone else.  Rarely are any items on the menu considered "off-limits."

At the conclusion of your meal, you will give your card to your server, who will process the transaction and give you a receipt that shows how many credits you just used, and how many are remaining.  Gratuities are not included, so you will have to pay for those separately, but they can be charged to your room.  Only one person from the party needs to show the card.  The credits for the entire family are pooled together and can be accessed from anyone's room key.

You can continue to consume credits until they are either all gone or you have reached midnight on the day that you check out.  At that point any unused credits expire.

For More Disney Dining Plan Information
You can find more information about the Disney Dining Plan with current prices, plan options, and restaurant lists to print out at: Only WDWorld's Disney Dining Plan Fact Page.

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