The Disney dining plan is a great addition to add to your vacation as long as you know some important Do’s and Don’ts to make the most of it. Just like with any part of your Disney vacation, you will want to plan and be prepared when it comes to using your dining plan and snack credits. If you are like us, once you get the hang of it, you never want to travel to Disney without it.
6. Do – make a reservation. Once you have booked your vacation, the next important thing to book is your dining reservations. These reservations can be made up to 180 days from your vacation dates. While it may be difficult to know where you want to eat today, much less 6 months from now, these dining reservations are worth it. The best thing to do is make sure you know what your dining plan allows and then plan accordingly. My advice is book it as soon as you can and then as it gets closer, cancel if you have made other plans. But it’s always easier to cancel than try to get a last minute reservation to some of the most popular Disney restaurant.
5. Don’t – think you are going to be able to plan your dining daily once you get there. Unless you plan to have multiple meals at quick service restaurants at the last minute, you need to know where you are going to eat before you arrive at Disney. Even if you have a quick service meal plan, you will want to know what places are in the parks you will be at each day and what menu best suits your family. It’s also important to not lose track of your credits. These are listed on the bottom of each receipt every time you buy food.
4. Do – try to make the most of your dining plan options. If you have the quick service meal plan, make sure to get the dessert that comes with it. Even if you don’t normally eat dessert, make sure to take it, even if it’s to go. It will make for a great snack later and that’s one snack credit you can save for something else. If you are on any dining plan above the quick service plan, try something new. Disney has some great places to eat that you may not get to try on a normal non-Disney day. We always make sure to plan several character meals also. Since they are covered in most meal plans (except quick service), why not have as many character interactions as you can. Also make sure to use your refillable resort mug that comes with your meal plan. It can come in handy when you are hanging out at the resort pool or heading back to your room.
3. Don’t – waste your dining and snack credits, especially on water. It’s important to plan out your snack credits just like your meal reservations. Disney has many places where you can get free ice water or where you can refill your water bottles. They also allow you to bring water into the park now along with small snacks. So save those snack credits for good stuff like churros and Mickey shaped pretzels. If you plan your meals and snack credits correctly, you will have enough to last you for your whole trip. There’s nothing worse than leaving Disney with snack credits to spare. If you do have some credits left, before you leave buy a few Mickey shaped rice krispie treats to take home. They keep for a while and are a cute reminder of a great vacation.
2. Do – remember to make enough time in your day to get to your restaurant. If you are using Disney buses to get to a resort or park to eat, you need to add travel time. When you book your breakfasts, you need to also be aware of what time the buses start running. It may mean that you need to take a bus to one place to catch the monorail to somewhere else. Don’t worry, the meals are always worth it, but you won’t want to miss your reservation either, especially the ones you have had for 6 months. You can also talk to the front desk at your resort and make sure you aren’t missing a faster way to get to your restaurant. If you are looking for a not so crowded time to eat, book your reservations for off times during the day, like lunch around 2pm or an early dinner at 4pm.
1. Don’t – miss a reservation. When you book your meals, you will use a credit card to hold your reservation. If you miss it or want to cancel on the day of your reservation, you will be charged a per person fee. Plan your day so you are able to get to your meals at the right time. You can always call ahead to see if they have an opening at another time during the day and they give you 15 minutes after your reservation time before they will cancel your reservation.
Using your dining plan should not be a stressful part of your vacation to Disney. If you plan ahead and do some scoping out of the menus, it should just add to the magic of your trip. Disney has so many options, your toughest don’t should be Don’t worry about gaining weight. Enjoy it!