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Disney World Quietly Sneaks Changes Into Dining Plan

Disney Dining Plan
Credit: Disney

The Disney Dining Plan officially returns to Walt Disney World Resort next week, but Disney Parks fans aren’t happy about some hidden changes to the package.

In May 2023, Walt Disney World Resort revealed that the Disney Dining Plan would be available for Disney Resort hotel reservations starting January 9. Fans were delighted as the travel package add-on hasn’t been available since 2020, when the Central Florida Disney theme parks closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like most things at the Disney parks, the Disney Dining Plan returned with a price hike. Walt Disney World Resort scrapped the most expensive plan, the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, which offered two Table-Service meals, one snack/nonalcoholic drink, and a Resort-Refillable Drink Mug valid through the length of guests’ Disney Resort hotel stay.

Two Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, served at multiple Walt Disney World Restaurants, on a plate with strawberries and orange slices.

Credit: Disney

Only two options are available: the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. The former includes two Quick-Service meals daily, while the latter offers one Quick-Service meal and one Table-Service meal. Additionally, both plans include a daily snack or nonalcoholic drink and one Resort-Refillable Drink Mug.

Meals and snacks purchased with a dining plan are denoted with a purple and white symbol on restaurant menus, available for mobile order and in-person. Unused credits roll over daily, expiring at midnight on Disney Resort hotel checkout day. Guests can keep track of remaining credits on the My Disney Experience app or at the bottom of restaurant receipts.

But as the return of the Disney Dining Plan draws closer, Disney Parks fans like Jill Beignet (@disney_beignet) noticed some hidden changes in the fine print. Beignet, also an authorized Disney travel agent, warned future Walt Disney World Resort guests with a TikTok video:

@disney_beignet

Hidden fees in the Disney Dining Plan #disneycreator #travelagent #disneyworld #vacationplanning #disneyworldtips

♬ original sound – Jill Beignet

Though not a new rule, Beignet reminded guests that gratuities are not included in the Table-Service Dining Plan, so you’ll need to use cash or a card to tip your servers. Additionally, children must order from the kids’ menu. Previously, some restaurants allowed children under nine to order adult meals, a loophole many guests used to make the most of their Disney Dining Plans.

The most significant update involves breaking down Quick-Service credits into snack credits. Previously, guests with leftover credits could redeem three snacks/nonalcoholic drinks instead of one Quick-Service meal. Many families used these credits at the gift shop on checkout day, loading up on packaged candy, trail mix, and other Disney goodies.

According to the Walt Disney World Resort website, credits can no longer be transferred or exchanged. Quick-Service credits will not break down into three snack credits.

Ten 'Star Wars' rice crispie treats, they depict Darth Vader and Porgs. They were exchanged for Quick Service Disney Dining Plan credits at the end of a hotel stay.

We redeemed Quick-Service meal credits for snacks at the end of our Disney Resort hotel stay. Credit: Jess Colopy, Inside the Magic

“That was a particularly good value at EPCOT festivals where all of those food booths you want to sample take snack credits,” Beignet recalled. “…If you plan to snack around the World Showcase, either save up all your snack credits or you’ll need to budget extra on top of your Dining Plan cost.”

Many Disney Parks fans were disappointed about the decreased flexibility in the Disney Dining Plans.

“That was the best part of the dining plan,” @kristilynn629 wrote.

Up close view of a Dole Whip_feature image

Credit: Disney

“Enjoyed breaking down the quick service to snacks on our departure day,” @flyboyjay69 agreed.

Walt Disney World Resort travel packages can be modified up to five days before your vacation. Until then, guests can request Disney Dining Plan refunds if they change their minds.

Do these new rules change your opinion of the Disney Dining Plan? 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks guest experience. No two guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

This post is originally appeared on Inside the Magic.

About Jess Colopy

Jess Colopy is a Disney College Program alum and kid-at-heart. When she’s not furiously typing in a coffee shop, you can find her on the hunt for the newest Stitch pin.

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