First things first.....Josh....the amazing developer of this site....has some great articles on the dining plans including the current costs for each. Please take some time to read through these so that you have a good understanding of the dining plans http://www.easywdw.com/worth-2/disne...ntroduction-2/ and http://www.easywdw.com/worth-2/figur...or-your-group/ .
This thread covers the most commonly asked questions about the dining plans at Walt Disney World. It only covers the 3 major plans (Quick Service, Basic and Deluxe) as they are the most commonly used. So, if you are looking for the more elaborate plans, go ahead and post your question in a new thread in the forum. Please read down this list to see if your question is answered here. If not, please start a new thread. Do NOT post your questions in this thread.
If you see any errors or have recommendations for Q&As to be added, please post those in this thread. Thanks
General Dining Plan Questions
Q: What are the requirements to participate in a Dining Plan?
A: You must be staying at a Disney-owned resort on Disney World property if you want the option of adding a Disney Dining Plan. All Disney Value, Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villa resorts are eligible. Guests staying at the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green, any of the Downtown Disney resorts, and all off-site visitors are not eligible. In most cases, you must have a "package" which includes the Disney hotel AND a park ticket. The exceptions are Disney Vacation Club members staying on points, using rented points from a Disney Vacation Club member, and AP holders who book an AP room at one of the above mentioned qualifying.
Q: We are going to WDW for 5 nights/6 days with 6 day tickets. We are thinking of adding on a couple of extra days on our tickets so that we can get some more Dining Plan credits. How do we do this?
A: You don't. The number of credits that you get with your dining plan are NOT tied to your tickets in any way. They are based on the number of nights that you are staying at the resort. This means that in the above case, you will only be allowed 5 "days" worth of credits for this trip, period! The only way to get more dining credits is to add more nights to your trip.
Q: Can we get the dining plan for only 2 of the 4 people staying in our room?
A: No. Everyone in the room must be on the same package.
Q: Can we get the Deluxe Dining Plan for the first part of our trip and the Quick Service for the last part?
A: No. You must keep the same plan for your entire stay. The only way to change plans is to make 2 different reservations. In this case, you will have to check out and check back in and might be required to move rooms, even if you are staying at the same resort. Also, remember that in order to have the dining plan added to your reservations, you must purchase a ticket. So, with the split stay, you will need to have at least a 1-day ticket with the first reservation and a 1 day ticket with the second reservation for all people in the room. (Unless you are staying on DVC points or on an AP rate.)
Q: If I have the dining plan, do I have to make reservations at the restaurants or do I get in automatically?
A: Having a dining plan does NOT guarantee you access to a restaurant. Dining reservations are always encouraged because it will guarantee access to the restaurant. Without reservations, you are at the mercy of what's available to walk-up guests. Many of the most popular restaurants will be booked solid by the time you arrive and walk-up guests will either be turned away or quoted a long wait for a table.
Q: We are not leaving until 5 PM on our last day. Will we be able to use our credits even though we have checked out of our room?
A: Absolutely!! Your dining plan is good from the time you check into your room until midnight the day that you check out.
Q: We are meeting up for dinner with some friends who don't have the dining plan. How do we all pay for our meal?
A: Simply tell the cast member serving you that you will be paying with your dining plan credits and your friends will be paying out of pocket. They will gladly split up the bill so that you can do this. It is very simple. Just make sure that you let them know when you are first seated (they normally will ask). Then they will know to ring your bill up correctly.
Q: We have a cousin joining us for dinner one day. Can we just pay for his meal with our dining plan credits?
A: No, credits are non-transferable. Your card will specify exactly how many people are in your room and you will only be allowed to use that number of dining credits to pay for your meal. Your cousin will either have to pay out of pocket for his meal or you will have to pay for him.
Q: My 10 year old is considered an adult by Disney standards but sometimes she just prefers a kids meal. Will she be able to use her adult credit to get a kids meal?
A: Yes, however, you might want to really evaluate if a dining plan is really going to work best for you. If she is going to get several kids meals, you are actually going to lose quite a bit of money with a dining plan and might be better off just paying out of pocket for your meals until she is actually ready to eat as an "adult".
Q: My kids won't eat chicken nuggets and will want to eat the adult meal. Can we just get an adult meal for them?
A: Officially, no!! Table Service meal credits are kept separately and you will only be allowed to order a kids meal with the kids credits. At times, you can get an adult meal at the Quick service locations as the credits are pooled. However, the CM can limit you to just the number of adults listed on the card.
Q: I've heard that I can exchange my Deluxe plan credits and quick service credits for snacks in case I can't use up all of those credits. Is this true?
A: Generally speaking, No. Once in a while you might get lucky and have a Cast Member who will let you do it and occasionally during times when the Free Dining promotion is taking place, they will allow you to do this. Otherwise, you will just lose any unused credits.
Q: How do I know if a dining plan is right for my family?
A: There is no easy answer to this question. Check out the menus and see what items you will most likely order and punch in the numbers. Be honest when doing this. If you honestly would not purchase a drink or dessert, then don't count those in your total. Then compare the prices. Also, ask yourself if you will eat better because you are on the plan because then you'd be okay with ordering that steak instead of the pasta. If that is true.....then a dining plan might be a good splurge for you. Recognize that Disney is in the business of making money. That means that you very well might end up paying more for a dining plan then you would without one. Only you can honestly decide if it is the best choice for your family or not.
Q: What is this "Free Dining" I keep hearing about?
A: Occasionally (most often during late Aug through the end of Sept) Disney will offer a package discount that offers free dining with the purchase of room and tickets at rack rate. You can only get this if you pay for the room and tickets, are staying during the times it is offered AND you book within the required time of the offer.
Quick Service Dining Plan (QSDP)
Q: What is included with the QSDP?
A: Two Quick service meals and two snack credits per night of your package stay plus 1 free resort refillable mug.
Q: Who is this plan the best option for?
A: This is a great option for those who are going for a short trip and are planning on mostly just eating quick service meals to start with. This plan is a bad idea if you need real silverware to call it a meal, are planning on eating at several table service locations, or are planning on a longer trip where you have more time and would like to experience more table service meals.
Q: Quick Service...does this mean that I'll be eating Hamburgers and chicken nuggets all week?
A: No!!! Disney quick service locations have a large variety of different foods available. Stop by the restaurant forum to learn more about what is available.
Q: What all is included in my meal?
A: For breakfast, your drink and entree are included. For Lunch and dinner, you get a drink, entree and dessert.
Q: We never eat that many desserts. Can we get something else?
A: Yes. Quick service locations are flexible with your dessert options. You may be able to substitute a bottle of water, yogurt, piece of fruit, or other price-equivalent item from the menu. Just ask when you're ordering for a list of options."
Q: We are staying for 4 nights/5 days and have 4 day tickets. How many dining credits will we get?
A: Since it is based on the number of nights that you are staying, you will get 8 Quick Service and 8 snack credits per person to use during your trip.
Basic Dining Plan (DDP)
Q: What is included in the DDP?
A: The DDP includes 1 table service credit, 1 quick service credit and 1 snack credit per night of your stay.
Q: Who does the DDP make the most sense for?
A: This plan is good for the following: 1) Families who want to have at least one table service meal per day and enjoy dessert with their meals. 2) Families who order the pasta when they really want the steak. Because the Dining Plan is a fixed price no matter what you order, the Dining Plan may make you feel like you can freely order the most expensive items on the menu, rather than sticking to less expensive entrees like the pasta or chicken. 3) When traveling with extended family and you don't want to fight over who is going to pay the check. 4) Families who just want to have everything paid for and aren't worried about getting their value out of the plan.
Q: What is included with my meals?
A: Breakfast includes drink and entree. Lunch and Dinner includes drink, entree, and dessert. It is the same for both quick and table service locations. Buffet locations include all of the food on the buffet and your drink.
Q: Can we eat 2 table service meals one day and only quick service the next day?
A: You bet, you can use your credits any way you choose to. Just note that once they are gone....they are gone.
Q: So this plan only has 2 meals per day. Does this mean that we are going to have to pay for breakfast?
A: It does mean you will be paying for food that is not covered by the plan, including breakfast. However, the Dining Plan is a lot of food for most people and you may not miss that third major meal. Also, consider using snack credits for breakfast items like cereal, pastries, and milk
Q: Can I use my table service credits for quick service meals?
A: No and honestly, you will not want to as you will lose a significant amount of money doing so. Disney does occasionally make an exception to this rule during times when the Free Dining promotion is offered.
Q: We are staying for 7 nights/8 days and have 6- day tickets. How many credits will be get for our dining plan?
A: Since the credits are determined by the number of nights that you are staying, you will receive 7 Table Service, 7 Quick Service and 7 Snack credits per person.
Q: I've heard that some meals take 2 Table Service Credits. What are they?
A: They include all signature locations, dinner shows, Cinderella's Royal Table and dinner at Le Cellier (begining March 1, 2011. Lunch is only 1 Table Service Credit)
Deluxe Dining Plan (DxDDP)
Q: What is included in the DxDDP?
A: It includes 3 meal credits (can be used at either table service or quick service locations) and 2 snack credits per night of your stay plus a resort refillable mug.
Q: Who does this plan make the most sense for?
A: For most people, the Deluxe Dining Plan will be too much food. We're talking three table service meals per day, many of which can easily take an hour or more, plus the time to get to the restaurants and be seated. I ONLY recommend the Deluxe Plan if dining is going to be one of the main focuses of your vacation. It can be a lot of time away from the attractions, especially with young kids who would rather be riding Dumbo than eating at Tony's Town Square.
Q: What is included with my meals?
A: Quick service includes: Entree and drink for breakfast and Entree, dessert and drink for lunch and dinner. Table Service includes: Entree and drink for breakfast, Appetizer, entree, dessert and drink for lunch and dinner. Buffets include all food at the buffet plus your drink.
Q: We aren't worried about losing a lot of time to go to attractions because we will use at least one quick service meal per day. We just like having 3 meals. Does this sound reasonable?
A: Not usually. The additional cost to upgrade from the Basic Dining Plan to the Deluxe Plan is about $30 per adult, per day. That means that third meal must cost at least that much money for it to be worthwhile.
Q: Doesn't it make more sense to get the DxDDP over the other plans since I get 3 full meals?
A: Only if you plan to eat three complete meals every day. It's a lot of food for most people. I compare it to eating at Old Country Buffet for breakfast, Olive Garden for Lunch, and Outback Steakhouse for dinner. That's three entrees, two desserts, and two appetizers.
Q: We are staying for 7 nights/8 days with 6 day tickets. How many credits will we get?
A: Since credits are based on the number of nights you stay (7 in this case) you will get 21 meal credits and 14 snack credits per person.