Here’s our guide to understanding the Disney Dining Plans for those staying in a Disney Resort hotel at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
There are 3 levels of Disney Dining…….
Quick Service Dining Plan (QSDP)
This is best for those who just want to eat and go, available in 50+ locations. Each guest has 2 self service meals, 1 drink per meal and 2 snacks for each night of your stay. Guests love the convenience of this plan, plus there’s no service charge to budget for.
Disney Dining Plan (DDP)
This is the perfect balance, a combination of table service and quick service, available in 100+ locations. Each guest has 1 waiter service meal, 1 self service meal, 1 drink per meal and 2 snacks for each night of your stay. Guests looking for character meals, family dining and restaurant buffets love this plan.
Disney Deluxe Dining plan (DDDP)
The ultimate in Disney Dining, choose self service or waiter service for 3 meals a day, available in 100+ locations. Each guest has 3 waiter or self service meals, 1 drink per meal and 2 snacks for each night of their stay.
Every guest (aged 3+ years) with Disney Dining has a refillable mug which can be replenished at the self service locations in any Disney Resort Hotel. The drink included with a meal includes soft drinks such as milkshakes, fruit smoothies, mocktails and sodas. For guests aged over 21, this drink can also include beer, cider, wine, sangria and cocktails.
Gratuities are not included at waiter service meals, except at Dinner Shows and Cinderella’s Royal Table. If you have provided a credit card at check in for your room, gratuity will be charged to your account, otherwise you will need to pay at the end of your meal. For parties of 6 or more, gratuity is automatically set at 18%.
Pick up your snacks at self service restaurants, mobile refreshments and some merchandise locations throughout the Disney Resort. Items include ice cream, cookies, pretzels, waffles, smothered fries, fresh fruit, popcorn, soft drinks and bottles of water. Take a look at this comprehensive list of snack stops in Walt Disney World to see the range of food & drinks available: Disney Snack Credits List 2018. The mission is to use them all up before you leave! If you fail, visit candy / chocolate shops on your last day for goodies to take home.
Self Service Meals
The self service meals are generally fast food outlets for casual dining with a main course and drink. Typical options include burgers, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, salads etc.
Waiter Service Meals
The waiter service meals at lunch and dinner include a main course, dessert and drink. One credit per guest is required for buffets, character dining and family meals. Signature restaurants and dinner shows require two meal credits per guest.
These restaurants offer premium dining options with an international selection of cuisine. NB the dress code is resort casual which does not allow swim wear, caps, ripped clothing or offensive graphics / language. Two waiter service meal credits are required per guest for signature dining. Menu items priced over $75 may require an extra charge.
Advance reservation required, there’s no difference between the levels of DDP and DDDP for dinner shows. These dining plans can be used for category 2 or 3 seating at all shows, and category 1 seating at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical – all subject to availability.
Dining plans are not available for children under 3. Small children can share from an adults plate, or their food can be purchased separately. Children aged 3-9 years old are expected to order from the kids menu, where available.
How to get Disney Dining
Each April the free dining plans are normally launched for the following year, therefore April 2019, will be for holidays taken in 2020. Book Disney value resorts for Quick Service, moderate resorts for the Dining Plan and deluxe resorts for the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. You can choose to upgrade to a higher level of dining plan than that offered with your accommodation.
How to book your reservations in advance
You can make restaurant reservations online via your computer, or with the MDE app on your phone from 11:00am, 180 days in advance.
Be prepared register at My Disney Experience (MDE), set up your profile, create your family & friends list so you can make group bookings and link your reservations. Make sure you add a payment card to your account before making your reservations, or you will have to enter it on each booking. The card details are only to guarantee your reservation, apart from Cinderella’s Royal Table (CRT) where they take advance payment.
Before you start make a list of your preferred restaurants and dates, start with the most important at the top, and book them in that order. Use the online wish list to help with your reservations: each time you finish a booking, you can navigate to the wish list at the bottom of the page, to find your next one – this saves searching for the restaurant each time.
You can book up to 10 days of restaurants from 180 days in advance, then the remainder of your days, one day at a time after that (eg day 179 you can book your 11th day).
Search for the specific time that you want, rather than breakfast / lunch / dinner to shortlist the best options.
Refresh your page, and keep trying with booking character dining, perseverance is key in securing a table.
Ring on one of these helplines after 12 midday on 0800 028 0778 (Walt Disney World) / 0800 16 90 748 (dining) / 800 2006 0809 (Disney Experts) if you can’t find a particular restaurant availability, they are very helpful.
If you are struggling to find availability for your preferred restaurants, you could try Mouse Dining this is a website that alerts you when places are available. The first 6 alerts are free, then it’s a paid subscription.
Character Dining Restaurants
In no particular order, these are some of the character dining venues at Walt Disney World……
Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom. Meet Cinderella and friends including the Fairy Godmother.
Be Our Guest. Meet the Beast in his enchanted castle.
Tusker House in the Harambe Village of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Meet Mickey, Goofy, Daisy and Donald in their safari gear.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at the Norway Pavillion in Epcot. Meet Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Ariel.
Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Meet Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Handy Manny at breakfast. Dinner specials include Summertime dine, Minnie’s Halloween Dine and Minnie’s Holiday Dine where Minnie and friends such as Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy attend.
The Garden Grill in the Land pavilion at Epcot. Meet Chip and Dale, Pluto and Mickey dressed in his farmer’s overalls.
1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Meet Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh at breakfast. Wonderland Tea Party in the afternoon with Alice and the Mad hatter. Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner normally includes Cinderella and Prince Charming, plus Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella.
The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom. Meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet.
Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Meet Lilo and Stitch, Mickey and Pluto at breakfast.
Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy.
Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club. Meet Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald in their swimwear for breakfast.
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale at dinner.
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno on Disney’s Boardwalk. Meet Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric for breakfast.
If you need to change or cancel a reservation, do it with at least 24 hours notice to avoid being charged. CRT is 48 hours notice.
At The Till
Simply present your Disney Resort ID at the till to redeem your snack / meal credit. This can be your resort card, or MagicBand. Log into your MDE account during your stay to check your remaining balance.