Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What is the Disney Dining Plan? Part III: Deluxe Dining plan explained

Have you read the other posts in this series?

Quick serve plan explained
Regular dining plan explained

Today we are going to talk about the deluxe dining plan.  What does it include?

1.  Each person in your party will receive a refillable mug that is good for the length of your stay (it's only valid at your resort - not in the parks)
2.  For each night of your stay, each person in your party will receive 2 snack credits.  (See previous posts for examples of what you might spend your credits on)
3.  For each night of your stay, each person will receive 3 "dining credits."

You can use those dining credits however you like.  You can eat all quick service one day.  You could have three characters meals in one day.  Or you could do what we like to do: have a snack for breakfast, a table service meal for lunch (see the regular dining plan explained for examples of table service meals), and a signature dining experience for dinner.

What are signature dining experiences?

Typically a "regular" table service meal costs one credit per person, but a signature meal, those count as two credits per person.  Signature meals could be defined as a step above a table service - and sometimes the offerings are just unparallelled!  Also, some two credit meals are not necessarily haute cuisine - but they do include a show.  Here are some of the two credit options at Disney World:

1.  Cinderella's Royal Table - Did you know that there is a restaurant INSIDE the castle?  With this meal, you'll check in and then get a photo with Cinderella.  Then you'll be taken upstairs to your table where you can meet many of the Disney princesses.  The children also get a gift - a fairy wand for the girls - and I THINK the boys get a pirate sword.  With this meal, everyone in your party will get an appetizer, entree, non-alcoholic beverage, and a dessert.  The good news?  Both the picture and the gratuity are included!
2.  Citricos and Narcoosee's - Both of these 5 star restaurants are in the Grand Floridian resort - and if you click on their names, you can see menus for each.  With the deluxe dining plan, you will get an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage - for each person.  So, yes, if there are 5 people in your party - that's FIVE appetizers, FIVE entrees, FIVE desserts, and FIVE drinks!  (Gratuity is not included for these locations)
3.  Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue - this dinner show takes place in Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness - and it's the longest running show at Disney!  The show is full of corny jokes, singing, dancing, and audience participation.  You'll get all you can eat fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, beans, cornbread, and strawberry shortcake.  Also included: beer, wine and gratuity!

So.  Is the deluxe dining plan for you?  Here are some things to think about:

1.  It's a lot of food!  In addition to what you get on the regular dining plan, the deluxe also includes appetizers.  You don't HAVE to get them - but they are included.  Because it's a lot of food, you also need to take into account the higher gratuities with this plan. 
2.  It's a lot of time spent in restaurants rather than enjoying the parks.
3.  If you want to be able to experience a lot of different restaurants - or a lot of signature/two credit options, this might be the plan for you.
4.  If you'd call yourself a foodie, this might be the plan for you.
5.  If you are going during the Food and Wine festival - all those snack credits add up to much enjoyment of the festival - and this might be the plan for you.

Typically, I do recommend the regular dining plan.  But.  The deluxe plan does give you a lot more options.  So...what about you?  Which dining plan do you prefer?


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