Showing posts with label Dining plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dining plan. Show all posts

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 planWhat 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?


Katrina

Monday, April 23, 2012

What is the Disney Dining Plan? Part II: Regular Dining Plan explained

Did you know that in addition to your resort and your theme park tickets, Disney also offers a dining plan?  This is a great thing because it makes your vacation all inclusive.  It's so nice to have it taken care of ahead of time - and not have to worry about the menu prices when you get there.

So...how does it work?

To get the dining plan, you must stay at a Disney resort.  You also need to purchase at least a one day ticket (unless you are an annual passholder, and then you don't have to purchase additional tickets).  There are several levels of the Dining plan:  Quick serve plan (part I), the regular dining plan, and the deluxe dining plan.  Today we are going to focus on the one that I recommend – the regular dining plan. 

Regular plan?  What does that mean??

With this plan (for 2012) - for each night of your stay, everyone in your party receives:  1 refillable mug per person and then 1 snack, 1 quick serve meal, and 1 table service meal per person per night.
What is a refillable mug?  When you are all checked in, go to your resort food court and pick up a cute, lidded plastic mug.  They come in several colors (we have a teal, hot pink and a black) so that you will know whose is whose.  And then you have unlimited soft drinks at your resort (they are not refillable in the parks) for the length of your stay.

What is a quick serve meal?  Think of it like a fast food option.  What's included is either a combo meal, drink and dessert or an entree, side, drink and dessert.  Here are some quick serve options you might enjoy:
1.  At Cosmic Rays in the Magic Kingdom:  for a quick serve credit, you can have: 1/2 a rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, a large diet coke and a piece of chocolate cake.
2.  At Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios:  for a quick serve credit, you can have:  a veggie pizza, a side Caesar salad, a cookie and a bottle of water.
3.  At the Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom:  for a quick serve credit, you can have: a pork sandwich, coleslaw, chocolate mousse and a large Sprite.
4.  At the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco at Epcot: for a quick serve credit, you can have: a chicken and lamb combo Sharwarma platter with a side of Hummus, Tabouleh and a Tangierine Couscous Salad and fresh Moroccan bread, Baklava, and a large iced tea.

You can still get the ubiquitous burgers, chicken nuggets and fries - but your dining plan does not have to start and end with that!  There is much variety to be found - including veggies.  Even if want those burgers, you can always substitute grapes or carrots for the fries.

So...what about snacks?  Typically, snacks are items that cost $3.99 or less (though there are lots of exceptions) - like a bottle of soda or water, a Mickey head ice cream bar, popcorn, a soft pretzel, etc

Some exceptions that I have seen are the infamous Disney cupcakes - they are priced at $4.99 but most do have this emblem, which means they count as a snack.  Something to keep in mind with snacks: not all are created equal!  This means, that at $2.50 for a bottle of water - you are better off to bring your own water into the park - and spend you snack credits on things like cupcakes (not a hard plan to get behind!).  Also, if you are fortunate enough to be at Disney during the Food and Wine festival (Sept 28- November 11, 2012) -you can use your snack credits at all the kiosks and get wonderful things like lamb, fisherman pie, lobster rolls and shrimp on the barbie - all for a snack credit each!

How do you know if it's a snack?  Just look for this emblem, and you are golden:

 
And now, finally, what on earth is a table service?  Think of this as your nice sit down meal where you will have a server and where you MUST have a reservation (and this is part of my service to you - I'll make all those reservations for you!).

At a table service meal, what is included is either an entrée, dessert, and a drink OR a drink and a buffet meal.  (If you have a child in your room – and Disney says a child is someone 9 or younger – they must order off of the children’s menu)  You can order anything off of the menu.  If you want the most expensive item on the menu – by all means, order it!  What is not included?  Gratuity, alcohol, and appetizers.  Those expenses can just be charged back to your room.

Here are some examples of table service meals you might enjoy:

Lunch at the Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom:  New England pot roast, Sprite, and Ooey gooey toffee cake.

Dinner at Teppan Edo in Japan/Epcot:  Hibachi style dinner with a combination steak and shrimp, rice, noodles and veggies, a Coke, and chocolate ginger cake.

Lunch at the 50’s Prime Time Café in Hollywood Studios: Grandma’s Chicken pot pie, a peanut butter and jelly milkshake, and then Dad’s brownie sundae for dessert.

Dinner at Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom:  Seafood curry with Jasmine rice, tea, and mango pie for dessert.

If you'd like to see menus for all the restaurants in Disney - this is a great resource.

Also, your credits are pooled.  That means that if you check in for a 5 night stay with 2 adults and 2 children in your room - you have 20 snack credits, 20 table service credits, and 20 quick serve credits (four people, 1 each per day, 5 nights).  You can use them how ever you like (except for sharing with your aunt and 5 cousins who decide to meet you at the Magic Kingdom one day) - you can eat 5 meals one day and 3 the next and none the next and so on (you can also do the same with your snack credits - you can even use them all in one day if you choose!).  Just be sure that at the end of your trip you've used all your credits - no one wants to leave leftovers for the mouse!

One more note about credits.  Most table services "cost" one credit each.  But there are some that will count as 2 credits - like a meal at Cinderella's Royal Table in the castle, the Spirit of Aloha Dinner show at the Polynesian resort, or an amazing dinner at the Flying Fish Cafe on Disney's Boardwalk. 

I hope that helps you to understand the regular dining plan.  Next week, look for my post on the deluxe dining plan!

What about you?  Do you prefer the all inclusive option?  Do you have a favorite Disney restaurant?  Did you know that you could get this plan for FREE if you are planning a trip in September?  Email me for details - disneykatrina@gmail.com

Other posts in this series:  Quick serve dining plan explained and Deluxe dining plan explained



Katrina

Monday, April 16, 2012

What is the Disney Dining Plan? Part I: Quick Serve Plan Explained

Did you know that in addition to your resort and your theme park tickets, Disney also offers a dining plan?  This is a great thing because it makes your vacation all inclusive.  It's so nice to have it taken care of ahead of time - and not have to worry about the menu prices when you get there.

So...how does it work?

To get the dining plan, you must stay at a Disney resort.  You also need to purchase at least a one day ticket (unless you are an annual passholder, and then you don't have to purchase additional tickets).  There are several levels of the Dining plan:  Quick serve plan, the regular dining plan, and the deluxe dining plan.  Today we are going to focus on the Quick serve plan

Quick serve?  What does that mean??

With this plan (for 2012) - for each night of your stay, everyone in your party receives:  1 snack and 2 quick serve meals per night.

What is a quick serve meal?  Think of it like a fast food option.  What's included is either a combo meal, drink and dessert or an entree, side, drink and dessert.  Here are some quick serve options you might enjoy:
1.  At Cosmic Rays in the Magic Kingdom:  for a quick serve credit, you can have: 1/2 a rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, a large diet coke and a piece of chocolate cake.
2.  At Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios:  for a quick serve credit, you can have:  a veggie pizza, a side Caesar salad, a cookie and a bottle of water.
3.  At the Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom:  for a quick serve credit, you can have: a pork sandwich, coleslaw, chocolate mousse and a large Sprite.
4.  At the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco at Epcot: for a quick serve credit, you can have: a chicken and lamb combo Sharwarma platter with a side of Hummus, Tabouleh and a Tangierine Couscous Salad and fresh Moroccan bread, Baklava, and a large iced tea.

You can still get the ubiquitous burgers, chicken nuggets and fries - but your dining plan does not have to start and end with that!  There is much variety to be found - including veggies.  Even if you want those burgers, you can always substitute grapes or carrots for the fries.

So...what about snacks?  Typically, snacks are items that cost $3.99 or less (though there are lots of exceptions) - like a bottle of soda or water, a Mickey head ice cream bar, popcorn, a soft pretzel, etc.  The way you will know if it counts as a snack is if see this emblem on the menu:


Some exceptions that I have seen are the infamous Disney cupcakes - they are priced at $4.99 but most do have this emblem, which means they count as a snack.  Something to keep in mind with snacks: not all are created equal!  This means, that at $2.50 for a bottle of water - you are better off bringing your own water into the park - and spending your snack credits on things like cupcakes (not a hard plan to get behind!).  Also, if you are fortunate enough to be at Disney during the Food and Wine festival (Sept 28- November 11, 2012) -you can use your snack credits at all the kiosks and get wonderful things like lamb, fisherman pie, lobster rolls and shrimp on the barbie - all for a snack credit each!

Now you may be saying - but that doesn't get me three meals a day.  Well, you could use a snack for breakfast and your other quick serves for lunch and dinner.  Or you can do what we like to do - split meals.  As you can see from my description of the meals you could get at each park - it's a lot of food - even for my bottomless pit of a husband - and could easily be shared between two people.  Sharing will really stretch your credits.

Also, your quick serve credits are pooled.  That means that if you check in for a 5 night stay with 2 adults and 2 children in your room - you have 4x2x5 credits (four people, 2 per day, 5 nights) which equals to 40 total quick serve meals.  You can use them how ever you like (except for sharing with your aunt and 5 cousins who decide to meet you at the Magic Kingdom one day) - you can eat 5 meals one day and 3 the next and none the next and so on (you can also do the same with your snack credits - you can even use them all in one day if you choose!).  Just be sure that at the end of your trip you've used all your credits - no one wants to leave leftovers for the mouse!

I hope that helps you to understand the quick serve plan.  Next week, look for my post on the regular dining plan (it's the one that I recommend)!

What about you?  Do you like the dining plan?  Do you prefer the all inclusive option?  Did you know that you could get this plan for free if you are planning a trip in September?  Email me for details - disneykatrina@gmail.com

Other posts in this series:  Regular dining plan explained and Deluxe dining explained.



Katrina