New year, new Disney Dining Plan!! There have been a few changes, and it’s up to YOU to decide if the Disney Dining Plan is still the best for your family or not.
The price has gone up compared to in 2018, however the price only went up for children's dining plans! Could this be because of the dramatic price hikes for beverages and snacks, this past fall? Keep reading to see the new prices!
Disney Dining Plans can be a little bit confusing if you've never used one before. If used wisely, the Dining Plans are a fantastic way to save a little or a lot on your trip, depending on what you eat or how much you drink, letting you add even more magic to your vacation!
Here's a basic overview about the Disney Dining Plan for 2019 to help you decide if the plan is right for you.
Disney World offers three dining plans for guests staying on property. The Quick Service Dining Plan, the Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. Each plan comes with a refillable souvenir mug that can be used at any resort during the length of your stay. Each restaurant will have a different theme, so it's often fun to try a new place each time.
The Quick Service Dining Plan is our favorite right now since we have small kids who don't want to sit still at a sit down restaurant for very long. This plan includes 2 meals per day, consisting of an entree and it's included side(s) (think half chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes, or sandwich and fries) and new in 2018, those under the age of 21 can choose to have soda, tea or coffee, a milkshake, smoothie or other specialty non alcoholic beverage. Those over the age of 21 with valid ID can choose to have a beer, cider, mixed drink or wine if available. This plan also includes 2 snack credits which can be used on a variety of things from soups or salads, drinks, desserts or packaged snacks. My favorite thing to use a snack credit on are the themed cupcakes. Gigantic works of art and delicious! We have never felt like we've sacrificed food choices with this plan. Quick Service doesn't mean you are stuck with just burgers and fries. There are yummy salads, seafood, fajitas, and so much more. Mr. Disney Magic loves going to Animal Kingdom and having lunch at Flame Tree BBQ so he can order the Ribs, chicken and pulled pork plate that includes baked beans, coleslaw and jalapeno cornbread. With Quick Service meals, no gratuities are charged and you do not need reservations.
The Dining Plan is the standard meal plan with Disney World and it includes 1 Quick Service meal, 1 Table Service meal and 2 snacks. You get everything as above with the Quick Service plan, but the Table Service meal can be a buffet or a sit down restaurant, and includes a dessert. This is a popular plan because it's the best of both worlds. You can have a quick lunch if you want and a leisurely dinner to unwind after a day at the Parks. There are a few Table Service restaurants that even offer special seating for nighttime shows, or Character Meals including breakfasts, however some of those might require the use of two meal credits. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The Deluxe Dining Plan is the most expensive plan because you get a lot more. This plan includes 3 meals, your choice of Quick Service or Table Service. If you choose the Table Service, in addition to the above entitlements, you also get to choose an appetizer. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The prices for the 2019 Disney Dining Plans are as follows:
Quick Service - Per night Ages 10 and up $52.50 Ages 9 and under $23.78
Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $75.49 Ages 9 and under $27.98
Deluxe Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $116.25 Ages 9 and under $43.49
There are some legitimate reasons as to why, or why not this plan might be good for you. If you love the idea of having all meals paid for in advance and if you like to have Table Service meals and don't mind planning in advance this plan may be perfect for you. If you just like to snack in the park, or want to bring in part of your own food and just eat one meal in the park, you might not get as much benefit from this.
An incredibly easy way to see if you will come out ahead or not if you buy this plan is to use this fabulous dining plan calculator. DisTripPlanner.com has put a lot of work into making your decision as easy as can be. Just make sure that you do add in the refillable mug in step 2, in order to get the most accurate result. Just click here to see the calculator.
A few things to remember.
Want to read more?
Click here for tips and tricks to maximize your Disney Dining plan credits
Click here to read about bringing your own food in at Disney
Click here to read about how to save HUNDREDS in just a few minutes at Disney
Want to save $400?
When I originally wrote this article back in 2017, we were saving a lot by bringing in our own drinks. Now that Disney has changed the price of bottled and fountain drinks by around a dollar each, you'll be saving even bigger by packing a few bottles of water, tea or soda in your suitcase. I've updated this article to reflect the current prices. Bottled sodas have gone up from $3.50 to $4.50, regular fountain drinks from $3.29 to $3.99 and bottles of water from $3.00 to $3.50. A Powerade is $5.00
How much can you save? I've broken it down for you! You'll be surprised!
I am not exaggerating when I say how easily you can save HUNDREDS when you go to Disney Park. Bring along a few bottled drinks or a refillable water bottle. It's easy, cheap and takes almost no effort to save hundreds!
If you like to go bag free, bring along a refillable bottle that collapses and hangs from a clip because at any counter, you can ask for a cup of ice water, for free.
What if you are like us though, and just don't like to taste of Florida water? Can you still save? Yes. Keep reading and get ready for a surprise.
How much does it save you? Is it enough to make it worth the hassle? I'm going to use my own family as an example and do the math for you!
Because it seems like no one is ever thirsty at the same time and we don't want to stop and stand in line repeatedly, we bring our own drinks for much of the day. The first few visits, we used a soft sided cooler, but now that our youngest may not need a stroller as much and Mr. Disney Magic would prefer to carry as little as possible, we bought a cooler backpack, and worked the numbers.
There are 2 adults and 2 kids in our party. The adults each typically drink 2 waters in the pre lunch hours, and 2 in the afternoon/evening. We do buy drinks at lunch and dinner, plus on afternoon breaks and during the evening at our resort, fill up our mugs. We make sure to drink a lot, because in Florida’s heat, not drinking is a recipe for disaster. That comes to bringing in to the park 4 drinks per adult, per park day.
The little people, we plan on 3-4 juice boxes or pouches for in the pre lunch hours, and 3-4 for the afternoon/evening. Of course, they take some of our water, get drinks at lunch and dinner, and the resort on breaks. That equals 8 juice boxes per kid, per park day. (Now when I say juice boxes, I don't specifically mean there is juice in them. Some are, but some are those mostly flavored water things, but for simplicity's sake, I'm calling them all "Juice" and using those numbers for our math.)
The last few weeks, our grocery store has had 24 packs of spring water regular priced for $3.99. That means it's approximately 16.6 cents per bottle of water. With sales, 8 packs of the larger Juicy Juice boxes were $3.00, making each juice box 37 cents per juice. To get a bottle of filtered, not spring water at Disney, it's going to be $3.50, and a bottle of juice is $3.29.
A full day for our family costs less than $7 for drinks, when we do this hybrid way of buying some, and bringing some, whereas if we stopped and bought 16 kids drinks, and 8 adult drinks, be it water, juice or whatever, it would be around $96. Five days in the parks equals a savings of $480 just for bringing in our own drinks. That's a LOT of Disney magic we could spend elsewhere. Our kids love flavored water too, so if we skipped the juice, and just some some water flavoring packets we would save even more! Seeing as a 6 pack of bottled soda is often on sale for $3.00 in our area, I'd say 50 cents for a bottled soda is a LOT fairer of a price that $4.50.
Yes, it can be a hassle sometimes to bring your own in the regard that you have to take a few minutes to plan ahead of time, but its not really too bad. We grab a few drinks in the backpack in the morning, restock in the afternoon, and save a lot of money! The good thing about carrying drinks in a backpack, is it's heaviest in the mornings when you have the most energy, and gets lighter as the day goes on. For us, having cold drinks any time we want it without having to wait in a line is worth it!
But how to bring the drinks with you?
There are three easy ways!
If you drive, load up the car before hand. We froze our waters beforehand, and they lasted for a week with just the occasional bucket of ice tossed in a cooler since the mini fridge never quite gets it cold enough.
If you drive but just don't have the room to make the haul with your drinks in tow, you can stop off at a nearby grocery or drug store before arriving at your resort.
If you fly, or even if you drive if you don't want to spend a second of time or space worrying about picking up the water, you can use a Grocery Delivery service, like Amazon Now, Amazon Prime, or Garden Grocer. They will take all of the worry out of it and bring your order right to you, (in Amazon Now's case, within 2 hours!) This is great not only for drinks, but also snacks or other food for your trip!
Does Disney mind you bringing in your own sodas, juice or water?
Not at all! Disney is very generous letting you bring in your own snacks but also your own non alcoholic beverages. It's perfect for you Pepsi or Dr. Pepper fans too, because with Disney's long time affiliation with Coca Cola, you won't be able to find Pepsi or Dr. pepper brand drinks in the parks or resorts.
While bringing in drinks may not work for everyone, it works pretty well for our family. Have you ever brought your own drinks or water bottles in? Does that work for your family?
It doesn't have to be a holiday to make a copycat Disney treat, but I really couldn't think of anything better than Halloween, and caramel apples. I FINALLY got one on our last trip, and for weeks after I dreamed of them! I tried to make my own, and I'm only slightly embarrassed to say the 8 I made were gone in 2 days. I'd like to say I had help eating them, but to be honest, only one of them went to my oldest. Yikes! This time, I made a dozen, with the intention of sharing! I've learned a few things since the last time I made these, so these tips are updated!
A quick note on the apples-- green apples last longer. They area little tart, so that plays well with the sweet of the caramel, so if you make these using red apples, they might not taste as good, and most importantly, they won't last as long. These can last several days (just not in my house!!) without any taste loss.
These are super simple to make. The hardest part is unwrapping all those caramels. I used the recipe on the back of the bag:
However, I did use milk, instead of water, and I felt like that worked better than before, when I used water.
Also, don't forget to make sure you wash and DRY your apples. If you don't dry them, the caramel won't stick!
Put the sticks in. I ran out of sticks, so I cut bamboo skewers (like for the grill) in half. Those worked great!
Next, get your pan ready.
Now it's time to decide how you want to melt the caramels. I've done it both ways, a bowl over simmering water, and also straight in the pot. I really prefer to just dump them all in my pot. It goes faster in the melting process I think, and then I don't have a bowl precariously balanced on a pot, trying to tip onto the stove.
Once you've decided how you want to melt your caramels, unwrap, put them in the pot and add your liquid. Stir, stir stir... it transitions... keep going until it's all melty. Don't leave it alone though! It could burn and ruin your caramels.
Eventually, your caramel should start to transition like my photographs.
Dip your apples into the caramel, no photo here, it goes quick and starts to harden fast! Roll into nuts if you like, but you could do chocolate chips or sprinkles too, and place on a sheet of waxed paper. They set pretty fast!!
Aren't they sooo pretty? Takes less than an hour to do these. If you have people helping unwrap the caramels, it will go much faster!
So delish, and easy, and pretty close to the Disney ones. It's not spot on, but in a pinch, or dire Disney emergency, these will do the job!
Be sure to keep them chilled just until serving, because the caramel might stick to the wax paper otherwise.
Happy Halloween everyone!!
Disney has always made sure that ALL of their guests, no matter what challange faces them, can still have a mgaical experience. A holiday at a Disney Park is no different. Once again, Disney is offering guests with food allergies a chance to enjoy trick or treating at the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, a chance to enjoy treats, with no tricks.
If you are attending this event, you can ask for a treat bag that's for allergy treats. You'll get a special bag, with a teal pumpkin, and as you go from stop to stop, you'll be able to collect a token to be redeemed for different allergy free treats! There's all kinds of great stuff to pick from, AND you can read the label information on the food products to make sure that the treat is safe for you, or your child.
Not sure what the Teal Pumpkin Project is? You can click here to read about it!
Our house has always had treats and trinkets that any child of any age or any allergy can enjoy, but this year, the Teal Pumpkin Project has taken on new meaning for us, since our youngest now has a severe nut allergy. It makes me so happy that Disney is so inclusive of all guests, and we are proud to be connected even in a small way, by proudly displaying our own teal pumpkins this year!
Even without a teal pumpkin, it's easy to be part of this. Just have some treats that are safe for anyone, in addition to your usual treats you love to pass out. Dum dums, Smarties, and Tootsie Rolls are just a few that don't contain any of the top 8 allergens. You can also hit the dollar store for stickers, slinkies, mini notepads and other fun things! You might be the reason that a child who has had to say "No, thank you, I can't" all night long, or collected candy, knowing it will be given to a sibling because it's not safe for them, will get to have a few treats for themselves that are safe, and they can enjoy!
Nestled in a little cove, in one of the dining rooms at Be Our Guest in Disney's Magic Kingdom is the Enchanted Rose that Beast was given. Protected by a glass dome, the rose flickers, and petals fall, vanishing almost instantly.
If you have dinner in the castle, Beast will be there, perhaps you can ask him if he is worried what will happen when the rose has lost all of it's petals.
While we all know how this story ends, when you dine at Be Our Guest, Beast is still Beast, he hasn't returned to his Princely form yet, so maybe he has no idea if Belle is going to fall in love with him before the last petal falls.
What do you think? Have you ever had a chance to look at this amazing rose? I always take a quick peek when we go, and reluctantly move aside so someone else can see it and photograph it too. It is an absolute marvel, and without a doubt, magic.