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Disney Deluxe Dining Plan Review

Food

This past December I took the ultimate Disney Christmas trip. We went all out with a 5-night stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, 6-day park hopper tickets, tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. I will be sure to share my thoughts on the other experiences, but in this post I want to talk about the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.

I booked my stay using the Free Dining Plan promo. We stayed at a Deluxe Resort so my package included the regular Dining Plan. For ~$190 each ($38 a night) I upgraded us to the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.

What’s Included

The Deluxe Dining Plan includes:

  • 3 meal credits a night (table service or quick service)
  • Each table service meal includes appetizer, entree, and dessert (or a full buffet)
  • 2 snacks
  • Alcoholic beverage (for 21+) or a specialty drink for kids
  • Refillable resort mug

vs. the Standard Dining Plan which includes:

  • One table service credit a night
  • One quick service credit a night
  • Each table service meal includes entree, and dessert (or a full buffet)
  • Each quick service meal includes an entree or combo meal
  • 2 snacks
  • Alcoholic beverage (for 21+) or a specialty drink for kids
  • Refillable resort mug

The main differences between the packages are that you are getting 3 meal credits a day as opposed to two, the meal credits are not broken up between table service and quick service, and with table service meals you get an appetizer. Note: There has been a new dining plan added recently, the Disney Dining Plan Plus, which includes 2 credits a night that is similar to the Standard Dining Plan, but the two credits can be used for either table service or quick service credits.

I read a few people’s thoughts on the Deluxe Dining Plan before deciding on it, but ultimately decided that we wanted to try a lot of the signature restaurants (which all require 2 table service credits) and we wanted to be on the Dining Plan for the pure convenience of having everything prepaid. Do I regret my decision? Maybe.

Deluxe Dining Plan Narcoossee's
Bread service at Narcoossee’s – 2 credits on the Deluxe Dining Plan

Pros

Before I get into why I will likely never get the Deluxe Dining Plan again, there were some things that I really enjoyed about the plan.

  • We got to eat really great food at really nice restaurants. We ate at Jiko, Narcoosee’s, California Grill, and Yachtsman Steakhouse this trip and they were all incredible. Without the Deluxe Dining Plan we would have never eaten at all of those restaurants.
  • We got to try a lot of different food. With each of us getting an appetizer and dessert included with our meal, we were able to try a variety of items.
  • We didn’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs (for the most part). Because everything was included we didn’t have to worry about having extra expenses on the trip, except for the tips which I’ll get into later on.
Deluxe Dining Plan Jiko
Dessert from Jiko – included with an entree for 2 credits on the Deluxe Dining Plan

Cons

Now, while I enjoyed sitting down to a nice meal every night, here are the reasons I am likely to never get the Deluxe Dining Plan again.

  • It’s way too much food. I read this over and over again before I booked it. But I figured we were only eating two meals a day (since we ate at a signature restaurant almost every night) so we would be fine. I was wrong. An appetizer, entree, and dessert for each of us every night was way too much. We usually never really got to enjoy the dessert because we were too full by the time it came.
  • Eating at signature restaurants every night is a lot of work. Almost all of the signature restaurants have a dress code, which means some days we needed to wear a different outfit than we wore to the parks that day to dinner. That not only meant we had to pack extra things, but it also meant we had to make time to go back and change before dinner. We saw that most of the time the restaurant did not enforce the dress code. But we still felt like we should be dressed nicer, which was sometimes a hassle.
  • The more expensive your meal, the more you need to tip. Tips are not included in the dining plans. This means your tip is an out-of-pocket cost that you need to cover. When you’re eating at expensive restaurants and getting an appetizer, entree, dessert, and alcohol every night, the tips really start to add up. I’m guessing we spent around $300 on tips alone for 5 nights. 
Deluxe Dining Plan California Grill Brunch
Entree from brunch at California Grill – 2 credits on the Deluxe Dining Plan

Concluding Thoughts

I didn’t do a full analysis on how much money we saved or if we even saved money getting the dining plan. If we weren’t on the dining plan we would have never ordered all of the food that we did. We would rarely order one much less two appetizers at each meal and would usually get one dessert. It was definitely a different type of trip, eating only at table service restaurants and dining at so many signature restaurants. While it was a nice experience, but one I would probably not repeat. However, I do think that I would likely try the new Disney Dining Plan Plus. If this had been an option during our trip, that is likely the dining plan I would have chosen.

Deluxe Dining Plan Review Pinterest Graphic

Have you ever had the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.


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