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This is part of an ongoing guest post series on Disney World Savings, written by a life long Disney lover.
Now we get to delve into what WDW has to offer in terms of food. This is one of my favorite aspects of Disney. Jim Gaffigan describes vacationing as just eating in different locations and I can relate to that. WDW has tons to offer here and I thoroughly enjoy their food. Don’t get me wrong, not everything at WDW is delicious, but the majority of my experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
If you are on a tight budget, the dining plan is probably not the way to go. You can easily pack lunches and dinners for a much cheaper cost (there is a bag check for each park, but they allow food and drink). However, if you plan on eating on property (buying food from WDW), I highly recommend the dining plan. We also love the luxury of not having to pack food and the experience of eating great food. Again, this choice is up to you as there is definitely value in the dining plan, but it is certainly not the cheaper option.
There are two types of dining: Quick service and Table service.
To reserve or not to reserve?
Most of the Table service restaurants at WDW really require reservations to ensure seating. Many of these establishments are fully booked several months in advance (it’s because the food is incredible!). There are no reservations Quick service reservations – think of these eateries as fast casual dining.
Reservations are great and needed at the majority of the restaurants, but they do constrict your schedule. You may want to plan your dining around parades, fireworks, and extra magic hours. It’s crucial to think about your plans as you decide when and where to eat. You can make reservations up to 180 days in advance, I strongly recommend you to book as soon as you can so that you may choose a time that allows you to see all you want to. Call this number to make the reservations: (407) 939-3463.
Packages and Pricing:
- Magic Your Way
- Magic Your Way Plus Quick Service-Dining
- Magic Your Way Plus Dining
- Magic Your Way Plus Deluxe Dining
- Magic Your Way Premium Package
I really like the Magic Your Way Plus dining package. This package features one Quick service, one Table service, and one Snack per person PER NIGHT. I really enjoy this package because it allows you flexibility while still enjoying the amazing cuisine Disney has to offer. Breakfast is usually light and on the go, maybe a granola bar or some cereal on your own. Quick service is great for lunch because it doesn’t take too long and still offers some great dining options. Then dinner (when everyone is tired) is perfect for the nice sit down dinner. Make sure to check the firework times prior to making reservations. You don’t want to miss those!
The dining plan is great because it can help to save you money, up to 20% according to the Disney website. To reiterate, you could eat at Disney for less money by packing food and not buying food from the park. This is an example of weighing experience vs. cost. Dining at Disney can really be special because the restaurants are themed, have wonderful customer service, and great food, but it really depends on what your priorities are going into the vacation.
The pricing per day changes depending on the number of days you stay, which season you go in, and week days versus weekends. The Magic Your Way Plus Dining ranged from $36.79 to $45.99 per person per day when I did my calculations. One table service meal can easily run $30+ per person without the dining plan, so you will want the dining plan if you plan on eating at Disney!
Do you have a favorite WDW restaurant? Come back tomorrow for tips on what to pack!