The Disney Dining Plan is an amazing option for Disney World travelers – it allows for you to prepay for a set amount of meals/snacks, and it makes mealtime SO easy – a quick scan of your magic band and you’re good to go – and with your remaining meal/snack credits listed right on your receipt, tracking is easy, too!
Over the years, us Disney Addicts have compiled some “Tips & Tricks” To using the Disney Dining Plans – we love the DDP and hope you can use these to help you fall in love with it, too!
Exchanges: people often ask if it’s possible to make changes to what’s included on the plan – for example: “can I exchange a QS drink for a dessert?” Or “can I exchange a TS dessert for an appetizer?” And unfortunately, the answer to both and similar questions is technically “no” – however, both have been known to happen at various dining locations around WDW – so if you really want to make a change – ask a Cast Member if it can be accommodated – they may allow it (but prepare for them to say no)
Utilize the DDP’s Flexibility: the plans don’t mandate that you use one snack/meal per person per day, but rather – the meal and snack credits for the whole trip are basically pooled together for you to use as you wish. You can use 6 Counter Service credits one day and none the next. And they aren’t assigned to specific people either – one person can do all the ordering/paying since the credits are available to each member of the party
Maximize Each Credit: In order to get your money’s worth with the Dining Plan, you will want to make sure you are maximizing each credit – to do that, you can do a couple of different things – first being, share some of the larger meals and snacks. Secondly, and this may seem weird, but – order more expensive meals/snacks. Instead of a piece of fruit, use your snack credit on a cupcake or other bigger item. This ensures you are getting the most out of each and every DDP credit
Pick The Right DDP For You: The Disney Dining Plan has a couple of types – the Quick Service Plan which includes 2 Counter Service meals/2 snacks per person/per night, the Standard Dining Plan which includes 1 Table Service meal/1 Counter Service meal/2 snacks per person/per night, and the Deluxe Dining Plan which includes 3 meals (can be used as counter or table service)/2 snacks per person/per night. The right plan for you all depends on your family’s needs/desires when it comes to food – read up on how to choose the right Dining Plan for you Here
Get The DDP for FREE: Disney offers a ton of different special events and promotions throughout the year to entice people to come and visit their Parks – and one of the most popular promotions they run is Free Dining – offered annually, usually during the fall season – this enables you to book your WDW Resort and ticket package and then add on a select DDP for FREE. I was lucky enough to snag this deal for our last trip – and it was amazing! Contact our awesome Travel Agent Partners at Key To The World Travel – they can help you plan & book your trip and even help you try and snag the coveted free dining promotion!
CS to Snacks: Should you happen to find yourself with extra Counter Service DDP credits, a little known fact is that you can actually exchange each one for 3 snack credits. Which is great because – snacks are life, and there are tons of different ones to try at the Parks, so why not try even MORE of them by converting your unused meal credits to snack credits?
Bring Some Home: If you have some extra snack credits at the end of your trip (or extra CS credits that you can convert to snack credits!), I recommend you stock up on snacks you can bring home with you. Packaged items like candy, pretzels, crackers and much more will all travel well and be a great little pick me up to battle those post-Disney blues! We brought home a bunch of Mickey shaped cheddar crackers, Mickey lollipops, chocolate coins, and even a Mickey Rice Krispie treat last time we were at WDW!
Pro Tip: Save some of the extra snacks you bring home and hide them for special occasions – Mickey candy from Disney in their Easter baskets or Christmas stockings will really be a thrill and a great surprise – “mommy Santa went all the way to Walt Disney World for these for me!” He sure did pal!
If you’ve never used the dining plan (or even if you have!) – hopefully you can keep these tips and tricks in mind next time you head to WDW – and you can learn more about how the DDP works here