Walt Disney World’s Disney Dining Plan will cost more in 2010. Although Disney has not released specific details regarding the rate increase, it could reduce demand for the Disney Dining Plan, which resort guests add to their room package.
Currently the dining plan costs about $41 per night for guests ages 10 and up and $11 for children ages 3-9. It is added to resort guests’ hotel room key or “Key to the World,” which is scanned at Disney restaurants and snack carts. Guests who add the Disney Dining Plan to their resort packages receive one snack, one quick service meal, and one table service meal per night of stay. Since one table service meal can easily add up to the daily Disney Dining Plan standard rate of $41, the Disney Dining Plan is currently a bargain. Should the 2010 cost exceed $45 per day for an adult, however, the value of adding the Disney Dining Plan to a resort package will decline.
The Disney Dining Plan is a better deal for Disney World cast members, who pay as little as $25 per day. The best deal of all is available to guests who take advantage of the free Disney Dining Plan, which is available to guests who book special packages for stays between three and fourteen nights between September 27 and December 17. The free Disney Dining Plan offer is not available in combination with any other discount, including annual passholder, Florida resident, or Disney Vacation Club discounts on Disney resort hotels.
The Disney Dining Plan was originally offered to standard resort guests only, but in recent years Disney World extended the dining savings program to Disney World annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members. Passholders, cast members, and guests who like to stretch their Disney dollars eat at some of Disney World’s best table service restaurants for a fraction of the price.
Table service locations include some of Disney’s finest restaurants at the theme parks and resort hotels, including 'Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, and Teppan Edo steakhouse in Epcot’s Japan pavilion. Reservations for table service restaurants need to be made in advance. Princess Dining at Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is also available with the Disney Dining Plan. More information on making dining reservations is available here.
A non-alcoholic beverage and dessert are included with all table service and quick service meals. Both types of meals are available at Disney theme parks, Disney resort hotels, and at select locations at the Downtown Disney shopping center. One of the best places to stretch the quick service meal entitlements is at Epcot, which features myriad informal cafes. At the patisserie in France, one combination diners can purchase with their quick service entitlement is a ham and Swiss sandwich on a baguette, a large drink, and an exquisite French pastry of their choice. Or head to the Japanese cafe near the koi pool for sushi with tea. The quick service entitlement is good for more than plain old chicken fingers and fries.
The snack entitlement can be used for a non-alcoholic beverage or a snack. Once again, Epcot offers the greatest variety of snacks, especially at World Showcase. The Disney Dining Plan snack entitlement can also be used during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in the fall. One snack entitlement can be used to purchase a snack-sized portion of international cuisine from the many outdoor kiosks featuring German apple strudel, Canadian cheddar cheese soup, Norwegian strawberry rice cream, Greek baklava, and a plethora of dishes from around the world.