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Getting the Most Out of the Disney Dining Plan – Part 2

A perfect use of a DDP snack credit - Photo by Disney Photo Snapper

A perfect use of a DDP snack credit – Photo by Disney Photo Snapper

This week, Shannon Bonadurer from Destinations 2 Travel LLC. brings you part 2 of 2 of a #TravelAgentThursday special series on getting the most out of the Disney Dining Plan!  Take it away, Shannon!

Last week, we looked at the Pros and Cons of the #DisneyDiningPlan, and this week it’s time to find out how to choose the right plan for your family’s #PerfectVacation!

Click here for all the details on what’s included in the Disney Dining Plan packages!

We’ve used the Disney Dining plan a few times on our past vacations, but we’ve always had the regular plan which includes a #TableService meal, a #QuickService meal and a snack each day.   I am always pleasantly surprised by the portion size of quick serve meals – I never leave hungry! And since the dining plan includes a dessert with every meal, there’s no way to feel deprived regardless of which Disney Dining plan you choose.

In addition to the free meals, refillable drink mugs were included with the Quick Service Dining Plan.

I have not yet used the Deluxe Dining plan the reason is IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF DINING!  With the Deluxe Dining Plan you receive 3 Table Service Meals 2 Snacks and the refillable mug.  With all of the food you receive with the Basic Disney Dining Plan I have to wonder is it possible to eat 3 Table Service meals, and is there enough time?

I have crunched the numbers with the Deluxe Dining plan on the time it takes to dine at 3 table service restaurants, travel time to the restaurants and don’t forget you will need to sleep at some point in time during the 24 hour period.  Here is what I found.  It takes anywhere between 45 to 60 min to travel from a park to a restaurant.  Once you arrive it can take an additional 15-30 minutes to get through security and the gates of whatever park you are dining at. 

Take off 30 minutes if you are dining at one of the resort restaurants.  Now it takes at a minimum 2 hours after you are seated to order, dine and take care of the check.  Now you have 2 more meals to go.  If you add it up along with an 8 hour night’s sleep you will end up with 9 hours in transportation and dining time, 8 hours of sleep each night, an hour in the morning to get the family ready for the day and an hour at night to get the family ready for bed along with 1 hour in the morning and in the evening to get to and from the resort.  That total leaves you with 3 hours to enjoy the theme parks!  3 HOURS!!! 

Considering the new Fast Pass + option how in the world can you take advantage of the parks if your wrapped up with 21 hours of traveling, dining and sleep?  You can’t!  Now if you’re on vacation and the purpose is to just enjoy the atmosphere, the resorts and dine then the Deluxe Dining option will work out fantastic for a vacation like this.  The money you save alone on this type of plan is 35% than paying out of pocket. 

The Disney Dining Plan brochure and card

Is the Disney Dining Plan right for your family? – Photo by sburke2478

With every guest I book on a Walt Disney World Vacation I always suggest the Disney Dining plan that I feel will work for their vacation plans.  When you consider that you will save on average 35% by using the dining plan vs paying out of pocket it’s an easy decision to make.  The hardest decision to me is Basic Dining vs Quick Service Dining.  How I make that decision is if you are staying for less than 5 nights Counter service dining is the way to go.  If you are staying 5 nights or more Basic Dining is the way to go. 

Now that you know all there is about the Disney Dining Plans, which plan will work for you and your family’s next Walt Disney World Vacation?

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