Changes Coming to the Disney Dining Plan Beginning May 31

by on May 29, 2015 66 Comments

Filed under: Recent News, Walt Disney World (FL)

Disney Dining PlanLove it or hate it, the Disney Dining Plan is a very popular part of many people’s Walt Disney World vacation. Many like the fact that everything is pre-paid, as well as the ease of using the system.

With that being said, Disney will be making a few minor changes, based off of guest feedback, to the program. These changes will allow guests more flexibility and choice in using entitlements,  including substitutions, who can use meal entitlements, and expanded snack offerings.

Let’s take a look at this piece by piece, starting with the changes to the table service entitlements.

  • Guests who do not want a dessert will now have the ability to substitute that dessert choice for either a side salad, a cup of soup, or a fruit plate. Do keep in mind that this is only available upon request and substitutions may be limited. Guests will not be able to select an appetizer option instead.
  • Guests will not be restricted on the number of meal entitlements that may be used in one dining experience. For example, if you had are a family of four and you have the dining plan, but you meet your parents at dinner and they do not have the dining plan, but you would like to use your extra credits to buy their meal, you now have the ability to do so.
  • Those guests on either the Deluxe, the Premium, of the Platinum Dining Plans will now be able to mix their adult and child credits. This means that if a guest on the dining plan has two adults and two child meal entitlements, they may choose to select four adult entree options, if they would like. Those on the regular Disney Dining Plan will not have this option, and a child entitlement must still be used for a child meal.

Let’s take a look at the changes being made at the the Quick Service location changes.

  • Guests may substitute any dessert or non-alcoholic beverage choice with any eligible snack, provided it’s within the same transaction.  This means that if you don’t want your quick service chocolate cake, you can substitute it with say a side of french fries.
  • Quick service locations will also not enforce the mixture of adult and child entitlements. Guests with two adults and two children on the Quick Service Dining Plan can choose four adult meals, if they prefer.
  • Guests may substitute one Quick Service meal for up to three snack options within the same transaction at Quick Service dining locations or food courts. For example, if you didn’t want to eat a quick service meal, but were still hungry, you could choose to grab an apple, a bottle of water, and a muffin and it would be able to count as one Quick Service meal entitlement, if you chose that option.

Now let’s discuss the changes to the Snack entitlements.  Under the new rules, a snack is now considered to be anything that is a single serving size.  This means that things like the giant Mickey cookies and funnel cakes will be considered as a snack option now; the price of the item will no longer matter. The following are now considered to be snacks:

  • All single-serve non-alcoholic beverages, not in a souvenir container
  • All soups served in Quick Service locations
  • All items that were considered snacks, but had an additional option at a separate price, such as toppings, sauces, etc. For example, funnel cake with ice cream or a pretzel with cheese sauce.
  • All ice cream novelties
  • All hand-scooped ice cream, including sundaes. (Cannot exceed two scoops, nor can it be served in a souvenir container.)
  • All items on Quick Service menus listed under the Sides option.
  • Quick Service Restaurant breakfast items that can be considered part of an entree and also offered as a side. (For example, if a guest wants orange juice, a side of bacon, and a side of eggs, they can choose to use 1 Quick Service meal entitlement or 3 Snack entitlements.
    • The following items may now be included as a snack:
      • Cereal with milk
      • French toast sticks
      • Oatmeal or quinoa
      • Grits
      • Side of bacon
      • Side of sausage
      • Side of eggs
      • Side of potatoes
      • Biscuits and gravy
      • Hard-boiled eggs

As I mentioned before, these changes are being made due to guest feedback and I think, for the most part, these are good changes.  If you ever have any questions about the different dining plans, or about things that are included, don’t be afraid to ask a Cast Member. They would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Posted on May 29, 2015

66 Responses to “Changes Coming to the Disney Dining Plan Beginning May 31”

  • For this new rule:
    Guests will not be restricted on the number of meal entitlements that may be used in one dining experience.

    I was curious… if two guests go to a table service restaurant, and they would prefer to share a meal and redeem just one table service credit during that visit, is that now acceptable as well?

    • Tom: We have done this before at Hollywood Brown Derby. My husband had 2 credits left because he missed a dinner show earlier in the trip and we were able to use his credits to split a meal

    • by Wendy Watson on May 30, 2015, at 9:51 am EDT

      I would really love to know the official answer to this question as well!

      Thanks!!!

    • by Wendy Watson on May 30, 2015, at 9:54 am EDT

      “Guests may substitute any dessert or non-alcoholic beverage choice for any eligible snack, provided it’s within the same transaction.”

      Does this mean I can also substitute my drink? We drink the free water with our counter-service meal credits. Can we use those drink credits for something else now?

  • This is great! I wish it was in effect back in October when we used free dining. My husband is diabetic and would have loved to have been able to substitute the dessert with something he could actually eat.

  • by Paul Collupy on May 29, 2015, at 7:40 pm EDT

    Sounds like a good upgrade. I would like to have the ability to use two quick service meals for a table service meal. Now that would a good upgrade. We don’t always like to be tied down to a table service reservation but do enjoy one or two sit down meals during our visits.

  • I wonder if this will cause a increase mid season to the dining plan pricing? But overall great news as it gives back some flexibility and it means now more people may purchase the dining plan again because of the added value like getting the funnel cake with ice cream, or the pretzel with the cheese sauce, and the ability to order a side salad and share a dessert.

  • All items that were considered snacks, but had an additional option at a separate price, such as toppings, sauces, etc. For example, funnel cake with ice cream or a pretzel with cheese sauce.

    Does that mean they will come with the toppings?

  • by Neva huddleston on May 29, 2015, at 8:16 pm EDT

    So if my family of four buys the deluxe dining plan, we can now use some of our credits for my parents when they are not on the plan? And we can use child credits for adults or just for adult menu options?

    • by Diane Speigle on May 29, 2015, at 9:25 pm EDT

      If your older child would prefer something off the adult menu instead of chicken nuggets again, they can use their “child” credit to get the adult meal

      also, unfortunately for the dishonest, you could now extend your meal plan by using the “child” credits to get adult meals for mom and dad, and pay for the cheaper kids meals separately in cash

      basically, everyone gets the same “meal credit” and it will not designate adult or child

    • You can use them for adult menu options

      • I called Disney Dining and they said this is not true. I was hoping that on the deluxe dining plan, my son could order off the adults menu but they said that adults can order off the children’s menu but not vice versa. Anyone else get confirmation of this?

  • •All ice cream novelties

    I’m thinking the brioche Ice Ceam Sandwich in France at Epcot?

  • This news of changes to the dining plan has been floating around for a few days, but I’ve seen nothing from an official Disney site. When can we expect to see this information published by Disney? I’m afraid to get my hopes up since I really like these changes 🙂

    • by Mousecoachjenn on May 30, 2015, at 7:15 am EDT

      I agree. I wish Disney would release official information and details on these types of things before bloggers because until then we have to consider it rumor.

    • I can tell you that I have seen this information, with my own two eyes from Disney. I would never post something like this just based off a rumor. I always make sure what I’m posting is 100%.

  • Many of these options were available already if you asked a Cast Member. We frequently visit the parks with my brother, who lives locally, has an annual pass, doesn’t stay at the hotel with us and therefore doesn’t have the Dining Plan. But we have always charged his meals to our plan without problem. We have also frequently used QS credits to buy multiple snacks (works great at breakfast especially).

    We just got home from a trip in May and found cast members very prepared to offer advice about how to use the dining credits to get what we really wanted.

    • Were you able to use your credits at both quick service and table service to pay for your brother who was not on the plan? I was hoping to do the same with my mother who will be accompanying us on a trip, but I was under the impression that before now you could not pay for a non-planner with your plan.

      • March 2015: I bought dinner on my dining plan account in Spice Road Table for a sit down meal for my 2 brothers who were not on the dining plan. There was no issue.

      • Yes, we did this at multiple table service and QS locations without a problem. I can see from other comments that some people were unable to do this, but we just all sat down at TS locations and charged the meals without any discussion of who was on the plan and who wasn’t. All the waitress seemed to care about was whether or not we had enough credits; as long as we did, they just charged the meals.

        We flipped QS credits into snacks a couple of times, but always at our hotel (Contemporary). So perhaps you might have better luck with this at the hotel rather than in the parks.

    • I just left on May 26th. I asked a CM on May 25th if I could use my leftover quick service credits for a snack. I was willing to do a 1 for 1 deal but was told they could not do it. So this is not something you can get by asking it is a matter of what CM you ask.

    • Any idea if either gratuity will be added back in? Or can the mandatory gratuity for parties of six be removed? We are tired of having to run two transactions at each table service.

    • We were there in December, and since we’d been ill and missed meals, we tried to get some extra snacks at the end. I was told by multiple cms and the manager that while they USED to do that as a courtesy, there had been a policy change and it was specifically NOT allowed. 🙁

    • We were there January 3-9 and we had left over QS meals and a CM at SSR exchanged them for snacks. She was very helpful and happy to do it so that’ll ey didn’t go to waste. Then the kiddos and hubby had snacks to take back home with us.

  • These changes are great. We might actually do the dining plan now. One question – does this mean during food and wine we could get a couple ‘snacks’ at one kiosk transaction in place of a counter service meal?

    Thanks!

  • Now that there is no designation of child vs adult, will the price of the kids’ dining plans go up? We already booked and bought the dining plan, but our kids’ plans were significantly less. Thanks for any info!

    • The designation is only removed for quick service meals and Deluxe, Premium, and Platinum Dining Plans. Table Service meals for the regular Disney Dining Plan will still be designated between adult and child. No word on a price increase yet for the dining plan, but that typically gets released when the 2016 Disney Vacation Packages get released, which is typically in the summer.

  • So what’s the biggest “bang for your buck” with a new snack credit? Turkey leg? Funnel cake with ice cream?

  • We were there earlier in May and experienced all of these changes. Cast members actually made the suggestions or offered the new options. Much appreciated!

  • by Philip Jones on May 30, 2015, at 1:21 am EDT

    We’ve used child credits to buy adult meals (quick service) for years, based on information from cast members. To my knowledge, there has never been anything “in the system” to differentiate between the two and track them separately. I guess they’re just making it official. Again, this has been our experience with quick service, not table service.

  • We rarely all want a dessert after a QS meal; we’ll really appreciate being able to swap for an extra bottle of water. Great changes, makes it much more flexible, hope it doesn’t add to queue times though, we’re used to the DDP now but newbies find it confusing already (as we did too).

  • by Carol Douglass on May 30, 2015, at 6:20 am EDT

    I wonder if all of these changes mean that the future of free dining will come to an end. Maybe their way of justifying doing away with it?

  • I love the can have a side instead of a dessert bit.
    I have always been a bit miffed with the breakfast credit though, you use one credit but don’t get a dessert (would be fruit or yogurt with breakfast for example)I never got the reason why just because you were using it at breakfast you were penalized.

    • I agree. It’s a terrible use for a quick service breakfast because you loose your dessert option. 🙁

      • I’ve always found it strange that you can’t get “dessert” at breakfast, especially as breakfast entrees are cheaper than lunch.
        Would love to get a bounty platter with a “dessert” of fresh fruit or a cinnamon roll for breakfast.

  • Just did a Disney chat and the agent verified these changes are in fact true and should be on their web site very soon!! Hats off to you (touringplans)for being on top of everything!!!

  • Thank you for this information. I just want to mention that I think the use of prepositions in your article may lead to a little confusion for some (although the overall meaning was clear). For example in the following:
    “Guests may substitute any dessert or non-alcoholic beverage choice FOR any eligible snack, provided it’s within the same transaction. This means that if you don’t want your quick service chocolate cake, you can substitute it FOR say a side of french fries.”
    I believe you mean to say WITH. Otherwise the meaning is instead of french fries you can get a dessert or drink, not the reverse. I bring up this seemingly picky grammatical point just because it may lead to a little confusion otherwise. Again thanks for the info!

  • by Wendy Watson on May 30, 2015, at 11:24 am EDT

    “Guests may substitute any dessert or non-alcoholic beverage choice for any eligible snack, provided it’s within the same transaction.”
    Does this mean I can also substitute my drink? We drink the free water with our counter-service meal credits. Can we use those drink credits for something else now?

  • What about sit down meals? Can you exchange those for quick service?

  • I’m actually pretty pumped about these changes. We just booked our end of November first week of December trip and paid for the dining plan. Just wondering if you guys will be putting out any examples of how to use this to our advantage to stretch the dining plan. Good places to split meals etc. Thanks for all you guys do, I’m a touring plans believer for life! 🙂

  • We have a large family (5 kids) and can not afford to stay on property so we’ve never been able to take part in the dining plan. We are pass holders so i would like to see the plans extended to include pass holders.

  • I wonder how this will affect ( if at all) single serve snacks that were previously too expensive? In particular I wonder if a caramel peanut Apple will now be a snack credit? That would be AMAZING!!!

  • Is all of this still supposed to go live today? I’m still not seeing the changes posted anywhere official. Has anyone seen it? If you have, can you post a link?

  • Looks like if you poke around on the website that they have made it harder to spend your snack credits. Popular places like Aloha Isle and the Oasis canteen (where you can get a funnel cake)the pastry shop in France etc. have all been taken off of the dining plan. I Only hope that they get major backlash and add them back on, or it is just a glitch but am sadly thinking that it is not.

  • Places like Aloha Isle, Gaston’s Tavern & Plaza Ice Cream now state “Dining Plans Not Accepted” on MDE & the website. Can you no longer use snack credits to get a Dole Whip, Cinnamon Roll or Ice Cream Sundae?

    • After reading your comment, I did a little research, and I read elsewhere that this is not correct, but a “major website glitch”. You can search for “aloha isle dining plan no longer accepted” to read the blog post for yourself. I doubt they can change these things mid season without any major ramifications from disgruntled guests.

  • by Carol Douglass on May 31, 2015, at 12:09 pm EDT

    What I am now hearing is you can still use a single snack credit at these places, you just cannot trade a meal credit for three snack credits. It makes sense, they do not serve any meals.

  • Now that you can allow others to dine on your meal plan, do you think they will still require everyone at the table on the plan to use their plan? Sometimes I am stuffed and just want to have an appetizer or salad and pay out of pocket. It would be nice to save my meal/dessert from my table-service credit to use later. We have a 6 night reservation but reservations for 7 table-service meals. We will end up paying out of pocket for a whole meal. Having a few extra credits at the end would be so nice.

  • So I am going to be at wdw starting June 1 (yes, tomorrow). Some of these changes would really improve our dining options. Are these really going into effect 5/31?

  • I have not seen any updates on the website saying you can use credits for people not on your dining plan. When is this supposed to be released?

  • I, too, am waiting to hear something. Any indication of when this is going to go into effect now that May 31 has come and gone?

    • It already has. It’s slowly being rolled out through June 4, but I highly doubt Disney is going to write a blog post themselves about it. This is all stuff that is being clarified to Cast Members.

  • no one ever mentions cost on posts. How much does this cost?