Theme Park Insider

Disney Raises Dining Plan Prices, Considers Resort Fees

March 9, 2016, 3:24 PM · Following its ticket-price increases last month, Walt Disney World has raised prices on its Disney Dining Plan.

Prices rose about 5-6% per day for adults on Disney's one-price-fits-all dining package, which includes meals, snacks, and drinks at restaurants across the resort. Disney offers three price levels for its dining plan.

The Quick-Service Dining Plan, with two counter-service meals and one snack, rises from about $42 to $44 per adult per day, and from $16 to $19 for children.

The Regular Dining Plan, with one table-service meal, one counter-service meal, and one snack, went from about $60 to $64 for adults, and about $19 to $23 for kids.

The Deluxe (also called the Premium or Platinum) Dining Plan, with three meals (table-service or counter-service) and two snacks, goes from about $110 to about $115 per adult per day. The kids' price jumps from about $30 to about $35.

The Disney Dining Plan is available to guests of Disney's on-site hotels as part of their vacation package. It cannot be purchased separately by someone staying off site. Most restaurants in the WDW theme parks and hotels participate, as do many restaurants in Disney Springs. However, higher-priced restaurants, including some popular character meals and dinner shows, will require diners to use two meal credits on the dining plan for each meal at those restaurants. The new prices take effect immediately for new bookings, but do not affect guests who have booked their vacation packages already.

Last month, Walt Disney World rolled out a new pricing structure for theme park tickets, in which the price for one-day tickets at each of the four WDW theme parks would vary by the date visited. Again, there were three price levels for those tickets, too — reflecting Value, Regular, and Peak demand seasons.

Disney might not be done with this round of price increases, either. Apparently, the resort has been surveying visitors about the addition of a resort fee for stays at Disney World hotels. The proposed $15 a night fee would "cover" the costs of MagicBands, resort transportation, parking, WiFi, and Extra Magic Hours, amenities that are now covered in the base price of Disney hotel rooms.

Resort fees have become standard at many U.S. hotels, even facilities that defy the use of the description "resort." They provide an easy way for hotels to increase their revenue from a room night without having to advertise a higher rate for that room, as resort fees are rarely included in price searches. Many visitors don't find out about resort fees until they get their bill at check-out.

Disney surveyed visitors about seasonal pricing a year before making that switch and almost always uses research surveys such as this before making significant changes to its pricing structures.

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Replies (32)

March 9, 2016 at 3:33 PM · Okay, the resort fee is what will keep me from staying there. The reason I pay the high price to stay on site is that Disney *hasn't* been charging me to park my car or use the transportation system or the Wi-Fi. It was worth it to me to pay the higher rates than I would be getting off-site (including resort fees). If I have to start paying resort fees to stay on property, it will no longer be a value to me. I'll go off-site instead.
March 9, 2016 at 3:58 PM · Why not charge a $50 resort fee per night? Wall Street Disney's greed is insatiable. It's official, Iger is now the worst Disney CEO ever!
March 9, 2016 at 4:44 PM · The nickel and diming is endless. They could think of a million ways to charge for services. I'm surprised they didn't try to charge for transportation services. For all intents, they are a free service to anyone. Maybe its time to install ticketing turnstiles for busses and the monorail. The dining plan needs an extra surcharge for booking. Buying tickets needs a surcharge for handling. All this technology needs to be paid for even with foreign workers so they needs to offset it with administration fees so Disney can realize pure profits sooner in the transaction process.
March 9, 2016 at 5:26 PM · If that takes effect, essentially Disney will be charging you for parking even if you don't have a car. LOL
March 9, 2016 at 7:07 PM · How will they justify transportation as part of the resort fee when non-resort guests are still allowed to ride Buses, Monorails, and boats for free...or is that soon to change too?
March 9, 2016 at 7:46 PM · This continual rise in prices is very disappointing to me. I hope to have a family one day, and with the way things are going there is no way I could ever justify the sacrifices that would have to be made to make a trip to a Disney park. It seems to me that Disney is seeking to eliminate their parks as a destination for the true middle class of America and make them into a place for the upper middle class and upper class of the country. Personally I am a huge Cedar Fair fan, most of my park vacations in the last few years have been to their parks due to the value I feel I receive from them, as well as the reasonable prices of the lodging around them.
March 9, 2016 at 7:53 PM · Wait until you have to pay for parking... TH will have an aneurysm...
March 9, 2016 at 7:58 PM · This is a terrible idea. Disney must be trying to find as many ways as it can to drive as much business as possible to Universal. I realize Disney is having money issues with its foreign parks, but trying to recoup that via raising prices on U.S. guests here in the States while also reducing staff at those resorts and parks is a perfect way to destroy them. I am sure Comcast and Universal is loving this. Walt is turning over in his grave!!
March 9, 2016 at 8:11 PM · Ticket price increases, cutbacks and now rumors of resort fees... Great start to 2016.
March 9, 2016 at 8:18 PM · Someone has to pay for those expansions opening in 2025.
March 9, 2016 at 8:25 PM · As a professional meeting planner, don't even get me started on "resort fees"..... I always try to negotiate them out of any hotel contract I sign.

That being said, the resort fee is usually used to cover things like parking (MAYBE), sleeping room internet access, bottled water, resort access (read, pools and stuff that people are going to use anyway and the hotels won't really be able to police...). etc...

Honestly, I prefer the hotels that just have designated fees for the sort of items noted above (like parking...), than the ones that try to add it on after the fact. Staying at Disney is expensive enough.... Part of the appeal has seemed to be that a lot of these things are already included in the room rate, but if they blatantly break them out, then Disney rooms truly do become the rip-off I've always sort of thought they were....

March 9, 2016 at 8:53 PM · Resort fees are decidedly unmagical. It just looks bad and cheesy to charge for things that should be included in the sticker price. And charging extra for internet access is like charging for water or electricity. Ridiculous and shabby.
March 9, 2016 at 9:17 PM · I have to agree. Resort fees are very bad for customer service. I would rather pay a higher room fee than get to a resort and be told I have to pay extra for something that should be included. The only time a resort fee should ever be assessed is when non-hotel guests pay to use the facilities like pool or parking. Right now Disney is doing everything they can to keep us from visiting.
March 9, 2016 at 9:33 PM · They lost me as an AP in 2012 (only go with comp passes from CM friends). Probably won't even consider an AP again until Star Wars Land opens or the 50th, whichever comes first.

Had you asked me 2-3 years ago, and I would have said "Avatar Land," but I'm disappointed and hope the place will "thin the herd" and correct its course by 2021. Disneyland went through the same ugliness before 2005.

March 9, 2016 at 9:59 PM · In my opinion, resort fees are the biggest scam in the hotel industry. Since the fees are almost always mandatory, they should be included in the room rate. I have no problem with hotels charging extra fees for optional services as you can choose not to use those during your stay, but if there is no way to opt out of the elements covered by the resort fee it should just be included in the advertised price. You don't have to pay a utensil and plate fee to eat at a restaurant, after all.
March 9, 2016 at 10:22 PM · Resort fees are a blatant scam. Disney's current "no resort fee" policy is one reason we enjoy staying at their hotels.
March 9, 2016 at 10:58 PM · With regards to the comment by Rob McCullough regarding the possible resort fee covering transportation, if they do decide to institute it I wouldn't be surprised if they introduce a tiered transportation system like one for resort guests and one for non resort guests using the magicband system on the transportation for resort guests only. And of course the one for resort guests would be more efficient and reliable than the one for non resort guests giving yet another incentive to stay on site.
March 10, 2016 at 12:23 AM · I never stay on site, so i think it's great news. Add them, but ultimately it's bad timing - introduce this when your parks are in good shape, not in their worst shape in history.
March 10, 2016 at 12:49 AM · Considering the outrageous profits generated by the parks division, where is the justification for resort fees? This is just a shameless cash grab.
March 10, 2016 at 5:26 AM · I don't think I have ever seen so much unity in Theme Park Insider before! "Riders of the (Disney) World, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your resort fee scams!!!"
March 10, 2016 at 7:17 AM · Like I've said before, Shanghai isn't going to pay for itself. The mouse has to gain revenue for the shareholders somehow.

Non-resort guests (which the majority are driving to the parks) are already paying a fee to ride the buses and monorails. It's called the parking fee.

There is also already a "tiered" system of transportation for resort guests and non-resort guests too. Ever try to ride a bus from one park to another? It takes forever. You're better off driving to each park if you are going to parkhop. Need a bus to a resort? Always consistently available.

March 10, 2016 at 12:41 PM · This is absolutely hilarious!

Spend a ton of money on a system that basically helps Disney identify how to get deeper into their patron's pockets - and attendance goes up!

Build a glorified shopping mall and call it an attraction that people should be excited about - and attendance goes up!

Spend money on infrastructure instead of attractions and call it improving the resort - and attendance goes up!

Slow roll the attractions being put into their domestic parks while expanding rapidly overseas with other people's money - and attendance goes up!

Reincarnation must be real folks because the spirit of P.T. Barnum lives on in Robert Iger.

March 10, 2016 at 7:42 AM · I wonder if Rob McCullough is thinking in the right direction. I don't mean to sound cynical but maybe adding a resort fee is step 1. Step 2, the on site amenities (like transportation) at each resort become exclusive to the on site guests. Step 3 is to quietly raise hotel prices but make a huge deal about removing all resort fees.

On another note, it's busy here in Central Florida. Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World are both rocking and rolling. For all the internet outrage about pricing, value, and even ethics... people just keep coming.

March 10, 2016 at 7:48 AM · Well after having been hit with a $15 charge to park at Royal Pacific to meet up with an out of town friend for breakfast, I can't say I'm surprised by this. Disney must have looked over at UO hotels making all this extra money and said "hey, let's try that but let's call it a resort fee so we don't have to listen to the complaining".

Personally, this is another reason to not bother staying on property. You can only nickle and dime me so much before I get fed up and take my dollars elsewhere.

March 10, 2016 at 7:53 AM · Disney is unrealistic in how much Disney Fans will tolerate with costs. This tag on is one of the most hated iof resort fees. Love Disney but may stay off property if they institute these fees. There is a limit to how much fans will tolerate, this is the one that'll drive us away.
March 10, 2016 at 8:32 AM · This just solidifies me using a non-disney value hotel off of 192. Hotels.com advertises their resort fee prices, and are much more affordable than anything onsite would be. If I stayed at Red Lion or Ramada Gateway (because I'm not looking for luxury, just a place to sleep), it is almost 40-60% less than any onsite. Plus it's literally a 5 minute drive to Disney from there.
March 10, 2016 at 8:48 AM · As a high level Marriott Rewards member, I actually moved out of the Renaissance at SeaWorld because of the Resort Fee to the Spring Hill Suites across the street (that was cheaper).

The Renaissance explained some of their logic to me: that a "room rate" is taxed differently by the city/county but the resort fee is not. With their logic, they are saving "me" the additional tax by them charging me the resort fee rather than increasing the room rate. They also tried to tell me the resort fee provided me with free internet and a bottle of water (I got those anyway because of my status with Marriott Rewards).

Like I said, I moved across the street to the Spring Hill, which also provided a great breakfast for all guests regardless of Marriott status.

I own Disney stock. I want the company to do well, but apparently it doesn't need my business (money).

March 10, 2016 at 10:13 AM · The sad thing is, if this happens, people will pay it and they will continue to make more income. How long before the public can take no more!? Disney raises their prices and then breaks attendance records! I cannot think of another company on Earth who's followers increase uniformly with the prices.
No wait....forgot about Apple :D
March 10, 2016 at 1:16 PM · So glad my kids now prefer Universal. One trip with Express pass has them begging for more and forgetting about Disney and the FP+ Nightmare.
March 10, 2016 at 4:14 PM · It's time for state legislatures to start requiring companies to start quoting the full price for rooms and other products with the full price including any involuntary fees and taxes. Prices cannot be changed after time of purchase. Voluntary items may continue to be charged separately as long as disclosed. I don't care if it's Twinkies at the gas station or a theme park ticket.
March 12, 2016 at 12:01 PM · Disney is in a pickle. And it's not Bob Iger's fault. It's The fault of Walt and the people who worked for him. Things like cleanliness, good design, wholesomeness, respect, honor, kindness, etc. are just some of the features and values disney theme parks represent. The same values are part of everyone's faith and soul regardless of national origin, denomination or gender. As Joseph Campbell put it, " these are the dreams of "Man". Disney builds beautiful theme parks, hotels, etc. there is nothing shabby or crude about them. Everything is attended to. Bathrooms, streets and walkways, etc. and, miraculously the silverware always looks new....because it is!
Everyone wants to be in that world Disney built. But not everyone can fit it. The only way to be selective without being exclusive is to adjust prices. Every comment here and everywhere is the same: I won't pay it, it's not of value anymore, Disney is greedy, etc. But no comment includes words that imply Disney is exclusionary, racist, anti or whatever. If you, dear reader, owned Disney, you would have the same set of problems. How would you control crowding and overflow in YOUR theme parks? We all love what Disney does. It is a rough business, folks. Just controlling the food quality is an enormous undertaking. Ask Chipotle Restaurants about that!
Disney is synonymous with quality. Want it? You gotta pay for it....and, dang it, quality IS expensive. It always was. Tickets to the county fair are cheaper. But if Disney ran it they wouldn't be. But then it would smell a lot different and the bathrooms....you get the idea. Quality, cleanliness and all Disney stands for is expensive. Bet on it, count on it, pay for it.
March 12, 2016 at 1:34 PM · All star resort smells like a county fair.

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