Walt Disney World adds another Dining Plan option

February 27, 2020, 1:17 PM · The Walt Disney World has introduced a new tier in the Disney Dining Plan, one that fills the gap between the resort's top two dining plan options.

The new Disney Dining Plan Plus offers resort visitors the choice of two quick service or table service meals for each night of their stay. This is now the fourth tier for the Disney Dining Plan, with plans ranging from two quick service meals a day up to a choice of three quick service or table service meals.

Here are the four tiers of the dining plan, along with their current cost per night for adults and children. The dining plans are sold as add-ons to a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation. All plans also include two snacks per night of stay and one refillable beverage mug per person that can be refilled at the hotel where you are staying.

Meals at Disney World's signature dining locations, as well as some character meals, require the use of two table service credits. Even though meal credits are assigned per night of your stay, you can use those credits whenever you'd like during your stay, until you run out.

Replies (5)

February 27, 2020 at 2:27 PM

This looks like yet another way for Disney to maximize profitability of the DDP. It's bad enough that guests don't fully understand their entitlements under the existing DDPs (it doesn't help when Disney is continuously trying to close loopholes and altering rules), now Disney is providing a new tier that offers "flexibility" in exchange for a higher per night price.

It takes extensive pre-planning and a strong grasp of the DDP rules to gain any value from the current QS DDP or standard DDP (the Deluxe Plan is just a ridiculous amount of food that there's no way a normal person could actually get any value out of it). The DDP+ proposes to give guests the option to exchange the counter service meal on the DDP for a table service meal for an additional $16. If you're planning on using that second table service credit for a buffet, then $16 is a reasonable discount to upgrade a typical $20 counter service meal to a $45+ buffet. However, it still requires a lot of planning and will require guests to carve out time to have 2 table service meals in a single day.

I think the target audience here is guests that like to dine at WDW's signature restaurants, which require 2 table service credits. If you wanted to eat at California Grill, Le Cellier, Tiffins, and the like, you had to sacrifice another day's table service credit to dine at the fancier restaurants. This forced guests to pay for smaller meals out of pocket or utilize snack credits to cover the missing meals. By giving guests the ability to use both meals per day as either table service or counter service, it allows you to upgrade a meal or 2 to a signature restaurant without affecting future table service meals. However, as I've frequently noted, the signature restaurants are not all they're cracked up to be on the DDP, and the requirement to use 2 table service credits significantly diminishes the value as a function of DDP cost versus menu prices. For instance, you can eat dinner at Akershus (a character meal at EPCOT) for a single DDP table service credit, which includes a salad/appetizer bar AND a plated entree (like seared pork tenderloin or salmon fillet) that would cost $63 if paying cash, but a dinner at Le Cellier (without any characters) would cost 2 table service credits, and at most would cost $90 if paying cash ($59 Fillet, $19 Cheese plate dessert, and $12 glass of wine). Certainly, that recoups the $16 differential between the DDP and DDP+, but does not represent anywhere close to double the value of a single table service credit.

I really see the DDP+ as a way for Disney to exploit those that don't understand how to use the Disney Dining Plan, especially guests that scramble at the end of their vacation to use their remaining snack credits and/or leave WDW without using all of their meals. It's very easy to lose money on the DDP, and the DDP+ makes it even easier for guests that don't know what they're doing or don't have the patience and forethought to pre-plan every single meal they intend to eat at WDW.

February 28, 2020 at 5:05 AM

Bear in mind that Disney gives the Dining plan away to UK residents most of the year, (basic level), so for us all we have to do is pay a modest upgrade fee to obtain the higher levels. That makes the dining plan a no-brainer for us. Yes it involves some planning, but Fastpass+ has forced us to do that anyway, but it allows us to eat at a level and standard that we would never otherwise be able to afford and enjoy

February 28, 2020 at 9:59 AM

I remember how great a deal the DDP was when it came out. There is no way for a family of 4 to get their moneys worth out of it anymore and have any kind of menu spontaneity. I really wish Disney would simplify some things when it comes to WDW and I love the planning.

February 28, 2020 at 1:40 PM

Simplify? Why not just give a discount for prepaid meals? The guest could charge everything to their room, and it would be discounted 10-20%.

So, if a guest wants a $9 quick meal, and another guest wants a $16 quick meal, they would both get a percentage discount. Right now, the guest might just take the $16 meal instead of the $9 meal.

February 28, 2020 at 2:45 PM

Agreed, Russell. Disney and other theme parks aren't creating new offers to lose money. Somebody in Disney marketing believes this new plan will increase profits.

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