Tag Archives: Disney Dining Plan

Is It Time to Retire Free Dining

For the last several years, Disney has offered a free dining promotion during what are “slower traffic months” for Walt Disney World.  Free Dining started in the early 2000’s when people were travelling a lot.  Free Dining was designed as way to get people to the parks.  My family took Disney up on the Free Dining offer in 2009 and we’ve made eight more trips since that first trip.  As years have gone on and more and more people have come to expect free dining in the fall, Disney has made the dates more restrictive, resort availability more restrictive, and increased the number of days or type of ticket that you need to qualify for free dining.

I have spent many years as avid Disney follower, one year as independent Disney blogger, nine months as an independent travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, and will be soon coming out with my first guide-book for Walt Disney World.  Nothing getting more people, in my opinion, excited about a Walt Disney World vacation than the prospect of Free Dining.

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Disney Dining Plan, Tables in Wonderland, or Out of Pocket

Today, we are going to look at one of the most difficult questions to answer about someone’s Walt Disney World vacation.  Do I get the Disney Dining Plan, purchase a Tables in Wonderland card, or do I just pay out-of-pocket.  The first thing we need to do is give a basic description of what each type of payment is.

Disney Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan is basically Disney’s “pre-paid” dining plan.  It allows guests to pay for their food up front as part of their vacation package.  For 2015, the Plus Dining Plan costs $60.04 per adult per night of stay and $19.23 per child (ages 3-9) per night of stay.  This package gives the guest 1 snack credit, 1 quick service credit, and 1 table service credit for each night of their stay.  The plan also gives each guest a refillable mug for use during their vacation.  A meal is considered an entree and non-alcoholic beverage for breakfast.  Lunch/dinner meals are considered an entree, a dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage while buffets offer the full buffet and a non-alcoholic beverage.

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Chef Mickey’s Dinner Review

One of my family’s favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World is Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort.  We try to get a reservation at this restaurant just about every trip.  It is a hard reservation to get because guests are able to get pictures and autographs of the Big 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto), only have to wait around an hour to do, and they get to eat a meal while they wait for the characters to come to them.

Chef Mickey’s is open for breakfast and dinner.  In the past, they have offered a lunch service during busier times.  However, this does not mean that they will continue to do so in the future.  Plan for Chef Mickey’s to be a breakfast and dinner reservation and if Disney happens to offer a lunch service during your stay consider that a bonus.

My family has only eaten dinner at Chef Mickey’s.  We are not bigger breakfast eaters so using a table-service credit or paying out-of-pocket for a breakfast, even a buffet, is not a good value for us.  This review will only focus on the dinner portion of the Chef Mickey’s restaurant.

I also want to note that the character pictures were taken by my family while the food pictures were taken by The Disney Food Blog. http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/

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