It should be obvious to our podcast listeners and blog fans that the MousekeMoms share a love of all things Disney and possess a vested interest in making sure the powers that be (Bob Iger and Bob Chapek) do what they must to maintain the magic, nostalgia and integrity of their theme parks. Thus is born our new series…. Dear Bob(s). And what better topic to launch this new series than another MousekeMom favorite, FOOD. Specifically, the Disney Dining Plans. So, Dear Bob(s)…. What is the future of our beloved Disney Dining Plan?
DISNEY DINING PLANS GET THE AXE
When Disney issued their initial reopening plans back in May, they included a tentative date for the return of the Dining Plans as September 26, 2021. This detail was then quickly retracted without explanation. I can only speculate that Disney withdrew this information because they did not want to commit to a specific date. They likely wanted the flexibility to change their minds based on the trajectory of the pandemic. Bob(s), I approve. With information and data and recommendations changing almost daily it seems, nice move keeping your options open.
Dear Bob(s)… you made a lot of people pretty unhappy with your decision to remove the dining plans as an option for your theme park packages. Let me see if I can help explain why I think you did this with the best interest of your guests in mind. At about $78 per person per night for the Disney Dining Plan, this is an expensive add-on. Disney was always able to justify the cost by listing the vast amount of dining options available to guests for that price point. With several dining locations remaining closed to this day, character dining almost non-existent, and condensed menus at the venues that have already opened back up, Disney executives likely could no longer justify the value of the Dining Plans at this time.
DISNEY DINING PLAN SUBSTITUTES
And so, Dear Bob(s), I get it. This time. Thank you for looking out for us. But where does that leave your guests who love the convenience of the Dining Plans? MousekeMoms to the rescue, Bob(s)! Here are some great ways to do dining in Disney while we wait for the Dining Plans to return:
- Do you love the Dining Plan simply because it means that, by the time you check in to your resort, your vacation is paid in full and there is no need for your wallet? Simple. Stock up on gift cards. Purchase discounted cards at Target with your Red Card and save 5%. Purchase them in bulk for a discount at Sam’s Club, BJs or Costco. Use the gift cards as payment for your meals and snacks. Or, charge all of your meals and snacks to your room and then be sure to visit the front desk every few days to pay down your balance with your cards.
- Are you a Disney Vacation Club member or Annual Passholder? Many restaurants (table service and quick service) offer discounts for you so take advantage. Ask your server, show your card and save.
- Tables in Wonderland (TIW). If you currently have a Tables in Wonderland membership, this is now the BEST time to use it! If you are not a member, new memberships are temporarily on hold, but consider one in the future to reap the dining benefits. Tables in Wonderland is a paid membership program for dining discounts throughout the Walt Disney World property. A 20% discount is offered on food and beverage, including alcohol, at participating restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort. There are often TIW member exclusive special dining offers as well. A TIW discount is valid for a party of up to 10 Guests including the member. It is a great value.
THE FUTURE OF DISNEY DINING PLANS
Dear Bob(s), What is the future of the Disney Dining Plans? Will they be coming back? When can we expect them? Will they come back the same way they worked before the pandemic or should we expect them to return unrecognizable with changes, price increases and more? Thanks, in advance, for your replies. In the meantime, I’ll be over here stuffing my face with Mickey bars and churros.