Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Updates to the 2012 Disney Dining Plan

***Doing a quick supplemental post on the changes/updates to the 2012 Disney Dining Plan. I am also going to revise my original posts on the 2011 plan to reflect the changes and make that a resource post.

2012 brings a few changes to the Disney Dining Plan, some good some not-so-much. Some changes were started in 2011, like the new reservation process of taking deposits for many of the more popular dining locations. From what I've seen, both as a repeat Disney guest & as a travel agent making dining reservations for my guests, it has been a positive change. Taking a credit card, to ensure attendance or timely cancellations, has immensely helped free up many hard to get locations. There is also the addition of many new restaurants and lounges to the dining plan, which is helping ease up the problem of booked out restaurants. So let's go through the changes & additions by plan.

Quick Service Dining Plan

*This change I do not like at all. The 2011 Quick service dining plan consisted of (2) quick service credits, (2) snack credits, per person, per day & (1) refillable resort mug per person. 2012 sees us losing (1) snack credit. Although the Quick Service Dining plan was the only one of Disney's dining plans not to increase in price, the loss of the snack credit makes it hard to get value out of it. That extra snack credit was great to use on breakfast items such as bagels, muffins, fruit & cereal, leaving you with the other credit for snacks.

Plus Dining Plan

*The next plan up-the Plus Plan sees some good & bad changes. Let's start with the inevitable bad-the price went up. Such is life I guess, but $5.55 for the adult plans & $1 for the kids plans are a bit hard to swallow. That was food humor. Ok it was bad food humor but it's Wednesday-cut me some slack. The good change is you now get the refillable resort mug for everyone in your traveling party. To be honest-I never got why this wasn't ALWAYS the case. I guess the $5-$6 dollar a day difference in the dining plan cost is going to cover all that soda & coffee that will be flowing with all those extra mugs in circulation lol.

Deluxe Dining Plan

*Lastly we have the Deluxe Plan. What you get with this plan stays the same-but again we see a nice price jump. And by nice, I mean NOT nice. $6.53 for the adult plans & $1.80 jump for the kids plans. We're also seeing seasonal pricing as well with the Deluxe plan, which we had not seen before. During these times you will see the plan jump by over $10 for adults & $3.80 for the kids. OUCH!! Remember-these are per person, per day jumps.

So let's talk about this a bit. We are seeing some less than favorable changes being made to the dining plans-but does that mean we will be seeing more dining discounts & codes? Is this a for Disney to cover the costs of such promotions? Or is this just Disney reacting to the same budget pinch we are all seeing after a trip to the grocery store? I think it's a combination of both.I think that Disney saw a rise in food prices & the costs associated in transportation, but I also think that promos & discounts have a lot to do with the new changes.

Which brings me to the last of the overall changes to the dining plans. The addition of new restaurant & dining options. Here is a list of the new additions:

Counter Service Additions:

Magic Kingdom
Diamond Horseshoe
Friar's Nook
Golden Oak Outpost
Tortuga Tavern (formerly El Pirata y El Perico)

Katsura Grill (formerly Yakitori House)

Animal Kingdom
Beastly Kiosk
Mr. Kamal's

Hollywood Studios
Min & Bill's Dockside Diner

Blizzard Beach
Cooling Station

Typhoon Lagoon
Lowtide Lou's
Snack Shack
Surf Doggies

Bongo's Cuban Cafe Sandwich Window
Marketplace Snacks

Landscapes Cafe (Art of Animation)
Paddock Grill (Saratoga Springs)
Trails End Takeaway (Fort Wilderness/Campground)
Turtle Shack (Old Key West)

Sit Down Service Additions:

Animal Kingdom
Rainforest Cafe

Bongos Cuban Cafe
Crossroads at House of Blues
Paradiso 37
Rainforest Cafe
T-Rex Cafe

Signature Dining Additions:

Bistro de Paris (yay!!)

Fulton's Crab House
Wolfgang Puck Dining Room Upstairs (yay again!!)

I am also getting reports that many of the resort lounges have also been added as dining locations. They are being charged as a Quick Service meal credit on the dining plan. They include a non-alcoholic beverage, an entree (which will most likely consists of an appetizer) and a dessert-no info on what that entails.

So there it is, the good, the bad & the new of the 2012 Disney Dining Plans. While I still think there's value to be found, you are going to have to look a little harder & get a bit more creative to get the most out of your plan.

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