There’s no dining plan at Disneyland—well sort of. When we made our first trip to Walt Disney World in 2006, one of the things that drew us was the Disney Dining Plan. I have this thing about having meals paid for ahead of time and not worrying about budgeting for meals so the Disney Dining Plan fit the bill. Twelve trips later, we’ve added the basic dining plan to our Disney vacation each time. We even tried to not have/use the dining plan once and ended up adding it to our vacation less than a month before we left.
So, with Disneyland having no dining plan that is similar to Walt Disney World’s options of Quick Service, Basic, or Deluxe, what are we going to do? We are going to take advantage of the pre-pay option for character dining at Disneyland.
When making Disneyland reservations either on-line, by phone, or through a travel agent guests can select to “add character dining.” This option allows guest to pre-purchase vouchers for enjoying character dining at Disneyland. This option is available for guests staying on-site or at good neighbor resort hotels.
Character dining is divided in to a regular category “Character Dining” and “Premium Character Dining.” The differences are the restaurants available to the different level of voucher and the cost.
There are five different character dining experiences at Disneyland—three in each of the on-site resort hotels and two in the parks—one each at Disneyland and California Adventure.
When we first made our Disneyland reservation, I added two sets of vouchers in each of the categories. As of yesterday, that changed, and we added another voucher for the regular “Character Dining” so that we can dine at all five of the character dining locations! Oh, the things I do. . .
Is this going to save me money in the long run? YES! The vouchers include gratuity and tax for the meal. And, with Disneyland having a hefty resort fee as a part of taxes, pre-paying saves us money. While the Plaza Inn—Breakfast with Minnie & Friends in Disneyland is slated as the most economical character meal, the cost of the meals averaged out among the restaurants will again yield savings. Most importantly, I will have peace of mind that these meals are already paid for!
As for gaining that same piece of mind with our other meals and saving money? Well, each time we purchase a Disney gift card at Target we save 5% using our Red Card. The husband already designated those to pay for meals.