When it comes to a runDisney weekend, you need to fuel. In fact, as runners, we may think about food more than ever! That’s why when making your race weekend plans, a common question may arise – do I add on the Disney Dining Plan or not?
During the past runDisney races, Megan has utilized the dining plan, and has also experienced the weekend without. This allowed her to compare the two and decide which is a better option for the runner. Here are her thoughts!
What is the Disney Dining Plan?
Disney offers various dining plans that make your package more all-inclusive. Each plan includes snacks, quick service and/or table service (or sit down) meals. A refillable mug is also included with each plan and can be used at your Disney resort for soft drinks and coffee throughout your stay.
There are three plans to choose from. The Quick Service Dining Plan includes 2 snacks and 2 quick service meals per person, per night of stay. The Dining Plan includes 2 snacks, 1 quick service meal and 1 table service meal per person, per night of stay. The Deluxe Dining Plan includes 2 snacks and 3 meal credits (to be used as quick service or table service) per person, per night of stay.
Race Weekend WITH the Dining Plan
The most common dining plan (and the one that Megan used) is the one that includes 1 table service meal credit, 1 counter service meal credit and 2 snacks per person, per night of stay. The quick service meals include a beverage and entree. The table service meals include a beverage, entree (or buffet) and dessert.The snacks can also be meals in and of themselves, especially if you use your credits wisely!
The nicest part of the dining plan is that basically everything is paid for upfront. No need to look at the prices on the menu to compare costs – just order! This allowed us to each try something different off the menu. The only cost we had was gratuity after the meal. (Keep in mind – it can get pricey since an 18-20% gratuity is recommended.)
While it may not appear so at first, the dining plan includes plenty of food. We found that we would save our desserts from the quick service meals because we were too full to enjoy it right after. We did bring a few granola bars to snack on during the day if needed, but for the most part – using a quick service and table service meal each day resulted in full bellies!
Another fun aspect of the dining plan is getting to enjoy many of the restaurants on Disney property. We dined with the characters, enjoyed the international cuisine in Epcot and tried restaurants we normally would have bypassed due to cost.
Race Weekend WITHOUT the Dining Plan
With many races to consider during Marathon Weekend, Megan knew that her schedule would be a lot different than their normal trips to Disney. With early mornings (which also meant early bedtimes), their time in the parks was somewhat limited.
Without the dining plan, you can be much more lax in terms of a schedule. If you don’t want to make reservations for a table service meal each day – you don’t have to! This can help free up your limited park time during a race weekend as the table service meals take at least an hour to enjoy.
Runners are very aware of what foods they should stay away from (and which will help their performance). Without the dining plan, you can bring your own food for meals and be very selective on which restaurants you will eat at. You also can look forward to the wonderful celebration meal when you have finished!
Another aspect is that without the dining plan, you can share meals. There were many instances where Megan found that the dining plan was too much food. This time when her and her husband went to a meals (both table service and quick service), they shared quite a bit. This worked out well for them during their busy race weekend!
Deciding on Dining Plan vs. No Dining Plan
Since both options can work during a race weekend, here are a few points to consider when deciding:
- How many people are in your party?
- Do you want your trip to be more all-inclusive?
- Will you be on-the-go or wanting to sit down to eat many of your meals?
- Do you tend to eat 3 meals a day or graze?
- Are you planning on multiple character or signature meals?
Regardless of which you decide, your runDisney weekend is sure to be full of magical miles and magical meals!