Whether you’re at Disney World or Disneyland resort, there are so many experience to enjoy it may be hard to schedule them all. However, one thing that might make your lives a bit easier are the Disney Dining Packages available at both resorts. The concept is simple – make a reservation at one of the participating restaurants, and get access to reserved seating for Disney’s best entertainment!
Because these are special events, they’re a bit different to book than traditional dining. Here is everything you need to know about Disney Dining Packages – and whether or not they’re worth it!
Dining packages are actually relatively simple to break down. Simply select a show you’d like to see, and see if it offers a dining package at select restaurants in the park. For example, the Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios has a dining package. The restaurants included are Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, The Hollywood Brown Derby, and Hollywood & Vine.
If you make a reservation for the dining package, once you finish your meal you’ll be given a voucher to VIP seating at one of the shows. Depending on your reservation, you will get either the first or second show – it really depends on how many passes they’ve given out. You can always ask if you have a preferred show, but they make no guarantees.
Just like regular reservations, the window for these packages opens 180 days before your vacation (or, if you’re going to Disneyland, 60 days out). I definitely recommend factoring these in to your dining plans beforehand. Read my guide on how to plan for Advance Dining here!
Depending on when the show is, that will determine what meals are available at the restaurant. For example, the Frozen show at Disneyland offers dining packages – however, since the shows are during the day, the Carthay Circle Restaurant only offers lunch for this package.
Many of the restaurants also offer set menus for the dining package. Because they are expecting lots of people moving through the restaurant, the menu options are smaller to make serving a bit easier. Depending on what type of restaurant it is, though, this may not matter. For example, Hollywood & Vine is a buffet dinner no matter what reservation you have.
Additionally, if you’re not in the mood for a large dinner, the dessert parties may be more your speed! Many of the evening shows offer packages where you can eat dessert while watching the show!
If you’re staying at Disney World, the most economic way to go about the dining packages is with the Dining Plan. Unless you are booking an actual dining show like Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, these meals are just one table service dining credit. You’re getting a great value out of the meal as well. You get a fabulous meal AND a Fastpass without having to use one of your precious Fastpass+ reservations!
As far as paying out of pocket goes, these meals are generally a bit pricer than your average meal. You ARE paying for premium show seating, after all! The nice part is though that everything is included in one flat rate, so you have a real good idea of what you’ll be spending when you reserve your table.
If you’re looking for a bit of a cheaper option, go with the “On the Go” meal boxes. These dining packages are nice if you want to pack as much in to your day as possible. Just like the name says, these meals are at the Quick Service restaurants like Hungry Bear Restaurant at Disneyland. This allows you the freedom to eat and head on to your next attraction without taking the time to have a sit down meal. You still get the Fastpass, but with less time eaten out of your schedule! Because these are not full sit down meals, they are generally more affordable than the table service reservations!
Is it Worth It?
If you have the extra money to splurge, I highly recommend the Disney dining packages. I especially recommend them at Disneyland, because their selection of sit down restaurants is much smaller. This means that nearly all the table service restaurants offer some sort of show package. If you were going to head there anyways, might as well go for the dinner and show combo!
I also recommend it if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World. Like I said, your Fastpass+ reservations are sacred. You don’t want to waste them on a show, but this way you get the VIP seating without having to book it via My Disney Experience!
You may be thinking – how great is the view? Can I just get a good seat by heading to the venue early? The answer to this is complicated. You can show up very early and still get a good seat, but we’re talking HOURS ahead of showtime. If you have the VIP pass, you can show up right before showtime and still get a great view! Most of the up close spots are also for VIP passes only. The only way to get extremely close IS with the dining packages. If you’re wanting to get great pictures and need to be close for photography, this is another great benefit.
So all in all – YES! I recommend them and think they’re totally worth it. We’ve done dining packages for all our Disneyland shows on our last two trips, and not once did I regret it or have second thoughts.
How To Book
To book one of these packages, simply head to the Disney website when you’re making your reservations and select the Disney Dining Package option in the Restaurant list instead of the regular restaurant listing. For example, if you want to book a “World of Color” viewing package at Wine Country Trattoria, don’t go to the Wine Country Trattoria page. Go to the “World of Color Dining Packages” page and book from there!
Which show is your favorite to book with the Disney dining packages? I personally always do it for Fantasmic! at both Disney World and Disneyland! Let me know in the comments below!
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