Episode 79: The Disney Dining Plan Returns! (Transcript)

Jun 13, 2023



Nicole (00:00):
Hi everyone. Welcome back to the Pixie Dust & Profits podcast. I’m Nicole. And

Yasmine (00:04):
I’m Yasmine.

Nicole (00:04):
And we’re doing a short and sweet summer series for you where we are just kind of getting into like 10 minute episodes, bite snack sized episodes for you to be thinking Disney and your business. We know that the summer is the time of year where you kind of, I don’t wanna say drop off in your business, but you kind of go in and enjoy the outside, especially for people like Yasmine and I who live in the north and we don’t get a lot of warm weather. We get outside, so usually around the summertime we’re just working on the client projects we need to do and probably not focusing on our own businesses quite as much as we used to in the fall and in the winter. So we thought snack size summer series. Here we go. So today’s episode, speaking of snack size, is all about the Disney Dining Plan. We have talked about this a few times in our episodes, and the big news right now is that it’s returning, it’s coming back to Disney World, starting in January. You can add the dining plan back to your reservations. Yasmin, have you ever used the Dining plan? Have, have you added that to your trip at all, ever?

Yasmine (01:16):
I have not. And the primary reason for me personally, for not adding it is it would’ve ended up being too much food for how, like I like to eat and snack at Disney.

Nicole (01:27):
That’s such a good point. I think the last time I did the Disney Dining Plan, was it, it had to be at least 12, 13 years ago, like, I think it was before I met my husband because I remember this from trips with my mom and my brother, where the Disney Dining Plan used to include an appetizer, your meal and a dessert, which was a, an amazing value. They’re also the way the dining plan works is you tend to get credits. There’s different levels of the plan, and so you get credits for snacks, which is, you know, a water bottle or a Mickey bar, and you get credits for a quick service restaurant, which is kind of that like grab and go burger, chicken fingers and fries, and you get credits for table service, which is where you sit down, you have a, a waitress or a waiter who comes and, you know, does your meal or the buffets, especially the character dining.

Nicole (02:19):
So way, way, way, way back when the dining plan first came out, everything was kind of like one credit except for I think Cinderella’s table, where it was like you needed two credits for a table service to, to equal out how expensive that restaurant is. And so slowly over time, some more restaurants started getting added to the list where it costs two table credits instead of one. And so there’s, there’s a lot of ups and downs with the dining plan and you know, we’re not a travel blog here, but suffice to say it’s a lot of food, it’s a lot of scheduling time to go eat. So those are the downsides, but there’s also some bonuses here and that’s what we really wanna talk about when it comes to your business.

Yasmine (03:00):
So one of the bonuses of the dining plan is it essentially allows you to prepay for, I would say all, or almost all of the food and like meal experiences you wanna have at Disney. So you can add a package depending on how much you wanna get. So they usually have the quick service dining plan, which has like one quick one or two quick service meals a day, and then I think two snacks a day that you can eat. Then they have the like medium level dining plan and I just wanna carry that. This might change with what’s happening in January, but this is how it traditionally worked, which had one table service credit, one quick service credit, and two snacks per day of your trip. And then they had like the Deluxe dining plan, which had basically three table service credits per day and two snacks.

Yasmine (03:45):
So that basically means like you would be sitting down to have a sit down breakfast for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus two snacks a day. Or if you wanna go to a lot of those like signature experience restaurants like Cinderella’s Castle, I think beer Guest is now a signature experience that would take up two of those credits. I could be wrong, I could be wrong. But one thing that I hear a lot of people being excited about the dining plan is that it’s like one and done. Like you pay for it upfront when you’re planning your vacation and then you don’t really have to worry about budgeting for food or keeping track of your food expenses. Now I will say there’s still an additional expense above the Disney Dining Plan, which is gratuity. You still, you know, are expected to tip your waiters, but beyond that, everything is pretty much covered. And only certain plans include alcoholic beverages, not all of them. So that’s,

Nicole (04:39):
Yeah. And so the interesting thing about these plans, I mean we’ve, there’s a lot going on with them, right? So you talked about there’s the three levels. Again, we don’t know if this is what it’s going to look like in January, but I imagine the way that Disney markets everything where even annual passes, there’s four tiers, right? They, they wanna shuffle people probably closest to the middle tier mm-hmm. . So that there’s three, one is kind of like the, the quick service. Like, you know, that you’re just getting chicken fingers and fries. I think a lot of families probably get this one. It’s also really nice, you know, if you don’t want to have the full dining plan experience, you can still do table service restaurants. It doesn’t prevent you from doing that. You’re just paying out of pocket. Mm-Hmm. . But the quick service plan at least covers your basic, like, I’m getting lunch and a snack every day and those are paid for.

Nicole (05:21):
So that way, you know, it kind of loosens up the control of every time your kid is asking, can I have that? Can I have that, can I have that? And you can say, well, we all got two treats today and you spent yours. It kind of takes some of that off of parent’s shoulders. It also kind of moderates yourself if you’re just going with Disney adults. So that’s like the lower plan. And then the middle is the one table. So when we’re talking about our business stuff, we’re talking about convenience here and we’re also talking about upselling a little bit into more than someone probably needs. And, but still giving them that choice so that way they feel like they’re getting exactly what they need. Now I have actually sat down at spreadsheets and tried to say, we’re gonna eat here. I’m gonna eat this. I’m, I’m usually the person who gets like the chicken dish. I don’t get like a huge steak or anything like that, especially at Disney. I’m always so hot. I can’t eat a really big hardy meal. I’m kind of more of a snacker throughout the day. And so

Yasmine (06:19):
Even then, like yeah, if I could jump in, like I remember every time we would go to Disney I would come like with like, I wanna try this, I wanna try this, I wanna try this. I barely had room or the ability to try half the snacks on my list unless I was like gonna take a bite and throw it out. Which is wasteful in my opinion. So I never get through my entire snack list. So even with like, you know, having the option of like two snacks a day, it’s, it’s a lot of of food.

Nicole (06:48):
Yeah. And so you’re giving people that like option or appearance of flexibility while also kind of upselling them into probably more expensive option than if they had just paid out of pocket for the experience. Mm-Hmm. . And so they really try to market this months before the trip. Like this isn’t something you add on at the last minute. They might mention it in emails along with everything else, but you know, if I were looking at Disney’s marketing stack, it would be, you booked a trip. Okay, let’s get you locked into this dining plan. And before you had to make your dining reservation six months before your trip mm-hmm. . So they kind of coincided with when it, they marketed it, but now they’ve made so many changes that you actually can cancel your reservation for a restaurant, I think like two hours before now, which opens up a lot of reservations for people who are on site.

Nicole (07:39):
And so it’s actually really nice. You don’t have to necessarily plan your restaurant six months in advance. Problem with that, with the dining plan though, is that kind of takes away the sense of urgency that people needed to buy it or add it onto their trip. So I’m really curious to see how that falls out in January. But I still think this is something they’re going to market like toward the beginning of the relationship with your vacation. Right? This is something that like, oh, add this on for convenience cuz as you get closer to your trip, they’re gonna start pushing Genie Plus at you mm-hmm. because that’s much more urgent. You’re thinking about the rides you wanna go on and the things that you wanna experience. So yeah, when you’re a business owner and you’re thinking about the marketing of, especially if you have some sort of program group membership coaching, relationship consulting, you can do this to another extent in, in your product based businesses where you have different tiers or levels of things, you know I see this a lot, especially with like subscription boxes where it’s like you can have, you know, you get one small item and one large item every month, or you can add in you know, a special experience or something.

Nicole (08:46):
So when you’re thinking about this, like think about the long-term plan of the marketing, right? When, what are they buying from you? What can you convince them on early on? And then what can you add on a little bit later? And so the dining plan is, in my opinion, I would never tell people who are on a budget on their Disney trip to, to get that. But I have family members who are much more anxious in how they VA vacation. And so when they’re talking to me about going to Disney, I tell them, you know, this is probably more than it would be if it was out of your pocket, but you don’t really have to think about these things when you’re filling out the check at the end of the day. And if you like to have everything paid off ahead of time, you really should consider getting the dining plan. And so that’s how we can talk about it with our customers.

Yasmine (09:31):
Yeah. And like other ways that you can incorporate this sort of like, mentality into your businesses. Again, thinking about that convenience. So Nicole covered off the idea of like subscription boxes especially if you’re a product-based business. Well, if you’re a service-based business, what are other ways that you can again, continue to bring in revenue while decreasing that sort of mental load on your customer while doing automated invoices every month? So, you know, a lot of businesses often go through a task of like, you know, sending their invoices to their clients every month and then their clients have to, you know, go pay them every month. And, you know, that’s great and business as usual, but if you have sort of a reoccurring fee, like a retainer fee or a service fee that you’re charging your clients every month, get them on automatic payments, it automatically bills your credit card on the date that you designate and neither you, or they have to worry about sending out the invoices on time or making sure that they pay on time. It’s just one thing that they don’t have to think about that makes it easier to work with you.

Nicole (10:32):
Yeah, and I, I think when we start thinking about some other ways to implement this, it’s just convenience is a cost in and of itself. And I think that some people struggle, especially women, we struggle in our businesses to value our time accordingly. Mm-Hmm. . And so if you’re looking at something and you’re saying, oh, this will be a hundred dollars, but you’re really spending hours making it happen. So for example, if you’re just doing a, a, a 30 minute consultation session, whatever it may be, it could be about like the color seasons, your color palette, or it can be, you know, a marketing plan, whatever that 30 minute session is, we often see people who are like, oh, here’s, you know, $50 for half an hour of my time, and they completely forget about the fact that they have to go back and forth and do the scheduling with the person to even get them on the call.

Nicole (11:26):
You have to do the marketing to get people to want to book a call. And then after they have a call with them, they have to send them their notes about what we talked about and what your next steps are. And that might not be something you say is included, but you should still be doing because then that person’s gonna leave, you know, remembering who you are. You can’t just like leave the call to drop off. You want them to book another call, right? And so some of these things you have to think about the convenience for your customer, but also the experience that they’re expecting. So we would love to hear from you. Have you ever used the dining plan? Do you have a dining plan in your business? How do you give that value and give that higher level of service and roll it into your fees? Like, what is, what is your package look like?

Yasmine (12:13):
So you can let us know on Instagram, we’re at pixiedustandprofits. Or you know what, send us an email if you feel up to it. We love hearing from you. You can email us at hello@pixiedustandprofits.com.

Nicole (12:24):
We’ll see you real soon. Our summer series happens every two weeks. So tune in for our next episode.

Yasmine (12:30):



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