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Dining Plan benefits from system upgrade

On October 14, 2010 Disney Vacation Club will be updating its core software systems to add a number of new features.  Many new features have already been revealed such as emailing of reservation confirmations.  But it turns out members will also gain significant flexibility in relation to the Disney Dining Plans.

One of the planned enhancements involves linking multiple segments of a vacation plan (resorts, room sizes, views, etc.) to a single reservation number. For instance, if a member reserves two nights in a Studio at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort followed by five nights in a Two Bedroom villa at the Bay Lake Tower, those two bookings will soon be consolidated under a single reservation number.

With this enhancement, members have questioned whether it will still be possible to add a Dining Plan purchase to just one segment of a trip which spans multiple resorts, villas or views.  In the example above, the member can currently purchase the Dining Plan for the 2-night Saratoga Springs stay while omitting the Dining Plan from the Bay Lake Tower stay.

According to a Disney Vacation Club representative, members will still be able to purchase the Dining Plan for one of the two resort stays.  In fact, members will gain even greater dining plan flexibility under the new system.

DVC's system upgrades allow Member Services representatives to sub-divide single resort stays into separate "accommodations."  Each accommodation can contain a unique number of guests as well as different purchase options relative to the Disney Dining Plans.

To illustrate:

Accommodation #1:  Sunday and Monday in Studio at Saratoga Springs.  Four occupants.  Disney Dining Plan is added to this reservation.  The guest will receive 2 nights' worth of dining credits for the 4 occupants.  Dining credits are valid from Sunday through 11:59pm on Tuesday.

Accommodation #2:  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Two Bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower.  Family is joined by 2 other family members for a total of 6 occupants.  Quick Service Dining Plan is added to this accommodation.  The guest will receive 3 nights' worth of dining credits for the 6 occupants.  Dining credits are valid from Tuesday through 11:59pm Friday.

Accommodation #3:  Friday and Saturday in Two Bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower.  Other family members have departed leaving just 4 occupants.  No dining plan is purchased.

In this example, the 5 nights at the Bay Lake Tower have been split into "accommodations" #2 and #3.  These accommodations will be fully linked together guaranteeing that the guest will remain in the same physical room (assuming the same view is reserved.)  There will be a single front-desk check-in and a single set of room keys issued.  However, the member is permitted to alter not only the number of guests in the room over that 5-night stay but also the Dining Plan purchase intentions.

Ideally members should request that their reservation be split into multiple accommodations at the time of booking even if the Dining Plan is not immediately added.  All accommodations can be booked a full 11 or 7 months in advance of arrival for a trip of 7 nights or less.

Existing reservations under a single accommodation can later be split into separate accommodations, but it is a complicated process and there is some risk of the inventory being lost.

As previously reported, effective October 14 members will be required to pay for the Dining Plans when added to a Disney Vacation Club reservation.  The Dining Plan can be added up to 48 hours prior to arrival.  Some Walt Disney World dining locations like Cinderella's Royal Table and the Spirit of Aloha dinner show require that the Dining Plan be added to a reservation before Advance Dining Reservations (ADR) can be secured.  In those instances, the member will be required to add and pay for the Dining Plan before securing an ADR--up to 6 months prior to arrival.

Acceptable payment methods include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club, JCB, Disney Gift Cards and Chase Disney Visa Reward cards.

Dining Plan payments can be split over multiple funding sources.  For instance a member can use a Disney Visa Reward card to pay for a portion and the rest charged to a credit card. Or the payment can be spread over multiple credit cards.

DVC does not currently have plans to implement an on-line payment system for Dining Plan credits.  These transactions must be handled through Member Services.

Full payment for the Dining Plan must be made in a single conversation with Member Services.  In situations where multiple family members are sharing a villa and wish to pay for their own dining credits, the DVC member will have to gather all of the payment information and relay to Member Services.  Member Services will not accept Dining Plan payments from non-members.