Probably Stupid Questions But I'm Confused

Been to Disneyland as an off site guest plenty, but starting to plan my dream trip to the world as an on site guest. As a result I am new to the magic band and dining plan concept. For the sake of convenience I love the idea of the dining plan and setting up charging to the magic band for table service tips and souvenirs.

I understand the concept of how the magic band gets used for that purpose at quick serve locations and shops. I’m less clear on how that works at table service. How do they know what magic band to charge? Does the wait staff carry around scanners? Do you pay a cashier as you leave? Haven’t found any illumination on that so far. Can someone clarify the actual process for me?

Also, I have heard rumors of duplicate pre-authorizations becoming an issue with magic band charging recently due to a new standing $100 preauthorization policy. Is this a big concern? Or just someone whining because they didn’t take time to understand the rules? Can someone break this down for me or point me to a thread about it?

The TS wait staff will either bring a scanner to your table or bring your band back to wherever their scanner is then return it to you. I have no idea about the magic band charging and preauthorizations.

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Just to point this out. While the dining plan does cover your meal, it does NOT cover any tips. You can use your magic band to leave the tip.

There seem to have been issues with the hold, but we had no problems. At check in they told us they would put a $100 hold on, and when we had charged more than that, they would increase the hold. We ended up charging less though.

Just a reply on the magic band question and dining.

Your magic band (and anyone in your traveling party) will have all their plans (dining, fast passes, room “key” access) encoded on their bands.

If you are on the dining plan and it includes QS & TS, and you will be asked by the cashier at the QS if you are using the dining plan (at which point they will initiate the charge to use a credit from the plan). BUT, if you say you want to pay out of pocket and have charging privleges on the band, the charge should just go on your credit card. You will still scan your band at that point*

For TS, the server will ask at the beginning of the meal (without fail) if you are using any dining plans or discounts. You will say yes if you want to use the credits on your plan. At the end of the meal, they will scan your band. Charging the tips should not be a problem, but inquire with the server when the time is right.

Always check your receipts to make sure the remaining credit balance is correct after each transaction.

*My advice would be to use cash or your actual credit card if you choose to pay out of pocket. That way there won’t be an accidental use of a credit if something goes wonky at the time of payment.

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All magic bands from the same room are linked together. So it doesn’t mater what band they scan.
If two different parties are eating together then just tell your server what you want to do.
ie; Tell the server that you and your family are on this magicband and that group is on their magicband. And how you want to handle the TIPs.
They are very accommodating .

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We are lifetime DL enthusiasts who have visited WDW twice once before magic bands and FPPs (2011) and just this past May. My best advise is to really consider whether a dining plan is the best for you and your group. For us, it didn’t make sense for both visits because we tend to share meals and don’t like to feel compelled to eat an entire meal when you may want something lighter. It works best if you are really into character dining or if the dining plan is a free offer, but is it really free?

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We went this summer and I asked some questions to the front desk about MB charging. They said they do a $100 preauthorization for debit cards but not credit cards. Not sure why.


Understood, I realize the plan doesn’t cover everything. Thanks for the heads up.

Thanks, I am still debating about the dining plan. I’m sure it won’t save money. But with a few character meals and nicer sit downs I am interested in doing, I’ve run the numbers and it would not be a big waste. I’m thinking as stressed as I tend to get about the price tags and the logistics it might be worth the extra few bucks to be able to go savor those dining experiences rather than feel guilty about the cost. False economy I know, but there it is.

As to free dining I’m looking at going somewhere late January to mid February to avoid crowds and most of all heat. I hate being hot. As near as I can tell they never do free dining that time of year, so I’ll hold out for trying to get a room only discount, which for a solo trip and dreams of a monorail loop resort will likely be as good or better a cost savings anyway.

Last trip when I ran the numbers of the meals I had planned my cost was almost the same as the dining plan. By switching to the dining plan we got extra snacks above what I had planned and alcoholic beverages with meals when desired. In the end we received about $200 more in value than we would have out of pocket and I didn’t feel any guilt about getting the drink or dessert at meals or picking up an extra water/slushy/pretzel in the park and we were able to bring home some packaged snacks. Once DD becomes a Disney adult the dining plan probably won’t work for us.

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I love the term “Disney Adult”. Where else but Disney does a 10 year old age out!

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I steer away from dining plans because there’s a considerable tendency to overeat to get your money’s worth and how many snacks do you really need?