How and When do I Make Reservations?  I need to choose where I'm going to eat in six months WHEN?  And why is this so complicated?

Most Disney Dining locations as well as some children's activities begin booking 180 days in advance.  If you are staying at a Disney owned resort, then you can book 180 days from your check in date, and throughout your trip up to 10 days.  If you are staying in a non Disney resort, you will need to make reservations for each day at its 180 mark.

Your travel agent can and should make all of your arrangements for you.

If you are making your own reservations, you can book them through the My Disney Experience HERE or you can use the My Disney Experience App on your smartphone. You can begin booking online at 6 AM Eastern Time.  
You can also call 407-WDW-DINE from 7 AM to 11 PM Eastern Time.

For children's activities, you must call the Dining line at 407-WDW-DINE.

For more pre-planning help, click HERE

Be prepared with a credit card to reserve anything; every reservation will require on to hold the reservation.  Each reservation has a different cancellation policy; most are one day, $10 per person cancellation fees, including infants. Some are more.  Some reservations also require prepayment.  Please note, Disney or other gift cards will work to reserve prepaid reservations, but will NOT work to reserve any other reservation. You must use a debit or credit card.  With parties of 6 or more, gratuity is automatically added, including infants.  Separating your party will NOT work, because 1) you probably then won't be seated together, and 2) if you are seated together, they will combine you and add the gratuity anyway.  All members of your party must be counted, even babies, or you may not be seated.

Taxes are included, gratuity is not.

You can find out when to make dining reservations by clicking an outside website calculator HERE

How do I know what is included?

Very little is not included on the dining plan in the parks and all of the Disney owned resorts.  You are not given a different menu because you have the dining plan.  Here are the basics:

Are character meals included?  YES!

How many credits do most sit down restaurants require?  Most require ONE, including all but one character meal.  The Signature dining locations require two dining credits.

All of your credits come pre-loaded on your MagicBands when you check in, and you can use them as you wish.  For example, five snacks in one day, zero in another.

Credits are based on number of resort NIGHTS, not days.

All meals include a non alcoholic and non specialty drink beverage

Table Service: includes buffet OR entree & dessert

Quick service: Combo type meals

For snacks, there is a little symbol that identifies options, as seen on this menu at Gaston's Tavern

 photo Gastons3_zpsaca5cede.jpg

Where can you fill your refillable mug?  ONLY at YOUR resort