Here is what happens when you upgrade a dining plan on Check-In day

arissavolk

Yer Face
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Just want to share our experiences as a cautionary tale to any who dare consider upgrading a dining plan on check-in day, even if the "your room is ready" text hasn't been sent yet. I now understand why they say a dining plan can be added up to 48 hours prior to check-in. My experience over the past week has definitely squashed any potential ideas of renting points to people I don't know because I wouldn't want to deal with the stress of renters asking to upgrade their dining plan at the last minute.

I am a DVC member who booked 3 rooms for a shared family and friends trip, so maybe the experience would've been different for non-DVC reservations.
One of the rooms we booked for a family friend and her kids with quick service plan while everyone else in the other rooms had regular dining plan. I will refer to them as "QS Family" and the mom as "QS Mom." We promised her we'd pay for any table service meals she attended with us (since we invited her and her kids to join us with only 6 months notice and she didn't have much money).
As far as the rest of our party, everyone else purchased regular dining plan from the start, so no issues for the other 2 rooms.

Sunday- check-in day
My husband and I arrived at the hotel around 7am and after unsuccessful car napping attempts, I convinced him to eat at Boma around 8am to kill some time. We paid cash, and for whatever reason, my husband seeing a $66 bill for breakfast got the wheels turning and he was freaking out over paying cash for table service meals for the quick service people (I have no idea why- this isn't our first rodeo eating at Boma or paying cash for a meal).

I'd been bugging him for weeks to upgrade QS family's dining plan, but just now, he finally gave me the ok to upgrade so we could all stay together for meals, so I called DVC customer service to upgrade the plan.

I was hoping to just pay the difference in cost (I swear I've done something like that with a room upgrade on non-DVC reservations). I wasn't aware until calling DVC that upgrading a dining plan with the same people on the reservation entails refunding the entire Quick Service plan cost (around $1200) and then charging the entire new Disney Dining Plan cost (around $1600). This presented a challenge or two since we had $4000 total in spending money but it was split between multiple accounts. Fortunately one account did have more than $1600 available (unfortunately it was a bank card and not a credit card), so the plan was to refund the QS plan money to the card used to pay for it, then charge the DDP plan amount to a new card.

Since this was check-in day, however, he accidentally tried to charge QS Mom's card initially for the full cost of the Disney Dining Plan. It was the card she had set up for room charges via My Disney Experience. Fortunately, she didn't have $1600 available on that card and it immediately declined, but I felt horrible that the attempted charge even happened. Also the DVC customer service rep had me hold on the line for a bit to check a billing oddity...somehow QS Mom's card was charged $100 and I was under-charged by $100 during the process of upgrading the dining plan. I thought maybe it was just the usual authorization hold. Ultimately, the rep said there was no issue. He said I'd get the refunded $1200 from the original quick service dining plan in 2-3 business days.

At 8pm QS family arrived from Magical Express. I rushed the kids down to Boma to eat with the rest of our party, (yes, I love Boma enough to subject my husband to 2 meals there on the same day).
I was waiting for QS Mom for a while, so I came back upstairs to find that QS Mom was having a longer than usual check-in that required new MagicBand assignments (probably due to aforementioned dining upgrade).
Finally after QS Mom was checked in and had eaten dinner, she scanned her MagicBand successfully for table service dinner for her and her kids.

Monday- Epcot day
We all eat at Garden Grill in the morning (had to split tables to party of 6 and then QS Family at a table of 4 due to being unable to book a full party of 10 reservation there). Otherwise, everyone is able to scan MagicBands for table service credits without a hitch as far as I could tell.
We all eat at Marrakesh in the afternoon and suddenly QS Mom scans her magic band when placing orders and the server says she only has Quick Service plan. Furthermore, we go on her My Disney Experience and it says the same thing. Husband and I offer to pay cash if we can't resolve the problem.
While everyone eats, I call DVC customer service because it was the only number I could think of. It took an hour or so, and the restaurant manager seemed somewhat cross when she talked to DVC customer service, but in the end, we didn't have to pay cash on QS Family's meals. I thought this was the end of our troubles and that the problem was resolved.

Tuesday- Magic Kingdom day
The girls split off from the boys and eat at Cinderella's Royal Table. When it's time to pay, QS Mom scans her magic band and Surprise! again it is saying she only has quick service plan. I explained the issue and that I thought it was resolved when I'd talked to DVC customer service the prior day. The server was very kind and apologetic and said he'd take care of it. We fortunately didn't have to pay cash for QS family's meal there either, thank goodness.

At this point, I knew better than to expect that QS Family's dining issues were truly resolved, so I asked QS Mom to go with me to the check-in desk when we got back to the hotel that evening. We went down and explained the issue. Front desk fixed the dining plan issue by assigning a new reservation number. He assigned new MagicBands as well and had QS Mom set the PIN. At this point, QS Mom is nervous about having a card on file for room charges (rightfully so), so she tells them not to put a card on file....and, QS Family is now on their 3rd set of bands.

Wednesday- rest day
We eat lunch at Sanaa. QS Mom scans her band successfully for table service credits for her family (whew!). Our server suggested we take advantage of the included adult beverages with our meal credits and we felt obliged to, considering the stress endured so far.

At this point, I was also getting nervous about the refunded money from the old dining plan because I hadn't seen a refund nor a pending refund in my bank account yet. I asked about that and front desk weren't able to resolve the issue but he gave me a printout of room charges with a number on the bottom to call Disney Billing.
I found a quiet spot (I was very lucky since fire alarm testing was going on intermittently) and called Billing and explained the situation. The gal from billing noticed some oddities and said that QS Mom's old reservation number was "checked-out" but wasn't marked as "completed" so she did so. She said it'd take 3-5 business days to see the $1200 refund.

I could be totally wrong in this assumption but when my husband and I were sitting in our room, it sounded like QS Family may have had trouble getting into their room with their magic bands after I talked to billing. She didn't knock on our door or anything so maybe I heard housekeeping instead.

Thursday- MK Day 2
No table service meals on Thursday- no problems with dining plan. Thank goodness for Be Our Guest.
I still don't see my $1200 refund.

Friday- Animal Kingdom day
We all successfully scan our MagicBands for table service at Tusker House (whew!)
I still don't see my $1200 refund.

Saturday- Hollywood Studios day
We all successfully scan our MagicBands for table service at Sci Fi Diner (whew!)
I still don't see my $1200 refund.

Sunday- Check-Out day
I still don't see my $1200 refund.

Monday- Day after check-out
I still don't see my $1200 refund.

Tuesday- 2 days after check-out
I finally see my refund.


Based on my experiences, I believe that what actually prompts the refund is check-out (though I could be wrong in that assumption since 3-4 business days had passed since my Wednesday call to billing.)
If I was in the same financial straits this year as I was 10 years ago, having about $2800 in funds tied up (with $1200 to be eventually refunded after vacation) could've presented some serious issues on vacation, especially if I were using room charge frequently.

I will say that even with the dining plan snafu, we all still had a very nice trip. The restaurants we ate at were on their A-game, each better than we'd had in years past (including Be Our Guest and Cinderella's Royal Table, which we usually begrudgingly book and both were delightful meals this year) and the rides were running more smoothly this summer than any of our previous (fall) trips.
 

sharonabe

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2009
In years past, the latest any upgrade could be done even for DVC was 48 hrs before check-in (72 hrs for non DVC).

There have been varying reports THIS year of people being able to upgrade and even ADD dining plans upon check-in. I will remember your report when advising people to do it earlier. I've never heard anyone say they were refunded and rebilled when upgrading. That's a new one, but perhaps it goes along with the newish ability to do all of it at check-in.
 

arissavolk

Yer Face
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
I can't be sure it's the bank card and not Disney; my theory is because it was associated with a reservation due for check-in that the funds were possibly not released by Disney until check-out day...but maybe it could've been the bank because of the amount refunded since it was over $1000.
Before QS Family was put on the reservation, the reservation was for my sister and nephew with a quick service plan and when my sister backed out and I called DVC to remove my sister and nephew's dining plan, I received the $700 refund from QSP for my sister in my bank account in 2 days.
 

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