The Disney Dining Plan Breakdown

Did you know that Disney World offers a dining plan to guests staying at the resorts? Here I talk about the different types of dining plans, and what is included in each plan.

The dining plan is an amazing deal for some, but for other people you may find it to be a huge expense that is not worth the price. Is the dining plan right for you? Let's talk it out!

What is a Dining Plan?

The Disney dining plan is a prepaid option for resort guests. You pick your plan, and your food is covered from the day you check in to your resort until midnight on your check out day.

Types of Dining Plans and What They Include

There are three different dining plans offered by Disney:

  • Quick Service Plan
    • 2 Quick Service credits, 2 Snack credits
  • Regular Dining Plan
    • 1 Quick Service credit, 1 Table Service credit, 2 Snack credits
  • Deluxe Dining Plan
    • 3 credits for Quick Service OR Table Service, 2 Snack credits

What Does it Cost?

The dining plan rates are based on the plan that you pick:

  • Quick service $52.50/day per adult, $21.75/day per child
  • Regular dining plan $$75.49/day per adult, $25.75/day per child
  • Deluxe dining plan $$116.25/day per adult, $$39.99/day per child

How Do I Know Which Restaurants are Quick Service or Table Service?

The dining plan can definitely be confusing. As a quick and easy rule, a quick service restaurant is one where you order from a counter and find your own seating. A table service restaurant is one where you can make a reservation ahead of time, and a waiter is there to serve you. The snack credits can be used at many different places. You will find snack booths around the parks. You can also use snack credits at stores that sell snacks and drinks (such as general stores at your resort).

Is the Dining Plan Right For Me?

The dining plan might be a good fit for you if:

  • You like the idea of having everything paid for BEFORE your trip
  • You want to use credits for character meals or dining packages
  • You know you want to order the most expensive item on the menu

You might not like the dining plan if:

  • You are on a tight budget and food at Disney isn't a high priority
  • You have kids over 10 who you know won't eat giant adult portions
  • You don't think your food orders will exceed the value of the credits

Generally speaking, you can estimate each credit to be worth $5 for snack credits, $18 for quick service credits, and $41 for table service credits.

So if you are considering the dining plan, you will want to make sure the food you are ordering is that amount or higher.

Who Can Get the Dining Plan?

If you think the dining plan is right for you, you must be staying at a Disney World resort to buy it. If you are buying a package through Disney (Room and tickets) you will be given the option of adding the dining plan when you buy online.

If you are buying your tickets elsewhere, fear not! You can still call Disney to add the dining plan to your package.

If you are a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) member (or are renting DVC points) you can also call to have the dining package added to your reservation.

Other Things to Know

If you buy the dining package, know that everyone on your reservation MUST be on the dining package. And you have to have the package for your entire stay. So if you are staying for 7 days, you will have the dining package all 7 days. And if you have a picky eater, you can't leave him or her off of the dining package.

Another thing to understand about the dining package is that when you check in, all of your dining credits are given to you at once as a pool for your entire group. For example, if there are 3 people traveling for 5 days, and they get the regular dining plan they will have access to 15 quick service credits, 15 table service credits, and 30 snack credits on the day they check in. You and your group can distribute them however you want amongst your party.

If you have a child under 3 you wont need to buy the dining package for them. You could purchase the plan for them by calling Disney, but since they don't need a park ticket it doesn't make financial sense. If you have a 2 year old who loves to eat you are better off paying for them out of pocket.

Lastly, you can use your dining credits to buy food for other people. So if you are meeting friends at the park and want to pay for their food with your credits, you can definitely do that! As long as the person paying with credits is present it should not be an issue.

Dining Plan Tips

If you decide to use the dining plan, there are definitely some ways that you can maximize your plan.

  1. Split meals if you can. As long as it isn't a pre-fixed menu, you can always order a meal and split it to save a dining credit. Portions at Disney are known for being huge. So this can be great if you have kids like mine who eat like birds. This can also be a good plan if you have your heart set on a signature restaurant that charges you TWO credits
  2. Order the most expensive thing on the menu. Go for the steak. Get a fun cocktail. Make the most out of it!
  3. Don't use snack credits for drinks or bottled water. I have made this mistake before. You can get a cup of water for free. Save that snack credit for something bigger and better
  4. Use snack credits for a quick breakfast if you can. If you resort has a cafeteria quick service location, you can use a snack credit to buy a bagel or a muffin for a breakfast on the go
  5. Don't use quick service or table service credits for breakfast (Unless it's a character meal or pre-park opening breakfast). Breakfast is the cheapest meal, so it makes more sense to save those credits for lunch or dinner, which are more expensive.

The Bottom Line?

If you are dying to try all of the restaurants at Disney, the dining plan might be for you. If you are looking to save money on dining, there are other better options for you to save money on food.

Still confused or need help?

I am happy to help! Contact me.

See you at the parks,
-Julie