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    Disney World Dining Plan

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Disney World Dining Plan Overview and FAQ

Disney offers dining plans to accompany its ticket and travel-package programs. Guests must also purchase a travel package from Disney or an authorized Disney travel agent (not through an online reseller), have annual passes, or be members of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) to purchase a dining plan.

Except for DVC members, a three-night minimum stay is typically also required to purchase a dining plan.

The overall cost of the dining plan is determined by the number of nights you stay at a Disney resort.

Who Can Buy a Disney Dining Plan?

The Disney Dining plans is available only to guests staying inside Walt Disney World at Disney-owned resort hotels. That means guests are not eligible if staying at the Swan, the Dolphin, the Swan Reserve, the hotels of the Disney Springs Resort Area, the Four Seasons, and Shades of Green.

Disney offers two dining plans: one 'standard' plan, which is the thing most people mean when they say 'Disney Dining Plan'; and the Quick Service Dining Plan.

Disney Dining Plan

The standard Disney Dining Plan provides, for each member of your group (age 3 and up), for each night of your stay, one counter-service meal, one full-service meal, and one snack at participating Disney dining locations and restaurants, including room service at some Disney resorts.

For instance, if you’re staying for three nights, you’ll be credited with three counter-service meals, three full-service meals, and six snacks for each member of your party. All meals are placed in a group meal account. Meals in your account can be used by anyone in your group, on any combination of days, so you’re not required to eat every meal every day. This means that, for example, you can skip a full-service meal one day and have two on another day.

The plan also includes one refillable drink mug per person, per package, but it can be filled only at Disney resort counter-service restaurants.

The counter-service meal includes:

  • An entrée (a sandwich, dinner salad, pizza, or the like) or a complete combo meal (such as a burger and fries) plus drink; breakfast is typically a combo platter with eggs, bacon or sausage, potatoes, a biscuit, and a drink

The full-service sit-down meals include

  • An entrée or a complete combo meal, plus drink
  • A dessert (except breakfast)

One alcoholic drink or specialty beverages per meal is included in the plan. Disney will almost always give you a predetermined list to order these drinks from. Guests must be age 21 and older to order an alcoholic drink.

If you’re dining at a buffet, the full-service meal includes the buffet and beverage. Tax is included in the dining plan, but tips are not. Beverage choices include soda, coffee, or tea; one milkshake, smoothie, or specialty hot chocolate; or, for guests age 21 and older, one beer, glass of wine, or cocktail.

A snack can be any of several single-serving items such as a pretzel or bottle of water. They are often specifically marked as Dining Plan snacks on menus and may include

  • A frozen ice cream novelty, ice pop, or fruit bar
  • A scoop of popcorn
  • A 12-ounce coffee, hot chocolate, or hot tea
  • A prepackaged container of milk or juice
  • A piece of whole fruit
  • A bag of snacks
  • A 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, Sprite, or Dasani water
  • A 20-ounce fountain soft drink
  • Disney’s top-of-the-line restaurants (aka Disney Signature Restaurants), along with Cinderella’s Royal Table, the Hoop-Dee-Do dinner show, regular room service, and in-room pizza delivery, count as two full-service meals on the standard dining plan.

    In addition to the preceding, the following rules apply:

  • Everyone staying in the same resort room must participate in the Disney Dining Plan.
  • Children ages 3–9 must order from the kids’ menu, if available. This rule is occasionally relaxed at Disney’s counter-service restaurants, enabling older kids to order from the adult (age 10+) menu.
  • A full-service meal can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The greatest savings occur when you use your full-service-meal credits for dinner.
  • The meal plan expires at midnight on the day you check out of your Disney resort. Unused meals are nonrefundable.
  • The Disney Dining Plan cannot be added to a discounted room-only reservation.
  • How Much Does the Disney Dining Plan Cost?

    The 2024 prices for the Disney Dining Plan are:

    • $94.29 for guests age 10 and up
    • $49.76 for children ages 3-9
    The 2024 prices for the Quick Service Plan are:
    • $57.01 for guests age 10 and up
    • $43.81 for children ages 3-9
    Children younger than age 3 eat free from an adult’s plate.

    Quick-Service Dining Plan

    This plan includes meals, snacks, and drinks at most counter-service eateries and outdoor carts in Walt Disney World. The plan includes two counter-service meals and two snacks per day, in addition to one refillable drink mug per person, per package (eligible for refills only at counter-service locations in your Disney resort).

    Other Dining Plan Rules

    Disney ceaselessly tinkers with the dining plans’ rules, meal definitions, and participating restaurants. Here are some recent examples:

  • You can exchange a sit-down meal credit for a counter-service meal, though doing this even once will wipe out any savings you get from using a plan in the first place.
  • At sit-down restaurants, you can usually substitute dessert for a side salad, cup of soup, or fruit plate.
  • You may exchange one sit-down or counter-service meal credit for three snacks at a counter-service location, as long as you do so within the same transaction. Exchanging a sit-down credit for snacks is not a good deal.
  • Some counter-service restaurants don’t differentiate between adult and child meal credits. If you have two adult credits and two child credits on your account, you may purchase four adult counter-service meals with the credits.
  • Finally, you can usually use your credits to pay for the meals of people who aren’t on any dining plan. We’ve heard of sporadic instances of Disney not allowing this, but we think they’re instances of confusion about what the dining plan rules actually say: The rules say that meals can’t be transferred, but they say nothing about meals being shared - as if that could even be enforced.

    To ensure that everybody knows the rules, it might help to carry a printout of them with you. As long as someone enrolled in the dining plan tells the server in advance that he or she plans to redeem the appropriate number of credits and then orders the meals for the diners who aren’t enrolled, everything should be on the up and up. Should a server or manager tell you that the rules prohibit meal sharing, just point out that your copy of the rules doesn’t say that.

    Things to Consider When Evaluating the Disney Dining Plan

    About 9 out of 10 readers who’ve used the Disney Dining Plan would do so again, according to our reader surveys. The plan is one of the most requested of Disney’s package add-ons.

    Families say that their favorite aspect is the peace of mind that comes from knowing their meals are paid for ahead of time, rather than having to keep track of a budget while they’re in the parks.

    Families also enjoy the communal aspect of sitting down together for a full meal, without having to worry about who’s picking up the food or doing the dishes.

    Costwise, however, it’s difficult for many families to justify using the plan. If you prefer to always eat at counter-service restaurants, you’ll be better off with the Quick Service Plan. You should also avoid the Disney Dining Plan if you have finicky eaters, you’re visiting during holidays or summer, or you can’t get reservations at your first- or second-choice sit-down restaurants. In addition, if you have children age 10 and up, be sure they can eat an adult-size dinner at a sit-down restaurant every night; if not, you’d probably come out ahead just paying for everyone’s meals without the plan.

    If you opt for the plan, skipping one full-service meal during a visit of five or fewer days can mean the difference between saving and losing money. In our experience, having a scheduled sit-down meal for every day of a weeklong vacation can be mentally exhausting, especially for kids. One option might be to schedule a meal at a Disney Signature Restaurant, which requires two full-service credits, and have no scheduled sit-down meal on another night in the middle of your trip, allowing everyone to decide on the spot if they’re up for something formal.

    As already noted, many of the most popular restaurants are fully booked as soon as their reservation windows open. If you’re still interested in the Disney Dining Plan, book your restaurants as soon as possible, typically 60 days before you visit. Then decide whether the plan makes economic sense.

    If you’re making reservations to eat at Disney hotels other than your own, a car allows you to easily access all the participating restaurants. When you use the Disney transportation system, dining at the various resorts can be a logistical nightmare. Those without a car may want to weigh the immediate services of a taxi or ride-hailing service—typically $16–$33 each way across Disney property, versus a 50- to 75-minute trip on Disney transportation each way.

    When Disney offers Free Dining discounts, it generally charges rack rate for the hotel. Room-only discounts are often available at these times too, meaning you should work out the math to see which discount works best for you.

    In most cases we examined, Free Dining was a better deal for families of two adults and up to two kids under age 10 staying at a Value or Moderate resort. The break-even point at a Deluxe resort depended on whether the kids ate like adults. An option instead of doing this math yourself is to have a travel agent do it for you.

    Alternatives to the Dining Plan

    One of the biggest selling points for Disney's dining plan is that you've paid for your meals before you leave home. It's possible to get the same results by purchasing a pre-paid debit card and loading it with the same amount of money you'd pay for the Disney plan. The big advantage to using your own debit card is that you get to keep any money left over at the end of your trip. Visa and MasterCard both have pre-paid cards that can be ordered and loaded from your phone or computer. We're very interested in hearing from families who try this option. Contact us if you do, and let us know how it worked.

    If your peace of mind absolutely requires a Disney meal plan, consider the quick-service option. As with the standard dining plan, you'll get the most savings using the quick-service meals for lunch and dinner. Even if decide to splurge on a sit-down meal or two, you can use your saved quick-service meals for breakfasts without feeling like you've paid twice as much as everyone else for the same food.

    Last updated on May 31, 2023