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What Is the Disney Dining Plan and Is It Worth It? [2024]

Carissa Rawson's image
Carissa Rawson
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Carissa Rawson

Senior Content Contributor

267 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 51U.S. States Visited: 36

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3236 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Walt Disney World: the name alone elicits child-like excitement from kids of all ages. The joy of getting through the gates, the perfectly curated atmosphere, the way the rest of the world seems to melt away — there’s nothing quite like it.

But if you’ve had to plan a trip to Disney, you know all too well the real world can creep back in when it comes time to fork over the funds for in-park dining experiences. To combat this, Disney has created the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), which allows eligible customers to prepay for their meals. If done right, they can even save a little money in the process.

What Is the Disney Dining Plan?

Put simply, the Disney Dining Plan allows guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels to pay for their meals in advance. They can bundle the DDP with their vacation package ahead of time to ensure their food budget is planned out.

Prepaid meal plans have been available at Walt Disney World for quite some time, but if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, don’t sweat it. Let’s take a look at how it all works.

There are 2 plan types from which to choose. The Quick-Service Dining Plan is good if you’re on the go from the moment you walk through those gates, while the classic Dining Plan is if you’re a full-service foodie and like to recoup with a good meal.

Here’s what each offers:

Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan

Disneys All Star Movie Resort food court dining options
World Premiere Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. Image Credit: Chris Hassan
  • 2 quick-service meals per night of stay
  • 1 snack or non-alcoholic beverage per night of stay
  • 1 resort-refillable mug

Quick-service meals are like those you’d traditionally find in a theme park. It’s casual dining at a lower price point than a sit-down restaurant.

Your 2 daily meals include beverages. Those 21 and over can enjoy alcohol, while those who don’t want to drink or are underage can have milkshakes, smoothies, sodas, and more.

The daily snack or non-alcoholic beverage is separate from the drinks included with your meals.

Disney Dining Plan

Disneys BoardWalk Inn Flying Fish Tables
Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. Image Credit: Juan Ruiz
  • 1 quick-service meal per night of stay
  • 1 table-service meal per night of stay
  • 1 snack or non-alcoholic beverage per night of stay
  • 1 resort-refillable mug

In this dining plan, you trade 1 quick-service meal for a table-service meal. These meals also include alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

As the name suggests, table service restaurants are slower-paced and more expensive options. They tend to have more intensive theming than quick-service restaurants and can serve a variety of food.

The Fine Print

  • Both meal plans must be purchased for everyone in your party for the duration of your stay.
  • Any children ages 3 to 9 must order from the children’s menu.
  • The meals, snacks, and additional specialty beverages can be redeemed early or rolled over to the next day; they expire at midnight on the night of checkout.
  • Plans are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • Plans are only sold with a resort package.
  • Character dining, Fine/Signature dining, dinner at Be Our Guest, dinner shows, private in-room dining, and pizza pickup meals all cost 2 credits to redeem.
  • Gratuity is not included in the meal price, and another form of payment will be necessary to tip.

Walt Disney World has over 230 quick-service and table-service restaurants. If you’re concerned about flexibility, there also are a ton of participating restaurants, including buffets, to give even the pickiest of eaters the option to fuel up.

Participating Restaurants

If you’re searching for restaurants where you can use your dining plan, first navigate to Disney’s dedicated dining page.

On the right, click on All Filters and select the dining plan you’re looking for.

Disney Dining filters
Filters make it easy to find restaurants. Image Credit: Disney

You can further narrow your search here by including price range, dining locations, cuisine, or types, like buffets or shows.

Comparing Costs

The cost of your Disney Dining Plan will depend on what type of meals you enjoy and how much you’re willing to spend:

  • Quick-Service Dining Plan: $57.01 for adults and $23.83 for children (ages 3 to 9) per day
  • Disney Dining Plan: $94.28 for adults and $29.69 for children (ages 3 to 9) per day

Keep in mind that these dining plans are only available to those bundling with a Walt Disney World Resort Package.

Hot Tip:

If you’d rather not spend money on a dining plan, consider having groceries delivered to your room or rental. The Platinum Card® from American Express includes a Walmart+ membership credit (upon enrollment), giving you complimentary delivery!

How To Get the Disney Dining Plan

Whether you’re looking for a little savings or just interested in its convenience, purchasing a Disney Dining Plan is simple.

To be eligible, you must book a resort package and stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

To purchase a dining plan, you’ll first need to search for a resort stay online via Disney’s website.

Plug in your dates, then click View Rates. From there, you can start sifting through which resort would be the best for you. After you’ve picked a resort and a room, you’ll be prompted to add a dining plan to your package. This is when you will choose between the 2 options or entirely opt out of the DDP.

Maximizing the Disney Dining Plan

Quick Service

Let’s say you stop in at Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park for dinner and cash in on the most expensive dinner item, the Ribs, Chicken, and Pulled Pork Sampler ($18.99). You then pair that with an Island Breeze ($14.00). Do this twice in a day and you’re already at $66 for meals.

Flame Tree BBQ menu
Plenty of options at Flame Tree Barbecue. Image Credit: Disney

Factor in your additional snack ($5 to $15) and/or non-alcoholic specialty beverage ($6 to $8), as well as the refillable souvenir mug ($21.99 flat fee for any number of days up to 2 weeks), and you’re over the mark for savings.

The challenge is finding a route that allows you the highest-priced item for the best redemptions possible. This can be a fun challenge, but is it what you’d like to focus on during your trip? That’s absolutely something to consider before purchasing a plan.

Hot Tip:

Although ordering a pizza at your resort costs 2 quick-service meal credits, it comes with 2 beverages and is big enough to feed a family!

Table Service

Now, the cost of table-service restaurants can vary widely depending on where you go. This is where advanced planning will make the Disney Dining Plan a real money-saver.

The best bang for your buck will undoubtedly be the dinner-time buffets. The buffets are pretty pricey if you pay out of pocket, but they only cost 1 table service meal instead of 2.

Somewhere like ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which charges $62 per adult for dinner, makes it simple to maximize the value of your plan.

Disney Polynesian Ohana lunch
The ‘Ohana Dinner Skillet. Image Credit: Carissa Rawson

Combine this with your alcoholic drink, snack, and quick-service meal, and it’s easy to get your money’s worth.

Keep in mind that tips are not included, so budget for the extra cost.

You’ll want to do your best to avoid locations requiring 2 meal credits. While some can certainly be valuable, for the most part, you’re paying double the cost for a similarly-priced meal.

For example, if you decided to go somewhere like Le Cellier Steakhouse, a Signature restaurant at EPCOT, you would need to spend $120 per entrée to reach the same value as a restaurant that required 1 meal credit. The most expensive menu item is the filet mignon, which costs just $62.

Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth It?

Now that you have all the information, it’s time to see if the glass slipper fits. The dining plans can be a money-saver if you are willing to plan out the meals in advance AND you plan on staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

If you aren’t, this redemption is likely to fall short. Dining plans are really specific to the park-goers who plan to spend all their time in the park.

If you are willing to be the planner, make the reservations, and map out the park route, these meal plans are worth it for your wallet.

Because it’s prepaid, meal costs can be spread out through the year instead of a lump sum to budget when you’re there.

The dining plan is best suited for those who love the idea of having it all planned when they arrive, including their budget, to take the guesswork out of the trip. These meal plans are easily tracked in the My Disney Experience app, so you can just relax and have fun.

Others may find the idea of planning every aspect too constricting for time and taste and would much rather go with the flow than worry about having to make the most of a redemption.

In the end, the value of the plan for you is as individual as the vacation itself.

Hot Tip:

The Disney® Visa® Card and Disney® Premier Visa® card offer a 0% promotional APR on all Disney packages for 6 months, which gives you extra time to pay off that dining plan. If you opt to dine à la carte, Disney cardmembers also get 10% off select food purchases. Learn more about the benefits of Disney credit cards at Disney parks!

Final Thoughts

Disney Dining Plans are worth considering as an add-on for your next Walt Disney World vacation, but only if you check certain boxes. If you’re looking for a completely immersive experience, the dining plan may be a great addition to your resort package. Otherwise, save your money and have some groceries delivered right to your hotel room door.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Disney getting rid of meal plans?

Disney paused its popular dining plans when it closed in 2020 due to COVID-19. However, it relaunched newly revised dining plans in 2024, featuring new costs and benefits.

Can you purchase a Disney Dining Plan separately?

Disney sells its dining plans as part of a package. If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can add a Disney Dining Plan to your stay. You can also do so if your package includes tickets.

How much is the Disney meal plan per person?

There are 2 Disney dining plans: the Quick-Service Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. The Quick-Service Plan is less expensive:

  • Quick-Service Plan: $57.01 for adults and $23.83 for children (ages 3 to 9) per day
  • Disney Dining Plan: $94.28 for adults and $29.69 for children (ages 3 to 9) per day

Is the Disney Dining Plan a good idea?

If you don’t mind planning in advance, a Disney Dining Plan may be a good option for your family. Doing so will help you maximize the value of your plan. However, it’s not the most budget-friendly option if you’re trying to save money.

Carissa Rawson's image

About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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