Disney World

All About The Disney World Dining Plan

I get asked quite frequently, what is the Disney World Dining plan and how does it work? When you book a vacation through Disney World and stay on-site, you have the option to add a dining plan to your reservation. The Disney World dining plan makes your Disney vacation seem like an all-inclusive package. Why? Because snacks, drinks, and meals are included in this meal plan. You essentially prepay for your meals before you go. I think this is a fantastic idea! You won’t have to try and guess how much to budget for food, because it’s already included in the cost of your reservation. And guess what?! You won’t have to tell your kids no you can’t get that $5.00 Popsicle because they are allowed 2 snacks a day! I think it just makes for an all-around better experience for you and the kids.

 

 

Is The Disney World Dining Plan Worth It?

This is something that purely depends on you and your family. For us, I think it’s worth it. We love food and we have two growing teenagers that love snacks and trying new things. I don’t feel like we are wasting money with the dining plan because honestly, they would eat us out of house and home if I let them!

If your family are not big eaters, this plan may not be for you. Toddlers are not going to eat that much, so I don’t recommend buying the dining plan if you have small children. Kids 3 and under eat for free anyway! It is much easier and cheaper to take in some of your own snacks and meals for the little ones than to pay out of pocket. And they can, of course, snack off of your plate. I have put together a list of grocery stores near Disney World that actually deliver straight to your resort. There’s no need to rent a car, taxi or Uber! I also have some fun ideas for snacks to take in the parks that we have personally enjoyed.

 

Disney World Dining Plans Available And What Is Included:

Quick Service Dining Plan:

Everyone in the party ages 3 and over will receive the following each night of their stay:

2 Quick-Service Meals that include: 1 Entrée and 1 nonalcoholic drink.

AND

2 Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Drinks.

Each Guest ages 3 and over will receive a refillable drink mug, which is only eligible for refills at the self-service beverage islands or Quick-Service locations at any Disney Resort. Guests ages 3 to 9 must order from a children’s menu, where it is available.

Quick service meals can be used for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.

 

Beverage And Snack Options:

(All beverage and snack options stay the same with every plan)

Beverages:
Guests under 21 years of age can choose one nonalcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests 21 and older can choose either one nonalcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) within their meal entitlement.

A single-serving nonalcoholic beverage includes items such as:

  • Artisanal Milkshakes
  • Fresh Smoothies
  • Premium Hot Chocolate
  • Soda, Coffee or Tea

A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items such as:

  • Beer or Cider
  • Wine or Sangria
  • Mixed Drinks and Specialty Cocktails

Most beer, wine, and mixed drink beverages included, some exceptions apply. Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with a Quick-Service meal entitlement.

Snacks:
At Quick-Service restaurants, most Outdoor Carts and select merchandise locations, snacks may include a single serving of items such as:

  • Frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle or fruit bar
  • Popcorn scoop
  • 12 oz. coffee, hot chocolate or hot tea
  • Prepackaged milk or juice
  • Piece of whole fruit
  • Bag of snacks
  • 20 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola, Sprite or Dasani water
  • 20 oz. fountain soft drink

 

Dining plan:

Everyone in the party ages 3 and over will receive the following each night of their stay:

  • 1 Quick-Service Meal
  • 1 Table-Service Meal
  • 2 Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Again, you will receive a refillable mug and all beverages and snack options stay the same throughout all of the dining plans.

Quick-Service meal includes: 1 Entree and 1 nonalcoholic beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older).

If you use the table service meal for breakfast you will get:

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Nonalcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

-OR-

  • 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal

Each Table-Service meal includes (for lunch or dinner):

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Dessert
  • Nonalcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

-OR-

  • 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal (Some buffets require 2 table service credits)

 

Deluxe Dining Plan:

Everyone in the party ages 3 and over will receive the following each night of their stay:

  • 3 Meals– They can be either quick service or table service meals
  • 2 Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Again, you will receive a refillable mug and all beverages and snack options stay the same throughout all of the dining plans.

Each Quick-Service meal includes (for breakfast, lunch or dinner):

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

Each Table-Service meal includes (for breakfast):

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

-OR-

  • 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal

Each Table-Service meal includes (for lunch or dinner):

  • 1 Appetizer
  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Dessert
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

-OR-

  • 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal (Some buffets require two table service credits)

 

Other Magical Dining Experiences To Redeem Table-Service Meals

Signature Dining Restaurants:
These are the best of the best when it comes to the dining experience and food options. The only bad thing about the signature restaurants is they do require you to use 2 of your table service credits towards your meal. On our last trip, we used a snack credit for breakfast, a table service credit for lunch and 2 table service credits for dinner every day. This worked out fine for us but it may not work for all families. We really enjoy fine dining and since we didn’t have the kids with us, we decided to try some top-notch signature restaurants. And none of the signature restaurants disappointed us, it was worth every delicious penny!

Each meal from a Signature Dining restaurant includes:

  • 1 Appetizer
  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)
  • 1 Dessert

This is per guest, which is A LOT of food!

 

Other Great Dining Experiences:

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant:
Breakfast and lunch is a quick service credit, but dinner is a 2 Table-Service meal per person. We did stop in here for breakfast one morning and used one of our table service credits.

 

Tip from a pro: If you make a dining reservation at Be Our Guest for breakfast, make it for before the park opens. This will give you access to Main Street and Cinderellas Castle. Go about 20 minutes early to get some photos in front of the Castle with NO CROWDS. For other tips on how to get those awesome Instagram photos, check out my list of ways to get the perfect photos with little to no crowds in them!

 

 

Dinner Shows:
Enjoy family-style dining with live entertainment at a themed dinner show. But again, this takes two table service meals for each Dinner Show meal ordered.

Private In-Room Dining:

Each Private In-Room Dining meal includes:

  • 1 Appetizer
  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Dessert (lunch and dinner)
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

Two meals for each Private In-Room Dining meal ordered will be redeemed from each person’s meal plan balance. I would not recommend this unless you are just way too beat to go out for dinner.

Pizza Delivery:
Each Pizza Delivery meal includes:

  • 1 Pizza Entrée Item
  • 2 Single-serving Non-alcoholic Beverages (or Alcoholic Beverages, for Guests 21 and older)
  • 2 Desserts

Two meals for each Private In-Room Dining meal ordered will be redeemed from each person’s meal plan balance. Again, this is not something I recommend unless you are just way too beat to go out for dinner.

 

What’s Not Included In The Dining Plans:

  • Items that are more than a single serving (such as a box of doughnuts or a jar of peanut butter)
  • Items (such as popcorn or drinks) that are served in a souvenir container
  • Items sold from recreational rental counters
  • Items considered to be merchandise (such as bottle toppers, glow cubes, and bottle straps)

 

How to Get A Dining Plan:

If you have decided that one of these dining plans are perfect for you and your family, its really easy to have them added to your reservation. Here are a few options to have them added.

  • You can call Disney directly.
  • Go into your reservations online and add them to your plan.
  • Add the dining plan to your reservation in the check out stage.

 

How To Use Your Dining Plan:

So how do you use your dining plan credits? It’s super easy, you just let the server or cashier know that you have the dining plan. They will ask the number of meals or snacks you want to use, and then they will scan your Magic Band or Card/Pass!

Pro Tip:

You can use your meal or snack credits in any order or use as many as you want or need in a day! I wouldn’t recommend it, but technically you can use all of your snacks in one day. Your dining plan expires at midnight on your very last day. This is a use it or lose it plan, so if you have snack credits left, grab some treats to take home with you on your way out. Don’t leave those snack credits unused!

 

How To Keep Track Of Your Credits:

You can keep track of your credits in three different ways.

  • At the bottom of your receipt, your remaining credits will be listed.
  • Any Resort Concierge or Guest Relations staff member can look them up for you.
  • Go on to your My Disney Experience App and they are listed in your plans.

 

 

Reservations:

Because you are staying at a Disney World Resort, you are allowed to start making your dining reservations 180 days out! This is one of the major perks of staying onsite at a Disney World resort. Check out my list of all the extra perks and freebies you will receive just by staying onsite. Make sure you log into your account and reserve your restaurants as quickly as possible. Most Table-Service restaurants, Character Dining, and Signature restaurants book very fast, so make sure you are on top of it! Dinner shows require reservations and have very limited availability.

 

Gratuities:

Plan on bringing some extra cash if you are eating at a table service meal. Tips are not included in the dining plan.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

So here’s the downfall and when you might say no. It is expensive, but so is park food. If you are planning on eating as cheap as possible, the dining plan is not for you. If you want to try out some restaurants and sit down to eat, I think its cheaper or about even when you buy the dining plan.

I’m going to do just a quick break down of the cost of each plan and some examples of what you might spend in the park.

Quick Service Dining Plan $43.99 a day- This will get you 2 quick service meals with a drink and 2 snacks throughout the day.

Woody’s Lunch Box- to get a Tart for breakfast $4.29 (snack credit)Yak and Yeti- for lunch your total for that meal with a drink is $16.79 (quick service credit).

For dinner, we will use the same amount of $16.79 (quick service credit).

Pongo Pongo- to get a Pineapple Cream Cheese Spring Roll for $3.29 (snack credit).

Your total for the day is $41.16. So not too bad for the extra convenience of having everything completely paid for before you go.

Dining Plan $62.41 a day- This will give you 2 meals and 2 snacks, the difference is one meal is a table service and the other is a quick service meal.

We are going to use the same snacks and lunch for this one and just add a table service meal for dinner. So, again:

Woody’s Lunch Box- to get a Tart for breakfast $4.29 (snack credit).

Yak and Yeti- for lunch, your total for that meal is $16.79 (quick service credit).

Coral Reef- for an appetizer you get New England Clam Chowder $10.00, for the entree you order the Rib Eye $34.00, the Chocolate Wave for dessert $10.00, and a Magical Star Cocktail $15.00 (table service credit).

Pongo Pongo- for a Pineapple Cream Cheese Spring Roll for $3.29 (snack credit).

Your total for today would have been $93.37.

As you can see, you can really get your moneys worth if you choose the most expensive items on the menu. However, if you go with cheaper items, your total for the day can change drastically.

Deluxe Dining Plan $95.19 a day- This will give you 2 snacks and 3 table service meals.

 

 

The picture above reflects a 5-day hopper pass, with a resort stay and this is what the total would come to if you decided to add the dining plan to your stay.

 

Other Tips Worth Mentioning:

Okay so here’s the kicker, in order to get a Disney World dining plan you have to stay at one of their resorts. The good news is, they have 3 different types of resort to fit everyone’s budget.

Deluxe Resorts- They tend to start out at $300.00-$1000.00+ a night.

Moderate- Usually end up around $220.00-$300.00+ a night.

Value- I have seen these as low as $110.00-$200.00+ a night.

I personally love staying on-site for several reasons. I have made a list of 14 perks to staying on-site at Disney world to help you decide if staying at a Disney World resort is for you.

As always, weigh out your pros and cons for the Disney World dining plan and see what best fits your family’s needs. It’s really easy to pack in your snacks or meals and there are grocery stores near Disney World that deliver straight to your resort. Amazon Pantry is also available in this area for delivery. Check out my guide on what grocery stores deliver to this area and how it works.

What do you think of the Disney World Dining plan? Have you used it before, if so what are your thoughts on it? What do you think needs improvement? let us know!

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