Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth It?

Learn everything you need to know about the Disney Dining Plan!

 Updated February 27, 2020.

What is the Disney Dining Plan?

For many, it is the greatest things ever. Plan your dining needs ahead of time and focus on enjoying your vacation! In order to answer the question, “Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?”, you need to understand exactly what it is.

Anyone who is staying in a Disney hotel and adds theme park tickets to their vacation is eligible for the Disney Dining Plan. There are four levels of the Dining Plan (outlined below). Your meals are prepaid on all levels of the dining plan, so when you arrive at Disney World all you have to do is order from the menu and enjoy! (Gratuities are not included with few exceptions.) Children under the age of three are ineligible for the Dining Plan. They can usually share a meal with someone else in the party. You can also pay out of pocket to order them a drink or meal of their own. For Dining Plan purposes, children 10 and older are considered adults. Really? Yep!

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How to Use the Dining Plan

You will receive either a card or a Magic Band, depending on the vacation package you book, with all of your party’s meals preloaded. You scan your card or band and enter a pin number of your choosing to use your meal plan credits. Meal plan credits are available beginning the day you check in and expire the day you check out. You are not required to use them day by day. This means you are able to eat four meals one day and only one meal another day. Flexibility is great on vacation!

Most restaurants and many snack locations are participating vendors in the Disney Dining Plan. You will be able to see the Dining Plan logo at participating snack locations. This may take some  getting used to. You may need to train and instruct your family on what the symbol looks like.

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Dining Plan Options in 2020

Each person on any of the Dining Plans receives two snacks per person per night and a refillable mug. You can fill the refillable mug with any soft drink located at the quick service locations of your resort throughout your stay. However, you can not fill the mugs in the parks.

Continuing in 2020 is the option of one single serve alcoholic beverage (for guests 21 or older) or one single serve non-alcoholic beverage (such as a milkshake or smoothie) as part of the quick serve meal or the table service meal.

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There are four Dining Plan options in 2020. The first option is the Disney Quick Serve Dining Plan. This entitles each person to receive two quick service meals per night of your stay. Each quick service meal comes with one entree and one drink.

Included in the Disney Dining Plan are one quick serve meal and one table service meal (sit down restaurant) per person, per night of your stay. Each quick service meal comes with one entree and one drink. Each table service meal also comes with one entree and one drink OR one full buffet style or family style meal. For lunch or dinner, table service meals also come with dessert. With this meal plan you are also able to use table service meal credits to order in room dining.

New this year, the Disney Dining Plan Plus is perfect for those who enjoy lots of table service meals who find the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan to be just too much food. With the Disney Dining Plan Plus, you receive two meal credits per day, per guest. These meals can be used for any combination of quick serve meals or table service meals. Each quick service meal comes with one entree and one drink. Each table service meal also comes with one entree and one drink OR one full buffet style or family style meal. Unlike the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, appetizers are not included. You are still able to use this meal plan to order in room dining using table service credits.

The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan includes three meals per day for each guest per night of your stay. When you choose this package you are able to use meal credits for either quick serve meals or table service meals. Each quick service meal comes with one entree and one drink. Each table service meal also comes with one entree and one drink OR one full buffet style or family style meal. For lunch or dinner, the table service meals also come with an appetizer and a dessert. With this meal plan you are also able to use table service meal credits to order in room dining.

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Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth It?

The Disney Quick Serve Dining Plan costs $55.00 per adult (ages 10+), per night and $26.00 per child (ages 3-9), per night. The Disney Dining Plan is offered at the cost of $78.00 per adult, per night and $30.50 per child, per night. The Disney Dining Plan Plus is offered at the cost of $95.00 per adult, per night and $34.00 per child, per night. The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan costs $119.00 per adult, per night and $47.50 per child, per night.

It really comes down to personal preference. If you would rather have your food paid for in advance, the dining plan is a good option for you. For those who would rather look at the monetary value, it will depend on how much you are likely to spend on food throughout your vacation. Families that enjoy several character meals and prefer to eat at least two meals a day at Disney restaurants will likely spend less money with the dining plan.

Our family loves character meals and we use the Disney Dining Plan to the fullest. On most trips you can find us at Be Our Guest, Crystal Palace, Akershus, Chef Mickey’s and Cape May Cafe, among other restaurants! In addition, we love Pecos Bill’s and Restaurantosaurus as well as many World Showcase establishments for quick serve options.

Related Content: Disney World 2019 Free Dining Details

What questions do you have about the Disney Dining Plans in 2020? Ask them in the comments below!

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Learn everything you need to know about the Disney Dining Plan options and figure out if it's worth it!

46 thoughts on “Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth It?”

  1. My son is 10 so he is considered an adult for the dining plan. My question is can he still order from the kids menu even though he is technically considered an adult. He won’t eat the adult food or the portions they provide.

      1. When we went in 2017, my 11 year old son ordered off the kid’s menu. Since he was using his meal credits, Disney was making money by him ordering off the kid’s menu. We didn’t have any issues at any of the restaurants.

  2. Just returned from a trip with our two boys, both adventurous eaters side big appetites. Dining plan was so worth it! We loved using the plan at Homecoming in Disney Springs especially. Skipper Canteen in MK was surprisingly good too; steak was delicious, and the kid’s volcano cake was very high quality. Second the cinnamon bun from Gaston’s, and the Joffrey donuts for snack credits. We picked up some fresh Mickey Rice Krispie treats from the MK Confectionary, and also caramel apples…yum! P.S. used up our last QS credits a our resort on the morning of our departure; perfect send off, including full coffee mugs for the road.

  3. I am taking my daughter(7) and niece(11) to Disney World November 2019 for my daughters birthday. I have added the quick service dining plan and just a little confused as to how it work this will be their first trip to Disney and my first trip in 20 years. I’m wondering if I chose the right plan for us?

    1. Hi Gretchen! It really depends on what you are looking to experience. The quick service plan includes two table service meals per day as well as two snacks per day and a refillable mug, which can be used at your resort. Any table service meals you would enjoy would be paid out of pocket. All character meals are table service meals.

      A lot has changed at WDW! I have a very thorough Disney course that walks you through everything you need to know. It includes 11 modules, printable planning pages and 18 videos to help you plan your dream Disney vacation. Let me know if you have any questions about it!

  4. Hello! We are going to Disney in July and have the Deluxe Dining Plan. We will arrive Tuesday morning and check out Friday. We have 3 day park hopper tickets for Tuesday – Thursday. I was wondering however, if we save our meal plan credits, could we use them Friday morning before we leave at Bon Voyage Breakfast?

    1. Candis, you can use your credits until midnight of the day you check out. You are also able to use your credits whenever you want during your stay, so you can use 6 one day and 0 another. The answer to both of your questions is yes! You are allowed to save credits and you can use them the day you check out. Have a great trip!

  5. Hello,
    I have had the dinning plan YEARS ago, and at that time, I purchased the quick service meal plan. With this plan then, you could have table service meals, it would just take 2 quick service meals off you’re plan. Is this still the case? For us, this was still too much food, and we had a couple meals still left on our plans that we didn’t use.

    We are going again soon, and thinking of which plan to get.

    1. Hi Erica,
      Unfortunately that is not how it works now. You have to have the regular Disney Dining plan or the Deluxe Dining plan to use credits for a table service meal. It can be a lot of food. On our last trip we had several quick serve meals left. We were able to trade them in for three snack credits each. It was fun to bring home some Disney snacks and helped us feel like we were still on vacation (kind of)! If you would like to join our Facebook group, Awaken Disney Within, the group and I can help with other planning questions too. ?

  6. I am taking my special needs daughter in April for her 25th birthday. I am trying the Disney Dining Plan for the first time. I decided it was worth the $$ this time because we are going to do a character meal each day (with the exception of the Sci Fi Drive In) . We are scheduled for Ohana breakfast, Chef Mickey, Crystal Palace, Garden Grill, and Sci Fi Drive In. I need one more table service suggestion. (Be Our Guest is unavailable.) can you suggest your favs?

    Also, I’m confused about snacks, although your article helped. What are some items I can use snack credit for breakfast? What does the symbol look like? And are there many snack options available at Pop Century?

    I read somewhere that a Starbucks Venti and pastry/add on item from Starbucks were a single credit. Is that true or do you use a credit for each item?

    Thank you for your help. The first time using the plan is intimidating.

    1. Amy, you and your daughter are going to have so much fun! If you’re looking for a character breakfast, Cape May Cafe (at the Beach Club) is really good! Akershus is a character meal with five princesses in Epcot. Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom is not a character meal, but the food is really good. Mama Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios is an Italian restaurant with good food.

      Some of the snacks you could get for breakfast are the donuts or pastries at Joffrey’s in several parks. You could get the cinnamon roll at Gaston’s Tavern (it’s delicious!) in Magic Kingdom. Pop Century will have things like muffins and fruit available for snack credits. Each item from Starbucks will be one credit, so a drink and a pastry will be two credits.

      Our Facebook group has many helpful Disney veterans. We would love to have you join and you could get multiple opinions!

  7. I am going to Disney in March and I did get the Dining Pan for my Family. I have a 15 yr old, 9 yr old and 7 yr old. I am very much confused and second guessing the Dining Plan. I have been told the foood is horrible and that it’s a waste of money. Can you sheds light on that? Also does the Disney Springs restaurants also allow you to use the Disney food plan? Also, do my 9yr old have to order off tbe kids menu?

    1. Lisa, my family absolutely loves the food at Disney World. We get the Dining Plan every time we go. We love the character meals and table service restaurants. We also really enjoy the snacks and quick serve meals. We use the snack credits for breakfast and other snacks during the day. The cinnamon roll at Gaston’s Tavern in Magic Kingdom and the donuts at Joffrey’s (multiple locations) are breakfast musts for us. You can also find many options at Starbucks (multiple locations). We use the meal credits for lunch and dinner. Many of the restaurants in Disney Springs participate in the Dining Plan. It is important to check before you order just to be on the safe side.

      Your 9 year old will have to order from the kid’s menu at table service restaurants. At the quick service restaurants your 9 year old can order from either menu (adult or children). Buffets or family style restaurants may be a good option for table service if you think your 9 year old would rather stay away from the kid’s menu.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions or would like some recommendations. Enjoy your trip!!

      1. Can kids definitely still order from the adult menu at quick service restaurants? Since they have added alcohol I was worried that they would now differentiate adult/kids quick service. Thanks!

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  9. While I have thought about using a grocery delivery service to save money and still eat healthy, we do the Dining Plan because my daughter LOVES the characters. Character meals are the perfect way to see them and with their added expense, the Dining Plan makes it a cost efdective choice. We use the Dining Plan for Starbucks in the morning and a character meal and it pretty much pays for itself….everything else is is “free.”

  10. This is interesting. We were recently at Sea World and really didn’t understand the dining plan there either. Looking at how much we ended up spending, I think we would’ve preferred the dining plan. After reading this I think we will do that for Disney too! Thanks for all the info!

  11. This was informative, thank you! I love seeing the breakdown of things and “if its worth it”. If I ever go to Disney I will have to check that out as an option!

  12. Thanks for breaking this down. My husband and I will be going to Disney World for the second time in a few months. The first time we went was on a whim so we didn’t have much time to plan. This time I want to be prepared hah!

  13. Thanks so much for the info! We have been thinking about a Disney trip this year and the dining plans were so confusing to me. I have asked friends their opinions about whether they think it’s worth it and at least 95% say it is. Mostly for convenience sake. Your breakdown sure does help a ton! Thanks!

  14. We have never done the dining plan because when the kids were little, we never opted for the sit-down dining. Character meals would have been fun, but I’m not sure they would have sat through them… we have always just done the quick dining and sometimes the kids can even share a meal!

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