What’s the deal with the Disney Dining Plan?


Queue up Jerry Seinfeld voice when reading the title. One of the perks to staying onsite at Disney is the ability to add-on the Disney Dining Plan to your trip. The Disney dining plan is a way to basically pre-pay for your meals, which can help you budget things out ahead of time. There are three tiers that you can pick from. When planning a trip, the dining plan can be the most confusing aspect of the whole process. They basically breakdown into a value, regular and a deluxe plan. In some cases, the plans provide some value and in others, not as much; which I will outline below. This is to help breakdown what the plans include and what you get with each one.  Big thing to remember is that this is specifically for Disney World.

There had been some changes to the Dining plan over the years, mostly with price but in 2018, the biggest change has been the addition of alcoholic beverages.

What are the Tiers available?

Quick Service Dining Plan

The quick service dining plan is the value plan which includes:

  • 2 quick service meals (per day)
  • 2 snacks (per day)
  • a  refillable mug (per stay)

Quick Service Plan price is currently  $21.74 per child ages 3-9 and $52.50 per adult

Occasionally throughout the year, Disney will roll out free dining plans when someone books a room during select time periods. If you are lucky enough to go during one of those times, this one is usually free when you stay at a value resort. If that is the case, you can either stick with this plan or pay for an upgrade to the regular dining plan.

Regular Dining Plan

The regular Dining plan is the next step up from the quick service – I have also seen it as the Standard Dining plan. The standard dining plan includes:

  • 1 sit down/ table meal (per day)
  • 1 quick service meal (per day)
  • 2 snacks (per day)
  • A refillable mug (per stay)

As stated above about occasionally getting free dining plans, this plan is the one that is usually free with moderate or deluxe resorts stays during select times.

The current price for the standard dining plan is $25.75 per child and $75.49 per adult

Deluxe Dining Plan

This is the top tier of the Disney dining plans and for good reason. This plan includes

  • 3 sit down/table meals (per day)
  • 2 snacks (per day)
  • A refillable mug (per stay)

Current pricing for Deluxe Dining are  $39.99 per child and $116.25 per adult during regular season

This can be a lot of food over the course of the day. One thing that is nice about this dining plan is that the 3 sit down meals can also be used for quick service meals instead, so you are not locked into having to do table meals only. I’ve done the deluxe plan in the past and I’m not sure I would recommend it at this point, due to the price and the time it takes for the sit down meals. There are other things that I can be doing around the parks instead of sitting down. But for some this works, it provides time to rest before heading back into the parks.

So what is included with each type of meal?

Snacks

These are straight forward, you can choose from most items at the snack carts, at the resort and at quick services. There are certain things that are not redeemable with the snack credits including:

  • Snacks that come in souvenir containers/buckets
  • Snacks that come with merchandise such as glow cubes or bottle straps.
  • Snacks that are not single serving

One thing to make note of is that snack credits can be used for drinks such as bottles of water.

One of the best snacks – Mickey pretzel

Refillable mug

The refillable mug is worth purchasing whether you get the Dining plan or not. It can be purchased through the resorts for $18.99 at the time of writing this. This allows you to get unlimited drink refills at the resort, up to every 5 minutes I believe. This is good for soda (Coca-cola products), juices, coffee, etc. 

Quick service

Quick service meals now include the meal and a drink. In years past, I believe this had included a dessert too but that was taken off within in past couple years. There is no limit to the cost of the entrée at a quick service restaurant. With the drinks, in the past, you could only choose from nonalcoholic options such as coffee, soda, tea, smoothies, hot chocolate. However, as of 2018, anyone above the age of 21 can get an alcoholic beverage instead of nonalcoholic. Biggest thing with this is, Drink Responsibly.  

With the addition of the alcoholic beverage option with the Disney Dining Plan,  it has made the Dining Plan a little bit more of a value; as these options are usually at least three to four dollars more expensive than the non-alcoholic beverages. This addition also came around the same time as a price increase to the dining plans, so less of a deal.

Table service

What you get with table service depends on breakfast or Lunch/supper. With breakfast, you get entrée and beverage (non-alcoholic or alcoholic) or a buffet. For lunch/supper, you get an entrée, beverage (again non-alcoholic or alcoholic) and a dessert or a buffet. There are no price limits as far as selecting an entrée at non-buffet meals. With this in mind, there are some restaurants that require 2 meal credits. One of the most popular restaurants that requires 2 meal credits is Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Things to consider

One thing to remember is that Kids under 3 can eat off of an adult’s plate without any extra charge. This is because you can not get a dining plan for any child under the age of 3. Getting the dining plan is hit or miss depending on where you are planning on eating each day and how much you want to spend. When we have gotten the dining plan in the past, it does provide a little freedom to order more expensive things on the menu that we would have avoided otherwise. This all comes down to personal preference.

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