Is the Disney Dining Plan a good choice

Do you really need the Dining plan when staying at disney

Recently there were some pretty big changes made to the Disney Dining plan! It was announced that a new tier would be added between the quick service plan and the regular dining plan. Because of all of the news surrounding the dining plan I wanted to take a second to go over what the Disney Dining Plan is and if you really need it when you go to Disney or not.

Is the Disney Dining Plan a good choice

I’ve seen questions about the Disney Dining Plan a million times. It’s a pretty expensive option to add to your reservation so you want to make sure that you are getting the most bang for buck when you are considering it as an option.

“Do I really need the Disney Dining plan?”

The dining plan is something that Disney pushes a lot and that a lot of people really don’t know much about it. So let’s take a look at the dining plan options and see if you really need it or not.

What is the Disney Dining Plan?

In short, the Disney Dining Plan (or DDP) is a way for you to prepay for meals when you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort. Depending on the plan that you choose, you will receive a certain number of credits per night of your stay to use on your meals at either quick service, table service, or snack locations. The number of credits you receive and the way that you can use them is based on the dining plan that you choose and the number of nights that you will be staying.

What are the plan options

There are now 4 plan options to chose from when you decide to use the DDP. Quick Service Dining Plan, Dining Plan Plus, Regular Dining plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. Each one of these will come with 2-3 meals that can be used at either quick service or table service locations depending on the plan as well as 2 snacks and a resort mug that you can use for free refills on sodas, teas, and coffee at any Walt Disney World Resort for as long as you are staying on property.

**Please note that the free refills only apply to the resorts. This cannot be used in the parks or at restaurant locations. **

Disney Dining Plan

Things to know about the Disney Dining Plans

*The nice thing about the Dining plan is that you can use your credits any way that you see fit with any of the plans. If you decide that you want to use all of your snack credits one day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can do that or you can choose to space them out throughout your trip. Just make sure that you are keeping track of your credits and that you use ALL of your credits. You don’t want to waste any of them.

*Gratuity is not included. You will still need to look at paying the tip when you eat at sit down (table service) restaurants. So make sure that you come with a way to pay your server a tip when you hit up one of the many buffet and table service options throughout the parks.

*Not all restaurants are created equally. Some table service restaurants cost more credits than others. Signature Dining Restaurants and Character Dining like Cinderellas Royal Table and Storybook Dinning at Artists Point will cost you 2 table service credits. So if you have 5 table service credits and want to eat table service for dinner every night of your stay, make sure that you are booking places that are only 1 credit each because those 2 credit places can really use up your credits quickly.

*Pizza delivery and room service ARE included on the dining plans. So you are able to order from room service and the hotel pizza delivery services while you are the resorts. BUT these are going to cost you 2 credits each. So this may not be the wisest use of your Dining Plan.

* You can use your dining credits to pay for people who are not on your dining plan. This is actually a really nice option if grandma and grandpa decided that they want to join you for one special meal during the trip but don’t need the dining plan any other time. You can use your dining plan credits to pay for their meal even if they are not listed on your plan.

*Enhancements are NOT included on the dining plan. These may include extra side items or upgrades to current meals. So you may have to pay out of pocket for those items. The only things that are included on the dining plan is the specific food items listed under the entrees descriptions on the menu.

*Some table service restaurants include a drink in the meal, so you will need to ask to use your drink credit so you don’t lose it. Places like storybook dining include one drink with your meal that you wouldn’t have to pay extra for, so this technically means that you can get 2 free drinks at that meal. The free drink that comes with the meal plus the drink credit you would still have available. Just make sure to ask the server if the drink is already included in the meal and if it is make sure to ask for a second drink.

Now, Let’s talk about your Dining Plan Options.

Disney Dining Plans

Disney Dining Plan Options

Quick Service Dining Plan

The Quick Service Dining Plan is going to be the cheapest option for you and your family out of all three of the dining plans. When you add this option to your stay, all guests in your party ages 3 and over will receive:

2 quick service meals 

2 snacks or 2 non-alcoholic drinks

1 resort refillable mug

*The cost for this plan is around $55 per night per adult and $26 per night per child.


Regular Dining Plan

With this plan, you guest will receive both a quick service and a table service meal each day. You don’t have to worry about trying to choose between the two. All guests within your party ages 3 and over will receive:

1 Quick Service Meal

1 Table Service Meal

2 Snacks or 2 non-alcoholic drinks

1 resort refillable mug

*The cost for this plan is around $78 per night per adult and $31 per night per child.

Dining Plan Plus

This is the newest addition to the Disney Dining Plan family and is a great middle of the road option for people wanting to have a bit more control over their dining experiences. With this option, you will have the ability to choose between quick service and table service for your credit usage. All guests within your party ages 3 and over will receive:

2 meals (any combination of quick service and table service per night of your stay)

2 snacks or 2 non-alcoholic drinks

1 resort refillable mug

*The cost for this plan is around $95 per night per adult and $35 per night per child.


Deluxe Dining Plan

This is going to be the most expensive dining plan option that you can choose but will offer the most food. You’re going to get 3 meals of your choosing plus snacks… at Disney, that’s a lot of eating. All guests within your party ages 3 and over will receive:

3 Meals (Any combination of Table-Service and Quick-Service, per night of stay)

2 snacks or 2 non-alcoholic drinks

1 resort refillable mug

*The cost for this plan is around $119 per night per adult and $48 per night per child.


What does this all mean? What are meals and snacks?


1 entree (and any side item listed under the description of the entree)

1 non-alcoholic or alcoholic drink for the 21 and over crowd

*remember to ask if a drink is already included in your meal and if it is, don’t forget to redeem your drink credit for a second drink.

Single-serving non-alcoholic drinks include items like:

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

A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items like:

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


What counts as a snack?

A snack is going to be any single serve item that normally costs around or under $6-$7. So this will include things like:

  • whole pieces of fruit
  • candy
  • bottled soda
  • mickey premium bars
  • pretzels
  • Popsicle
  • brownies
  • ice cream
  • waffles


How to get the most out of your Disney Dining Plan

If you decide that you want to add on the DDP to your reservation, you’re going to want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. To really make the DDP, no matter the tier option you go with, worth it, you’re going to need to make sure that you are choosing the most expensive options on the menu. So, don’t waste your snack credits on candy and lollipops, unless you absolutely want those to take back for people. Instead, use your snack options for breakfast choices or for expensive snack choices like cupcakes and brownies and Dole Whips. At dinner, make sure you’re ordering the Filet Mignon or the lobster or whatever those expensive food options are that you may not normally order for yourself. You don’t want to spend $119 for a lollipop and a order of chicken tenders.

Make sure that you are using all of your food credits. No food credit left behind. If you don’t use all of your credits, you’re essentially leaving money on the table.

Keep in mind that you can use your credits however you want. So again, use them all in one day, stretch them out for the whole trip, pay for others who aren’t on your plan… it’s all up to you and how you think the plan will benefit you the most.

You can exchange credits. With how the system is currently set up, you actually have the ability to trade in 1 quick service credit for 3 snack credits. So, if you happen to be someone who would rather snack all day than have an actual meal or you happen to have a couple of kiddos under 3 you can trade in one of those quick service meals for more snacks. You can then use those as more breakfast options or easy snacks for you and younger children that may be with you.

Is the Dining Plan worth the cost?

The answer to that it yes…and no. The Dining Plans offer a lot of options and may make your travel dining experience a bit less stressful since everything will be prepaid. With that being said, it may not actually save you any money in the long run and could actually end up costing more than paying out of pocket for your meals. My recommendation would be to head to the Disney World website and check out the dining options and look at the prices of the restaurants you would like to eat at. Compare the prices for your party there to the price of the Dining Plans and see which one comes out to the better price.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to hit that subscribe button and check out more family travel blogs below!

The Oh Sh** car kit

All Rides and Attractions at Disney World parks

Summertime Tips from a Floridian





Published by

Goldfish and Gin

I'm a perfectly imperfect large family mom with a love for family, fashion, beauty and supporter of breastfeeding and body positivity.

29 thoughts on “Do you really need the Dining plan when staying at disney

  1. I always struggle with plans like this! There definitely is an advantage to having everything handled up front but boy do I struggle with $78/day for one person. I can eat an entire week on $78 (not including wine hahah) Thank you so much for the breakdown and sharing your perspective

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is a great post. I was never aware of Disney Dining Plan as I have only visited the parks during the day and not stayed there. This will be useful for me the next time I plan to visit.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, very detailed! When we went, the dining plan was totally worth it as it meant we could eat at places that would have been very pricey otherwise. I can understand why, for some people, it wouldn’t be worth it though

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an excellent guide on the different types of dining plans at Disney World. I have never been to Disney Land or Disneyland, so this is new information for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’ve been to Disney twice and we haven’t purchased the dining plan either time because we brought most of our food, but we have considered doing it when our kids get older to have the full experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t know about this! The cost doesn’t seem too bad with the amount of credits on each one especially considering how much food can cost at Disney.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I try not to eat while at Disney. I bring some snacks and go out to eat for dinner. The food at Disney can be so expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.