2024 Ultimate Guide to the Disney Dining Plan: Breaking Down Everything You MUST Know Before You Buy It!

Is the Walt Disney Dining Plan confusing to you as it is with most Disney guests?

Trust me, I totally understand.

Let me help you unpack and learn everything you need to know in order to conquer the Dining Plan for your trip!

Let’s first start by understanding what you’ll get in this guide and what is the Disney Dining Plan.

Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort Mickey Mouse Character Dining. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.
Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort

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Walt Disney Dining Plan at a Glance: 

  • The Disney Dining Plan is a prepaid meal plan for restaurants on the Walt Disney World Resort property 
  • Guests on the Disney Dining Plan receive a number of meal credits based on how many nights they plan on staying for one flat fee 
  • Remember that the dining plan is only available for guests staying at Disney-owned and operated resorts 
  • The Disney Dining Plan gives you much more flexibility now that unused meals and snacks can be rolled over each day through to midnight on the day of checkout 
  • You can quickly and easily keep track of your meal credits on My Disney Experience App any time you want 

Keep reading this full guide to find out all you need to know about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.  

2024 2025 Disney Dining Plan Comparison Chart
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What is the Disney Dining Plan?

The Disney Dining Plan is a prepaid meal plan for restaurants on the Walt Disney World Resort property.

You can buy a pre-set amount of meals and snacks ahead of time for each traveling person, per night.

The amount of meals and snacks you receive in each plan depends on the type of plan you choose and how many nights are part of your package vacation stay.

Each type of meal or snack can be redeemed using a credit from your meal plan.

It sounds like a lot, but meal plans can be very simple and a great money saver if you do things right.

Before we discuss the types of dining plans, there are a few terms you need to know.

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Walt Disney Dining Plan Terms You Should Know

Counter Service/Quick Service

Any dining location where you have to walk up to a counter or window to order your food.

Table Service

Any dining location where you make reservations, have to check in with a Cast Member or have to be shown to your table.

Disney Snacks 

These are found on most snack carts and quick service locations. It’s usually noted by the snack plan logo on the menu.

Snacks Include:

  • Frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle, or fruit bar 
  • Popcorn scoop 
  • 12 oz. coffee, hot chocolate, or hot tea 
  • Piece of whole fruit 
  • Bag of snacks 
  • 20 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola® products, Sprite® or Dasani® water 
  • A 20 oz. fountain soft drink 
  • 2 scoops of hand-scooped ice cream 
  • Cup of soup 
  • Add on toppings or sauces such as a side of cheese dipping sauce 

Disney Dining Plan Credits

These are sort of like meal tokens that Disney is using to keep track of your food.

Meals can cost anywhere from 1 to 2 credits and may be used at any time during your stay.

Are you planning a Disney vacation soon? Read the Disney World Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

What are the 2024 Disney Dining Plan Prices?

Disney has two tiers for the Dining Plan:

  1. Disney Quick Service Dining Plan
  2. “Regular” Disney Dining Plan

Each of them comes with a different level of service at different rates.

Disney Quick Service Dining Plan Cost

Includes two quick-service meals, one snack, and one refillable drink mug. The cost averages about $57 for adults and $24 for children per night. 

This quick-service plan will be per person and is based on the number of nights of your stay. 

“Regular” Disney Dining Plan Cost

Includes one table service meal, one quick service meal, two snacks, and one refillable mug with a rate of $94 for adults and $30 for children. This will also be per person and per night of your stay.

Sanaa Disney Restaurant. Keep reading to learn more about the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World Resort.
Sanaa Disney Restaurant

The good thing about this option is that you’ll be able to use your Table Service meals for Character Dining or other Disney dining experiences.

Please Note: While we try our best to stay up to date at ThemeParkHipster, prices may change at any time after we publish or update this article.

What’s Included in Each Disney World Dining Plan?

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

  • 2 Quick-Service Meals (per night of stay)
  • 1 Snack/Nonalcoholic Drink (per night of stay)
  • And 1 Resort-Refillable Drink Mug
Disney Magic Kingdom Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.
Disney Magic Kingdom Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland

Hipster Power Tip: According to Disney, guests 21 and older may choose either one nonalcoholic beverage or one-single serving mixed cocktail, beer or wine (where offered) as part of their meal for BOTH plans.

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

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

  • An Entrée (1)
  • 1 Dessert
  • 1 Non-alcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)
Disney Contemporary Resort Hotel Steakhouse 71 Shrimp Cocktail with Mimosa Steak Frites. Keep reading to learn more about the Disney Dining Plan.
Disney Contemporary Resort Hotel Steakhouse 71: Shrimp Cocktail with Mimosa and Steak Frites

-OR-

  • 1 Full Buffet or Family-Style Meal
  • 1 Nonalcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older) 

Listen to Laura, a Disney Expert, breakdown what the Disney Dining Plan is here!

How Does the Disney Dining Plan Work?

The Walt Disney Dining Plan provides you with a set number of meal credits to redeem for counter service, table service, signature dining, and snacks.

Walt Disney World Disney Springs Planet Hollywood Restaurant Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with fries. Keep reading for the full guide to the Walt Disney Dining Plan.
Walt Disney World Disney Springs Planet Hollywood Restaurant (Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with fries)

The usage of your dining plan is automatically tracked electronically after each transaction.  The credit can be stored on your MagicBand and a receipt is provided after each redemption.

You can find out your remaining meals in several different ways. Through the My Disney Experience App, simply take a look at your dining receipt or check in with Resort Concierge or Guest Relations and they can quickly update you.  

It shows how many meal credits remain after each transaction.

Remember: The credits don’t have a set dollar value and can be used at any time during your stay. That’s when you have to go around and play with the system so that the dining plan works in your favor.

Who’s eligible for the Disney Dining Plan?

Walt Disney World guests who purchase a vacation package with the room and ticket are eligible for the Disney Dining Plan.

What to Wear to Disney World in February with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in front of Spaceship Earth and Cinderella Castle. Keep reading to learn more about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.

Can you get the Disney Dining Plan without staying on the property?

No.

Disney dining plans are only available as a part of your Disney Resort Hotel Vacation Package, which also includes a resort hotel stay and theme park tickets.

Disney Dining Plan Guide and Tips. Keep reading to learn more about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.
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Is there tax on the Walt Disney Dining Plan?

Prices and plans include taxes, but you pay for tips out-of-pocket.

Can I get alcohol with the Disney Dining Plan?

According to Disney, you can now substitute alcohol to your Disney Dining Plan.

Beverage Options

If you’re under 21, you can choose (1) non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered).

A single-serving non-alcoholic beverage includes items such as:
  • Artisanal Milkshakes
  • Fresh Smoothies
  • Premium Hot chocolates
  • Soda, Coffee, or Tea

Alcohol Options

If you’re over 21, you can choose either one (1) single-serving non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered), or one (1) single-serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) within your meal entitlement.

A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items such as:
  • Beer or Cider
  • Wine or Sangria
  • Mixed Drinks and Specialty Cocktails

How Much Does it Cost to Upgrade Free Dining to Disney Dining Plan?

You can upgrade to regular dining by paying the difference from your free dining option to the Disney Dining Plan.

Depending on how you booked your package, you might be able to upgrade or downgrade your dining plan.

As with any Disney planning, you should make any changes as soon as possible prior to your trip.

Because the prices and circumstances vary, it’s best to discuss the details of your particular situation with an authorized Disney vacation planner.

Can You get the Disney Dining Plan at the Swan and Dolphin Resort?

The Swan and Dolphin Resort does not offer all the perks the official Disney resorts offer.

You can still enjoy the following Disney perks at the Swan and Dolphin Resort:

Recommended: 5 Best Disney World Deluxe Resorts to Stay at Right Now

Can Disney Vacation Club Members Get on Disney Dining Plan?

Yes. Even without the purchase of park tickets just as long as you are not staying on points you’ve redeemed.

Walt Disney World Port Orleans Resort Riverside Boat to Disney Springs. Keep reading to learn more about the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World Resort.
You can take boats to Disney Spring at select resorts like Port Orleans Riverside.

Which Disney Resorts are Included in the DDP?

Guests of a Disney Resort are eligible to purchase a Disney Dining Plan. Below are the types of hotels at Walt Disney World:

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6 Super Easy Disney Dining Plan Tips

Now that you understand how the DDP works, let’s go through a few tips to help you make the most of your trip.

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar Holiday Christmas Decor in Disney Springs. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Disney Springs

1. Determine where you want to eat. 

That way you can maximize your available meal credits and learn how to use them in a way that best suits your vacation.

Disney Dining Plan tips. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.
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2. Book your dining reservations before arriving.

When you purchase the Disney Dining plan, try to be more reasonable with the reservations you make.

I say this because you will be at the park and things often change unexpectedly. You may end up not doing something on your agenda.

Also, you will probably spend more time having counter and quick service rather than eating at an actual sit-down restaurant.

3. Take advantage of the flexibility of the Disney Dining Plan. 

Not everyone is going to want to eat something at the same place all the time, which is why the Disney Dining Plan is the best choice for picky eaters in the family.  

One person can redeem their Quick-Service Meal in one place while you continue on to a quick stop at another favorite Disney eatery. That way everyone in the family can dive into their favorite Disney meals.  

Epcot Food and Wine Festival at Disney Norway Pavilion Kringla Bakeri og Kafe with School Bread and Menu. Keep reading to learn more about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.

Feeling extra hungry from all the Disney fun well, don’t worry use up 2 of your snacks. It is whatever works for you!

4. Use your meal credits wisely.

If you aren’t that hungry, don’t waste your meal credit on something small just for the sake of using it up that day. 

Disney Springs Amorette’s Dessert Minnie and Mickey Mouse Cake. Keep reading to learn more about the Walt Disney Dining Plan.

Remember that it can be carried over to the next day, or any day for that matter during your stay if you don’t use it.  

Yachtsman Steakhouse Yacht and Beach Club Resort Walt Disney World dining room with steak dinner. Keep reading to find out more about the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World Resort.

So, it is best to redeem your Disney Dining Plan credit when you can get your money’s worth and fully enjoy a good Disney snack or meal.

Especially at one of Disney’s more expensive restaurants for a mouthwatering table service meal.  

5. Pay attention to where you make your reservation. 

Make sure you pay attention to where you are eating and what category the location falls under. 

When dining at a table service restaurant take a look if you have made a reservation at one of Disney’s Fine/Signature Dining experiences, Dinner Shows, or a Character Dining experience.  

Butcher Area Yachtsman Steakhouse Yacht and Beach Club Resort Walt DIsney World Steak display. Keep reading for the full guide to the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World Resort.
Steak display at Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort Walt Disney World

If so remember that the Fine/Signature Dining experiences will redeem two table-service meals from your dining plan per person. 

6. Work with an authorized Walt Disney World vacation planner.

An official planner has the latest deals, tools, and resources directly from Disney. They’re extremely knowledgeable on all things Disney dining!

Free Disney Timeline Planner Sign Up

Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth It?

Yes and no as it depends on your type of trip. All of this information can be confusing and has caused great debates online questioning the need to purchase any one of the plans.

Do you love or hate the Disney Dining Plan?

There are people who love and who hate the Disney Dining Plan. Some believe the Disney Dining Plan requires you to eat an extreme amount of food.

This can be wasteful if you’re not a big eater.

Previously people felt forced to complete each meal and to make sure they were not losing money by using up each meal.  

However, those with big appetites and who are big eaters love it and are more than able to fit all meals into their vacation days. 

For the savings to work out, you really have to think about your appetite level and map out each meal.  

How do I make this work for me?

In order for you to feel like you have budgeted correctly or at least have gotten your money’s worth, you will want to look at some of the dining offers at each park or even at your hotel.

This may be a bit time-consuming, but it will work out in the end if you’re trying to maximize your Disney Dining Plan.

Why it is so darn confusing?

Another common reason people don’t like the dining plans is that they may leave more questions than answers. I totally get how you feel!

The dining plans can be confusing to understand, and it can be more of a hassle when you’re already trying to plan a big trip to Walt Disney World.

The Disney Dining Plan is a pricey add-on to any solo theme park hopper or a family vacation.

Its price can be so high that it doesn’t always make sense to add it unless you know you can eat a couple of meals a day.  

The prices are over $90 per person per day for an adult.

You could honestly just create a dining plan of $45 per adult per day budget and save your money for other theme park items.

9 Things to Remember About this Dining Plan

  1. The dining plan is only available for guests staying at a Disney-owned and operated resort.
  2. Everyone must be on the same package Disney Dining Plan 
  3. Also, everyone 10 years and over pays the adult rate regardless of how much they plan to eat.
  4. Guests on the Disney Dining Plan receive a number of meal credits based on how many nights they plan on staying.
  5. Your credits can be used through midnight on the day of checkout.
  6. Two meal credits are used for signature experiences at the most expensive dinner shows, buffets, and restaurants like the Hoop Dee Doo ReviewCinderella’s Royal Table, and California Grill.
  7. Beverages are included with each meal on the Disney Dining Plan 
  8. You cannot share and transfer your meal credits to another member of your family or members of your party 
  9. A snack credit can be used for most food items under $6. Simple snacks include pastries, ice cream bars, water bottles, and soda.

Ready to start planning your next Disney World vacation? Listen to the latest podcast episode on Apple or on your non-Apple device now!

My Final Thoughts About Using the Walt Disney Dining Plan

My overall recommendation is to just budget for dining at Walt Disney World.

Disney's Grand Floridian Cafe Restaurant Mimosa and Lobster Burger. Keep reading to learn more about the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World Resort.

You can do this by setting a daily budget between $45-$50 per day per adult. If you have a larger family coming, possibly buy groceries.

This will allow you to have food in your room and with the option of doing one meal inside the parks.

Cheat sheet to Disney's Dining Plan
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Do you love or hate the Walt Disney Dining Plan? Let me know in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

Planning a trip soon? If so, read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

Hoop Dee Doo Revue NikkyJ Dinner Show Disney World. Author bio of theme park expert Nikida Metellus.

About the Author

My name is Nikky. I’m a wife, a mother, a pharmacist turned theme park blogger, USA Today 10Best Contributor, and a writer who loves ALL things amusement park related!

Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.

Connect with me on Instagram!

(Original Article Published on July 27, 2017/Updated by Editor on May 31, 2024)

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5 thoughts on “2024 Ultimate Guide to the Disney Dining Plan: Breaking Down Everything You MUST Know Before You Buy It!”

  1. FYI… You can get the Disney dining plan if you are a DVC member and staying on property with points. You stated if you are using points you can’t get the dining plan and that is incorrect info, however you can not get free dining plan when offered.

    Reply
  2. It’s good to know that Disney Dining Plan credits are like gift checks that you can purchase and use as tokens when buying meals anytime during your stay at Disney. I will try to look for a good agency that sells this kind of dining plan tip at Disney. This way, I will be able to allocate an exact budget for food that my family can use without ever having the need to think about overspending.

    Reply
    • Hi Jim!

      I’m so happy to hear about your upcoming Disney trip. For the Disney Dining Plan Wilderness Lodge Resort, the Fort Wilderness Cabins and the Campground at Fort Wilderness are available with the dining plan.

      I hope you have a fun trip!

      Nikky

      Reply

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