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The Walt Disney World Dining Plan Explained Quick Tips and Tricks

The Ultimate Disney Dining Plan Guide

The Walt Disney World Dining Plan Explained Quick Tips and Tricks

What is the definition of a Disney Dining Plan?

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

Disney Dining Basic Definitions

Counter Service/Quick Service is any dining location where you have to walk up to a counter or window to order your food.

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

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


How to understand the disney dining plan
The Disney Dining Plan Three Tiers

The three tiers are Quick Service, Standard Service, and Deluxe Disney Dining Plan.

Who’s eligible for Disney Dining Plan?

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

Discount Disney Tickets

How does the Disney Dining Plan work?

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

The credit can be stored on your MagicBand. A receipt is provided after each redemption. Kind of like when you are putting money on your gift card for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. It shows how many credits remain after each transaction.

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

How much is the Dining Plan at Disney World?

Quick Service Dining Plan includes two quick-service meals OR one complete combo meal, two snacks, and one refillable drink mug. The cost is $48.19.

Regular Dining Plan includes one table service meal, quick service meal, two snacks, and one refillable mug. The cost is $69.35.

Deluxe Dining Plan includes three meals any combination of table service and quick service, two snacks one refillable mug. The cost is $106.68.

2018 Disney Dining Plan Guide
Disney Dining Plan 2018 Pricing
Dining Plan Cost per Adult Per Night Cost per Child per Night
Quick Service Dining

  • 2 quick-service meals
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
$52.50 $21.74
Regular Dining

  • 1 table-service meal
  • 1 quick-service meal
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
$75.49 $25.75
Deluxe Dining

  • 3 meals (any combination of table-service and quick-service)
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
$116.25 $39.99

*Per Disney, alcohol now added to Disney Dining Plans*

Magic Your Way® Vacation Packages

Guests of select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels with Magic Your Way Vacation Packages that include a Disney Dining Plan have several new beverage options available.

Beverages – Guests under 21 can choose (1) non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests over 21 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 their meal entitlement.

A single serving non-alcoholic beverage includes items such as:

  • Artisanal Milkshakes
  • Fresh Smoothies
  • Premium Hot chocolates
  • 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. Guests must be age 21 and over and present valid ID to be served one (1) alcoholic beverage. Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with a quick-service or table-service meal entitlement.

Read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for more information regarding the Disney vacation packages.

Disney summer vacation

How much does it cost to upgrade to Disney Dining Plan?

If you book a value resort, you will get the quick service dining plan for free. You can upgrade to the regular dining for $19 per adult and $3.49 per child per night. You can also upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan for $68.89 per adult and $15.09 per child per night.

halloween treats disney

Photo: Disney Co.

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


Disney dining plans are only available a part of Magic Your Way Vacation Packages, which also includes a resort hotel stay and theme park tickets.

Is there tax on Disney Dining Plan?

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

Can you get the dining plan at the Swan and Dolphin Resort?
swan and dolphin

Photo Courtesy of Swan & Dolphin Hotel Co.

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:

  • Early access to Disney FastPass+ planning
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Complimentary Resort transportation
  • Free delivery of purchases made in the Disney parks
  • Character dining
  • Resort entertainment
  • Complimentary parking at the Disney theme parks
Can Disney vacation club members get on Disney Dining Plan?


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

Which resort rooms are excluded from FREE dining?

Excludes the following room types and Disney Resort hotels:

  • Campsites
  • 3-bedroom villas
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
  • Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Bungalows
  • Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
  • Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Is FREE Disney dining available for DVC members?

Not to DVC members staying on points.

Tips to Make the Most of the Disney Dining Plan

Disney Dining Plan tips.

  • Determine where you want to eat. That way you can maximize your credits and learn how to use them in a way that best suits you your vacation.
  • Book dining reservations before arriving. Try to be more reasonable with the reservations you make. I say this because you will be at the park and things change unexpectedly. You may end up not doing something on your agenda. You will probably spend more time having counter and quick service rather than an actual sit-down restaurant.
  • Two table service credits may be used for one signature meal, dinner show, pizza delivery or room service meal at a Disney participating resort
  • You are able to mix adult and child credits for entrées.
  • I’ve learned that the Disney Dining Plan works best for events like the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. I say this because you can get a lot of the snacks without using as many credits. This is my favorite way of having the Disney Dining Plan.

Do you love or hate the Disney Dining Plan?

All of this information can be confusing. It has led to great debates online trying to validate the need of purchasing one of the plans.

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.

A lot of people do feel forced to complete each meal and to make sure they’re not losing money by using each credit. Others who have big appetites and who are big eaters love it and are able to fit all the meals into each vacation day.

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For the savings to work out you really have to map out each meal and compare pricing.

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

Another reason guests don’t like the plan is that it can be confusing. It leaves more questions than answers and it can be more of a hassle when you’re already trying to plan a big trip to Walt Disney World.

There is a dedicated website called the Disney Dining where they write multiple articles explaining this subject.

The Disney Dining Plan is a pricey add-on to any solo theme park hopper or a family vacation. Its price can be really high so it doesn’t always make sense to add it unless you’re using the credit strictly for lunch and dinner. The prices are over $60 per person per day for an adult. You could just create a dining of $30 per adult per day budget and save your money for other theme park items.

Cheat sheet to Disney's Dining Plan
Things to Remember
  • The dining plan is only available for guest staying at a Disney-owned and operated resort.
  • Disney will not let you purchase one deluxe while the other guests in your party purchase a regular one.
  • Everyone over the age of 9 must pay the adult rate regardless of how much they plan to eat.
  • Guest on the Disney Dining Plan receive a number of credits based on how many nights they plan on staying.
  • Your credits can be used through midnight on the day of check out.
  • Two credit meals are signature experience at the most expensive dinner shows, buffets, and restaurants like the Hoop Dee Doo Review, Cinderella’s Royal Table, California Grill.
  • The Deluxe Dining Plan also includes an appetizer in addition to the entrée dessert and nonalcoholic beverage (alcoholic beverages will be included in the 2018 plan).
  • The snack credit can be used for most food items under $5.49. Simple snacks include pastries, ice cream bars, water bottles and soda.

My overall recommendation is to just budget for dining at Walt Disney World. You can do this by setting a daily budget between $35-$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.

Check out the great articles below for more Disney Dining Tips!
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

Want more theme park tips? Check out the theme park tips page. If you’re thinking about going to Disney alone, then read the top 18 tips. Are you planning a Disney vacation soon? Read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

Don’t forget to discover the new magical and mysterious Disney adventure of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!




I’m a writer who loves ALL things amusement park related. I was born and raised in Florida, which attributes to my Theme Park passion. Every since I was a child I had a natural affinity to the parks here that has now spilled over into adulthood. Instead of rushing over to the thrill rides, like I used to, you may find me in the Italy Pavilion at EPCOT enjoying a nice glass of wine and a delightful book!

2 Comments so far

Felicia HuttoPosted on  7:59 pm - Dec 3, 2017

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.

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