The Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World – All the Details, Pros and Cons

A trip to the Walt Disney World Resort is always something to look forward to. However, Disney has announced another reason for celebration. On hiatus since the pandemic began in 2020, the Disney Dining Plan is making its long-awaited return as of January 9, 2024! The Disney Dining Plan is a way to pre-purchase meals and snacks, which effectively turns a Disney Resort Hotel Package into an all-inclusive trip. Besides being helpful for budgeting, the Dining Plan can help reduce stress and unexpected charges, as well as save money overall if used wisely.

What are the Disney Dining Plan Options?

The Disney Dining Plan of 2024 will look a little different than it did when it was offered previously. However, the main concept is the same. The Dining Plan allocates a defined number of credits for meals and snacks per day of a Resort Hotel stay, which can be used at any time throughout the trip. The number of credits are assigned based on days of the trip, not necessarily days in the park. Any unused credits roll over from day to day, so missing a snack on day one just means there is an extra snack credit to use on another day. Meals and snacks may be redeemed until midnight on the day of checkout. Credits are valid at over 200 dining locations across the Walt Disney World Resort, including at the theme parks, the Resort Hotels, and at certain locations in Disney Springs.

In 2024, there will be two versions of the Dining Plan, the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. Each has pros and cons depending on the kinds of restaurants your group likes to frequent, how much time you plan to devote to dining each day, and what is comfortable in your budget.

Both the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan include two meals and one snack per night of the stay, plus a refillable drink mug for use at your Resort Hotel on unlimited soda, coffee, or water. The main difference between the two is the Quick Service Dining Plan emphasizes counter service dining locations, while the Dining Plan expands options by including both sit-down table service and counter service locations.

Breakdown of each package:

Disney Quick Service Dining Plan

See valid dining locations here

Cost: $57 per adult (ages 10+) and $23.83 per child (ages 3-9*) per night of the trip

  • Two quick service meals per night
    • Quick service includes one entrée and one beverage**
  • One snack or non-alcoholic beverage per night
  • One refillable drink mug for soda, coffee, or water at the Resort Hotel 

Disney Dining Plan

See valid dining locations here

Cost: $94.28 per adult (ages 10+) and $29.69 per child (ages 3-9*) per night of the trip

  • One table service meal per night
    • Table service includes one entrée, buffet, or family-style meal; one beverage**, and one dessert at brunch, lunch, or dinner
  • One quick service meal per night
    • Quick service includes one entrée and one beverage**
  • One snack or non-alcoholic beverage per night
  • One refillable drink mug for soda, coffee, or water at the Resort Hotel

* Children ages 3-9 must order from the children’s menu.

** The standard beverage with a meal is non-alcoholic, but wine, beer, cider, a mixed drink, or a specialty cocktail may be substituted for those 21 and older. Non-alcoholic beverages include milkshakes, smoothies, and premium hot chocolate in addition to soda, coffee, or tea.

As mentioned above, both the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan issue a certain number of credits per day. These go into a kind of ‘bank’ to be used throughout the whole trip. So, for a 4-night trip using the Quick Service Plan, each person in the group 3 years and older would receive 8 quick service credits (2 per night) and 4 snack/beverage credits. Similarly, for a 4-night trip using the Disney Dining Plan, each member of the party 3 years and older would receive 4 table service credits, 4 quick service credits, and 4 snack/beverage credits. Credits from either plan can be split up for any combination of meals per day and any number of credits withdrawn per day across the four days, up to the plan maximum.

It’s important to be aware that tax is included for meal and snack credits from both plan options, but gratuities are not. If the Disney Dining Plan sounds interesting to you, remember that you will also need to factor in gratuities at table service restaurants, which will increase overall food costs.

Table service credits can also be ‘stacked’ to eat at fine dining “Signature” restaurants, dinner shows like the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review, or for Character dining, where you can meet a selection of Disney Characters during your meal. These higher-value experiences often require two credits per meal. Examples of Signature fine dining locations are the Be Our Guest Restaurant, California Grill, and Tiffins Restaurant. Popular Character meal locations include Fairytale Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table, Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, and Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White.

It should be noted that other excellent Character dining experiences such as Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino’s Terrace only require one dining plan credit for breakfast as of the time of posting. A dinner at Topolino’s Terrace doesn’t offer Characters but does require two dining credits. As you can see, there is enough variation on the credits needed at some locations that it’s a good idea to check out the requirements ahead of time to budget credits accurately and avoid surprises. Advance dining reservations are always highly recommended at all table service restaurants, especially at Signature and Character dining locations and for dinner shows. Some locations book up as far as 60 days ahead, so knowing where you want to go early can save on grief later.

What about the snack and non-alcoholic beverage credits? What kinds of things can you get with those? The list below is a sampling of items that generally qualify as a snack credit. Snacks can be found at quick service dining locations, outdoor carts, and at select merchandise locations. Look for a dining plan snack credit indicator on the menu when ordering.

  • Frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle or fruit bar, including the classic Mickey Premium Bar
  • 2 scoops of hand-scooped ice cream
  • Popcorn (single-serving box)
  • Piece of whole fruit
  • Single-serve bag of snacks
  • 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola® products, including Dasani® water
  • 20-ounce fountain soft drink
  • Single-serve coffee, hot chocolate, hot tea, milk or juice
  • Cup of soup
  • Add on toppings or sauces (e.g. side of cheese dipping sauce)
  • NOT INCLUDED: Items with more than one serving, anything served in souvenir containers, or items considered to be merchandise (like glow cubes or bottle toppers)

How Can You Book the Disney Dining Plan?

The Disney Dining Plan is an add-on option to a Disney Resort Hotel Package. Guests must book a stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel (either with or without park tickets included) in order to qualify for the add-on. The Dining Plan applies to trips that begin on or after January 9, 2024. It became available for booking as of May 31, 2023 and appears to be obtainable for the foreseeable future. 

Guests who are interested in purchasing the Disney Dining Plan may do so at the time of booking a Resort Hotel package or may add it on to an existing reservation that begins on or after January 9. The Dining Plan must be purchased for the entire length of the stay and for each member of the party booking together. Credits are not transferable between party members. All credits expire at midnight on the day of checkout. Unused snack credits may be used toward packaged food or drinks to take home and extend the Disney magic.

For the utmost ease in navigating the ins and outs of booking your Walt Disney World vacation, Daps Magic recommends contacting our friends and travel partners, Mouseways at For no extra cost, Mouseways will help you plan the trip of your dreams! Why not let Mouseways handle the details of booking a package and making dining reservations so you can focus on soaking up the magic?

How Do You Use the Disney Dining Plan?

Using either version of the Disney Dining Plan is simple. All you need to do is choose a participating restaurant or snack cart and then present your Disney Resort ID, like a MagicBand+ or Key to the World Card, to the server or cashier. They will deduct the applicable meal or snack credit(s) from your Dining Plan bank. Remember that tax is covered under the Dining Plan, but tips for servers at table service locations are not and must be paid separately.

You can track your remaining credits at the bottom of receipts or on the My Disney Experience app. On the app, select “My Resort Stay,” and then “Check Dining Plan” to view the status of meal and snack credits issued, redeemed, and remaining. You can also visit the Guest Relations or Resort Concierge desk to inquire about the status of meal and snack credits.

Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for You?

The Disney Dining Plan can be a great option for groups who appreciate an all-inclusive experience, like the convenience of prepaying for food, or know that dining is a focus of their visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. When used wisely, the Dining Plan can save money over purchasing items individually. Opting for the Plan can be a smart decision to budget accurately ahead of time and avoid unexpected food expenses at the end of the trip. The pure simplicity of the credit system can also ease stress in what can be a hectic environment.

That said, it’s important to know what you and your party are looking for out of your dining experience. Both versions of the Disney Dining Plan do lock you into a rather rigid set of meals and snacks. If your group regularly gravitates toward two quick service meals or one quick service and one table service meal every day, the Disney Dining Plan would probably work well for you. However, here are some potential scenarios to think about. If any of these apply to you, the Dining Plan may not be your best option:

  • If you like to splurge on a table service meal occasionally but wouldn’t do so daily, neither version of the Dining Plan is tailored to you.
  • If you like to eat three meals per day, neither the Quick Service nor the traditional Dining Plan cover all of your food charges. Those additional meal costs would come out of pocket.
  • If you are visiting EPCOT during a festival and want the flexibility of sampling food items from the outdoor kitchens, those may not be eligible for the plan and may need to be purchased at extra cost.
  • If you don’t usually eat snacks between meals, you may end up wasting money from snack credits.
  • Depending on where your room is located within your Resort, it can be a bit of a trek to refill the drink mug. If you wouldn’t visit the dining area(s) at your resort very often (or prefer water to coffee or soda), you would miss out on the money saved with this benefit. This may make the difference between coming out ahead on the per-day cost and losing money (see the cost breakdown below for more details).
  • If you are leaving the “Disney bubble” for one or more days of your trip but still staying on property, you must purchase credits for those days too. Those meal dollars may be wasted if you run out of time to use the credits.
  • All members of your party aged 3 and up must purchase the Dining Plan for the duration of the trip. This may be an issue if only some members of your party are interested in the Dining Plan, or if it would fit into your schedule better on some days than others.
  • Table Service dining can be a great break during the day, but it is often time consuming. If your group is more focused on experiencing attractions and shows, it can be hard to set aside time for one table service meal every day. (Perhaps the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan may be a better option than the Disney Dining Plan in this case).
  • It can be hard to know 60 days out (when table service dining reservations become available and often book up for popular locations) when and where the group would like to eat. If your party is more spontaneous, it may be better to skip the Dining Plan.

If cost-saving is one of your primary reasons for thinking about the Disney Dining Plan, it’s good to price out the meals you might order ahead of time. It’s possible to break even and even save money with the Dining Plan, but not as much of a guarantee as it may seem up front. The best value is achieved when ordering the most expensive items on the menu, like steaks and seafood, in combination with specialty beverages. If you’re generally a person who would prefer vegetarian or chicken dishes and standard beverages like soda or tea, you would likely save money by skipping the Dining Plan.

For example, below are sample days using each Plan. Higher priced menu options were selected intentionally from each location to demonstrate possible savings, and both plans do save money under these conditions. However, the margin of savings could be lost if you prefer lower cost items or do not drink alcohol. A substantial portion of this calculation is the drink mug refill savings at the Resort Hotel, which is assumed to be three per day (or about $12-worth). Your mileage may vary if you would refill more or less than this.

Disney Quick Service Dining Plan: Example
Lunch at Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom (quick service)
   Lobster Roll - $16.99
   Minute Maid Lemonade Slushy - $5.99
Dinner at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in the Magic Kingdom (quick service)
   1/3 lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger - $12.79
   Fountain beverage - $4.29
Snack at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in the Magic Kingdom
   Double-scooped Ice Cream Cone - $6.79
Refillable Resort drink mug
   Average of three soda or coffee refills per day ~ $12
Total cash price: $58.85
Cost of Disney Quick Service Dining Plan: $57

Disney Dining Plan: Example
Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino’s Terrace, Rivera Resort (table service)
   Character meal, family style including one entree per person - $45
   Classic Mimosa - $14.50
Dinner at Regal Eagle Smokehouse at EPCOT (quick service)
   Memphis Dry-rub Pork Ribs - $16.29
   20 oz draft beer- $10.50
   Banana Pudding - $5.29
Snack at Popcorn in Canada at EPCOT
   Single-serving popcorn box - $6.50
Refillable Resort drink mug
   Average of three soda or coffee refills per day ~ $12
Total cash price: $110.08
Cost of Disney Dining Plan: $94.28

Of course, there are many factors at play when figuring out whether the Disney Dining Plan is worthwhile for you and your group. Certainly, money is important for most of us, but it may not be the only consideration. A vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort is always a memorable event. More and more though, anxiety can also take a foothold considering the crowds, the heat, how to navigate the system, and having so many things happening at any given time. There is something to be said for the ease and convenience of knowing that your meals are taken care of. With souvenirs and ‘extras’ practically flying off the shelf to grab your attention, sticking to a budget is much easier when everything is prepaid.

I’ve used the Disney Dining Plan myself in the past, and it was a lovely experience. Paying with a MagicBand was fun and relaxing in itself. The simplicity of the Dining Plan reminded me of being on a cruise with meals included. The focus went from “how much am I spending” to “what looks good today” where all choices were available, and splurging was encouraged. I found myself branching out from my normal go-to choices of restaurant locations and menu items. Knowing that the best value came from higher-priced items prompted me to order the steak or have the dessert, for example, when maybe I wouldn’t have ordinarily. I also found myself seeking out Character dining, Signature dining, and dinner shows that may have been harder to justify time- and cost-wise when paying à la carte. The experiential components of these meals have been some of my favorite memories at the Walt Disney World Resort, and I’m glad the Disney Dining Plan gave me the nudge to try them.

We want to know what you think! Have you tried the Disney Dining Plan in the past, or would you consider it on your next trip? When do you think the Disney Dining Plan makes the most sense? Which is a better value, the Quick Service Plan or the Disney Dining Plan with table service?

And of course, remember our friends at Mouseways if you’re thinking about booking a Disney trip. They’re experts at giving you the keys to the magic!