One of the questions I get asked with nearly every reservation I book as a Disney Travel Planner is “Should I add the Disney Dining Plan?” Disney offers three tiers of Dining Plans to help guests have a more inclusive experience.
I think it is really important to understand what the different tiers of the Disney Dining Plan have to offer, where you plan to eat, and whether it would be a good value for you before making a decision. Because there is so much happening at the time of booking I always advise my travelers to wait until a little later in the planning process to avoid decision fatigue.
After you have made your dining reservations, you should begin researching your options and doing a price comparison.
The Disney Dining Plan is a way to prepay for meals at most restaurants on Disney property. In most cases, it can only be added to Disney resort and ticket packages, not room-only reservations. You are purchasing a bank of dining credits, and the amount and how you can use them varies depending on the level of plan you choose. Each plan offers credits per person per night of your trip, everyone on the reservation must have or be on the same plan, and the number of credits can not be adjusted. All of the credits go into one big pot for the room and can be used any way you want – you can use them all in one day if you wish!
You receive 2 Quick Service credits per person per night to be used at counter service restaurants where you walk in, order your meal at a counter and then sit to eat. You also receive two snack credits and a mug that can be refilled at your resort.
A quick service credit includes an entree and a beverage (specialty & alcoholic beverages included).
You receive 1 Table service credit to be used at a buffet or traditional restaurant where you are seated and a server comes to your table and takes your order, 1 Quick Service credit, 2 snack credits, and a refillable mug (per person per night). To enjoy a higher end dining experience at one of Disney’s signature restaurants you can use 2 Table service credits. This is the most popular plan and typically the one that makes the most sense for the way most people tour.
A table service credit includes an entree, dessert and beverage (specialty & alcoholic beverages included).
You receive 3 dining credits and two snack credits per person per night that can be used at any restaurant. These credits are not separated by quick or table service, they just all go into one big pool.
A deluxe dining credit includes an appetizer as well as an entree, dessert and beverages.
Hakuna Matata – The best thing about the Disney Dining Plan is that it is prepaid. There is no worrying about the cost of your meals while you are on vacation. It is budgeted and paid for.
Most of the items at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival are considered snacks on the Disney Dining Plan and to use your snack credits on items priced $6-8 usually ends up being a HUGE savings.
If you are planning on doing a lot of character buffets where it is one set price for everybody no matter what you order, you are probably going to end up saving money on the plan.
You can let you kids spread their wings in a safe place and let them go get a meal on their own. You don’t have to worry about giving them cash, or linking your credit card to their account, they can just use their credit.
The other reason you would want to consider the dining plan is if it could end up saving you money. One of the reasons I recommend waiting until after you have made your Advanced Dining Reservations is that you can then do some math to figure out if it is a good value for you.
Add up what it would be to add the dining plan. The prices below are for one night so make sure you multiply it by the number of people in your room and the number of nights you are staying.
Quick Service Dining Plan (2 quick-service meals, 2 snacks, and 1 refillable mug)
Adult $55.00 Child $26.00
Disney Dining Plan (1 table-service meal, 1 quick-service meal, 2 snacks, 1 refillable mug)
Adult $78.01 Child $30.51
Deluxe Dining Plan (3 table-service or quick-service meals, 2 snacks, 1 refillable mug)
Adult $119.00 Child $47.50
Look at the menus of the restaurants you plan to dine at and figure out the average cost of each meal and add it up.
If it is close, add the plan. Remember the plan includes 2 snacks per day and a refillable mug so that balances out the cost.
If the dining plan is way more, decide if the convenience is worth the price difference.
If it is cheaper – get the plan!
If you booked your vacation with me, don’t worry, I will do all of this math for you and send you a personalized recommendation after we have made your dining reservations.
Want help figuring out if the plan is a good idea for you? Schedule a FREE Vacation Consultation.
One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘Will I actually save money with the Disney Dining Plan?’. Budgeting is such an important part of trip planning, but it can be difficult to find the time to sit down and actually work out the real cost vs a package deal. My ‘Should You Add the Disney Dining Plan’ guide covers everything you need to know to make the right dining choice for you. From what is covered in each dining plan, and who it will best suit, to the average cost of each restaurant and even calculate your savings!
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