Walt Disney World DiningDining Plan at Disney World

DISNEY DINING PLAN

Disney Dining Plan Overview

Disney Dining Plan logo

Disney Dining PlanThe Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is available for resort guests who either purchase a Magic Your Way Package or book using Disney Vacation Club(DVC) points.  With the DDP, you are purchasing a certain number of meals ahead of time on a "voucher system."  For each night of your stay, each guest on a reservation receives an allotment of quick service meals (similar to fast food), table service (sit-down) meals and snacks, the number of which is dependant on which specific plan you choose. 

Your Key to the World card electronically monitors your party's allocated meals.  After your meal, the receipt you receive displays the number of meals remaining for each room (not per guests), allowing you to keep track of your balance.  Meals and snacks may be redeemed in any order during your stay until the balance is at zero or until midnight of the night you check out, whichever comes first.

The dining plans come in three types. Magic Your Way Package Plus Quick Service Dining, Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining and Magic Your Way Package Plus Deluxe Dining.

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2014/2015 DISNEY DINING PLAN PRICING (as of 3/20/14):

 

  PER ADULT, PER NIGHT
(adults are 10 years and older in Disney prices)
PER CHILD, PER NIGHT
(children are 3-9 years old in Disney prices)

Quick Service Dining

  • 2 quick-service meals
  • 1 snack
  • 1 refillable mug
$41.99 $16.03

Regular Dining

  • 1 table-service meal
  • 1 quick-service meal
  • 1 snack
  • 1 refillable mug
$60.04 $19.23

Deluxe Dining

  • 3 meals (any combination of table-service and quick-service)
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
$109.53 $29.86

 

Disney World Package PLUS Quick Service Dining

The following calculations are only an example to illustrate how to determine whether or not a specific dining plan would be right for your family/group.  2012 Dining Plan prices were used in the calculations and, as a result, prices for both the dining plans and specific menu items/meals may have changed.

Let's start by looking at the Magic Your Way Plus Quick Service Dining. In addition to all the "stuff" listed for the Magic Your Way packages, each guest over the age of 2 will receive:

As the chart above pointed out, the Quick Service Dining Plan is $34.99 per adult, per night and $11.99 per child, per night. For a starting point, my own family is 2 adults and a 5-year-old child. So on a 5 night stay, I'd be paying $409.85 for the quick service dining plan.

So what does Disney consider a "quick service meal"? Well – it includes an entrée (or combo meal, if that's offered at the restaurant where you're eating) and non-alcoholic beverage. If you're eating lunch or dinner, you also get a dessert.

And what about the snack? Well – there's a whole bunch of different things that Disney considers snacks. Everything from a 20 ounce bottle of soda, to a piece of a fruit, to an ice cream bar. It's hard to say what a snack is, because snacks are really varied. A good place to look is the DISboards Restaurant Board. They have a running list of foods that have been confirmed as snacks on Disney dining plans. More information on snacks will be included a bit later.

And the refillable mug? What's that? All resorts have a self-service soda fountain. Without a dining plan, you can pay $15.49 (plus tax) for a 12 ounce, insulated mug. You can then have as many complimentary refills of that mug at your resort as you'd like. You can refill it with coke products, tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

So now that that's out of the way, you can start looking at whether or not this is a good idea for you. Take a look at the DIS Restaurant Database. It's a very powerful tool that will help you find exactly what you're looking for by searching on many factors. To get a listing of all quick service locations, select "Quick Service" in the "Cuisine/Dining Type" search field.

Using my own family as a baseline, and a hypothetical 5-night stay at a Disney value resort (I imagined Pop Century), I looked through the DIS Restaurant Database and figured out what my family would order. Prices are included in the DIS information, so I've outlined the costs for our meals. Here's what I came up with. We'd have 30 counter service meals and 15 snacks.

ARRIVAL DAY

Dinner - Everything Pop Food Court

DAY 2

Breakfast – Everything Pop Food Court

 

Dinner – Cosmic Ray's at Magic Kingdom

To save a bit of time, I'm going to assume a fairly consistent $21.91 for breakfast every morning. I will continue outlining dinner choices, and simply include $21.91 for breakfast in my running totals.

DAY 3

Dinner - Tangierine Café at Epcot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Total for Breakfast: $21.91

Grand Total for this Meal: $43.02
Running Meal Total: $191.92
Entitlements Used:

You may have noticed there are no beverages included with this meal. We really enjoy the mint iced tea. But it's not covered by the dining plan. To best compare apples to apples, I've left the drinks off. This isn't something you'd know if you've never been to a particular location. But a good rule of thumb is: if you're not ordering a fountain drink, coffee or tea, figure that the dining plan will not cover it.

DAY 4

Dinner - Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom

DAY 5

Dinner - ABC Commissary at Hollywood Studios

You may have noticed I left dessert off. The menu choices sounded less than appealing. So I simply wouldn't order them; even though they are included on the dining plan. This is definitely something you'll want to consider when planning.

DAY 6

Breakfast - Everything Pop (Before Departure)

 

 

 

 

 

Total for this meal: $21.91
Running Meals Total: $327.70
ALL entitlements now used

The "running meals total" leaves a difference of $82.15 between the cost of the Quick Service Dining Plan and what I've spent so far. But we still have 15 snacks (5 snacks per guest, multiplied by 3 guests). Can I spend that much on snacks? Here's a quick rundown of the snacks we'd be likely to purchase:

Including tax, my total for snacks would be $58.20.

Which means that it would cost me $23.95 more to purchase the Quick Service Dining plan instead of paying for everything out of pocket. I would still most likely purchase the dining plan. Don't forget, we left a few things off here and there. That will tip the scale a bit in favor of getting the Quick Service Dining Plan. And even if the difference were as insignificant as $23.95, things can change. You will most likely deviate from this plan, but $24 is pennies in the larger scope of the cost of a Disney vacation. It's absolutely worth that to me to know that the bulk of my dining expenses are paid for.

 

Disney World Vacation Package PLUS Dining

The following calculations are only an example to illustrate how to determine whether or not a specific dining plan would be right for your family/group.  2012 Dining Plan prices were used in the calculations and, as a result, prices for both the dining plans and specific menu items/meals may have changed.

So that's a sample comparison for the Quick Service Dining. But what about the Plus Dining Plan? You'd follow the exact same plan. Using the DIS Dining Database, check out the menus and plan how you'd eat. On the Plus Dining Plan, each guest over the age of 2 will receive:

If you choose to, you may use your table service entitlements at counter service locations. It does not, however, work the other way around. (You cannot use counter service entitlements at a table service location)

Assuming the same 5-night stay at Pop Century for my family, I'd have 15 table service entitlements, 15 counter service entitlements and 15 snacks. We tend to travel in slower months, so I'm going to use the non-peak pricing of $51.54 per night, per adult and $15.02 per night per child. This would give me a total of $590.50. Here's how it would look for us:

ARRIVAL DAY

Dinner - Everything Pop Food Court

DAY 2

Breakfast – Everything Pop Food Court

Just as in the quick service dining comparison, I'm assuming a breakfast at Pop Century. Some families prefer to use snack credits and get junk food at the parks for breakfast. While labeling it as "junk food" makes it sound like I'm casting judgment, believe me. I'm not. I've done it myself. But I think we can all agree that drinking a Coke float, or having a cinnamon roll as big as your head isn't really anyone's idea of a nutritionally sound meal. Just keep that in the back of your head as you plan. Are you really going to want to do a dedicated breakfast each day? Or will you throw nutritional caution to the wind and eat candy and ice cream for breakfast? It will matter in your calculations because lunch will be more expensive than breakfast.

Dinner - Crystal Palace

*A couple of things to note with this meal. Firstly – even though this is a buffet, gratuity is customary. Disney will suggest 18%. I did not include this in the tally simply because it's not covered by the dining plan. However, you will need to budget for the gratuity. 18% of the pre-tax total would be $16.55. Additionally – when you look at the menu – it can be difficult to get an idea of the price, because a price range is listed. This is because Disney feels you should pay more if you eat the same food over the weekend, or on a holiday. It's nearly impossible to pinpoint an exact price. The discussion on Disney's ethics and the value of this sort of pricing structure is an entirely different topic that I'm not even going to touch. But I've gone with the least expensive price in the range. If you'll be visiting during peak season (look at that dates for the Plus Dining Plan – if you're paying the peak rate for the dining plan, plan on a higher price at the restaurants), plan on having to budget toward the middle or higher end of the range.

To save a bit of time, I'm going to assume a fairly consistent $21.91 for breakfast every morning. I will continue outlining dinner choices, and simply include $21.91 for breakfast in my running totals.

DAY 3

Breakfast - Quick Service

Dinner - Restaurant Marrakesh at Epcot

DAY 4

Breakfast - Quick Service 

Dinner - Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness

You'll notice that Hoop Dee Doo Revue took twice the normal number of table service credits. There are several places where you can use the dining plan – but you'll have to use 2 of your table service entitlements per person. In addition to the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, this is also the case at: Cinderella's Royal Table, Spirit of Aloha, Mickey's Backyard BBQ, Citricos, Narcoossee's, California Grill, Artist Point, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Flying Fish, and Jiko. If you're staying at a Deluxe Resort with room service, you can use 2 entitlements per guest for room service as well.

DAY 5

Breakfast - Quick Service 

Dinner - Fantasmic Dining Package at Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios

Using the same snack plan as before, add an additional $58.20 for snacks, and our food total (not including any gratuity) would be $648.41. That's a savings of approximately $58 over the price of the PLUS dining plan.  However, these savings could rise or fall depending on four factors: (1) at what restaurants we're able to eat (the expensive locations where the most money is saved on the dining plan are not always available), (2) what we choose to order at the locations where we eat, (3) at what time of year you travel (during what Disney calls “peal season,” prices for many buffets go up between $3-$5) and (4) for what meal you use your table service credits (breakfast at The Crystal Palace is nearly $12 cheaper, per adult, than dinner).

Only you know your family. Book the room and tickets. You can add dining later. Figure out where you'll be each day, and then book reservations for the meals you want. (That's an important step too! Dining locations can book early, and before you plan on doing something, make sure that it's actually available to do!) Once you've got your reservations booked, take the time, do the math and see if a dining plan would be a good idea for you.

 

Disney World Package PLUS Deluxe Dining Package

The last of the three plans is the Deluxe Dining plan. Why are these three lumped together? That's a great question! When Disney offers a discount, you can usually take advantage of those discounts if you book room only, Magic Your Way, Quick Service, Plus Dining or Deluxe Dining. Since 2005, when the Magic Your Way packages debuted, I have, with only 1 exception, ever seen a discount on premium and platinum plans. That's why the premium and platinum plans tend to separate themselves in discussion. Because they're almost never discounted.

Anyway, the Deluxe Dining plan will include for each guest over the age of 2:

What sets this plan apart from the Quick Service and Plus Dining plans is the way the credits are issued. With the deluxe dining plan, there's absolutely no distinction between a counter service meal and a table service meal. This plan provides maximum flexibility in that respect.

If you use a meal entitlement at a table service location, you will be able to order an appetizer, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage. All of it will be covered by your dining plan.

For all meals that require 2 table service entitlements on the Plus Dining plan, you will need 2 meal entitlements on the deluxe dining plan as well.

Having said all that, this plan is almost never a good idea. Generally, I recommend it only to someone who falls into one of three particular groups:

For anybody else, this plan is almost certain to be too much food, too much money and require too much time. If you've got kids under the age of 10 just itching to get in line to ride Splash Mountain, the last thing you'll want to concern yourself with is waiting for a plate of spaghetti at Tony's Town Square. Or, just when you're ready to get in line for Soarin' at Epcot – you've got to rush over to Le Cellier for your dinner reservation. You're going to feel like you're chasing the next restaurant and missing the rides completely.

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