Disney Dining Planning 101 Vacation Planner Walt Disney World

Everything You Need To Know About The Disney Dining Plan

March 30, 2020

Considering a Disney Dining Plan? There may be more to it than you realize.

Questions regarding Dining Plans is something I hear all the time. And now that Disney has added a 4th option to the mix, it just got a little bit more confusing, as well.

Everything You Need To Know About The Disney Dining Plan

Everything You Need To Know About Disney Dining Plans

The Basics

Dining Plans allows you to prepay for your food. Since everything is paid for, the idea is to focus more on having fun and less on how much each meal is costing you.

Whether or not it saves you money is a topic for another day.

But, assuming that you have already decided that you want a Dining Plan, here are a few basics you should know.

  • You must be staying on Disney property.
  • Everyone in your room must participate in the Plan.
  • Dining Plans must be added to your Disney Package prior to check-in.
  • Gratuity is not included. Remember to budget for tips at Table Service Restaurants.
  • 1 drink per meal is included in your Plan and includes alcoholic beverages.
Sign for Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom

There Are 4 Dining Plans

The first thing you need to consider is which Dining Plan you are thinking about getting.

Many first time Disney Planners don’t realize that there are more than one plan to choose from.

Dining PlanMeal EntitlementsSnack Entitlements
Quick Service Dining Plan2 Quick Service2 Snacks
Disney Dining Plan1 Quick Service
1 Table Service
2 Snacks
Disney Dining Plan Plus2 Meals (any combination)2 Snacks
Deluxe Dining Plan3 Meals (any combination)2 Snacks

Refillable Mug

In addition to the meal entitlements, you also get 1 free refillable mug per person. These mugs can be picked up at your Resort’s Quick Service location.

These refillable mugs are available for use in any Walt Disney World Resort. They aren’t exclusive to the Resort you’re staying at. This is a great perk for Guests who like to visit other Resorts while on vacation.

However, one thing that surprises many first time Disney Guests is that you can not refill these mugs inside of the Parks.

Guests do bring them along to hold their free cups of water. However, since the lid just slides closed, they aren’t spill-proof.

For this reason, we usually bring our own water bottles from home when we know we’ll be in the Parks all day.

Waiting in line for the buses, while wearing our ponchos

Quick Service vs Table Service Restaurants

In terms of Walt Disney World lingo, Quick Service Dining / Fast Casual Restaurants refers to that “fast food” type of atmosphere. At these locations, you order at a podium, take your receipt to a counter, and they will hand you your food.

These restaurants don’t usually require a reservation. The exceptions are Be Our Guest Breakfast and Lunch and Pizzafari – Family Style Dining.

Table Service Restaurants are typical sit down restaurants where a waiter or waitress comes to your table to serve you.

Due to the popularity of some of these restaurants, reservations are recommended.

Character meet and greet with Daisy at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The Cost Of Dining Plans (2020 Prices)

Prices and Dining Credits are calculated per the number of nights on your reservation.

Dining PlanCost per Adult (ages 10+)Cost per Child (ages 3-9)
Quick Service Dining Plan$55.00$26.00
Disney Dining Plan$78.01$30.51
Disney Dining Plan Plus$94.60$35.00
Deluxe Dining Plan$119.00$47.50
Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake at Be Our Guest

How do you know what food you can use your Dining Credits on?

Not being prepared is one of the ways you can accidentally ruin your Disney vacation.

So, I always recommend looking at Disney’s Website and My Disney Experience before leaving your house.

Each restaurant is listed on Disney’s website. Not only can you find their menu, it states whether or not it participates in the Dining Plan.

If a restaurant states they participate in the Dining Plan, everything on the menu is included.

But, it’s important to pay attention to the details, so there aren’t any surprises.

The reason I choose Be Our Guest Restaurant so often in my examples, aside from it being totally awesome, is that it’s one of the few places that uses both Quick Service and Table Service credits in the same restaurant.

Breakfast and Lunch use Quick Service Credits.

But, Dinner is a much different experience. Not only is it a prix fixe dinner, Beauty and the Beast also make an appearance. So, this unique dinner will set you back 2 Table Service Credits.

It’s uncommon to see such a huge difference in price within the same restaurant throughout the day. But, it can happen.

That’s why I always recommend doing a little of homework. You don’t want to accidentally end up with a $60+ Table Service Reservation when you really wanted a Quick Service Meal.

Meeing Stitch at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Credits Are Incredibly Flexible

Meals and snack credits are lumped together at the beginning of your trip to redeem as you’d like. So, you do not have to adhere to a 2/3 meals and 2 snacks allotment that the Meal Plan provides for you.

And your Credits don’t expire until midnight on the day you check-out.

This flexibility is especially helpful if you’re visiting an Epcot festival. There are many food booths around World Showcase.

And since they aren’t meant to be large portions, many items do qualify for snack credits. With the flexibility of being able to spend as many credits as you’d like on any day, this is the perfect chance to eat all of those festival goodies without paying cash at any of these booths.

MagicBands can now be upgraded to Character MagicBands in your Walt Disney World Package

How do you use Dining Plan Credits to pay for your food?

Your Credits are secured by a pin that you create at check-in. Anyone who doesn’t have that pin will not be able to use your credits.

Once you’re ready to eat, you just tap your MagicBand and enter your pin. Your Credits will be updated and printed out on the bottom of your receipt.

Want More Information on Disney Dining Plan Plus?

Since this is a brand new Dining Plan, there are more questions surrounding this plan than the others.

If you would like to read all about the brand new Dining Plan, simply download the flyer that Disney has created.

Miss the list of participating restaurants? Disney has created a downloadable list for that, as well. You can find that download button in this post, under the subtitle “How do you know what food you can use your Dining Credits on?”

ExploreWithCatherine.com is not authorized or endorsed by, or officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, or any of their affiliates. For official Disney information, visit http://www.disney.com.

Hawaii Destination Specialist

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