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Meal plan to come out AHEAD on the Disney Dining Plan (spoiler: it’s not easy)

Meal plan to come out AHEAD on the Disney Dining Plan (spoiler: it’s not easy)

The cost and rules of the Disney Dining Plan make it hard to come out ahead, but we’ve done all of the math to help you see what you’ll need to do if you do want to maximize every single credit. Here’s how.


For this meal plan, we’re going to assume a few things:

  • 2 adults age 21+ are traveling together
  • The trip will be for 6 nights and 7 days
  • We will be using the regular Disney Dining Plan that gives you 1 Table Service credit, 1 Quick Service credit, and 1 snack for each night of your trip. You also get 1 refillable mug/person.

Note: although the example meal plan below generally uses 1 snack credit, 1 QS credit, and 1 TS credit per day, you can use them however you’d like throughout your trip.

Day 1 – Arrival

We’re going to arrive at Walt Disney World in the afternoon and get checked into our room on this first day.

Once we’re settled in to our room, we can head to the Quick Service location at our resort to pick up the refillable mug that comes with the Disney Dining Plan. This can be refilled at our resort (or any resort) during our trip, but not in the parks.

refillable mug

At dinnertime, we are going to head to a resort for a fun meal to kick off the trip – Chef Mickey’s.

Since it’s a buffet, everybody will be able to eat right away. Be sure to order 1 cocktail which is included with your Table Service credit.

chef mickey's at disney's contemporary resort

Not interested in starting with a character meal? Head to Ohana instead for a delicious meal that’s almost as much as Chef Mickey’s.

Day 1 tally

  • Refillable mug: $21.99 x 2 = $43.98
  • Dinner at Chef Mickey’s: $83 x 2 = $166
  • Day 1 total: $209.98

Day 2 – Magic Kingdom

Kicking off the trip with our first park day at none other than Magic Kingdom. It’s not a Disney World trip until you’ve seen the castle!

We don’t want eating to get in the way of getting some popular rides crossed off the list, so be sure to show up for Early Theme Park Entry and get a few things out of the way first – Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Journey of the Little Mermaid – and then end up at Gaston’s Tavern to cash in some snack credits for breakfast.

gaston's tavern at magic kingdom

When you arrive at Gaston’s Tavern, use 2 snack credits to order cinnamon rolls for breakfast. You might also consider using 1 snack credit for a cinnamon roll and 1 for a Lefou’s Brew if you want to split each.

At $6.99, the cinnamon roll isn’t the max value of a snack credit, but it’s still above the $6 minimum that you need to come out ahead. Oh, and it’s delicious.

Head back into the park to do some more rides this morning before the lines grow too much. At lunchtime, make your way to Crystal Palace for lunch.

eeyore and tigger in the character parade at crystal palace

This character lunch features Winnie the Pooh and friends and has a delicious buffet. Be sure to order a cocktail with your lunch to maximize your Table Service credit.

Head back into the park to do more things in the afternoon, including less popular rides that don’t have long lines, Festival of Fantasy parade, and anything else you’re interested in.

For dinner, we’re going to head to a Magic Kingdom-area resort to use a Quick Service credit at Oasis Bar and Grill at the Polynesian Resort which has a few fantastic meals, including sashimi served with a salad which is going to be the max value there.

oasis bar and grill polynesian

In addition to sashimi, be sure to order a specialty cocktail with your dinner. There are several options here to really go with the beachy feel of the resort.

Why not stay at Magic Kingdom for dinner? Magic Kingdom Quick Service locations don’t have alcohol available with meals, so maximizing a Quick Service credit requires us to leave the park. You could always have 2 Table Service meals in a day if you want. You’d just need to use your Quick Service credit on another day.

Day 2 tally

  • Breakfast at Gaston’s Tavern: $6.99 x 2 = $13.98
  • Lunch at Crystal Palace: $79 x 2 = $158
  • Dinner at Oasis Bar and Grill: $34.99 x 2 = $69.98
  • Day 2 total: $241.96
  • Overall total: $451.94

Day 3 – Epcot

After starting off our morning at Epcot rope dropping a ride or 2, head to Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles in the France pavilion for breakfast.

les halles boulangerie-patisserie - epcot france pavilion

There, you can use a snack credit for a ham and cheese croissant which has a cash value of $6.50. Or start your day off with dessert, which could be worth a bit more.

After breakfast, spend more time in the park and then head to La Cantina de San Angel for lunch. Once there, you can order the Tacos de Barbacoa for lunch for the most expensive item on the menu, though most things are within about the same price range.

Be sure to also add a cocktail to your order for max value.

After an afternoon exploring Epcot (most character meets and entertainment is only available through the late afternoon), head for dinner at Garden Grill.

garden grill rotation living with the land

Not only is Garden Grill 1 of our favorite character meals, it’s a fantastic use of a Table Service credit.

Since this restaurant is served family style, you will get the standard menu as your meal. Be sure to add a cocktail that’s included with your Table Service credit.

Day 3 tally

  • Breakfast at Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles: $6.50 x 2 = $13
  • Lunch at La Cantina de San Angel: $34 x 2 = $68
  • Dinner at Garden Grill: $78 x 2 = $156
  • Day 3 total: $237
  • Overall total: $688.94

Day 4 – non-park day

After a couple of days in the parks, we’re going to take a day off and do some non-park things. This will also allow us to dine in some non-park restaurants.

To start the day, head to Port Orleans – French Quarter to snag some beignets at the Scat Cat’s Club Café. These are a delicious use of a snack credit.

beignets served at scat cat's club cafe

After breakfast, take the boat from the resort to Disney Springs for some shopping. Stop in the middle of Disney Springs for lunch at Polite Pig – the top value of a Quick Service credit anywhere at Walt Disney World.

Not only is it a top value, but Polite Pig is DELICIOUS. For max value, order the salmon or ribs as your meal, then pair it with 1 of the cocktails.

polite pig

After spending the afternoon doing whatever you’d like (miniature golf, swimming, resting?), head to Toledo restaurant at Coronado Springs Resort, which is located in the Gran Destino Tower.

Toledo - Chef's Signature Dinner for Two

At Toledo, order the Chef’s Signature Dinner for 2 which allows you to get a rib eye, sides, and desserts for 2 people for 2 Table Service credits. Be sure to pair it with a drink from their menu for 1 of the most amazing dinners we’ve ever had at Walt Disney World.

Day 4 tally

  • Breakfast at Scat Cat’s: $6.99 x 2 = $13.98
  • Lunch at Polite Pig: $42.67 x 2 = $85.34
  • Dinner at Toledo: $169
  • Day 4 total: $268.32
  • Overall total: $957.26

Day 5 – Animal Kingdom

It’s our Animal Kingdom day! This park usually opens really early, so be sure to rope drop your highest priorities during Early Theme Park Entry, head to Kilimanjaro Safaris when it opens at regular park opening, and then head to Creature Comforts (Starbucks) nearby for a Colossal Cinnamon Roll for breakfast.

This is a huge cinnamon roll for snack credit. And at $7.49, it’s 1 of the best uses of a snack credit at Walt Disney World.

After breakfast, continue touring the park and then head to Satuli Canteen for lunch. Not only is Satuli a great use of a Quick Service credit, but it’s 1 of our top favorite Quick Service locations at Disney World.

Satu'li Canteen chicken bowl

Mobile ordering is available, and we highly suggest using it since it can get so busy here.

The Ocean Moon Bowl and combination bowl are the best values here. Be sure to add beer or wine to your order which is included with your QS credit.

Finish out Animal Kingdom in the afternoon and then head to nearby Animal Kingdom Lodge for a delicious dinner at Boma.

Boma is a buffet, but it’s a really good buffet with lots of interesting foods for adventurous palates. Not surprisingly, it’s also a good use of a Table Service credit. Be sure to pair your food with a beer, glass of wine, or a cocktail.

Day 5 tally

  • Breakfast at Creature Comforts: $7.49 x 2 = $14.98
  • Lunch at Satuli Canteen: $31.99 x 2 = $63.98
  • Dinner at Boma: $73 x 2 = $146
  • Day 5 total: $224.96
  • Overall total: $1,182.22

Day 6 – Hollywood Studios

Finally, some Hollywood Studios time!

After getting a couple of rides in, head to Galaxy’s Edge for some breakfast at Ronto Roasters. Once you get there, use a couple of snack credits for some Overnight Oats.

Yes, this spot is known for the delicious Ronto Wraps, but they aren’t a snack credit, so we’re going to focus on the Overnight Oats for now which cost $6.99. These are only available until 11, so be sure to snag them before then.

Like Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios is home to 1 of our very fave Quick Service restaurants that happens to also be a good use of a Quick Service credit – Docking Bay 7.

Seating at Docking Bay 7 in Hollywood Studios

Luckily, this spot offers mobile ordering, which is especially convenient due to its popularity.

Focus on ordering the Batuuan Beef if you want to get the max value of your dining plan credit. Pair it with a cocktail or beer to max out your Quick Service credit here.

After spending the afternoon in the parks, let’s head to Hollywood & Vine for a character meal dinner.

mickey at hollywood and vine in his springtime dine outfit

This meal is seasonal, meaning that every few months it changes to characters in new costumes that correspond to the time of year.

And, although for us this used to be a least favorite dining option at Walt Disney World, it’s so good now. Cute characters don’t hurt either.

Be sure to eat up at the buffet and order a cocktail, beer, or wine to max out your credit.

Day 6 tally

  • Breakfast at Ronto Roasters: $6.99 x 2 = $13.98
  • Lunch at Docking Bay 7: $36.99 x 2 = $73.98
  • Dinner at Hollywood & Vine: $79 x 2 = $158
  • Day 6 total: $245.96
  • Overall total: $1428.18

Day 7 – departure day

Ahhh, the time to leave has come, but before we go, we have a few more things to do.

After getting packed up in your room, head to Disney Springs for breakfast and lunch.

Amorette's Patisserie

For breakfast, head to Amorette’s Patisserie for a crepe which you can mobile order on the way there. At $7, they are a good use of a snack credit, but also delicious to eat. While there, peep all the incredible treats on display.

d-luxe burger in disney springs

After finishing up some last-minute shopping, head to D-Luxe Burger for 1 last meal and to use your final Disney Dining Plan credit. Mobile ordering is also available here. Be sure to focus on the Bacon and Blue Burger or Banh Mi Burger for max value. Pair it with 1 of their beer or cocktails for max value.

Day 7 tally

  • Breakfast at Amorette’s Patisserie: $7 x 2 = $14
  • Lunch at D-Luxe Burger: $26.49 x 2 = $52.98
  • Day 7 total: $66.98
  • Overall total: $1,495.16

Final thoughts

So in the end, we spent $1,131.36 for 2 adults to get the regular Disney Dining Plan for 6 nights for $1,495.16 worth of food.

Did we come out ahead? Yes, we did.

Was it easy? No, it’s not easy and requires you to eat at specific places, order specific things, and get alcohol with most meals.

If your motivation for considering the Disney Dining Plan is financial, consider putting the same amount you’d spend on the dining plan on a Disney gift card so it’s still prepaid but gives you more flexibility with how to spend it.


Thursday 6th of June 2024

This is a great article explaining more about how to use the Dining Plan. I am not a fan of the Dining Plan for the same reasons you point out. It requires a lot of time to be eating, and you will usually come out ahead without it. Not to mention, several of the restaurants you suggest require advance dinner reservations - and some of them are hard to get! Thank you for breaking it down with some great suggestions.