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Disney Dining Plan (cost, best credits, and is it worth it?)

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Disney Dining Plan (cost, best credits, and is it worth it?)

Want to get a Disney Dining Plan (DDP) but not sure the best way to use your credits? Or not sure if you should get the dining plan?

Having a good idea of the costs and how to maximize credits should help you figure all of that out.

Let’s take a look at the details of the DDP and see how to get the most out of it for 2020.

UPDATE: Disney Dining Plan suspended

Check out our post on Budgeting for food at Disney World (without using the Disney Dining Plan) for helpful tips if you plan to travel right now.

Disney has announced that once the parks reopen they will not be offering the Disney Dining Plan.

This is likely in response to the need to reduce the capacity of the restaurants in order to comply with current regulations. 

  • Guests who purchased Disney dining plans and tickets through the end of the year will receive an automatic cancellation and refund of their Disney dining plan.
  • Guests who booked resort hotel reservations with a Free Dining package through the end of the year will receive an automatic cancellation of their Disney dining plan.

Disney originally announced that guests affected by these cancellations would be able to rebook their vacation for a later date with a 35% room discount, however, that verbiage has since been removed from their site. 

Do we think the Disney Dining Plan will return?

Yes. We do. The Disney Dining plan is a huge draw for families that want to pre-pay for the dining expenses. And, since it likely makes Disney a lot of money, we definitely think they’ll want to bring it back as soon as they have the capacity available in the restaurants.

Read more about what you can expect at Walt Disney World after the reopening.

What is the Disney Dining Plan?

When people ask us about the Disney Dining Plan one of the first things they want to know is whether or not it is “worth it.”

And, although we wish there was an easy answer to that question, there really isn’t.

The fact is before you can decide if the Disney Dining Plan is right for your family (and ultimately worth it), you have to know exactly what it is and how it works and then you may need to do a little math (more on that below).

The Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is an optional add-on that people staying in an on-site Disney World resort can get by booking one of these things:

  • A vacation package (that includes a room and tickets) online or by calling Disney
  • A room-only reservation by calling Disney or having your agent add it (this is sometimes called a “ticketless package”)
  • A Disney Vacation Club (DVC) reservation

When you buy a DDP you are pre-paying for your food (and snacks!) and then using credits to get meals during your trip.

Africa Cold Drinks sign

What do you mean by credits?

For each night of your reservation (and depending on which plan you purchase), you’ll be allotted a certain number of credits.

Lots of people think that you get the same number of credits as the total number of days, but that’s not how it works.

Your credits are allotted based upon the number of nights.

So for a 6 night/7 day vacation, you’d multiply the number of daily credits the plan you are purchasing receives times 6 (not 7).

And the Disney Dining Plan can only be purchased for the entire length of a reservation.

You can’t just add it for part of a reservation; it’s all or nothing.

Note: if you are doing a split stay between 2 (or more) resorts, each of those stays counts as 1 reservation meaning you would need to add the Dining Plan to each resort segment if you wanted it for your entire visit.

How do I use my credits?

Using your credits is quite easy.

You’ll simply scan your MagicBand at any of the restaurants, kiosks, and carts that take the Disney Dining Plan and the appropriate number of credits will be deducted from your account.

You’ll have access to your credits until midnight of the day you check out so if you have any leftover credits you can spend them up before you head home!

On your arrival day, your Disney Dining Plan is activated when you check-in (whether in person or online), and even though the official check-in time is usually 3 pm, you can check-in early if you want to hit the parks or grab a meal before then.

How do I keep track of my credits?

Disney makes it very easy to keep track of your credits.

Credit balances are available on the bottom of the receipts you get after “paying” for a meal or snack.

You can also find your Disney Dining Plan balance inside of the My Disney Experience app under the “My Plans” section.

Select your resort reservation and you should then see an option for Dining Plan.

If you ever find that the credit balance isn’t accurate (mistakes do happen!), make sure you talk to your server (if you are still at the restaurant).

Or, if you’ve already left, a Cast Member at your resort will be able to help you.

Dining receipt

Reasons for getting the Disney Dining Plan

There are a few different reasons that people might choose to get the DDP.

To make trips feel all-inclusive

This is why we like using the Dining Plan on our Disney World trips with our families. When your food is pre-paid, it can make your trip more fun when ordering isn’t about checking prices so closely and worrying about the tab.

If you are looking for that all-inclusive feeling, adding one of the Disney Dining Plans to your vacation is the best way to achieve that.

Sometimes it’s free

Disney sometimes offers the Free Dining promotion which allows guests to get the Disney Dining Plan for free. As you can imagine, this is a very popular promotion and lots of people plan their trips around it.

There are some downsides to Free Dining, though.

First of all, if you book a trip using the Free Dining promotion, you give up the ability to use other promotions, and sometimes the other promotions offered at the same time might actually save you more money.

And, not every resort category offered provides the same amount of savings with Free Dining.

People staying in Deluxe Resorts are often better off using a room discount than Free Dining, for example. It is always best to “run the numbers” and compare the different promotions in order to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

To save money

If you play your cards right, you can actually save money on food by purchasing the Disney Dining Plan, and then eat meals that would have cost more than the dining plan.

This is getting more difficult to do and takes some planning but the info below will help you do just that!

Disney World Dining Plan Satuli Canteen

NEW! 2020 Disney Dining Plan cost (including the new Disney Dining Plan PLUS)

Chart of prices

There are 4 main versions of the Disney Dining Plan that most people purchase.

All of these plans include 1 refillable mug per person which can be refilled at any resort, but not in the parks.

NameQS creditsTS creditsSnack credits2020 price for ages 10+2020 price for ages 3-9
Quick-Service Dining Plan202$55$26
Regular Dining Plan112$78$30.50
NEW! Disney Dining Plan Plus2 credits to be used for either QS or TS2$95$34
Deluxe Dining Plan3 credits to be used for either QS or TS2$119$47.50

You get the credits listed above for each night of your trip.

All of the credits are loaded to your account at once and can be used however you’d like during your trip (you could use 6 credits 1 day, 2 the following day, etc.).

It is sometimes possible to use your credits to pay for other people’s meals (even if they aren’t on the Dining Plan), however, Disney has said that decision is left up to the management of each restaurant.

Gratuity is not included in the costs above (except at dinner shows and Cinderella’s Royal Table), so factor that in when deciding if the Disney Dining Plan or specific restaurants make sense for you.

What about kids under age 3?

Guest ages 2 and under don’t require park tickets, and they don’t require a dining plan either.

At buffets, kids under 3 can have their own plate. At all other locations, they can eat off of your plate.

Some people want to buy the Disney Dining Plan for their little ones, but if you booked a vacation package that includes room and tickets, adding a dining plan for your little one requires that you also buy them park tickets so that’s not generally a good idea.

If you want your toddler to have their own meals, you’d be better off just paying out-of-pocket for them.

Andy's Toy Box food

Which plan should you choose?

With 4 different dining plan options at 4 different price points, if getting the best value for your money is a top priority it is important to plan ahead a little bit before deciding which Dining Plan is right for your family.

For example, the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan doesn’t make much sense if you’re planning on dining at 2 Table Service restaurants per day just like the Deluxe Dining Plan probably isn’t the best option if you’re only planning on eating at the food court at your resort.

Already know where you want to dine?

Make a list and see how many Quick Service and Table Service meals you’re working with and then pick the dining plan that fits.

Quick Service Dining Plan PDF & highlights

Price per nights of reservation:

  • Ages 3-9: $26
  • Ages 10+: $55

Credits per nights of reservation:

  • Quick Service: 2
  • Table service: 0
  • Snacks: 2

Resort mug? Yes. 1 per registered guest ages 3 and up.

Download PDF

Disney Quick Service Dining Plan flyer

Regular Dining Plan PDF and highlights

Price per nights of reservation:

  • Ages 3-9: $30.50
  • Ages 10+: $78

Credits per nights of reservation:

  • Quick Service: 1
  • Table service: 1
  • Snacks: 2

Resort mug? Yes. 1 per registered guest ages 3 and up.

Download PDF

Plus Dining Plan PDF and highlights

Price per nights of reservation:

  • Ages 3-9: $34
  • Ages 10+: $95

Credits per nights of reservation:

  • 2 credits that can be used for either Table Service or Quick Service
  • Snacks: 2

Resort mug? Yes. 1 per registered guest ages 3 and up.

Download PDF

Disney Dining Plan Plus

Deluxe Dining Plan PDF and highlights

Price per nights of reservation:

  • Ages 3-9: $47.50
  • Ages 10+: $119

Credits per nights of reservation:

  • 3 credits that can be used for either Table Service or Quick Service
  • Snacks: 2

Resort mug? Yes. 1 per registered guest ages 3 and up.

Download PDF

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan flyer

Still trying to decide?

If you haven’t thought much about where you want to eat yet, you can still get a good idea as to which Disney Dining Plan will make the most sense by thinking about how your family eats.

Do you prefer sit-down meals or would you prefer to be in the parks and on the rides? Do you know that you’ll definitely want to have breakfast with Mickey at least 3 times or do you imagine you’ll be grabbing fruit in the parks as you hustle between attractions?

If all that feels too overwhelming right now, the plans that provide the greatest flexibility (the Disney Dining Plan Plus and the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan) might be the best option for you. 

Disney Dining Plan Participating Restaurants

Disney World has tons of restaurant options, but not all of them are eligible for the Disney Dining Plan.

Download PDF

Participating Disney Dining Plan locations

Why isn’t my restaurant showing up?

The huge list of restaurants and their credit values below only covers restaurants that are eligible for the Disney Dining Plan, and, in general, we only included places to eat that served “meals” and not just snacks.

If your restaurant isn’t listed, it is either too new to be included OR it isn’t eligible for the Disney Dining Plan.

You can double-check eligibility for restaurants here:

Looking for information on a new restaurant?

We typically update the list to include new restaurants a couple of times per year, however, it is important to note that it isn’t unusual for new restaurants to not immediately become eligible for the Disney Dining Plan (this is especially true if the restaurant isn’t owned by Disney).

Sometimes it can take a few weeks (or longer) for new places to begin accepting the DDP.

What does a credit include?

Quick Service credits

A Quick Service credit includes an entree and a drink from a Quick Service restaurant.

When it comes to the drink you’ll have several options:

  • Guests under 21 can choose from the regular fountain drinks & milk as well as from specialty drinks offered at that location (smoothies, shakes, hot chocolate, etc.).
  • Guests 21 and older can choose from any of those options plus they can also choose to have 1 single-serving of a mixed drink/cocktail, beer, or wine.

Not every restaurant has the same options so if you have your heart set on a cocktail or shake you’ll want to make sure you’re planning on eating somewhere that has those.

Side note: dessert stopped being included in 2017, but Disney did increase the number of Snack Credits per day back then from 1 to a total of 2 which means you can still get dessert if you want, you just aren’t limited to the selection at the restaurant, which is a much better option in our opinion!

Ohana bread service

New for 2020!

As of January 1, 2020, Quick Service credits have been separated into child and adult categories. You can no longer use them interchangeably.

If you plan to use a Dining Plan credit, guests under the age of 10 must order from the children’s menu whenever one is available.

You can also use 1 Quick Service credit to purchase 3 DDP-eligible snacks, as long as they’re done all in the same transaction at the dining location.

Most Quick Service restaurants (except for Be Our Guest breakfast and lunch services) do not require Advanced Dining Reservations and function like most fast-food restaurants.

Table Service credits

Table Service credits include a drink, entree, and dessert from a Table Service restaurant (except at breakfast which doesn’t include dessert).

Like with the Quick Service credits, you’ll have several options for drinks:

  • Guests under 21 can choose from the regular fountain drinks & milk as well as from specialty beverages offered at that location (smoothies, shakes, hot chocolate, etc.).
  • Guests 21 and older can choose from any of those options plus they can also choose to have 1 single-serving of a mixed drink/cocktail, beer, or wine.

Note: people using the Deluxe Dining Plan also get an appetizer with their Table Service credits.

Most Table Service restaurants usually require Advanced Dining Reservations. Advanced Dining Reservations for Table Service restaurants can be made starting at 180 days out from the date of your trip.

Signature Restaurants, Dinner Shows, & Epcot Dining Packages

One other important thing, there are some restaurants and experiences at Disney World that require 2 credits.

The restaurants that require 2 credits are known as Signature Restaurants, and if you are planning on dining at one of those, make sure you take that into account when allocating how to use your credits.

In 2020, these are the Signature Restaurants on the Disney Dining Plan that require 2 credits:

  • Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom, 2 credits at dinner only)
  • Le Cellier (Epcot)
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)
  • Tiffins Restaurant (Animal Kingdom)
  • The BOATHOUSE (Disney Springs)
  • California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom)
  • Citricos (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort)
  • Flying Fish (Disney’s Boardwalk)
  • Topolino’s Terrace (Riviera, 2 credits at dinner only)
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  • Monsieur Paul (Epcot)
  • Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs, 2 credits at dinner only)
  • Jaleo (Disney Springs)
  • Narcoossee’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian)
  • Paddlefish (Disney Springs)
  • STK Orlando (Disney Springs)
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club)

These are the dinner shows that require 2 credits:

  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue
  • Spirit of Aloha

Note: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ used to be the 3rd dinner show offered at Disney World, however, it closed at the end of 2018 to make room for new construction.

Spirit of Aloha Disney World Dining Plan

Epcot also offers dining packages that provide reserved seating to their festival concerts and these dining packages require 2 credits. Restaurants available on the dining packages vary by festival concert but all packages require 2 credits regardless of the dining location you select. The dining packages are listed below:

  • Disney on Broadway Dining Package (Festival of the Arts)
  • Garden Rocks Dining Package (Flower and Garden Festival)
  • Eat to the Beat Dining Package (Food and Wine Festival)
  • Candlelight Processional Dining Package (Festival of the Holidays)

Snack credits

Snack credits can be used for many things including bottled water, ice cream and bakery items.

Disney Dining Plan

You’ll see the DDP icon next to these items on menus throughout Disney World.

Disney Dining Plan credit values

General advice for maximizing credits

Roughly speaking:

  • Quick Service credits are worth about $19
  • Table Service credits are worth about $42
  • Snack credits are worth about $5

That means to break even on the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll need to choose food that costs at least that amount.

There are huge lists below detailing every Table Service and Quick Service restaurant and the value of a credit at those locations.

You can plan according to our lists and/or keep these general things in mind when maximizing credits:

  • Character meals and dining packages are generally a great use of a credit.
  • Signature Restaurants are almost never the best way to maximize a credit since they require 2 Table Service credits per meal but don’t cost twice as much if you were paying out-of-pocket.
  • Go for the steak, lobster, shakes, alcohol, and orange juice. Those are often the most expensive options so take advantage when they’re on the menu.
  • Don’t choose breakfast when trying to maximize most DDP credits since it is usually much less expensive than lunch or dinner.
Sunshine Tree Terrace

2020 Table Service Disney Dining Plan Credit Values

A couple of notes about the data below:
* includes gratuity so that has been factored into the value of a credit
** these dining packages also come with an appetizer which has been included in the value of a credit

On the Deluxe Dining Plan? Add the cost of an appetizer to the value of each credit.

2020 Disney Dining Plan Quick Service Credit Values

Download the Disney Dining Plan credit spreadsheet

Want the values shown above in a spreadsheet so you can sort to your heart’s content? Snag that here.

Disney Dining Plan Data 2020

Sebastians Bistro

What about the best snack credits?

After seeing the Table Service and Quick Service charts above, many people wonder why we don’t have one for snacks.

The reason is simple: there are just way too many to track and the list changes constantly.

However, this spreadsheet of confirmed snack credits that was created by others is the best source for snack credit info.

In general, you are getting a good value for your snack credit if the item costs $5 or more.

The most valuable snack credits are often for specialty cupcakes, items at Epcot festival food kitchens, and Starbucks drinks (especially since extra flavors don’t cost you any more credits).

Aloha Isle Refreshments

What if you don’t have enough credits?

You want to be strategic about this:

If your restaurant plans will require more credits than you have, you should plan to pay out-of-pocket for the restaurant that’s ranked the lowest on the charts above.

Don’t waste those expensive credits on a less-expensive meal.

Instead, pay out-of-pocket for the cheapest meal on your list and use your credits for the others.

What happens if you wind up with credits left over?

This is one of the huge downsides to the Disney Dining Plan: you either use them or lose them.

If somebody gets sick or you miss a meal or decide to skip something because you are having too much fun someplace else, you don’t get the value of those credits back.

Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?

Back to this big question.

If you have somebody in your family that won’t relax because they are constantly worrying about the price of things then the Disney Dining Plan might be worth it for you.

Knowing what your food costs are going to be before you leave home can definitely help ease any anxiety about that.

For everybody else, if you want to know if it will be worth it, you’ll have to do a little bit of math:

  • First of all, you’ll need to decide where you’ll be eating.
  • Make a list of all of those places. If you are comfortable using Google Sheets or Excel, plug that info into there.
  • Then, head to the menus and decide what you think you’d like to order. Make sure you include the price of dessert (if you usually eat dessert) and whether or not you’ll have a cocktail (or two).
  • Keep in mind that while most restaurants take the Disney Dining Plan, a few do not so you’ll want to check to make sure the restaurants you are planning on dining at are listed up above. If they aren’t, keep that in mind when doing your calculations.
  • Jot down the prices for each person and total it up.
  • You aren’t looking for perfection here, just a good estimate as to what an average meal might cost your family.

When you are done, compare that cost to what the price of the Dining Plan would cost you.

  • If it is close, it is probably worth it to go ahead and get the Dining Plan since the Dining Plan is also going to include snacks and a refillable mug.
  • If, however, the Dining Plan costs significantly more than what you’d pay out-of-pocket, it’s best to skip it unless you’re either
    • willing to lose a little money on it for the convenience of having it, or,
    • you switch up what you plan to order to maximize your credits.
  • And, of course, if you come out ahead – the decision is easy. The Disney Dining Plan would make perfect sense for you then!

Example #1

4-night trip, 1 adult & 1 child
Standard Disney Dining Plan (4 Table Service credits, 4 Quick Service credits, 8 snack credits per person)

  • Meal 1: Breakfast at Be Our Guest (Quick Service meal #1)
    • Adult: $29.00 (fixed price)
    • Child: $16.00 (fixed price)
  • Meal 2: Dinner at Chef Mickey’s (Table Service meal #1)
    • Adult: $59.00 (buffet/fixed price)
    • Child: $35.00 (buffet/fixed price)
  • Meal 3: Breakfast at Tusker House (Table Service meal #2)
    • Adult: $41.00 (buffet/fixed price)
    • Child: $24.00 (buffet/fixed price)
  • Meal 4: Dinner at Restaurantosaurus (Quick Service meal #2)
    • Adult: $26.99 (cheeseburger and fries – $13.99 and a margarita $13.00)
    • Child: $9.69 (chicken nuggets meal $9.69)
  • Meal 5: Lunch at Garden Grill (Table Service meal #3)
    • Adult: $54.00 (fixed price/family style)
    • Child:  $32.00 (fixed price/family style)
  • Meal 6: Dinner at Akershus (Table Service meal #4)
    • Adult: $62.00 (fixed price)
    • Child: $37.00 (fixed price)
  • Meal 7: Lunch at Cosmic Rays (Quick Service meal #3)
    • Adult: $15.98 (grilled chicken club- $11.99 and a Coke – $3.99)
    • Child: $6.99 (macaroni & cheese – $6.99)
  • Meal 8: Dinner at Pinocchio Village Haus (Quick Service meal #4)
    • Adult: $17.48 (chicken Parmesan – $13.49 and a Coke $3.99)
    • Child: $6.99 (pepperoni flatbread – $6.99)

Table Service meals total (approximately):  $344.00
Quick Service meals total (approximately): $129.12

Total if paying out of pocket: about $473.12
Approximate total if paying for Standard Dining Plan: $434.00 (plus you’d get 20 snacks AND a refillable mug worth about $19.00 per person)

Example #2

Now, take a look at this example where we’ve switched out (in red below) a couple of the Table Service meals. Because one of the meals below requires 2 credits (Cinderella’s Royal Table) we are going to have to pay out of pocket for one of the other table service meals and since breakfast at Tusker House is the least expensive we will skip using the Dining Plan there:

  • Meal 1: Breakfast at Be Our Guest (Quick Service meal #1)
    • Adult: $29.00 (fixed price)
    • Child: $16.00 (fixed price)
  • Meal 2: Dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table (Table Service meal #1 – requires 2 credits)
    • Adult: $75.00(buffet/fixed price)
    • Child: $45.00 (buffet/fixed price)
  • Meal 3: Breakfast at Tusker House (Table Service meal #2)
    • Adult: $41.00 (buffet/fixed price)
    • Child: $24.00 (buffet/fixed price)
  • Meal 4: Dinner at Restaurantosaurus (Quick Service meal #2)
    • Adult: $26.99 (cheeseburger and fries – $13.99 and a margarita $13.00)
    • Child: $9.69 (chicken nuggets meal $9.69)
  • Meal 5: Lunch at Garden Grill (Table Service meal #3)
    • Adult: $54.00 (fixed price/family style)
    • Child:  $32.00 (fixed price/family style)
  • Meal 6: Dinner at Biergarten (Table Service meal #4)
    • Adult: $46.00 (fixed price)
    • Child: $29.00 (fixed price)
  • Meal 7: Lunch at Cosmic Rays (Quick Service meal #3)
    • Adult: $15.98 (grilled chicken club- $11.99 and a Coke – $3.99)
    • Child: $6.99 (macaroni & cheese – $6.99)
  • Meal 8: Dinner at Pinocchio Village Haus (Quick Service meal #4)
    • Adult: $17.48 (chicken Parmesan – $13.49 and a Coke $3.99)
    • Child: $6.99 (pepperoni flatbread – $6.99)

Table Service meals total (approximately): $346.00
Quick Service meals total (approximately): $129.12

Total if paying out of pocket: about $475.12
Approximate total if paying for Standard Dining Plan: $499.00 ($434.00 + the cost of Tusker House which is $65.00)

Of course, you’d get snacks and mugs with the Dining Plan (and that definitely adds value!), but you can see where it becomes important to look closely at the numbers and restaurants you are choosing if your goal with the Disney Dining Plan is to save money.

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Interested in having an agent book your trip, make your dining reservations and help you maximize your credits? Get started on that now.

Have a comment or question on using the Disney Dining Plan? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Liberty Tree Tavern

Esther Lee

Friday 13th of December 2019

Would it be better to do table service for late lunch meals so we could rest and walk off our food or stick to dinner b/c the prices are more expensive and we'd get better value for dining plan?

Jennifer Raymond

Thursday 5th of December 2019

As a tip, don't forget to add Cargo Bay HS into Quick Service locations for 2020. Their meals are so delicious and I think it was a great value for a meal credit since they offer signature drinks and alcohol with meals like ribs etc.

NYCmomma

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Thank you so much for making this information available. The spreadsheet is soooo helpful! Will you have an updated spreadsheet for 2020? I am planning a trip for March.

Deb

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Several years ago we had quite a few meal credits and snack credits left on our Deluxe Dining Plan (after upgrading our free dining). At our resort food court, we were able to convert them to snack credits and purchased 25-30 themed Rice Krispie treats for my daughter to bring back to her classmates. They did need to get special help for the transaction, and they brought us fresh treats from the back. It was a great way for my daughter to share the excitement from the trip with her friends! I also was able to get several of the Mickey chocolate bars to bring home too!

Lesley

Wednesday 14th of August 2019

I see you can break 1 QS credit out for 3 snacks. Is it possible to break 1 TS credit into something? I haven't seen anything on this. Thanks!