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  • Writer's pictureAnna Wildish

Is The Disney Dining Plan Worth It?

Updated: Aug 25


Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth it?

With the release of 2024 Walt Disney World Travel Packages on May 31st came the triumphant return of the Disney Dining Plan.


This is a fan favorite travel package add-on and one Disney World fans have been clamoring to return since it was paused due to COVID.


Now that it’s back everyone is asking this very important question: is it worth it?

The answer: maybe.


It could be a Yes for your family and a no for someone else’s. To figure out the answer you must consider your family’s personal preferences, eating habits, and how you plan to spend your time.


Let’s look at a few different scenarios to help you determine if the Dining Plan would be worth it or not.


But First, What is the Dining Plan?


Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth it?

The dining plan allows you to pre-purchase food and drinks as part of your Disney Resort Hotel Package.


It gives your Disney vacation an all-inclusive feel and alleviates some of that post-vacation credit card bill headache.


It’s easy to use to at more than 200 locations throughout Disney resort hotels, theme parks, and Disney Springs.


Starting with arrivals on January 9, 2024, there are two options to choose from:


The Disney Dining Plan

This gives everyone ages 3 and over the following:

  • 1 Quick-Service Meal per night of stay

  • 1 Table-Service Meal per night of stay

  • 1 Snack per night of stay

  • 1 Resort-Refillable Drink Mug


The Quick-Service Dining Plan

This gives everyone ages 3 and over the following:

  • 2 Quick-Service Meals per night of stay

  • 1 Snack per night of stay

  • 1 Resort-Refillable Drink Mug


In both options, beverages are included with each meal, and guests ages 21 and older may choose an alcoholic beverage if they wish.


Meals and snacks can be redeemed at any time during your stay.


For example, if you book a 4-night vacation package and included the Quick-Service Dining Plan, each guest in your party ages 3 and up would receive 8 Quick-Service meals, 4 Snacks, and 1 refillable drink mug. You can use those credits any time during your 4-night stay.


How Much Does It Cost?

To figure this out you need to do some math when building a vacation package. I’ve done it for you and figured out the plans cost about the following:


Disney Dining Plan

  • Adult: $94.28 per night

  • Child (Ages 3 – 9): $29.69 per night


Quick Service Dining Plan

  • Adult: $57.01 per night

  • Child (Ages 3-9) $23.83


Scenario Where it IS Worth It


Is the Disney World Dining Plan Worth It
Would Be Considered a Snack Credit

Imagine it is you and your 8-year-old daughter visiting Disney World for a day. You are staying at Disney’s All-Star Movies resort.


Before heading to Hollywood Studios for the day you both head to the food court and order the following:

Item

Out-of-Pocket Cost

What it Counts as In the Dining Plan

Non-Specialty Coffee

$3.49

Free with Resort Mug

Fountain Drink (Lemonade)

$4.29

Free with Resort Mug

Yogurt Parfait

$5.99

1 Snack Credit

Mixed Fruit

$5.69

1 Snack Credit

Total Cost Out of Pocket

$19.46

Bellies full, you hop on the bus and head to Hollywood Studios. After enjoying a morning full of rides and shows, you take a break for lunch. You place a mobile order at the ABC Commissary for the following:


Item

Out-Of-Pocket Cost

What It Counts as In the Dining Plan

Shrimp Tacos

$12.99

1 Quick Service Meal

Fountain Drink

$4.29

Included in Quick Service Meal Credit

Kids Meal Ham & Cheese (Includes drink)

$7.79

1 Quick Service Meal

Total Cost Out of Pocket

$25.07

After lunch, you decide to head back to the hotel for a refreshing swim. You each grab a drink from the soda fountain to enjoy pool side.

Item

Out-of-Pocket Cost

What it Counts as in the Dining Plan

Fountain Drink

$4.29

Free with Resort Mug

Fountain Drink

$4.29

Free with Resort Mug

Total Cost Out of Pocket

$8.48

Later that evening you head back to Hollywood Studios to enjoy some more attractions and have dinner with Minnie and Friends at Hollywood & Vine.



Item

Out-of-Pocket Cost

What it Counts as in the Dining Plan

Adult Meal

$59.99

1 Table Service Meal

Kid Meal

$35

1 Table Service Meal

Total Cost Out of Pocket

$94.99

Add up all these costs and you would have spent $148.10 out of pocket, before taxes and tip, for both of you to eat and drink that day. Had you gotten the Dining Plan instead you would have spent a total of $123.97.


That means you are looking at a savings of $24.13 in this scenario using the dining plan. Had you ordered an alcoholic beverage with lunch instead of a fountain drink and your daughter got a non-alcoholic specialty beverage, you are looking at even more savings because a quick service dining credit would have included those items.


Let’s say you are there for 4 nights and eat similarly each day. That would be a savings of $96.52. Not too bad!


In this scenario, the Dining Plan is worth it.


What If You Don’t Do Character Dining?


Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth it?

What about if you didn’t eat at a character meal and ate at a regular restaurant instead? Then your savings depend greatly on what you order.


Let’s say you eat at 50’s Prime Time Café instead of Hollywood & Vine in the above scenario and order the following:



Item

Out-of-Pocket Cost

What it Counts as in the Dining Plan

Fried Chicken

$26

1 Table Service Meal

Bud Light

$8

Included as part of Table Service Meal

Kids Chicken Strips (drink is included)

$12

1 Table Service Meal

Total Cost Out-of-Pocket

$46

That brings you to the total out-of-pocket cost of food for the day to $99.11. If you bought the dining plan you would have overspent $24.86. You would need to use that refillable mug a lot that day to break even on the cost.


If you are not planning to do any character meals, the Dining Plan may not be worth it for you.


What If you Don’t Have Any Kids Ages 3-9 in your Party?


Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth it?

If you just factor in what the adult ordered in the first scenario, the out-of-pocket cost would be $91.04. Which means you would be overpaying by $3.24 if you had the dining plan.


And remember, an adult is considered anyone 10 and over at Disney.


However, you could break even easily by ordering a specialty beverage at lunch instead of the fountain soda, or grabbing just one more soda, tea, or coffee at your resort using the refillable resort mug.


Factoring in the convenience of the plan and not having to worry about a big food bill AFTER you get home from the trip, the dining plan may still be worth it for you.


When It Is Definitely NOT Worth It

Not planning on doing any character meals? Don’t eat much during your meals? Do you and your spouse share meals? Just like to snack a little during the day? The dining plan probably isn’t worth it for you.


What About the Quick Service Dining Plan?

Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth it?

Let’s use the same Hollywood Studios Day above to figure this one out. The only thing that would be different is that Instead of eating dinner at Hollywood & Vine or 50s Prime Time Café, you have dinner at PizzeRizzo and order the following:


Item

Out-of-Pocket Cost

What it Counts as in the Dining Plan

Antipasto Salad

$10.99

1 Quick Service Meal

Fountain Drink

$4.29

Included in Quick Service Meal Credit

Kids Pepperoni Pizza (drink included in cost)

$7.99

1 Quick Service Meal

Total Cost Out-of-Pocket

$23.27

Add up all the food costs from the day and you would have spent $67.80 out of pocket, before taxes and tip, for both of you to eat and drink that day. Had you gotten the Quick Service Dining Plan instead you would have spent a total of $80.84.


That means you would have overspent by $13.04 using the dining plan.


However, order specialty beverages or alcohol with those quick service meals instead of a fountain drink and use that refillable mug more, you could easily break even or even save a little bit of money.


That combined with the convenience factor the Quick Service Dining Plan could still be worth it for you.


In this case, you would really need to think about your family’s food and drink preferences and how often you would use the refillable mug to determine if the Quick Service Dining Plan is worth it for you.


Need Help Deciding?


Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth it?

I can help you!


In my initial vacation planning call, we will talk through the dining plan and whether it makes sense for your family. These types of conversations can really help cut the confusion out of planning a Disney vacation. It’s one of the reasons I love starting the planning process with a phone call instead of just an online form.


I will also help you narrow in on the best locations to use your dining plan credits to get the most bang for your buck, and where to steer clear.


It’s all part of my vacation planning services which I offer at no additional costs to everyone who books an official Walt Disney Travel Vacation package through me.


I am a travel agent with Magical Vacation Planner. I make it easier for you to plan an unforgettable vacation with your family. Click here to schedule a Magical Vacation Discovery Call to learn more and get your free, no-obligation quote.


Or head here to request access to my exclusive Disney Vacation Planning Vault, full of worksheets and resources you can use to plan your next Disney vacation.


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