Answers to all of your questions about the Disney Dining Plan, including how does the Disney dining plan work and prices for the Disney meal plan for 2024!
Have you heard about the Dining Plan at Disney World and are wondering how it works?
The Disney meal plan is basically a way to “pre-pay” for dining before your vacation starts and is returning in 2024 after a three-year hiatus.
In this post, I will share everything you need to know about the Disney Dining Plan 2024 including the cost, how the credits work, how to decide if the plans are right for you, and my insider tips for getting your money’s worth!
Keep in mind that the plans are certainly not for everyone on every trip, and while they seem complicated at first, are actually pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it.
What is The Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Dining Plan has been around since 2005 and is a way to make your Disney World vacation more inclusive.
You can add the Dining Plan to a hotel reservation that you book with Disney, through your travel agent, or with DVC points.
For each night of your stay, you’ll get a set number of dining plan “credits” you can use to eat almost anywhere at Walt Disney World, as well as a refillable mug to use at your resort during your stay.
Read on to learn how the credits work and the two different meal plans available for 2024!
Who Can Use The Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Meal Plan can be used by guests staying at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.
They can’t be purchased by visitors staying at any hotels that are not owned by Disney (“off-property” hotels) or locals visiting for the day.
The plan also must be purchased for every night of your stay and for everyone staying in your room. However, there are ways around this that I will explain below.
Disney Dining Plan 2024 Cost
There are currently two different meal plans: the Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan.
The cost (including tax) of the Disney Dining Plan 2024 for each night of your stay is:
- Quick Service Dining Plan: $57.01/adult and $23.83/child
- Disney Dining Plan: $94.28/adult and $26.69/child
Here is a chart that shows the credits you’ll get with each plan and the cost per night of your stay in 2024:
Disney Dining Plan 2024 Prices
|Credits (per night)
|Quick Service Dining Plan
|2 Quick Service Meals + 1 Snack
|Disney Dining Plan
|1 Table Service Meal + 1 Quick Service Meal + 1 Snack
Note: Though tax is included in the cost of the plan, tips for your server at Table Service meals are not included.
Each plan includes a Resort Refillable Mug (more on those soon). The children’s prices are for kids ages 3 to 9. Kids 10 and over are charged the adult price.
How Does The Disney Dining Plan Work?
Everyone’s first question about the plan is “How does the Disney Dining Plan work?”
Each of the dining plans includes credits that you can use all over Walt Disney World.
These credits are loaded on the Magic Bands (or MagicMobile pass on your phone) of everyone in your party as soon as you check-in.
You can use the credits at any point during your stay, from 6 am on check-in day until midnight on the day you check out.
You can use them in any combination at any time, such as using three snack credits on the first day, or two table service credits on one day and two quick service credits on the next day.
The types of Disney Meal Plan credits are:
- Snack Credits (most items that aren’t a meal unto themselves fall into this category)
- Quick Service Meal Credits (i.e. meals at locations where you order at a counter as opposed to having a server)
- Table Service Meal Credits (“Sit-down” meals – includes buffets, character meals, and signature dining)
In addition to snack and meal credits, the meal plans at Disney include a Resort Refillable Mug with unlimited free refills for the next 14 days.
The mugs can be used at any Disney resort hotel for soda, coffee, tea, lemonade, and hot chocolate, but are not good for refills in the theme parks.
Soda machines are equipped with a chip reader that only dispenses the drink into a cup that is activated for that date.
What’s Included in the Quick Service Dining Plan?
With the Quick Service Dining Plan, you’ll get two quick service credits per night of your trip, one snack credit per night, and a resort refillable mug.
Quick Service credits can be used to dine at any Quick Service (aka counter service) restaurant at Disney World.
A Quick Service credit includes an entree and a beverage.
You can get almost any beverage on the menu, including alcoholic drinks.
With any quick service or table service meal, those over 21 can select a single-serving mixed drink, wine, or beer as their beverage with the plan.
You could choose a specialty drink (such as a smoothie or milkshake) as your beverage as well.
And I am happy to report that you are not limited to certain alcoholic drinks with the Dining Plan… anything is fair game as long as it doesn’t come in a souvenir cup or serve more than one person.
If you don’t want a beverage (or just want to drink water) you can usually substitute anything that qualifies as a snack credit on the menu for your drink. Most quick-service dining locations allow this substitution but your mileage may vary.
You’ll also get one snack credit per person per night and a refillable mug on the Quick Service Dining Plan.
Update: In years past you could at times use one Quick Service credit to buy three snacks. Disney has officially stated that this is no longer permitted on the plan.
What’s Included on the Disney Dining Plan?
With the standard Disney Meal Plan, you’ll get one quick service credit and one table service credit per person per night of your trip.
Each table service meal credit includes an entree, beverage, and dessert.
This credit was made more flexible in 2017 by allowing guests to choose a salad or soup (if available at the restaurant) in place of a dessert.
And as in the case with quick service meals, any single-serving drink on the menu that doesn’t come in a souvenir cup is fair game – so go ahead and order that $17 glass of wine!
You are of course always allowed to order anything else from the menu that is not included in the dining plan and pay for the items out-of-pocket. This can include appetizers or add-ons to your entree.
With the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll also get one snack per person per day and a refillable mug.
What about the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan?
Sadly, the Deluxe Dining Plan at Disney World did not return for 2024.
How Do I Get a Dining Plan for Free?
You may have heard of Disney’s wildly popular “Free Dining” promotion. For this offer, guests pay the regular, non-discounted rate for their hotel stay and park tickets, but get one of the dining plans at no additional cost.
A free dining package usually requires booking a minimum three-night stay and purchasing a minimum of 4-day “Park Hopper” tickets for everyone in your travel party.
While the traditional “Free Dining” package isn’t available right now, there is something similar, which you can find on my page with all of the current Disney World Discounts here.
Disney Dining Plan 2024 Restaurants
The answer to “What restaurants take the Disney Dining Plan?” is almost every restaurant at Disney World.
Each year when the Dining Plan is released, restaurants are slowly added to the of those that accept the plan. Almost all dining establishments at Disney World take the Dining Plan.
Here are the exceptions I know of that don’t take the Disney Meal Plan:
- Victoria & Albert’s, a fine dining restaurant at the Grand Floridian resort
- Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Epcot’s Italy pavilion
- La Cava de Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion
- Haagen-Dazs kiosk at Disney Springs
- Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs
- Pizza Ponte at Disney Springs
- AMC Fork & Screen in Disney Springs
- Pepe in Disney Springs
Everywhere else in the theme parks, at Disney Springs, and at Disney-owned resorts will accept your Disney Dining Plan credits.
Disney Dining Plan Two Table Service Credit Restaurants
Some dining locations at Disney World require two table service credits on the Disney Meal Plan.
Here is a master list of restaurants that require two table service credits and where they are located:
- Cinderella’s Royal Table – Magic Kingdom
- Be Our Guest (dinner only) – Magic Kingdom
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – For Wilderness
- Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show – Polynesian Resort
- The Hollywood Brown Derby – Hollywood Studios
- Tiffins – Animal Kingdom
- Le Cellier – Epcot
- Monsieur Paul – Epcot
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Epcot (new for 2024)
- Jiko – Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Flying Fish – Boardwalk Resort
- California Grill – Contemporary Resort
- Citricos – Grand Floridian Resort
- Narcoossee’s – Grand Floridian Resort
- Yachtsman Steakhouse – Yacht Club Resort
- Storybook Dining With Snow White – Wilderness Lodge (new for 2024)
- Morimoto Asia – Disney Springs
- Paddlefish – Disney Springs
- STK Orlando – Disney Springs
- The Boathouse – Disney Springs
Is The Disney Dining Plan worth it?
If you are like most folks visiting Walt Disney World, you have a budget that you need to stick to for your vacation.
Having a pre-paid dining plan included in a package is one way to help you stay within your budget at Disney World.
Answering the question “Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?” requires looking at how you would typically eat on vacation.
As an example, here is a comparison of what it would cost out-of-pocket vs. on the dining plan for a sample day at Animal Kingdom:
|Breakfast – Resort Food Court
|1 Snack + refillable mug
|Pastry – $4.79
Coffee – $3.49
|Lunch –Flame Tree Barbeque (Animal Kingdom)
|1 Quick Service Credit
|Sampler Meal – $18.89
Island Breeze– $16.50
|Dinner – Tusker House
|1 Table Service Credit
|Adult All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Meal – $63.42 (including tax)
Glass of Wine – $15.00
With this sample day, you would save $28 in one day for one person on the dining plan.
Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages drive the out-of-pocket cost up. But if you want an alcoholic drink with your meals and this is the type and quantity of food you would likely eat on vacation, then the dining plan might be a good fit for you!
What made this day a good value on the plan was eating a character meal for dinner and alcoholic drinks at lunch and dinner.
Here’s an example of another day at Epcot that wouldn’t be such a good deal on the Disney Meal Plan:
|Breakfast – Resort + Fountain View (Starbucks)
|1 Snack + refillable mug
|Coffee Cake – $3.99
Coffee – $3.49
|Lunch – Katsura Grill (Epcot)
|1 Quick Service Credit
|Teriyaki Chicken – $13
Soft Drink – $3.99
|Dinner – Rose & Crown
|1 Table Service Credit
|Impossible Hot Pot– $23
Fountain Drink – $3.99
Warm Fruit Crumble – $7
Today you’d lose $35.82 with the dining plan.
The main reason is eating at some of the most affordable restaurants out-of-pocket and choosing soft drinks as opposed to pricey alcoholic beverages.
The dining plans tend to work out better for some folks than others, depending on their style of vacationing and where they prefer to eat.
Here are some factors that will help you answer the question is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?
You should consider using the Dining Plan if you:
- Want to eat at several Character Meals or buffets (These tend to be the most expensive out-of-pocket and represent the best value of dining plan credits)
- Would enjoy an alcoholic drink with lunch and dinner most days
- Are visiting Epcot during a festival to maximize snack credits (more on this next)
You might want to avoid the Dining Plan if you:
- Are a light eater (e.g. like to order an appetizer as your entrée)
- Want to eat at one or more Signature Restaurants
- Are vegetarian or vegan (Though if you want to experience several buffets/character meals or eat some fish the Dining Plan still makes lots of sense)
- You don’t drink alcohol at all
Disney Dining Plan Tips & Tricks
Here are my best Disney Dining Plan tips and tricks for making the most of the plans at Walt Disney World.
Tip #1: Share Credits & Use Them However You Want
The second of my Disney Dining Plan tips is you do not actually have to use a credit for every member of your party every time you dine.
For example, one Table Service credit includes:
- One entree
- One dessert
- One beverage
However, if your spouse wants a beverage and entree and you want an appetizer and dessert, you two can essentially “share” one Table Service credit and just pay for your appetizer out-of-pocket.
This can really help you get the full value of the plan, save your credits for a Signature restaurant, and avoid wasting food (a common complaint about the plan).
To do this, just tell your server that you’d like to use one table service credit from your dining plan and charge the appetizer to our room. You can then scan your Magic Band for both purposes and be on your way!
Tip #2 – Get the Disney Meal Plan Without Buying Park Tickets
The official line from Disney is that the Dining Plan must be purchased as part of a package that includes a minimum of two-day park tickets. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
The one we have used most frequently is that anyone staying in a room booked with Disney Vacation Club points can add a Disney Dining Plan to their reservation without also adding park tickets.
Anyone can stay in a DVC room by “renting” points from a DVC owner (check out my post about how to rent DVC points to save money on deluxe accommodations here).
Members of the military can also add a dining plan to their resort stay without having to buy park tickets (which can be bought at a steep discount at a military base or Shades of Green – thanks for this info, Peg!).
I have also been able to call Disney and have them add a Dining Plan to a room-only reservation without tickets, as long as the reservation was made directly with Disney.
If you booked a room-only reservation with a travel agent (get a free quote from my travel agent Siera here), you can have them add the Dining Plan without having to purchase park tickets.
Just keep in mind this will turn your room-only reservation into a package, which has more strict cancellation policies.
Tip #3: Get the Dining Plan for Only Part of Your Vacation
A split stay is when you break your vacation up between two different resorts on two separate reservations.
Any Disney Meal Plan has to be purchased for every night of your stay and for everyone in your room.
But this only means you must have it for the entire reservation – you can have it for the first part of a split stay and not the second.
If you don’t mind switching resorts once during your stay, you can rent DVC points for part of your vacation and add the dining plan for that part of your stay.
If you are changing Disney resorts (what is called a “split stay”) and get a refillable mug during the first part of your vacation, it will continue to work for the second part. The mugs aren’t connected to a particular resort and will work for 14 days once activated.
Note: You can add the dining Plan to a one-night reservation booked with DVC points, but you can no longer add a dining plan to a one-night reservation booked through Disney (unless it is booked with a Passholder discount). The minimum for adding the dining plan when you book with Disney is a two-night reservation.
Tip #4: Choose Restaurants That Maximize Your Credits
My next Disney Meal Plan tip is to eat at the locations that give you the best value for your credits.
There are definitely certain dining locations that give you the best value on the Disney Dining Plan. That said, I would suggest that you don’t let this fact drive your decisions about where to eat on vacation.
If you want to eat somewhere but it isn’t necessarily the best value on the plan because the entrees are less expensive than other places, then, by all means, eat there!
Overall, you will get your money’s worth out of the Disney Dining Plan almost anywhere you eat, so try to dine as if you weren’t bound by the plan.
You’ll get incredible value if you are able to get the dining plan for free with Disney’s popular “Free Dining” promotion, which you can read all about in this post.
Locations in which the total cost of your Quick Service Meal is above $18 and Table Service is above $55 give you the best return on your investment on the Dining Plan.
Here are some of the best locations for getting the full value out of the plan:
- Flame Tree Barbecue (Animal Kindgom)
- Sunshine Seasons (Epcot)
- Tangierine Cafe (Epcot)
- La Cantine de San Angel (Epcot)
- Be Our Guest – Breakfast/Lunch (Magic Kingdom)
- Columbia Harbor House (Magic Kingdom)
- Peco’s Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe (Magic Kingdom)
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (Magic Kindgom)
- Landscape of Flavors – Lunch/Dinner (Art of Animation Resort)
- Pepper Market – Lunch/Dinner (Coronado Springs Resort)
- Wolfgang Puck Express (Disney Springs)
- The Polite Pig (Disney Springs)
- Fantasmic Dining Package (Hollywood Studios)
- Chefs de France – Dinner (Epcot)
- Tutto Italia -Dinner (Epcot)
- Crystal Palace – Dinner (Magic Kingdom)
- Boma – Dinner (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
- Cape May Cafe – Dinner (Beach Club Resort)
- Chef Mickey’s – Dinner (Contemporary Resort)
- ‘Ohana – Dinner (Polynesian Resort)
- Whispering Canyon Cafe – Dinner (Wilderness Lodge)
- California Grill (Contemporary Resort)
- Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian Resort)
- Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club Resort)
- Cinderella’s Royal Table – Dinner (Magic Kingdom)
- The Boathouse (Disney Springs)
The best use of Quick Service and Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan tend to be for lunch and dinner.
It is very hard to get good value out of your credits for breakfast.
I would suggest eating a light breakfast in your room (check out how to get groceries delivered to resort for free in this post) or paying for breakfast out of pocket at your resort.
Tip #5: Use Snack Credits Wisely
Snack credits may seem like a throwaway addition, but if used wisely, they really can increase the value of your Dining Plan.
Each member of your party will get two snack credits per day as part of every Disney Meal Plan!
I estimate the value of a snack credit to be around $5. If I want a snack and it is less than $5, I usually pay out of pocket for it, even if I’m on the Dining Plan.
If you happen to be visiting Disney World during one of the Epcot festivals, you can get incredible value out of your snack credits.
Most non-alcoholic drinks and food items available at the Marketplace Booths are “snack credit eligible”.
Some of these items are in the $7-$10 range which can double the value of your snack credit.
Last visit we had eight snack credits that we used to make a meal of eating our way around Food & Wine Festival.
It was so much fun and we got an incredible value out of the snack credits (get all of my Food and Wine Festival tips in this post).
If you want someone to help you pick the best restaurants AND make all of your dining reservations for you (at no cost to you), then I strongly suggest that you get a free quote from my expert Disney travel agent Siera at Destinations in Florida!
Disney Dining Plan Tip #6: Get Alcohol, Appetizers, and More
Even though Table Service credits include only an entree, dessert, and a beverage, there are instances where you can get much more using the Disney Dining Plan.
And you can now get a specialty drink OR single-serving alcoholic beverage with every meal on the Disney Dining Plans!
I’m happy to report that pretty much ANY alcoholic drink is included in the Dining Plan.
For example, you can get a top-shelf Patron Lime Margarita from La Cantina de San Angel in Epcot that would cost $16 out-of-pocket as your drink with a Quick Service credit!
If you are going to get an adult beverage with lunch and dinner anyway, the Dining Plan makes it very affordable to do so.
Here are other ways to get more with the Dining Plan:
Get an Appetizer with the Prix Fixe Dinner Menu at Chefs de France
Another great use of one Table Service credit is the Prix Fixe menu at Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavillion.
You get to choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert from a set menu and all are included with your one table service credit.
Though this restaurant sometimes gets spotty reviews, I think the food is excellent (though not very adventurous), the atmosphere lively, and the servers helpful and eager to talk about their country and cuisine.
Get a Cheese Plate as An Appetizer at Several Signature Restaurants
Signature Restaurants are the high-end dining establishments at Disney and all require two Table Service credits.
However, several restaurants include their Cheese Plate as one of their options for dessert, which means you can order it as part of the dining plan.
The cheese plate is usually fantastic and pricey (some upwards of $20) and you can have it served before your meal as an appetizer.
Get Preferred Seating with the Fantasmic Dining Package
One of the best uses of one Table Service credit is the Fantasmic Dining Package at Mama Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios.
Not only do you get preferred seating to the Fantasmic show for the evening (the not-to-be-missed nighttime show at the Studios), but you’ll also get your choice of an entree, dessert, and beverage.
The trade-off is that you’ll eat at an off-peak time (lunch or an early dinner). You can also get a Fantasmic Package at Hollywood & Vine (for 1 credit) and The Hollywood Brown Derby (for 2 credits).
Tip #7: Kids Under Three Eat for Free at Certain Restaurants
You may have noticed that the children’s dining plan is for kids ages 3 to 9. What about one and two-year-olds who seem to eat their weight in food each day, you say?
Well, you will either have to purchase food for them out of pocket or dine at restaurants where they can eat for free.
Disney’s policy is that kids under three can eat off of their parents’ plates at any buffet.
This includes all of the character meals and any other buffet such as Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge) and Biergarten (Epcot). And they don’t physically have to eat off of your plate, you can get them their own plate of food at no charge.
Even better, at any all-you-care-to-enjoy table service meal (such as the Garden Grill, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Topplino’s Terrace, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall), kids under three can get a kids’ meal off of the menu totally for free.
I was really surprised when I learned about this about a year ago and it influenced where we decided to eat with our daughter when she was still in the under-three crowd.
Tip #8: Take Advantage of the Dining Plan’s Flexibility
The first of my Disney Dining Plan tips is that the plans are much more flexible than they sound.
The credits you receive for each member of your party are actually pooled together and can be used in any combination on any day of your trip.
For example, you can eat only Quick Service meals on one day and the next day use two Table Service credits to enjoy dinner at one of Disney’s fantastic Signature restaurants.
Plus your credits are good from the time you check into your resort (which we often do as soon as we arrive, as early as 8 am) until midnight on the day you check out.
This means you can stretch your 5 nights of the dining plan into 6 days if you use your credits wisely.
My Experiences with the Disney Dining Plan
In my opinion, the dining plans are not for everyone on every trip.
They make the most sense for guests who plan on eating several Character Meals or buffets, have big eaters in their party (think teenage boys), and those who don’t mind being nailed down to a schedule.
On the other hand, it doesn’t work as well for light eaters, those who prefer Signature restaurants, or those who like to be spontaneous and not be held to hard-and-fast plans for their dining.
My husband and I have taken advantage of a Disney Dining Plan on many occasions and I think it is really fun.
I like the freedom to choose any entree on the menu without worrying about how expensive it is (otherwise I can’t shake the inner cheapskate, even on vacation).
Disney Meal Plan Tips & Tricks Summary
To summarize, the Disney Dining Plan is just one way to experience the amazing dining options at Walt Disney World.
And if you’re able to get it for free (read my post about the popular free dining offer), it is an especially inexpensive way to try out different restaurants.
If want help planning a vacation with or without the dining plan, I suggest getting a from my expert Disney travel agent, Siera with Destinations in Florida.
She can help you find the right resort, book your dining reservations, and more, all at no additional cost to you!
I hope this post helped you understand the basics of the Disney Meal Plan and how it works during a Disney World vacation.
Any questions? Join the discussion in my free private Facebook group for my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse!