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One approach to dining at Walt Disney World is to use a Disney Dining Plan.
These meal plans at Disney have been around since 2005 and are basically a way to “pre-pay” for dining before your vacation starts.
In this post, I will share basic information about the plans, the Disney Dining Plan 2020 cost, and recent updates that allow for much more flexibility.
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!
If you already know the basics, check out this post for my Disney Dining Plan tips and tricks.
Who Can Use The Disney Dining Plan?
Disney Dining Plans can be used by guests staying at any Walt Disney World resort hotel. They can be purchased as part of a package that includes your room, park ticket, and dining, or included as part of a Free Dining Plan Package (more on this later).
They currently 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.
Disney Dining Plan Cost
There are currently three different meal plans: the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan, the Disney Dining Plan, and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.
How Much Does The Disney Dining Plan Cost?
The cost (including tax) of the Disney Dining Plan 2020 for each night of your stay is:
- Quick Service Dining Plan: $55.00/adult and $26.00/child
- Disney Dining Plan: $78.01/adult and $35.50/child
- Deluxe Dining Plan: $118.99/adult and $47.50/child
Here is a handy chart that shows the credits you’ll get with each plan and their cost per night of your stay in 2020:
|Cost (including tax)|
|Quick Service Dining Plan||2 quick service meals + 2 snacks||$55.00 (adult)|
|Disney Dining Plan||1 quick service meal + 1 table service meal + 2 snacks||$78.01 (adults)|
|Deluxe Dining Plan||3 quick service or table service credits + 2 snacks||$118.99 (adult)|
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?
Each of the dining plans includes credits that you can use all over Walt Disney World.
These credits are loaded on the Magic Bands (read all about them here) of everyone in your party as soon as you check in. If you are using online check-in you can begin using your credits as early as 6 am on your check-in day.
You can use the credits at any point during your stay, from check-in until midnight on the day you check out.
The types of Disney Dining 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 aren’t 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.
If you are changing Disney resorts (what is called a “split stay”) and get a mug during the first part of your vacation, it will continue to work for the second part. The mugs aren’t connected to a Dining Plan per se but will work for 14 days once activated.
Disney Quick Service Dining Plan
With the Quick Service Dining Plan you’ll get two quick service credits per person per night of your trip. They can be used to dine at any Quick Service (aka counter service) restaurant at Disney World.
A quick service credit includes an entree and anything that comes with it (e.g. a cheeseburger that comes with fries) plus a beverage.
You can get most 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 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 two snack credits per person per night and a refillable mug on the Quick Service Dining Plan.
Disney Dining Plan
With the standard Disney Dining 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 two snack per person per day and a refillable mug.
Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
With the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan you’ll get three meal credits per person per day that can be used for table service or quick service dining.
The table service credits that come with the Deluxe Plan include an appetizer, entree, dessert, and beverage.
This plan clearly comes with a TON of food and it is very hard for most people to use all of their credits.
The credits can come in handy when dining at a Signature restaurant, which requires two table service credits per person. These includes Disney’s “fine dining” establishments as well as Cinderella’s Royal Table and the Disney dinner shows.
The Deluxe Plan also includes two snacks per person per night and a refillable mug.
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 2-day “Park Hopper” tickets for everyone in your travel party. Dates for Free Dining are usually released in April for travel dates in the fall and winter.
You can read everything you need to know about Disney free dining in this post. If you are interested in booking a free dining package, I strongly suggest getting a quote from Siera with Destinations in Florida, my recommended Disney travel agent. You won’t pay anything extra and she can help you with every aspect of planning your Disney vacation!
Disney Dining Plan 2019 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 Dining 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
- AMC Dine-In at Disney Springs
- Haagen-Dazs kiosk at Disney Springs
- Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar at 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 Dining Plan.
Here is a master list of those places and where they are located:
- Cinderella’s Royal Table – 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
- 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
- Morimoto Asia – Disney Springs
- Paddlefish – Disney Springs
- STK Orlando – Disney Springs
- The Boathouse – Disney Springs
Is It Worth Getting the Dining Plan at Disney World?
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 in one way to help you stay within your budget at Disney World.
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 Epcot:
|Dining Plan||Out-of-Pocket Cost|
|Breakfast – Resort Food Court||1 Snack + refillable mug||Pastry – $4.79|
Coffee – $2.79
|Lunch – Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons||1 Quick Service Credit + 1 Snack||Pressed Cubano Sandwich – $13.49|
Fat Tire Amber Ale – $8.75
Fruit & Cheese Plate – $6.69
|Dinner – Epcot’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall||1 Table Service Credit||Adult All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Meal – $55.37 (including tax)|
Viking Coffee – $9.00
With this sample day, you would save $25.39 in one day for one person on the dining plan.
Keep in mind that Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is one of the priciest one table service credit restaurants at Disney World, so I wouldn’t expect to save this much every day. But if 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!
Here’s an example of another day at Epcot that wouldn’t be such a good deal on the Disney Dining Plan 2019:
|Dining Plan||Out-of-Pocket Cost|
|Breakfast – Resort + Fountain View (Starbucks)||2 Snacks + refillable mug||Coffee Cake – $3.19|
Smoothie – $4.99
Coffee – $2.79
|Lunch – Katsura Grill||1 Quick Service Credit||Teriyaki Chicken – $10|
Soft Drink – $3.05
|Dinner – Rose & Crown||1 Table Service Credit||Shepard’s Pie – $20|
Fountain Drink – $3
Warm Fruit Crumble – $7
Today you’d lose $21.47 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 drinks.
So overall, if the first sample day represents how you generally like to eat on vacation, the Disney Dining Plan could work out very well for you!
If you aren’t a buffet fan, are a lighter eater, or don’t drink alcohol with your meals, it would likely make more sense to pay out-of-pocket for your food.
For an in-depth comparison of the Disney Dining Plan to what you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, check out this post.
I hope this post helped you understand the basics of the Disney Dining Plan and how it works during a Disney World vacation.
Any questions about the meal plans at Disney? Join the discussion in my free private Facebook group for my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse!