Dining Plans at Disney World

My husband and I love the dining plans at Disney World.  We like not having to worry about setting aside enough money to eat while we’re on our trip.  It’s nice knowing it is already paid for as part of our vacation package.  For us, it makes life easier.  All we have to worry about is paying for tips for table service meals, and any alcoholic beverages we may want to try.  We try to keep expenses low.

Meal at T-Rex Restaurant, Downtown Disney.

Meal at T-Rex Restaurant, Downtown Disney.

I know a lot of people worry about how the dining plan works, and whether it is cost effective.  It all depends on your family.  I always advise friends to make sure they use ALL of their points/credits.  Don’t let them go to waste.  Also, it’s a nice way to take advantage of going to some of those character dining or signature dining experiences that you would normally pass up because of the cost.

In this post, I’m not going to get into whether getting a dining plan is the best option for your family, but I will give you a breakdown of what you get with each of the three main dining plans.

Dining plans are for guests ages 3 and over.  Guests 2 and under, cannot get a dining plan, but can eat from your plate.  You can also buy a separate kids meal for kids 2 and under.  Kids are required to order from the kid’s menu, no exceptions.  For each plan, this is what you would be entitled to per day, but with that in mind, you have access to all of your dining points/credits from the start of your trip.  I will explain further in a moment.

Quick Service Dining Plan

  • 2 quick-service meals
  • 1 snack
  • 1 refillable mug (for length of stay)

Standard Dining Plan

  • 1 table-service meal
  • 1 quick-service meal
  • 1 snack
  • 1 refillable mug (for length of stay)

Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 meals (any combination of table-service and quick-service)
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug (for length of stay)

Below, I’ll list what you get with a table service or quick service meal.  It can be a lot of food, so be prepared to eat well while on vacation.

1 Table Service Meal 

Each table service meal includes:
1 entrée
1 dessert (lunch and dinner only)
1 single-serving, non-alcoholic beverage
Or
1 full buffet

1 Quick Service Meal

Each quick service meal includes:
1 entrée or 1 complete combo meal
1 dessert (lunch and dinner only)
1 single-serving, non-alcoholic beverage

1 Snack
Examples of snacks are: 1 pretzel, Dole whip, frozen ice cream novelty, popsicle, fruit bar, popcorn scoop (single-serving box), single-serving bag of snacks, single piece of whole fruit, 20-oz. bottle of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite or Dasani water, 22-oz. fountain soft drink or juice, 12-oz. coffee, hot chocolate or hot tea, single-serving prepackaged milk or juice, pot stickers, egg roll, nachos, cheesy pesto bread, and chicken fried rice…and many more.

(Some of my favorite snacks are in the World Showcase at Epcot.  It’s fun to eat around the world, especially if you are there during the Food and Wine Festival.  If you use your snack credits at Epcot, you are bound to walk away satisfied.)

My daughter loves the Mickey Waffles.  Breakfast at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.

My daughter loves the Mickey Waffles.  Breakfast at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.

So you may be wondering how this all works.  Okay, say you’ve booked a 3 night stay at a Disney resort and decided to get the Quick Service dining plan.  You would be entitled to 2 quick service meals and one snack per day.  That means for a 3 night stay, you’d have a total of 6 quick service meals and 3 snacks to use for the length of your stay.  You can use them however you want.  You can choose to have three quick service meals one day, two snacks and one quick service meal another day, and one snack and two quick service meals your last day.  You can use it in any order you want, and on any day you want.  If you check in on Monday, spend Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights there, and check out on Thursday…you can still use your meal plan points/credits after you’ve checked out on Thursday.

On our departure day, we use up any remaining points/credits we have left.  If we have any snacks remaining, we get grab and go snack items.  The great thing about grab and go items is you can pack them up and take them home.  It works out for us.

We love the refillable mug too.  It’s a cute mug that comes in a few different colors.  You can pick one up on the first night of your trip, then you can use it throughout your stay.  My husband loves to take his in the morning to get coffee.  Then, he’ll fill it up later in the day with other beverages to take back to our hotel room.  I will admit that my daughter and I aren’t very good with using our mug while on vacation, but we use them all the time at home the rest of the year.  We use our mugs when we’re running around to all of my daughter’s activities at home.  The mugs come in quite handy, and bring back fond memories of our vacations.

As far as dining plans go, we’ve had the Deluxe and the Standard plans.  We liked both, but the standard plan worked out better for our family.  We loved the flexibility of the Deluxe dining plan and having more snacks, but it was just too much food for us.  As some of you may know, some snacks at Disney World are big enough to be considered a meal, so when we were trying to use all of our meals and snacks, it was just too much.  We were stuffed.  We enjoyed all the food, but we didn’t want to eat quite that much, and didn’t want to take that much time out of our day to eat so many meals.  The Standard dining plan had just the right amount of meals and snacks for us.  We were full and happy, and didn’t feel like eating took too much time out of our day.  Would we ever try the Deluxe dining plan again?  My husband definitely would, but for now, I think we’ll stick to the Standard dining plan.

When picking the right dining plan for your family, it’s important to consider how much time you want to spend eating each day, and how much food you think you’ll be able to eat.  Remember, a lot of meals at Disney World can be quite large, and some snacks are the size of a small meal.  I’ve heard many families say they love the Quick Service dining plan because they don’t like to spend an hour or more sitting down for a table service meal.  I think that’s understandable.  When you invest your money into a trip, you don’t want to feel like you “wasted” too much time sitting down for meals.  However, sometimes I think it’s nice to have a few table service meals during your trip to relax and unwind.  If you do plan to do some table service meals, just make sure to make Advanced Dining Reservations before your trip.  (That’s a discussion for another day.)  Believe me, you will need the reservations for most Disney restaurants.

If you’d like to learn more about Disney Dining plans, check out the following link:

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/disney-dining-plan/

I hope this helps explain a little bit about how the dining plans work.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to me at Jenny.Westbrook@mickeyvacations.com.

Dining at Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom was a great experience.  During lunch, it's considered a Quick Service meal.

Dining at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom was a great experience. During lunch, it’s considered a Quick Service meal.

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