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The Disney Dining Plan can be a valuable addition to your Walt Disney World vacation. But, it can also be very confusing. Most first time or infrequent visitors have lots of questions about the plan. And, to make matters worse, there is a lot of wrong information out there about the plan. To make your trip planning easier and clear up some of the confusion, we are answering some of the most frequently asked Disney Dining Plan questions! (Updated March 5, 2020)
What is the Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Dining Plan is essentially a prepaid plan for your food during your Disney World trip. You pay a flat fee per person per night to cover your meals and snacks. The plan allows you to choose anything off of the menu at any of the participating Disney restaurants, regardless of price. It also allows you to pay for your food before you arrive so you don’t have to worry about how much you are spending on meals during your trip.
What does the plan include?
There are actually four different Disney Dining Plans: the Quick Service Dining Plan, the standard Disney Dining Plan, the Disney Dining Plan Plus, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. All of them include a refillable drink mug for each person. Quick service meals include an entree or combo meal and a drink. Table service meals include an entree, dessert, and drink or a full buffet and drink. Guests under 21 can choose a specialty drink, such as a milk shake, or smoothie, or a soda, tea, or coffee with each meal. Guests 21 and over can choose either a specialty drink or an alcoholic drink with each meal.
The Quick Service Dining Plan includes two quick service meals and two snacks per person per night. The standard dining plan includes one quick service meal, one table service meal, and two snacks per person per night. The Dining Plan Plus comes with two meals and two snacks per person per night. You can use your meal credits at either table service or quick service restaurants. And with the Deluxe Dining Plan, you get three meals and two snacks per person per night. On the deluxe plan, you can also use your meal credits for table or quick service meals. Additionally, the deluxe table service meals includes an appetizer in addition to the entree and dessert.
How much does it cost?
For 2020, the Quick Service Dining Plan cost $55 per day per person ages 10 and over and $26 per day per person ages 3-9. The standard Disney Dining Plan costs $78.01 per day per person ages 10 and over and $30.51 per day for kids ages 3-9. If you choose the Dining Plan Plus, you will have to pay $94.60 per night per person age 10 and over and $35 per night per person for kids age 3-9. The Deluxe Dining Plan is $119 per day per person 10 and over and $47.50 per day for kids ages 3-9.
Which plan should I choose?
Which plan is right for your family will depend on your eating habits, your vacation style, and your budget. If food is an important part of your vacation, then you should consider the standard, the plan plus, or the deluxe plan. If, on the other hand, your family prefers to graze as oppose to sitting down to enjoy meals, or you want to spend your time experiencing the attractions instead of eating, then the quick service meal is probably a better fit.
Is it worth the price?
One of the most important Disney Dining Plan questions is whether it is worth the price. The answer to this, like the question above, will vary from family to family. If you want the convenience of prepaying for your food or you want to eat well during your vacation, then the plan is probably worth the money. If, however, you are on a tight budget, skipping the dining plan can save you a good chunk of money. My family loves the dining plan and gets it every trip. We find that we eat better on our trip with the plan than we would without it. For more on this, see if the Disney Dining Plan is right for you.
Remember, though, to get your money’s worth out of the dining plan, you need to make wise decisions so you can use it to your advantage. For help with this, see our Disney Dining Plan tips.
Can each person in my family choose a different plan?
No. Each person in your room must be on the same plan. You cannot choose different plans for different people. Similarly, everyone in the room must either be on the plan or not.
Are there any requirements for when I use my credits?
There are no requirements on when you use your dining credits. You get all of your credits upon check in and can use them when you want. You can use three quick service meal credits on one day and none the next day or you can use one table service credit and one quick service credit each day of your trip. You can use your snack credits throughout your trip or use them all on your last day.
When can I start using my credits?
Your dining entitlements kick in when you check in for your vacation. Even though your room may not be ready until later in the afternoon, you can check in at your hotel at any time on your arrival day. Once you’ve checked in, you can start using your dining credits.
When do my credits expire?
Your dining credits will expire at midnight on your check out day. So, even if you check out of your hotel at 10:00 am, you can continue to use your dining entitlements until midnight that night.
Does everyone in the family have to eat at the same place?
No. Your family can split up and eat at different locations if you wish. However, if your teenager uses more than their share of the meals, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for the extra meals.
Can I get the dining plan if I am staying offsite?
One of the most common Disney Dining Plan questions is can I get it if I am staying offsite. The answer is no. The dining plan is only available to people staying at a Disney resort. If you are staying offsite, you will have to pay for your food out of pocket.
Can I get the dining plan if I order my tickets through a third-party?
Generally speaking, no. You must book a vacation package (room and tickets) in order to add the dining plan to your trip. The only exceptions to this are if you are a Disney World annual passholder or Disney Vacation Club member (or rent DVC points). If you fall into either of these exceptions, you can add one of the dining plans to your room-only reservation.
Can I add the dining plan once I arrive at Disney World?
No. The dining plan can only be added to your vacation package before your arrival. You can either add it at the time you book your vacation or you can add it up to 48 hours prior to your arrival date.
Can my 8-year-old eat off the adult menu?
Children ages 3-9 will have the child’s version of the dining plan. In addition to the lower price, this means that if a restaurant has a child’s menu, they must order off of it. At buffet restaurants, children can choose anything off of the buffet, whether it is from the children’s section or the adult section. For restaurants without a child’s menu, your child can pick an entree off of the regular menu.
Can my 11-year-old eat off of the kids’ menu?
Anyone can choose to eat off of the kids’ menu if one is available. However, you will be charged an adult meal credit for each person over the age of 9 who dines, regardless of whether you eat off of the kids’ menu or not. At some restaurants, you can order an adult size portion of an item on the kids’ menu.
Does my 2-year-old need a dining plan?
Because children under the age of 3 are not required to have park tickets, they are also not required to have a dining plan. Toddlers under 3 can eat off of an adult plate without any additional charge. If, however, you prefer to order your little one their own plate, you will need to pay for this out of pocket.
Can I use my table service credits on character meals?
This is another one of the common Disney Dining Plan questions. The short answer is yes. You can use your table service credits on character meals if you wish. In fact, this is a great use of these credits. Most of the character meals are worth one credit. But be aware that a few of them (like some of the noncharacter meals) are worth two credits. For a list of all character meals, see our character meals at a glance.
How do I know how many credits I have left?
You can track your remaining credits in a few different ways. First, you can look at the My Disney Experience app to see how many you have left. The second way to track them is to look at your receipt once you have purchased something using your credits. At the bottom, it will show you how many of the credits you just used you have left. For instance, your table service receipt will show how many table service credits are remaining. Please note that your receipt will show the number of credits left for your entire room. It does not break these credits down by person. The last way to know how many credits you have left is to stop by the concierge desk of your resort and ask for a printout.
What do I do if I have leftover credits?
If you have any meal credits leftover on your last day, you must either use them or lose them. Now, you can use them by converting them to snack credits and then stocking up on prepackaged snacks which you can take home with you. Each quick service meal credit can be converted to three snack credits.
While the Disney Dining Plan is a wonderful addition to your Walt Disney World vacation, it can be confusing for many people. I hope that the answers to these common Disney Dining Plan questions help you to better understand the plan so you can decide if it is right for your family. To book your Disney World vacation, visit Disney’s website. For help planning your trip, read our step-by-step guide, quick tips, and best resources. Happy travels!