COVID-19 Update – When will the Disney Dining Plan come back?
By now, Walt Disney World has released the 2021 Disney vacation plans that don’t include the option for dining plans.
Disney did the best it could opening during the pandemic in the safest way they could, knowing the future was unforeseeable.
Let’s be honest, the Disney Dining Plan is a very lucrative add on for Disney. AKA they make good money.
So why cancel the DDP to begin with?
Mainly because of reduced restaurant capacity. Disney is currently filling table service restaurants to roughly half-capacity PLUS there are some locations that aren’t even open. Logistically, it’s impossible to offer the DDP for all guests and actually be able to seat them all.
Disney has indicated it won’t change its policies until health agencies, its panel of experts, industry groups, and research universities to determine best practices.
My prediction is that Disney will continue to monitor health conditions and vacation patterns and start offering the Disney Dining Plan sometime in 2021.
Disney Dining Plan 2021 Overview and Costs
Food costs can be one of the largest expenses you and your family need to prepare for when planning a trip to Disney. One way to budget for this is to purchase a Disney Dining Plan for each of your family members, which will include a certain number of meals per day, ranging from quick meals at cafeteria-style locations to sit-down dining with character entertainment. It can be a complex decision to decide whether or not a Disney Dining Plan makes sense for your family, as there are a variety of dining plan options and hundreds of dining options to choose from. Hopefully, this guide to the Disney Dining Plan 2021 will help you choose whether a dining plan is right for your family and some spots you would like to eat at during your trip.
When choosing the best Disney Dining Plan for you and your family, you have 3 options:
- Quick-Service Dining Plan: There are over 50 locations where you can get 2 self-service meals and two snacks a day, including 1 alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink per meal. For these casual meals, you won’t need reservations and can choose from a variety of delicious options including pasta, burgers, sandwiches, salads and more. You can also choose from many tasty drinks ranging from milkshakes to beer, hard cider to specialty cocktails.
Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan Prices: For adults (which includes kids older than 10), this plan costs $55 per night of the trip. For children (ages 3-9), this plan costs $26 per night of the trip. You can’t buy a dining plan for children under 3, although you can purchase items separately for them.
- Disney Dining Plan: This mid-range option is similar to the Quick-Service Dining Plan, but opens up a range of new options because it gives you one waiter-service meal a day in addition to one self-service meal. Like above, you get two snacks a day and 1 alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage per meal. There are over 100 locations you can eat at.
Disney Dining Plan Prices: For adults, this plan costs $78 per night of the trip. For children (ages 3-9), this plan costs $30.50 per night of the trip. You can’t buy a dining plan for children under 3, although you can purchase items separately for them. Note that children will be required to order off the kid’s menu at places that have one.
- Deluxe Dining Plan: If you want three meals a day, and to be able to choose between self-service and waiter-service for all of them, the Deluxe Dining Plan is the way to go. The snacks and drink allotment from above is the same for the Deluxe Dining Plan (2 snacks per day and 1 beverage per meal).
Deluxe Disney Dining Plan Prices: For adults, this plan costs $119 per night of the trip. For children (ages 3-9), this plan costs $47.50 per night of the trip. You can’t buy a dining plan for children under 3, although you can purchase items separately for them. Note that children will be required to order off the kid’s menu at places that have one.
If you consider actual individual food costs and how much you think your family will eat on your trip, you might find that the 2021 Disney Dining Plan at face value doesn’t seem like a good value for your trip.
However, it’s important to consider the convenience of having prepaid for your food and knowing that that part of your trip is already budgeted for, as well as what unique dining experiences your family is interested in.
Do you want to have breakfast or dinner with your favorite characters? Do you want to do that regularly? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then a meal plan may be the best option. There are plenty of great quick-service places and sit-down restaurants where you can eat, and if you decide you don’t want a meal plan, there are other affordable ways to eat at Disney World.
Note that most Disney Dining Plan Restaurants will require 1 credit, but there are Signature Restaurants that require 2 credits which include:
- Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom): For dinner
- The Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)
- Topolino’s Terrace (Riviera): For dinner
- Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom)
- California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
- Le Cellier (Epcot)
- Tiffins Restaurant (Animal Kingdom)
- Citricos (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort)
- Flying Fish (Disney’s Boardwalk)
- Jiko – The Cooking Place (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)
- The BOATHOUSE (Disney Springs)
- Monsieur Paul (Epcot)
- Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs: For dinner
- Jaleo (Disney Springs)
- Narcoossee’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian)
- Paddlefish (Disney Springs)
- STK Orlando (Disney Springs)
- Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club)
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue: Disney Dinner Show
- Spirit of Aloha: Disney Dinner Show
Some places to eat with the 2021 Disney Dining Plan
You have unlimited options when it comes to your Disney Dining Experiences. Options include great food from every country and the food type you can imagine, from African food at Tusker House to Norwegian meatballs at Akershus to steaks at Yachtsman Steakhouse to Mickey waffles at 1900 Park Fare. That’s only scratching the surface of the food offerings at the Disney Restaurants.
Beyond food, there are dinner shows like the Spirit of Aloha, meals overlooking fireworks, and all the characters you can imagine. Do you want to hang out with Mickey and Goofy while they’re on safari? Or get your own magic wand or sword and visit with Cinderella? Or have tea and crafts with Alice and the Mad Hatter?
If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then the opportunities to optimize your Disney meal plan are endless. It’s important to make reservations for your sit-down meals as soon as possible, especially if you’re planning on going to the character dining experiences. You’re able to reserve tables 6 months in advance. Plan ahead and do that for your best chances of getting to eat everywhere that you’d life.
As a plus, all the 2021 Dining Plans come with a refillable souvenir mug you can refill everywhere you get a drink, and take home to help remember your trip!
What are some of the Best Disney restaurants for the dining plan?
Breakfast: At the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast’s all-you-can-eat buffet, you can eat many delicious options ranging from omelets to Mickey waffles. There’s even Eggs Benedict and Smoked Salmon Lox! Even better, you can expect to be visited by Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh while eating.
If you need some caffeine before your day at the parks, you’ll have your pick of espressos, lattes, cappuccinos or regular coffees. If you’d rather start the day off with a Grand Mimosa, Bloody Mary or Florida Sunshine (Peach Schnapps, Chambord, Sky Vodka, Orange and Cranberry Juice), there are plenty of alcoholic beverage options as well! The kids (and adults) will love both food and character entertainment.
Breakfast Cost: $47 for adult, $28 for a child (or 1 dining credit per person)
Dinner: For dinner, you’ll have your pick of a buffet packed with unique options, including Mississippi fried catfish, Coconut Vegetable Curry, Pulled Pork, Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings and Florida strawberry soup, plus an extensive wine and cocktail options. The kids will be thrilled with their own buffet offering their favorite foods (cheese ravioli, taco bar, pizza, mac and cheese, and chicken tenders).
Dinner Cost: $63 per adult, $37 per child
Breakfast: For young Disney fans who want to breakfast with their favorite characters, this is one of the best Disney restaurants for the dining plan.
If you want to wake up and eat fresh pastries and fruit before even choosing your entrée, while your kids get to meet their favorite characters like Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, and Prince Eric, then the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno is perfect for you and your family.
Delicious breakfast options include fan favorites like Flynn’s Feat (a hearty meal containing eggs of your choosing, breakfast potatoes, bacon, ham, and sausage), Tangled Eggs (an omelet with mozzarella, tomato-basil and more), and for lighter fare, Pascal’s Palette (with fruit, yogurt, honey, and granola).
Breakfast Cost: $45 per adult, $29 per child (1 credit)
Dinner: If you just want a great meal without the added excitement of characters, dinner at Trattoria al Forno offers fine Italian fare, including pizzas, pasta, risottos, and tasty desserts like Zeppoli (almond sugar-coated fried dough with dipping sauces to choose from), gelato, and Tiramisù. Kids will be happy with pizza, pasta marinara, and meat and seafood options and adults will be excited by a drink menu that has the regular classic Disney beverages as well as tasty Italian specials, including wines from Italy’s most historic wine regions, like Tuscany, Veneto, and Piedmont.
Dinner Cost: Entrées for adults range from $19 to $42 and desserts from $6 to $8. Kids’ entreés range from $12 to $15.
For a fun princess dining experience and a good blend of Norwegian and American food, one of the best Disney restaurants for the dining plan is the Akershus Royal Dining Hall at Epcot.
Breakfast: For breakfast, you can have a family-style meal with options ranging from the classic eggs, bacon, sausage, cinnamon rolls, and fresh fruit to more Norwegian offerings including peppered mackerel, Glassmeister herring, Jarlsberg Cheese and Lingonberry Muffins.
Breakfast Cost: $53 per adult, $34 per child
Lunch and Dinner: Norwegian restaurants are pretty rare in the US, so this is a unique opportunity to try foods your family likely has never gotten an opportunity to try. Lunches and dinners at Akershus start with the “Taste of Norway”, appetizers that include Scandinavian seafood, imported cheeses, cured and sliced meats, and more. Entrée options include salmon fillets and Norwegian meatballs, or Kjøttkake.
Kids will be happy with food choices like pizza, pasta, grilled chicken, and salmon. Chances are, you won’t be heading over to Akershus just to try Norwegian food, but rather to meet your favorite princesses! When you arrive, they’ll have a princess waiting for pictures (the specific princess will be hidden from you until it’s time for your picture). While you’re eating, the other princesses will visit and sign autographs. You can expect Belle, Snow White, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ariel and Cinderella.
Even though Elsa and Anna won’t join you for lunch or dinner, you can visit them after at the Royal Sommerhus, which is also located at the Norwegian Pavilion in Epcot.
Lunch and Dinner Costs: $63 per adult, $41 per child
You’ll need 2 of your 2021 Disney Dining Plan credits for this experience, but your kids will be thrilled with the souvenirs they get to take home with them – magic wands for girls, swords for boys, and wishing stars for tadpoles. Beyond toys, they’ll be excited to meet Cinderella and her friends, including Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine, and Snow White.
Breakfast: From quiches to caramel apple-stuffed french toast for adults, and egg white frittatas and waffles for kids, this tasty meal will only be made better by meeting Cinderella and her friends.
Breakfast Cost: $62 for adults, $37 for kids
Lunch/Dinner: Here, great meal options like protein bowls and chickpea Panisse are only made better by desserts like Lemon Sorbet garnished with blueberries and The Clock Strikes Twelves Dark Chocolate Mousse. If you come for dinner, you’ll have a great view of the fireworks show. Cinderella’s Royal Table is super popular though, so be sure to book this one far in advance, preferably when reservations open six months beforehand.
Lunch/Dinner Costs: $75 per adult, $45 per child
Breakfast: Tusker House’s breakfast buffet is sure to satisfy, with offerings of bread, cinnamon rolls, croissants, frittatas, cereals, banana bread pudding, beef bobotie, eggs and more.
Breakfast Cost: $42 per adult, $27 per child
Lunch/Dinner: From curries to salmon, chicken, salad, tabouli, and hummus dips and more, after enjoying some of Animal Kingdom’s best rides and experiences, you can have a hearty meal with visits from Mickey and Goofy all dressed up for their safari expeditions.
Drinks like the “Lost on Safari” rum punch or a non-alcoholic jungle juice are a refreshing addition to your meal.
Lunch/Dinner Costs: Adult $55, Child $36
These recommendations are just scratching the surface of the dining offerings available at Disney World, so you’re sure to have plenty of amazing culinary experiences while on your trip. If planning the trip and dining reservations seem overwhelming at all, you can use the My Disney Experience tool to help.