When the Walt Disney Company created the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), they implemented it to make your Disney vacation easier to plan and more fun and to give it an all-inclusive feel.
But sometimes, when you’re trying to plan your Disney World vacation and make the best choices for your family, you might want more details and different perspectives on the Disney Dining Plan.
One of the most common questions about the DDP is: Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?
I think that’s a great question, but let’s begin with what the Disney Dining Plan is
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What is the Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is a prepaid meal plan offered by Walt Disney World.
It allows you to pay for your meals in advance and save some money. It’s also a really good way to pre-budget for 85% of your food costs during your vacation.
The only people eligible to purchase the Disney Dining Plan are those staying at the Walt Disney Resort; you either need to have a room-only booking or a package that includes a room and ticket.
DDP is offered in two tiers. Quick Service and Regular.
Depending on the plan you select, you will be given a certain amount of credits that can be redeemed for snacks, quick service meals, or table meals. You redeem your credits using your MagicBand.
Those are the basics of the DDP. We will definitely go through the three different levels, costs, and values in this post.
As with theme park tickets, children under three years old don’t need their own plan.
Disney Dining Plan 2024 Overview and Costs
Food costs can be one of the largest expenses you and your family must 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, including 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 2024 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 two options:
Quick-Service Dining Plan
There are over 50 locations where you can get two self-service meals and one snack daily, including one alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink per meal.
You won’t need reservations for these casual meals and can choose from various 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 $57.01 per night of the trip.
For children (ages 3-9), this plan costs $23.83 per night of the trip. You can’t buy a dining plan for children under 3, although you can purchase items separately for them.
Regular Dining Plan
This second option is similar to the Quick-Service Dining Plan, but opens up a range of new options because it gives you one table-service meal a day in addition to one self-service meal.
Like above, you get one snack daily and one 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 $94.28 per night of the trip.
For children (ages 3-9), this plan costs $26.69 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 2024 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 and what unique dining experiences your family is interested in.
Quick Service Meal Credit is good for an entree at a quick service location and a non-alcoholic beverage or a single-serving alcoholic beverage if you are 21 years or older (this was added to the Disney Dining Plan in 2018). You can also use a quick service credit for three snacks.
Table Service Meal is good for an entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage or single-serving alcoholic beverage, depending on age, at a table service location. A good way to differentiate the two is by whether you’re getting served or serving yourself.
A snack credit is good for anything in between. Snacks such as ice cream or popcorn off of carts, a few side items from quick service locations and more. Click here to learn more.
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
When Can the Disney Dining Plan be Purchased?
Like I mentioned before, the Disney Dining Plan can only be purchased by those staying at Walt Disney World.
This adds a level of complication to trying to save money on your vacation, but we can go deeper into that later.
Here is the type of vacation the DDP works for:
Such as 25% off of the room. You’re also purchasing your theme park tickets with that package.
You don’t plan on eating anywhere except within Disney.
To decide if the Disney Dining Plan is a good fit for your vacation, start by planning your meals and figuring out if the places you want to eat mostly fall into the DDP, then it’s a good fit for you.
You can also use a free Disney travel planner, like myself, to walk you through whether it’s a good fit.
Some places to eat with the 2024 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 six months in advance. Plan ahead and do that for your best chances of getting to eat everywhere that you’d like.
As a plus, all the Dining Plans come with a refillable souvenir mug you can refill everywhere you get a drink and take it 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 2024
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.
Disney Dining Plan Tips
- Using a table service credit for a quick service meal is never a good idea. You’re essentially throwing away money.
- Don’t use a credit for breakfast. It’s never a good idea as breakfast can be sourced inexpensively from almost anywhere.
- Try to get at least $18 from your quick service credits, $5 from your snack credits, and $35 from your table service credit.
- Be Our Guest restaurant is a quick service credit for lunch and breakfast.
- There is no difference in the system between a child’s and an adult’s credit. You can get an adult meal for a child if the clerk doesn’t see the child and gives you a hard time about it.
- Signature Meals are rarely worth double the amount of a table service meal. So, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to use this option.
- Tips are not included in the credits, but snacks are.
- You can use the dining plan for some of the character meals; they take table service credits. Use the link I mentioned earlier to find a good fit for your family.
- Disney raises some pricing during peak season; the dining plan helps you avoid that.
- Use any remaining snack credits for packaged food that you can take home. Like the Mickey-shaped rice krispies.