The Disney Dining Plan, explained

The Disney Dining Plan, explained

Let’s talk about one of my actual favorite things about Disney World (seriously):

The food.

And a little more specific than the food, let’s dive into the Disney Dining Plan. Which is not my favorite thing but definitely a thing I enjoy. 

First, though: Remember that I recommend doing all planning for Disney World using my bible, the Unofficial Guide

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, and I may make a small commission when you click and/or make a purchase.

What is the Disney Dining Plan?

The Disney Dining Plan is exactly as it says – pay in advance, and your dining will be covered, with the DDP. Each plan (there are three tiers!) comes with credits for quick service meals, table service meals and snacks, and every plan comes with a refillable mug to use at your resort.

Your credits are loaded onto your magic band

Let’s break down the actual cost of the Disney Dining Plan for 2019.

Quick Service Plan

  • 2 quick service meals
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug

Cost: $52.50 per night for adults, $23.78 per night for kids age 3-9

Regular Dining Plan

  • 1 quick service meal
  • 1 table service meal
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug

Cost: $75.49 per night for adults, $27.97 per night for kids age 3-9

Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 meals (quick service or table service)
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug

Cost: $116.25 per night for adults, $43.49 for kids age 3-9

Now, is the DDP worth it?

I’m not going to unpack if the DDP is worth it, not worth it, yada yada yada. I just don’t have the brain space, and honestly, I am not so good at math. There are a few great things and not-so-great things about the DPP though, so let’s break some of them down.

Pros of the Disney Dining Plan

  1. It’s convenient. All of your meals are paid for up front, so you don’t have to worry about that when you get there. 
  2. Adults get an alcoholic beverage with all meal credits. If you like to order a cocktail, beer or glass of wine with dinner, it’s included with your DDP. This can be a big money saver! If you don’t drink, you can get a milkshake or another non-alcoholic specialty drink. 
  3. You can save money. If you plan ahead and use credits wisely, you can save money. I swear! This means not waiting until the last day of your vacation to rack up your snack credits on rice krispy treats, though.

Cons of the Disney Dining Plan

  1. Gratuities aren’t included. I tip my server, y’all, and tip them well, just like my momma taught me. But gratuities at Disney World add up, and if you’re on the DDP, you might order more food than you would if you were paying out of pocket. That means you probably will tip more than you would’ve otherwise, because the bill is larger. (Tip your freakin’ server, y’all. Don’t use this as an excuse to not.)
  2. If you don’t drink, you won’t get the most out of your plan. 
  3. You won’t always save money. In the old days of the DDP, it was a given – you could save a ton of money by selecting the plan when booking a trip. Even if you didn’t get free dining! You also got a ton of food. Serving sizes are still large, but prizes have increased and the amount of food you get on the plan has decreased, so you have to be strategic to save money.
  4. It’s a lot of food, which means a lot of waste.
  5. If you’re not a big planner or strategizer, it might stress you out. Most restaurants recommend or even require reservations, and you can book those 180 days in advance of your trip.