We have updated our guide to the Disney Dining Plan for 2018 and for the first time this now includes alcoholic beverages.
What is the Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Dining Plan is a prepaid meal plan offered at Walt Disney World for those staying in Disney owned resort hotels.
Meals are added to your Magic Band or Card and you present your card to pay for your meal.
The plan must be booked before arrival with a valid park ticket and is not available to guests not staying at a Disney resort. It is also open to Disney Vacation Club members.
On occasions, Disney offers free dining packages to guests as part of their reservation.
Wow…does that mean I can eat anything?
No!…You get a set number of credits a day depending on which plan you book.
Where can we eat?
This depends on what plan you book.
However, for all plans, there are locations throughout Walt Disney World including theme parks, Disney Resorts & Disney Springs.
What plans can I get?
There are currently 3 Disney Dining Plans offering the following per day:
Quick Service Dining Plan
2 quick-service meals
1 refillable mug
1 table-service meal
1 quick-service meal
1 refillable mug
Deluxe Dining Plan
3 meals (any combination of table-service and quick-service)
1 refillable mug
What is a table service meal?
A table service meal consists of an entrée and dessert(lunch & dinner only) which will be waiter served. You will also be able to order 1 drink and in some restaurants, you will get free refills. You can also select from some of the stunning buffet locations across Disney World.
Starting in 2018 guests over the age of 21 will now be able to get 1 alcoholic beverage with their meal instead of a soft drink.
Tell me more
Guests 21 and older can choose either one non-alcoholic beverage (including speciality beverages where offered) or one single serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) within their meal.
This change includes both Quick Service and Table Service locations.
However; not all Quick Service locations serve alcohol including all locations in the Magic Kingdom.
Is there anything different with the Deluxe Dining Plan?
Guests also get an appetizer with each table service meal.
Note the Deluxe plan contains a lot of food….An awful lot of food.
Disney portions are not small.
Are gratuities included?
No, these are extra and are expected. For groups of 6 or more, these will be automatically added.
Gratuities are not expected at Quick Service locations.
What is a quick-service meal?
Quick-service or Counter Service is Disney World’s Fast Food locations. However; don’t think of just burgers and fries as there is a huge choice of meals available.
One quick service meal includes entrée plus non-alcoholic beverage. In the past, you got a dessert with Quick-service meals but this stopped in 2017.
In 2018 guests over 21 will be able to get 1 alcoholic drink in locations serving alcohol.
What is a snack?
Snacks can be pretty much anything from ice-cream to popcorn to drinks to small meals at food stores.
You are bound to find something great to use your snack credit for.
However; watch the price as snack credits vary significantly in price. Water rarely represents a good use of a snack credit.
Eligible items are highlighted in shops & food kiosks.
Make sure you use all your snack credits. You can exchange any leftover credits for candy in the Resort Shops before you return home.
What is a refillable mug?
A resort refillable mug gives you free drinks at Resort Quick Service Locations. They are not valid in parks but you can use in all resorts.
Remember if you get a quick service meal at a resort you can use your mug for a free drink and collect a bottle of water.
Seems easy…anything else?
Well, the Disney Dining plan takes a bit of getting used to and not everything costs 1 credit.
Some Table-Service locations are Disney Signature Locations and these cost 2 table service credits. These are the very best locations across Walt Disney World but they are becoming more common.
OK, I have got it! Can I use my Disney Dining Plan elsewhere?
We’ll actually you can. 2 table service credits can be used for Disney Dinner Shows e.g. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue or Room Service Delivery or Pizza Delivery.
(Pizza Delivery or Room Service Meals depend on the resort you are staying in)
How do they know I am on the Disney Dining Plan?
Your dining credits are stored on your MagicBand. A receipt will be provided after redeeming the credits indicating how many credits remain.
You can also now track your credit on the My Disney Experience App.
What about Kids?
Kid plans are available for children aged 3-9. Table service locations have special kid menus which they must choose from. Kid menus do vary significantly in quality but have improved in recent years.
At buffet locations, kids choose from the same selections as adults although there is usually an extra kids section.
At Quick Service locations there is no value to differentiate between Kid and Adult meals. Supposedly children should choose from a Kid’s menu if available but I have rarely seen this enforced.
What about kids under 3?
Children aged under 3 are not able to eat on the Disney Dining Plan. Usually, children will eat some of their parent’s meals or in buffet location they are welcome to take their own plate. Don’t worry they will not go hungry.
Can we visit Character Meals
Yes, you can as long as you have table service credits as part of your plan. To find out more visit our guide to character meals.
Can we book a Disney Dining Plan for just one of us?
No everybody; unless under 3; in the same room must be on the same plan
What is Free Dining?
At certain times of the year, Disney Dining Plan is available at no charge for Resort Reservations. This can be a great value offer for guests. The type of Disney Dining Plan offered will depend on the resort you are staying in.
Offers vary by country of residence.
Can you save money?
That depends. You need to plan your snacks and meals carefully. Venues differ significantly in price and if you eat at the wrong restaurant or choose the wrong snack you will lose money.
Roughly speaking in 2017 :
- Quick Service credits are worth about $16
- Table Service credits are worth about $39
- Snack credits are worth about $5
To break even you must choose meals/snacks worth at least this amount. Choosing expensive options such as steak will increase your likelihood of breaking even. Vegetarians will find it difficult to break even.
Signature restaurants are rarely good value for money. Despite costing 2 table credits you will struggle to find a meal at most venues that cost twice as much.
Breakfast is usually much cheaper than lunch or dinner and therefore represents poorer value.
Where can I find out what restaurants are on the plan?
The Disney Website will have an up to date list.
Here is a link to the 2017 Disney Dining Plan Guide .
The complete 2018 guide has not been published yet.
NOTE that Disney updates the final Disney Dining Plan list regularly. It will often have restaurants missing until early January. Do not worry as restaurants have only rarely left the Disney Dining Plan.
Will it be easier to save money in 2018?
Alcoholic beverages are normally more expensive than soft drinks. In 2018 assuming you have alcohol with your meal savings should be easier.
Do we need to book in advance?
Yes, you do! The most popular venues book up fast.
Dining reservations can be booked by anyone 180 days in advance.
Guests staying in Walt Disney World Resorts can reserve 180 days in advance of their day of arrival and make up to 10 days of Advance Dining Reservations that same day. Guests with Disney Dining Plans should take full advantage of these extra 10 days.