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Choosing the Right Disney Dining Plan for You

Chicken and Mickey Waffle

It’s no secret that I am a big believer in the Disney Dining Plan. We are definitely a dining plan family — it feels inclusive and allow us to branch out (which I love), and it saves us a considerable amount of money (which my husband loves).

Whether or not the dining plan will save you money or not largely comes down to how you and your family like to eat on vacation. Another factor, however, is making sure you chose the right plan to match your vacation munching style. Read on to learn what each plan includes to help you decide which would help you make your precious vacation dollars stretch a little bit further.

Disney offers 3 different versions of the plan: the Quick Service Plan, the Regular Dining Plan (also sometimes simply called the Disney Dining Plan) and the Deluxe Dining Plan. Each plan is different, and understanding the difference and which is right for your family is the key to unlocking the money-saving potential of the plan.

All of the plans include one (1) refillable mug per person that can be filled at any Disney hotel, two (2) snacks per person per day, and a beverage with each meal. New in 2018, that beverage can now be alcoholic or a specialty non-alcoholic drink. This can be used for things like smoothies, milkshakes, or “mocktails!”

The Quick Service Plan includes two (2) quick service meals per day. This entitles you to an entree and a beverage. Quick service meals can be redeemed at nearly any counter service (fast food type) restaurant on Disney property.

With the vast array of dining options Disney offers, it’s easy to overlook the Quick Service plan in favor of the other two, but it does have value and could be the dining plan best suited to your needs.

The Quick Service plan is right for you if:

– You don’t want to spend a lot of time eating. (You have rides to get to, I get it!)

– You don’t want to tip. (Hey, there’s no shame in that! Do keep in mind: tips are expected at sit down meals, even at Disney, so counter service meals are probably best if that is the case.)

– Your family typically doesn’t eat a lot of food. (I’m a bit reluctant to include this point, because no matter your plan, you’re under no obligation to eat everything that was brought to you. No one is going to shame you for not cleaning your plate.)

– You aren’t big on desserts. (The other two plans include them, and skipping them would really put a damper on maximizing credit value.)

The Regular Dining Plan includes one (1) quick service meal; which, like the first plan, includes an entree and a beverage. It also includes a table service meal; which includes an entree, a beverage and a dessert.

This is by far the most popular dining plan option. It doesn’t overload you with food, but it also allows you a bit more freedom in your dining options.

The Regular Plan is right for you if:

– You want to experience all of the different dining styles offered at Disney. (It can be hard to decide which Disney does better: quick service or their table service. So why choose? With this plan you can do both!)

– You typically enjoy having a smaller meal and a bigger meal each day. (A small lunch and a big dinner is often just the right combination to fuel your fun-filled park days!)

– You enjoy dessert. (And there are so many fabulous sweet endings to choose from at Disney!)

– You value taking the time to sit down in an air-conditioned setting and give your feet a rest. (With all that walking you’ve been doing, this is often a welcome respite!)

The Deluxe Dining Plan is the third and final plan that Disney offers. It includes three (3) meals with no restriction on whether you redeem at a quick service location or a table service location. Each table service meal with the Deluxe Plan includes one (1) of each per person: an appetizer, an entree, a dessert, and a beverage. This is quite possibly the least popular plan due to the sheer amount of food it includes, but it does have it’s advantages. In fact, this is the plan my family and I choose year after year.

The Deluxe Plan is right for you if:

– You enjoy Disney’s signature dining. (These are the more upscale dining options. They typically require two (2) table service credits per person, and with the sheer number of credit entitlements, the Deluxe plan is optimal for stacking credits to experience these culinary gems.)

– You like variety. (With so much food included, you can get creative, try new things, and really step outside your comfort zone.)

– You don’t prefer the quick service options. (While you are free to choose quick service meals on this plan, you will almost certainly lose money by choosing that option.)

– You find food to be an integral part of your vacation experience. (To a ride lover like me two or three sit-down meals a day feels like wasted time but if you’re like my husband, the food is an attraction in its own right… and often even takes center stage!)

Of course, budget is a consideration, and it probably goes without saying that the cost varies quite a bit with the Quick Service plan being cheapest and the Deluxe plan being the most expensive. You’ll obviously want to choose a plan that you can comfortably afford. But no matter which plan you choose, you’ll find plenty to love with the vast array of dining options at Walt Disney World Resort.

Once you’ve chosen which plan is right for you and your family, stay tuned to learn how to make the most the most of your dining plan!



Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins is a lifelong Disney fan and mom to a precocious three year old son. Her first visit to Walt Disney World was in 1987 (when she was two) and she has made well over a dozen trips since. When Jill isn't at Disney, she's eitherplanning her next trip or scheming up ways to convince her husband to agree to go to Disney.

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