Goooooood morning friends! And happy #tastytuesday! Being a Personal Vacation Advisor and helping people schedule trips to Walt Disney World, I often get two common questions: 1) Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it? and 2) Which Disney Dining Plan do you prefer? Instead of giving a basic answer, I wanted to dive a little deeper into my experience now that I have tried all 3 dining plans. And *spoiler alert* : you can probably guess by the title of this blog post which one my husband and I prefer. 😉
The easy answer to the two questions is that it depends on your budget and the needs of your family. Let’s start by breaking down each dining plan and what they include:
- Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan: 2 Quick Service credits per person per day, 2 snack credits per person per day, and 1 refillable mug per person in your party.
- Disney Dining Plan: 1 Quick Service credit per day, 1 Table Service credit per person per day, 2 snack credits per person per day, and 1 refillable mug per person in your party.
- Disney Deluxe Dining Plan: 3 table service credits per person per day, 2 snack credits per person per day, and 1 refillable mug per person in your party.
The main difference between all 3 dining plans is where you can eat. If you do the Quick-Service Dining Plan, you are limited to only quick-service/counter service restaurants, such as Casey’s Corner and Be Our Guest (Breakfast/Lunch) in Magic Kingdom. For those who like to eat quickly and on the go, this is an ideal dining plan. If you do the Disney Dining Plan, you can eat at both quick-service/counter service restaurants and 1 table service restaurant, i.e. a sit-down restaurant, which is great for those who like a balance of eating on the go and having a nice meal here or there throughout their trip. And, if you choose the Deluxe Dining Plan, you have access to all quick-service table service restaurants that accept the Disney Dining Plan. This plan is ideal for those who like fine dining or are huge foodies and like to try different food options.
Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Additionally, each quick-service credit includes an entree and a drink per meal, whereas the table service credits differ for the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. The Disney Dining Plan table service credits include an entree and a drink (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) or a full buffet for breakfast and an entree, dessert, and a drink (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) or a full buffet for lunch/dinner. The Disney Deluxe Dining Plan table service credits include an entree and a drink (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) or a full buffet for breakfast and an appetizer, entree, dessert, and a drink (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) or a full buffet for lunch/dinner.
Price-wise, the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan is going to cost more than the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. However, based on the credits, you are paying more and receiving more dining credits and more flexibility with your dining schedule. The Quick-Service Dining Plan comes out to roughly $52.50 per person per night, the Disney Dining Plan comes out to roughly $75.49 per person per night, and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan comes out to roughly $116.25 per person per night. (These amounts may also vary based on children traveling, etc, as I did the average cost per 1 adult for 1 night). Most restaurants, except for a select few like Victoria & Albert’s, are included on the Disney Dining Plan, and you can check online to see if they are or are not included on the dining plans. Even some of the non-Walt Disney World resorts, such as the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, have restaurants that are included on the Disney Dining Plan, and so it’s good to check in advance.
Ok, now that we have gone over the logistics, let’s get to what you want to know: why do I love the Deluxe Dining Plan? You might be thinking to yourself, Meagan, it’s so expensive and there’s no way you could possibly eat all of the food on the Deluxe Dining Plan!
Well, let’s go back to what I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post; I make my decision based on my budget and the needs of my family. Let’s start with the needs of my family. As you know, I have a lot of food allergies, the worst being dairy, gluten, and eggs. Additionally, I have tried all 3 Disney Dining Plans on various Walt Disney World Trips. Although I do have options at quick-service restaurants throughout Walt Disney World, I am limited to only choosing between 1 or 2 items per restaurant. I also don’t get the same attention and quality of service for my food allergies at a quick-service location as I do at a table service location. So, right there, I end up eating at a lot of table service locations because I have more food options available to me and a chef who is also more readily available to answer my food allergy questions.
Outside of my food allergies, Kyle and I are huge foodies, and we really enjoy fine dining. Even outside of Walt Disney World, we find ourselves looking for unique dining experiences at high-end restaurants when we go out to eat. Since Walt Disney World has some fantastic fine dining options, we like to take our time and enjoy them while we are there. Our favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World is Jiko- The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is a signature restaurant and 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. We try to eat there every time we go to Walt Disney World. On our first trip, we looked at how much the meal would cost without the Disney Dining Plan, and the total for just that one meal came out to about $300, which is more than the rough estimate for the Deluxe Dining Plan above. We find that the cost difference to pay for the Disney Dining Plan up front allows us to have the fine dining experiences that we like at a slightly reduced cost.
Lastly, Kyle and I like to have built-in breaks during our day. We like knowing that we will be sitting in air conditioning for the next hour or so, enjoying our time until our next fastpass or event. We also greatly enjoy the flexibility of the Disney Dining Plan. Although the credits listed above are per person per day, you can use the credits as you’d like throughout your stay. For example, say you would like to skip breakfast and just factor in a late lunch and dinner for your day. You can use then use 1 table service credit for a 1 credit restaurant for lunch an 2 table service credits for a signature restaurant for dinner. Or, maybe you don’t want to use any snack credits on the first day of your trip and instead your save 2 extra credits to use on a day you are visiting a festival, such as Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. You can move the dining credits for your plan around to suite your needs, and you have even more flexibility to do so on the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the Disney Dining Plan options and why we like the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan! This blog post is not the be-all-end-all of the Disney Dining Plan because, as I’ve said, every family has different needs and a different budget. However, I hope our perspective helps narrow down the best Disney Dining Plan for you!
Here’s to living our best and most delicious Disney lives! <3
Meagan has been living with many food allergies and sensitivities since she was 19 years old. She is currently a Personal Vacation Advisor for Magical Vacation Planner, specializing in helping her guests book trips to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Meagan enjoys researching fitness and nutrition and has taken a special interest in finding allergy friendly options at Walt Disney World.
Interested in having Meagan help you plan your next trip? Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or get a free quote at https://magicalvacationplanner.com/staff/meagan-slone/!