Choosing a Disney Dining Plan

Choosing a Disney Dining plan can be a tough decision! There are 3 different dining packages to choose from. In this article, we’ll break down the 3 plans and help you choose the one that’s right for your family.

What is the Dining Plan?

As part of a Disney package, the 3 dining plans give you the ability to pre-pay for food.  So during your stay at Disney, you get a certain amount of food each day, depending on the plan you choose.  For full details of the dining plan, see our overview of the Disney Dining plan details.

Which Disney Dining Package Should You Choose?

There are three different Dining Packages that we will look at. Our goal with this article is to help you choose the one that will work best for your family.

Quick-Service Dining Plan

If you choose the Quick-Service Dining plan, you essentially get 2 Quick-Service meals and 1 snack, per day, per person.  These QSM’s also include a drink, which can be alcoholic, for guests over 21. Years ago, a Quick-Service meal often meant burgers and fries. But over the last decade, Disney has really stepped up their game with counter service restaurants. You can find a wide variety of counter meals at all four parks and Disney Springs.  

Snacks can be used on candy, ice cream, and soft drinks.  You’ll see a little “Snack” symbol on menu’s at all restaurant locations.  This symbol shows you which items you can use your snack credits on.

While the quick-service dining plan is perfect for a weekend get-away, it can get old if you are there for a week.  You’ll quickly notice that many of the counter restaurants are using the same food, and after 7 days of eating “fast food” meals for lunch and dinner, you will probably start getting a little sick of the food. For adults, the Quick-Service plan is around 52 dollars per person, per day.

Most of the restaurants that guests come to Disney for cannot be used with the Quick-Service Dining plan. The buffets, the steaks, the character dining meals, none of these can be used with the QS plan.

Due to this, I recommend QSD only for spur-of-the-moment trips or weekend getaways.

Standard Dining Plan

The standard Disney dining plan also includes 2 meals a day and 1 snack per day, just like the QSD.  However, one of those meals is a table-service meal, which allows you to eat at many of the fine dining establishments across Disney World.

You won’t regret this choice, as some of the restaurants are truly unforgettable.  From the popular Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian resort to the different flavors from the world showcase in Epcot, the standard dining plan will really enhance your trip.

Even with small children, who often don’t do well in restaurants, you’ll find plenty of value. Disney offers character dining at many of it’s restaurants. Typically this is buffet-style eating, and characters from different Disney films and cartoons come around to all the tables and see the kids. This keeps the kids engaged, and is a truly magical experience for them.

I would advise you to be cautious when booking reservations.  Many of the nicer restaurants, such as Le Cellier and the California Grill, charge 2 table-service meals per person.  When researching the restaurants, youll want to keep this in mind and make sure that you haven’t chosen a Signature Dining experience. Using 2 credits on one meal has it’s place, but I want you to be aware of this fact when making your plans.

Also, the plan does not cover your tip.  You still will need to tip based on the total bill, which will be clearly shown on your check.

I highly recommend the standard dining plan for most trips to Disney. The cost is around $75 per person, per day. So for about 21 extra dollars, you get to upgrade to one nice restaurant on each day.


Deluxe Dining Plan

The Deluxe dining plan is almost too much food to eat.  Disney gives you THREE meals per day, and you can use them at either counter or table service restaurants.  You also get 2 snacks per day.  It’s very difficult to eat this much food, but the dining plan does give you the ability to book reservations at the high-end restaurants that charge 2 credits and still come out ahead.

The deluxe dining plan is about $40 more expensive per day, per person, than the standard plan.  For a party of 4 over the course of a week, that can be a lot of money.  However, if you can afford it, you won’t lack for food!

One thing that can happen with the regular dining plan, is that you end up paying for breakfast foods. Also, if you eat at any of the 2-credit dinners, you’ll end up buying another meal here or there. With the deluxe plan, you will RARELY ever have to buy a meal or additional food. So while you are spending an additional 40 dollars per person, you can factor out the fact that you’ll probably not be buying any additional food.

If your family aren’t big eaters, it’s likely that you will waste credits on the deluxe plan, so consider the dining habits of your family before making the choice.

However, if you love fine-dining, and if especially if the cost is enough for you to handle, I would recommend the Deluxe plan, as it will provide you with all the food you’ll need for your entire vacation!

Mousehints Recommendation

If you aren’t sure what to do, just buy the standard Disney Dining plan. That allows you to get a mix of all of the different types of dining experiences. If you find that you are running out of credits, you can still put food on your MagicBand and just charge it to your resort room.

But hey, if you can afford it and if you love to eat, splurge and get the deluxe plan!

Which plan have you purchased in the past? Did you run out of credits or find that you had too many? Tell us below!