Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for Your Family?

Guests of Walt Disney World can add the Disney Dining Plan to their packages when they visit in 2024. How exciting! I know so many who are excited for this-but that brings the question, “Is it worth it”? Deciding if a Disney Dining Plan is right for your family may take some thought. Let’s talk about the pros and cons, and see if it is right for you!

Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for Your Family?

Disney Dining is a magical part of any Walt Disney World vacation.  You have to eat on vacation, right?  And with character dining, unique dinner shows, even fantastic Quick Service options, the question of the Disney Dining Plan being worth it is asked by SO many guests planning their Disney trips.  While there are so many factors in determining if you want to add one of the two Disney Dining Plans to your Walt Disney World vacation package, it’s helpful to know the pros and cons, so your family can decide if a Disney Dining Plan is right for you!

Before we dive into the pros and cons of a Disney Dining Plan, I want to give you a brief overview of the options.  

What Type of Dining Plans does Disney Offer?

Walt Disney World offers two dining plans. First is the Quick Service Dining Plan. This allows each guest age 3 and over two quick service meals and one snack based on your nights of stay. To get the most out of this plan, you want to be the family who eats on the go, and may only want to book one or two sit down meals and pay for those out of pocket.  

Second, they offer the Disney Dining Plan. This allows each guest age 3 and over one quick service meal, one table service meal, and one snack based on your nights of stay.   To get the most out of this plan, you want to plan one sit down meal a day, and fill in the rest of your meals with quick service and snacks. 

To note, both of these also allow a resort refillable mug for each guest. This means you can refill this fun souvenir mug at the soda fountains of your Walt Disney World Resort, as often as you’d like during your stay.

Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for My Family?

There are several factors to consider when trying to answer this question.

First, you like the feeling of an all inclusive vacation.  A huge factor of adding a Disney dining plan is that most of your meals and snacks are paid for before you arrive!  When you arrive, all you have to do is scan your MagicBand to redeem your credits, and you are on your way!  You do need to pay for gratuity at your table service meals, but otherwise there is no need to pull out your credit card and make a payment after you have eaten.  

You want to save money on your dining experiences.  With a Disney dining plan, your options are WIDE open.  You don’t have to crunch numbers or order the least expensive item on the menu when you are dining because you spent money on a snack earlier that day.  If you are at Columbia Harbour House at Magic Kingdom and you really want a $14.99 Lobster Roll versus a $8.99 Harbour Salad, no problem! You can have the Lobster Roll on the dining plan because they both are a meal credit…so they are equal in terms of the meal plan.  

Your family likes to try new foods and unique dining experiences.  With so many fantastic food offerings at Walt Disney World, you can easily find a location for both adventurous and tame eaters in your family. There are over 140 restaurants to choose from at Walt Disney World, and you can enjoy unique offerings from escargot to cheeseburger spring rolls when you have a Disney dining plan.  Did you know you can also use your dining credits for Character Dining?

You enjoy the flexibility of eating at many Disney locations.  Your Disney dining plan entitlements can be used all of Disney property.  You can use them at Disney Springs, the resorts, and in the theme parks.  

Why a Disney Dining Plan May NOT be Right for Your Family

Your family wants a 100% flexible and free spirited vacation.  I always encourage you to have an idea of how you want to spend your time at Walt Disney World. Poor planning can make for a stressful trip.  When you have a meal plan, you may be worried about using your meal and snack credits effectively.  Have snack credits left on check out day? You can redeem them before you leave for home. Don’t leave food behind at Disney!

You want to experience dessert parties, fireworks cruises, or other special experiences in the parks.  These options cost money as well, and are not included on your Disney Dining Plan.  When you prefer extra experiences, it may be best to save your money for those and not utilize a dining plan.

Your family will be too busy to eat.  If your family would rather one more spin on Space Mountain instead of sitting down to eat at Chef Mickey’s, then the meal plan is not a good option. Every family vacations at Disney differently, and you want to have the best time possible!  Perhaps your family prefers to pack some food each day, or share meals. If so, then a Dining Plan may not be right for you.

A Disney dining plan can be a great option for a lot of visitors to the Walt Disney World Resort.  Disney allows guests an overall, well rounded plan for most families to enjoy some fantastic Disney food and experiences. However, it may not be for everyone.  Has your family enjoyed one of the Disney dining plans?  

Carrie Hurst

Not only do I love sharing all my vacation tips and ideas here on A Princess and Her Pirates, but I also work alongside families to create magical vacation memories year after year! Email me at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com to begin the planning process, and join hundreds of families on my current guest list.


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