Which Disney Dining Plan Is Right For Me?

Sandwich Holiday

The Disney Dining Plan can really be a time and money saver – and they even have a few different options to suit your family’s needs. But if you aren’t sure which one is right for you, then read on to learn more!

First things first – here’s a quick rundown of what the Disney Dining Plan (or DDP) actually is – It’s a way to pre-pay for some (or all!) of your WDW vacation meals and snacks – if you select it when booking your Resort/Ticket package, you will pay for it at that time as well, and then once you arrive at WDW, you will be able to simply swipe your Key To The World card or your Magic Band to pay for a pre-determined amount of snacks/counter service/table service meals – no cash or credit card needed! The balance of meal credits left on your account appears on each receipt you receive, and it really couldn’t be easier!

Ok so now that I have piqued your interest, let’s figure out which DDP would best suit you and your party:

Quick Service Dining – Two Quick service meals and 1 snack per person for each night of your WDW stay are included with this dining plan. This option is great for families on the go who don’t want to do a lot of table service meals, who would rather grab a fast bite and then hit the Parks! There are plenty of Quick Service restaurants throughout the Parks and Resorts – but a few of my personal favorite places to grab a fast meal are: Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney – delicious sandwiches on freshly baked rolls, plus they have brownie sandwiches for dessert (they’re filled with frosting!), and Sunshine Seasons at Epcot – where they serve up delicious rotisserie chicken, a variety of soups, and some amazing salads too! This plan is probably not the one to pick for first timers visiting WDW – especially if you have young kids – as you may want the option of having some Table Service meals built into your dining plan for character meals, buffets, etc – so read on for more info on that!

Regular Dining – This option includes one table service meal, one counter service meal, and 1 snack for each night of your stay at WDW. This is probably the most popular option, and it is the one my family and I have found the most beneficial for us. My husband I will generally share a counter service meal for breakfast (like the bounty platter that’s served up at most Resort quick service dining locations – it’s plenty big enough for two!), and then share a larger snack or another counter service meal for lunch, and use the table service for dinner. We normally have to end up paying for a few meals out of pocket, but not that many, and if you are able to do some sharing, you can make this work really well too!

Deluxe Dining – If you’re hungry (and to want to try as many Disney restaurants as possible!) then this is the plan for you! 3 meals (can be used either as table service OR quick service meals) and 2 snacks per person for each night of your WDW stay are included on the Deluxe plan – which gives you and your family a great opportunity to mix it up and try some new and unique dining experiences! If you really love buffets or have kids that are super into character meals, then this just might be the plan for you – it gives you the flexibility to use your meal credits as either quick service or table service – so you can really do what you want when it comes to meals – and best of all, they are already paid for since you’re on the DDP! Two snacks a day can come in handy too – especially when you are spending hours and hours on your feet experiencing everything WDW has to offer (which is a LOT, trust me!)

Premium/Platinum Dining – These two plans go beyond just dining – they are an all-encompassing vacation package that includes the WDW Resort accomadations, Theme Park Tickets, the Disney Deluxe Dining plan which offers 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, plus other perks like tickets to special events, spa treatments, reserved fireworks seating, and more! They call these the “Premium” and “Platinum” Dining Plans, but really they are the Deluxe Dining Plan that is included with the Premium and Platinum version of the WDW vacation package. If you’re celebrating something super special (like a honeymoon, anniversary, or anything really!), then you may want to look more into these plans – it’s all that Disney magic, and then some!


Exactly what is included in a “meal credit” you might be wondering? Well, it’s basically any adult entrée, non-alcoholic beverage, and dessert – and this goes for any table service or quick service meal. The snack credits are a bit trickier to figure out, but generally it includes anything “snack like” that is under about $5 – but luckily these are always notated on menus and bakery cases with the above symbol so it’s easy to tell which items are eligible

Ok so some things to note –

-Not all meals are created equal! Meaning – some restaurants are considered “Signature” dining, and will cost each person 2 Table service credits each, and the same goes for dinner shows as well

-Meals don’t have to be used daily or in any order – meaning, you can use two counter service credits per person in a day, or none in a day and 3 in the next – the total is simply based on the number of nights, so if you stay for 5 nights and use all 5 snacks the first day, then that’s ok, but you won’t get any more credits the next day(s)

-Table service meal credits do NOT include gratuity, or alcohol – so that is something you still will have to budget for

-All Dining plans include one refillable souvenir mug per person – which can be used throughout your stay at your WDW Resort

Even though there are some stipulations and nuances that may make the DDP seem complicated, it really is a convenient way to make your WDW vacation easier, less stressful, and more magical! Check out the official Disney Dining Plan Info here – and hopefully you will find an option that works for you!

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Catie Hiltz is an avid Walt Disney World lover who has been vacationing there since she was tall enough to ride Space Mountain. She believes there is something for everyone at WDW-and especially writing about the benefits of vacationing there as an adult
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2 thoughts on “Which Disney Dining Plan Is Right For Me?

  1. We love the Disney dining plan. We usually get the regular dining (1 quick service and 1 sit-down per day). We also sometimes share quick service meals so we sometimes have “extras” to use for breakfast. We have tracked our costs (on several trips) and always come out ahead using Disney Dining. We do enjoy the Disney restaurants – we see the dining as part of the experience (and Disney has some FABULOUS chefs!), so we would otherwise be paying for fine dining each evening. I’m sure it would be cheaper to “pay as you go” if all you ever wanted was fruit, turkey legs, and popcorn, but after a few days, that gets pretty old (not to mention unhealthy!). I definitely recommend Disney dining for those who enjoy a nice sit-down break during their day, fantastic food, and great service. This is often a nice break for kids as well, who might get overwhelmed with non-stop go-go-go and crowds. Sitting quietly, enjoying a nice meal is a good way to unwind!

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