Helpful Hints for the Disney Dining Plan

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Helpful Hints for the Disney Dining Plan

No matter how you slice it, the Disney Dining Plan can be confusing!  At first glance, it appears to be very structured, but as you use it more and become comfortable, you’ll see that you do have a lot of options and flexibility while on it.  But, I’m hoping that today I can share with you some frequently asked questions, along with some easy answers.  While sharing my thoughts with you, I’m going to base everything on a 3 night, 4 day stay at Disney for a family of four.

Q:  How many meals and snacks do I get during  my trip?

A:  You get one Quick Service meal, one Table Service meal, and one snack PER PERSON, PER NIGHT stay of your trip. So, you each get 3 QSD, 3 TS, and 3 snacks.  As a family, that’s  12 QSD, 12 TS, and 12 snacks.

Q:  When do my meal and snack credits begin and end?

A:  Your food credits begin upon check in at your Disney resort, and expire at 11:59 pm on your check out date.  

Let’s say you check in at your resort on Monday, for a three night stay.  Your food credits begin right then!  Find your QSD plan restaurant and grab some lunch, or jump on a Disney bus and head to Magic Kingdom to grab a Dole Whip for a snack.  Your food credits expire at 11:59 pm on your checkout day.  Let’s say you check out on Thursday morning, so you’ve spent three nights at a Disney resort.  That means you can still eat on Thursday, using your DDP credits.  Perhaps reserve a spot for a last character meal before heading to the airport.  Or, you want to get on the road?  Hit your QSD restaurant for one last breakfast before driving home.

Helpful Hints for the Disney Dining Plan

Q:  Do I have to use my meal and snack credits in a particular order?

A:  No.  

Remember those snack credits you started your trip with?  Every time you purchase a snack, using your Key to the World Card, it is deducted from your total.  If you’re like me, you could survive on Mickey ice cream bars, churros, and German pretzels while at Disney.  If you want to use all six snack credits in World Showcase, go for it!  That means you may not have any for later, or you’ll have to use one of your significant other’s snack credits, but that’s up to you :).

Q:  Can I use two table service meals in one day?  It says I get one Quick Service, one Table Service, one Snack per day…..

A:  Yes!  

You can use two table service in one day, or eat two quick service meals in one day.  That’s up to you.  You have 3 TS credits at the beginning of your trip, and you can use them on whichever day you would like.

Q:  Whose Key to the World Cards has the dining credits on it?

A:  Anyone who is on the DDP in your travel party (which should be everyone), has the meal credits tied to their card.

So, when it’s time to use 4 of your family’s 12 TS credits for dinner at Chef Mickey’s, you could hand the server ANY of the KTTW cards and it will deduct the credits.  While in Adventureland, you want a Citrus Swirl and the hubby wants a Dole Whip.  Each of you take a KTTW card, get your cool snack, and meet back at the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.  All credits will have been deducted for your snacks.

Here are a few suggestions for an eating “itinerary”:

Check in Day:  Lunch at Pinnochio Village Haus/Mickey Bar for a Snack/Dinner at Chef Mickey’s

Full Day #1:  Breakfast in the Room/Lunch at Ohana/German Pretzel for a snack/Dinner at Casey’s Corner

Full Day #2:  Breakfast at Akerhaus/Cinnamon Roll for a Snack/Dinner at Earl of Sandwich

I’m sure I haven’t answered ALL your questions, but I hope it’s a little more clear.  If you have more questions, feel free to post them on the Chip & Co FB page, or leave them in the comments.

Carrie writes here on Chip & Co., and on My Favorite Finds.  Stop by My Favorite Finds, where you’ll find recipes, tutorials, organization inspiration, and Disney travel tips.  She hopes you’ll find some joy in your everyday when you visit My Favorite Finds!

  • Which Disney Dining Plan is Right for Me? (
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Helpful Hints for the Disney Dining Plan


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12 thoughts on “Helpful Hints for the Disney Dining Plan

  1. What I meant by ‘eat that way’ was I am more of a 5-6 small meals a day person. I have enjoyed many Disney restaurants but as my family is DVC members we usually have access to a full kitchen where we prepare some of our own meals.

  2. This worked for us as well. We had free QS dining for October but planned a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table for the girls. For the cost of that meal, we were able to upgrade to the Regular Dining Plan and get an additional four TS meals too. It sure can be a deal at times!

  3. In defense of those of us that may do that (yes, I am most likely going to do that), the majority of “kids” meals are typical kid fare. Nuggets and such. First of all, I don’t really want them eating that all week. Second, I’m not sure they want to eat that all week. We’ll see when we get there if there is enough variety that I’m fine with a kids meal, but also, I can get one adult meal and split it between 2 kids. Or I can order 2 kids meals and then throw away 1/4 of each meal. Seems silly.

  4. We will be at Disney World for 3 weeks in November. The week of Thanksgiving, we are being joined by our daughter’s family….there will be a total of 7 for that week, all on the DDP. I found that since we planned to attend two dinner shows and 3 character meals, it was a better deal to buy the DDP and use our TS credits for those events! We still have the CS and Snacks, too. I think this will work great for us!

  5. I know. Some CMs will allow you to order from either child or adult. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney did more tracking of meals because a lot of people cheat the system, sadly, and order all adult meals for children in the party.

  6. Correct. You don’t give them four KTTW cards. You give them one, and as long as the person who is connected to the card is 3 and up, they’ll be deducted appropriately.

  7. Are QS credits designated as Child and Adult like TS credits or are they all lumped together? Reason I ask is last trip at Pinocchio Haus the CM told my daughter who is on a child ticket that she could go ahead and order the Chicken Parmesan that she wanted instead of something on the children’s menu, even after I explained that we were on the DDP. We didn’t have a problem with running out of Adult QS credits the rest of the trip like I feared.

  8. We don’t usually eat too crazy either but found that the DDP was perfect for us. Most of our table meals were character meals. Yes, that usually means buffets but we opted for the salad bar and grilled options. We were on our last day and had about 9 snacks left. So, we went to one of the stores on Main Street and bought the Mickey shaped rice krispy treats to take home as souvenirs for friends/family. It was great and everyone appreciated the gesture – did they know why they got those as gifts??? No! 🙂

    We also had some quick service meals left so we went to our resort and had them box up dinners for the drive home. It was perfect! We stopped about 3 hours into the ride and the kids enjoyed one last taste of Disney.

    We did the DDP because it was free during our visit but honestly, it was so convenient and I will be doing again on our next trip. I wouldn’t rule it out just because ‘you don’t eat that way’. There are plenty of restaurants where you can make healthy choices and not have to worry about the waistline. We didn’t plan more than one table service meal per day. We ate light meals in the morning and for lunch and then saved our TS meal for dinner. I know others use the TS meal for lunch and eat a light dinner. One other thought is to get one QS meal and split it between 2 people….we did that a few times and it worked well for us!

  9. So the “children’s” meals and “adult” meals are not separate? We are going in a week and staying for 9 nights with our 2 children. There are just 36 QS meal credits on each card that will be deducted as we use them? So, I could go and order dinner for everyone while hubby takes the kids to the bathroom to wash up and I wouldn’t need each person’s card? I could just hand them mine and 4 QS meals would be deducted from our total family amount of 36?

  10. I find that you can easily plan out your meals and stay healthy. There are some great websites that share current Disney menus at most if not all the restaurants. You can also use up your credits for the trip home, too.

  11. I have looked at the Dining Plan before and I know that it is not for me because I just don’t eat that way. However, I have a question for those who use it. Do you ever feel like you overeat in order to use all your credits? Or is it easy to plan out all the meals and still eat healthy?

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