This post is exclusively about the Walt Disney World plan and does not cover any of the other plans present at the likes of Disneyland Paris and Disneyland. We are also only talking about the three main types of Disney Dining Plan.

What is the Disney Dining Plan?

So you might have heard a host/hostess asking you if you are on the Disney Dining Plan when you have sat down at one of the many restaurants in Walt Disney World only to answer with a confused no?

Essentially, the Disney Dining Plan is a way of pre-paying for meals at Walt Disney World. The plan covers the four main theme parks, the two water parks, Disney Springs and pretty much all of the hotels that are on property at the resort.

The key thing to know before purchasing the Disney Dining Plan is that it consists of more than one version of the plan and each version is tailored to suit the needs of different guests and of course the versions vary by price and what you get on the plan. More on the different versions of the Disney Dining Plan in the section below.

Whenever a Disney Dining Plan is purchased, no matter what the version, a set number of Dining Plan credits will be encoded onto your MagicBand and when paying for food or beverages your MagicBand will be scanned and the credits are then taken off from your total amount that you have on your account during that particular stay.

Still with me? Then lets move onto the different versions of the Disney Dining Plan.

Different versions of the Disney Dining Plan

To make things even more confusing (at least to begin with) Disney have a number of different versions of the Disney Dining Plan and each is very different and suited to the level of price you are willing to pay and the amount of food you think you will need on your trip.

Quick Service Dining Plan

This one is arguably the easiest of all of the packages to understand and is the cheapest and most basic of all of the dining packages available.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Hot Dog

An example quick service meal from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The plan is per person, per night of stay on property inclusive and comes with:

  • Two quick service meals (this includes a meal and non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Two snacks
  • One Resort refillable drink mug that lasts for the duration of your stay

The quick service meals can be used at pretty much any location on property that does counter service food (essentially fast food that you grab yourself and sit down to eat it after getting it). A few examples of restaurants that offer quick service meals:

  • Pecos Bill Cafe at the Magic Kingdom
  • Electric Umbrella at Epcot
  • Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

One of the key things to remember here is that you can use the meals and snacks in any order and at any time. Essentially at the start of your trip the complete number of meals and snacks are added to your MagicBand and then whenever someone in your party uses a credit the number is taken off from your total.

Let’s say you are staying for 3 nights you will have 6 meals and 3 snacks per person to use, these can be used in any order but if you were to use them all in the first 2 days you would be without any credits on your last day.

Prices for the Quick Service Dining Plan can vary drastically depending on the country you are looking at pricing it up from but know it is usually the cheapest Dining Plan option that Disney has on offer (unless you have special discounts).

Disney can be very strict when it comes to the details of the plan so here are a few extra things you should know about the Quick Service Dining plan:

  • Everyone staying in your hotel room must be booked on the same package
  • Kids ages 3-9 must order from a children’s menu where available
  • Kids under the age of 3 are free, and may share a meal with an adult. However, if you don’t want to share you should expect to pay for a meal for your child
  • For cancellations made 1 day or less prior to check-in, the full price of the package is non-refundable

Disney Standard Dining Plan (Regular Dining)

While the quick service plan is great if you are on a budget, I would always recommend this for anyone who is staying for a longer period than just a few days as it is a lot more flexible and allows you to eat a larger variety of restaurants. Of course this does result in the plan being more expensive but it is certainly worth the extra money without going into the huge expense that can come from the Deluxe plan.

Lamb at the Be Our Guest Restaurant

Example entrée from single credit Be Our Guest Restaurant

The plan is per person, per night of stay on property inclusive and comes with:

  • One table service meal which includes an entrée, dessert and either non-alcoholic or speciality alcoholic beverage
    • The table service credit can also be used to eat at one of the many buffet restaurants at Walt Disney World
  • One quick service meal (this includes a meal, and a non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Two snacks
  • One Resort refillable drink mug that lasts for the duration of your stay

Like the quick service meals, table service meal credits can be used at most restaurants at Walt Disney World including restaurants located within any hotel on property, you are not limited to eating at the hotel you are staying at! A few examples of the restaurants you could be eating at:

  • Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom
  • Mama Melrose’s Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Yak & Yeti restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It is important to note that while most restaurants use a single table service credit, some restaurants require two in order for you to be able to eat there. This is usually because prices are a lot more expensive and the food even higher in quality. Speaking from experience it is well worth booking at least one or two of these restaurants if you are staying for a two week period as the dining experiences are just incredible. A couple of my favourites that require two credits:

  • Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel
  • Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort

It is also possible to use table service credits to attend some of there great dinner shows at Walt Disney World (though all require two credits). These include:

  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Don’t worry too much about having a couple of meals that use two table service credits, you are certainly not going to go hungry. Often when we are booking a meal that uses two table service credits we will grab a snack around mid-morning, perhaps buy another snack and then go for our meal That way the next day we have two quick service meals saved up which more than makes up for the lack of table service meal for that day!

One thing to keep in mind, it is highly likely you will end up with credits leftover at the end of your stay, we honestly struggle to eat a quick service and a full table service meal in the same day (especially given it is impossible not to grab a snack or two in Walt Disney World). I would recommend booking all of your table service meals in advance so that you know you will use all of these up, this is where the majority of the cost of the plan comes from so make sure you use them!

New for 2018 – You can now choose a speciality alcoholic beverage instead of a non-alcoholic drink with your sit down meal. The exact choice will vary but will usually be something along the lines of a beer, cider, wine, sangria, mixed drink or a speciality cocktail.

As mentioned, this is the plan that I would always personally recommend anyone who is unsure about what Dining Plan to choose as it is the best of both worlds, you have the choice to eat in all of the quick service locations as well as getting a full table service meal and a snack every single day of your stay on property.

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan

Of the three main Disney Dining Plans the word Deluxe gives the clue that it is the more expensive of the three. However, it also gives you more access to food, in fact my personal opinion is that it gives you too much food!

Lobster at The BOATHOUSE

An example two credit meal (entrée only) at The BOATHOUSE

The plan is per person, per night of stay on property inclusive and comes with:

  • 3 meals per guest per night of stay
    • Credits can also be used to eat at one of the many buffet restaurants at Walt Disney World
  • 2 snacks per guest per night of stay
  • One Resort refillable drink mug that lasts for the duration of your stay

The unique part of the 3 meals here is that you have the choice on whether or not you want to use a table service or quick service meal. So, in theory you could have 3 table service meals in a single day if you wanted to and then do the same the next day!

As I mentioned, I do feel that this option is a little unnecessary for the majority of guests, I have always found that the normal Disney Dining Plan is always enough food to get us through our trip and as mentioned, we tend to have credits leftover at the end on this plan!

The difference between the Deluxe Dining Plan and the normal Dining Plan is that when eating at a table service restaurant you also have the opportunity to have an appetiser as well as an entree and a dessert so at least it gives you access to what should be a considered a full meal.

New for 2018 – Once again on the Deluxe Dining Plan you now choose a speciality alcoholic beverage instead of a non-alcoholic drink with your sit down meal. The exact choice will vary but will usually be something along the lines of a beer, cider, wine, sangria, mixed drink or a speciality cocktail.

What Disney Dining Plan is best for me?

I have already covered off what I feel to be the best value for money with the Disney Dining Plan but it really depends on how much and how often you want to eat when staying at Walt Disney World. It is pointless to spend money on the Deluxe Plan if you look at it and are unsure on whether you are going to be able to consume that amount of food every day of your stay.

What are the benefits of the Disney Dining Plan?

  • You will be paying for the majority of your food before you even arrive in Orlando. Yes there will always be additional snacks and beverages you will want to buy but trust me, you won’t need to take anywhere near as much money with you
  • Disney claim that by using the Disney Dining Plan you can save up to 40% of the cost of meals purchased individually. While this is true in some of the pricier restaurants, do not assume this to be true across all restaurants within Walt Disney World
  • It makes life so much easier! Knowing that you have a bunch of credits to use makes it easy to plan which restaurants you want to eat at and when. If you like planning in advance then the Disney Dining Plan is the thing to do!
  • If you are going to Walt Disney World with children under the age of three keep in mind that there is a lot of food, especially if you are on the Deluxe Dining Plan. This means you should have food that you can share round to the younger family members and therefore do not have to pay for them

What are the disadvantages of the Disney Dining Plan?

  • There is a ridiculous amount of planning to do in advance, especially if you are staying for as long as I normally do (2 weeks). If you want to be booking some of the most popular restaurants like Be Our Guest then you need to be prepared to book up to 6 months in advance in order to secure a table. For some people planning this far in advance just isn’t fun. Of course you do have the freedom of cancelling a restaurant 24 hours before the booking and choosing to book another restaurant but you run the risk of the best ones not having an available slot.
  • Sometimes I get the impression that servers just want to get people that are on the Dining Plan out of the restaurant as soon as possible, likelihood being that people not on the plan spend more and therefore pay more gratuity!
  • Sometimes you will find that not getting the dining plan can get you a better discount on your room rate at your resort. This is because often discounts wont apply if you choose any of the dining plans. While this might put you off, keep in mind this is very much dependant on the time of year you book and the resort you are staying at
  • Tips can soon add up, especially if you are a part of 6 or more. Make sure you budget for tips as these can get expensive when dining at restaurants that require 2 credits. Parties of 6 are more unfortunately have an enforced 18% tip to pay at the end of every sit down meal!

Disney Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurant List

There is always concerns raised every year that Disney are going to significantly reduce the number of participating restaurants in the Disney Dining Plan. 2018’s list is bigger than ever and the full list is as followed and includes all snack, quick service and full restaurant locations taking part in this years dining plan. Keep in mind that in pretty much every quick service location you can grab items that can be redeemed as snacks!

Magic Kingdom Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Be Our Guest – Quick service for breakfast and lunch and then table service for dinner
  • Casey’s Corner – Quick Service
  • The Crystal Palace – Table Service
  • Columbia Harbour House – Quick Service
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe – Quick Service
  • The Diamond Horseshoe – Table Service
  • The Friar’s Nook – Quick Service
  • Golden Oak Outpost – Quick Service
  • Liberty Tree Tavern – Table Service
  • The Lunching Pad – Quick Service
  • Main Street Bakery – Quick Service
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe – Quick Service
  • Pinocchio Village Haus – Quick Service
  • Skipper Canteen – Table Service
  • The Plaza Restaurant – Table Servive
  • Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant – Quick Service (seasonal)
  • Tortuga Tavern – Quick Service (seasonal)
  • Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – Table Service

Epcot Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Table Service (character dining)
  • Biergarten Restaurant – Table Service
  • Chefs de France – Table Service
  • Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast at The Garden Grill – Table Service (character dining)
  • Coral Reef Restaurant – Table Service
  • Electric Umbrella – Quick Service
  • Fife and Drum Tavern – Quick Service
  • Fountain View Starbucks – Quick Service
  • Katsura Grill – Quick Service
  • Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe – Quick Service
  • La Cantina de San Angel – Quick Service
  • La Hacienda de San Angel – Table Service
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie – Quick Service
  • Liberty Inn – Quick Service
  • Lotus Blossom Cafe – Quick Service
  • Monsieur Paul – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant – Table Service
  • Promenade Refreshments – Quick Service
  • Refreshment Cool Post – Quick Service
  • Refreshment Port – Quick Service
  • Restaurant Marrakesh – Table Service
  • Rose and Crown – Table Service
  • San Angel Inn – Table Service
  • Spice Road Table – Table Service
  • Sommerfest – Quick Service
  • Sunshine Seasons – Quick Service
  • Tangierine Cafe – Table Service
  • Taste Track – Quick Service
  • Teppan Edo – Table Service
  • Tokyo Dining – Table Service
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante – Table Service
  • Via Napoli – Table Service
  • Yorkshire County Fish Shop – Quick Service

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • 50’s Prime Time Cafe – Table Service
  • ABC Commissary – Quick Service
  • Backlot Express – Quick Service
  • Catalina Eddie’s – Quick Service
  • Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood and Vine – Table Service (character dining)
  • Fairfax Fare – Quick Service
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano – Table Service
  • Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner – Quick Service
  • Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood and Vine – Table Service
  • PizzeRizzo – Quick Service
  • Rosie’s All American Cafe – Quick Service
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant – Table Service
  • Starring Rolls Cafe – Quick Service
  • Studio Catering Company – Quick Service
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby – Table Service (2 credits)
  • The Trolley Car Cafe – Quick Service

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Creature Comforts – Quick Service
  • Flame Tree Barbecue – Quick Service
  • Harambe Market – Quick Service
  • Pizzafari – Quick Service
  • Rainforest Cafe – Table Service
  • Restaurantosaurus – Quick Service
  • Satu’li Canteen – Quick Service
  • Tiffins – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Tusker House – Table Service (character breakfast)
  • Taki & Yeti Restaurant – Table Service
  • Yak & Yeti Local Food – Quick Service

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Avalunch – Quick Service
  • Cooling Hut – Quick Service
  • Lottawatta Lodge – Quick Service
  • The Warming Hut – Quick Service

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Leaning Palms – Quick Service
  • Lowtide Lou’s – Quick Service
  • Snack Shack – Quick Service
  • Surf Doggies – Quick Service
  • Typhoon Tilly’s – Quick Service

Disney Springs Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • AristoCrepes – Quick Service
  • Amorette’s Patisserie – Quick Service
  • B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co. – Quick Service
  • Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza – Quick Service
  • The BOATHOUSE – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Bongos Cuban Cafe Express – Quick Service
  • Bongos Cuban Cafe – Table Service
  • Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar – Quick Service
  • Cookes of Dublin – Quick Service
  • D-Luxe Burger – Quick Service
  • Daily Poutine – Quick Service
  • Earl of sandwich- Quick Service
  • The Edison – Table Service
  • Enzo’s Hideaway – Table Service
  • The Express at Wolfgang Puck – Quick Service
  • Food Trucks – Quick Service
  • Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop – Quick Service
  • Homecoming – Table Service
  • Marketplace Snacks – Quick Service
  • Morimoto Asia – Table Service (2 credits for dinner)
  • Paddlefish – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Paradiso 37 – Table Service
  • Pizza Ponte – Quick Service
  • The Polite Pig – Quick Service
  • Planet Hollywood Observatory – Table Service
  • Raglon Road – Table Service
  • The Smokehouse – Quick Service
  • Starbucks – Quick Service
  • Splitsville – Table Service
  • STK Orlando – Table Service (2 credits)
  • T-Rex – Table Service
  • Vivoli il Gelato – Quick Service
  • Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe – Table Service
  • YeSake – Quick Service

ESPN Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill – Quick Service

Disney’s All Star Resort’s Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • World Premiere Food Court – Quick Service
  • Intermission Food Court – Quick Service
  • End Zone Food court – Quick Service

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Boma – Flavors of Africa – Table Service
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place – Table Service (2 credits)
  • The Mara – Table Service
  • Maji Pool Bar – Quick Service
  • Sanaa – Table Service
  • Uzima Springs Pool Bar – Quick Service

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Landscape of Flavors Food court – Quick Service

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Big River Grille & Brewing Works – Table Service
  • BoardWalk Bakery – Quick Service
  • BoardWalk Pizza Window – Quick Service
  • The Belle Vue Lounge – Quick Service
  • ESPN Club – Table Service
  • Flying Fish Cafe – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Leaping Horse Libations – Quick Service
  • Trattoria al Forno – Table Service

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Old Port Royale Food Court – Quick Service
  • Shutters at Old Port Royale – Table Service

Disney’s Contemporary Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • California Grill – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Chef Mickey’s – Table Service
  • Contempo Cafe – Quick Service
  • Cove Bar – Quick Service
  • The Sand Bar – Quick Service
  • The Wave of American Flavors – Table Service

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Cafe Rix – Quick Service
  • Las Ventanas – Table Service
  • Maya Grill – Table Service
  • Pepper Market – Quick Service
  • Siestas Cantina – Quick Service

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue-  Table Service (2 credits)
  • Meadow Snack Bar – Quick Service
  • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – Table Service (2 credits)
  • P & J’s Southern Takeout – Quick Service
  • Trail’s End Restaurant – Table Service

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Beaches Pool Bar and Grill – Quick Service
  • Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare – Table Service
  • Citricos – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Courtyard Pool Bar – Quick Service
  • Gasparilla Island Grill – Quick Service
  • Grand Floridian Cafe – Table Service
  • Narcoossee’s – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare – Table Service

Disney’s Old Key West Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Good’s Food to Go – Quick Service
  • Olivia’s Cafe – Table Service
  • Turtle Shack Poolside snacks – Quick Service

Disney’s Polynesian Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Captain Cook’s Snack Company – Quick Service
  • Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner show – Table Service (2 credits)
  • Kona Cafe – Table Service
  • Ohana – Table Service
  • Ohana’s Best Friends featuring Lilo & Stitch – Table Service

Disney’s Pop Century Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Everything POP Shopping and Dining – Quick Service

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Boatwright’s Dining Hall – Table Service
  • Riverside Mill Food Court – Quick Service
  • Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory – Quick Service

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Artist’s Palette – Quick Service
  • Backstretch Pool Bar – Quick Service
  • The Paddock Grill – Quick Service
  • Turf Club Bar & Grill – Table Service

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Artist Point – Quick Service
  • Roaring Forks Snacks – Quick Service
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe – Table Service

Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort Dining Plan 2018 Participating Restaurants

  • Hurricane Hanna’s Grill – Quick Service
  • Beaches & Cream – Table Service
  • Cape May Cafe – Table Service
  • Ale & Compass Restaurant – Table Service
  • Beach Club Marketplace – Quick Service
  • Ale & Compass Lounge – Quick Service
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse – Table Service (2 credits)

If you still have more questions then let me know in the comments or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.