Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?

Disney Dining Plan, Is It Worth It?


Disney easily comes up in conversations with random people I meet, but when they find out I am a travel consultant they always ask me if the Disney Dining Plan is worth the money.  I have read so many different opinions on various Disney blogs, Facebook pages, and travel agent outlets about people’s views on this subject matter.  It seems like people are split, some love it and some say it is a waste of money.  Well, several family trips with the dining plan and hundreds of clients who have been on the dining plan, the verdict is in, and we all think YES! 


For my family we choose the Disney Dining Plan which includes 1 quick service, 1 table service, and 2 snacks per person per night of stay and 1 resort refillable mug.  The refillable mug can only be used at your resort but a nice tip is to take it with you to the parks to hold your Free ice water.  With each table service meal, we were able to choose one entrée from the menu, one dessert, and one non-alcoholic beverage.  When you choose an entrée you are not limited to a select menu specifically for those on the dining plan.  You receive the same menu that everyone receives and get to choose any of the entrées including steak or salmon.  Dessert at Disney is fantastic!  It is gourmet and no matter what you choose it will not disappoint.  However, having dessert every day could be a lot for some people, as it was for me.  There is a little known fact that isn’t shared by the wait staff, but some restaurants now allow you to substitute your dessert for an appetizer.  You have to ask your server when you sit down if this is one of the participating restaurants and which appetizers are included, but you may have an option of a salad instead of the that rich chocolate cake.

Quick service meals are just like the combo meals that you get at any of your local fast food places, and snacks include a variety of foods including popcorn, cookies, cupcakes, fried rice, Mickey soft pretzels, a banana, or the famous Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. 






Now the Disney dining plan was the perfect amount of meals and snacks for my family, but some families have teens or growing, hungry children who eat a lot more or need more snacks, so purchasing another plan to fit their family’s needs would be a better option.  On the other hand, if you have members of your party who do not eat a lot of food, not including small children, any dining plan might be too much food for you and your family.  We always advise our clients to know what is best for you and your family, so we can make sure to fit your needs. 


So are you ready to find out if the dining plan is worth the money?  For a family of four ( 2 adults and 2 children under age 9) going to Disney for seven nights, who elect the Disney Dining plan, it is a little over $1100.  Now that is just for the Dining plan, not including park tickets or resort stay.  For four people on this seven-day Disney vacation, it comes to around $40 per person per day.   One character meal is around this same cost, if not more, so if you do one character meal you have paid for your entire day right there! 

Even if you are doing non-character meals, your meal cost with entrée, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage can easily reach the $40 to $50 range per person.  When you look at the numbers you really see that you are paying for table service but getting a quick service meal and two snacks for free.  I, personally, find that the dining plan is worth the money and saves me time when we are there.  My meals are planned out, they are paid for, and everyone is happy because the food is so good. 


Now, one thing you must know is that tip/gratuity is not included.  The suggested tip is based on your total meal cost prior to deducting your plan.  It is up to you, how much you want to tip unless you are a party of six or more than 18% is automatically added to your bill.  Also on your bill will be the total remaining allotment of your meals.  If you had six table services to start and just finished eating, then your bill will show that you have five remaining.  You can always get your entire amount of allotted meals from the concierge or guest services at your hotel.  It is important to note that meals do not roll over after your stay.  If you don’t use them up you will lose them so I highly recommend planning out your meals for each day you are at Disney.  Also, the meals are to be used at your discretion.  If you want two table service meals on one day and two quick service meals another day, it is up to you how you use them, but again, use them up!

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When you book your vacation with a member of the Life is Better Traveling Team, you are supporting local families and business.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past 4 years, we have become an AMAZING travel agency due to your support!

Disney World for All Ages

Typically when you think of Disney you think of little children running around to get pictures with Mickey Mouse or their favorite Princess.  It is one of the most fun places to take children and grandchildren but it can also be fun for adults.


Disney World has many resorts that will fit all types of budgets which are sure to bring out your Disney side.  Looking for a relaxing day at the adult only spa Senses or take a guided fishing trip where you are sure to catch some nice size bass.

There are fireworks cruises that are sure to amaze your senses as you are surrounded by fireworks above and the reflections below in the water.  What about a Behind the Scenes tour?  Ever wonder how they start the trains in the morning or maybe take a private tour to learn about the history and backstage secrets of Disney.

Consider Disney with your friends.  Here are some tips that are sure to make it an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Tip #1:  Book early. Disney releases reservations for various restaurants and tours up to 180 day prior to arrival.  If you are looking to dine at one of their more high end restaurants or want to take an in demand tour, book on that 180th day!

Tip #2:  You don’t have to go to the parks.  There is a lot that Disney has to offer that is not in one of their parks.  Shopping and eating in Downtown Disney is a whole day event and you don’t have to pay to get in!  Check out for all they have to offer.

Tip #3:  Did you know that you can make a dinner reservation at any of the resorts hotels, even if you aren’t staying at that hotel or on property.  Try a luau at the Polynesian Resort or try an intimate seven course dinner at Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian resort.

Tip #4:  The pool costs nothing!  There are several pools on property that are unique and relaxing.  Spend a day catching some sun and a Margarita or two!

Tip #5:  Is your husband a baseball fan?  Come during spring training and you can watch the Atlanta Braves spring training camp going on at the ESPN world wide of sports complex.

Tip #6:  Try something different.  Have you ever done archery or taken a horse drawn carriage ride while watching the fireworks.  Want more adventure?  Try the Wild Africa Trek where you will cross precarious rope bridges and enjoy up-close views of Nile hippos and crocodiles.

Tip #7:  Call your travel agent to help with setting up something special for you and your group.

The planning process should be fun and exciting but many times there are a lot of decisions to be made.  Just remember that plans can change but once you have made that final decision there is a sigh of relief that comes with knowing your vacation is just around the corner.  Also, don’t forget to invite friends and family so you can start making lasting memories.


We have helped HUNDREDS of family make their Disney vacations amazing so let us help you too. Fill out the form below to get started planning your next Disney Vacation.

When you book your vacation with a member of the Life is Better Traveling Team, you are supporting local families and business.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past 4 years, we have become an AMAZING travel agency due to your support!