Looks like enough of us wished upon a star, because the

Disney Dining Plan is finally coming back on January 9, 2024. If you’ve never experienced the magic that is the Disney Dining Plan, it’s essentially is a pre-paid plan that includes snacks, drinks, and meals that gives your Walt Disney World vacation an all-inclusive feel. Plus, it can end up saving you a lot of money before you even enter the park.

Convenient and flexible, the pre-paid credits on the plan also can be used at more than 200 locations across Walt Disney World’s four parks, two water parks, Disney hotels, and select locations at Disney Springs in Orlando. This means you can have a whole culinary tour on top of all the thrills, dining anywhere from Hollywood Studios’ 50’s Prime Time Cafe, José Andrés’ Jaleo tapas restaurant in Disney Springs, and Cinderella’s Round Table at Magic Kingdom all in one visit (just be sure to book reservations ahead of time).

Plus, you can even roll over your credits to the next day of your trip, too, just in case you want two Mickey ice cream bars one day (been there).

Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World Resort

What Is the Disney Dining Plan?

Simply put, it’s a pre-paid dining plan you can add on to your reservation as part of a Walt Disney World Hotel package. It includes meals, snacks, and drinks at over 200 locations across the Walt Disney World resort’s table service and quick-service restaurants. It’s on a credit-based system, and any unused credits will roll over to the next day of your visit.

The meals and snacks can be redeemed at any time during your visit. They include options at Character Dining experiences, dinner shows, private in-room dining, and even pizza pick-ups. Depending on where and how you like to eat, there are two plans available: the classic Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan.

What’s the Difference Between the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan?

As the names suggest, the Disney Dining Plan will allow you to use your credits across the full dining experiences in the park. The Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan is for quick-service locations only. Both plans include a beverage at each meal (such as sodas and milkshakes for the kids, and beer, wine, and cocktails for adults).

On the Disney Dining Plan, the following is included per each night of your stay (for all guests over the age of 3) and credits can be used at any time during your stay:

1 Quick-Service Meal

1 Table-Service Meal

1 Snack/Nonalcoholic Drink

1 Resort-Refillable Drink Mug

So, if you’re staying for four days, you’d have four of each credit that can then be doubled up for more premium dining options like Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, and fine dining locations like Disney BoardWalk’s Flying Fish.

On the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan, the following is included per each night of your stay (for all guests over the age of 3), and credits can be used at any time during your stay:

2 Quick-Service Meals

1 Snack/Nonalcoholic Drink

1 Resort-Refillable Drink Mug

If you like being loose with your plans (and don’t need to dine with Cinderella), the Disney Quick-Service Plan just might make all your dreams come true.

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Be Our Guest, Magic Kingdom

Is The Disney Dining Plan Worth It?

The short answer? It depends! As an Orlando native without any children of my own, I’d personally say no to the dining plan (especially since I usually like to bop around the world at EPCOT most of all). But, like anything, it depends on your family size, whether it’s your first time experiencing Disney World, your eating style, and how much you value convenience. As one Redditor wisely said, the plan can be seen more so as a budgeting tool than a cost-saving tool, since you won’t be surprised by your spending after your visit.

Crunching some numbers, Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan will set you back (per night of stay) $57.01 per adult and $23.83 per child ages 3 to 9. The classic Disney Dining Plan, it will cost (per night of stay) $94.28 per adult and $29.69 for child ages 3 to 9.

The cost of the plan has changed since 2020, the last year Disney offered it. Three years ago, the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan was $55 per adult and $26 per child. And the Disney Dining Plan was $78.01 per adult and $30.51 per child. So for adults, the Disney Dining Plan has increased $16, or 21 percent.

In general, Disney snacks, drinks and entrees from their Quick-Service locations will roughly set you back $8 to $15 per item. Table service restaurants can often cost upwards of $60 per person—as is the case for popular dining experiences such as Be Your Guest, Chef Mickey’s, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. So it’s worth it if you plan on truly maximizing all the aspects of the deal.

At the end of the day, it’s really all about your eating strategy. Do you plan on going big or going home? The dining plans are pretty worth it if you tend to choose the most expensive menu items, like elaborate cocktails, fancier entrees, and dinner shows. If you’re ordering those sorts of items, it would absolutely save you lots of money as opposed to paying a la carte.

If you have young kids, I’d also say it’s a good deal. You’ll save up to 20 percent on dining for kids ages 3 to 9 when you purchase a dining plan for your family. Plus, it’ll allow you to say yes to so many more experiences (which can save you some stress during your stay). Disney World can be a very stressful (albeit magical) place, so sometimes taking the guesswork out of your meals can be worthwhile during your stay.

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Casey’s Corner, Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World Resort

Here Are a Few More Things to Keep in Mind

  • You’ll still need to make reservations for table service restaurants and dinner shows, so plan ahead if these are on your must-do list.
  • Fine/signature dining, in-room dining, pizza pick-ups, and dinner shows are worth double the credits, so two credits will be deducted per person for these experiences.
  • There are some random items that are not included, such as things that are more than a single serving, like a box of doughnuts or a jar of peanut butter. Same goes for items that are served in a souvenir container, and items considered to be merchandise, like bottle toppers, glow cubes, and bottle straps.
  • You’ll still need to pay gratuities, except for the following: Dinner shows, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and private in-room dining at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
  • The Dining Plan must be purchased for the entire length of stay and for the entire party, and is for people ages 3 and up.
  • Guests ages 3 to 9 must order from a children’s menu, where available.