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How to Get the Most Out of the Disney Dining Plan

How to Get the Most Out of the Disney Dining Plan

First off let’s start with what the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is! The dining plan is only available to guests who are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort. The DDP works similar to a voucher or meal ticket system. When you book your hotel you prepay for a certain number of meals. Each guest that is on your hotel reservation will receive a certain number of meals every day of your stay. The number of meals you receive depends on the DDP tier you choose.

In order to redeem your meals, you simply use your MagicBand at any Walt Disney World Resort. If you are ever wondering how many meals you have left, the status is always printed at the bottom of your meal receipts. You can redeem as many or little meals and snacks as you want each day until your balance reaches zero. You will lose any remaining credit left on your account at midnight of the night you check out of your hotel.

What’s Included with the 2020 Disney Dining Plan

(adults are 10 years and older in Disney prices)
(children are 3-9 years old in Disney prices)
Quick Service Dining
  • 2 quick-service meals
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
$55 $26
Regular Dining
  • 1 table-service meal
  • 1 quick-service meal
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
$78 $30.50
Deluxe Dining
  • 3 meals (any combination of table-service and quick-service)
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
$119 $47.50

Disney Dining Plan Tips &  Tricks

Skip Breakfast

We find it’s really hard to break even on quick service credits for breakfast. If you want I would use a snack credit to pick up a breakfast pastry and save your quick service credits. Alternatively, you can bring your own breakfast with you to your hotel or pay out-of-pocket.

Make Sure you Break Even

In order to make sure you are getting the full value out of your Disney Dining plan make sure you know your break-even amount. For 2017 you will want to keep these numbers in mind!

  • Quick Service credits are worth about $19
  • Table Service credits are worth about $42
  • Snack credits are worth about $5

Sharing is Caring

My husband and I do this all the time when we are in the parks! We will often split the bigger meal at a quick service location and then I use it as an excuse to get a Dole Whip a couple of hours later.

Be Adventurous

Don’t just order burger and fries try to order some out of the ordinary food. This will help you choose items that will maximize your dollar. A few items we love to get are quick service ribs! Over at the Flame Tree Barbecue, you can get half chicken and ribs mix. This is a prime example of a good menu item to split. We will get an extra side if we do split as well, so we don’t feel like we are getting any less than we normally would.

Steak and Characters Always Win

If you love steak and character meals those are your best values. Character meals always have an increased cost due to the special experience you get while dining. Another great way to increase the value of the Disney Dining Plan is by ordering the most expensive item off the menu. The most expensive menu item is typically the steak hence the name of the headline.

Don’t Forget the Tip

Gratuities are not included at any Table Service Meal. Exceptions to this rule are Cinderella’s Royal Table, any Dinner Shows and Room Service. For more information on tipping with the DDP read Cash Needed for Tipping at Disney World.

Skip Signature Dining

Signature Dining at Disney requires the use of two meal credits and is never a good way to use up your Disney meal plan. Since these restaurants don’t cost twice the amount of a standard Disney sit down location it isn’t worth it to pay double the amount it credits. If you have your heart set on eating at a signature dining location then we recommend paying out-of-pocket instead.

What tips do you find helpful when using the Disney Dining Plan? Be sure to share your experiences good and bad in the comments below.

Jan Fasone

Sunday 9th of September 2018

We usually go when the free dining is available. Since we're older now we don't eat as much as we used to so the meals are quite adequate.