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Ultimate Guide to The Disney Dining Plan 2020

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If you are looking for a way to save money on food at Walt Disney World, the Disney Dining Plan may be the answer! With fun character meals, signature dining, exclusive Disney snacks, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and specialty drinks there is a lot of delicious food to be discovered at Walt Disney World.  Today I am sharing what the Disney Dining Plan is, the pros, the cons, and how to figure out if the dining plan is for you! I have also included 2 free printables which will help you along the way.

Important Information Due to COVID-19: Certain parks, hotels, restaurants, and other offerings may be modified or unavailable, limited in capacity, and subject to limited availability or closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed. 

Disney Dining Plan

What is the Disney Dining Plan?

The Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is only for guests staying in Disney World Hotels.

The dining plan is a credits system. With the DDP, you are purchasing a certain number of meals ahead of time on somewhat of a “credits system.” For each night of your stay, each guest on the reservation receives an allotment of quick service meals (fast food meals), table service (sit-down) meals, and snacks; the number of credits you get depends on which specific plan you choose.

Your Magic Band keeps tracks of your credits for you.  After your meal, the receipt you receive displays the number of meals remaining for each room (not per guest), allowing you to keep track of your balance. Meals and snacks may be redeemed in any order during your stay until the balance is at zero or until midnight of the night you check out, whichever comes first. Table service (TS) and quick service (QS) credits can be downgraded to snacks credits. 1 TS or QS credit equals 2 snack credits.

The plan does not include gratuities except at Dinner Shows, Private In-Room Dining, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. An additional form of payment is needed if you add gratuity and have not provided a credit card at check-in to charge incidentals and other expenses to your room.

If you are looking for a dinner show, check out this review of the fun Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue from the blog ‘ ‘Dis’ Happy Home!

Certain items are not covered under any dining plan such as items that more than a single serving (such as a box of doughnuts), special dining events, items in souvenir containers, items from recreational counters, and items such as glow cubes, bottle toppers, etc.

What are the Disney Dining Plan Options

All of the plans come with a resort mug for each guest on your reservation. The resort mug is a 16 oz., insulated refillable mug that can hold hot or cold beverages. Guests are entitled to unlimited free refills on fountain drinks, coffee, and tea from self-service beverage locations at Disney resorts for their length of stay. You can not use the mugs in the park except for the free water. The mugs have an RFID bar code which enables the mug to deactivate when your Disney resort stay is complete.

A Quick Service credit includes an entree and a drink from a Quick Service restaurant. QS restaurants do not require advanced dining reservations, except for Be Our Guest.

A Table Service credit includes a drink, entree, and dessert from a Table Service restaurant.  Most of these restaurants require an advanced dining reservation.

Quick-Service Dining Plan

The 2020 Quick Service Disney Dining Plan nightly cost is $55 per adult and $26 per child.

Each guest on the quick-service dining plan gets the following for each night of your stay:

  • 2 Quick-Service Meal Credits
  • 1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 Snack Credits

Disney Dining plan

The 2020 standard Disney Dining Plan is $78.01 per night and $30.51 per child.

Each guest on the Disney dining plan gets the following for each night of your stay:

  • 1 Quick-Service Meal Credit
  • 1 Table-Service Meal Credit
  • 1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 Snack Credits

Dining Plan Plus

The 2020 standard Disney Dining Plan is $94.60 per night and $35.00 per child.

Each guest on the Disney dining plan Plus gets the following for each night of your stay:

  • 2 Meals (Quick or Table Service)
  • 2 Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • 1 Resort refillable mug

Deluxe Dining Plan

The 2020 Deluxe Disney Dining Plan is $119 and $47.50 per child.

Each guest on the Deluxe dining plan gets the following for each night of your stay:

  • 3 Quick Service or Table-Service Meal Credits
  • 1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 Snack Credits
Cheese plate appetizer from the California Grill.

Guests using the Deluxe Dining Plan also get an appetizer with their Table Service credits.

How Much is the Disney Dining Plan?

The 2020 Quick Service Disney Dining Plan nightly cost is $55 per adult and $26 per child. The 2020 standard Disney Dining Plan is $78.01 per night and $30.51 per child. The 2020 Deluxe Disney Dining Plan is $119 and $47.50 per child. In Disney terms, a child is 3 to 9 years old. A 10-year-old is considered an adult for dining and park ticket purchases.

Let’s break down a typical park day at the Magic Kingdom eating two quick service meals and two snacks (the Quick Service Dining Plan).

  • The resort mug is $19.99 plus tax. Let’s say you are staying for 4 nights so I divide that number into 4 and that is roughly $4.99 per day.
  • Let’s have breakfast at Gaston’s and have a wonderful Warm Cinnamon Roll. for $5.99 plus tax.
  • Let’s have lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus. We will have the Chicken Parmesan Pasta that is served with a side salad for $13.49. Let’s also order a Blue Rasberry Slushy for $5.49. Our total for lunch is $18.98
  • Dinner will be at Casey’s. Let’s get the Corn Dog Nuggets that are served with apple slices or french fries for $9.99. For a drink, we will get a fountain beverage for $4.49. Total for dinner is $14.48.
  • We have one more snack available, let’s watch the fireworks while enjoying a Dole Whip Float for $5.99.

The total for the day is $50.43 including the tax. There is a small amount of savings with this scenario. If you order more expensive meals, order alcoholic drinks, you would save even more.  Staying longer than 4 nights and you save even more with the resort mug being cheaper each day.

Now let’s take a look at regular Disney Dining Plan for a day at Epcot. Let’s do the same 4-night trip.

  • The resort mug is $19.99 plus tax. Let’s say you are staying for 4 nights so I divide that number into 4 and that is $4.99 per day.
  • For breakfast let’s have some School Bread from the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. This is $3.99.
  • For lunch, let dine at the La Cantina de San Angel quick service. We will order the Tacos de Barbacoa which is $14.00 and get a Frozen Mango Margarita for $11.00.  Total for lunch is $25.00.
  • For dinner, let’s meet the Princesses at Akershus. We are vacationing during peak season and during the week so let’s estimate that our price is $63 for an adult. You still need to tip as that is not part of the dining plan. We are going to also order a Viking Coffee for $11.50. The total is $74.50.
  • Let’s use our other snack credit enjoying an Apple Strudel with vanilla sauce from Germany for $4.79.

The total for the day is $113.27 including the tax. With this scenario, you are saving roughly $30/day. That is a significant savings!

Reasons to Choose the Disney Dining Plan

  • No Need to Worry about Prices. Though there are a few selections at a couple dining locations that aren’t included in the plan, almost everything is included. You do not need to budget or limit your choices. You can go for the steak rather than the burger.
  • You are Doing lots of Table Service Dining and/or Character Dining. Character dining and other table service restaurants are a great way to vacation. These options can be pricier and with the dining plan, you do not have to think about it.
  • You are a Foodie Family. If one of the reasons you go to Disney World is the dining, then the plan is perfect for you. Disney offers a wide array of food choices that aren’t common “park food” options. You can find great signature dining options and experiences, some perfect for romantic adults only trip!
  • You Like Alcoholic Beverages. This year Disney started to include adult beverages in the plan. This makes the plan more valuable as alcoholic beverages can be pricey.
A Drink from Artist Point Storybook Dining

Reasons to Not Get the Disney Dining Plan

  • Your Family Doesn’t Eat Much. If your family does more snacking than sitting down for meals then the dining plan might not be for you. If you would rather do breakfast in your room and grab a quick snack for lunch and quick service dinner then paying out of pocket may be better. Many families complain the plan is too much food. Some quick service meals are huge and can be easily shared by 2.
  • You Save More Paying Out of Pocket. If you opt for cheaper snacks and meals then the meal plan is probably more than you would pay out of pocket. To get the most bang for your Disney Dining Plan buck more expensive meal and snack choices need to be made.
  • You Don’t Have the Time. Character dining and a lot of sit down restaurants take at least an hour, That is 3 hours of your Disney day spent eating rather than on rides or attractions. If you are dining outside of the parks you need to allow for even more time if you are using the Disney Transportation system.
  • It’s Just Too Expensive. Sometimes a budget-friendly trip does not include a $50/day per person price tag. I know for me sometimes even the QS plan is just too much money. You can feed a whole family for about the same price if you eat breakfast in your room, bring a packed lunch, and just eat a cheap quick service dinner.

What About the Disney’s Free Dining Offer?

Usually each year around April, Disney announces a free dining period. The free dining period is usually in the fall for selected resorts. You can’t pick your dining plan though, they are based on the resort you choose. Value resorts get the QS dining plan. Moderate resorts get the Disney Dining plan, and deluxe resorts get the deluxe dining plan. You can upgrade your dining plan for a fee per person.  You forgo any resort discounts to get the free dining, so you need to do a comparison of how much the dining plan would save you versus the resort savings you could possibly get.

Eggs Benedict Flight from the Grand Floridian Cafe

Want to be notified when free dining is available? Nikki from Favorite Grampy Travels will notify you when free dining becomes available and will book your vacation for you for no extra charge. Fill out a quote request today and make a note in the special requests section that you are interested in being notified when the free dining is offered.

FREE Disney Dining Planning Printables

The first printable is a helpful tool for you to be able to see if the dining plan makes sense for you. You can see all of the menus on the Disney website and see which foods you might order. Then you can add those up and compare to the price of the plan you are thinking of choosing. Click HERE to download the FREE Printable!

This second Disney Dining printable will help you keep your reservations, credits used, and confirmation numbers nicely organized. Click HERE to download the FREE Printable!

My hope is that by using both of these printables you can save your family lots of money!

Bonus Tip: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Favorite Grampy’s Travels. I’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice, and my services are totally FREE! Click Here to Get a no-obligation quote now 🙂

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