Whether or not you were you excited when Disney World unveiled a fourth tier option to its Disney Dining Plan recently, you probably have more questions NOW than ever before!
You might be asking, “Will it save me money?”, “How do I know if it’s right for my family?” and maybe even, “What’s the catch?”
But that’s why you’ve got us, your Disney food gurus! We spend a lot of time pondering life’s little questions, especially when it comes to the Disney Dining Plan!
See what our DFB top picks for the best use of your Disney Dining Plan snack credits at Disney World are right now!
Having spent A LOT of time studying the various Disney Dining Plan options, we totally get how confounding these various dining packages can be. And throwing a NEW one in the mix just makes things even more confusing!
But we want you to have ALL the information you could possibly ever want and NEED when it comes to deciding whether or not the Disney Dining Plan might be right for YOU! That’s why we’re sharing EVERYTHING we know so far about the new Disney Dining Plan Plus package.
AND we’re gonna give you our unbiased opinion about whether or not we think it’s a good value!
What’s included with Disney Dining Plan Plus?
Disney Dining Plan Plus comes with 2 meal entitlements that you can use however you want — which we’ll get to more in a sec! This new package also includes 2 snack credits and a refillable resort mug, which come standard across the board for all the Disney Dining Plans.
So what’s the difference with the other Dining Plans??
That means the only major difference between this and the Standard Dining Plan is that this plan has more flexibility when it comes to making your quick service and table service selections. The choice is yours for how you choose to spend your meal entitlements.
This sort of flexibility was previously only offered on the Deluxe Dining Plan but that also costs a good bit more than the others and locked guests into 3 full meals per day that could be any combination of Table or Quick Service meals. The Quick Service Dining Plan, and Standard Disney Dining Plan, are more rigid, granting guests 2 Quick Service meals per day or 1 Quick Service and 1 Table Service meal per day, respectively.
And remember — whether or not you choose one of these Disney Dining Plans, you’ll still want a GAME PLAN for your Disney World meals! Since guests can make their dining reservations up to 180 days from their arrival date, many of Disney World’s most popular Table Service restaurants book up FAST! With the new Disney Dining Plan Plus option, you’ll still pretty much need to know which theme parks and restaurants you’ll be visiting on certain days MONTHS before you actually leave for Disney World!
Why did Disney World release a fourth Disney Dining Plan?
You might have noticed there’s a pretty big gap between the Standard Dining Plan and the Deluxe Dining Plan. While the Standard Dining Plan is generous in the amount of food you’ll consume on it (actually, we DARE you to go hungry on ANY of these plans, especially the DELUXE one!), you might want to enjoy more Character Meals or Table Service restaurants than the 1 entitlement you receive on the Standard Dining Plan each day.
Vice versa, the Deluxe Dining Plan’s three Table Service meals might sound like overkill, especially if you’re on a tight budget and schedule! That many Table Service meals tend to take up a significant chunk of your day with EVEN MORE FOOD than you’ve probably ever seen in your life. 😉
And while the grub at many of these table service joints is some of the BEST you’ll find anywhere on-property, you might have to trade off some reps on your favorite Disney World rides for these more time-consuming meals! Not to mention, the pricepoint for Disney World’s Deluxe Dining Plan might be more than you’re wanting to shell out for food on your vacay!
How does the price of Disney Dining Plan Plus compare to the other Disney Dining Plan options?
Next, we’re going to talk about the prices of each level of the Disney Dining Plan. We’ve listed them from least to most expensive below. As you can see, the new Disney Dining Plan Plus costs slightly more than the Standard Disney Dining Plan, but is less costly than the Deluxe Dining Plan.
- Quick Service Dining Plan Cost per Adult: $55 per night (ages 10 and up)
- Quick Service Dining Plan Cost per Child: $26 per night (age 3 to 9)
- Standard Disney Dining Plan Cost per Adult: $78.01 per night (ages 10 and up)
- Standard Disney Dining Plan Cost per Child: $30.51 per night (age 3 to 9)
- Disney Dining Plan Plus Cost per Adult: $94.61 per night (ages 10 and up)
- Disney Dining Plan Plus Cost per Child: $35.01 per night (age 3 to 9)
- Deluxe Dining Plan Cost per Adult: $119 per night (ages 10 and up)
- Deluxe Dining Plan Cost per Child: $47.50 per night (age 3 to 9)
Can the Disney Dining Plan Plus save me money?
Now let’s tackle the question that’s likely at the forefront of just about EVERYONE’S minds — can you save money using the new Disney Dining Plan Plus? And our answer is: well, maybe… just like the other Disney Dining Plans, you’ll have to really be looking to get the most out of it.
We’ve already shared with you some of our savvy secrets for how to get the most out of your Disney Dining Plan, which often means having to order to the most expensive item on every menu AND an alcoholic beverage to maximize the value of your meal credits.
We’re also all about redeeming those Table Service credits for Character Meals or Buffets since these options have the potential to offer a pretty hefty bang for your buck. While 2 credit Signature Dining experiences are a little harder to maximize your Disney Dining Plan with, smart selections can help you make the most of these experiences as well. Check out our list of signature Disney World restaurants we recommend if you’re considering forking over 2 table service meal credits!
Let’s break down the numbers
Time to put on our math hats for a little bit here. Wanna know, on average, how much you need to spend to make your Dining Plan cost-effective? Well we’re crunchin’ the numbers! We spent some time figuring out ON AVERAGE (remember, there are hundreds of food locations at Disney World!) how much a typical snack, Quick Service, and Table Service meal could run you at Disney World.
First, we selected five popular snacks and calculated the average snack credit value to be worth about $5.35.
Next, we selected five popular Disney World Quick Service restaurants at random and chose the cheapest entree selection plus a fountain drink for a value worth $15. Choosing the most expensive meal option and alcoholic beverage on each of the same Quick-Service spots, we came out with an average value of $32.
We repeated this method by selecting five of Disney World’s popular Table Service restaurants and discovered the low-end options with a fountain drink at each one to be worth $28 while the high-end value with pricier alcoholic drink was $56. Keep in mind each restaurant will be different and can offer more or less expensive options, depending on the location. This is just an average.
Things get trickier for you Deluxe Dining Plan folks who get an appetizer with your Table Service meals. The low-end we found at Table Service spots for Deluxe was $42 and the high-end options averaged out to $68.
As you can surmise from these numbers, depending on which foods and drinks you choose, you can either lose a decent amount of money or save a nice chunk of change!
What does this mean compared to what you’re paying for the various plans?
We broke things down one step further, averaging out how much a day of eating on each plan would cost, including 2 snacks per plan. You get a refillable mug too, which out of pocket would cost $19.99, so if you want to go one step further, you could add that cost in divided by the days of your trip.
- Quick Service Dining Plan — costing $55 per day, you could spend anywhere from, on average, around $41-$74 per day, depending on your choices. This averages out to $58 per day.
- Standard Dining Plan — costing $78.01 per day, you could spend anywhere from, on average, around $54-$99 per day, depending on your choices. This averages out to $77 per day.
- Dining Plan Plus — costing $94.61 per day, you could spend anywhere from, on average, around $41-$123, depending on your choices. This averages out to $82 per day.
That number seems a little low, right? Well, with the flexibility this plan allows, that makes sense! If you only eat at Quick Service spots, you’re essentially paying a lot more for the same plan guests on the Quick Service Plan are getting — a value of around $41 per day. BUT, breaking this one down even further, if you were to choose 2 Table Services meals per day on the Plus plan, you could spend, on average, around $67-$123. So if you were to take full advance of the plan and only dine at Table Service spots, on average you’d spend $95 per day. This is in line with what you’re spending for the plan.
- Deluxe Dining Plan — costing $119 per day, you could spend anywhere from, on average, around $57-$215, depending on your choices. This averages out to $136 per day.
Again, same deal here as with the Plus Plan. That flexibility can cost you if you don’t use it to your advantage. Say you were to ONLY dine on 3 Quick Service meals per day. You could spend anywhere from $57-$106, averaging out to around $81. If you ate 3 Table Service meals per day, you’d spend anywhere from $137-$215, averaging out to $176. So clearly, to get the most value out of Deluxe, you’d want to eat as many Table Service meals as you could!
Ok, math lesson over. We promise (unless you want to break down the numbers for kids Dining Plans, but we think you get the point!). 🙂
So basically, if you wanna make the most of your plan, you gotta think big. Big entrees. Big drinks. The Dining Plan rarely comes out as a savings for folks ordering from the cheaper side of the menu. If you have a plan with any amount of flexibility to it, like the Plus or Deluxe plans, favoring Table Service spots will almost always help you make the most of your plan.
But, it should be noted that our average numbers we found — meaning if you ordered at a variety of price points and don’t always get the priciest beverage options — still averaged out the right at the cost of the plans per day for Quick Service, Standard, and even Plus (IF you chose only Table Service.)! Deluxe plan folks can easily recoup their costs with more Table Service selections as well!
How can you make the best choices when dining?
Having reviewed the cheapest and priciest items across Disney World’s Quick Service and Table Service restaurants, the most-expensive entrees are almost always heavier meat-based items (usually steak or beef offerings) while mixed cocktails and wines by the glass are among the highest value beverage options.
If you’re a non-drinker, vegetarian, vegan, or just someone who prefers to eat lighter foods and only enjoy drinks occasionally, we wouldn’t recommend using the Disney Dining Plan as a way of saving money. Salads, meatless cuisine, and “lighter fare” are almost always the most affordable options. Keep in mind, non-drinkers can still enjoy milkshakes, smoothies, or other “premium” non-alcoholic drinks on the plans that are typically a higher price point than a soft drink if they want to get more value out of their plan.
Ultimately, the endeavor of maximizing a Disney Dining Plan’s true money-saving potential might prove a little too harrowing for some. It’s a mental strain to try and figure out the math each time you sit down to enjoy a good meal and eating the enormous piles of food you’ll need to order to get the most out of your plan may take a physical toll as well (and we don’t just mean on your waistline!).
How can I get the most out of the Disney Dining Plan Plus?
Referring to the math we showed you above, to truly get the most money value out of the Disney Dining Plan Plus, you’ll want to forgo the option of dining at most Quick Service restaurants. Entrées at these places average out to be around $24 while the average Table Service restaurant meal costs considerably more — around $42.
If your goal with the Plus plan is simply having more flexibility, just use the plan as you see fit! You may get your money’s worth out of simply being open to options. We’d recommend booking a few table service locations if you’re not set on your plans and as you get closer, if you want the table service options, you’ll have them available. Just keep in mind you’ll want to cancel any you DON’T want to use over 24 hours before they’re supposed to be for to avoid cancellation fees!
Why should I choose Disney Dining Plan Plus?
Disney Dining Plan Plus appeals most to guests who want more variety of choice than the previous Disney Dining Plans allowed. It also appeals to guests who’d like to enjoy a few more sit down meals than the one per day that the Standard Disney Plan allows but who don’t want 3 full Table Service meals per day and extra food that comes with the Deluxe plan.
Even if you’ve never been tempted by a Disney Dining Plan before, the new Disney Dining Plan Plus might actually appeal to you, especially if Table Service meals are a highlight for your family!
Why shouldn’t I choose Disney Dining Plan Plus?
Just like the other Disney Dining Plans, Disney Dining Plan Plus includes A LOT of food and careful forethought! And like the other dining packages, it doesn’t come cheap.
You’re paying a premium here for the ability to enjoy more Table Service meals as well as to have the added flexibility to choose. So if your family is looking to primarily chow down on Quick Service meals, consider sticking to the considerably cheaper Quick Service Dining Plan or the perfect in-between, the Standard Plan.
Also, consider how much time your family is ok with committing to sit down meals. We’ve already shown that to really get your money’s worth out of the Plus plan, maxing out your credits at Table Service restaurants is the way to go. But Table Service meals often take a fair bit of time, and that means time you’re NOT spending around the parks and on rides. Seriously consider before your trip how much of your day you’re ok spending sitting and eating.
What are the restrictions of Disney Dining Plan Plus?
Disney Dining Plan Plus has many of the same restrictions as the other Disney Dining Plans. Only guests who are staying on property at a Disney World resort are eligible to book a Disney Dining Plan. Gratuity is not already factored into the cost of Disney Dining Plan Plus, so you’ll want to factor in some extra money for tipping your servers. Also, snack credits can’t be used on souvenir food items such as sippers and popcorn buckets.
Can I change my already-booked Disney Dining Plan to the Disney Dining Plan Plus?
That depends! The Disney Dining Plan Plus is a super new offering so as you can imagine, we’re still figuring out how to navigate some of the more specific circumstances. For instance, many people have already booked a Disney Dining Plan (whether it be the Quick-Service, Standard, or Deluxe) and might want to upgrade or downgrade to the Disney Dining Plan Plus option. In some cases, this can definitely be done!
However, if you booked with a discount or a unique package, you may not be able to and it may depend on the guest services rep you speak to. If you ARE interested in switching to the Plus, call Guest Services at (407) 939-5277 and let them know. Depending on who you’re talking to, and your situation, they may be able to switch your plan so you can have your vacay your way. It can’t hurt to call and ask!
Is the Disney Dining Plan Plus WORTH IT?
We think the Disney Ding Plan Plus is definitely worth exploring, especially if you’ve always been curious about visiting Disney World WITH a Disney Dining Plan (you’ve probably been asked “Are you using the Disney Dining Plan?” by just about EVERY Cast Member who’s ever rung you up!).
We’ve definitely felt the need for another Disney Dining Plan that offered a better selection when it came to picking restaurants, and the Disney Dining Plan Plus fills that void rather nicely! If it’s truly worth the cost is solely dependent on how you choose to use it!
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Do you normally purchase a Disney Dining Plan when you travel to Disney World? Let us know if this new Disney Dining Plan sounds like something you’ll be trying on your next vacation in the comments below!