Dining at Disney World is about to change in a big way.
We’ve seen new restaurants open, certain meal services return, and NEW dining locations announced for the future. But perhaps the biggest changes will come with the return of the Disney Dining Plan in 2024. And ahead of its return, Disney appears to be surveying some guests about their own dining experiences in the parks.
Disney has already shared that the Disney Dining Plan will be back on January 9th, 2024 and bookings start May 31st, 2023.Get all the info on the new dining plans by signing up for our 2024 Dining Plan & daily newsletter!
The Quick Service and Standard Disney Dining Plans will be the only options to return for now, and they must be booked as part of a vacation package (you must be staying on a Vacation Package at a Disney-owned-and-operated hotel, and have purchased at least one ticket per person).
Just a few days ahead of the booking start date for vacation packages with the Dining Plan, one of our reporters was in Magic Kingdom. Following their visit, they got sent a survey by Disney asking some dining (and shopping) questions.
One of the questions asked about the overall food and beverage experience in Magic Kingdom. The newest snack spot we saw added to Magic Kingdom was Energy Bytes (the stand by TRON Lightcycle / Run), but perhaps Disney is looking to see if guests are satisfied with the overall experience or if new snacks/restaurants (or other dining changes) may be needed.
During our reporter’s recent trip, they had stopped by Westward Ho Refreshments to grab one of the BEST snacks in the park before it disappears (Wendell’s Bear Claw — we’ll miss you!).
The survey asked what parts of the dining experience had a positive impact on their time at Westward Ho. The survey also asked about what things may have had a negative impact on their overall experience at Westward Ho. Perhaps that could impact any changes made to Westward Ho in the future or to the use of the Dining Plan at that snack spot.
Disney also inquired about how much money our team member spent on food and beverages throughout the day. That information (when obtained from many guests across many parks/restaurants/park days) could give Disney some critical details about how much money people do spend in the parks on food. That can better guide them on future pricing changes (increases or decreases) on meals/snacks and maybe even pricing on the Disney Dining Plan.
It looks like Disney is also looking at just how many different menu options there are available in Magic Kingdom and whether those fit what guests want and need. Magic Kingdom can be much more limiting in terms of menu options, particularly at quick service spots, when compared to places like EPCOT. But there are some great eats available if you know where to go.
Disney is also interested in dietary needs or preferences, given the question below. If you will be visiting Disney World and have specific dietary needs or allergies, be sure to check those menus ahead of time and reach out to Disney’s special diets team with any questions or concerns.
But the survey wasn’t just curious about our eating desires, it also had some interesting questions focused on shopping.
Disney inquired about the selection and availability of merchandise in the park, which can be important if you’re looking for unique options or a good selection of goodies to bring home.
The survey also posed a question to us about what items we were looking for — including limited-time or exclusive merchandise, household items, etc. Answers to these types of questions can give Disney an idea of what items they might want to have a greater stock of or even continue to make.
Interestingly, Disney also asked about the importance of shopping during our trip. What would you say? Is shopping the highlight of your trip? An important part, but not necessarily the most important thing?
Disney also wanted to know what spots we shopped at — that can give them a better idea of just how many guests are frequenting the stores (matching survey data with other data they likely have) to understand the guest flow and where key merchandise might need to be placed to encourage purchases.
Overall, it’s an interesting survey featuring questions that could help inform Disney’s future decisions regarding food and merchandise in the parks. For now, we’re waiting on more news from Disney about the Dining Plan’s return. A full list of restaurants participating in the program and pricing details have NOT been shared but should be announced soon.
Here’s a look at what Disney says you can expect from the Standard Dining Plan:
- Everyone in the travel party will receive 1 Table-Service meal per night, 1 Quick-Service meal per night, and a
snack/nonalcoholic drink per night of their package stay—along with 1 Resort-refillable drink mug. Meals and snacks can
be redeemed at any time during the stay.
- For example, if you book a 4-night package with a Disney Dining Plan, each Guest in your party would receive 4 Table-Service meals, 4 Quick-Service meals, and 4 snacks or nonalcoholic beverages—which can be used at any time during your 4-night stay.
And here’s info for the Quick Service Dining Plan:
- Everyone in the travel party (ages 3 and up) will receive 2 Quick-Service meals per night, a snack/nonalcoholic drink per
night of their package stay – along with 1 Resort-refillable drink mug. Meals and snacks can be redeemed at any time
during the stay.
- For example, if you book a 4-night package with a Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan, each Guest in your party would receive 8 Quick-Service meals and 4 Snacks or Nonalcoholic Beverages—which can be used at any time during your 4-night stay.
Keep in mind that when the Dining Plan returns, Annual Passholders will be able to book rooms only and add the Dining Plan (no need to buy the full package with tickets). DVC Members will be able to add the Dining Plan to a points reservation — but Members will need to call the DVC line to do so.
We’ve got an entire FAQ about the Disney Dining Plan, and you can check it out here!
Be sure to follow along for the latest Dining Plan updates, and for critical Disney food information check out our DFB Guide.
Our guide has full chapters on whether the Dining Plan is worth the cost, how to get the most out of the Dining Plan, and recommendations for those using the Dining Plan. It will really help you get the most bang for your buck!
Stay tuned for more news.
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What do you think about the return of the Dining Plan? Tell us in the comments.
I receive a survey about Epcot too. I could think they are doing that for all the parks.
What was the conversion a few years ago? 1 Quick Service Meal was 3 snack credits? I hope they will still let you do that when the dining plan comes back.
Totally agree with Nancy one the font color. It is VERY hard for me to see.
Won’t do any Dining Plan again unless they bring back Tables. The others require too much planning.
Linda Stoddard says
I’m sorry to see that the new plan has removed the option to get an alcoholic beverage. It was so much easier to use the meal plan and not have to factor in the additional cost of a beer or glass of wine.
Martin Lahaie says
Disney should offer as an option an adult dining plan without alcohol. I’m surprised that was not considered in the past.
I wish Disney would send me a survey
Standard dining I would like a salad instead of desert, can’t have the sugar
The merchandise is not good quality for the high price
Where can we go to take the survey or how can we be invited?
Disney could post the survey on My Disney Experience, and yes I would love a cocktail with my meal @ the end of the day
I’ve thought for several years that they should offer the guest the option of choosing either an appetizer or a dessert as part of the table service meal. I’m also disappointed that the new plan only includes 1 snack per person per night, when the previous plan included 2 snack options.
Wasn’t it McCarthy who said something about our (belts)? Definitely should offer either Appetizer or dessert, I say LET THE PEOPLE CHOOSE!
Tony D says
Years sago I did the DDP and found that although it did provide a convenient way to have meals it did not cover all costs of a meal so there were also charges for some items and tips. On my next trip I purchased Disney rewards cards at a warehouse store at a discount. Since the cards could be bought over a period of time there wasn’t a large one time expense. By doing this I could order whatever I wanted and it was covered (alcohol and tips). Plus the cards could also be used to purchase other items if I didn’t what to only buy my meals at Disney or was staying in a room that had cooking facilities.
David Vota says
I’ve been saying it for years. Let’s go with NO CARB. FINALLY.