How Does the Disney Dining Plan 2024 Work? Eat, Drink, and Save Big!

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With the return of the Disney Dining Plan in 2024, big things are in store for Disney travelers. The Disney Dining Plan offers a spectular option for budgeting your trip in advance and opens nearly every door at Disney World restaurants for park goers this year.

As a travel agent specializing in Disney travel, there are 2 questions I am now getting quite often pertaining to Walt Disney World dining: How does the Disney Dining Plan work and is it worth it?

For most people, the answer is a resounding YES, but deciding whether the Disney Dining Plan is right for you depends on how much you plan to eat, where you plan to eat it and what you’re willing to pay for convenience.

Understanding the dining plan is a big step in Walt Disney World Vacation Planning. So, to help you make the right choice, we’ve put together this guide to the Disney World Dining Plan 2024, answering the most common questions we receive.

What is the Disney World Dining Plan 2024, and How Do I get it?

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Before deciding to purchase the Disney World Dining plan in 2024, you need to understand how the plan works.

The Disney Dining Plan is a package that allows you to prepay for meals and then redeem the credits during your vacation. The Disney Dining Plan can only be purchased by guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort as part of a vacation package that includes the purchase of theme park tickets.

With the dining plan, guests are provided a set number of meals for each night of their reservation, depending upon the type of Disney Dining Plan they purchase. We’ll discuss the 2 plans in a minute, but first, let’s talk about how you book the dining plan.

It’s easy to add on dining when you book your package reservation. If you’re booking online, you’ll be prompted during the process to select the particular dining plan you want or to decline this option. If you’re working with a travel agent, simply indicate that you’d like to take advantage of the dining plan, and they will take care of the rest.

Disney Dining Plan 2024 Details

Disney dining plans in 2024 have been simplified to best meet the needs of guests. You’ll find 2 separate plans this year, each offering enough food to keep the average appetite satiated for a day. With each plan, you will receive:

  • 2 meals a day for each guest over age 3 in your travel party, for each night of your stay, including nonalcoholic or alcoholic beverages for guests over 21. For instance, if you’ve booked a 5-night resort stay, you will recieve 10 meals that can be eaten at most Disney World resort or park restaurants, as well as most locations in Disney Springs. Children under the age of 3 may share from a parent’s plate.
  • 1 snack per person per day or one nonalcoholic beverage.
  • 1 resort refillable mug (can be refilled an unlimted number of times with soda, coffee, tea or water during the length of your stay, but only at your resort hotel).

What constitutes a meal at any of the over 200 particupating restaurants will vary depending on the time of day you are eating.

Breakfast meals under the Disney Dining Plan will include:

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Nonalcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)


  • 1 Full Buffet (prix-fixe) or Family-Style Meal (prix-fixe)
  • 1 Nonalcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

If you’re redeeming your table service meal credit for brunch, lunch or dinner, you can expect to receive:

  • 1 Entrée
  • 1 Dessert
  • 1 Nonalcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)


  • 1 Full Buffet (If Available) or Family-Style Meal
  • 1 Nonalcoholic Beverage (or Alcoholic Beverage, for Guests 21 and older)

Guests over the age of 21 who wish to consume an alcoholic beverage during their meal may enjoy a single serving of beer or cider, wine or sangria, mixed drinks and specialty cocktails.

Understanding the Disney Dining Plan Options

As mentioned, the Disney Dining plan 2024 is available in two options: The Disney Dining Plan (in all caps) and the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan. Both offer the same amenities with one small difference: where you are able to eat.

Guests who opt for the Disney Dining Plan will receive one meal a day to be eaten at a Disney Quick Service restaurant. The remaining meal may be eaten at one of Disney’s table service restaurants. This includes most charcter dining locations.

However, you will find that some “specialty restaurants”, while eligible to be used on the Disney Dining Plan in 2024, do require you to use 2 meal credits. To put this in perspective, if you book a 5-night stay, you will have 5 table-service credits per person. You may eat at Woody’s Roundup Barbecue in Disney’s Hollywood Studio and each member of your travel party would use 1 credit for this meal. On the other hand, if you eat at a specialty restaurant or enjoy a signature dining experience, you will use 2 of your available credits on a single meal.

Restaurants that require the use of 2 dining credits include:

  • Fairytale Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (lunch and dinner only)
  • Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
  • Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • Dinner Shows
  • In-room dining at Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  • Pizza Pickup meals at select quick service locations at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Understanding the Disney Quick Service Dining Option

As is suggested by the name, the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan still provides 2 meals a day, but you will consume these at one of Disney’s quick service restaurants. Back in the beginning of the Disney dining plan, a quick service meal option was a rather limiting experience, confining guests to endless rounds of hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. Thankfully, Disney now offers a wide variety of counter service locations, from barbecue restaurants, to healthy make-your-own bowls and a whole world of cultural cuisine, in addition to the standard burger and fries.

In addition, many value resorts offer a marketplace restaurant akin to a food court, where you’ll find a wide variety of entrees that can be included in your plan. Moderate and deluxe resorts also offer at least one quick-service dining venue that features an assortment of dishes as well as grab and go items perfect for use with snack credits. We recently stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort and loved the offerings available at the El Dorado Marketplace for both breakfast and lunch/dinner.

Light up restaurant menu from El Durado Marketplace, featuring menu items on the Disny Dining Plan 2024.

Using Snack Credits in Your Disney Dining Plan 2024

The daily snack credit included in your Disney dining plan can be used for a wide variety of items at Disney quick service restaurants, most outdoor carts and other merchandise locations. The thing to note here is that a snack is always a single serving, such as a frozen ice cream treat like a Mickey ice cream sandwich, a box of popcorn, a cup of soup, a single fountain drink or a bag of chips.

On the other hand, it can be tricky. For instance, Disney considers 2 scoops of ice cream as a single serving. However, a box of donuts is considered multiple servings and ineligible for a snack credit. Popcorn, while considered an eligible snack option, loses its Disney dining plan 2024 snack coverage when purchased in a souvenir popcorn container.

Fortunately, Disney also makes it easy to determine what constitutes a snack option on the menu and what items do not. Snack items are designated with the following icon:

disney dining plan snack icon
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In addition, Disney designates snack items when mobile ordering, and you will find that many filling side options can also be ordered as a daily snack. For instance, at Regal Eagle Smokehouse in the American Pavilion inside the World Showcase, macaroni and cheese, as well as a side serving of baked beans with brisket tips, can be redeemed with a snack credit.

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How Much Is the Disney Dining Plan: 2024?

Sa'tuli Canteen Sample platter on a table, included  included in the Disney Dining plan.
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To determine the cost of the dining plan in 2024, you really need to do a side-by-side comparison of the package cost without the dining plan versus the cost with the dining plan. When I ran the calculations, I came up with the following:

Disney Dining PlanQuick Service Dining Plan

To understand what this number means, let’s look at the quick service dining plan. If I as an adult eat at Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom for lunch and then at Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Village Resort for dinner, this is what I can expect to pay for an entree, drink and dessert. Now, I’m really in the mood to splurge this trip, so I’m going to order the most expensive things on each menu, including alcoholic beverages.

EntreeOcean Moon Bowl: $17.99Hawaiian Flatbread: $13.29
DrinkIlu Splash Margarita: $14.00Old Elephant Foot IPA: $11.25
DessertMetkayina Mousse: $6.29Pineapple cupcake: $6.79
After ordering the most expensive things on the menu at each restaurant, I’ve spent $69.61 on 2 meals per adult. However, I haven’t calculated in my snack or the cost of the refillable drink mug.

The refillable mug is a flat fee of $21.99 for the length of your stay. That means the per day cost decreases the longer you stay. If our trip is 5 nights long, we are looking at 6 days that we can use the mug at a daily cost of $3.67. If I eat a Dig Ice Cream Sandwich at Animal Kingdom, one of the more popular snack items, I would have spent $8.29. This brings our daily total to $81.57 for the equivalent of the quick service dining plan. Remember, the adult cost for the plan itself is only $57.01 for a single day.

However, I can probably guess what you’re thinking right now. Maybe you’re more frugal than my sample scenario, so let’s take a different approach. If I go to the same restaurants but order the least expensive options on the menu, this is how it breaks down:

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EntreeChopped Wood Chicken Bowl: $13.29Asian Style Noodle Salad: $9.99
DrinkLowfat milk: $2.29Small chocolate milk: $2.29
DessertBlueberry Cream Cheese Mousse: $5.79Fruity gummy bears: $2.49
As you can see, you’re now coming in under the daily cost for the dining plan. Once you add in $5.00 for a snack and $3.67 for your resort mug, the cost for your meals that day would be at $44.81, much closer to the cost of the dining plan.

However, add in applicable taxes of around 7% to these purchases, and you are now at $47.95, much closer to the daily dining plan rate of $57.01. Plus, you’ve restricted yourself to the least expensive menu options and had milk to drink with all of your meals.

Realistically, you can expect to pay about the same for the dining plan as you would buying your meals separately in the parks. Since most people tend to splurge when on vacation or not watch costs to the extent of the second example above, you’re likely to save money by purchasing the dining plan.

However, if your budget is tight, you could always do extensive research ahead of your trip, find the restaurants with the lowest priced food items and probably cost out your vacation below the daily price of the Disney dining plan in 2024. It all depends on how much work you want to do and how much you want to sacrifice on food to meet a price point. For most guests traveling to Disney World, the dining plan offers hassle-free budgeting with a guarantee that you can order the entrees you want from the menu.

I Am on the Disney World Dining Plan Package. Am I Restricted to One Table-Service and One-Counter Service Restaurant Each Day, or Can I Mix Them up?

Close up of a Dole Whip, a snack that can be purchased using the Disney Dining Plan
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As long as you do not exceed the total number of credits for each category over the course of your trip, you may use your Disney Dining Plan credits as you see fit. In other words, if you want to have Lunch at Pinocchio Village House and dinner at Pecos Bill one day, you will use two quick-service credits. That means, that on another day of your stay, you will need to enjoy two table-service restaurants to even out your consumption, if you are on the Disney Dining Plan in 2024.

The same goes for snacks. If you elect to redeem no snack credits on a day, you will have an extra credit for later in your trip.

How Do I Redeem My Disney Dining Plan Meals?

One of the most popular questions when learning how the Disney World Dining Plan works, involves meals and how they are redeemed. In the past, it was easy to keep track of meals used by swiping your MagicBand. This RFID-enabled bracelet holds all of the information about your stay and allows guests to easily swipe or tap to access tangibles such as Genie+ reservations, advanced dining reservations and the Disney World dining plan.

Since MagicBands are no longer provided as part of a Disney World vacation package, many guests have opted not to use them. To accommodate these guests, Disney now allows you to swipe your Key to the World Card (plastic ticket ID) or your MagicMobile pass on your iPhone when redeeming meals from your Disney dining plan.

Since you are paying electronically, all of your meals are tracked, allowing you to easily see what credits remain. You can check on the status of your Disney dining plan in 2024, using one of three approaches:

  1. Use the My Disney Experience app.
  2. Look at your last dining receipt. The number of available credits will be printed on the bottom.
  3. Speak to a cast member at your resort concierge or guest relations desk. They can easily look them up for you.

Disney World Dining Plan 2024 and Gratuities

Interior of Saana, a table service restaurant included in the Disney Dining plan
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One thing to keep in mind if you are booking the Disney World Dining Plan is the need to leave a tip. With the exception of a few cases, the cost of gratuities is not include in the cost of your Disney dining plan. That means you will need to budget in some extra cash when eating at table service restaurants.

The 2 exceptions to this rule are Cinderella’s Royal Table and any dining show, such as the Hoop de Doo musical revue. Gratuities here are included in the dining plan but also remember that you will need to redeem 2 credits in order to utilize the Disney Dining plan at these locations.

What if I Don’t Use all of My Disney Plan Credits in a Single Day? Do Disney Dining Plan Credits Roll Over?

While Disney dining plan 2024 credits are assigned on an individual per day basis, they become part of a pool of credits that can be used at your discretion. For instance, a party of two adults taking advantage of the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan for a four-day trip will be allotted 16 quick-service meals. They could decide to enjoy these in any combination and order that they prefer, maybe three on one day and one on another.

Unused credits will roll over to the next day and are good until midnight on the day that you check out of your resort. In the example above, our fictional guests could even save all 16 credits until the last day of their trip and decide to feast around the world!

Are There any Disney World Dining Plan Tips for Maximizing My Experience?

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There are several Disney World dining plan tips that will help you make the most of your dollar. Most tips for for optimizing the dining plan involve maximizing credits.

You may have realized when reading above that there is a big discrepancy in the cost of certain snack and meal items. A small scoop of popcorn, for example, is a far cry from a side of macaroni and cheese when it comes to filling empty bellies.

If you study out the options and select carefully, it’s possible to use some of those snack credits as meals. A similar phenomenon comes into play when selecting restaurants.

While many quick-service restaurants employ similar pricing, you’ll notice that pricing is higher at some, such as Sa’tuli Canteen in Animal Kingdom. Using your meal credits here will give you a bigger bang for your buck, especially if you plan to pay for some meals out of pocket.

Likewise, we’ve found that some buffet restaurants are pricier than others. Similarly, some restaurants have higher priced entrees than others. If you plan to purchase any of your meals, using Disney Dining Plan credits for the higher cost meals will save you cash out of pocket and help to maximize the value of your Disney Dining plan in 2024.

When Do My Disney Dining Plan Meals Start and End?

Disney dining plan meals are available from the moment you check into your resort hotel until midnight on the day that you check out. However, keep in mind that credits accumulate for each night you stay. That means if you check in on Monday and out on Friday, you have four days’ worth of meal credits.

If you start using meal credits on Monday, and utilize your full allotment each day, you will be out of meal credits on Friday. If you do decide to stay until midnight, you will need to pay out of pocket for your meals. On the other hand, if you didn’t use all of your credits Monday-Thursday, these left-over points may be used until midnight on Friday.

Do I Need to Make Advanced Dining Reservations if I’m Using the Disney Dining Plan?

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When we first started going to Disney World, it was easy to walk up to a table-service kiosk and get a table. The popularity of the Disney dining plan, combined with higher park attendance, means that seats at table-service restaurants can be in short supply, depending on when you are traveling and the popularity of the restaurant.

We highly recommend that you make reservations in advance, especially if missing out on popular experiences such as character meals or Be Our Guest will ruin the trip for someone. If you change your mind about a restaurant, reservations can be cancelled via the My Disney Experience app. Just mind the cancellation policy when you book.

Many restaurants have a 2-hour cancellation policy and will charge a fee if you do not show up for your reservation. On the other hand, your full party does not need to be there in order for Disney to consider your obligation fulfilled. So, if someone gets sick or is too tired to make it to the restaurant, they can skip the meal, as long as other members of your party do attend.

Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?

Unfortunately, there is no cut and dried answer when it comes to deciding whether the Disney Dining Plan is worth it. A number of factors come into play, including:

  • The Disney Dining Plan option that you purchase
  • Where you plan to eat
  • The eating preferences of the members of your party
  • Your budget

The only way to determine if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it from a cost perspective, is to decide how many meals you plan to eat each day. For most families, the 2 meals included with the return of the Disney World Dining Plan will be sufficient, especially if you use a snack credit for a meal or bring items from home to munch for breakfast.

The majority of guests consider the dining plan to be a tremendous value when it comes to covering dining costs. In essence, the dining plan lets you eat at a variety of reastaurants for a flat rate. Travelers often take advantage of this perk to dine at establishements that may be outside their budget when paying for meals separately.

Of course, there are factors beyond cost when it comes to booking a Disney World Dining Plan. Many people love the convenience and freedom associated with the Disney Dining Plan. They can eat where they want, order the highest cost item on the menu, and never worry about the expense, because they’ve already paid it when they purchased their vacation package.

If this is your traveling style, then the Disney Dining Plan could be well worth the expense as long as you will consume at least two meals and one snack per day.

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Mother daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S.

We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother-daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S. We're sharing our experiences, tips and insights to help you more easily get out and explore the beautiful landscapes and places of this nation.


Kathleen Hesketh

Kathleen is a travel agent with Mickey World Travel, a platinum level Authorized Disney vacation planner, where she helps people discover the magic of a Disney vacation and other travel destinations. She is also the chief author and editor for Seconds to Go - a travel blog where she shares experiences from traveling the U.S. with her daughters. Kathleen has been a professional writer for more than a decade, helping businesses craft compelling content to advance organizational goals.

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