8 Things Walt Disney World Insiders Love About The Disney Dining Plan

Starbucks Disney
Credit: Disney Dining

The Disney Dining Plan divides Walt Disney World fans. A lot of regular guests love the plan for its convenience– saying it makes vacation feel all inclusive when you can just scan your MagicBand and the bill goes away. Other guests think the Dining Plan is confusing and doesn’t fully suit their dining needs.

The truth is, the Dining Plan is not right for every family on every vacation. While my family and I love the Dining Plan, we don’t use it on every trip. If you’re considering whether the Disney Dining Plan is right for your next Walt Disney World vacation, here are eight things that Disney fans love about it.

8. Budget

Opting to purchase the Dining Plan can seem like a huge cost. But think about what you’re getting for the money. Then do some research and consider what you would be for the same food off the plan. One of the absolute best perks of the Dining Plan is knowing how much your food will cost before you leave for vacation. If you booked your trip far out enough, you’ll even be able to make payments on your bill every month. The Dining Plan takes a lot of the guesswork out of your vacation budget. However, the Dining Plan does not include tips at table service, so you will need to plan for that.

7. Free Dining

Who doesn’t love to eat for free? My family loves the free dining promotion! Occasionally, Walt Disney World will offer free dining when you purchase an otherwise regular priced vacation. Typically, it happens during slow times of the year, like autumn. It’s a win-win, free dining and low crowd levels!

6. Lots of Food

The Disney Dining Plan gives guests tons of food. It may not seem like much, especially on the plans that have two meal credits per day. But trust me, you won’t go hungry. The portions are ginormous! At lunch and dinner, you get an entree, side, drink, and a dessert (at breakfast, you don’t get dessert). And with the large portions, you’ll leave every table feeling full.

5. Opportunity to Try New Things

The first time my family and I used the Dining Plan, we tried so many new restaurants, most of which have become our new favorites and a vacation tradition (cough, Sanaa, cough). Before we were on the Dining Plan, we ate mostly at counter service restaurants, and occasionally Biergarten. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with those choices. But we were missing out on so much. Since first using the Dining Plan, we’ve tried some fantastic restaurants. Don’t be afraid to try new places and food!

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4. Starbucks is a Snack

Just about everything on the menu at Starbucks in Walt Disney World counts as a snack credit. And with 6 locations in the theme parks and Disney Springs, it’s easier than ever to get your caffeine fix. To get the most out of your snack credit, order the largest size (venti) with an extra shot and flavor syrup! For us coffeeholics, being able to use a snack credit for some coffee is a major plus!

3. Alcohol Specialty Beverages Are Included

Alcohol is included in the Dining Plans. The great news is you don’t have to get an alcoholic beverage to enjoy this perk. Disney allows for “specialty beverages” which do include alcoholic drinks for guests 21 and up, or non-alcoholic specialty beverages like milkshakes for guests of any age.

2. Other Discounts Still Applicable

I love that I can still use the Tables in Wonderland discount on food not covered by the Dining Plan, like appetizers and alcohol. That way, we can order the Na’an Bread at Sanaa and a Guinness at Rose And Crown and still save some money! It’s the best of both worlds.

1. Refillable Mugs Aren’t the “Drink”

If you’re using a counter service credit at a resort, you are entitled to a beverage beyond your RapidFill mug. No, the RapidFill mug is not your drink. Basically, you can get double the beverage at counter service locations within the resort hotels. Grab a bottle of soda, juice, or water from the refrigerators and keep it for later, like after a long day in the park. Getting twice the beverage options means the resort quick service restaurants are a great value!

What do you think of the Disney Dining Plan? Have you ever used it? What is your favorite aspect of the different plans?

About Robin Swanson

Robin’s Disney journey began with Beauty and the Beast bedsheets, a Jasmine dress up set, and a purring Nala plush. As a child in the 1990s, the renaissance and classic animations alike captivated her imagination. In 2008, Robin visited Walt Disney World for the first time, and the obsession really took hold. Since then, Robin has enjoyed visiting the Happiest Place on Earth many more times. She lives in the Chicago suburbs where she is wrapping up a Masters in writing. When not at Disney World, Robin enjoys researching fairytales, eating ice cream, Netflix binging, reading and, of course, planning the next Walt Disney World vacation!