Is the Dining Plan Right for You? How to Decide

Disney dining plan
Credit: Disney/Shutterstock

The Disney Dining Plan is back! We aren’t tired of saying it yet. After three very long years, this fan-favorite offering is back.We couldn’t be happier. However, the Dining Plan isn’t suitable for everyone.  With the recent changes made to the plan, even expert Disney guests may be wondering if it is worth it. Is it right for you? Let’s take a look.With the recent changes made to the plan, even expert Disney guests may be wondering if it is worth it. Is it right for you? Let’s take a look.

Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant Entrance Sign

Credit: Disney Dining

How Much Is the Dining Plan?

The Dining Plan’s biggest draw has always been value for money. Has this changed? With pricing just released, we ran the numbers. The Quick Service Plan saw almost no change! That was surprising but welcome information this morning. The children’s Regular Dining Plan actually DECREASED (slightly) from Disney’s 2020 prices. This positively shocked us. It’s rare to see prices on anything decreased at Walt Disney World. The adult price for the Regular Dining Plan, however, saw a 20% hike in price. That stings just a bit but given that the plan has been gone for three years and, as such, not subject to price increase during that time, it honestly could have been worse. It is still less than $100/per day/per adult.   A Quick Service Plan costs $57/per adult and $23.83/per child. A Regular Dining Plan runs $94/per adult and $29.69/child.

People who love the Dining Plan usually fall into one of 2 categories: they love the convenience of it, or they love it because it saves them money. For those who love the convenience of the Dining Plan is a no-brainer. The ability to prepay for your meals essentially turns a Disney World package into an all-inclusive trip. If wondering, “Did I budget enough?” makes you twitchy, the Dining Plan is a must for you. There is no need to worry about the budget when you’ve paid for everything upfront. 

Garden grill

Credit: Disney

Does the Dining Plan save money? 

If, on the other hand, you’re the second type and the Dining Plan instead represents a value or cost savings, then that may be a different story. Expect to pay around $80 per adult for dining in a single day if you enjoy one quick service and one table service meal plus one snack per day (which is what the regular Disney Dining Plan includes). 

On the surface, it looks like the Dining Plan is not a good value for money, but there are other factors to consider. That total does not include an alcoholic beverage which is included with Dining plan meals. It also doesn’t account for Character Dining or family-style dining, which are both significantly more expensive. 

It truly depends on how you and your family eat. My family could absolutely save money with the Dining plan because food is a part of the vacation for us. We love specialty dining and character dining (we also sometimes enjoy a “grown-up drink” with a meal), and those drive up the cost.

Cocktails at Tony's Town Square Restaurant

Credit: Disney Dining

Final Thoughts 

Whether the Dining Plan is a good deal largely depends on how you eat on vacation. My family likes to go big. Food is a part of the experience when we travel to Disney World (in fact, it’s the only reason my Disney-hating husband goes). Because we like to do table service (and because we love steak and sushi), the Dining Plan has always saved us money. 

For those who think of food only as fuel and want to eat quickly to get back to the other fun things Disney has to offer, the Dining Plan isn’t always a great value. You’ve really got to sit down and decide what kind of family you are and what you like to eat. Chicken is going to cost less than beef. Plant-based options (typically) cost less than meat-based meals. Overall, the Dining Plan is a good option for some, and it’s a bad deal for others. It is not a one size fits all kind of thing. This cost breakdown and this list of inclusions, should help you make the right choice.

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.