What Are The Differences In The Disney Dining Plans? Dining Tips

Disney Dining Plans – What are they?

Welcome back to my Walt Disney World series; today I’m talking about Disney Dining plans. I’m so looking forward to sharing plenty of delicious WDW food snaps over on my Instagram, make sure you’re following me to keep up to date! So, before I start, let me give you the low down on what Disney Dining plans are;

Quick Service Dining – Quick Service restaurants are self-serve which don’t require reservations and are on-the-go meals that are quick and simple; but this is Disney World, so of course nothing is basic and everything is delicious! This plan allows guests to receive two quick service meals, two snacks, and one refillable resort drink mug. Each entitlement is per person, per night of your stay. Available at 50+ locations
Disney Dining Plan – A mixture of quick and table service, meaning you can sit down and relax or grab something on the go – sit down restaurants require reservations and are either buffets or full service. Disney Dining Plans allows guests to have one table service meal, one quick service meal, two snacks, and one refillable resort drink mug. Each entitlement is per person, per night of your stay. Available at 100+ locations
Deluxe Disney Dining Plan – You have to be seriously hungry to manage all this food – Deluxe Disney Dining Plan allows guests to have any combination of three meals a day (TS or QS), two snacks, and one refillable resort drink mug. Each entitlement is per person, per night of your stay. Available at 100+ locations

Disney World Dining Plans – New for 2018; Guests now have several new beverage options available as well as beer, wine and cocktails.

15 disney dining tips

How do they work?

  1. Dining plan entitlements are loaded onto your MagicBand.
  2. When making a purchase, tap in your MagicBand to the magic point.
  3. You’ll be given a receipt showing your updated meal balance.

Not all meals and snacks need to be used each day, you can redeem multiple meals or snacks until all of your entitlements have been used.

15 disney dining tips

15 Disney World Dining Tips

Ok, now onto the tips!

  • I really think one of the best money saving tips when visiting Walt Disney World is to get a dining plan for your visit. As you can see, there are varying levels of plans with enough food to keep you full all day long and you even get your character dining included which is a massive plus for us.
  • Check for deals with Free Dining in 2018 for all the family – our holiday came with a quick service dining plan which we upgraded to a Disney Dining Plan so that we could include our Character meets for free and have a sit down meal each day.
  • Character meals are a much more relaxed affair which means even the shyest of children will warm up to their favourite Disney Character during the meal with them being around. It also means you don’t have to queue for them as they will be there waiting to see you while you’re eating – saving more time for other fun around the park!
  • Plan to eat at a different time to others – booking lunch even just 30 minutes earlier can make a big difference, or eating dinner at 3pm will mean much shorter queues. (FYI, Advance Dining Reservations can be booked at 180 days before your trip when you are staying in a Disney hotel)
  • Remember that a sit down meal can also offer a welcomed break from the heat, the hustle and bustle or just get you off of your feet! Enjoy some down time and a delicious meal at the same time!
    Top Tip – Plan ahead which theme parks you will be in during each day and book restaurants there.

15 walt disney world dining tips

  • Don’t forget to tell your waiter that you’re on a dining plan – some places have extra menus for resort guests – just for a sprinkle of extra magic. Don’t forget that just because your meals are paid for the tip is not included!
  • Don’t give up trying to get a reservation even if there are no spaces – If you weren’t able to get a reservation there could still be a small chance that you might just be able to get into the restaurant you wanted by asking on the night; sometimes they have last minute cancellations and they might be able to fit you in, just check with your hotel concierge if staying in a Disney hotel, or check the My Disney Experience App
  • Book a breakfast reservation before the park opens – you’ll be the first ones there and you’ll get into the park straight after before the queues – More info is available if you want to find out how pre-park opening breakfast reservations work.
  • Research and plan the restaurants you absolutely don’t want to miss so that you can pre-book a reservation – I really want to go to the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios as it looks SO fun! Make sure you plan these bookings in with your Fast Passes so they compliment each other logistically.
  • Disney dining plans are also accepted in most restaurants in Disney Springs so consider heading down there for a relaxed meal and wander around one balmy evening.

15 walt disney world dining tips

  • If you want to go somewhere magical like Be Our Guest but you’re on a tight budget then think about just getting desserts – you get the experience but at a much lower cost.
  • Meals are as huge as they are delicious – you can often share if you want to save money and still have enough to eat! You can also save one back for later if you are staying late for the fireworks for example. I challenge anyone not to be full at the end of every day at Disney World!
  • If you’re able to, think about booking a late meal at a restaurant where the park closes earlier – this means by the time you finish the crowds to leave will have gone and you will get a little extra time in the park – to yourselves! (great for if you’re driving too as there will be no queues)
  • Often you wont need all your snack credits each day – especially if you ask for ice water over bottled or grab some snacks from the supermarket before you start, instead you can collect these up and on the last day use these at the gift shop to bring hope packaged snacks for family at home. Tip; 1 quick service meal can be swapped for 3 snacks!
  • If you’re dining in Magic Kingdom try and get your reservation just before the parade starts so you can go straight to that after, or even view it from your table!!

I hope you enjoyed my Disney World dining tips, if you’ve got any dining tips you can share, or anything you think I should know for our trip, I would love to know them – please leave me a comment below!!

15 walt disney world dining tips

15 walt disney world dining tips

Thank you to Disney for letting me use their stunning photos. If you enjoyed this, why not have a look at more from my Disney blog series.



  1. January 6, 2019 / 8:02 pm

    I love the tip of asking for iced water, I’ll try it! And if the meals are huge I’ll remember that as George doesn’t eat that much and neither do I! Great tips. We’re not booking a meal plan as staying off site for most of our trip but I do have some must have restaurants on our list. Our first two trips to Paris we had meal plans but actually preferred our 3rd trip where we relaxed it and booked character dining only. Not sure how this will transfer to Florida. Hopefully we can book them x

  2. Debbie
    December 11, 2017 / 8:44 am

    Just come back after visiting for the 15 time.
    Packages are too tying and expensive.

    Obviously only allowed to write comments agreeing with blogger

    • December 11, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      Great to hear you’ve just enjoyed your 15th visit, that’s incredible!! As a first timer I’m open to learning all the tips and tricks so I appreciate your comment. For our visit staying onsite and taking advantage of the free dining plan made sense to me as it looks like we have so many delicious options to choose from at our ease, until we can maybe get more of a feel for what’s available offsite and having the knowledge of how easy it is to get to places etc. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment 🙂

  3. Debbie
    December 11, 2017 / 8:43 am

    Just come back after visiting for the 15 time.
    Packages are too tying and expensive.

  4. Georgina Wharton
    December 10, 2017 / 11:54 pm

    Hi just got back this week dinning plan worked brilliant for us party of 6 adults n 6 children just to say that when you order quick service meals these can all be adult size meals, if the children prefer them also look for the purple and white squares that tell you what snacks you are able to get each food place has different snacks which range from fries, nachos, cookies cakes drinks bottles, milk shakes cappuccino rice Krispy mickey mouses, lollies ice cream sweets etc. The shops in resorts also have snacks different to restaurants. No gratuities are paid on quick service meals but table meals will all add gratuities to your bill. Breakfast – meal n bottle drink or meal and muffin or cookies. Child’s breakfast meal drink apple slices or cookies from kids pic n mix fridge also anyone suffering an allergy you ask to Speak to the allergy chef and they will give you a menu to choose from what is available for you and cook as required brilliant all restaurants have an allergy menu just ask. Dinner is meal and bottle drink or dessert. Gluten free zebra domes are gorgeous as are chocolate muffins, brownies, cookies food is all excellent and also pay a visit to the cake shop on main St magic kingdom.

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