Does the Walt Disney World Dining Plan Save Any Money?

March 3, 2009 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

I took meals from three days and ran some comparisons to show whether the Disney Standard (Plus) dining plan is a good value or not.  I tried to be very moderate in my selections:  mid-range entrees, desserts, etc.   Even though you can select a snack up to $4, I used $2.79 & $3.00.  I did not include sales tax. 

Counter-service meals are all comparably priced.  I purposely chose to use the table service credits at one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner just to show how that affects the value of the dining plan.

When using the dining plan, I typically discourage using table-service/ full service restaurant credits for breakfasts in favor of lunch or dinner.  This is for two reasons:

  1. Breakfasts are the least expensive meal of the day so you get a better value using your dining credits for a lunch or dinner.  
  2. Morning is when the parks are the least crowded so I have to have you in a restaurant during low crowds and then out in the park when crowds are at their peak – I’d rather reverse this. 

The Child’s Meal plan is for children between the ages 3 – 9 years.  They must order from the children’s menus except in buffets or where meals are served “family style” so we always encourage our clients to book some of these to give the kids a break from kids meals.  Children age 10 or older are considered adults.

Cost of the Disney standard (plus) dining plan:  $39.99 per Adult / $10.99 per child per night of stay.   The dining plan is only available as part of a Magic Your Way Package for guest staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel.

Sample Day One:

Adult Lunch at Columbia Harbour House (Counter-Service at Magic Kingdom)
Anchors Aweigh sandwich:  $6.99
Soda:  $2.09
Apple Crisp: $3.59
Total: $12.67

 Children’s meal at Columbia Harbour House: $4.49

 Character Dinner at Crystal Palace
Adult meal:  $28.99
Child’s Meal:  $13.99

 + one snack per person, approx. $2.79 each.

Adult Daily total: $44.45
Dining plan value: +4.46

Child’s total:  $21.27
Dining plan value: +10.28

 Sample Day two:

Character Breakfast at Donald’s Breakfast Safari (Tusker House Restaurant  – Animal Kingdom):  Adult: $18.99 / Child: $10.99

Adult Lunch at Pizzafari (Counter Service – Animal Kingdom)
Chicken Parmesan Sandwich:  $7.19
Soda:  $2.09
Frozen Lemonade: $2.99
Total: $12.27

Children’s meal at Pizzafari: $4.49

+ one snack per person, approx. $3.00

Adult Total price: $34.98
Dining plan value:  – 5.01

Child’s total:  $18.98
Dining plan value: +7.99

 Sample Day Three: 

Adult Lunch at Coral Reef (Epcot): 
Grilled Chicken Breast with roasted parsnips:  $20.99
Lemonade:  $2.09
(Dessert) Tropical Fruit Mango Sorbet: $7.99
Meal total : $31.07

Child’s meal at Coral Reef (Epcot):  $7.59

Dinner at Yakitori House (Counter Service / Japan Pavilion – Epcot)
Chicken Ginger Salad:  $7.49
Soda:  $2.09
Ginger Cake: $3.99
Total: $13.57

Children’s meal at Yakitori House: $5.99

+ one snack per person, approx. $3.00

Adult Total price: $47.64
Dining plan value:  +7.65

Child’s total:  $16.58
Dining plan value: +5.59

 Three-Day Summary:  

Adult (or child age 10 or older) 3-Day Savings Using the Dining Plan:  $7.10
Child (Age 3 – 9)  3-Day Savings Using the Dining Plan:  $23.86


  • The dining plan many not be a good choice if you don’t think you’ll enjoy the desserts or your family always orders water. 
  • Even if the dining plan isn’t a huge savings, many people like the convenience of knowing exactly what to budget for dining. 
  • The dining plan is honored at over 100 Disney theme park and resort restaurants.  
  • Many of the Downtown Disney restaurants are not Disney-owned and may or may not participate in the dining plan.  Rainforest Cafe does not participate in the dining plan.
  • There are a few restaurants that are “Signature Dining Experiences” and require two table service credits per meal.  Most restaurants –  including most character meals – only require one table service credit per meal.  

Entry filed under: Disney Dining & Restaurants, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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