ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Saving Money and Walt Disney World Dining Plans

Updated on May 4, 2011

Walt Disney World says that you can save up to 35% using a Walt Disney World Dining Plan.  Does a Walt Disney World dining plan save you money?  Is buying a Walt Disney World dining plan a real money saving tip? Let’s look at the various Walt Disney World dining plans and see if they are worth purchasing.

Disney Dining Plan Basics

Disney has three different dining plans: The Magic Your Way Quick Service, The Magic Your Way Plus Dining, and The Magic Your Way Deluxe Dining. To purchase any dining plan, you must purchase a Magic Your Way package (Resort Room plus Tickets). The exception to this if you are an Annual Pass holder; then all you need to do is stay at a Walt Disney World Resort.

Each person staying on your resort reservation ages 3 and up must be on the same dining plan.  Credits, also called entitlements, are valid only at participating restaurants.  Children ages 3 – 9 must order off the child’s menu if one is available.  Credits expire at midnight on the day that you check out.  Signature restaurants require two credits for each meal.  Tips are not included on your Disney Dining Plan.  Credits can be used at anytime, in any combination, throughout your Walt Disney World vacation.

Each dining plan comes with different options and entitlements.

  • The quick service dining plan gives you two meals at a quick service restaurant and two snack credits for each night that you stay in a Walt Disney World Resort.  Each person in your party will also receive one refillable mug for use at your resort during your Walt Disney World Vacation. 
  • The basic dining plan (Magic Your Way Plus Dining) gives you one meal at a quick service restaurant, one meal at a table service restaurant, and one snack credit for every night you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort. 
  • The deluxe dining plan gives you three meal credits at any restaurant, two snack credits, and one refillable mug per person in your party for every night that you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort.  Additionally, you will receive one appetizer per person for each table service meal.

What Counts as a meal?

Quick service meals: Breakfast is one entrée (or combo) and one non-alcoholic drink.  Lunch or dinner is one entrée or combo meal, one non-alcoholic drink and one dessert.

Table Service meals: Breakfast is one entrée or buffet meal and one non-alcoholic drink, or a buffet meal.  A lunch or dinner meal is one entrée, one non-alcoholic, and one dessert or a buffet meal.

But does any of this translate to savings at Walt Disney World?

Disney states the quick service plan can save you up to 15%, the basic dining plan can save you up to 20% during peak season and 25% during slower times of the year, and the deluxe dining plan can save you up to 35%.  Of course, this is CAN save you UP TO these percentages.  Chances are likely you won’t save this amount of money.

In order to save this amount of money, you would have to eat at the most expensive restaurants and order the highest priced things. If you do this, you might not get to eat at the places you like or try the food you would truly want to order. Even if you were to do this, it would increase the amount of your would-be bill, and cause you to need to leave larger tips. 15%-20% on a $200 tab is more money than a $130 tab. As a matter of fact, tipping out a conservative 15% on those two amounts is $19.50 v. $30, for an increase of $10.50. That means whatever you saved on your tab was just decreased by $10.50.

You could also not eat at any signature restaurant because that would double your credit usage.  And if on the deluxe plan, there should be no eating at any quick service restaurant at Walt Disney World.

Next, would you really eat like that?  Would you, as a family of four, order four appetizers before your meal?  Would you then eat an entire meal and have four desserts?  The savings is based on ordering all this food.  Or would it be more likely that the table would order one or no appetizers if left to your own devices?  Would you skip dessert at the restaurant and grab a Mickey Bar later?  Entrées at Walt Disney World tend to be large and filling.

Then, take into account if you have a 10 – 12 year old child.  By Disney standards, this is an adult for the dining plans.  Would your 10 year old prefer a hamburger or lobster bisque with Pan Roasted Jumbo Sea Scallops?  If you are ordering out of pocket, your child is welcome (or any adult for that matter) to order off the child’s menu.  On the other hand, if you have a child who prefers something beyond fast food, he/she can’t order it because most, albeit not all, Walt Disney World restaurants do not offer anything beyond fast food type of foods on their children’s menu.

Will you use every credit?  Are you going to eat 2 snacks every day?  Even when you are eating all that food?  Each unused credit is money lost.  Each unused snack credit is a loss of $2.50.

In summary...

It varies from person to person if the dining plans translate to savings at Walt Disney World.  How you vacation and how you eat will determine the best value of Disney dining plans for you.  Not to mention if you are eligible for any other dining discounts, like a annual passholder discount, Disney Vacation Club discount, or Tables in Wonderland discount.  While chances are the dining plans are not a money saving tip for Walt Disney World, everyone needs to run the numbers for their party.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)