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Disney World's Deluxe Dining Plan

Updated on August 18, 2014

Is the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan Right For You?

We've got all the information you need to help you decide whether or not the Disney World Deluxe Dining Plan is a good option for you. We've compared the cost of the Disney World Deluxe Meal Plan to the cost of the meals themselves for adults and children so that you can make an informed decision for your next Disney World vacation.

We'll compare four days dining - one day for each Disney World theme park - to the cost of the dining plan. You'll quickly see that I've gravitated towards meals and experiences that have a fixed price - it just makes the math easier and protects against any tendency to pick the most expensive or cheapest items on the menu to build a case for/against the dining plans.

We included one "Signature Dining Experience" in our examples below. A "Signature Dining Experience" is a restaurant that requires two table-service credits per person. Most of the Disney table-service restaurants, including most character meals, only require one meal credit per person but there are some special locations that do require two table-service credits.

Types of Disney World Meal Plans: There are three Disney World dining plans available as part of the Magic Your Way packages. The most basic plan is the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan which provides 2 quick-service meal credits and one snack credit per person (age 3 or older), per night of stay. The Disney Standard or "Plus" dining plan was the first Disney meal plan offered and it remains the most popular; it provides one quick-service meal credit, one table-service meal credit, and one snack credit per person over age 3, per night of stay. The Disney Deluxe Dining Plan provides three meal credits - either quick-service or table-service, your choice - and 2 snack credits per person, per night of stay. With all three plans, each person (age 3 or older) also receives a souvenir mug that can be refilled with soda, lemonade, coffee or tea in the resort food court for the duration of your stay.

To Qualify for a Disney Dining Package: Your package must include a room reservation and theme park admission tickets of at least one day. Everyone included in the Disney World vacation package must have the same dining plan and the plan must be purchased for the full length of the trip. Dining plans are based on the number of nights of stay within a package.

Your dining credits are not rationed by day - all of the credits are available as soon as you check into your resort and remain available until used or until 11:59PM on the day that you check out of your hotel, whichever comes first. Any unused credits will expire at the end of your check-out day. You can use 4 credits on one day and only two credits the next day, if desired. For the sake of simplicity, we used 3 meal credits and 2 snack credits per day in our examples below.

Cost of the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan: The plan's cost varies a little by season. For our comparisons, we used the lowest price available: Adult - $85.52 / Child, age 3 - 9. - $23.79 (includes sales tax) [per person, per night of stay. The price goes up a couple of dollars during peak travel times but many of the restaurants raise prices at those times too. The pattern of savings or loss will be the same, even if the prices are not exact.

All images ├é┬ęStephen Johnson

People Who May Benefit from Disney's Deluxe Dining Plan

The Disney World Deluxe Meal Plan isn't right for everyone but it might be right for you. Here are some examples of our clients who love the Deluxe dining plan.

  • People who love cruises and "All-inclusive" resorts. The Disney Deluxe Plan provides lots of food and lets you enjoy lots of wonderful dining experiences without having to pull out your wallet every time you turn around. Because you prepay for the package, you know exactly what your vacation will cost. The Deluxe Dining Plan covers the cost of your meal, non-alcoholic beverages, and desserts - it even covers sales tax. The only thing you pay is the gratuity (tip), which you can pay at the restaurant or (in most cases) can be charged to your room so that you pay it all at once.
  • People travelling with grandparents who may not be up to long days in the theme parks. One of our clients always gets the standard dining plan for his family but selects the Deluxe Dining Plan for his parents who have their own room. The grandparents enjoy a leisurely breakfast and coffee at the resort restaurant while the younger family members head out to the parks to enjoy rides first thing in the morning. The grandparents join them in the theme park and enjoy some shows and attractions before having lunch together. The grandparents can enjoy more attractions after lunch or they can return to their resort for a rest and then the whole family gets together for a nice sit-down dinner. This is a win-win for everyone - the kids and parents get to enjoy plenty of time in the park while still spending plenty of quality family time with the grandparents.
  • Families with young children who want to see lots of Disney characters but don't want to wait in long, hot lines. Disney has lots of character meals and almost all of those character meals only require one table-service meal credit per person. Character meals are the easiest way to meet your favorite Disney characters. You can get autographs and take photos with the Disney characters when they come right to your table. The deluxe dining plan can make the Disney vacation a wonderful and memorable experience for little ones who may not have the stamina to endure long days and heat in the Disney theme parks.
  • Hard working parents who deserve to relax on vacation - Sure, the quick-service meals are cheaper but you also have to order at the counter and take the food to the table yourself. This can be a real challenge when you're keeping track of kids while juggling a food tray, stroller, and all the gear that a parent has to carry. It is supposed to be a vacation, for Heaven's sake...not a Disney death march! With the Deluxe Dining Plan, you can enjoy meals that are brought to you and someone else clears the table when you're done. Sure, you're at Disney World for the kids but it is your vacation too.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Arch
Disney's Hollywood Studios Arch

Day 1: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Option 1: Dining at 3 Disney World Table-Service Restaurants

Breakfast at Kona Cafe in Disney's Polynesian Resort

- Adult: Tonga Toast meal ($12.99) + Kona-blend coffee ($2.99)

- Child: Mickey Pancakes and milk or juice ($6.09)

- Note: You cannot use your resort mug at a table-service restaurant - just at your resort's food court.

Character Lunch: Play & Dine at Hollywood & Vine

- Adult: $35.14

- Child: $19.16

Dinner: Fantasmic! Dinner Package at Mama Melrose's Italian Restaurant

- Adult: $32.99

- Child: $11.99

2 snacks per person: $3.50 + $2.99 = $6.49

Cost of meals:

- Adult: $90.60

- Child: $43.73

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: + $5.08

- Child: + $19.94

Disney's Hollywood Studios Arch
Disney's Hollywood Studios Arch

Day 1: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Option 2: Dining at 1 Quick-service Restaurant and 2 Table-Service Restaurants

Breakfast at "Everything Pop" Food Court in Disney's Pop Century Resort

- Adult: Ham & Cheese Omelet meal with coffee using resort refillable mug ($7.29)

- Child: Mickey Waffle Meal and milk or juice ($4.99)

Character Lunch: Play & Dine at Hollywood & Vine

- Adult: $35.14

- Child: $19.16

Dinner: Fantasmic! Dinner Package at Mama Melrose's Italian Restaurant

- Adult: $32.99

- Child: $11.99

2 snacks er person: $3.50 + $2.99 = $6.49

Cost of meals & snacks:

- Adult: $81.91

- Child: $42.63

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: -$3.61

- Child: + $19.94

Disney's animal Kingdom
Disney's animal Kingdom

Day 2: Animal Kingdom

Option 1: 1 Table-Service Meal & 1 Signature Dining Experience

The Animal Kingdom closes earlier than the other Disney theme parks, making this a good day to go to the Spirit of Aloha Luau - a Disney Signature Dining Experience that takes 2 table-service meal credits per person. We'll treat the character breakfast like a brunch and go with a late seating. Since there are only 2 meals scheduled, we'll use the snack credits for food, rather than drinks.

Character Breakfast: Donald's Safari Breakfast at the Tusker House Restaurant

- Adult: $24.99

- Child: 13.99

2 Snacks at $3.50 each, per person.

Dinner: Spirit of Aloha Luau - Category 2 seats (Dinner Show at Disney's Polynesian Resort)

- Adult: $62.99

- Child: $34.99

Cost of meals:

- Adult: $94.98

- Child: $55.98

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: + $9.46

- Child: + $32.19

Note: Gratuity is included for the "Spirit of Aloha" so the plan is actually saving your more than what is represented by the numbers above. If you typically tip 18%, the dining plan is saving you an additional $11.34 per adult and $6.30 per child.

Day 2: Disney's Animal Kingdom

Option 2: 1 Quick-Service Meal & 1 Signature Dining Experience

Breakfast Using Snack Credits: Animal Kingdom Lodge - Mara Food Court

- Adult: Bagel ($2.59) & Smoothie ($4.19) = $6.78

- Child: Bagel ($2.59) & Smoothie ($4.19) = $6.78

Lunch: Flame Tree Barbeque

- Adult: 1/2 Slab of St. Louis Ribs - served with baked beans & coleslaw $10.69 + Soda ($2.59) = $13.28

- Child: Baked Chicken Drumstick with grapes & Apple Juice $5.49

Dinner: Spirit of Aloha Luau - Category 2 seats (Dinner Show at Disney's Polynesian Resort)

- Adult: $62.99

- Child: $34.99

Cost of meals:

- Adult: $83.05

- Child: $47.26

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: - $2.47

- Child: + $23.47

Note: Because Gratuity is included for the "Spirit of Aloha", an adult would still save money with the plan even thought the numbers above indicate a loss. If you typically tip 18%, the dining plan is saving you an additional $11.34 per adult and $6.30 per child.

Magic Kingdom Train Station at Disney World
Magic Kingdom Train Station at Disney World

Day 3: Magic Kingdom

Option 1: 3 Disney World Table-Service Meals

Character Breakfast: Crystal Palace

- Adult: $26.99

- Child: $14.99

Lunch: Plaza Restaurant

- Adult: Chicken sandwich ($12.99) + Iced Tea ($2.99) + Dessert ($5.49) = $21.47

- Child: $8.59

Dinner: Ohana at Polynesian Resort

- Adult: $32.99

- Child: $15.99

2 snacks per person: $3.00 per snack = $6.00

Cost of meals:

- Adult: $93.86

- Child: $45.57

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: + $8.84

- Child: + $21.78

Mickey & Minnie Mouse Waffles at Disney World
Mickey & Minnie Mouse Waffles at Disney World

Day 3: Magic Kingdom

Option 2: 2 Table-service meals + 1 Quick-service Meal

Quick-Service Breakfast: Gasparilla Grill and Games Food Court at the Grand Floridian Resort

- Adult: Scrambled egg on a fresh croissant with choice of bacon, sausage or cheese. Side of potatoes $5.99

- Child: Scrambled eggs and choice of bacon or sausage $4.39

Lunch: Plaza Restaurant

- Adult: Chicken sandwich ($12.99) + Iced Tea ($2.99) + Dessert ($5.49) = $21.47

- Child: $8.59

Dinner: Ohana at Polynesian Resort

- Adult: $32.99

- Child: $15.99

2 snacks per person: $3.00 per snack = $6.00

Cost of meals:

- Adult: $66.45

- Child: $34.97

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: - $19.07 (loss)

- Child: + $11.18

Cinderella Topiary at Epcot in Disney World
Cinderella Topiary at Epcot in Disney World

Day 4: Epcot

Option 1: 3 Table-Service Meals

Princess Storybook Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

- Adult: $39.40

- Child: $23.42

Lunch: Chefs de France

- Adult: Prix Fixe 3 Courses Menu $23.99

- Child: $10.50

Dinner: The Garden Grill

- Adult: $34.99

- Child: $16.99

2 snacks per person: $2.00 per snack = $4.00

Cost of meals:

- Adult: $102.38

- Child: $54.91

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: + $16.86

- Child: + $31.12

Spaceship Eart at Epcot in Disney World
Spaceship Eart at Epcot in Disney World

Day 4: Epcot

Option 2: 2 Quick-Service Meals & 1 Table-Service Meal

Quick-Service Breakfast at "End Zone" Food Court in Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

- Adult: Strawberry Pancakes & Bacon ($7.29) + beverage in resort mug

- Child: French Toast, sausage & fruit Meal and milk or juice ($4.99)

Quick-Service Lunch: La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot

- Adult: Tacos de Pollo ($10.99) & Pink Lemonade ($2.89)

- Child: Cheese Empanada served with tortilla chips and fruit $7.25

Table-service Dinner: Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot

- Adult: $39.40

- Child: $19.16

2 snacks er person: $3.50 + $2.99 = $6.49

Cost of meals & snacks:

- Adult: $67.06

- Child: $37.89

Cost of Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: $85.52

- Child: $23.79

Benefit or loss by using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan:

- Adult: -$18.46

- Child: + $14.10

Conclusions about the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

Cost / Value of the Deluxe Disney Meal Plan

Here are some 4-day totals from the examples above::

Option 1 - all Table-Service Restaurants:

- An adult (age 10 or older) would save $39.74 using the Disney Deluxe Meal Plan

- A child (age 3 - 9) would save $105.03 using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

Option 2 - Quick Service & Table-Service Restaurants:

- An adult (age 10 or older) would lose $43.61 using the Disney Deluxe Meal Plan

- A child (age 3 - 9) would save $38.69 using the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

Some conclusions:

-- Children, ages 3 - 9, will almost always come out ahead with a Disney Dining Plan.

-- Adults should use meal credits at table-service restaurants. The Deluxe Dining Plan isn't a good value for those who will eat several quick-service meals over the course of their vacation.

-- People who enjoy dinner shows, character meals, and good food can reasonably expect to save money using the Deluxe Dining Plan. The fixed price of the plan will let you budget accurately so that you can enjoy dining as much as you enjoy the rest of your Disney vacation without having to worry about overspending.

TIP: Don't let those snack credits go to waste!

Some folks end up with snack credits left at the end of their vacation. You don't have to let them go to waste - head to your resort gift shop or food court and get Disney chips, candy, pretzels and similar treats to take home with you. It is a fun & tasty way to prompt some great vacation memories.

What Do You Think About Disney's Deluxe Dining Plan?

Is the Disney Deluxe Meal Plan a Good Option for You?

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The Walt Disney World Trivia Book: Secrets, History & Fun Facts Behind the Magic (Volume 1)
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    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      What a great way to break out the cost of Disney World's deluxe dining plan! I have a friend who swears by using the dining plans, but I've never tried one.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      I've been a couple of times. Just love it.