Can the Disney Dining Plan SAVE You Money?

by Shannon

I think a lot of people wonder whether the Dining Plans that Walt Disney World offers are actually worth the money.

I’ve personally used Dining Plans vs. Annual Passholder discount vs. Tables in Wonderland discount. I definitely believe that if you choose your reservations wisely, the dining plan is totally worth it!

I’m going to compare our reservations for this upcoming weekend and breakdown the costs for you!

Things to note: It is just Our Daughter and I traveling this weekend (one adult, and one child). We are using the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan. This is the highest tier (and most expensive) of the 3 Dining Plans Disney offers.

We will be dining at Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, and the Crystal Palace. These are all character dining restaurants that offer a buffet.

Also, to keep this simple, I’m not including any gratuity. But that of course would be an additional cost with every example.

Disney Dining Plan Cost Comparison

Out of Pocket

  • Chef Mickey’s Brunch: $49 | $30
  • 1900 Park Fare Breakfast: $43 | $26
  • Crystal Palace Dinner: $52 | $31
    • Adult Total: $144
    • Child Total: $87
    • TOTAL: $231

Annual Passholder or Disney Vacation Club Discount

  • Chef Mickey’s Brunch: $49 | $30
  • 1900 Park Fare Breakfast: $43 | $26
  • Crystal Palace Dinner: $52 | $31
    • Adult Total: $144
    • Child Total: $87
      • DISCOUNT (10%): $23.10
    • TOTAL: $207.90

Tables in Wonderland Discount

*Keep in mind this discount card costs $150 annually.

  • Chef Mickey’s Brunch: $49 | $30
  • 1900 Park Fare Breakfast: $43 | $26
  • Crystal Palace Dinner: $52 | $31
    • Adult Total: $144
    • Child Total: $87
      • DISCOUNT (20%): $46.20
    • TOTAL: $184.80

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan

Includes 3 table service meal credits per night per person.

*ALSO includes 2 snack credits per night and a refillable resort mug for each person

  • Chef Mickey’s Brunch: 1 credit | 1 credit
  • 1900 Park Fare Breakfast: 1 credit | 1 credit
  • Crystal Palace Dinner: 1 credit | 1 credit
    • Dining Plan Adult Cost: $116
    • Dining Plan Child Cost: $43
    • TOTAL: $159

PLUS keep in mind that at that rate we will ALSO have 4 snacks total between the two of us (let’s average those at $6 each x 4= $24) and 2 refillable mugs included in that rate ($19 each = $38).

AND when you use a Dining Plan, your meals all include a speciality beverage, whether that’s alcoholic or not. So that’s another additional cost that you would have to pay for out of pocket but get included in the Dining Plan!

So is the Dining Plan Worth it?

In my opinion, if your family enjoys character dining then the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan CAN save you money.

HOWEVER, 3 character meals in one day can be a lot ESPECIALLY if you’re on a very long trip — compared to our quick one night adventure where we are spreading the meals out between our two days. So keep that in mind! The middle level dining plan may be better for you! Do your research and figure out where you want to eat before deciding!

I hope this breakdown was helpful! I’m excited to share these dining experiences with you all both on Instagram and the blog! Our Daughter has never done 1900 Park Fare at breakfast time (different characters than dinner), and she hasn’t been to Crystal Palace since she was a baby!

Any questions? Leave them in the comments below!

Follow along on all of our Walt Disney World fun on Instagram @brbgoingtodisney! I share tips and tricks LIVE from the parks each week on Stories! See you there!

Don’t forget to pin this post for later!

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21 comments

Jenny August 20, 2019 - 1:06 pm

Wow, that’s a super helpful cost comparison! I only get to go to Disney World every few years (Disneyland is my home park) and I seem to forget how to use the dining plan well between every trip. Thank you!!!

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Marianne August 20, 2019 - 1:07 pm

These are great tips to navigate the Disney Dining plan. Thank you for sharing. It will come in handy as we plan our next vacation.

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Andrea August 20, 2019 - 1:16 pm

I was just speaking with my husband about doing the deluxe dining plan for a trip. I want to be able to do a tour ‘de Disney restaurants without worrying about cost. This is a great breakdown.

What are your thoughts on the table service and counter service plans? Do you find they are also a good return?

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Carrie August 20, 2019 - 1:22 pm

Love the breakdown!

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Laura DiStaulo August 20, 2019 - 1:43 pm

This is SO helpful! Thank you!

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Sarah August 20, 2019 - 1:49 pm

You somehow managed to simplify this for me! It is a great cost comparison! I may just look into the dining plan for my family on our next visit! I just hope it comes sooner rather than later! 😉

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Sarah August 20, 2019 - 1:59 pm

And now I’m hungry for Disney food!! We have purchased the dining plan our last 2 trips and it’s been amazing!!

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Theresa August 20, 2019 - 2:00 pm

Thank you for putting this together! It was incredibly helpful to see the breakdown, and will definitely help in making dining decisions on my family’s next trip!

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Valerie August 20, 2019 - 2:20 pm

So helpful! Thank you. I’m just now in the thinking about planning my Disney adventure. I was thinking about doing the dining plan but I’m realizing that my 2 (just about 3) year old wouldn’t be on it. Do you find it’s still worth it to do a dining plan if I have to buy my 2 year olds food separately? Can you add on a dining plan after you’ve booked? Trying to decide if I have to figure this out before booking a resort/park ticket package. Thank you!

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Joyce August 20, 2019 - 3:50 pm

Thanks for the breakdowns, love seeing it that way. We have done the middle dining plan and loved it. It gave us that “all inclusive feel” and we just added tip at the meals. Character dining is a must for us too!!

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Gabbi August 20, 2019 - 4:23 pm

Love the breakdown! Thank you for all the information you share both here and on Instagram it has been so helpful. I am planning our first trip ever to disneyworld for next year and I’m having a hard time decided if the dining plan will be worth it. We are a family of 5 2 adults and 3 kids ages 9,5, and 2. My husband believes it will be too much food and we won’t want to sit down to eat since everything will be new to us and we only have one day per park. But we love character dining in disneyland, my kids all enjoy it. Would you recommend the dining plan even if we only have one character meal a day or just enjoy the park since it will be our first time with quick meals in between?

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Traci August 20, 2019 - 5:10 pm

Love this! I actually just wrote a blog post detailing how the DDP never saves us money over a week-long trip. Love seeing how much savings is actually possible with the right restaurant choices!

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Linley August 20, 2019 - 7:51 pm

Your timing is impeccable 😅 my hubby and I are currently debating purchasing the Quick Service dining plan for our trip!
Does a dining plan limit the food options? I know you are “limited” to a certain amount of meals/snacks per day, but are all menu items available to choose from?
Also, would you say the quick service plan is worth it??
Thank you!!

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Elena August 20, 2019 - 9:49 pm

Absolutely loving this cost comparison! I am such a numbers and data nerd, that it makes me smile
Seeing everything so neatly laid out. Thank you for doing this research for us and sharing 😊 have a beautiful time with your sweet family!

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Embee August 20, 2019 - 11:08 pm

Great post! We just stayed for 10 nights on deluxe and although we enjoyed all the food, we found the appetizers included to be overwhelming, as well as the amount spent in tips. We felt like what the DDP saved us we ended up spending in the tips, and for that reason we wouldn’t do it again.

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Ashley August 21, 2019 - 8:23 am

Wow! This is extremely helpful information and so interesting to see the costs broken down the way you did it! Thank you as always for sharing the best information!!

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Kelsey September 26, 2019 - 8:22 pm

I love this side by side comparison. As my daughter grows I know we will utilize the dining plan, because I love character meals and so far she does too!!

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