Disney Dining Plans – The Cost & Getting Your Money’s Worth

Disney Desserts

 

One of the things that really bugs me about Disney’s website is that the actual prices of the Dining Plans aren’t posted in plain English. Yes, we could all sit and calculate the daily cost, but seriously, it would make life easier if they just put the price right in front of our faces. Hence the reason for this post.

Here’s the per day price breakdown…

PlanPer Adult
(10+ years)
Per Child
(3-9 years)
Quick-Service (2 QS meals, 1 Snack, 1 Mug)$41.99$16.03
Dining Plan (1 QS, 1 TS, 1 Snack, 1 Mug)$60.64$19.23
Deluxe Plan (3 Meals, 2 Snacks, 1 Mug)$109.53$29.86

Now, I’m going to give you an idea of how much each meal should cost for you to break even with your spending on meals. (This is where it gets all “mathy”.) I’m basing all prices on a 6-night, 7-day stay.

Quick Service Plan  
Adult (10+ years)Child (3-9 years)
Plan Cost$251.94 (6 nights)$96.18 (6 nights)
Minus cost of a
length-of-stay resort-
refillable mug
$17.99$17.99
Remaining$233.95$78.19
Minus cost of 6 snacks (priced at $4.50)$27.00$27.00
Remaining$206.95$51.19
Divided by 12 meals (2 meals per night)$17.24$4.26

For the Quick Service Dining Plan, each adult meal should cost $17.24 and each child meal $4.26 for you to break even.

Dining Plan  
Adult (10+ years)Child (3-9 years)
Plan Cost$363.84 (6 nights)$115.38 (6 nights)
Minus cost of a
length-of-stay resort-
refillable mug
$17.99$17.99
Remaining$345.85$97.39
Minus cost of 6 snacks (priced at $4.50)$27.00$27.00
Remaining$318.85$70.39
Minus above cost of 6 QS meals$103.44$25.56
Remaining$215.41$44.83
Divided by 6 nights for TS meals$35.90$7.47

For the Regular Dining Plan, each Adult Quick Service meal should cost $17.24, and each Table Service meal should cost $35.90. For a Child, the Quick Service meals should cost $4.26, and the Table Service meals should cost $7.47.

Deluxe Dining Plan  
Adult (10+ years)Child (3-9 years)
Plan Cost$657.18 (6 nights)$179.16 (6 nights)
Minus cost of a
length-of-stay resort-
refillable mug
$17.99$17.99
Remaining$639.19$161.17
Minus cost of 12 snacks (2 per day priced at $4.50)$54$54
Remaining$585.19$107.17
Divided by 18 meals (3 per day)$32.50$5.95

For the Deluxe Dining Plan, each Adult meal should cost $32.50, and each Child meal should cost $5.95. Granted, most people don’t eat Table Service for every meal, but the more expensive meals will more than make up for the cheaper ones.

To be honest, after doing the math I am quite pleasantly surprised at the savings we will be seeing on our Disney vacation this year!

Dining with Disney Characters

Star Wars Weekends CharactersWe all know a huge part of the Disney World experience is having a meal with our favorite Characters – my family’s must-do Character meals are Chef Mickey’s and the Crystal Palace (both for the breakfast buffets). At these meals, each Character “works the room” and stops at each table so everyone gets to meet them and take pictures and get autographs. In my opinion, this is a fantastic way to meet the Characters, avoid the lines for meet and greets, and save your FastPass+ for other things. The following is a list of all the Character dining available at Disney World along with which Characters you can expect to see…please keep in mind though that Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change without notice.

Insider Tip – When taking pictures during the character meals, be mindful of what is in the background and foreground! A cluttered table isn’t very pleasing to look at, and a window with bright daylight shining through will make the people in your pictures look very dark. 😉

1900 Park Fare

Breakfast          8:00am – 11:50am          Buffet

  • Mary Poppins
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Mad Hatter
  • Tigger
  • Winnie the Pooh

Dinner          4:00pm – 9:00pm          Buffet

  • Cinderella
  • Prince Charming
  • Lady Tremaine
  • Anastasia
  • Drizella

 

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Breakfast          8:00am – 11:10am          Buffet

  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Belle
  • Princess Aurora
  • Ariel
  • Mary Poppins

Lunch          11:55am – 3:30pm          Buffet

  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Belle
  • Princess Aurora
  • Ariel
  • Mary Poppins

Dinner          4:55pm – 8:35pm          Buffet

  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Belle
  • Princess Aurora
  • Ariel
  • Mary Poppins

 

Cape May Cafe

Breakfast          7:30am – 11:00am          Buffet

  • Goofy
  • Donald
  • Minnie Mouse

 

Chef Mickey’s

Breakfast          7:00am – 11:30am          Buffet

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Pluto
  • Donald Duck
  • Goofy

Brunch          11:35am – 2:30pm          Buffet

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Pluto
  • Donald Duck
  • Goofy

Dinner          5:00pm – 9:30pm          Buffet

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Pluto
  • Donald Duck
  • Goofy

 

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Breakfast          8:05am – 10:40am

  • Cinderella
  • Ariel
  • Aurora
  • Snow White
  • Jasmine

Lunch          11:45am – 2:40pm

  • Cinderella
  • Ariel
  • Aurora
  • Snow White
  • Jasmine

Dinner          3:50pm – 11:15pm

  • Cinderella
  • Ariel
  • Aurora
  • Snow White
  • Jasmine

 

Covington Mill (Lake Buena Vista Hilton)

Breakfast          8:30am, 9:30am

  • Minnie Mouse
  • TBA
  • TBA

 

The Crystal Palace

Breakfast          8:00am – 10:45am          Buffet

  • Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Piglet
  • Eeyore
  • Tigger

Lunch          11:30am – 2:45pm          Buffet

  • Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Piglet
  • Eeyore
  • Tigger

Dinner          3:15pm – 10:00pm          Buffet

  • Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Piglet
  • Eeyore
  • Tigger

 

The Garden Grill

Dinner          4:00pm – 8:00pm          Buffet

  • Chip
  • Dale
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Pluto

 

Garden Grove

Dinner          5:00pm – 8:30pm          Buffet

  • Rafiki (Monday and Friday)
  • Timon (Monday and Friday)
  • Goofy (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Pluto (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday)

 

Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room

Afternoon Tea          2:00pm – 5:00pm

  • Rose Petal
  • Aurora

 

Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals

Breakfast (Thursdays and Saturdays ONLY)         7:30am – 11:00am          Buffet

  • Goofy
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse

 

Hollywood & Vine

Breakfast          8:00am – 10:20am          Buffet

  • Jake
  • Sophia
  • Doc McStuffins
  • Handy Manny

Lunch          11:00am – 2:55pm          Buffet

  • Jake
  • Sophia
  • Doc McStuffins
  • Handy Manny

 

Jedi Mickey’s STAR WARS Dine at Hollywood & Vine

Dinner          4:30pm – 9:00pm          Buffet

  • Jedi Mickey
  • Princess Leia Minnie
  • Darth Vader Goofy
  • Storm Trooper Donald
  • Ewoks Chip ‘n’ Dale

 

Jedi Mickey’s STAR WARS Dine at Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic

Dinner          4:30pm – 7:00pm          Buffet

  • Jedi Mickey
  • Princess Leia Minnie
  • Darth Vader Goofy
  • Storm Trooper Donald
  • Ewoks Chip ‘n’ Dale

 

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Dinner          6:30pm          Family Style

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Goofy
  • Chip ‘n Dale

 

‘Ohana

Breakfast          7:30am – 11:00am          Buffet

  • Lilo
  • Stitch
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Pluto

 

Shutters (Disney’s Vero Beach Resort)

Breakfast (Saturday ONLY)          7:30am – 11:00am

  • Tropical Donald
  • Tropical Goofy

Dinner (Monday ONLY)          5:00pm – 9:00pm          Family Style

  • Pirate Donald
  • Pirate Goofy

 

Tusker House Restaurant

Breakfast          8:00am – 10:55am          Buffet

  • Safari Donald
  • Safari Daisy
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse or Pluto

Lunch          11:00am – 3:30pm          Buffet

  • Safari Donald
  • Safari Daisy
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse or Pluto

Dinner          4:00pm – 6:30pm          Buffet

  • Safari Donald
  • Safari Daisy
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse or Pluto

 

Watercress Cafe (Buena Vista Palace)

Breakfast (Sunday ONLY)          3:30am – 11:00am

  • Minnie Mouse
  • Goofy
  • Pluto

 

Wyndham (Lake Buena Vista)

Breakfast (Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday ONLY)          7:30am – 10:30am

  • Goofy
  • Pluto

 

Make sure you take plenty of pictures, or you may miss out on moments like this…

Kyle's First Character Interaction
Kyle’s First Character Interaction

Delightful Disney Dining Plan Updates

Cinderella's Royal TableAnyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that we try to make our Disney vacations feel as all-inclusive as possible, so we ALWAYS get a Disney Dining Plan. We enjoy not having to look at prices when we order food (and also avoid the heart-attack that some end-of-meal checks could induce!) and not having to budget for meals while we’re on vacation because to us, budgeting=work and we’re on vacation!

As you may recall, we recently wrote about some long-awaited changes to the Disney Dining Plan. Not only were some previously excluded single-serve items made to be included, but conversion of meal credits to snack credits is now allowed as well.

Well…there is more great news! And these changes go into effect this week!

Table Service

Unless you have a Deluxe, Premium, or Platinum dining plan, the Table-Service meals allowed you to choose an entree, drink and dessert. Many people have been asking for the option to substitute dessert for something a little healthier, and Disney has heard their pleas! Guests may now choose a side salad, soup or fruit plate instead of dessert! This option may not be available at all locations, and may not appear on menus as of yet, so ask your server when ordering if this option is available.

Another lovely addition is the ability to share Disney Dining Plan credits with friends and family who are not included on their dining plan. In the past, you could only use the number of credits at each meal as you had on your plan, for example, a family of 4 could only use 4 credits. We are now able to use extra credits for those visiting us while we are on vacation!

Also, for the Deluxe, Premium, and Platinum plans, adult and child credits are interchangeable. For example, if there is an adult who chooses to order from the child’s menu or vice versa, it is now an option.

Quick Service

As with the Table-Service meals, many users of the Quick-Service credits have been asking for water or something else instead of dessert with inconsistent results. This is now an option at every Quick-Service restaurant! You may choose any item designated as a snack included on the Dining Plan in place of dessert as part of your Quick-Service meal.

Something many people have long been aware of is that with Quick-Service credits, there has been a lack of designation between the child and adult credits. Disney has now made it official that they are interchangeable. The best way to take advantage of this is if you have children who don’t eat much and could split an adult meal rather than ordering 2 children’s meals – this is a great option for saving up some meal credits for days that your family might be extra hungry!

I really love that Disney is actively listening to what Guests at their parks and resorts really want! These Dining Plan rules may sound a little confusing at first, but they really make sense when you think about planning your vacation.

As usual, any questions can be posted in the comments or sent directly to me through email.

 

Making Walt Disney World Dining Reservations

Narcoossee's Lobster & Filet Mignon
Grilled Filet Mignon or Black Angus New York Strip Steakwith a Butter-poached Maine Lobster Tail at Narcoossee’s

How good does that meal look?

AMAZING, right? (So good that I am going to make a reservation for my family!)

Well, if you’d like to enjoy ANY food at Walt Disney World that isn’t at a quick-service restaurant (think counter/cafeteria service), you’ll need to make a reservation. The table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World accept reservations 180 days in advance. This holds true for people who are just stopping by the area to dine, people who are staying off-property, and people staying in one of the Resorts on Disney property. The big difference is that people who stay on-property are able to book 10 days worth of reservations at 180 days out, while everyone else can only make reservations one day at a time. Also, you can make dining reservations at your 180-day mark at 6am online or 7am over the telephone.

There are a few ways to make reservations.

  1. The My Disney Experience mobile app. While the app is great for looking up wait times and things like that, it is not very reliable for making reservations. The app can be very glitchy, so my advice would be to use the Disney website for making reservations. Also, mobile devices are way slower than computers, so there is speed to take into consideration.
  2. The Disney website. This is by far the first place you should go to make reservations. The website itself can be glitchy (their server gets overloaded at times), but it is way more reliable than the app.
  3. Over the phone. You can contact Dining Reservations at (407) 939-1947 in the U.S., 0800 16 90 748 (UK), or 1800 812 675 (IE).
  4. Disney Dining Buddy and WDW Tools. These are websites equipped with a tool to alert you when a reservation becomes available.

Chef MickeyWhat is the cancellation policy for dining reservations at Walt Disney World?

You must cancel your reservations 24 hours before the time you were to be at the restaurant, otherwise you will be charged $10 per person for not showing up. If you are going to be late, call the restaurant, sometimes they can still accommodate you. If extenuating circumstances come up and you really can’t make it, call Dining Reservations at (407) 939-1947 – they know that sometimes things happen and are pretty reasonable.

Why are there tools for getting reservations?

Because there are limited bookings available at each restaurant, and they fill up FAST. This isn’t to say that you won’t be able to enjoy any of the many table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World – you may just have to keep trying for a while. People often book more reservations than they need, then cancel all but one; some people register multiple e-mail addresses so they can book multiple restaurants at the same time until they firm up their plans; some people book a vacation and then end up cancelling before their 45 day pay-off date…reservations WILL open up, it’s just a matter of when.

How do WDW Tools and Disney Dining Buddy work?

After registering for an account, you select a specific date/date range and time/time range, and you will get an email or text alert when there is an open slot for the number in your party. You must book the reservation yourself. DO NOT try to use the My Disney Experience app or a mobile device to book after getting an alert! They are just too slow and you may miss your opportunity. Don’t worry if you happen miss an opening after getting an alert, the watches continue until you cancel them. Disney Dining Buddy costs $8 per “watch”, and WDW Tools costs either $10 per watch up to 10, or $99 for unlimited watches.

How long does it take to get an alert?

The time it takes for you to get an alert from either of the reservation watch tools varies both by the time of the year and which restaurant you are trying to book. Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest are the two most difficult reservations to get on Walt Disney World property, so it could be as long as a few months before you get an alert. Don’t give up though! People have been known to get an alert a couple of weeks before their vacation and even the same day as they would like to dine at their chosen restaurant.

Please post any additional questions in the comments! Happy dining! 🙂