Is the Disney Dining Plan worth paying for? We did the calculations!

15th November 2018 7 min read
is the Disney dining plan worth it? We did the calculations

Ever wondered if the Disney Dining Plan is worth paying for? We have your answer!

During our most recent trip we decided to pay for the dining plan out of pocket. We booked too late for free dining but really wanted the ease of having credits and not having to worry about how much we were spending on food. So we bit the bullet and added it to our reservation.

For future bookings, we were keen to see if it was worth it financially though. Would we have spent as much if we’d chosen to just take spending money? We thought so, but as you don’t exactly get to see a list of your savings, it’s really difficult to tell.

Well, unless you’re me. Because the Florida tax system confuses me, I hung around EVERY till when we bought food and quickly wrote down the amount each of our items would have cost. Then I wrote it all down and did the calculations.

I think it’s worth mentioning here that we didn’t purposefully order the most expensive items and, to be honest, we ended up with four table and two quick service meals left on our plan. So we absolutely didn’t TRY to rinse our plan for all it was worth and I feel we made the same choices as we would have done were we paying for food as we went along. All the prices below include tax but don’t include the tip or any side and starters we ordered.

Anyway, without further ado, is the Disney Dining Plan worth paying for? Let’s find out!

Cupcake on the Disney dining plan

The cost

So first things first, how much did we pay for our plan? In total we paid £1,399, translating that at the current dollar to pound rate it equals $1,746.

We purchased the Disney Dining Plan which includes:

  • 1 x waiter service meal and dessert
  • 1 x self-service meal
  • 1 non-alcoholic / alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 selected snacks
  • Refillable resort mug

Day 1

Pretty much as soon as we arrived we headed to the food court at All Star Sports to pick up our refillable  resort mugs. You can use these to get pop, water and hot drinks from the food courts on-resort and they are valid throughout the length of your stay.

Once we unpacked we headed to magic kingdom where we both grabbed a chicken nugget and fries meal from Cosmic Rays and a coke. As we were leaving we also grabbed some treats from Main Street Bakery with some snack credits.

  • Refillable mugs – $40.83
  • 2 x 10 piece chicken nugget meals with soft drinks at Cosmic Rays – $31.44
  • Jumbo Mickey chocolate chip cookie and S’more at Main Street Bakery – $11.17

Total – $89.44

Remaining – $1,656.56

Day 2

We started our day with some breakfast in the All Star Sports food court – where we swapped our drinks for snacks – followed by a couple of massive refreshers in Starbucks, a bit of food and wine and an evening meal at Blaze Pizza.

  • Pancake, bacon and sausage, bounty platter, a side of tater tots and a Minnie Mouse cupcake – $30.28
  • Strawberry açai and very berry hibiscus at Starbucks – $10.63
  • Loaded mac and cheese at Active Eats – $5
  • Braised beef stroganoff with tiny egg noodles, wild mushroom and Boursin sauce – $5.25
  • 2 x Meat Lovers at Blaze pizza with a Peroni and a rose wine – $36.10

Total – $87.26

Remaining – $1,569.30

Day 3

Our day began with a breakfast at Be Our Guest, involved some snacking in Adventureland and finished with a lovely meal at TheBOATHOUSE where we absolutely made the worst choices for a two credit restaurant.

  • 2 x feast a la Gaston at Be Our Guest – $50
  • 1 x dole whip float and 1 x dole whip cup swirl – $10.63
  • Strawberry açai and very berry hibiscus at Starbucks – $11.27
  • Coconut shrimp and BBQ bacon burger at TheBOATHOUSE with a glass of wine and a bud light – $65.23

Total – $137.13

Remaining – $1,432.17

Day 4

We had a bit of a dining plan fail this day, paying for breakfast at Starbucks and pretzels in Baseline Taphouse out of pocket. That said, we still managed to fit in lunch at Woody’s lunchbox and dinner at Skipper Canteen.

  • Grilled cheese and totchos at Woody’s lunchbox with a bud light and an adults lemonade – $37.52
  • Fried chicken, steak, coconut bar, Lan cake, Stella and sangria – $99.05

Total – $136.57

Remaining – $1,295.60

Day 5

We started the day with some water at the End Zone food court before heading for breakfast at Crystal Palace. That kept us pretty full until the evening at Mickey’s Not So Scary where we delved into some Mexican at Pecos Bills.

  • Water at End Zone food court – $3.06
  • 2 x buffet breakfast at Crystal Palace with two soft drinks – $72.42
  • Brownie and pumpkin cupcake at End Zone food court – $10.52
  • Strawberry açai and very berry hibiscus at Starbucks – $12.34
  • Nachos and trio of tacos at Pecos Bills with two soft drinks – $32.00

Total – $130.34

Remaining – $1,165.26

Animal Kingdom on the Disney Dining plan

Day 6

We decided on breakfast at All Star Sports again today before sharing a lunch at Satu’li Canteen and eating our evening meal at Yak and Yeti – a great food day!

  • Pancake, bacon and sausage, bounty platter, a side of tater tots and a Minnie Mouse cupcake – $30.28
  • Cheeseburger pods, a soft drink and a blueberry mousse at Satu’li canteen – $20.75
  • Frozen coke – $5.29
  • Kobe burger, bhaktapur duck, fried wontons, New York cheesecake, a wine and a beer at Yak and Yeti – $94.15

Total – $150.47

Remaining – $1,014.79

Day 7

It was a day of food and wine today, we ventured to many, many booths and shared some things with Chris and Sarah – our companions for the day – but these are all the things we paid for using snack credits.

  • Cheddar cheese soup with pretzel roll (Canada) – $5
  • Le Cellier wild mushroom beef filet (Canada) – $8
  • Bratwurst (Germany) – $5.50
  • Warm Indian bread (India) – $4.75
  • Beef empanada (Islands of the Caribbean) – $5.25
  • Crispy shrimp, zucchini and sweet potato (Italy) – $8
  • 2 x kofta pockets and hummus fries (Morocco) – $17
  • Chicken in peanut sauce (Thailand) – $5
  • Caramel filled cookie, caramel s’more, caramel chocolate marshmallow at Karamell-Kuche – $14.28

Total – $72.78

Remaining – $942.01

Day 8 + 9

We were at Universal for day eight and nine so only used our dining plan for dinner at ‘Ohana on day nine.

  • Dinner at ‘Ohana including a beer and a cocktail – $131

Total – $131

Remaining – $811.01

Day 10

Today was a good food day. It started with ice cream and ended with D-luxe burger, by far one of the best tasting burgers in the world!

  • Mickey’s ice cream sandwich – $5.75
  • Spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana, cannoli, cheesecake, beer and a cocktail – $87.33
  • 2 x D-Luxe cheeseburger with one portion of regular fries, a beer and a wine – $41.52

Total – $134.60

Remaining – $676.41

Day 11

Breakfast was served in Gaston’s Tavern today, followed by lunch at All Star Sports and an absolutely phenomenal dinner at California Grill.

  • Chocolate croissant, cinnamon bun, Lefou’s Brew and a sprite at Gaston’s Tavern – $20.30
  • Popcorn near Gaston’s tavern – $5
  • Cheese flatbread, pepperoni flatbread, fries, wine and beer at End Zone Food Court – $33.10
  • Oat-fired filet of beef, ribeye stead with mac and cheese, warm chocolate cake, peach creme brule with beer and wine at California Grill – $218

Total – $276.40

Remaining – $400.01

Day 12

Another trip to Animal Kingdom today came complete with Yak and Yeti quick service and a night blossom, finished with an awful meal at Chef Artsmith’s Homecomin’.

  • Strawberry açai and very berry hibiscus at Starbucks – $11.70
  • Night blossom (non-alcoholic) – $6.58
  • Honey chicken, Kobe burger, snack size chicken fried rice, bud light, coke and a sprite – $47.46
  • 2 x arts famous fried chicken, chocolate cake, key lime pie, beer and a cocktail – $111.61

Total – $177.35

Remaining – $222.66

Day 13

Today we had a quick snack at the All Star Sports food court, lunch out at the premium outlet and an amazing evening meal at Sanaa.

  • Cherry danish and cinnamon roll at End Zone food court – $8.91
  • 2 x potjie inspired, spice trade candy bar, a beer and a cocktail – $109.69

Total – $118.16

Remaining – $104.50

Day 14

We had a lovely breakfast at Garden Grill on our last full day, followed by our usual Starbucks refresher and a nice dinner at Pecos Bills for our second Mickey’s Not So Scary.

  • Breakfast at Garden Grill – $80.94
  • Bottle of Diet Coke – $4.51
  • Strawberry açai and very berry hibiscus at Starbucks – $12.02
  • Nachos, trio of tacos, yellow rice and two soft drinks at Pecos Bills – $36.70
  • Water – $3.50
  • Bottles of coke and a milkshake – $7.17

Total – $144.84

Remaining – +$40.34

Day 15

Our final day! We had some lunch at D-Luxe burger today and also picked up a massive amount of snacks using our leftover credits which I didn’t note down the price of. Then it was time to travel home – booo.

  • 2 x cheeseburgers, 2 x fries, a bud light and a coke from D-luxe burger – $37.23

Total – $37.23

Remaining – + $77.57

So was the Disney Dining Plan worth paying for?

For us, kind of. For other people, maybe. We saved around $77.57 and had a fair few credits left over. So if we’d have used them all, we would have seen a pretty decent saving. We did have alcohol with quite a few meals though so if you’re not a drinker, you could see this negatively impacting its worth.

Overall, we’re glad we paid for it as it made everything super easy and it worked out as better value. If we were to stay onsite again, we would definitely pay for the plan.

Have you ever bought the Disney Dining Plan? Was it worth it for you?



  • Sabra Mathias 18th November 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I always get the QS service plan. I find, like you, that’s its easier. I did the math before booking, by going to all the restaurants on the website, picking the places and looking at the menu, then planning the weeks meals and snacks.. the plan made way more sense.
    Excellent article!!!!! ❤️❤️

  • Vicky (Tinker_Tales) 10th January 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Really interesting read guys. We kept all our table service receipts from the last trip to sit down and do the calculations but never got round to it!
    I think if you’re planning on spending most of your time in Disney it will mostly work out cheaper or at least about even!
    Thanks for putting in the leg work and sharing the results it’s really useful 💜

    • Walk in the Parks 15th January 2019 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Vicky! It was a bit of a challenge noting all the numbers down at the till, as all the receipts just said $0 but worth it in the end for this post – so glad you enjoyed!

  • Diane 11th January 2019 at 4:09 am

    We never buy the dining plan, always spend less out of pocket than it would have cost. We were just there end of November. 4 adults, 6 days/nights, regular plan would have been $1,800, we only spent $1,300 out of pocket and we didn’t deny ourselves anything. Had about 3 breakfasts in our room (stuff we brought from home), all other meals/snacks/drinks bought in Disney. Doesn’t make sense to me to prepay for food I don’t know if we’ll even eat. If someone needs to have their food/drinks prepaid, put the money on a Disney gift card or some kind of prepaid card and use that as your own little dining plan 🙂

    • Walk in the Parks 15th January 2019 at 2:30 pm

      This is a really interesting idea re; putting the cash on a prepaid card. As you can see from our review, we ended up with loads of credits and to be honest probably would have eaten more quick service meals if we were paying out of pocket so it would have been cheaper. That’s a lot of money for four people for six nights – love hearing other people’s experiences so thanks for sharing!

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    A thirty-something married couple from the UK.

    Walk in the Parks is a millennial travel and lifestyle blog about theme parks, tourist attractions and Disney. Created to share our adventures and help other thirty-somethings add thrill and magic to their holidays.

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