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Disney Dining Plans are Back and Here’s How to Maximise Your Meals

  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 01 June 2023
  • Revised 17 December 2023
Disney Dining Plans are Back and Here’s How to Maximise Your Meals
  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 01 June 2023
  • Revised 17 December 2023
Disney Dining Plans are Back and Here’s How to Maximise Your Meals
  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 01 June 2023
  • Revised 17 December 2023
Much to the joy of all Disney dreamers, Walt Disney World invites you to pull up a seat and celebrate the grand return of Disney Dining Plans. Starting from 31st May 2023 and for arrivals after 9th January 2024, you can purchase two types of Dining Plans for your stay at Walt Disney World Resort. 

Traditionally loved for its convenience, budgeting ease, and wealth of dining options, we’ll look at what the Disney Dining Plans entail and how you can maximise your meals to ensure it truly is the Happiest Place on Earth.

Disney Dining Plan Options

Offered exclusively to guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel, Disney Dining Plans provides you with a selected number of meals per night of your stay - along with a snack and a Resort-Refillable Mug for beverages. There are two options to suit your preferences: the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. 

The Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan includes two Quick-Service meals (one main course and one drink each time) and a selected snack or drink per night, plus a Resort-Refillable Mug – making this plan ideal for those who want to enjoy quick and casual options on the go. The cost is £47.99 per adult and £19.99 per child per night for the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan.

The Disney Dining Plan includes one Table-Service meal and one Quick-Service meal per night, plus one snack or drink and a Resort-Refillable Mug. One main course, one dessert (at brunch, lunch and dinner) and one drink constitute a Table-Service meal.

That makes this plan perfect for guests who want to experience a blend of Quick-Service and Table-Service restaurants, giving them the freedom to slow down or opt for a quick meal instead so they can return to the magic.

What’s more, for those seeking special Character Dining and Signature Dining experiences, you may redeem your Table-Service meals at select locations throughout the parks. You’ll pay £77.99 per adult and £24.99 per child per night for the Disney Dining Plan.

Please note that your Resort-Refillable Mug is designed for unlimited cold drinks refills, tea, and coffee at Disney Resort hotels only. 

How to Maximise Every Meal with the Disney Dining Plan

Here’s our top tips to enhance your Disney dining experience by making your meals go further.

Strategic Snacking

Make the most of your daily snack with creative planning. Each night of your stay, you'll receive one valuable snack or drink, redeemable for a wide range of delectable treats ranging from popcorn to ice cream and popsicles. We’d suggest optimising your snack by selecting unique items.

For example, you could snack on a Mickey-shaped pretzel at The Lunching Pad in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, or cool off with a refreshing frozen strawberry fruit bar from any ice-cream cart in the Disney parks.

Other popular, tasty and filling snacks include a funnel cake at a cart near The American Adventure at Disney’s EPCOT or at Sleepy Hollow in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park and a Nestlé® Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Sandwich at any ice-cream carts throughout the parks.

Snack on Food not Water

You have the option to select various beverage choices such as bottled water, juice, soda, or hot beverages like tea, coffee, or hot chocolate as a snack. But to maximise the value of your snack, rather select a food item instead and quench your thirst at the water stations available throughout the park.

You can bring a filtered water bottle to refill at these stations, or if you prefer a refreshing icy drink, all Quick-Service locations offer free ice water to guests, so there’s no need to purchase water as a snack. This way, you can enjoy both a snack and a hydrated day at the park.

Roll Over Unused Meals 

If you've had a large lunch and feel too full for your next meal, you can simply let the unused meals carry over to the next day. That's the beauty of Disney Dining Plans, as it allows you the flexibility to choose when and where you want to eat.

You might decide to save that extra meal for a day filled with delicious dining experiences and magical flavours. And if you're saving your unused meals for a grand Character Dining or Signature Dining experience where you'll redeem 2 Table-Service meals per person, then use this strategy to find a satisfying meal that keeps you fuller for longer.

It's important to note that all unused meals and snacks from the Disney Dining Plan expire at midnight on the day you check out, so you have the freedom to decide how and when you want to utilise these.

Share Quick-Service Meals to Save Unused Meals

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the generous portion sizes at Walt Disney World. That means you could save your unused Table-Service meals for Character Dining or Signature Dining experiences and fill yourself up on Quick-Service favourites that are large enough to share. 

From our personal experiences, here’s where you can find the most plentiful Quick-Service meals…

First up, head over to Columbia Harbour House at Disney's Magic Kingdom. Their Trio Platter features portions of fried shrimp, chicken strips, fried fish with hushpuppies, and a large serving of fries. It's a delightful combination that will leave you fully satisfied.

Craving a meat feast? Look no further than Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in Disney's Magic Kingdom. Their portions are legendary, and you can enjoy a range of beef burgers and chicken sandwiches paired with a side of crispy french fries. A few bites of those loaded buns, and you'll be fuelled up for your next adventure.

If you're in Disney's Animal Kingdom, make a beeline for Restaurantosaurus. They serve foot-long hot dogs that are perfect for sharing. Whether you go for the classic all-beef dog or the one loaded with chilli and cheese, accompanied by a side of french fries, this sharing option is sure to quench your cravings.

Outside of the theme parks, we recommend the Earl of Sandwich in Disney Springs. This Quick-Service gem offers a variety of sandwiches packed with delicious fillings, guaranteeing that you won't go hungry.

Skip the Salad, Order the Steak

When you're at a Table-Service restaurant, go for the big-ticket items on the menu, like steak, seafood, or any speciality dish, and indulge in milkshakes or apple juice. It might sound obvious but remember that ordering these more substantial items means you'll stay fuller for longer.

This way, when the next meal rolls around, you might just need a snack to keep you going. This clever strategy saves you a Quick-Service meal, which you can put to use for another day.

Eat at Walt Disney World Resort’s More Expensive Restaurants

At first, this advice might seem counter-intuitive. However, even if you are craving a salad, it could be worth dining at an upscale restaurant to get more bang for your buck. For some meals, it’s all about the service and ambience. 

What’s more, Walt Disney World Resort offers some top-notch culinary restaurants that are high-end but not Signature Dining (so you’ll only redeem 1 meal instead of 2).

For example, you can take a seat at Biergarten Restaurant at Disney’s EPCOT, to celebrate Oktoberfest throughout the year with authentic German food and jovial music, Cape May Cafe for New-England-inspired dishes at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Liberty Tree Tavern’s speciality roast in Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Use Table-Service Meals for Character Dining

If you're all about those magical moments with your favourite Disney characters, then the Disney Dining Plan is a game-changer.

Character Dining can be a bit pricey due to the premium experience of meeting your beloved characters without the hassle of waiting in line. But with the Disney Dining Plan, you can use two Table-Service meals per person to meet and greet your beloved Disney characters without spending any extra money.

If you want to meet Disney’s classic characters of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck, then Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will not disappoint. Offering a buffet breakfast of waffles, buttermilk biscuits with gravy, and a dinner buffet of roasted pork, macaroni and cheese, we think you’ll be chuffed with the food and character appearances.

For little princesses, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in EPCOT is a dream come true as varied appearances from Snow White, Jasmine, Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty create many magical moments. While the menu features meatballs, grilled salmon, and mashed potato with gravy, the variety of princesses is well worth a visit.

O’hana’s character dining at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is hugely popular for its loveable characters of Lilo, Stitch, Mickey Mouse and Pluto in the ambient wooden setting serving a buffet-style breakfast that will fill you up for most of the day.


Treat Yourself to Signature Dining

Celebrate your special occasion in style at Walt Disney World. Whether it's a birthday, anniversary, or personal achievement, you can make it truly memorable by using 2 Table-Service meals per person from your Disney Dining Plan at one of the resort's exquisite Signature Dining restaurants.

For an enchanting and romantic dining experience by the waterfront, The Boathouse at Disney Springs is the perfect choice. Indulge in a tantalising menu featuring classic seafood dishes, succulent steaks, and an impressive selection of irresistible beverages while watching retro boats gliding across the marina.

For a truly luxurious fine dining experience, make a dinner reservation at Topolino's Terrace - Flavors of the Riviera, located at Disney's Riviera Resort.

While this is a Character Dining venue at breakfast, in the evening, you’ll enjoy Signature Dining at its finest. This restaurant offers a delightful fusion of French and Italian cuisine, meticulously prepared to please even the most discerning palates.

Feast on melt-in-your-mouth favourites like Filet Mignon or sea scallops while enjoying the picturesque view of a tranquil lake and the mesmerising EPCOT Forever fireworks show in the evening.

Top Tip - Make Dining Reservations in Advance

Walt Disney World restaurants are incredibly popular, and many of them book up quickly, especially the Character Dining Experiences and Signature Dining locations.

To secure your preferred dining options, book reservations at select restaurants throughout Walt Disney World Resort’s four parks, Disney Springs, and Disney Resort hotels on the My Disney Experience App, which allows you to reserve dining times up to 60 days in advance. 

Moreover, by planning ahead, you can maximise your dining experiences and avoid disappointment. What’s more, you should plan your meals around your park days, especially if you want to use your Table-Service meals at restaurants inside the parks.

Disney Dining Plans vs Disney Early Booking Offer

Disney’s Early Booking Offer - Welcome Back to Being You - was released earlier this year, offering dining and merchandise credit to Disney Resort hotel guests.

While Disney’s Early Booking Offer has limited availability and is subject to select arrival dates throughout the year, the Disney Dining Plan is your all-year-round ticket to dining at Walt Disney World.

Starting on 9 January 2024, the Disney Dining Plan is here to satisfy your cravings with no limits on availability. You may purchase the Disney Dining Plan alongside Disney’s Early Booking Offer to boost your meals.

Please note that Disney’s Early Booking Offer dining credits cannot be used to purchase the Disney Dining Plan.

Ready to put magic back on the menu? Browse our award-winning Walt Disney World Florida Holiday deals for 2023 & 2024 


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