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Best and Worst Uses of Your Disney Dining Plan

January 30, 2024

The Disney Dining Plan has returned!  The dining plan is a convenient way to prepay for your vacation meals and snacks.  

You can choose the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan (about $57.01 per adult or $23.83 per child ages 3 to 9 per night of stay) that offers 2 quick service meals and a snack or nonalcoholic beverage per night of stay.  Or you can choose the Disney Dining Plan that offers 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal, and a snack or nonalcoholic beverage per night of stay (about $94.28 per adult or $26.69 per child ages 3 to 9).  Both plans also include a resort refillable mug that guests can fill at any Disney resort quick service location.  

With the Disney Dining Plan available once again, it’s time to start planning how to use those credits!  Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst uses of the Disney Dining Plan.

Best Uses

Hollywood & Vine (Photo Credit: WDW News Today)

Character Dining 

Character dining is always a premium compared to other table service meals, so they can be a great use of a table service dining credit.  Some examples of character dining include Chef Mickey’s, Crystal Palace, Hollywood & Vine, Tusker House, and Garden Grill.  Other restaurants like ‘Ohana, Topolino’s Terrace, and Cape May Cafe are only character meals for breakfast.  In addition to the adorable character experiences, many of these restaurants are all-you-care-to-eat.

Keep in mind that not all character dining is 1 table service credit.  There are some 2-credit character dining options, which are not a great value.  This would include places like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, and lunch or dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

Fantasmic! Dining Packages

Fantasmic! is the incredible nighttime show at Hollywood Studios starring Mickey Mouse.  The show features characters from Disney animated films and comes to life with a combination of pyrotechnics, music, and projections on the water.  The show is popular, so a great way to reserve a spot in the amphitheater is to reserve a Fantasmic! dining package.  A few of the of the participating restaurants are only 1 table service credit:

  • 50s Prime Time Cafe
  • Hollywood & Vine
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Hollywood & Vine is a particularly good reservation for the package since it’s also a character meal.  For lunch and dinner, you’ll find Minnie and her friends in their seasonal attire. 

EPCOT Festival Booths

Since a lot of snack options in the parks and resorts average around $6, a great way to get more value for your snack credits is to use them at the EPCOT festival booths.  You’ll notice that some menu items have the Disney Dining Plan logo, meaning they are eligible for a snack credit.  With many festival items well over $6, they’re one of the best ways to use your snack credits.  

Quick Service Dishes Heavy on Meat or Seafood

As expected, any of the entrees that include a lot of meat or seafood are typically priced higher, which helps you get a better value out of your quick service credit.  You’ll find some good options to get more bang for your buck at places like Columbia Harbor House in the Magic Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom, and Polite Pig in Disney Springs.

Worst Uses

Appetizers from Enchanted Rose (Photo Credit: WDW News Today)


Some lounges are among the locations participating in the Disney Dining Plan.  However, they aren’t a great value since they count as a table service credit.  More specifically, an appetizer would count as your entree, and you are limited to beer, wine, or a simple cocktail as your beverage; you can’t order any specialty cocktails with the dining plan.  Although a table service credit would normally include a dessert, not every lounge serves desserts, so this is another reason that you wouldn’t get the full value of your table service credit in a lounge.  

In-Room Dining or Pizza Pick-Up

Some lesser known options for table service credits are in-room dining and pizza pick-up.  Currently, the Grand Floridian is the only resort that offers in-room dining whereas a large pizza is normally offered for pick-up at the value resorts.  Despite these options being eligible for the dining plan, they both go for 2 table service credits.  While they may be convenient options, the food is definitely not worth the same 2 table service credits that would cover dinner at a signature restaurant like Citricos, Flying Fish, or Narcoosee’s.

Bottled Water or Soda 

Sure, you could get a bottle of water or soda for your snack credit, but with free iced water at quick service locations, beverages included in your table or quick service credits, and soft drinks with your refillable resort mug, bottled drinks are poor use of a snack credit.  They typically cost less than $5, so you’re getting very little value for the credit compared to other snacks.  

If you would like to add the Disney Dining Plan to your DVC resort reservation from the DVC Rental Store, head to the DVC Rental Store Guest Portal and click “Request Dining Plan.”

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