5 Crucial Tips Disney Won’t Tell You When Using The Disney Dining Plan

After a four-year break, news that Disney Dining Plans would once again be available for Guests visiting Walt Disney World was greatly received by Disney guests. The Disney Dining Plan will return to the Walt Disney World Resort on January 9, 2024. Guests arriving on or after can add the Disney Dining Plan or the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan to their Disney vacation package.

Disney Dining Plan 2024
Credit: Orland Date Night Guide/Disney


Adding a Disney Dining Plan to your vacation can seriously enhance your Disney experience. Speaking from experience, taking a Disney vacation with a Disney Dining Plan has the following benefits:

  • You can reduce the cash you carry around the Disney parks, as the Disney Dining Plan covers your meals.
  • Purchasing the Disney Dining Plan means you have already budgeted for most of your food before traveling.
  • You can indulge in various dining experiences throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, including Disney character dining, fine and signature dining, dinner shows, family-style dining, and more.
  • When using the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll probably enjoy more food than without it.

However, when using a Disney Dining Plan, some essential tips can help you get the most out of it. Here are the crucial tips Disney won’t tell you when taking a Disney vacation with the Disney Dining Plan.

Limit Signature & Fine Dining Experiences

While it can be tempting to experience fine and signature dining experiences at Walt Disney World, we recommend doing so cautiously. Fine and signature dining experiences are perfect for celebrating a special occasion. You will find them in a Disney Park and Disney Resort hotel. However, you must use two full-service meal credits per person. Therefore, we recommend limiting your signature or fine dining experiences when using the Disney Dining Plan. One signature or fine dining experience per Disney vacation will work well.

Disney restaurants and dining experiences that use two dining credits are:

Topolino's Terrace Characters, Disney's Riviera Resort
Credit: V Mills
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in EPCOT World Showcase
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom Park
  • Storybook Dining at Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Citricos and Narcoossee’s in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Paleo by Jose Andres in Disney Springs
  • Tiffins in Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • The BOATHOUSE in Disney Springs
  • Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Le Cellier in EPCOT World Showcase
  • Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs
  • Paddlefish in Disney Springs
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue, Disney's Fort Wilderness
Credit: Disney

Disney Character Dining is a Must

Disney character dining experiences are excellent value for money when using the Disney Dining Plan. Most character dining restaurants in Lake Buena Vista use one table service credit per person. Using your credits for Disney character dining will help you to maximize the amount of credit you redeem while using the Disney Dining Plan. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner experiences are available when dining with Disney characters. Consider dining in one of the following restaurants when using the Disney Dining Plan during your Disney vacation:

  • Cape May Cafe in Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom Park
  • Garden Grill in EPCOT
Garden Grill Characters, EPCOT
Credit: V Mills
  • Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • ‘Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Tusker House Characters, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: V Mills

We recommend you secure an advanced dining reservation for any character dining experience you wish to include in your Disney vacation.

Consider how you use Snack Credits

Snack credits are included in both dining plans offered by The Walt Disney Company in Lake Buena Vista. You can use a snack credit to purchase ice cream, cupcakes, beverages, candy, and more. Careful planning ahead of your Disney vacation can help you maximize the value of the snacks you redeem on your Dining Plan. If you plan on getting the most value, then you’ll want to avoid using your snack credits on bottled water and beverages. Stay hydrated in a Disney theme park by taking advantage of complimentary iced water that is available at all quick-service restaurants. We recommend using your snack credits on large fountain drinks if you need a soda. However, where possible, redeem them on snacks and specialty beverages instead.

Disney Snacks, Walt Disney World
Credit: V Mills

Don’t Waste Spare Quick-Service Credits

When using the Disney Dining Plan, you may struggle to use all of your quick-service credits during your Disney vacation. The great news is that they don’t need to go to waste. You can redeem three snacks for one quick-service dining credit if you wish. We like to visit Goofy’s Candy Co. in Disney Springs or Main Street Confectionery in Magic Kingdom Park on our last day to use the remaining quick-service credits. Doing so allows you to stock up on Disney treats and candy to take home with you. They also make excellent gifts for your friends and family back home. Alternatively, keep them and enjoy them when the Disney blues set in.

Budget for Gratuities

When using the Disney Dining Plan, you can dine in full-service restaurants in the Walt Disney World Resort. While the Dining Plan covers your meals and beverages, you must cover gratuities yourself. You can do so by charging them to your Magic Band or using cash or a card at the end of your dining experience. With this in mind, you’ll want to ensure you budget for gratuities during your Disney trip. To help do so, we recommend looking at the menu prices of each restaurant you wish to secure an advanced dining reservation.

Teppan Edo Dining Experience, EPCOT
Credit: V Mills

Are you planning on using the Disney Dining Plan during your 2024 Disney vacation? Consider these tips when planning your dining experiences before making your advance dining reservations 60 days before your arrival date.

Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!

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