Home » Is the Standard Disney Dining Plan Still “Worth It” in 2024?

    Is the Standard Disney Dining Plan Still “Worth It” in 2024?

    Mickey Mouse with Guests - Disney Dining Plan

    Though there are plenty of new attractions to be excited about in 2024, many Disney fans are most excited about the return of the Disney Dining Plan, which allows resort guests to pre-pay for meals in advance using a credits system that includes quick service, table service, and snack credits that can be used throughout the day. 

    In the past, this has represented a significant value for guests, as it was very easy to get the full value of the plan dining at most restaurants. It was an easy “set it and forget it” system that contributed to the stress-free atmosphere of a Walt Disney World vacation. 

    However, in 2024, the Disney Dining Plan has gotten a lot more expensive, which changes the math a little bit for 2024. So is this add-on still worth it for resort guests?

    The cost of the plan vs. the cost of food


    The standard Disney Dining Plan includes one quick service meal, one table service meal, and one snack per day. Drinks are included, including soda, coffee or tea at quick service locations, and one alcoholic drink or milkshake at table service restaurants. Finally, the plan also includes a refillable mug that can be used an unlimited amount of times at the resorts. 

    The cost is $94.28 per adult and 29.69 per child (compared to 2020 prices: Adult $78, Child $30.51). As the cost of food at Walt Disney World has risen, it is tempting to think that perhaps this is still a good value. However, let’s look at some quick math:

    • Most quick-service meals cost between $15-$25
    • Meals at table service restaurants typically cost between $35-$50 (when you include a drink and dessert, as the Disney Dining Plan does)
    • Snacks are generally under $10

    Given this, even if you max out your budget dining at restaurants like Connections Cafe, the Coral Reef Restaurant, and Plaza Inn, you’re only just breaking even, even if you refill your resort mug a few times a day. 

    The character meal cost and caution


    However, there is one place where the value of the Disney Dining Plan really kicks in: Character meals. However, not all character meals are created equal.

    Dining at the Crystal Palace, for instance, requires one table service credit, and costs $61 per adult, significantly higher than “regular” table service dining. Other locations like Garden Grill and Chef Mickey’s are similar, offering a great value for Disney Dining Plan users. 

    However, there is a caveat here, as some of the most sought-after character dining locations, including Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and Cinderella’s Royal Table,  actually cost two table service dining credits, despite being only a few dollars more. So when you divide the $67 dinner price for Akershus Royal Banquet Hall dinner by two, you get a “value” of $33.50, which means it would be pretty impossible to get the maximum value of $94 per day, even if you ordered the most expensive quick service meals and snacks in the park. 

    Planning each meal down to the last Dole whip


    It is possible to break even or come out ahead with a Disney dining plan, especially if you are choosing character meals, the priciest menu items at one-credit table service restaurants, always order either alcoholic drinks or milkshakes at dinner, and are using your refillable mug at the resort frequently. However, doing so will require some planning on your part, otherwise, you may feel like you aren’t getting the full value of the plan. 

    If you don’t mind doing a little homework first, or just enjoy not having to pay for meals (aside from tip) while on vacation, then the standard Disney Dining Plan is probably still “worth it” for you. Just make sure you look at all your options first so that you can make sure you make the best choice for your Walt Disney World trip.