There\u2019s no doubt that Disney takes the stereotype of theme park food and throws it out the window. With over 200 dining locations Across Walt Disney World Resort, nearly 100 being full table service, you can take advantage of almost any type of cuisine or craving your taste buds may have. But, it does come at a cost. Food at Walt Disney World is definitely an expense you need to consider in your Disney planning budget, since it will likely take up a large portion of your wallet. However, depending on your eating style, a Disney Dining Plan may be a good option for your family. But what is the Disney Dining Plan...and is it worth it? In general terms, what is the Disney Dining Plan? The Disney Dining Plan is a package you can purchase at a set rate per night...minimizing the guessing game when it comes to your budget. Depending on their chosen package, guests have a certain amount of dining credits they can utilize at various restaurants and food service areas through the theme parks and resorts. Credits do not expire every 24 hours, so the total allotment available is the number of nights you stay multiplied by the number of credits offered on your plan.\u00a0 (Don't worry, I\u00a0 explain credits a little further down.)\u00a0 There are some restaurants and dining experiences that require 2 table service credits. This is important to take into consideration when determining what is allotted to you. \u00a0 \tBe Our Guest ( Dinner only) \tLe Cellier (Epcot) \tThe Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios) \tTiffins Restaurant (Animal Kingdom) \tThe BOATHOUSE (Disney Springs) \tCalifornia Grill (Disney's Contemporary Resort) \tCinderella's Royal Table (Magic Kingdom) \tCitricos (Disney's Grand Floridian Resort) \tFlying Fish (Disney's Boardwalk) \tJiko - The Cooking Place (Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge) \tMonsieur Paul (Epcot) \tMorimoto Asia (Disney Springs, dinner only) \tNarcoossee's (Disney's Grand Floridian) \tPaddlefish (Disney Springs) \tSTK Orlando (Disney Springs) \tYachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club) \tHoop-Dee-Doo Revue \tSpirit of Aloha What is included with the Disney Dining Plan? There are three different tiers of the Disney Dining Plan, each with a set of provisions and limitations\u2026 as well as differing price points. The Quick Service Dining Plan is the lowest tier offered and entitles each person on the reservation: \t2 Counter Service Meals ( per night) \t2 snacks ( per night) \t1 refillable souvenir cups ( per stay) Note: Refillable souvenir mugs may only be refilled in resort dining areas. If you are spending the day in the park, fill it prior to leaving your resort and then just utilize it for water until you return to a resort for refill. The Standard Dining Plan is the plan that is typically included in free dining packages. It includes the following, per person: \u00a0 \t1 Counter-Service Meal ( per night) \t1 sit-down meal (aka table-service restaurant) (per night) \t2 snacks ( per night) \t1 refillable souvenir cups ( per stay) \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 If you want to \u2018supersize\u2019 your dining plan, then the Deluxe Dining Plan is what you end up with. With this plan, you get: \t 3 meals per night at either counter-service or table-service restaurants \t2 snacks ( per night) \t1 refillable souvenir cups ( per stay) \u00a0\u00a0 On all of the dining plans, you have a few options when it comes to drinks. \u00a0\u00a0 Guests that are under the age of 21 can select from milk or regular fountain drinks, or from specialty drinks like smoothies or shakes. Guests over the age of 21 can choose from the above options, or opt for one single-serving alcoholic beverage. This could be a mixed drink, beer or wine. A snack item can be ice cream, bottled water or a bakery treat like the fun Mickey Mouse Rice Krispie treats. You may see folks stocking up on these at the end of their trip, because they have credits to use up. Lucky for you, a Dole Whip counts as one snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan. How Do You Use the Disney Dining Plan and keep track of dining points? Look for the Disney Dining Plan logo on menus to see if the item qualifies as a snack on the Disney Dining Plan. Using your Disney Dining Plan credits is easy. Simply let the cashier or server know you will be using your plan and they will scan your MagicBand to use the credits. You can track your Disney Dining Plan spending through My Disney Experience. Once you log in, head to My Plans\u00a0and find your resort reservation. You will then be able to see your Dining Plan option. Your credits will also be tracked and reported at the bottom of your meal receipt after each use.\u00a0 Credits can actually be used at any time.\u00a0So, if you find yourself with 12 snack credits for a 6 night trip, but decide to use all 12 on 12 Rice Krispie treats at the Confectionary on Day 1... as the song goes... be my guest.\u00a0 It's important to note though, that you will just see one number indicating all of your credits for everyone in your party. So, if you have six people in your reservation and are staying for one night, then you would see that you have 12 counter service credits and 12 snack credits.\u00a0 How much does the Disney Dining Plan Cost? The quick service plan currently runs $52.50 per adult and $23.78 per child, ages 3-9. It\u2019s important to remember that these prices are per night. Thestandard Dining plan will set you back $75.49 per adult and $27.98 per child, while theDeluxe Disney Dining Plan cost is $116.25 per adult and $43.49 per child. Note: Prices can fluctuate to be even higher during peak seasons. Update: In 2020, prices will increase, which was announced along with the increases for annual passes and parking. The quick service plan will then be $55.00 for adults and $26.00 per child. The standard will be $78.01 for adults and $30.51 per child. Finally, the Deluxe plan will be $119 per adult and $47.50 per child.\u00a0 These prices can seem staggering...which leaves the question that so many future Disney guests ask\u2026 Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it? \u00a0 The short answer is\u2026 it depends. Your eating habits will largely be the determining factors as to whether or not you get your money\u2019s worth. If you drink alcohol, the dining plans can be valuable as guests 21 years or older can order one alcoholic beverage with a quick service or table meal. It also depends on what types of dining experiences you are looking for. \u00a0You will make the most of your dining credits if you are able to snag several character meals, which are the more expensive reservations. These reservations are also the ones you will want to make well in advance of your trip. For example, you will pay around $60 ( plus tax) at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for dinner. If you have the standard dining plan and enjoy a counter service lunch at around $15, plus two snacks during the day...then you\u2019ve saved money. Character meals like the Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot are usually a good use of Disney Dining Plan table service credits. My best advice is to do some research on the meals you want to reserve and calculate the costs. If you tend to eat less, skip lunch or split meals, it\u2019s likely that purchasing the Disney Dining Plan won\u2019t be a money-saver for you.\u00a0 But, you have to do some planning and legwork to really decide if it will meet your needs. Here's some suggestions: \tConsider what some of your 'must-do' reservations are and determine how much they will cost ( also, make reservations up to 180 days in advance through My Disney Experience) \tVisit the menus to those restaurants, see what meals look good and jot down some prices. Include drinks and dessert. \tTotal the cost and compare to the Dining Plans to see what...if any...would be a good value or fit. As a quick reference, consider the following average credit valuations: \tA Quick Service credit around $18 \tTable Service credit around $40 \tSnack credit around $5 This is a good gauge to go by if you are ordering from the menu and trying to maximize value. Using this guide, a character meal like the one I mentioned above at Akershus is a good choice. However, a meal at Cinderella\u2019s Royal Table that requires 2 credits is likely not the best choice since the meal could either break even at $80 or possibly cost you less if you are doing lunch. To view all menus, check out this list on All Ears.net Can Kids under three eat off the Dining Plan? No. Kids under three are not eligible to receive the Disney Dining Plan. At buffets, however, kids are able to have their own plates. Since guests two and under are free to enter the park, you also cannot purchase a Dining Plan for them, since you will not be purchasing them a ticket. For these youngest mouseketeers, having them share your meal or purchasing their own plates out of pocket will be the most budget-friendly method. Can you get the Dining Plan if you are not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort? No. You can only get part of the Dining Plan if you stay on-property at a Walt Disney World resort hotel. Plus, you must purchase the plan as part of your package by booking your room, dining plan and park tickets together directly through Disney or with the help of a Disney Vacation Planner. Are Gratuities Included in The Disney Dining Plan Gratuities are not included in the cost of the Disney Dining Plan, so you will want to consider this in your budget. Also, if you have a party of more than 6 or more, it is likely that your final bill will automatically have an 18% gratuity included.\u00a0 Some Quick Hacks To Make The Most Of Your Disney Dining Plan: \tFill those mugs! - A soda ( or Pop, depending on where you're from and as I was raised to say it... ) is about $ 4.00 at Walt Disney World. Though you cannot refill the mugs in the parks, you can refill them at any resort...even if it's not one you are staying at. So, as often as possible...fill them up.\u00a0 \tAll you can eat buffets-\u00a0All you can eat buffets like dinner at The Crystal Palace or Akershus can be good uses of credits. Breakfasts are usually cheaper, so they may not be the best value to use credits...but if you have extra credits to spend, then by all means... \tBefore letting a food item go to waste...see if you can trade- Not a dessert fan? Ask if you can trade in your dessert entitlement for a an additional side item or salad. Trades are typically up to the restaurants discretion, but it never hurts to ask and Disney aims to please! \tKeep an eye out for Free Dining offers-\u00a0A couple of times a year, Disney will have a Free Dining Offer where guests can receive a free Dining plan with certain resort reservations. Keep an eye on their promotions or connect with a Vacation Planner to see if this is the best offer for your travel needs. To view all of the Walt Disney World Restaurants that participate on the Disney Dining Plan, click here for a free downloadable resource.