The Big Mistakes I Made Using the Disney Dining Plan in 2024

by | Jun 10, 2024 | Walt Disney World Food, WDW Blog

I used the Disney Dining Plan in 2024, the first year the plan has returned with some updates after a years-long absence. And I’m sharing a few of the mistakes that I made so you can avoid them for your own trip.

When it was announced that the Disney Dining Plan would be returning in 2024, I was psyched. I had last used the plan way back in 2017, when my husband and I used up every last dollar spent eating our way around the Most Magical Place on Earth for our honeymoon. With the ability to order appetizers, entrees, and desserts, we left each and every restaurant stuffed but thrilled. So, when we planned a vacation this spring for us and our toddler, we were interested to see if we’d have the same experience.

Well, there have been some changes to the Disney Dining Plan since it’s returned, and despite knowing full and well about them going in (I do write about Disney World full time!), I still made a few major mistakes. I’ll be sharing exactly what those were, so you can avoid them for your next Disney World trip.

The Rules of the Disney Dining Plan in 2024

So, let’s start off with the “rules” for the Disney Dining Plan in 2024. There are two options for the plan: the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan. They both work as a prepaid meal package that you can add to your Disney World stay. The way it works is that you receive a certain number of “credits,” which you can then use at table service and quick service dining at Disney World (dependent on which plan you purchase). Either plan covers a certain number of meals and snacks per person per day for a set cost, allowing guests to better budget and plan what they will be spending per day. And here’s a look at the basics of what you get with each plan:

Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan

If you purchase the Quick Service Dining Plan, each person aged three and up will get the following:

  • 2 Quick Service Meals Per Night of Stay
  • 1 Snack or Non-alcoholic Beverage Per Night of Stay
  • 1 Resort Refillable Mug

The Disney Dining Plan

The standard Disney Dining Plan is more geared toward table service. Each person aged three and up will get the following:

  • 1 Quick Service Meal Per Night of Stay
  • 1 Table Service Meal Per Night of Stay
  • 1 Snack or Nonalcoholic Beverage Per Night of Stay
  • 1 Resort Refillable Mug

Now, there are more ‘rules” which you can read about in our full guide. A few of these include the fact that some restaurants count as two table service meals per night of stay, so essentially, two of your nights could go towards one table service meal (more on that in a moment). There are also some restaurants that do not accept the Disney Dining Plan.

With all that in mind, these are a few of the major mistakes I made that you should avoid doing as well when you use the Disney Dining Plan in 2024.

Eating at 2-Credit Restaurants

Two-credit restaurants aren’t a new addition to the Disney Dining Plan, but are something to very much consider when you book the plan. Certain dining experiences, including fine dining, will cost you two table service credits instead of one. Now, from a cost perspective, this isn’t always going to be worth it. Take, for example, our spur-of-the-moment booking at Narcoossee’s, which counts as two credits. We had four credits to use in total, meaning this applied for half of our table service meals in just one sitting.

Each night on the standard plan costs about $98 for adults, and I’d say about $60-$70 of that can be allotted for your table service meal. For two credits to be worth it, you’d be wanting to spend about $120 to $140 per person on that meal. My entree, cocktail, and dessert was $92, which was not worth the two credits. Even our kind server mentioned that most cost-effective use of the plan was to purchase the $87 Surf n’ Turf, which was just too much food for me. In our case, it would’ve made more sense to pay out of pocket for the meal, and use our credits elsewhere.

There are exceptions where it can be worth it. For one, if you are looking to budget your your meals and have specific spots you want to go, you should of course just do whatever works best for you and your party. Or, if you are looking to get some of the most expensive items on the menu, you may end up reaching that cost criteria that makes the two credits worth it for you. But for me, I wish we had paid out of pocket for the two credit meals and instead gotten two more meals from them.

Using the Dining Plan for Breakfast

Now, let’s count this as a mistake I would make again, but one I wouldn’t recommend to others. The best bang for your buck with your one table service a day is to use the credits for lunch or dinner, which will always be more expensive than breakfast. For example, the popular character dining experience at The Crystal Palace will cost you $48 for adults and $30 for children for breakfast, but lunch and dinner prices are bumped to $61 and $40, respectively.

Because my toddler wakes up at the crack of dawn and we got the most time in the parks first thing in the morning, we ended up using a lot of our table service credits on character dining buffets for breakfast. If you are looking to get the most for your money, dinner is definitely going to be your better option. But, if, like me, you have a young kid that will best enjoy an early morning with the characters, you may find those breakfast meals are worth it. If you end up doing table service for both breakfast and dinner, I’d recommend paying out of pocket for breakfast and instead using your credit on dinner instead.

Accidentally Using Quick Service Credits on Mobile Order

When you use the Disney Dining Plan, you can keep track of your credits on My Disney Experience, which is SO incredibly helpful. This is a great way to know at any given point how many snacks, quick-service meals, or table service credits you still have left throughout your trip. You can also use your credits through mobile order, meaning you can order a quick-service meal or snack and have it entirely covered through your dining plan.

Using it with mobile order is incredibly simple and user-friendly. However, if you have a big mobile order where you want some things covered by the dining plan and some things you don’t, it can get complicated — and that’s where I made my mistake. I was putting in an order for five quick-service meals, along with various snacks, water bottles, and treats. I planned to use two quick-service meal credits and two snacks and exclude the water bottles from using the plan. The lesson here is to always double-check your work because we accidentally used three quick-service meal credits and a few snack credits we didn’t mean to. Even knowing all the rules, I still made a mistake as I got distracted by a toddler who was trying to make a break for it in Magic Kingdom — it happens!

So it’s a good reminder to make sure you are always checking what is or isn’t counting as a credit when mobile ordering so you aren’t misusing credits that could be better spent elsewhere.

Posts by Morgan Flaherty

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Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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Authored by
Morgan Flaherty

Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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