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

I used the Disney dining plan in 2024, the first year the plan returned with some updates after a years-long absence. And I’m sharing some of the mistakes I made so you can avoid them on your own journey.

When it was announced that the Disney Dining Plan would be returning in 2024, I was excited. The last time I used the plan was in 2017, when my husband and I spent every last dollar on eating at the most magical place on Earth during our honeymoon. With the ability to order appetizers, main courses, and desserts, we left each and every restaurant full but excited. So when we planned a vacation this spring for us and our little one, we were interested to see if we would have the same experience.

Well, there have been some changes to the Disney Dining Plan since it came back, and despite knowing very well about them (I write about Disney World full time!), I still made some major mistakes. I’ll share exactly what they were, so you can avoid them on your next trip to Disney World.

Disney Dining Plan Rules in 2024

So, let’s get started with the “rules” of the Disney Dining Plan in 2024. There are two options for the plan: the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan. Both work as a prepaid dining package that you can add to your stay at Disney World. The way it works is that you receive a certain amount of “credits,” which you can then use on table service and quick service dining at Disney World (depending on which plan you purchase). Either plan covers a certain number of meals and snacks per person per day for a fixed cost, allowing guests to better budget and plan what they will spend 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 ages three and up will get the following:

  • 2 quick service meals per night of stay
  • 1 Snack or Non-Alcoholic Drink Per Night of Stay
  • 1 x refillable resort cup.

The Disney Dining Plan

Disney’s standard dining plan is more geared toward table service. Each person ages 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 Non-Alcoholic Drink Per Night of Stay
  • 1 x refillable resort cup.

Now, there are more “rules” you can read about in our complete guide. Some of them include the fact that some Restaurants count as two table-service meals per night of stay, so essentially two of your nights could go to one table service food (more on that in a moment). There are also some restaurants that do not accept the Disney Dining Plan.

With all that in mind, here are some of the top mistakes I made and that you too should avoid making when using the Disney Dining Plan in 2024.

Eat in restaurants with 2 credits

Two-credit restaurants are not a new addition to the Disney dining plan, but they are something to consider when booking the plan. Certain dining experiences, including fine dining, will cost you two table service credits instead of one. Now, from a cost perspective, this won’t always be worth it. Take, for example, our spontaneous reservation at Narcoossee’s, which counts as two credits. We had four credits to use in total, meaning this was applied to half of our table service meals in one sitting.

Each night on the standard plan costs about $98 for adults, and I’d say $60 to $70 of that amount can be allocated toward your table service meal. To make two credits worth it, you would need to spend between $120 and $140 per person on that meal. My entree, cocktail, and dessert were $92, which wasn’t worth the two credits. Even our friendly waiter mentioned that the most profitable use of the plan was to buy the $87 Surf n’ Turf, which was too much food for me. In our case, it would have made more sense to pay for the food out of pocket and use our credits elsewhere.

There are exceptions where it may be worth it. On one hand, if you’re looking to budget your meals and have specific places you want to go, of course you should do what works best for you and your group. Or, if you’re looking to get some of the more expensive items on the menu, you may end up hitting that cost criterion that makes the two credits worth it to you. But for me, I wish I had paid out of pocket for the two meals on credit and instead received two more meals from them.

How to use the breakfast meal plan

Now, let’s consider this a mistake I would make again, but wouldn’t recommend to others. The best value for money with daily table service 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 set you back $48 for adults and $30 for kids for breakfast, but lunch and dinner prices increase to $61 and $40, respectively.

Because my toddler wakes up at dawn and we spend most of our 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’re looking to get the most for your money, dinner is definitely It will be your best option. But, if, like me, you have a young child who will best enjoy an early morning with the characters, breakfast may be worth it. If you end up doing table service for both breakfast and dinner, I would recommend paying out of pocket for breakfast and using your credit for dinner instead.

Accidental use of express service credits on mobile orders

When you use the Disney Dining Plan, you can track your credits in My Disney Experience, which is incredibly helpful. This is a great way to know at any time how many snacks, quick meals, or table service credits you have left during your trip. You can also use your credits through mobile ordering, which means you can order a quick-service meal or snack and have it fully covered through your dining plan.

Using it with mobile ordering is incredibly simple and easy to use. Howeverif you have a large mobile order wherever you want some things the meal plan covers and things it doesn’t, it can get complicated, and that’s where I made my mistake. I was placing an order for five quick-service meals, along with various snacks, water bottles, and candy. I planned to use two credits for quick service meals and two snacks and exclude water bottles from the plan. The lesson here is to always check your work because we accidentally used three credits for quick service meals and some credits for snacks that we didn’t mean to. Even knowing all the rules, I made a mistake when I was distracted by a little boy trying to escape in Magic Kingdom. Happens!

So it’s a good reminder to make sure you always check what does or doesn’t count as credit when placing mobile orders so you don’t misuse credits that could be better spent elsewhere.