Should a DVC Member Buy the Disney Dining Plan in 2024?

In three months, Walt Disney World will finally offer the Disney Dining Plan again. While this option technically won’t become available until January 9th, Disney Vacation Club members can purchase now for qualifying visits. 

Should a DVC member buy the Disney Dining Plan in 2024? Let’s evaluate the pros and cons here. 

The Disney Dining Plan Comes in Two Forms

During the four-year absence of the Disney Dining Plan, park officials have recognized the program’s imperfections. Disney has simplified the process for 2024.

The dining plan comes in two forms. You can think of one as Quick-Service-only, while the other is a half-and-half option. And you can tell which is which by their names.

The Quick-Service Dining Plan provides guests with: 

  • 2 Quick-Service meals per person per night
  • 1 Snack per person per night
  • 1 Resort Refillable Mug per person per stay

The Disney Dining Plan entitles you to:

  • 1 Quick-Service meal per person per night
  • 1 Table Service meal per person per night
  • 1 Snack per person per night
  • 1 Resort Refillable Mug per person per stay

So, your choice of which one to pick is easier than ever. Those of you who prefer to eat a handful of Table Service meals during your trip should consider the Disney Dining Plan. Anyone who prefers to grab and go should choose the Quick-Service Dining Plan instead.

The Disney Dining Plan Isn’t Cheap 

One of the biggest debates about the Disney Dining Plan stems from its value. Some people feel that the only way to get their money’s worth on a dining plan is to eat an excessive amount of food. 

Again, Disney streamlined its offerings for 2024 to address that concern. As an example, the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, my preferred choice, is no longer even an option. 

Disney has also reduced the amount of food you’ll get per meal, although that’s a subtle change across the parks. It happened independent of the dining plan as one of former CEO Bob Chapek’s cost-cutting moves.

Still, the changes next year lead to an inescapable conclusion. You’re paying more for less with the 2024 version of the Disney Dining Plan, especially if you get the Quick-Service version. Remember that it no longer comes with dessert.

Despite this fact, Disney has raised the price of the Quick-Service Dining Plan to $57.01 plus tax for guests aged ten and up. The meal cost for children aged three to nine is $23.83 each plus tax. 

Meanwhile, the Disney Dining Plan has increased to a whopping $94.28 plus tax for adults. Disney doesn’t charge children a significant amount more with the better version of the dining plan, though. The price is $29.69 plus tax for kids. At least that part is reasonable.

Overall, the price increases reflect the overall trend at Disney parks. Virtually every Disney restaurant has raised prices across the board. The 2024 versions of the dining plan reflect this new, pricier era for theme park visits.

Should a DVC Member Buy the Disney Dining Plan? 

I’ll start by admitting that I will buy it. Personally, when I’m at Disney, I don’t want to think about how much anything costs. I want to relax and lay down my burdens. 

So, the dining plan works well for me in that I pay an entitlement for a meal rather than, say, $120 for a character meal. That’s a stress reliever for me. 

Even allowing for that part, I cannot in good conscience recommend the Disney Dining Plan to DVC members in 2024. I say this because I know that many of you receive Disney discounts at restaurants. 

Disney provides 10-20 percent off meals for annual pass holders, some DVC members, and other qualifying Disney fans. The previous savings for the DVC program simply aren’t there anymore. Disney has squeezed every penny and thereby negated the value of the program, in my opinion.

When people use the dining plan, they often face compromises with their meals anyway. It’s become that much more restrictive now that Disney has changed the number of entitlements for a couple of its character meals. 

At this point, I believe that the two groups who find the most value with the Disney Dining Plan fall into two buckets. Families with young children can do well because children under nine get a good deal on their meals. 

Meanwhile, anyone willing to do the math can find ways to maximize the value of the dining plan. It helps if they’re drinkers because you can order alcoholic beverages under the current system. 

Personally, that’s more math than I want to do when I’m on vacation, and I’m saying that as someone whose numbers crunching has been cited in the trades for decades now. It’s a lot of work to save little money. 

I just don’t see the value in the current Disney Dining Plan. It still has too much Bob Chapek Disney penny-pinching to provide value. But I’m a hypocrite because I’ll buy it anyway. 

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