Opinions abound (pretty strongly, too!) about whether DDP is worth it, but before you can have an opinion on it you need to know… what is the DDP, anyway?!
DDP stands for Disney Dining Plan. Cool. The DDP is a prepaid meal plan that allows you to use credits instead of cash to purchase food & drink while on your vacation. Actually, the DDP is one of three different plans: Quick Service, Table Service, and Deluxe. The following table has 2018 prices per person per night, valid from January 1 to December 31, 2018.
|Adults (10 & older)||Children (3-9)|
|Quick Service DDP||$52.50||$21.74|
|Table Service DDP||$75.49||$25.75|
There are some rules to DDP. First and foremost, you must be staying at a Disney resort under a room & ticket package purchased directly from Disney (exception below). That might be changing down the line, but as of this writing, DDP is still a Disney resort guest exclusive.
The exception to the package rule is Disney Vacation Club. If you are a DVC member and book your stay using DVC points, you can add DDP to your reservation without buying tickets.
In addition, this is an all or none deal: if one person in your reservation gets DDP, everyone in the reservation has to. You all have to have the same plan, for the entire stay. The plans are tied to the nights of your stay. You might be planning a 4-night/5-day stay (for example: arriving very early Monday morning and leaving very late Friday), but you’re still only going to get 4 “days” worth of credits.
So, what “credits” are there and what do you get on the different plans?
|Refillable Mug||Snack||Quick Service||Table Service|
The refillable mug can be found in the food court or gift shop of your hotel, and only works at the hotels – you can’t refill it in the parks. You’ll be able to fill the mug in the food court or by the pools (if a snack stand is available), almost unlimited times. There is a time limit between refills, which honestly I would never have found on my own… you must wait 2 minutes between refills (and I just can’t chug an entire mug of soda in 2 minutes, but Michael can, and has – he is the one that first discovered this wait time). The mugs are available to purchase without DDP. Currently they are $18.99, and work for the entire duration of your stay.
A Quick Service, also commonly referred to as “counter service”, credit is typically redeemed for one combo meal (an entree and a side) and a beverage – including an alcoholic beverage where available (yeah, that’s new and pretty exciting)! You may also redeem a QS credit for 3 snacks at a time, though – which is very handy during Food & Wine, I promise!
A Table Service, or “sit down”, credit gets you an entree, dessert, and beverage – including, again, one alcoholic beverage where available. One thing I did not know until recently, and am pretty excited about, is that you are allowed to skip the dessert and instead order a side salad or cup of soup with your entree.
Some TS restaurants are considered Signature and require 2 TS credits per meal. You may also use 2 TS credits for dinner shows, room service, or in-room pizza delivery.
And a snack is a pretty expansive category. Most items at the kiosks around the parks, such as Mickey pretzels or Mickey ice cream bars or a bottle of water or soda, are considered snacks. In addition, side items at the restaurants are now considered credits. Most snacks will be marked with a purple and white DDP symbol (in the bottom right corner of this birthday cake bread pudding picture). If you are ever uncertain, just ask! All plans give you 2 snack credits per night.
The QS DDP and TS DDP are pretty self explanatory. You get 2 QS credits and no TS credits with the QS plan, and you get 1 QS credit & 1 TS credit with the TS plan.
The Deluxe DDP is a little different. You still get the 2 snacks, but then you just get 3 “anything” credits per night. You can use those credits for 3 QS meals, or for 3 TS meals, or for 2 TS and 1 QS meals, or however you want. This plan offers a ton of flexibility but it is also pretty pricey and is way more food than my family would ever eat. I have friends who always do this one though!
So, I hope this will help you decide if DDP is something you should go for or not. I tried to stay very neutral and just relay the facts… because you can read Heather’s thoughts or my opinions on DDP elsewhere!