4 Clues to the Future of the Disney Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan has been unavailable since the Disney World parks shut down in 2020, and we’re still wondering what is going on with the program.

Columbia Harbour House spread

In 2021, Disney said that the Dining Plan would be returning at a later date, but gave no indication as to when that could be. Now, it’s been over a year since that announcement was made, and we’re curious about its future. We’ve broken down if the dining plan will come back this year, but it’s not looking so promising now that we’re already over halfway through 2022. So, let’s look at some of the clues about the future of the Disney Dining Plan.

Menus

Even though the Dining Plan hasn’t been available in Disney World since early 2020, we’ve seen the symbols on a ton of menus, especially during EPCOT festivals.

See them?

They were on the menus for Food and Wine Festival in 2020…

Brazil Menu in 2020

…and were even on the Flower and Garden Festival menus in 2022!

Flavor Full Kitchen 2022

We thought maybe Disney was doing this to have the menus ready to go whenever they decided to restart the Dining Plan, but two years is a pretty long time!

Close-up of Disney Dining Plan Snack Icon

Another reason they could be doing this is to keep the Dining Plan symbol in people’s minds and on their radars. In other words, keep it recognizable so the Dining Plan is still in demand when it returns.

Click here to see the menus for EPCOT’s 2022 Food and Wine Festival!

Mobile Order

It’s not just the physical menus we’ve seen with indications for the Dining Plan, but Mobile Order menus have them too! Not all of them, but we have seen snack credit designations on individual items.

©Disney

But, there’s not a lot of consistency here. We see it on random menus and we’ve seen new menu items get added on Mobile Order that don’t have the designation.

Casey’s Corner spread

You would think that if Disney wanted to keep the symbol on people’s radars throughout the time of the Dining Plan being paused, they would put it on new menu items as well.

Click here for our BEST tips for Mobile Ordering in Disney World

Prix Fixe Meals

Something interesting that’s been happening around Disney World is the addition of more prix fixe meals, which are meals with a certain number of courses at a set price.

Lunch Menu at Space 220

We’ve seen these being added at some of the newer restaurants, like Space 220 and La Creperie de Paris.

La Creperie de Paris Menu

These meals are typically  easier to count toward the Disney Dining Plan, so maybe it means Disney is gearing up for its return.

Click here to go INSIDE EPCOT’s Space 220 restaurant

Cost

If there’s one thing we can pretty much count on, it’s that the Disney Dining Plan will be more expensive when it returns. Now, this is NOT confirmed — there have been no announcements about pricing or if there will be an increase. But, just based on Disney’s pattern (especially lately) when it comes to pricing and increases, it wouldn’t be surprising, so prepare yourselves.

Oga’s Cantina menu

But why, you ask? Because Disney World has increased a TON of prices around the parks and resorts in the past couple of years. Ticket prices have gone up, we saw HUNDREDS of food prices increase in early 2022, and there are pretty regular changes to menus even now.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Things that used to be free also aren’t free anymore. Disney World hotel guests and Annual Passholders used to get free MagicBands, but that perk is gone now.

Which one would you choose?

One of the biggest examples of this is how Disney World did away with the free FastPass system and replaced it with the paid Disney Genie+ system. Yep, the days of skipping the lines for free are over, now you have to pay either $15 per person, per day for Genie+, or pay for some of those more popular rides individually.

Click here to learn everything you need to know about Disney Genie+

We’re not saying the Disney Dining Plan will definitely be more expensive when it returns, we’re just saying that based on Disney’s patterns, there’s a pretty good chance it will be. Would it be awesome if it came back at the same price? DUH! And we’ll keep crossing our fingers, but there’s no guarantee.

Connections Eatery Southwestern Burger

It’s hard to tell what the future of the Dining Plan will look like exactly since Disney doesn’t seem to want to share any details. But, they said it would come back, so we’re sure they’ll stick to their word. It just might be a long time before they follow through! We’ll be on the lookout for any and all updates and keep you posted, so stay tuned to All Ears for more.

8 Price Increases to Plan for in Disney World in 2022

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10 Replies to “4 Clues to the Future of the Disney Dining Plan”

  1. We absolutely miss the Dining Plan we just booked our trip to Disney for next year and we’re sad to hear the Disney Dining Plan was not back we figured it out they will cost us double the amount of the Dining Plan to eat while we were there. Maybe Disney won’t be our next destination ever

  2. I absolutely miss the Dining Plan, it made things so easy. My children are young adults now and on our last trip I gave them each money towards snacks and meals when we weren’t together. They wound up using very little, because they were afraid of not having enough for the whole trip. They said that they missed the dining plan because they could plan out their meals and snacks for the day.

  3. Yes, they need to bring back the dining plan now. It makes it easier when planning your trip. Disney is taking all the magic from your stay.

  4. It has become very clear that family is not #1 with Disney..We as a family considered Disney home away from home.With ALL of the changes..there is not much magic left.Dining is so very expensive,but also it was the idea that we didn’t need to worry about food,that made this one of the things that made Disney magical.Walt would not like the turn Disney has taken.It is very sad

  5. Yes we miss the dining plan, free dining plan. So much magic has been taken away. This is so sad. It is to be a magical time a magical place for all and family affordable. Not so much now, all of a sudden, new CEO, and bang, prices are sky rocketed. What hurts more and sad.. magical express is gone.WHY!!!!!

  6. We want a trip out there but not even considering till they reinstate the Dining plans one of the things we look forward to! We always upgrade to the deluxe version!

  7. There is zero chance that the dining plan will return with the same components at the same price. If the price is the same, you’ll get less on the plan. I recall when gratuities were included. There have been many changes to the plan over the years, and none favored the guest. Maybe Disney will start considering 5 year olds “adults” and charge accordingly.