The Disney Dining plan has the potential to save you up to 30% off the cost of dining at Walt Disney World. A 30% savings? Sounds like purchasing the dining plan should be a no brainer, right? Well, not necessarily. It’s very possible that the dining plan can save you a substantial amount of money off dining in the parks and resorts, however this outcome is highly dependent on a couple of questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you can understand the plan’s value:
4. What are your eating habits like?
Some guests claim that the dining plan allows them to have a satisfactory amount of food per meal, while others say it comes with substantially too much or too little food. Read up on what each of the plans have to offer before you decide to add it to your resort package. If it sounds like just enough food, you may be a good candidate for the plan. If you think it sounds like the plan includes more food than you’ll be able to eat, you could probably save more money by ordering less food and paying out of pocket instead. If the plan does not sound like it includes enough food, you’ll want to check the menus beforehand and see how much extra you would be ordering, and do some math to see if the price of the plan would still be worth it.
3. Are you planning on having multiple two credit meals?
For one signature restaurant per trip, paying out of pocket once, or using two credits on one meal one time should not be a deal breaker. However, if you are having multiple two credit meals, the dining plan may not be for you. Any meal that would cost two credits on the dining plan would be a greater value if you paid for it out of pocket. If you add up the cost of a two credit meal with the dollar value of the two dining plan credits, you’ll see that paying out of pocket would put you ahead. Two credit meals can include character dining, room service, signature restaurants, dinner shows, and all you care to enjoy experiences.
2. What is your taste in food like?
The easiest way to estimate if a meal would be a good value on the dining plan is to weigh the menu prices vs the cost of the plan. When you’re using a meal plan that is already paid for, you would get the most value out of it by ordering the most expensive items. This means that if you typically order pasta and salad, the plan will not save you as much money as someone who typically orders steak and seafood. Of course, this does depend on the specific restaurant, which is why reading up on the menus before booking a dining plan is so important.
1. Do you like to snack?
The dining plan includes one snack per person per day. Generally speaking, snacks are smaller items such as popcorn and water bottles, that cost $4.99 or less. This means that if you repeatedly purchase snacks on the cheaper end of the spectrum, you’d be missing out on some of the plan’s value. You would basically want to make sure that something less expensive like water or soda bottles are paid for out of pocket, while something more expensive like ice cream is paid for using the plan. If you don’t like to snack, or if the items you like to snack on are not included with the plan, it might not be worth it for you to pay for the plan.
The simplest way to figure out if the dining plan will save you money is really just to spend some time crunching numbers and comparing what the different plans have to offer vs. what you would spend on dining without the plan. You can look up the plan information as well as both table service and quick service menus on the official Walt Disney World website. By doing this before you come to a final decision about whether or not to add the plan to your reservation, you’ll be able to easily compare dining payment methods, and have actual numbers in front of you to determine if the plan is worth it. While I do hope that this article has provide some tips, and a starting point for determining the value of the plan to you, whether or not the dining plan is worth it truly depends on each individual family, and I cannot stress enough the importance of looking at menu and plan prices ahead of time. Happy planning! (and eating!)
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