In trying to decide to go with the dining plans or just pay out of pocket for dining for my trip in Feb. I have lots of character dining for my 5 yo princess’ birthday that I hope to score reservations for (BoG, CRT, Akershus, H&V, Trattoria, Ohana). So I found this website www.distripplanner.com that calculates the cost of your meals at DW and compares it to what you would pay on the different dining plans. Has anyone tried this, and is it accurate? based on their prices and my spreadsheet of all of my intended dining options (yes I have a spreadsheet just for food, don’t judge) it appears to be cheaper paying out of pocket. We are not big eaters, don’t do much for appetizers, probably limited alcohol, mostly water but we like desert! Any feedback on this site would be greatly appreciated as to the accuracy comparing the plans and the actual food cost. Thx.
I’ve not used it but many people do and I believe it is accurate.
I looked it it after we used the DDP in 2014. It was fairly accurate to our usage. Yes it would have been cheaper to payout of pocket by just over $340. That doesn’t factor in the snacks we had to get the last day and pack.
Here is where we ate for comparison. Only one character meal though
I’ve used it, but never actually tested it for absolute accuracy. I generally just use it to get a ballpark, and see whether there’s a BIG difference in costs. You can use the menus at go.disney to get an idea of how much each menu item will cost… it might be helpful to check your actual expected cost against distrip’s averages at a few places.
Thanks all! BTW good to see I am not the only person with a spreadsheet ( thekid)
I’ve actually just done this for my trip, but i did our cost calculations manually. My DD will be 4 when we go and initially were signed up for and saved enough money to pay for the deluxe dining plan. However after careful analysis I have determined it’s more cost effective for me to pay out of pocket than it would to use the dining plans. This is what our meals look like:
I’ve personally estimated that I’ll save between $250-$500 vs using the dining plans that Disney offers. I ran my selections through the site listed above and sure enough it also predicts that I’d be saving by paying out of pocket but not quite as much as I’ve predicted. I think the difference between my savings and the site is that we don’t plan on purchasing 3 quick service meals every lunch or dinner. My daughter is a light eater and we fully expect to share quick service meals so we’ll probably save an easy $20 per meal compared to what the site is estimating. Also we are doing Via Nopolia and splitting one large pizza so the cost at this restaurant will be much less than estimated.
Wow this looks almost exactly like my spreadsheet and almost the exact same savings. I think you are probably right that the site might overestimate for those of us that might skip a full meal for each setting.
Well our Princess’s are near the same so I’m not too surprised we’ve choose the same meals haha. We would have done Akershus, but the only availability I could find was on a day I was planning to be at a different park, plus my co-worker recent went there about 2 months ago and said that they didn’t enjoy the food or the character interaction, so I figured we’ll splurge for CRT instead.
I have used it a few times and it has been pretty close. I do order appetizers and desserts in Disney and check those boxes.
We had a lot of character meals and the distripplanner indicated the dining plan was most cost-effective. After the trip I added up everything we purchased and the dining plan was somewhere around $170 less than out of pocket. I liked having almost everything but tips and a few not included items prepaid. However, it was a lot of food and had we not been on the dining plan I think we would have purchased less food overall.
When I’ve used that web site to estimate what we’d spend, it was off by a bit.
For the most part, I always keep track of what we spent on food out of pocket, vs Dining plan. When we purchase the Dining plan, I take pictures of the receipts with prices (2nd receipt that prints out of register at Quick Service and Snack locations, as well as the table service receipts) and add that all up and compare that to what we spent on the dining plan (taking into consideration the tips).
We usually spend more getting the dining plan than we do if we would have paid out of pocket.
Our May 2016 trip, my wife and I actually saved $57 with the dining plan compared to just paying as we went. We did also have lots of snack credits left so the last day we were just buying stuff. That being said, as annual passholders, if we purchased the Tables in Wonderland card we could have saved $125 (on top of covering the TiW purchase). And if I listened to the Distrips site’s calculator, we would have saved several hundred by paying for meals and snacks as we went.
Our last trip, I missed a few receipts and I’m still trying to check my wife’s photos to make sure if we have them, so my calculations are not done yet.
One of the biggest reasons we have purchased the dining plan in the past was not to save money, but more for the convenience and to have that “all inclusive” feel. We also liked having our budget set and everything paid for (except tips, alcohol, and souvenirs) before we left the house.
Whenever this topic has come up, it seems that about 70%-80% of the time, paying as you go is cheaper than buying the dining plan. Not always, mind you…but most of the time.