To maximize value, what is the minimum amount I should be spending to use a snack credit? I’m Thinking $4.
Minimum of $5
The one time I had the dining plan, I only used it for snacks over $4 and if I wanted something that was less I just paid for it. I ended up with a ton of leftover snack credits that I used up on crap to take home the last morning. I haven’t gotten the dining plan again because I just eat way more than I normally would to try to get the value out of it.
I had the same experience as @chrystalturner. Don’t sweat it too much. In reality it ends up being a lot of snack credits to use.
Thanks! I have a 2.5 yo whose not on DDP so imagine we’ll go through them quicker as a result.
I think the good news is that after the latest price increases, there probably aren’t any snacks cheaper than $4 left.
Wait, did i say that wrong? Is that bad news? Whatever, I’m still gonna have a mickey bar!
Haha! Just saw how much the character meals actually cost and I realize that with a value DDP is. With an alcoholic beverage I’m getting almost a day’s value out of 1 meal.
I did the dining plan my last trip. Each TS meal, with alcohol, was almost equal to the daily cost. Snack credits were bonus, but I used most at EP festival booths.
If you’re already on the dining plan, then just get the snacks you want. You get plenty of credits and it makes no sense to me why anyone would get a $6 snack they only sort of want instead of a $3 snack they love. Unless you’re talking about a banana or a bottle of water, just use the credit and enjoy.
I completely agree with this, @ApolloAndy.
For most, I think that they’d end up spending less money paying out of pocket. You can save money using a DDP if you’re going to eat at a lot of high-price places, like character meals. The savings can be pretty paltry even with lots of expensive meals in the mix, though. Based on the calculations* I did, for our family to buy the DP for everyone and eat at the following high-priced restaurants (in addition to some yet-to-be determined ones at QS places and some breakfasts in the room) the savings is $20.
Boma (2x, one bfast and one lunch)
Trattoria al Forno
Tusker House ROL package
For $20, I’d rather pay out of pocket and have the flexibility to change our dining plans without feeling like I’m losing money. For example, if we’re feeling like we’re bored of TS meals, I’d like to have the flexibility to cancel upcoming TS meals and do QS meals. For another example, last trip we decided to bail on Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and do a QS meal and HEA instead.
I’ve also heard from people who managed to get the DP to work for them and save a chunk of change. Unless there are special circumstances, though (ex. your group is split between 2 rooms and you get the DxDP and share credits), I’d approach the DP with caution. That’s not to say that it’s a bad idea for everyone, but for many (possibly most?), it doesn’t provide savings.
*From my POV, to understand the value of the DP one should compare its cost to what would have been spent if you didn’t get the DP. We don’t usually buy appetizers, alcohol, and dessert, so I did not include those prices for most meals in my calculations (though I did for a few). I looked at the price range of each restaurant and assumed that our party on average would spend in the middle of that range. That’s what we usually end up doing at restaurants. We don’t usually buy snacks, so I did not assign snack credits any value. That was probably my least accurate assumption - we did buy one bag of popcorn and ice cream for the five of us once last trip. Still, that’s only 6 snack credits used out of the 80 we would have had if we were on the DP for our 8 day trip.
Also, in the interest of full disclosure, for our next trip I bought the DxDP for me and DD. We plan to share credits with folks not staying in our room. We do expect significant savings doing this.
You have quite a few 2 credit meals there though, and those are rarely good value on the dining plan since the meals don’t cost twice as much.
My main point is that, as a rule of thumb, the DP is not a good value. It’s not a money saver for many people. (I’m guessing it’s actually not a money saver for most people, but I don’t have any real data to back that up, just anecdotal observations.)
What you’re saying kind of supports my point. If the DP was a good value in general, you wouldn’t have to carefully select where you were eating to try and squeeze savings out of the DP.
There are those who like to eat at places that happen to be a good value on the DP. There are those who enjoy it’s non-financial benefits, such as the ease of dining in a large group (vs. having to split a meal check a million ways, though I guess you still have to tip so you still have to split a tip check), knowing that their dining costs are covered (except tips), etc. But for lots of visitors, it’s just not a good value.
Oh and in case you’re interested, if my whole group was on the dining plan then for the four 2-credit meals the DxDP would save us money at Cali Grill, cost us extra at Morimoto, and be pretty neutral for the other two. If we’re just considering those 4 meals, per my calculations we would come out $38 behind on what would have cost $602 out of pocket. So you’re totally right, the DP would not offer us good value for the 2-credit meals.
I just reread my reply and realized it was kind of wordy and repetitive. Sorry about that! I’ll blame the early hour over here.
Disney character meal prices increased and many of them with a drink are almost the cost of the plan. According to the Disney site: Artist Point is $59.99 per adult. A drink is $12.50. When you add tax you are approaching $75 per adult for that meal. ‘Ohana for dinner? $55 for the meal. $14 for the drink…add tax.
Until they raise the price of the dining plan if you are doing any character meal, or buffets and you drink- it is a value. The meal pays for the day before a QS, refillable mug, and snacks.
I know some of the prices seem unbelievable but this this the last update I have read:
Oh! A platter at Flame tree with a beer is almost $30! Disney prices are crazy (although three can share that platter!)
I think @Beth33 makes some good points. The meal plans are priced just right so that most groups will, in reality, break even. It will be more valuable to some and less to others. Otherwise, Disney would lose money. I crunched the numbers for my family and we will break even with or without DDP. The value for me is convenience and ease of mind. I stress less when the $200-$300 + bill comes for every meal.
My takeaway is to get the most value it’s less about what you are using credits for vs. simply using the credits.
Now, for some reason, I am really craving some WDW snacks.
I didn’t want this to turn into a debate on the value of DDP. I saw this article and we’re doing CP, TH, Akershus and CRT as well as BOG so I do think it’s worth it for us. For kids, these places cost more than a day on DDP.
Anyway, I won’t stress about using credits. My biggest wonder was to use them or not for breakfast pastries.
Thanks for everyone’s input.
It seems as if in your case you could use a credit for a morning bagel since every credit you use will add to your value?
This is exactly the math I did - I think for us, the dining plan comes pretty close to breaking even, but it makes me feel better to have it be a sunk cost and be able to say “Sure, let’s get Mickey bars!” or not stress over the fact that my kid ordered a $20 meal and then ate two bites.