Dining Plan Advice

Hey folks…I wanted to get some advice about which dining plan my family should select for our upcoming trip in November. Here is the scoop:

We have two rooms at Beach Club. Three adults and two kids are in one room staying 6 nights and two adults are in the other room staying 5 nights. Rather than both rooms getting the Disney Dining Plan, I’m debating getting the Deluxe Dining Plan for the five of us that are staying 6 nights and then using sharing those credits with the two adults who are staying 5 nights. It would cost an extra $190 for us to do this. However, I’m not sure if it is a wise decision or not. Here is the breakdown in numbers:

Disney Dining Plan Trip Allotment for 7 people (5 - 6 nights and 2 - 5 nights)
28 Adult Table Service credits
12 Child Table Service credits
40 Quick Service credits
80 Snacks
7 refillable mugs

Deluxe Dining Plan Allotment for 5 people for 6 days:
54 Adult TS/QS credits
36 Child TS/QS credits
60 snacks
5 refillable mugs

So, why would I make the switch? I think the addition of the appetizer with the Deluxe Dining credit would mean that we could easily share credits between two people at restaurants where individual ordering is allowed. This would allow us to spread our credits out among everyone and allow us to have more opportunities to enjoy Table Service dining. I am worried about the lack of quality Quick Service options in and around Beach club. If we were staying at any of the resorts on the monorail I wouldn’t have this concern. But there seem to be many more table service options that we could enjoy rather than quick service. Also, I think we would enjoy doing more character meals if we had more table service credits.

Downside to switching would be the reduction in refillable mugs, the loss of 20 snack credits, the additional cost for the plan and the additional cost in tips from eating at more table service restaurants, and finally the additional time needed to eat at more table service meals.

So what do y’all think? Which would you do? Are there other factors I’m not thinking about that I should consider?

Thank you so much for your help!

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I suggest you start by working out what TS meals you would like to do. Then add up what these will cost you, before deciding which plan is best. You don’t have to add the dining plan until a few days before you arrive.

Unless you are planning a lot of character meals, or signature dining, you may find neither is worthwhile.

Also don’t forget you will be in the parks, where QS dining options are plenty. And you can always buy the extra refillable mugs if you need to. Pre-ordering snacks etc is also possible.

On the deluxe plan currently all credits are pooled together. That means that those child credits can be used for anyone. This may change in 2018 with the addition of alcohol but it is a great money saver right now since you are paying for child credits but can use them for anyone.

I would suggest you look at where you would like to eat at and the menus and prices. This will than give you an idea if it is worth it for you. Andrea and myself went to WDW 12/17/16 0 12/27/16 and used the Deluxe plan. We saved over $1300 doing this.
You don’t mention when you are going. Getting the ADRs for your Signature/Table Service meals would be the part you want to make sure you get.
A few things to consider - How do you eat when you go out to eat? Do you order Apps? Do you like to go out to nice places? Are you looking for special meal/experiences? IF you answered yes, the Deluxe may be the way to go.
We did a blog for our whole vacation (it did include our engagement). If you would like to read them, I can include the links for you.

You just blew my mind @PrincipalTinker! So, if I’m understanding you correctly, on the Deluxe Dining Plan any of us could use credits on the kids’ plans? Is this for real?!?

Thanks @davidjjenkins1961! We aren’t planning to eat at any signature dining, but since there will be two additional people splitting meals with us then I figured we would easily go through the credits. I definitely need to map out where we would eat and the cost of those meals. I definitely think we are meal plan people as we like having an all-inclusive feel. But, I worry a bit about the extra cost in tips from adding one double the table services. Time to crunch numbers again!

Thanks @Nickysyme! The kiddos loved the mugs and we used them multiple times a day. They are definitely a must have for our crew.

I look at it this way, if I am going out and going to a place to eat where I sit down and a server takes care of me, I tip. That is a given and is included in what I look at costs.

Agreed! Tipping is a must!

Yes it’s for real at least currently.

Yes… if you’ve got kids (3-9 years old) who will eat from the adult menu, or who will probably still share your meals AND you’re going to have a lot of TS meals (i.e. more than one a day most days, or signature meals) then the deluxe plan is a good value.For instance, last year at Chefs de France we had 4 adults, 2 9 year olds, an 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a 3 year old. ALL 4 of the older kids ordered either escargot ($13) or soup ($9) and the $36 flet de boeuf… even before dessert or drink they were near $50 a head.

Also, as far as sharing with people not on your reservation goes I have had them question when we had more people at the table than on the dining plan (and paid cash for sides or kids’ meals for the kids) at some places, but then I’ve also had them say nothing at other places.

Yes! if here were four people in your room you will get 12 TS credits and 8 snacks a day. The additional value is that those TS credits include appetizers . For now, sharing those is an amazing money saving strategy with larger groups.

You don’t have to lose the mugs, just pay for them out of pocket.

You can also use a tool like the Distripplanner to do the math for your meals.


They did make a big deal last year that you could now share credits with others?

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When you say that they questioned you…do you mean that you weren’t allowed to use your credits for the additional people at your table or did they just ask you to justify why you wanted to use more credits?

They just said something to the effect of “You only have one adult and one child on your dining plan, but there are 3 people here”, to which I replied “We ordered _____ for me, and ______ for my niece. I’m buying lunch for our friend…would you like to put the things that don’t come with our deluxe meals on a separate check?” and they left it alone. This happened at Yak & Yeti and Tony’s Town Square.

They questioned that we were using 2 deluxe credits and paying cash for a child when we had only 1 adult and 1 child on the plan.

This was last August.

As of this year certainly they made a big thing about being able to treat family and friends using didning credits, so it shouldn’t be a problem now.

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That’s funny- for years I traveled with my sister (on the dining plan) and members of her family and I never had the dining plan. We always split dining/plan cash and never have had anyone say anything. We usually would just say that we were going to do it as we sat down.

I am editing this to add: I think the real value in splitting the deluxe plan is the ability to have everyone in both rooms eat at 1TS credit meals. There was one liner that stretched it even further- one member ate the appetizers that were ordered as their meal so every meal they ended up not using one credit. That takes a lot of planning and I guess a server could say something about that?