Dining Plan Calculations - Suggestions welcome

Hello! I normally am not much in favor of the dining plan. We have never really used it with the exception of a free dining package many, many years ago before they started to require park hoppers. We don’t drink a ton and we don’t usually do dessert with our meals.

This all being said, I’m embarking on a multigenerational trip (5 adults, 1 child, 1 infant) in a couple of months that has a few character meals and I keep reading that one character meal pretty much pays for the day. My father can also polish off 2-3 $8 Bud lights with dinner and my mom won’t say no to Chardonnay. It is also during F&W festival.

I’ve been following a few threads on chat and checking out a few different calculators online. The TP “calculator” suggests that I could save $800, distripplanner says I would be underwater and a couple other sites I’ve found have too many flaws. So I have an excel sheet with pretty much our exact meals and prices, etc. My personal calculations are still putting me as paying about $200 more WITH the plan than without. But that feels really close and I’m only using 23 of 36 QS credits. I’m also using super conservative meal estimates.

What do you all think my average snack price should be? I am using $5.5 but for 72 snack credits, this could dramatically change my calculations. Also, my sister will only be with us for 3 nights. If we didn’t pay for her credits then we would definitely come out ahead. But I don’t see a way around this, correct? Any other assumptions I should potentially factor in? Thanks!

What do you normally snack on or expect to snack on and how often? Are you paying out of pocket for ANY meals?

I’ve heard in general that Food and Wine is an excellent use of snack credits and some of those items at F&W can be 7 or 8 dollars. If you plan on doing a lot of snacking there, it may be worth it. Having said that, we are not using it for our October trip


On a normal trip, I would say our snack items are generally desserts (ice cream, churros, etc). But for F&W I have two days where I’m expecting lunch from the food booths there. I have not had a chance to go back through and look at specific pricing, but I may do that.

For these calculations, I don’t have us paying for any meals out of pocket. I would have 36 TS and 36 QS and am currently planning 34 TS and only 23 QS.

If you use snack credits at EP during F&W, figure average 7 for those days, average 5.5 for the remainder. I’ve never used all my snack credits. It works in your favor to use them for $5 and above but if you don’t plan on using them all, go ahead and use them for lower priced things. Also, if you have some in your party that do not drink alcohol, you can use a snack credit for their drinks during the meals and order aditional alcoholic drinks for the drinkers at the table, just slide it over to them, lol!

1 Like

you can also convert QS to 3 snacks at F&W (or actually any place) as long as you do it at the same booth/location

When I did the math on this a few months ago, I figured out that unless the snack is $5 or more you aren’t saving money. So I would plan on using $5.50 as a solid number.

I have done a dining plan before and didn’t like it. I definitely saved a few dollars, but nothing dramatic. Plus, I spent so much time & energy making sure I was getting full value that I sometimes didn’t eat the item I wanted. I would choose the item that gave me the better deal.

If I ever do it again, I’d like to use those snack credits to Eat / Drink Around the World at Epcot in place of a TS.

I did the same, even when I got dining free! Just want the feeling of “beating Disney at their own game” ! :rofl:

1 Like

I personally will not, unless it’s free dining and the discount on the room I would be giving up wasn’t substantial. We just do not eat all that food! I felt I had to eat because I had credits.


Yeah… it was a BIGif

I’m just looking at the 2018 F&W menus now with the prices and there are a lot for $4 that I would probably be talking myself out of eating! There are definitely some for $8 too, but there are MANY delicious items at $4.25 or $5.

I’m definitely leaning towards not doing it, but I am totally cringing at the $55pp character meals! Oh well.

We have done both the quick service plan (thru free dining) and the standard dining plan and I am not planning to get it for next trip. My complaints, other than it costing us more than paying out of pocket, are that (1) it doesn’t allow appetizers or salads which my family would normally always order at a sit down restaurant and (2) that we are paying for a dessert for each person. If my family orders dessert in the real world we share one among us. We could never eat 4, nor would we want to. So as appealing as it is to have it paid for in advance and never think about price, it just doesn’t “fit” us.


And I thought about the price tag every time I ate something. :joy: I also enjoy an app or salad vs a desert. I think if disney gave you an option, the dining plan would be a bit more appealing for me, maybe.

1 Like

It is steep but keep your eye on the end result, the over all spending. It’s nice to have everything prepaid but you’re still paying for it one way or the other. OoP gives you more freedom.

I actually managed to forget the cost once we got there and I think that will be a challenge for me going back next time without the plan, especially when my kids want to order the most expensive things on the menu. :weary:

1 Like

It’s like they know they’re in Disney and they have a better chance at getting away with the very-extra spending. My DD rarely wanted steak when we’re home. At Disney, HAS TO HAVE! lol

So do you have to do the dining plan for all 5 adults? Isn’t it a per-room thing?

I’ve never come close to spending what a dining plan would cost, but we’re not big foodies. It’s just me and the 3 boys (14-10 yrs). We often have leftovers from TS and sometimes QS meals (I do anyway), so after a few meals out, we have a stockpile in the fridge (depending on where we eat and how convenient it is to take “home” w/in a reasonable time). I think even with adult-beverages, I come out ahead b/c I’d rather grab a drink and keep walking, then sit at a table long enough to drink more than 1 glass!


Just re-reading - if your sister is there only 3 nights, and you plan her trip separately but link her to your account for planning, you should be able to avoid having to buy it for her. Are you all staying in the same room?

1 Like

If you are doing F&W that’s where to use your snack credits most items are 7 to 8.00 per plate. Also, if you order 3 items from the same F&W booth you can use QS credit. Disney Food Blog (youtube) has a lot of tips and tricks on DDP and F&W.

1 Like