Dining plan or not?


#1

Planning on a trip to Disney in August 2018. MVT has room/ticket package available but dining is not available and cannot be added because the package price is so good. I have never gone to Disney without a dining plan and it makes me a little nervous. What do you think? Also, if I get a room through MVT, am I able to put in a room request or fax, or do they get a block of rooms at a cheaper price and I have to take one of those? Anyone know?


#2

For most people the dining plan doesn’t save money. You need to do your sums, that’s the only way you’ll know if it works for you. If you just like to have it prepaid, you could get gift cards in advance to the amount the dining plan would have cost. There are places you can buy at a discount, though I’m not in the US so not sure of the details. Most people report not spending all the money they had put aside for dining.


#3

Thanks for the suggestion!


#4

I did the Dining plan and in the future we will skip it. Disney doesn’t do ANYTHING that won’t make them money. the DDP is in their best interest. The possibility exists for it to work out in your favor but 9 times out of 10 it won’t. You would have to eat at the Buffets or order the most expensive item on the menu and make sure that when you use snack credits that they are items priced over $5. By the time you get to the end of your trip you will have consumed so much food that you won’t be interested in eating. Take the money you would spend on the dining plan and put it on a gift card.


#5

You can do a room request. MVT is like any other travel agent.


#6

Skip the dining plan, especially if you have gotten a good deal through MVT. For many people the dining plans are not good value for money anyway.


#7

I’ve struggled with this decision as well. Honestly, I think we would save money by not doing the dining plan because we would make different (and healthier!) food choices. We would drink water more at each meal, not order a dessert for everyone, do more splitting meals, etc. However, we LOVE the all inclusive feel of having the dining plan. My plan for this upcoming trip is to keep track of every receipt and do a calculation after we are home to see what our total would have been had we eaten at the same restaurants, but made slightly different choices. I’m almost certain going without the dining plan will be what we do in the future.


#8

Thanks Gnatjo, for your reply. That’s exactly how I feel and am finding it hard to give up the dining plan - even though I have a strong feeling it would be cheaper to go without!


#9

I’m doing it for the first time for my February visit - just the Dining Plan, not Deluxe. Mainly because my trip was going to be a cruise, but for various reasons I changed it to another date (and itinerary), and even including the Dining Plan, I came in less than I would have been paying for the cruise.

Regarding drinking more water at each meal, can you not get a bottle of water for the drink at QS meals? I was under the impression that you could - I specifically asked on another forum about getting a bottle of water at my resort’s food court with meals since I’ll have the refillable mug and was told that I could. Does that not apply if the mug isn’t usable (such as in the parks)?


#10

SMART!!! For us - the only time we found that it was worth it was when the kiddies were smaller and we did more character meals. Then it was certainly worth it. However, we are not big eaters - my wife usually wants something from the kids menu and more often than not - we prefer an appetizer as compared to desert. This used to be black and white - the meal plan was totally worth it - however now - not so much. There were times this last trip where no one was really hungry and we just grabbed a pizza at the hotel ($20 as compared to $80) good for me!!!


#11

You can get a bottled water as your drink. But if paying oop, you could get a free cup of iced water and not pay for a drink at all.


#12

I only drink water with meal so at QS I get the bottle to take with me and a cup of ice water with the meal.


#13

Even with character meals, I don’t believe that the dining plan saves you money anymore.


#14

I am going for my first time in April and I added the plan. I think for me its the idea of not worrying about the price once I am there. There are probably places I would not eat or go if I had to look at the menu prices. But after reading the comments I am wondering if I should just take that money and put it on a separate card designated for food.


#15

I really like that idea!


#16

I agree that getting the plan does help in the fact that " I don’t have to think now" about what things cost. However - you will probably save money by paying by $$. Don’t discount expensive restaurants though - feel free to get 2 appetizers or better yet - just deserts. Still go and enjoy at the more expensive places.


#17

I may be in the minority here but I have done the deluxe dining plan on a number of trips and have always saved money. We do not order based on price but on what we see on the menu that we like. Every time I’ve went and used the dining plan, I’ve kept track of what the cost of each meal. On the last trip, we saved a good bit of money, to the tune of over $1300. One of the things that we do when we go out when not at WDW is that we normally order apps, main course and dessert, so the deluxe dining plan works great for us.


#18

I agree with @davidjjenkins1961. When we went in July and used the DDP, we took Disney for about $400 between the two of us. Paid $1200 for the plan and would have spent OOP $1600. I kept receipts and a spreadsheet to prove it.


#19

Dining plan used to be a no brainer - however now you need to know your party and what you want. For some it is certainly a good deal - for others not so much. So you just need to do a little research and know your group.


#20

I completely agree with you that when you look at what you would have spent on the food you received vs. what you paid on the dining plan that you will almost always come out ahead. My argument would be that our family would make different choices if we didn’t have the entree, drink, and dessert per person for every table service. In the end I think we would actually spend less, but being able to not worry about the prices on the menu and splurging on dessert (even if we don’t eat it all) is really nice!