Dining plan vs no dining plan


Good morning!!
First let me say Hi, I am new to the forums!!!
We leave in 14 days....this will be the first time NOT doing a dining plan......but now I am wondering if I am going to regret not doing it.....
I found a calculator that calculates what it would cost me on and off the plan, and even when I put in only eating 2 meals a day its saying i would only save 1.30 by being off the plan.....
WE ARE A FAMILY OF 6 and although we aren't big big eaters (only DH is) I don't know what to do frowning


If you have Excel on your computer try this one.


If you are paying for the dining plan for six you'd really have to maximize your eating and order the most expensive items to see a big benefit versus paying out of pocket. If the difference is small, however, and you would feel better having prepaid you still have time to add it I believe.

And welcome to the forums!!!


Only done the DDP once and thought it way too much food (not a big eater either) and agree with @Outer1 that if you want to get value out if it, some planning is necessary (some restaurants, meals, snacks) fetch a better value than others. Also, we don't get dessert for most lunch/dinners, so that's an added cost that we wouldn't include when figuring out of pocket expenses: almost becomes an apples to oranges comparison. But, I can totally understand the argument that knowing your meals are paid for (outside tips for TS) pre-trip is comforting. I just wouldn't count on necessarily getting my money back


Welcome, @pixeemom! Definitely run the numbers to see how it will compare, but also consider your dining habits - e.g., we usually want appetizers and wait to have dessert later. Sometimes we just split a bunch of apps without entrees. Sometimes we share entrees. Etc. DDP is not really conducive to these habits, so we are generally much happier without it (even apart from the fact that it doesn't make sense for us on the numbers side).


thank you, very true, we are not big dessert eaters or app eaters either


Thank you for the link, i will look into it....
during the summer to its too hot to eat sometimes


Totally agree! Light meals and the Summer seem to go well together. Channelling pineapple juice and dole whip


Welcome, @pixeemom! I think a good way to go is to budget what you would have spent on the dining plan and then spend it however you want. Every time you realize you're not very hungry and had some popcorn and a dole whip instead of a full counter service meal or order an appetizer instead of a dessert you WIN. I bet you'll have money left over at the end too.


A lot of it depends on you regular eating habits. the DDP "locks you in" to an entree and a desert for every person at every meal. I almost NEVER have deserts with a meal, but I frequently like apps. The DDP would "force" me to pay for desserts I don't really want, and make me pay OOP for the apps that I DO want. If the plan had the option of "dessert OR app" at every neal, I might seriously consider it (although I really don't care for CS dining). But for the most part, desserts are much cheaper to make than apps, so by offering an app option, the DDP would become less profitable for Disney.


very good idea!!!!!!!!!!
thank you!!!!


oooh yes another good point, thank you!!!!!!!!!!


We did not use dining plan last week on our daddy daughter trip. Dining plan would have been over 120.00 a day since she is now a adult on the plan. I kept up with dining costs for the first 4 days of our trip and was averaging around 90-95 dollars a day. We ate a POR food court for breakfast, one counter and one table service meals most days. The exceptions were Ohana breakfast and dessert party days. We also snacked most days in the parks.


Thats the other thing John, I have two kids now considered adults frowning plus me and my hubby....


Definitely recommend the SYRS dining plan calculator. There is not right answer here... we don't get the Dining Plan because (a) it doesnt save us money, and (b) its not a good fit for the way we eat. Doing the math for your specific needs is really the only way to know for sure. For example, I dont want dessert with every lunch and dinner, and we like to order appetizers. And if the dessert comes with the lunch, I'll eat it even though I dont really want it. We also like to share things and graze on snacks and stuff... just depends how you eat.


Hi @pixeemom! Welcome to the forum! Are you considering the QS plan as well or just the DDP? Do you already have ADRs in place? If not, they may be picked over at this point. Someone else will be able to confirm but DDP use to allow you to substitute bottled water for the dessert at QS. During summer months, that might be worth it.


I did book my adr's but with the assumption I am going to PPO...I was going to consider QS as an option to but I just can't see the justification in that....and now reading everyone's opinions I see a lot of good points


thank you allllllllllllll for the welcome!!!!!!!!!!!


I think it is only worth it if free. It is too confining. I spent the day working around stopping to eat, begging everyone to prefer the most expensive plate, and IATA the end of trip I always have remaining snacks because I always paid cash for snacks less than $4 bucks waiting for that snack giving me a return for money invested. Too stressful.


good points IMMommy thank you


If I didn't get it 'free' then I am not sure if I would buy it. I probably would eat off site a lot more. But I do like the ease of the dinning plan, my DH loves that hes not putting his hand in his pocket every 2 minutes.
We also have a 12 year old whos now a Disney Adult, he is not going to eat the adults meals, so we are going to pay out of pocket for his TS meals and then we will be able to 'save' some credits for things like HDDRR, and maybe a nice 2tsc meal for jus the 2 of us. We are also going to split some of the CS meals between the 6 of us.