I’ve been to WDW many, many times, but this is the first trip that I have planned myself. My dad and stepmom always do the dining plan, for convenience, but I’m not really sure if it saves you money or not. I planned a trip in October for my sister and I, she hasn’t been to Disney since she was 3, and I’m trying to decide if I should or shouldn’t do the dining plan. We have reservations at The Edison, The Crystal Palace, Tusker House, 'Ohana, Sci-Fi Dine in, 1900 Park Fare, Chef Mickeys, and Bon Voyage Character Breakfast. Most of our dining reservations are breakfast(my sister’s a vegetarian), and we’ll be down in WDW for food and wine festival. I’m a college student, and I’ve paid for this whole trip myself(birthday/high school graduation gift for my sister), so any advice on if we should or shouldn’t do the dining plan would be greatly appreciated.
Have you tried this calculator? I always start by looking at the numbers here
You beat me!
Haha! Great minds…
I will second @PrincipalTinker and @missoverexcited on distripplanner being a great tool, but I will also add that, as a general rule – a vegetarian with mostly breakfast reservations is going to really, really struggle to get their money’s worth on the dining plan.
No, I haven’t. Thank you! I’ll definitely look at that
Yeah, her being a vegetarian is one of the reasons I was thinking of not doing it
So, another question. Roughly how much do you think we should save up for food if we aren’t doing the dining plan?
Another site which may be worth looking at is https://wdwprepschool.com/disney-dining-plan-credits/#2018_Table_Service_Disney_Dining_Plan_Credit_Values. This gives you the average and maximum values per credit. As a general rule, dinner gives the best value, followed by lunch and then breakfast. Dining packages (like the Fatasmic or Rivers of Light dining packages) are almost always good value.
distripplanner is great for that as well, though you may want to add on an extra percentage to cover year-on-year price increases. You could also try to save the cost of the dining plan in cash, and just use any extra left over for ‘splurge’ souvenirs or something?
Wait—ignore the year-on-year thing. I saw high school graduation and assumed you were going next May/June instead of in October!
Thank you! I’ll probably do that to be on the safe side
My DH is a picky eater and we have a toddler, so I looked at all the menus before deciding where we would eat. And since I was already looking at them, I did some rough calculations based on which menu items I thought we would choose to come up with a meal budget. I’ll be buying Disney gift cards from Target for our total budget amount of food/parking/souveniers.
Looks like you have a lot of character meals planned. Seems like that alone could make it worth it.
I think it can be hard to make the dining plan worth it even with character meals. I think it would be really hard to make it worth it with breakfast reservations since breakfast tends to be the least expensive meal. And being a vegetarian makes is even more challenging.
This site is awesome! I love that it calculates your tax and tip too so you can really budget well.
Wow, I’ve seen this link before, but I just calculated my trip for the first time and have to say that it’s definitely worth it for us! It says that I will save $180 by using the Deluxe Dining Plan. Since we are upgrading to Deluxe from the free version, we are saving even more than that.
I need to use it properly, I doubt it would save us money except we get free QS and upgrade to DDP. But I always get bored doing it! I’m just interested in what we would spend oop.
It becomes more of a benefit to us because with DH’s very restrictive dietary restrictions we will always eat at TS. DD could probably eat at a CS, but DH can’t, and it would be hard with my restrictions as well. I think DH has a list of about 20 items he can eat, and that includes items you cook with (oils, spices, herbs). We go to WDW for the food and the surroundings, not the rides. I can see where it wouldn’t be worth it if you weren’t eating much, unless it is for the convenience (which we would certainly choose it for).