The endless Disney Dining topic


I know, this questions is beaten into the ground on every post about Disney...but I am super torn about Disney Dining plan. We currently have our reservations with the QS plan included. We have reservations for lunch at BOG, which would both be QS, We have ONE character Dining at Chef Mickey's, so that's the only one that wouldn't be included in our plan. So I've gone through the menus at the places we would likely eat and taken a guess at what we would order. I've added a few dollars for snacks and such, but I am STILL coming up shorter than the cost of the plan. I understand Disney isn't going to LOSE money on me by making it too cheap, but I thought I would be saving a little bit. I know a lot of it is just the convenience, but I am about $200 less in cost, INCLUDING Chef Mickey's, and I'm not sure what I'm missing.

Does anyone else here find that they don't spend as much as when they pay out of pocket? Am I forgetting to add something? I mean, I look at snacks and add some cost for those and still.....


I never come out ahead with the dining plan. I much prefer buying discounted Disney gift cards ahead of time and paying with them for that prepaid feeling. I also have used the table in Wonderland and AP discounts at different times. Plus I hate to keep track of snack, meals left. The inflexibility of a dining plan really bothers me. I have done it once but likely never again.


I am guessing it's just a convenience thing then. I mean, I EAT a ton, but I still don't feel like I'm going to come out on top. NTM, kids are going to grab a hot dog and run....they don't want to sit down and have a long and drawn out lunch or dinner.

I am planning to get muffins and cereal, etc for our mornings, so that will just be another expense that wouldn't be included in the plan and I just don't see us stopping and eating as much as I'd hope.


I think you answered your own question when you said "Disney isn't going to lose money."
If you are paying for the QS plan yourself (not given to you free as part of a package deal), I would say scrap it, if it isn't to late to do so. With any DP, you're going to want to force yourselves to eat, even when you may not want to. You can also save money by sharing snacks and meals that you buy, instead of each getting individual things. Adults can order Kids meals for themselves as QS restaurants. Often enough for you, and cheaper than an adult meal. You can also save money by bringing in a backpack to the park that has snacks for you to share (chips, pretzels, cereal bars, etc) that will save you a TON of money, and is actually more convenient.

You will probably get a bunch of opinions here, but IMO you can save a bunch of money by NOT doing any DP.

Good luck and have fun!


Unless you are taking advantage of Free Dining promotion, the dining plan will almost never be in your favor.

I found ordering off the kids menu for breakfast was more than enough food for me - and about 1/2 the cost.


Oh, I should add, than on my last trip, I did the math on what my wife and I bought for lunch, snacks, dinner, alcohol & tips and compared that to what the DP would have cost. We were still under the cost of the DP, and the DP doesn't include alcohol or tips!!


Hahaha!!! Yeah, I think that's when I realized I should start looking into the prices of stuff. As soon as I thought "Hey, is Disney REALLY going to discount food just because I pre-pay??" I knew it was something to look at. I agree, I feel like the plan is going to force me to eat AND eat QS when I do. I have seen some table places that I may want and won't be able to because of the plan.


I am truly exaggerating the cost of lunches and dinners to see if I'm missing something. I ALWAYS come up less.
I have $70 for lunch and $75 for dinner each day, plus $100 for lunch (twice) at BOG, and $175 for dinner at Chef Mickey's. I added in $150 for snacks, plus $75 for the mugs and yet I'm still below by more than $100.


NTM: I will drink coffee in the morning, but other than that, I am a water girl. I won't buy any drinks, so go ahead and scrap $3.50 a meal off my costs.


Sounds like you are trying to talk yourself out of the plan.(especially if other agree with you). So it sounds like you are right to do so. So ditch the DP! You'll be happier and richer for it!


Hahaha. I think you may be right. I think it probably works for people when it's a table service plan included, but I don't see this QS plan working out to my benefit. --- Besides, I can spend that extra money on a souvenir :stuck_out_tongue:


Like I said above, I did the math on what we actually purchased for snacks, QS & TS combined vs what a TS DP would have cost, and we came out ahead, even including alcohol and tips, which are not included on the DP. (We also don't drink any non-alcoholic drinks that aren't water. I know there are plenty of families that love their soft-drinks. So maybe that helps make it worth it. IDK).


There is a dining plan calculator at the link that might be helpful. I have not checked whether the prices are current/accurate so I cannot attest to that, but it might be worth looking at.

I'll be the odd one who likes the DDP. We have gone the past 4 trips during free dining and gotten the regular DP with the promotion. This time we actually purchased the dining plan for the first time. We don't have AP so no discount opps there. We plan to use all of our meals as we will arrive early am on the first day and stay all day on the last day but we will also have to pay oop for 1 or 2 TS meals. My group consists of me, DH, two teenage boys, and 2 Disney children. We will eat 1 TS every day and one day we will eat 2 TS, including one signature. We are also doing a couple of character meals and F! dining package. Based on my calculations and the crazy amount my teenagers eat and our food preferences, I think we will actually save a small bit of money (about $300 if my calculations hold). I agree that perhaps it is too much food and I could definitely save money by ordering a kids' meal or splitting a meal with someone or skipping dessert at dinner, but in reality that doesn't usually happen. I typically order an adult meal, don't finish it, and try a dessert so the money would be spent anyway. I also like the prepaid factor as my older kids are free to get snacks or QS meals on their Magic Band for their daily allotment even if we split up without having to check first. We also like that the refillable resort mugs are included for our pool/resort relaxation times.


I also sometimes feel like it gets left out of the discussion that if you order the most expensive thing on the menu because you are on the DP, then you end up having to tip more out of pocket!

We got free dining once and still felt hard pressed to use all the credits. I don't think I would ever pay for it. Although I think with kids under 9 and lots of character meals would probably be the only real use case.


I think one of the best ways to look at it is this:

The way to break even or maybe even save money using a DP vs not using a DP is if you actually get and consume every single thing that is included with the plan.

Having said that, if you were not going to get and consume every single thing that is included with the plan if you had not gotten the plan, then getting the plan is not really saving you money - you'd be losing money and eating more than you normally would.


If I ever choose to do a DP, it would be for the convenience, not the "savings"; I've "run the numbers" multiple times and have never had the DPs come out to be a significant savings. But that's just me; I know others swear by it and says it saves them money on every trip.


As I did our budget, I too came to the realization that the dining plan no longer saves most people any money. And when people feel like they have to keep a spreadsheet to track their remaining credits, that rules out the convenience factor either. Some people may have old information about the dining plan. I have family members who insisted we needed the dining plan relent when I told them how much it costs now; they were last there in 2006, and it was quite a bit different then.

In fact, we're assembling a list of restaurants that deliver so we've got extra options for dining on our trip.


I always come out ahead, but we are a family of 6 and we schedule character and pricier meals. On our last trip, we ate at chef mickeys, be our guest, 1900 park fare, tusker house, ohana, and a few others. We wouldn't have been able to do that without the plan.


I think it may be more realistic to come out ahead using the table service plan. I just don't think the quick service is as beneficial.


Didn't you have to use 2 credits for some of these?