Disney Dining Plans – Are They Worth It?

by Casey Morris on January 22, 2016

SONY DSCThe famous question: Is the dining plan really worth it? Before you continue reading this, I encourage you to read my post – Understanding the Disney Dining Plans.

Now that you understand what the differences are in the dining plans that are offered, I would like to show you real examples.

The most popular dining plan is the Disney Dining Plan (also referred to as either the “Plus Dining Plan” or the “Standard Dining Plan”, so I am going to use that as my example.

Vacation Details

5 night stay in November, 2015

2 adults, 2 children (ages 6 and 4)

TOTAL MONEY SPENT ON FOOD: $1059.07 (listed price, NOT including tax OR gratuities spent)

All prices are based off the most up to date info from Touring Plans and Walt Disney World. The restaurants that are underlined are links so that you can see more about what they offer.

Day 1 (checked in resort by 11am)

  • Lunch at Be Our Guest – $59.12
    • Braised Pork $14.99; Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake $4.59; Soft Drink $2.99
    • Croquet Monsieur $12.99; Chocolate Cream Puff $4.59; Soft Drink $2.99
    • Lumiere’s De-Light $7.49 (kids meal that included drink)
    • Chip’s Delight $8.49 (kids meal that included drink
  • Dinner at ‘Ohana – $132.02
    • This meal is served family style, all you care to eat

Day 2

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – $18.45
    • 2 Adults split a Breakfast Burrito $6.49, 2 drinks at $2.99 each
    • Each child ate a muffin at $2.99 each and shared a drink with an adult
  • Lunch at Sunshine Seasons – $53.32
    • Oak Grilled Salmon $12.49; Whoopie Pie $4.29; drank water at no charge
    • Pork Chops $12.99; Strawberry Shortcake $4.59; drank water at no charge
    • Kids Chicken Drumstick Meal including drink $6.99
    • Salmon Kids Meal including drink $5.99
  • Dinner at Coral Reef – $93.94
    • New York Strip $32.99; Jack Daniel’s Mousse $7.99; drank water at no charge
    • Mahi Mahi $26.99; Turtle Cheesecake $7.99; drank water at no charge
    • Kids Grilled Fish including drink $8.99
    • Kids Mac & Cheese including drink $8.99

Day 3

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – $10.18
    • 2 Adults split the Tonga Toast $6.99; drank water at no cost
    • 2 children shared a cinnamon roll $3.19; drank water at no cost
  • Lunch at Pecos Bills – $41.94
    • Spicy Beef Burrito $11.99; drink $2.99
    • Southwest Chicken Salad $10.99; drink $2.99
    • Kids Quesadilla Meal including drink $6.99
    • Kids Mac & Cheese Meal including drink $5.99
  • Dinner at 1900 Park Fare – $142.68
    • This is a character meal with a full buffet

Day 4

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – $14.48
    • 2 Adults split the Breakfast Platter $9.49; drank water at no charge
    • 2 children split the Kids Mickey Waffle including a drink $4.99
  • Lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue – $50.34
    • (2) Ribs & Chicken Combo $16.19 each; 2 soft drinks at $2.99 each
    • Kids Hotdog Meal including drink $5.99
    • Kids Chicken Sandwich Meal including drink $5.99
  • Dinner at Chef Mickey’s – $159.72
    • This is a character meal with a full buffet

Day 5

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – $12.47
    • 2 Adults split the Breakfast Sandwich $6.49; drank water at no cost
    • 2 children each had a muffin at $2.99 each; drank water at no cost
  • Lunch at Toy Story Pizza Planet – $42.64
    • Meat Lovers Pizza $10.69; Cappuccino Cupcake $4.99; drank water at no cost
    • Vegetable Pizza $9.99; Cappuccino Cupcake $4.99; drank water at no cost
    • (2) Kids Cheese Pizza including drink $5.99 each
  • Dinner at Akershus – $183.14
    • This is a character meal with fixed price no matter what entree you order

Day 6

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – $9.17
    • Cinnamon Roll $3.19; drank water at no cost
    • 2 Muffins at $2.99 each; drank water at no cost
    • Chocolate Croissant $2.99; drank water at no cost
  • Lunch at Columbia Harbour House – $35.46
    • Fried Shrimp Plate $9.99; drank water at no cost
    • Grilled Salmon $12.49; drank water at no cost
    • (2) Kids Nuggets and Fish meal including water $6.49 each

These meals look awesome, right? I mean, character meals with princesses at two different locations, as well as dining at Chef Mickey’s! How could I make that even better? The cost for the dining plan for that trip would be….$798.70! That is some serious savings! Now let’s look at that same vacation WITH the dining plan! Remember, there will be extra snacks added to the lists since they are included with the dining plan, as well as the Rapid Refill Mugs (refillable mugs). We still pay for just a few things out of pocket that the dining plan would not cover, so I will show you what that is. Any additional items on this list that are not on the above list (due to having credits to cover them) will be in purple so you can easily see the extra food you get!

Starting off with a total of 10 Adult Table Service Credits, 10 Child Table Service Credits, 20 Quick Service Credits, 20 Snack Credits, 4 Rapid Refill Mugs

Day 1 (checked in resort by 11am)

  • Lunch at Be Our Guest – 4 Quick Service Credits Used
    • Braised Pork; Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake; Soft Drink
    • Croquet Monsieur; Chocolate Cream Puff; Soft Drink
    • Lumiere’s De-Light (kids meal that included drink)
    • Chip’s Delight (kids meal that included drink
  • Dinner at ‘Ohana – 2 Adult Table Service Credits, 2 Child Table Service Credits Used
    • This meal is served family style, all you care to eat
  • Snack at Aloha Isle – 2 Snack Credits Used
    • 2 Dole Whips shared among all 4 of us

Day 2

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – 2 Snack Credits Used; Paid $6.49 Out of Pocket
    • 2 Adults split a Breakfast Burrito $6.49, 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
    • Each child ate a muffin; and their 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
  • Lunch at Sunshine Seasons – 4 Quick Service Credits Used
    • Oak Grilled Salmon; Whoopie Pie; Lemonade
    • Pork Chops; Strawberry Shortcake; Coke
    • Kids Chicken Drumstick Meal including drink
    • Salmon Kids Meal including drink
  • Snack at Karamell-Kuche – 3 Snack Credits Used
    • Bag of Werther’s Original Caramel Popcorn
    • Caramel Smore
    • Pumpkin Spice Caramel Square
  • Dinner at Coral Reef – 2 Adult Table Service Credits; 2 Child Table Service Credits Used
    • New York Strip; Jack Daniel’s Mousse; Root Beer
    • Mahi Mahi; Turtle Cheesecake; Odwalla All Natural Lemonade
    • Kids Grilled Fish including drink
    • Kids Mac & Cheese including drink

 

Day 3

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – 1 Snack Credit Used; Paid $6.99 Out of Pocket
    • 2 Adults split the Tonga Toast $6.99; 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
    • 2 children shared a cinnamon roll; 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
  • Snack at Starbucks – 2 Snack Credits Used
    • 1 Pumpkin Spice Latte
    • 1 Green Tea Frappacino
  • Lunch at Pecos Bills – 4 Quick Service Credits Used
    • Spicy Beef Burrito; Coke; Churros
    • Southwest Chicken Salad; Coke; Churros
    • Kids Quesadilla Meal including drink
    • Kids Mac & Cheese Meal including drink
  • Dinner at 1900 Park Fare – 2 Adult Table Service Credits; 2 Child Table Service Credits Used
    • This is a character meal with a full buffet

Day 4

 

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – Paid $14.48 Out of Pocket
    • 2 Adults split the Breakfast Platter $9.49; 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
    • 2 children split the Kids Mickey Waffle including a drink $4.99;  Rapid Refill Mug filled
  • Lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue – 4 Quick Service Credits Used
    • (2) Ribs & Chicken Combo; 2 soft drinks; 1 chocolate mousse; 1 lime mousse
    • Kids Hotdog Meal including drink
    • Kids Chicken Sandwich Meal including drink
  • Snack at Kusafiri – 2 Snack Credits Used
    • 1 White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake
    • 1 Brownie Paw
  • Dinner at Chef Mickey’s -2 Adult Table Service Credits; 2 Child Table Service Credits Used
    • This is a character meal with a full buffet

Day 5

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – 2 Snack Credits Used; Paid $6.49 Out of Pocket
    • 2 Adults split the Breakfast Sandwich $6.49; 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
    • 2 children each had a muffin; 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
  • Lunch at Toy Story Pizza Planet – 4 Quick Service Credits Used
    • Meat Lovers Pizza; Cappuccino Cupcake; Soft Drink
    • Vegetable Pizza; Cappuccino Cupcake; Soft Drink
    • (2) Kids Cheese Pizza including drink
  • Snack at Hollywood Scoops – 2 Snack Credits Used
    • 2 Ice Cream Sundae’s
  • Dinner at Akershus – 2 Adult Table Service Credits; 2 Child Table Service Credits Used
    • This is a character meal with fixed price no matter what entree you order

Day 6

  • Breakfast at Capt. Cooks – 4 Snack Credits Used
    • Cinnamon Roll; Rapid Refill Mug filled
    • 2 Muffins; 2 Rapid Refill Mugs filled
    • Chocolate Croissant; Rapid Refill Mug filled
  • Lunch at Columbia Harbour House – $35.46 Paid Out of Pocket (no dining credits remaining)
    • Fried Shrimp Plate $9.99; drank water at no cost
    • Grilled Salmon $12.49; drank water at no cost
    • (2) Kids Nuggets and Fish meal including water $6.49 each
  • Snack at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – 2 Snack Credits Used
    • 2 Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

So, as you can see, the same trip with the Plus Dining Plan, we paid a total of $798.70 for the dining plan, and $69.91 out of pocket. The money out of pocket covered a few breakfast items and the last lunch at Columbia Harbour House, for a grand total of $868.61! (of course that doesn’t include the gratuities we paid at the table service meals, or the tax on out of pocket items) THAT IS A TOTAL SAVINGS OF $190.46! Not only did the dining plan save us money, but gave us a more relaxing experience since we didn’t have to think about how much something costs when ordering it!

Will the dining plan ALWAYS save you money? There are a few scenarios in which it would not, for example: you always order really cheap items like Corn Dog Nuggets for Quick Service, never really purchase snacks in the parks or would not be interested in ever getting dessert. If you always ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, then you will probably wouldn’t save money with the dining plan, or possibly break even.

Contact your PPDD travel planner for any questions!

 

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