Are dining plans really worth it? What other positives come from getting a dining plan?

Childs1stTime2Disney

*A dream is a wish your heart makes*
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
I have never gotten a dining plan. Are they really worth it? Are there any non financial positives that come from having a dining plan? I was considering adding the new plan on my reservation (if possible) but it would cost $310 for my family of 4 to add that per night. I am just not sure it's worth it. I was calculating and even though we have many character meals and table restaurants, I am still not sure it's worth it. How can I figure this out?
 

lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
I think it has to come down to the math. There isn't a benefit unless you count having your meals pre-paid as a benefit. Some people enjoy that, even if it means that they end up paying more than they would have if they just paid out of pocket. I think you have to really crunch the numbers over your stay to see if you find it worthwhile or not.
 


thanxfornoticin

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Some folks say yes, others say no. We're in the camp where's it's not been worth it for us. But other folks swear by it - mostly for the convenience that everything is taken care of for your trip.
 
  • sharonabe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2009
    I have never gotten a dining plan. Are they really worth it? Are there any non financial positives that come from having a dining plan? I was considering adding the new plan on my reservation (if possible) but it would cost $310 for my family of 4 to add that per night. I am just not sure it's worth it. I was calculating and even though we have many character meals and table restaurants, I am still not sure it's worth it. How can I figure this out?
    How many nights are you staying? How many TS meals do you have planned right now? Are any of these signature? Are there others you would LIKE to do, but the cost OOP is holding you back? It looks like you have 2 Disney kids (9 and under), so that should be in your favor for character meals. Also, when it comes to snacks in the parks, would it be nice/fun/freeing to just be able to say, YES! every time your kids ask for a snack? Are you at your resort enough to make use of the refillable mug that comes with it or would this be more like a fun souvenir?
     

    Childs1stTime2Disney

    *A dream is a wish your heart makes*
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2012
    How many nights are you staying? How many TS meals do you have planned right now? Are any of these signature? Are there others you would LIKE to do, but the cost OOP is holding you back? It looks like you have 2 Disney kids (9 and under), so that should be in your favor for character meals. Also, when it comes to snacks in the parks, would it be nice/fun/freeing to just be able to say, YES! every time your kids ask for a snack? Are you at your resort enough to make use of the refillable mug that comes with it or would this be more like a fun souvenir?
    I only have one "child" according to Disney. So really 3 adults and one child $ wise. We normally do whatever we want, whenever we want, without cost holding us back when it comes to food on the trip. Literally whatever we or the kids want, we buy it, so the plan would not improve that in anyway.
     

    Boopuff

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2015
    We are all adults and always do the dining plan. We just like the fact that we don't have to worry about cost, paying etc. We can choose what we want, and do character dining as well.
     
  • sharonabe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2009
    I only have one "child" according to Disney. So really 3 adults and one child $ wise. We normally do whatever we want, whenever we want, without cost holding us back when it comes to food on the trip. Literally whatever we or the kids want, we buy it, so the plan would not improve that in anyway.
    Then I would say, for you, there is no non-financial benefit to the plan. You already feel free to eat what you want, so you just need to do the math. Choose where you WANT to eat this time around and see if it will be cheaper OOP or with plan.
     

    Childs1stTime2Disney

    *A dream is a wish your heart makes*
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2012
    Then I would say, for you, there is no non-financial benefit to the plan. You already feel free to eat what you want, so you just need to do the math. Choose where you WANT to eat this time around and see if it will be cheaper OOP or with plan.
    I am trying to do that and still not coming up with any of the plans being a savings, so far.
     
  • FindingTheMouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2017
    I used to believe that the dining plan was worth it for eating at the signature restaurants and character meals and still believe that if you do a lot of those you can break even. If you have any kind of discount like AP or DVC then the dining plan doesn't make sense. We were in WDW in December. We were there 8 nights and had a table service meal almost every night including Sanaa and California Grill. I did the math when we got back. With our DVC savings we paid over $500 less than we would have if we had purchased the dining plan.
    Of course, when we're paying out of pocket we tend not to purchase the most expensive meal on the menu, which you can often do with the dining plan, so it also depends on what you're ordering.
     

    sharonabe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2009
    I am trying to do that and still not coming up with any of the plans being a savings, so far.
    It never works for our family either, because it doesn't fit the way we eat or drink. We don't drink alcohol, we prefer water with our meals, but will have coffee and soda at other times. One of my sons never eats dessert. DH is not a big sweets person either. On our last trip, 5 nights, we did 3 TS, the rest QS, ate all the snacks and drank all the coffee and soda we wanted, and we still averaged less per person per night than the QSDP would have cost us. And one of those TS was a character breakfast for 4 Disney adults.

    The plans aren't for everyone and it sounds like they aren't for you.
     

    Ashleybs

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2004
    So it looks like the DDP is mainly beneficial for those who do lots of character meals (2+ maybe ?) and/or signature meals. Would you say this is accurate? Not just "regular" TS places it seems.
     

    karen4546

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2012
    So it looks like the DDP is mainly beneficial for those who do lots of character meals (2+ maybe ?) and/or signature meals. Would you say this is accurate? Not just "regular" TS places it seems.
    You are correct-mostly. the dining plans encourage you to use each credit wisely. Let's just use the regular dining plan for an example. If I eat a snack for breakfast (muffin, oatmeal, yogurt with granola) for $5 and then I eat at BOG for lunch and it includes a glass of win - $35 value, afternoo Dole whip or Mickey Pretzel -$5 and then for Dinner-Artist Point Story Book Dining, Boma or Whispering Canyon-$55. That uses all my credits for one day. That is $10 for snacks and $90 for meals-so the total is $100-clearly a savings. So, if you use the dining plan this way it works out monetarily and conviently since it is prepaid.

    If we are bringing our grandchildren, we get the dining plan. If it is just my husband and I -we like to share an entree and buy a couple of appetizers to share and a couple of drinks-but we use uor TIW card. Not everyone can get a TIW so can't get those savings.

    Bottom line: IF you spend at least $50 on a table service meal and $18 on a quick service meal (both of which you will if you drink alcohol) and $10 on snacks then the dining plan is a money saver-the refillable mug is just bonus and "free" souvenir.
     

    Sked081899

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2016
    Forgetting about anything financial and whether it’s better or worse in that regard, I find that it is fun to walk into the Starbucks and get the biggest most fun drink on the menu or to try the treats and snacks that I would normally say no to if I had to pay the price in the moment or getting special drinks with every meal. It makes the vacation feel more all inclusive and vacationy. I like using it for meals that include extras (characters, reserved seating for shows).

    Financially, having gone with and without I know that I definitely don’t need to spend that much to eat and have a good time, but having the plan does add an element of fun for me! And by using the meal credits towards the flat rate meals I usually come out “ahead”- meaning saving money over the oop cost, but not over the cost of how I would’ve eaten without the plan.
     

    goodeats

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2005
    There is an intangible benefit of being able to order the filet mignon or scallops and not having to look at the price. But I always find myself debating. We rarely want one dessert per person and I really do like a starter salad or other appetizer a lot of the time too.
     

    Childs1stTime2Disney

    *A dream is a wish your heart makes*
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2012
    Forgetting about anything financial and whether it’s better or worse in that regard, I find that it is fun to walk into the Starbucks and get the biggest most fun drink on the menu or to try the treats and snacks that I would normally say no to if I had to pay the price in the moment or getting special drinks with every meal. It makes the vacation feel more all inclusive and vacationy. I like using it for meals that include extras (characters, reserved seating for shows).

    Financially, having gone with and without I know that I definitely don’t need to spend that much to eat and have a good time, but having the plan does add an element of fun for me! And by using the meal credits towards the flat rate meals I usually come out “ahead”- meaning saving money over the oop cost, but not over the cost of how I would’ve eaten without the plan.
    I can see that for some, especially those who need to pay up front so they have that money for the food when the time comes. But I would literally do the same thing without the plan, literally buy 3 cupcakes if that is what my kids wanted, etc. So I am thinking it's not worth it for us after all this talk!
     

    jf256

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2018
    When working out numbers how do you add tax? Is it a set number like VAT in the uk or does it differ?
     





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