Dining plan thoughts?

patsfan24

Member
Original Poster
So I am looking to book a trip for November and am wanting to stay on site and take full advantage of all the on-site perks. My question to you all is, have you found that the dining plan is generally a decent value? My thinking is even if my family ends up eating ~$150 less worth of food over the course of a week, it will be well worth saving the stress of factoring price into every item we order. Also, I believe we can exchange a TS for QS credits and QS for snack, makes this even more flexible/doable.

Have you all had good experiences with the DDP or do you guys generally pay out of pocket, and why??
 
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We like the Dining plan for ease. I also prefer to sit down and just choose what I would like to eat and not stare at a $10 price difference.
 

Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
The dining plan is rarely worth the cost. Look at the value of the meals you would buy and then add them up. Also of course dining plan is main and dessert, but some days maybe you want appetizers in place of dessert.
I don't think you can use a TS credit on a QS meal, but even if you can that will lose you significant amounts of money, a table service meal is about $40-50 per person, quick service is more like $20-25 so you are losing half the value of the credit.
The three snacks for a QS is OK, but have to all be done at the same transaction and again you want close to $20 total value to be worth it.

Put aside the same value you would have spent on the dining plan (maybe put most on a Disney Gift card) if you want to budget and cut down on the stress.
 

belledream

Well-Known Member
We only consider the DDP if it's discounted as part of a promotion. Otherwise, I don't think it is particularly more 'convenient' as you still have to 'do' all the transactions. However, I also am the type of person that looks at prices and lets that influence me at times, but I'd rather have the choice to pay more or less, here or there, than to be tied to constantly fulfilling a specific number. Don't get me wrong... I enjoy being on the DDP, but I wouldn't pay full price for it. OOP much easier and more worth it in most cases for us.
 

Queen of the WDW Scene

If you don't like it then you can leave
In the Parks
No
When we plan on only eating QS we don't get the dining plan.
When we plan on eating at more than one TS we always get the dining plan.
When its free dining we choose it over the room rate discount because it ends up saving us much more.
We love the convenience of having our meals paid ahead of time whether it was free or we paid full price.
With all that said you have to decide what is best for you and do that because the dining plan is not everyone's cup of tea.
 

DVCakaCarlF

Well-Known Member
Pay for a premium club level room, and get a room discount. Get all the beer and wine you want. Then pay for a few meals you want here and there.

You would need to pound food like a growing teenager to get ahead of DDP.
 

Queen of the WDW Scene

If you don't like it then you can leave
In the Parks
No
Pay for a premium club level room, and get a room discount. Get all the beer and wine you want. Then pay for a few meals you want here and there.

You would need to pound food like a growing teenager to get ahead of DDP.
With CL you have to factor in that you have to be willing to hop back to the resort for dinner and dessert if you really want to get the best value out of it.
And you have to factor in whether you enjoy alcoholic beverages or not.
 

DVCakaCarlF

Well-Known Member
With CL you have to factor in that you have to be willing to hop back to the resort for dinner and dessert if you really want to get the best value out of it.
And you have to factor in whether you enjoy alcoholic beverages or not.
True...if you do not drink, then it really doesn’t trade well dollar for dollar.
 

danyoung56

Well-Known Member
It all depends on how you eat. For me the DDP doesn't work. I like the signature restaurants which require 2 TS tickets. I also like appetizers, which are not included. And I like to drink 2 or 3 glasses of wine, and I'd have to pony up cash for at least some of those. If I'm going to get some stuff on the DDP and still have to pay for other stuff, it just doesn't work for me. If, however, you plan on eating just what the plan offers, going for the most expensive entree instead of what you really want to eat, then it can be a good value.

For me, it's just too much of a headache. I prefer using the Tables in Wonderland, a discount card you can get with an AP, which saves you a flat rate of 20% off of your entire meal, including alcohol.
 

SAV

Well-Known Member
We did the QS plan years ago and it was not a savings for us. My wife tallied up the costs of what each meal would have cost us vs what we paid for the plan just to see if it was or not.

I found myself just eating a meal because "I paid for it" when I didn't really want it. Some days I just wanted to eat snacks instead of a meal.

By mid trip I said forget it and I skipped a dinner or two because I was full from lunch and all of the snacks.

Not to mention the vat of soft drink or Powerade that you get with each meal that fills you up.

I still remember us on the last day of the trip as we were leaving the park, going into the old Bakery and grabbing a bunch of packaged goodies to just use up the remaining credits.
 

abdrury

New Member
If you do a Character Meal every day you should come out ahead by $100 or so on DDP.

We're two Adults and three Kids, and come out $150 ahead every time.
 
I'm going for the deluxe dining plan for my next trip. From the quick calculations I've done, we will save a few hundred dollars. But you do have to have TS meals all the time, and some people would rather use that time on rides or shows. Its all about what you like to do.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
I would like to do the DDP because it seems convenient, but it doesn't work out economically for us. I don't drink, and I'd rather eat small meals/snacks than large meals. Our daughter and I can usually share a meal. We also prefer the flexibility of being able to eat whenever, where ever, and in whatever amount (e.g., dinner at one restaurant but dessert somewhere else, etc.) And we only did one character meal in a week at WDW.
 

figmentfan423

Well-Known Member
I would like to do the DDP because it seems convenient, but it doesn't work out economically for us. I don't drink, and I'd rather eat small meals/snacks than large meals. Our daughter and I can usually share a meal. We also prefer the flexibility of being able to eat whenever, where ever, and in whatever amount (e.g., dinner at one restaurant but dessert somewhere else, etc.) And we only did one character meal in a week at WDW.
In that case I'd look at some menus and figure out your out of pocket expenses and get discounted Disney gift cards to pay for them that way. Almost as convenient and you'll save enough to maybe even pay for an extra or 6;)
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
For my family (2 adults, 2 kids over age 9, mix of TS and CS dining but no character meals), the Dining Plan would be a colossal waste of money. On our most recent trip to WDW in February 2020, we spent 33% LESS by paying out-of pocket. This is due to a combination of us not choosing to eat as the DDP would want us to (e.g., we prefer more TS meals and fewer CS meals, we can't eat 2 snacks per person per day, and we sometimes like to order combinations of appetizers instead of an entree.)

Specifically, eating wherever we wanted, and ordering whatever we wanted without regard to price (meaning sometimes we had the most expensive entrees and sometimes we didn't), over our 7-day/6-night trip we enjoyed: (1) 7 Table Service meals for 4, including entrees and fountain drinks along with some appetizers, desserts, alcohol and specialty beverages; (2) 1 Signature TS for 2, with entrees and appetizers; (3) 5 CS meals for 4, with entrees and beverages; (4) 1 CS meal for 2, with entrees and specialty beverages; (5) 2 Lounge visits with drinks and/or apps for 2, and (6) 15 snacks. We spent (including TS tips) $1,504.

The DDP would have cost us $2,245 ($1,872 DDP cost + $225 in non-covered TS meals + $80 in Lounge charges + $68 in non-DDP-covered appetizers), and would have resulted in our “wasting” 2 CS credits and 9 snack credits as well as the 4 refillable mugs which we wouldn't have used. As a result, we saved over $721, or 33%, by paying out-of-pocket instead of using the DDP. (In fact, we saved even more than that, as my DDP total doesn't include TS tips -- I just got tired of doing the math.)

Obviously, the DDP isn't one-size-fits-all, but that's how it shook out for us.

More info. here if you want to see where we ate and what kinds of things we ordered: https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/we-came-we-rose-we-resisted-a-february-break-adventure.963612/post-9083242
 
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