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Last Post on Free Dining vs Paying for Dining vs. No Dining

Dave Ber

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
There have been so many posts on the dining situation, I could never figure out why everyone was so far apart on the thinking and then it dawned on me, in most of the discussions we are comparing Apples to Oranges and not really comparing the same options. With that said any Disney Package will always be more with Dining. What it really comes down to is how you eat during your vacation. If you are going to eat in the parks, I really challenge you to add the numbers and compare the packages. If you shop prior to your vacation and you keep food in the room and you make your own sandwiches then the dining plan will obviously never be worth it.

BUT

If you are going to eat in the parks, I truly believe there is value in the FREE DINING PLAN. We just booked a trip and currently have two reservations booked. We have 9 days at Wilderness with Free Dining and Park Hopper Plus, we are going in July and will be at the H2O parks. July 6-15th. The cost is $7,205 for 2 adults and 2 teens ( Disney Adults ) with Park Hopper+ tickets.

I also have a reservation under the 25% off promo. The cost of this package is as follows. 8 day ticket and room is $6087, 8 day ticket with park hopper is $6428, 8 day ticket with park hopper plus is $6513 and 8 day ticket with Park Hopper+ and Disney Dining Plan is $ 9321.

So I subtracted $7205, the cost of the Free Dining Promo from the 25% off room promo which is $6513. That comes to $692

$692 divided by 9 day = $76.88, divide that by 4 and you get, $ $19.22 per person per day.

Again, if you are going to eat at the parks, I cannot fathom how someone would say that Free Dining is not WORTH it.

A quick service meal for four people, getting, nuggets, pizza and Burger would be well over $50, even eating breakfast for four people would be over $40 at a minimum, that's $90 a day in food, and that does not include any drinks, snacks or desserts.

Am I missing something?

We are planning on Eating at Cinderella's Castle, Le Cellier, California Grill, Yachtsmen Steakhouse, Sci Fi Diner, and eating in Star Wars Land, as well as Flame Tree BBQ, Satulli Canteen at least 2x each. At a very minimum that will cost us over $1800 and that does not include the QS meals we will use at the hotel or running thru the park, all the snacks, like a funnel cake, Cheshire cat tail, etc or ANY alcohol if we want.

So again, I will ask, What am I missing?

Please do not tell me that it is cheaper if you don't have the plan, I already mentioned that, it is obviously cheaper if you are not going to eat in the parks, or eat very minimally in the parks and if you are going to go offsite to eat at Taco Bell or Hometown buffet.

Lets compare Apples to Apples and not Apples to Oranges.

Free Dining Promo with Park Hopper+ for 9 days is $7205, If you do the Fun and Sun room offer and you add dining to the 25% off promo with the same Park Hopper+ tickets comes to $9321, that is a difference of $2116, I would definitely feel like I have to use it if I purchased it, but I would not feel the same with it included for $692.

With that said, I do not see value in purchasing the plan unless you crunch the numbers and know how much you are going to eat at meals. I would not be inclined to eat as many TS as we do, without the FREE DINING, we would visit two or three but definitely not what we will do with the Dining credits included.

Let me know what you think and if I did the math incorrectly.
 

Chi84

Well-Known Member
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Only at Disney would someone have to do math to figure out whether something free is “worth it” 😂
 

Dave Ber

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well, you have to do the same thing with everything in life, don't you? Do you just buy the first flight that comes available or do you compare to other airlines, there are so many more examples, not sure what your comment is all about
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
I too did the math in a thread that I started.
I compared the room discount to free dining.
I mock booked the exact same things... same dates, same party size, same resort, same room category, same tickets, same dining plan and It was ALWAYS cheaper to do the FREE dining plan vs the room discount.
I'm talking a difference of saving $137ish for room discount or $409ish for free dining
(BTW this was for 2 people, 5 nights, value resort, 4 day PH and regular DDP and yes I know value gets QSDP this price was with me upgrading)
 
Last edited:

RememberWhen

Well-Known Member
Your math seems good to me (especially with the extra “adults” who can sometimes eat sooo much). We’ve got a weird split stay coming up that we’re planning to do the dining plan one day for. We have one night(CCV) then two nights (BRV) then a cruise then 7 nights (BWV). We’ve got too many people to do the dining plan the second and third hotel, but the first is one night, 2 adults, 2 kids (3 and 8) and were planning to eat at tusker house. The cost to do the dining plan for the one night was $45 more than what we would pay for Tusker House. For $45 we get 4 QS, 4 mugs, and 8 snacks. That’s a deal. I think it’s doable to make the dining plan work even when it’s not free. But since it is, that’s a win!
 

Chi84

Well-Known Member
Well, you have to do the same thing with everything in life, don't you? Do you just buy the first flight that comes available or do you compare to other airlines, there are so many more examples, not sure what your comment is all about
Yes but when you buy a flight it’s not free. Never mind, it was just supposed to be a lighthearted comment about Disney’s use of the term free.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
I've always argued that it all comes down to how you eat, where you eat and what you order if you're dining at Disney. I know people who swear they save money by going with the plans, and maybe they do. I don't. I know I don't...and I've done the math...many times. On average, we save about $350 per trip by skipping the plan. The plans cover things we rarely or never use...like desserts, snacks and quick service meals. When I've broken down the cost per credit in the past, 2 credits on a signature meal usually came out higher than what I'd be forking over to pay OOP. It's been a few years since I've done this, but I remember it being about $15 cheaper PP (several years ago) for CRT OOP. We may also want all appetizers instead of entrees, we may want to order the chicken and not feel bad about burning a credit on a cheaper meal, we often order multiple cocktails, and those refillable mugs don't do a lot of good when you're in the parks much of the day. It's been a couple of years, but I once broke down the cost of a credit vs. OOP at Le Cellier for a guy who swore he was getting the better deal, and I came out $21 ahead by paying OOP. We also may want more TS meals than the regular plan offers, but less than what the deluxe provides...and not that we do much QS, but I remember cringing when someone suggested I use a deluxe plan credit on QS when I was struggling to come up with a meal or two for some leftover credits we had in my planning phase.

My friend swears by DDP because they are willing to eat within the confines of the plan and use it all...as well as look for meals/menu items that give them the best bang for the credit. For us, the handful of times we tried it (both regular and deluxe), we found a lot of stuff going to waste while we were still paying OOP for the stuff the plan failed to provide. Either way, if you find it works for you and you're going to save $, that's all that really matters.
 

Dad 2 M & M

Well-Known Member
There have been so many posts on the dining situation, I could never figure out why everyone was so far apart on the thinking and then it dawned on me, in most of the discussions we are comparing Apples to Oranges and not really comparing the same options. With that said any Disney Package will always be more with Dining. What it really comes down to is how you eat during your vacation. If you are going to eat in the parks, I really challenge you to add the numbers and compare the packages. If you shop prior to your vacation and you keep food in the room and you make your own sandwiches then the dining plan will obviously never be worth it.

BUT

If you are going to eat in the parks, I truly believe there is value in the FREE DINING PLAN. We just booked a trip and currently have two reservations booked. We have 9 days at Wilderness with Free Dining and Park Hopper Plus, we are going in July and will be at the H2O parks. July 6-15th. The cost is $7,205 for 2 adults and 2 teens ( Disney Adults ) with Park Hopper+ tickets.

I also have a reservation under the 25% off promo. The cost of this package is as follows. 8 day ticket and room is $6087, 8 day ticket with park hopper is $6428, 8 day ticket with park hopper plus is $6513 and 8 day ticket with Park Hopper+ and Disney Dining Plan is $ 9321.

So I subtracted $7205, the cost of the Free Dining Promo from the 25% off room promo which is $6513. That comes to $692

$692 divided by 9 day = $76.88, divide that by 4 and you get, $ $19.22 per person per day.

Again, if you are going to eat at the parks, I cannot fathom how someone would say that Free Dining is not WORTH it.

A quick service meal for four people, getting, nuggets, pizza and Burger would be well over $50, even eating breakfast for four people would be over $40 at a minimum, that's $90 a day in food, and that does not include any drinks, snacks or desserts.

Am I missing something?

We are planning on Eating at Cinderella's Castle, Le Cellier, California Grill, Yachtsmen Steakhouse, Sci Fi Diner, and eating in Star Wars Land, as well as Flame Tree BBQ, Satulli Canteen at least 2x each. At a very minimum that will cost us over $1800 and that does not include the QS meals we will use at the hotel or running thru the park, all the snacks, like a funnel cake, Cheshire cat tail, etc or ANY alcohol if we want.

So again, I will ask, What am I missing?

Please do not tell me that it is cheaper if you don't have the plan, I already mentioned that, it is obviously cheaper if you are not going to eat in the parks, or eat very minimally in the parks and if you are going to go offsite to eat at Taco Bell or Hometown buffet.

Lets compare Apples to Apples and not Apples to Oranges.

Free Dining Promo with Park Hopper+ for 9 days is $7205, If you do the Fun and Sun room offer and you add dining to the 25% off promo with the same Park Hopper+ tickets comes to $9321, that is a difference of $2116, I would definitely feel like I have to use it if I purchased it, but I would not feel the same with it included for $692.

With that said, I do not see value in purchasing the plan unless you crunch the numbers and know how much you are going to eat at meals. I would not be inclined to eat as many TS as we do, without the FREE DINING, we would visit two or three but definitely not what we will do with the Dining credits included.

Let me know what you think and if I did the math incorrectly.
Not sure where you are staying...but just ran the same dates and found the following:

July 6 - July 15

Both Rates below INCLUDE the following
Wilderness Lodge
Courtyard View Room (Most affordable available room)
8 Day Park Hopper +

Here is the pricing
With Free QS Dining - $9,938
AP Discount Room - $7,528

That's $2,412 more for the Free Dining....Quick service dining

Where did you find that deal? Which Resort, room style, etc? Again, my numbers above are for Free Quick Service Dining and it is $2,412 more than the AP Discount....$300 a day or $75 per person, again for QS Dining
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
Not sure where you are staying...but just ran the same dates and found the following:

July 6 - July 15

Both Rates below INCLUDE the following
Wilderness Lodge
Courtyard View Room (Most affordable available room)
8 Day Park Hopper +

Here is the pricing
With Free QS Dining - $9,938
AP Discount Room - $7,528

That's $2,412 more for the Free Dining....Quick service dining

Where did you find that deal? Which Resort, room style, etc? Again, my numbers above are for Free Quick Service Dining and it is $2,412 more than the AP Discount....$300 a day or $75 per person, again for QS Dining
Wilderness Lodge is deluxe and gets free regular DDP.
Also you compared the AP discount to free dining. Most people do not have APs so it should be the regular discount
 
Last edited:

Dad 2 M & M

Well-Known Member
Wilderness Lodge is deluxe and gets free regular DDP does it not?
Below s the screenshot of what I searched........If you go with the DDP, as you call it Regular, the prices jumps to $10,766. Strange thing is when I search, I get the following options:

- Room
- Package
- Passholder Sun and Fun Room Offer
- Sun and Fun Room Offer
- Tasty Kid Size Package Offer

The Tasty Kids Package Offer defaults to QS Dining, AND a 4 Day 1 Park ticket (non-Hopper). I had to "upgrade" to the 8-Day Park Hopper + tickets



Anywho, screenshots below.....

AP Discount.jpgFree Dining.jpg
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
Below s the screenshot of what I searched........If you go with the DDP, as you call it Regular, the prices jumps to $10,766. Strange thing is when I search, I get the following options:

- Room
- Package
- Passholder Sun and Fun Room Offer
- Sun and Fun Room Offer
- Tasty Kid Size Package Offer

The Tasty Kids Package Offer defaults to QS Dining, AND a 4 Day 1 Park ticket (non-Hopper). I had to "upgrade" to the 8-Day Park Hopper + tickets



Anywho, screenshots below.....

View attachment 443145View attachment 443146
That's the confusion. OP and I are not talking about the free dining for kids. I'm talking about the true free dining for everyone in the room (booking window for that closed on January 16th)
Basically you can calculate that by looking up the room and ticket price and that's the price for free dining.
If you look up the room rate discount price add tickets and the dining plan you will come out to a much higher cost.
I used your dates, room, ticket option for a party of 2.
Room discount total came to $6,937.34
With free dining it comes to $6,010.44.
 
Last edited:

Dad 2 M & M

Well-Known Member
That's the confusion. I'm not talking about the free dining for kids. I'm talking about the true free dining for everyone in the room
Basically you can calculate that by looking up the room and ticket price and that's the price for free dining.
If you look up the room rate discount price add tickets and the dining plan you will come out to a much higher cost.
I used your dates, room, ticket option for a party of 2.
Room discount total came to $6,937.34
With free dining it comes to $6,010.44.
I'm not talking about Free Dining for kids either......Take a closer look at my screenshots.....it is for four(4) Adults...

To be sure I understand what you are saying:

Search for the Rack Rate Room Price, add tickets, and the Total Price = Free Dining?

You are not looking at one of these options in the pic below?

Discounts.jpg
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
I'm not talking about Free Dining for kids either......Take a closer look at my screenshots.....it is for four(4) Adults...

To be sure I understand what you are saying:

Search for the Rack Rate Room Price, add tickets, and the Total Price = Free Dining?

You are not looking at one of these options in the pic below?

View attachment 443150
Ugh we could do this all night.
Yes if you look at the rack rate and add tickets that would equal the dining plan.
If you take the discounted rate and add tickets and the dining plan it comes out to be more in any situation I've looked at.
I will go in with 4 adults and do both scenarios again.
 

Dad 2 M & M

Well-Known Member
Ugh we could do this all night.
Yes if you look at the rack rate and add tickets that would equal the dining plan.
If you take the discounted rate and add tickets and the dining plan it comes out to be more in any situation I've looked at.
I will go in with 4 adults and do both scenarios again.
I get what you are saying,,,and found the Room + Tickets for the Price you quoted:

Room Hopper.jpg

I do want to be sure here....you're telling me the pic above would include Free Dining, right?
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
I get what you are saying,,,and found the Room + Tickets for the Price you quoted:

View attachment 443151

I do want to be sure here....you're telling me the pic above would include Free Dining, right?
Yes that's what I'm saying.
So you see the free dining offer that had been offered for booking dates from January 2-16 and one of the travel dates was July 5-7 (so the 6-15 was in that time frame) is a better discount that the room rate discount...
 

Dad 2 M & M

Well-Known Member
Yes that's what I'm saying.
So you see the free dining offer that had been offered for booking dates from January 2-16 and one of the travel dates was July 5-7 (so the 6-15 was in that time frame) is a better discount that the room rate discount...
Doing it that way the Price would Be $7,958 vs $7,528 for 4 people......so $430 for the QS (not running the numbers again)

Anywho, that is only $50 per day for 4 people to eat 2 QS meals 2 snacks......so it is reasonable
 

Queen of the WDW Screne

If you don't like it then you can leave
Premium Member
In the Parks
No
Doing it that way the Price would Be $7,958 vs $7,528 for 4 people......so $430 for the QS (not running the numbers again)

Anywho, that is only $50 per day for 4 people to eat 2 QS meals 2 snacks......so it is reasonable
But AGAIN at wilderness lodge it's a regular Disney dining plan NOT quick service soooo the savings would be quite a bit MORE.
My point stands it's a better deal no matter by how much.
And you should not chime in if you are ignorant about the subject.
 

Dad 2 M & M

Well-Known Member
But AGAIN at wilderness lodge it's a regular Disney dining plan NOT quick service soooo the savings would be quite a bit MORE.
My point stands it's a better deal no matter by how much.
if you're comparing buying it with an AP Discount Room, or getting it Free......either case you're still getting the plan
 
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