What is The Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is available to on site guests at the Disney World Resort. Offered in (3) tiers the plan provides meal credits for many quick service and sit-down dining experiences, as well as snack credits. Accompanying the dining plan are coupons for some of the less popular attractions and the resort refillable mug.
Quick Service Dining
The quick service dining plan is the most economical choice. It includes (2) meal credits and (2) snack credits per person, per day. Most quick service restaurants on property (hotels, parks, Disney Springs area) accept the meal credits. You can see a full list of participating locations here, some favorites include Wolfgang Puck Express, Dole Whip Stand, Be Our Guest (Breakfast/Lunch) and the Flame Tree Barbecue. Approximate cost: $48/$21 for adult/child per day.
The standard dining plan provides (2) snack credits, (1) quick service credit, and (1) table service credit per person, per day. Table service credits can be used at nearly all restaurants on property, however some experiences (such as signature meals and shows) will take (2) table credits per person. Highlights fromt he table service offering include Ohana, Via Napolli, and 1900 Park Fare. Approximate cost: $70/$25 for adult/child per day.
Deluxe dining is just that, deluxe! Included are (3) table service credits and (2) snack credits per person, per day. The additional table credit allows for either a 3rd meal (although with the snack credits, you’ll find it may be unnecessary) or can be used towards 2 credit dining experiences. Approximate cost $107/$39 per adult/child per day.
How it Compares
So, let’s take a look at what it would cost out of pocket for the same adult meals offered on the dinning plan. Now keep in mind that this does not take into account the refillable mug, which gives you free refills of any non-alcoholic beverage at your resort for the duration of your stay.
Quick Service – $48
Snack: ~$5 x2 = $10
Meal: ~$17 x 2 = $34
Dining – $70
Snack: ~ $5 x2 = $10
Meal: ~$17 + $27 = $54
Deluxe: – $107
Snack: ~ $5 x2 = $10
Meal: $27 x 3 = $81
As you can see, the prices are extremely comparable. So why do some people chose a dining package? For some it’s peace of mind knowing that all your meals are covered for the duration of your trip. For others it may be the convenience that each member of your group is able to purchase their meals with their magic bands, and don’t need a parent to do so for them. There are plenty or reasons for the dining plan to make sense for some, but does it make sense for you?
I say no, the dining plans are not worth the money and do not make sense. At least not for me and my party. My family of five spent 7 days and 6 nights at WDW earlier this year, and purchased the Quick Service plan. It was great that we didn’t have to worry about paying for our meals, and my niece (7) loved being able to “pay” for everything with her band. However, we won’t be purchasing Disney Dining again.
There are 2 big issues that I have with the dining plans, the first is selection. Sure, there are a lot of locations when you review the participating list but keep in mind these are spread out over 6 parks, 2 out door areas (Disney Springs + The Boardwalk area), and a multitude of hotels. When you find yourself with a hungry family in the 80 degree heat, you want to grab whatever is closest. Not search through a list on your phone for 20 minutes to find which restaurants count. There are so many great places I didn’t get a chance to check out, because they didn’t make the cut. We lived on burgers and BBQ for the most part, and it became pretty monotonous by the end of the trip.
My 2nd problem with the DDP is the number of credits you receive. It’s just too much food, and for at least most went to waste. This was the 2nd time we’ve used DDP and both times we also had groceries delivered. So that being said we had our own breakfast food and some fruit and chips for the park. We would stop to eat maybe 1 meal most days, sometimes just a snack. We simply couldn’t find time to stop what we were doing, figure out which places we could eat at, wait in line, find a table…ugh. Nope. Not for us.
On the last day we had like 40 snack credits and 20 meal credits, we spent the morning before our flight bouncing around Disney Springs to buy anything we could with the remaining credits. The airport security was not happy about our three huge bags of to-go containers.
So, Should You Do it?
No. Don’t do it, save yourself some money by only buying what you need. Look into grocery delivery as well, it’s a great resource to ensure your family is eating right through the duration of your trip.