One question that I am asked a lot is “Is The Dining Plan Worth It?” And honestly, there is no cut and dry answer for this question. It all comes down to what your family wants to eat on a vacation. I advise everyone that asks to go to Disney.com and look up the restaurants they are interested in dining at. Disney has menus with prices for every single restaurant on their website.
Take a look at the 4 different dining plans and decide which one you could justify purchasing on your trip. The most popular plan is called The Disney Dining Plan.
Write down what the plan you chose offers. For example, the Disney Dining Plan offers a Quick Service, Table Service and 2 Snacks per day.
Consider if you can physically eat all the food that the dining plan offers.
- Will you eat dessert after your Table Service meal?
- Will you drink soda or tea with every meal?
- Will you navigate towards steak or seafood or stick with chicken or pasta?
- Will you purchase 2 snacks everyday?
Visit Disney.com and choose restaurants that appeal to you to create at least 2 different mock days. Do your have kids? Pick a couple of the character meals. Like different cuisines? Pick a couple restaurants in Epcot.
- Did you choose the Quick Service plan? Pick 2 Quick Service restaurants per day plus 2 snack location per day.
- Did you choose the Disney Dining plan? Pick 1 Table Service, 1 Quick Service and 2 snack locations per day.
- Did you choose the Dining Plan Plus plan? Pick 2 Table Service and 2 snack locations per day.
- Did you choose the Deluxe Dining plan? Pick 3 Table Service meals and 2 snack locations per day.
Select what you would purchase at those restaurants if you were currently sitting at your table. Don’t forget to include beverage and dessert if you would be purchasing those. Spend some time and thought and don’t just pick the most expensive item on the menu if you wouldn’t eat it.
Once you have selected all the food for Mock Day #1, add it up. Then select all the food for Mock Day #2 and add it up.
Now compare the cost of Mock Day # 1 and Mock Day #2 to the cost of 2 days worth of the dining plan you chose. Remember the dining plan cost already includes tax and your mock day total does not.
Decide which one is the better value for your family. Will you spend less out of pocket or will you spend more? If you would spend more, the Disney dining plan is worth it!
Don’t forget that you are responsible for tip at each of the Table-Service restaurants you dine at, rather you use the dining plan or not. Character buffets can get expensive. A party of 4 can dine at Akershus for $174 for breakfast, so you are looking at a tip of $34.80 for that restaurant alone. Make sure you factor the tip cost into both paying out of pocket and the dining plan. If you get the Deluxe dining plan, you are looking at about $75-$100 in tips per day in addition to the cost of the dining plan (for a family of 4).
So what did you choose? Is the dining plan worth it for your family?
Learn more about Walt Disney World Dining and get suggestions for where to eat, how to use the Disney Dining Plan and more.