Today I’m taking on another topic that a lot of people have questions about.
Should we get the dining plan?
This is a somewhat volatile topic among hard core Disney planners. Some are super huge advocates, some think it’s a waste, some think it’s too much food. My definitive answer on this is…. drum roll please…. it’s depends.
Less than satisfactory answer I know, so I’ll explain.
First, let me tell you about the two factors in this decision: Cost and Convenience.
If either of these is sufficient reason for you, then choose the dining plan. Here’s more info:
There is simply no argument that the dining plan is convenient. It’s prepaid. It’s on your MagicBand, it’s easy to checkout at the restaurant and you don’t need to carry any money. There is also sufficient flexibility to it that allows you to maximize use if you know what you’re doing (stick with me kid, I’ll show you the way).
I can give you the numbers on how much the dining plan costs, but it’ll mean nothing to you unless you truly understand the Disney World cost of living. So I’ll just link them here: http://bit.ly/diningprices
What matters to you when discussing the cost is not the actual prices, but the question: Does it cost more on the plan or off the plan?
Short answer: Food costs less on the plan.
Long answer: Food costs less on the plan, but you get a lot of food. So you may be able to save money if you’re not on the plan… but you’ll get less food.
But will it work for me?
The only way to really know for sure is to get menus, look at what you’d order and price it out. Pain in the butt, am I right? I like math, and this idea still makes my brain hurt. If I have two uninterrupted seconds without my kids needing something, I don’t want to be doing math with those seconds! So, instead:
Think in really general terms. Do you feel like your family eats an average amount or more relative to other families? Do you enjoy having (non-alcoholic) drinks and desserts at every meal? Does your husband (or you) like to order the most expensive thing on the menu? Are you willing to share meals within your party? Do you like to sit down and eat at a restaurant? Will you feel like you’re spending too much time eating and not in the parks? Will having a reservation time make you feel rushed?
The Disney World Dining plan is not for everyone, but I find that in most situations it can be a benefit and a convenience when used well. Out of 8 trips this year where I was eligible for the dining plan (staying onsite), it cost me less money and added more convenience 7 times. I traveled with various parties and looked at it each time to be sure and only once would it have cost me more.
Have questions? Email me and I’ll always help out! LJ@smartmomsplandisney.com
Enjoy dreaming about those delicious Disney meals,
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