Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?

Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?

by Chris
(Quincy ma.)

Is the Disney Dining plan worth it? We'll be there for nine days. It costs $1150 for two adults 1 child.

You can get this on the Dining Plan

A hamburger and fries from Sassagoula Food Court

Photo by meshmar2

Dad's Not a Fan Answer


I've said this for years, I'm not a fan of the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). Now I know that a lot of people love the DDP, but not me. I think it's one of the biggest scams that Disney has ever created. (Dad calls the Disney Dining plan a swindle.)

Just to show you what I mean look at a receipt from a meal after using the Dining Plan. What does it say? Nothing. No prices at all. Disney doesn't want you to know how much you "saved". I know if I was saving money on a product, I'd put it right on the receipt just to show the exact amount you saved, but not Disney. Disney hides it so you'll never know how much you "saved".

Dads's Disney Dining Plan page

That's because (and this is just my opinion) over half the people that buy the DDP don't save any money at all. They either pick the wrong restaurants or they don't use all their credits. Missing just one credit can be the difference between you saving money and Disney winning.

The Disney Dining Plan has had another side effect. Restaurants have changed menus (and not for the better) to reduce costs. They've also added cheap desserts that aren't very good just to make sure they had desserts for the Dining Plan meals.

We ordered the plan last year for part of our trip. We actually "saved" $53.95 (and we picked some of the most expensive restaurants on the plan). That included the refillable mugs we never used. Those mugs would have cost $31. Take that $31 off and we only saved $23.95. But then we normally wouldn't have planned a big meal every day and we would have shared a meal at Pizzafari and we would have skipped dessert at Pizzafari and Casey's (which were both awful). If we wouldn't have had the plan we probably would have actually spent around $375 or less for our meals during that time.

A lot of people talk about the convenience. I didn't find it convenient. Tipping is a mess. You pretty much have to tip with cash and good luck trying to figure out how much to tip when the bill says your meal cost $0.00.

Nope, Dad's not a fan of the Disney Dining Plan.

The good thing is you don't have to decide right away. You can even make your reservation (with my friends over at Pixie and Pirate Destinations I hope) and later you can add the dining plan if you want.

Dad's Bottom Line

Chris, you have to do your homework when using the Disney Dining Plan. Figure out whether you will save money or not. Map out your meals and figure out what each will cost then compare that to the DDP.

Comments for Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?

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Jan 29, 2014
Good For Kids
by: Anonymous

We did the dining plan and it worked out well since we have 4 kids and the dining plan amount is alot less for them than an adult. I think if the ratio is higher for adults to kids, it's probably not a good deal. 50/50 ratio comes out even and more kids than adults is where you save especially for buffets and family service. Also, it does really matter what sit down restaurants you go to. SciFi/50's is cheap in comparison to Boma or Ohana.

Mar 20, 2013
Dining Plan
by: Terri

I did the math on the dining and what we would really be eating and this and that. I really did my homework for this Disney trip which is coming up in August. I thought for 2 adults that the price was insane. Especially the way our meals are spaced out. We at times snack then eat one major meal a day maybe 2 you never know with us. So we are totally with you on this one Dad its not for us we opted out.

Feb 13, 2013
May do it differently this time around
by: Anonymous

We have only been to Disney once and we got free quick service dining and upgraded to the plus dining.We loved it at the time but for our next trip we are thinking of paying out of pocket. I have no interest in the refillable mug and I don't really care about having beverages other than tap water. DH is diabetic and not keen on sugar free desserts so I feel if we get the plan he will be more likely to get sugary desserts since they are already paid for. Why prepay for drinks and desserts we don't want? If we don't get the plan he can get an appetizer instead of a dessert for the same money. My only concern is that I will be very aware of the cost of everything I order and I'll be more likely to get things I don't love in order to save money. I will still be very thrilled though if we can get free dining again!

Feb 11, 2013
Do your homework
by: Anonymous

Actually, we have found the dining plan saves us a lot of money. We have 4 guys with big appetites with us on most of our trips. If you go to and look up the menus from all of the restaurants, you will find that you would actually spend a lot more on just dinner than you paid for the day for lunch, dinner and a snack. My husband won't eat at "fast food" type places, so we always have a nice dinner at a good restaurant. (Usually in Epcot) All of the really good restaurants are very pricey, so the dining plan makes it all worthwhile. We also make sure everyone in our group uses all of the credits.It takes some getting used to, but certainly worth it.

Feb 07, 2013
Disney Dining Plan
by: Dinkie and Janice

We always use the Dining Plan it has so many advantages over peying for each meal
1. You can choose any disney resturant you want thats covered by your plan we usually get the Deluxe or Premimum Plan so we can go to the dinner shows like the Hoop De Do Review and eat at the better resturants like the Brown Durby, Rose and Crown, Crystle Palace Fultons Boat house if you paid out of pocket for a weeks worth of meals at the resturants we eat at you would be out a BIG CHUNK OF CHANGE so yes the Dining Plan Works really well for us if we just ate at the lesser evpensive resturants we would still get the plan to go to the charter dining and dinner shows Thanks and We Hope to SEE YOU SOON :)

Feb 07, 2013
Quick service dining!
by: Judy from Oklahoma

We recieved the Quick service Dining in 2011 for free, I loved the convience of it. For our 2013 trip I decided to purchase it. We do utilize every credit and any left over credits I use them for the trip to our second trip which this year is Destin for a week. We pay cash for sit down or character meals. I still hope they have free dining and I'll get a refund, well a girl can dream, right Dad?

Feb 06, 2013
saves us
by: Anonymous

Having a little girl we save money simply by using it for character meals and show like Mickey's backyard bbq

Feb 06, 2013
DDPnot for us
by: Chad

For my family of 4, the dining plan does not work. Out of three trips, we've had the dining plan once and that was because we got free dining. On all three trips, I've saved all food receipts and added them up when we got back. Our meals were always at least $500 less paying out of pocket that what it would have cost had we paid for DDP. We will never use the DDP unless we get it for free. We always schedule at least one table service service meal per day.

Feb 06, 2013
dining plan
by: Tracy

We always use the table dining plan! And the.amount is on the receipt initially until u hand them ur room key(or.whatever u r using).I then put that on our receipt that has all 00's on it & then at the.end of our visit I add it up we ALWAYS save at least $100 or more! And without the dining plan we would never have got the chance to eat at many of the places to get those experiences in the 1st place& we r free to eat whatever we want off without the worry of cost! Only thing that u have to worry about is the tip! in my opinion its the best thing but to each his own:)

Feb 06, 2013
But you do...
by: Danica

But you do get a receipt so you know how much to tip!

Feb 06, 2013
by: Natalie

I agree, sometimes if you don't pick the right restaurants or use all of your credits, you don't save money, but I'm confused about you saying that there isn't a total on the receipt, which makes tipping confusing.

When we went to Disney World in December, we always had a total on our receipts and found tipping to be quite easy, they gave us what 18% and 20% would be, we either chose the 18% total or a little lower depending on what we thought was reasonable and charged it to the credit card that we had linked to our Key to the World. Simple.

We love the dining plan because we find it to be convenient for the most part. It does get tough planning your day around dining reservations, especially if you don't have Park Hopper and are trying to use Fast Passes, but it doesn't seem to hurt as much financially when you have your whole vacation paid up front and only have to worry about tips once you get there.

Dad's Answer

Yes, before you pay the bill the prices are listed, but the bill you get back doesn't have any numbers on it.

Feb 06, 2013
depends on your reservations
by: Nicole

We went with the plan our last trip because we did a character meal everyday but 2, and those days we did sci-fi and Coral Reef (which is pricy). However with my kids getting older they don't want to do any next time except OHana so it won't be worth it next time around. When we were there in 07, gratuity was included whichade things easier, this time I alays har to make sure I had cash, and small bills for that matter, on me which was sometimes very hard.

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