Hi — my family and I are going to Walt Disney World for the first time and we are considering the Disney Dining Plan (3 adults 2 kids).
The issue is we are staying at Bay Lake Tower in the Contemporary Resort and the room (1 bedroom villa) has a full kitchen. We were thinking of getting some groceries and eating breakfast and a few dinners in our room and having lunch in the park. We are planning to have a few dinners at the park (Royal Table etc). Does this seem reasonable? Do we need The Disney Dining Plan? Are we missing out on stuff if we don’t eat at Disney?
Please advise. Thank you. Nav
What a beautiful place Photo by Jeff_B.
Dad’s probably not Answer
This is a great question. Thanks.
Do you need the Disney Dining Plan? My best answer is probably not. The Disney Dining Plan only makes sense if it’s free or if you use every credit to it’s max.
Let me explain …
First let me say that the dining plan is set up so Disney can make money, not so you can save money. A lot of guests that buy the dining plan don’t use all their credits and when that happens Disney makes money and the guest loses money. So if you eat a meal in your room instead of using the dining plan and have a credit left over, you’ve lost money.
One of the things that might help in your situation is if you eat a meal at one of the Signature Restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table you have to use 2 credits from the dining plan. This is a way you can still eat in your room and use all of your credits.
To check out whether buying the Disney Dining Plan makes sense, check out Dad’s Walt Disney World Dining Plan calculator page. It has a tool where you can figure if the plan makes sense for you. There is a spreadsheet for the Quick Service plan, the basic Table Service plan and the Deluxe plan.
Will you miss things if you don’t eat all your meals in Disney Restaurants? Yes, you will miss some. All the restaurants are special and offer good stories (not always good food). Then again, sometimes it’s nice to get away from all Disney all the time. If you were planning to eat all of your meals in the room, I’d have a problem with your idea, but if you strike a balance everything will be fine.
Dad’s Bottom Line
Nav, you don’t NEED the Disney Dining Plan. No one does (unless its free). Disney says you might save up to 30%. Dad says you might lose up to 30% using the plan. Most people don’t save money with it. Make sure to do some homework to see if it makes sense for your family.
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