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Disney Dining Plan and eating in our room


by Nav
(Toronto, Canada)


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


Bay Lake Towers

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.

Dad’s Disney Dining Plan page


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 Disney World Restaurants page

  • Destinations to Travel

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.


inside the Sci Fi Dine In



the fire pit at 'Ohana



the disney world website for ADRs

advanced dining reservations


Disney Dining Plan

dining plan


Comments for

Oct 25, 2011 Disney dining plan
by: MickeyMom We had the free Disney dining plan when we last visited in 2009. Staying in Saratoga Springs studio room, sometimes we had breakfast in our room, and even with doubling up table credits to experience signature dining we still had credits left over.

Top tip……we used our left over credits in Goofy’s Candy Shop at Downtown Disney to buy goodies to bring home as gifts for people. There are other sites that have lists of what you can use credits for and where available from other websites. Overall we found the Disney Dining Plan a great experience.

We have done the ‘eat as cheap as possible and end up feeling like burger’ holiday and coupled with the fact that you can use Disney transport if you stay on site we only hired a car for a few days. Our costs where not too far away from staying off site and we had some very memorable dining experiences.

Oct 22, 2011 Dining Plan
by: Todd Hey Carl – still loving the site and we look at it almost every day. We’re heading to WDW in three weeks and can’t wait. We have free dining for our 8 day trip.

Our question: what should we get as snacks to maximize the use of the dining plan. The WDW site has snacks as items such as apples or water but in the past we were able to get much better snacks (not as healthy) which cost much more than an apples or water.

As always, thank you for all your hard work and dedication to your website – we love it!!!!

Dad Answers

Thanks Todd. Good to hear from you again. The best snacks are probably the bakery items like bagels and other breakfast items. You can use these for your breakfast and get your drinks with your refillable mug.

Oct 22, 2011 Not a spokesman for Disney
by: Dad No, I am not a spokesman for Disney. I’m an independent voice that tells it like I see it. I’ve done calculations on the Dining Plan and I’ve looked at it for years. In my opinion, if you are very careful with the Dining plan and use it correctly, yes, you can save money.

But, if you pick the wrong restaurants, if you choose the wrong menu items, if you don’t use all of your credits, if you don’t order an appetizer one time because you can’t find one you like or you don’t feel like eating one, you will not save money by using the Disney Dining Plan.

I’m not saying that the plan is a ripoff, I’m saying you have to be careful about buying the Dining Plan. Do your homework. Make a list of which restaurants you are going to eat at. Check out the menus and see what it would cost if you paid out of pocket. Compare that to the Dining Plan. If the dining plan will save you money, buy it. If not, don’t.

Most people automatically buy the plan because Disney says it will save money. That might be true, it might not. Check it out is all I’m saying.

Oct 22, 2011 Dining Plan=rip off?
by: Anonymous YOU are a spokesperson for WDW????? You just told everyone that the Dining Plan is a rip off! I disagree with you! Trust me, there are plenty of way to use the Dining Plan and eat in your room also, without not using everything! We have done it!….and unless the guy is doing the cooking, what kind of vacation is that for the mother???

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