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You DO NOT have to buy the Disney Dining Plan!

The last couple of days I’ve seen a couple of really, really, sad stories from people that were convinced that they HAD to use the Disney Dining Plan.

Yes, I know everyone loves the Disney Dining Plan, BUT, it’s not for everyone!


It’s not for everyone


Dessert in Pandora

Guess what? You DON’T have to buy the DDP to eat treats like this! – Photo by Brett Svenson

The Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is a good tool if you use it right, but it’s not for everyone. It can save you money, but if you don’t use all of the credits, if you’re not a big eater, if you aren’t a planner then the Disney Dining Plan may not be for you.

Dad’s Disney Dining Plan Page

The other day I saw a post where a lady was asking if you had to get the Disney Dining Plan

She was on her last day and had 12 table service credits, 17 quick service credits, and 19 snack credits left at the end of her trip. She was on a Free Dining Trip so no big deal, but she wondered for her next trip when she was planning to stay in a DVC resort and cook some meals in the room.

If she would have paid for the Disney Dining Plan and had all those credits, they would have lost over $800.

Yes, they turned the credits into 72 snacks to take home. That’s a lot of snacks and not a really good use of money.

The Disney Dining Plan is not for everyone.

In another group there was a lady who was planning to rent a villa and cook a few meals in her room and asked about the DDP. A lot of people were telling her that she HAD to get the DDP, especially if she was going to ANY character meals. Even just one.

While that sounds good, it might not be true. The Disney Dining Plan is only good if you use it and if you use it well.

If you are staying in a villa and plan to cook anything more than breakfast, you probably shouldn’t buy the DDP.


I might have said that before. Sorry. (But you might hear it again.)

Don’t get me wrong, the Disney Dining Plan does make sense for a lot of people. It’s very convenient, it can save money in the right circumstances. But you need to…

Do The Math


Disney Dining Plan Calculator

Dad has a cool tool to help!

For years, I’ve been saying that you should always do the math before purchasing the Disney Dining Plan. Put your meal plans on paper. Look at the actual menus and figure what it will actually cost at every meal. Where will you eat? What will you eat? What will it cost? Yes, snacks too!

Total it up and compare it to the Disney Dining Plan. Yes, it’s work but you don’t want to waste $500 (really $800) or more.

We even have a calculator that will help.

Link to the DDP Calculator page


Destinations to Travel


Dad’s Bottom Line

The bottom line is the Disney Dining Plan is a good tool when used correctly. But it’s NOT required. Only about 60% of Disney Hotel guests are on the dining plan.

Do the math. See if it makes sense. If it does, then by all means get the Disney Dining Plan. If it doesn’t then don’t.


Trust me!

disney world parks

disney world parks


disney hotels

disney hotels


the fire pit at 'Ohana



Comments for

Jul 04, 2018 Not Worth the Money You Pay
by: Judy

My husband, 2 teenagers and I just returned from a 2-week trip to WDW. We did not do the Dining Plan because I didn’t think I could eat that much each day.

(Also, my head was already spinning from all of the table service and Fast Pass reservations we had to keep track of. I couldn’t imagine having to keep track of how many snack credits we had left as well!)

I just did the math, added up all of our dining receipts and discovered we saved $857.69 by NOT doing the dining plan. This includes 3 character breakfasts, one character dinner and the Hoop-De-Doo Revue!

The Dining Plan would be great if you get it free, but if you’re paying for it, my advice is don’t do it.

Jun 26, 2018 But I like it! haha
by: Andy

Love the article. I have always tried to get away from the dining plan but just cant do it. To make it worse we always get the Deluxe Dining Plan and its so much food it hurts! But if you are going to do character meals each days and like to splurge at sit down restaurants then it really does save you money. Especially when factoring in the snacks. I gained 8 pounds on my last trip 🙁 haha

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