Do or don't do Dinning Plan


Someone told my DH that the Dinning plan was not worth it yesterday. So now he doesn’t want it! Can I get some in put on this area please. He thinks that we will lose money because what if we change our mind were we want to eat, or if we just want a ham sandwich then we would pay $20 or so on just the ham sandwich. Someone please put my mind at ease.

After the dinning plan he started in about the Park Hopper! OMG
I understand that he dose not want to take out a second morgage on a vacation. But after all this is our first and maybe only trip to Disney.

So I looke dup the prices and tell what do you think I should do?

Base Pack 6 day Hopper $1764.84
w/o hopper $1573.16
Dinning no hopper $2316.92
w/ both $2508.60

This is for a family of 4 and we are going to stay at Pop.
I guess I can keep my fingers crossed for Disney to have a good discount in April!



It depends on how your going to use it. Pull up the menus and decide what you think your family will order, add up the price, tax, and tip then compare that to what the dining plan will cost you.

It’s not worth it from my family because my soon to be 10 year old adult doesn’t eat enough to come out ahead.


It’s worth it, like DT said, if you are eaters. If you don’t think you will be wanting one sit down meal a day, then don’t bother with it. I am thinking about this now. Me and DD may just save the money and do the OOP thing with the DDE card…I will have to run the numbers of course.:laugh:


Were going in December and after hearing what others had to say about it we are doing it for the first time. We enjoy a sit down meal everyday as it gives a nice break to the day and also you wont care about cost as you pick what you want and cost never enters the equation.
As for Park hopping if you plan to go from Park to Park in the same day to say rides in one and dinner in another then it’s worth it if your just going to 1 park that day then it’s not needed.
All depends how you plan to spend your days


IMO, if you pay for your meals up front, it is less that you have to worry about and save for in the end. I like the park hopper option because you have more flexibility!


In November we’ll be trying it for the first time. It has caused me to want to pull out my hair. I don’t like making ADRs, it’s just not necessary in November, but I didn’t want to be turned away from a restaurant I would like to go to. I know we’ll save money when I look at our restaurant bill from 3 years ago, lots of money. But I don’t know if I like being a slave to the dining plan, which is what this feels like :pinch:

I will report back after our trip


Thanks for the info so far. I was all go for it until someone talked to my husband. He is worried that we will waste money instead of save. I will look at menus with him and the kids to see what they want to eat then go from there. The person told him that you spend more time waiting in line then you do in the parks or dinning.

If I only make it through this trip!!!


How old are your children. Again the choice is if you are going to have a sit down dinner every night, then this will be a better deal. I’ve know several families who just do the counter service for most of their meals and maybe one or at most 2 sit down dinners, no appetizers, no desserts, and OOP was cheaper. So you have to look at your usage. If your kids want to “run and ride” more then you probably won’t have as much time for sit down dinners.

As for park hoppers, I would not go without them. Especially towards the end of your trip, you’ll want to take in your favorite rides again, which may require you to jump from park to park.

We’re actually going to start at one park for EMH, go to another for dinner and end up at a third for late EMH. This could not be done without the park hopper passes.



My boys will be 10 and 8. We are going for my oldest sons Birthday. He does eat alot but I think he may want a kids meal. But with the DDP he can not get one. So tonight after homework we will look at menus.

That’s a goos idea about jumping parks. That way if one is to busy you can enjoy another. I think what makes this so hard is that we have never been before!


look at the counter service meals too, and see what choices the boys want. If they are preferring the kids meal, do not eat alot, and you and DH don’t want the TS meals, the OOP may be worth your while. A co-worker has children a little older than yours - 13 & 15 and they chose OOP because the kids don’t eat meals like is offered. They just did CS meals the whole trip with one TS. He said it was cheaper for him.

Just DH and I are going this trip and we are choosing the meal plan as we want to enjoy and relax for a nice sit down dinner each evening. Remember sitting for a meal takes more time than CS. (But from what I understand if you are eaters… the meal plan is the only way to go.)

Chrysler ad platform history


DDP math

$39 a day for a sit down dinner, a counter service meal, and a snack.

Snack value is up to $4.
Counter service meal with beverage, entree, and dessert can run from $11 to $17.
Table service meal entree $20, appetizer $6 (not included in 2008 plans) dessert $6, beverage $3 plus tax and tip (combined 24%) (tax only at %6 in 2008).
These are average prices, if you work at it and study the menus at All Ears Net, you should do better. Even with the 2008 version which doesn’t include the tip or appetizer at table service meals will still have you doing slightly better than breaking even, so long as you use the table meal credits for dinner. I think that for kids under 10, it works pretty good too. Your only problem is with 10-12 year olds that are either picky eaters or don’t eat much. But for $39 a day, you aren’t going to do much better out of pocket, unless you’re really cutting corners. With the 2007 plan, you should be able to recover the daily cost with one dinner. ($22+$6+$6+$3=$37 times 1.24(tax and tip)=$45.88)


You only spend your time waiting to be seated if you haven’t done your homework and made your dining reservations in advance. If you do that, you’ll never wait more than 5 or 10 minutes for your table.
As for park hopping, most of us suggest you do, especially when you find one park is too crowded and you want to head to another or if you decide to watch two fireworks shows in the same evening, or do the extra magic hours and then switch parks.


SG ~ this makes perfect sense and I have to agree, when you break it down, the DP is a $$ saver, even with the new 2008 plan (Which is 37.99)

Again, I agree. Two trips, 11 sit down meals, we waited only one time more than a few minutes at Ohana. And we waited there as well when we weren’t on the DDP.


My DH and I decided to do the dining plan just so we don’t have to worry about the cost when we get there. We both enjoy sitting down to a nice dinner at the end of the day and neither of us like to eat on the run. So, for us, the dining plan is the way to go.
As for park hopper, I would definetly suggest getting it. We we went we thought we would end up staying in one park but we were all over the place. Its a lot better to be able to leave and go somewhere else if you want to.


I just don’t see how the dining plan ISN’T worth it. We looked at a typical day we spent “food wise” in Disney on our last trip…

This was an example of one random day:

Breakfast: banana & yogurt from ‘quick store’ w/orange juice… Approximately $12.00 for two adults.

Lunch: two “quick service chicken meals” at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom with medium soft drinks. Our total was $20.69

Snack: Two ice cream bars = $5.00

Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe: Two Canyon Skillets with soft drink, one dessert & tip was $67.03

OK, so the dining total for ONE DAY with two adults was $104.72. That is OBVIOUSLY way more expensive that the charge for 2 adults on the DDP per day.


Looks like you are getting a lot of great advice. It really is a personal thing that will need some research and decisions on your part. All ears is a great place to research menus and prices and then you can do the math. There is also convenience to think about. I really enjoy having that part of my trip paid for in advance and then I do not have to worry about it. We also like having our dinner and/or breakfast reservations made and the knowledge that we will have a table at our favorite places. When we took our granddaughter she did not eat very much but it over all was still worth it to us.

Park hoppers are also a personal choice. Many can not do without them and others stay at one park all day. We have done both but on our first trip we stayed at one park all day. There was so much to see and do at all of the parks. Now that we have been a few times we do park hop a little more but we still will spend most of our days at one park or another.

The best part is you can spend hours researching, calculating and planning. It is all part of the fun! Happy Planning!


When we did the DDP in 2005, we saved our reciepts and figured out we definitely saved $$$ on the plan. That being said, we figured our savings based upon the cost of what we were served, and we would not necessarily have gotten an appetizer & dessert every table meal. Our DD was 2 at the time, so she just ate off our food we ordered, so with your kids it may be a little different.

If your DH is anything like me (and it sounds like he is), what is scaring him is the $$$ involved. The biggest plus about the DDP for me was that it was already paid for, so I wasn’t worried about the money when I was supposed to be having fun on my vacation. The second biggest plus was that we were able to eat at a lot of places I wouldn’t have normally taken my family. Some of the higher end restaurants I would have deemed ‘too expensive’ if I was paying out of pocket, but with the DDP, it was already paid for and just counted as a TS credit, so we got to try some great restaruants with good variety.

We did not do the DDP on our last trip because we weren’t staying at a Disney resort, and I did find myself a few nights talking my wife into eating at the lower cost restaraunts when we both really wanted to try the nicer restaurants. Ever since that trip, my DW and I agree that it we have the opportunity to get the DDP, we most definitely will!

Prezcatz Paul


Consider me convinced!!! :wink: Very good points that resonate with me!! But my 11 year old DD sort of puts the biggest kink in my desire for DDP, because she has a small appetite and is pretty picky as well. :pinch:


Please keep in mind that you don’t need to be on the dining plan to make reservations and that just because you’re on the dining plan doesn’t mean you can’t just walk up somewhere and be seated without a reservation. Think of your reservation as a dining fast pass, it’s pretty much the same concept. And at some of the most popular places, you won’t get in without having made that reservation a few months ago. As others have pointed out, the dining plan allows you to prepay your meals, so it’s one less worry once you arrive. I’ve seen the families get there and have to cut way back on food, just because it wasn’t properly budgeted.


IMO~ I always get the DDP. I am thinking about the DDP for my 2008 trip as well as the deluxe. My DH and yours might be related or something becuase first my DH cringes of the thought when he sees me on here cause he knows another WDW trip is in the works. He told me 2008 will be the last time we go to WDW as a family of 4 untill we have grandkids… HE rather be out fishing in the ocean somewhere.
For the DDP I have 2 kids and 2 adults so I figure if it wont pay for itsself I will break even and I like the thought of already having it paid off. Now for u… Your son will be 10 so the adult factor comes into play. You can just book you and your DH on the ressie and get the 2 kids ticket at disney store and then get DP for yo uand your DH and pay out of pocket for the kids with kids meals.