5 Reasons We’re Not Doing the Dining Plan

On each of our last six Disney World vacations we have chosen to add one of the Dining Plans to our reservations. Last year, on our babymoon, we indulged in the Deluxe Dining Plan. On all other vacations we’ve purchased the Disney Dining Plan. For details on the dining plans for 2020 check out this previous post. We are now 41 days away from our upcoming Disney World vacation and we’ve decided that for this vacation we are going to pass on the Dining Plan. This is a hard decision for us to make because up until now we’ve been pro dining plan. But after much thought and discussion this just doesn’t seem like the vacation to purchase the dining plan. Here are the reasons that finalized our decision on skipping the dining plan for this vacation.

Children

We have 3 children, our oldest is 6, our middle child is 4 and our youngest is nearly one year old. When you are on the dining plan, you have to pay for all your children who are 3 and above, regardless of how much they are going to eat. To that point, if you have children 10 and above they are considered adults and will be charged as such. Whenever we dine out, our older two children typically split a children’s meal. There’s no way they would have the appetite to each eat a whole meal to themselves. So having a meal each for every single meal during our vacation is simply wasteful at this point. It will also save us some money. With the exception of buffet restaurants and all you-care-to-enjoy restaurants, we’ll only order one meal for the two to share. This will definitely pair down our cost. To note, buffet restaurants and all-you-care-to-enjoy restaurants charge per head. For us, at each buffet restaurant and all-you-care-to-enjoy restaurant we dine at we’ll be charged for two adults and two children. Our baby will still be free because he’s under 3. 

Multiple Resort Stay

On our last three family vacations we have done a multiple resort stay. We stay at a few different resorts during the course of our trip. For reasons on why would we choose to do this stay here. Your dining plan is linked directly to your accommodation reservation. This is because only those staying at a Disney Resort have the opportunity to be apart of the dining plan. When we have a multiple resort stay we have more than one reservation which means we end up with more than one dining plan. So we need to use all of our dining plan credits from one dining plan before they expire and then we start using our dining credits for our next reservation. This can get complicated and forces us to dine at more than one table service restaurant in a day. Which sometimes works out fine but for this vacation, but for this vacation we choosing to forgo that added complication.

Late Arrival Day

The dining plan gives you credits for each night of your resort stay. For this upcoming vacation we arrive in Orlando around 8pm, which means we won’t get to our resort until 10pm. Certainly not the ideal time to grab a meal for a family of five with all the kids 6 and under. Normally we would take this extra dining credit and have a meal at a Signature restaurant, which requires 2 dining credits, or eat at two table service restaurants in one day. The only two Signature restaurants we’d ever take our children to at this time would be Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table. We’re not doing any Magic Kingdom days for the beginning of our vacation. Which is where both of these restaurants are located so that leaves the Signature restaurant option out. As for dining at two table service restaurants in one day, we don’t want to spend THAT MUCH park time dining. We love sitting and dining during our park days, but doing it twice in one day doesn’t seem like the best use of our time.

Snack Goals

A lesson we learned from our Deluxe Dining Plan experience was there wasn’t much room for these epic snacks that are found around the parks. When I’m saving room for big meals or coming off of a full quick-service meal, I don’t feel like eating a big snack. There were so many snacks that I had wanted to try last August that I just couldn’t do because I was too full. By not doing the Dining Plan I can have some of these delicious snacks for a lunch or breakfast meal. So watch out Elephant Ear Pastry, I’m coming your way. Stay tune, in the next couple weeks I’ll be posting the snacks I plan on having during our vacation.

Experiment

We have done the calculations. We have saved a lot of money by dining on the dining plan in the past. Want proof? Check out this previous post. But it’s been so long since we haven’t done the dining plan that we thought this would be the opportune time to go without and see what happens. We’re going to see if we end up paying more out of pocket. We may find out that it’s on par with the cost of the dining plan. What I’ve always loved about the dining plan is the cost of the items on the menu doesn’t sway my choices. Normally when we’re dining out, the cost sways my decision making. I’m going to do my best to choose what I want and throw caution to the wind.

You can be sure that I’ll be running the totals and coming up with a firm answer on whether vacationing with the dining plan is the right decision for our family or not. For more posts on the dining plan be sure to check out these previous posts:

Best Magic Kingdom Restaurant on the Dining Plan

Worst Epcot Restaurant on the Dining Plan

5 Best Restaurants on the Dining Plan

5 Worst Restaurants on the Dining Plan