On our last Disney vacation we went just my husband and I. We went down for the DVC Moonlight Magic event at Epcot. Because we were there in August, we’d just been in January and I was pregnant, we opted not to do any park days and opted to spend our money and time on dining. So we tried out the Deluxe Dining Plan for the first time.
On the Deluxe Dining Plan you receive 3 meal credits each and every day to be used at either a quick-service restaurant or table service restaurant. At quick-service restaurants you receive an entree. At table service restaurants you receive an appetizer, entree and a dessert. At both style restaurants you also receive a beverage, this can be an alcoholic beverage. For each day on the dining plan you also receive 2 snack credits. The cost of the Deluxe Dining Plan is $116.24/night/adult.
One of the reasons we wanted to try the Deluxe Dining Plan was because we wanted to dine at many Signature Restaurants, since we were without kids. Dining at a Signature Restaurant requires 2 table service meal credits when you’re dining on the dining plan. So if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, which only gives you 1 table meal credit per day, you need to be creative with your dining. When on the Deluxe Dining Plan we just had to eat a snack style breakfast and save one of our meal credits for that signature restaurant meal.
Whenever we are planning out our dining for our Disney trips we are very strategic to make sure we are getting the most value out of our dining plan investment. We dine out for fewer breakfasts because it’s the cheapest meal of the day and we try to order items that have a higher ticket price. So when we were planning for this trip we made 1 breakfast reservation, 3 lunch reservations, 3 signature reservations and 1 dinner show. The other reason we skipped out on the breakfast reservations is they don’t have appetizers or desserts, and appetizers are included in the Deluxe Dining Plan. The more breakfasts out we ate the smaller the gap would be between how much we spent on the dining plan and how much we were getting for our food.
So after all was said and done, did we save money by being on this dining plan, the answer is yes! The cost of our dining plan was $930.08 and the cost of our meals alone was $1138.84. That’s a difference of $208.76. And that’s not even including our snacks or our refillable mugs. Now with all this being said we would never dine like we did on the Deluxe Dining Plan if we weren’t on the Deluxe Dining Plan. I like having an entree and a dessert but adding the appetizer each onto the menu is a lot. So there was a lot of food that we ordered that we wouldn’t have otherwise. But we did enjoy it. Some of the appetizers I had were better than my entree. And by being on the Deluxe Dining Plan we had more options. Like our meal at Sanaa, we ordered the bread service and were able to have all of the accompaniments not just five. And with our entree at Sanaa we were able to choose 2 sides instead of one. All of this helped with escalating the cost of the meal.
Now saving money on the Deluxe Dining Plan does require thought, as I alluded to above. For each meal two alcoholic drinks were enjoyed, Jeff got to have double the fun while I sipped on iced water. This elevated the price of the meal. Generally we chose meat entrees which again escalates the meal cost.
I’m happy to see that we walked out more than ahead because I wasn’t sure how it would end up levelling. We dined one lunch at Beaches and Cream, which is one of the 5 least expensive restaurants on property. We dined out for one breakfast which had only one course, instead of three. And yet we still ended up way ahead.
I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to do this dining plan during a family vacation, because the up front cost with a family of four, soon to be five, is so large and the kids wouldn’t be able to eat the amount of food or appreciate it. Looking back we are very glad we did and would consider doing it again. Especially on a low key vacation, like we did in August, where our main focus is eating. Maybe someday we’ll go down for a race weekend, just the 2 of us and eat like kings and queens again.
For more posts on Disney Dining check out these previous posts:
Happy Planning, Friends.