Disney dining plans:
||The cost of going to WDW can be substantial and
dvcreservations.com prides itself on helping you in that respect. In addition to great resort
rates, we are also able to get you meal plans which can save some groups money; however, should all groups consider them?
Many who opt for meal plans don't need them. To that end, we have assembled a primer for you (below). Most of the primer consists of reasons why you shouldn't get the meal plan. If you fall into any of the "don't categories" then we suggest avoiding the meal plan.
Money savings? The cost is the primary concern (see the calculator below). Meal plans will only save you money if you (1) only eat at disney (2) only eat at the best places and order the higher end of each menu (3) eat every meal. If any of your party like to eat light, or you think you will miss a meal, or think you will eat off property even once then do not get the meal plan.
Reservations: Although meal plans don't require you to get dining reservations in advance, you will not be able to get into the best ones without them. And if you do not have proper reservations, point two above is not possible. Thus, if you do not have time to plan ahead then don't get the meal plan. This point does not apply to the QUICK SERVE plan where reservations don't matter.
Meal plan changes your timing:
Now if all of your party wants to eat like mad and you are willing to do the reservation planning, consider this fact: the meal plan will dictate what you do and when you do it during your stay. If you make a reservation at Epcot on day two, you are going to epcot on day two because if you don't get that high end food your meal plan isn't worth it. If you like to have a more relaxed and fluid stay then the meal plan is not for you.
This is critical and 9 is the magic number. Children starting at 10 are considered adults on the meal plans and the price goes up drastically for adults. If you have children in the range of 6-9 you are in the sweet spot and a meal plan is more attractive, but if you have two children which are 10 and 12 then there is a problem. Young kids don't eat like adults yet you will be paying for adults. The age range of 10-14 we feel is a waste when it comes to the plan.
In the same way, getting a meal plan for children 3 to 5 may not be worth it, because they eat way below the value of the plan.
Note that for infants (2 or younger) the plan does not apply to them.
If you like to eat a late lunch and may not have a large dinner, do not get the plans. Lunches are cheaper at disney if you pay cash.
The entire party that is on your reservation must get the meal plan if you signup for it (with the exception of children 2 and under). If one person in your party will not use the meal plan fully, it is not worth it.
If you will eat half of your evening meals at a buffet then the plan is a money savings.
Many get the meal plans because, let's face it, its nice to have things prepaid and not worry about it. Valid reason! And some certainly will pay a little more for this. But there is no reason to throw money away either. Consider the prepaid gift card alternative
! What is this magic thing? We will tell you.
Let's say the meal plan is going to cost you $1200 total. Instead of doing the meal plan, go get a prepaid credit card or a disney gift card and put $1000 on it and use it for all your food purchases. You will see exactly how much you spend and also have that feeling of prepaid magic.
Avoid the Deluxe Plan:
The DELUXE plan has always, in our opinion, been a waste of money for the majority of people who opt for it. The amount of
food you have to eat to even come close to its value is jaw-dropping. Typically you eat two full meals in a disney day and then snack if you are still
hungry. Disney introduced the PLUS
plan in early 2020 which gives you the option of two table service meals (or buffets) rather than three. This is
by far the better value and will lead to a healthier and happier stay.