• On Jul 1, 2015
    April from AL Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We are going on our first trip to DW in September of this year. It will be me, my husband, and my 3 year old. My question the dining plan worth getting for the 3 year old, or would it be cheaper to just pay out of pocket for the little she eats?


    When it comes to the Disney Dining Plan, how much your child eats may not be the #1 factor in choosing it.

    The first question to ask yourself is 'do I envision myself using the Dining Plan to go to Character Meals?' If so, it won't matter what she eats as you'll pay the same fixed price whether she enjoys a bowl of cereal or cleans her plate. If you aren't planning to take her to several Character Meals but see you and your husband using it for table service restaurants where you'll be ordering off the menu, then I would definitely weigh the value of it and probably not purchase it. Keep in mind, however, that Character Meals will guarantee the pictures you want and in an air-conditioned setting without the wait of the parks. What you may lose in food value you'll gain in a little less drama.

    The second question to ask yourself is 'would I like to relax while dining at the parks and not worry about how much the meals costs?' Some folks like to be on vacation--and that means taking a break from the pocketbook. Only paying gratuity and having the opportunity to know how much you need to save for/pay for your vacation upfront is a benefit that is difficult on which to put a dollar sign. Additionally, some folks enjoy indulging in the snacks that come with the plan and even make a game out of getting the most for their value. I actually find that families with children snack more because their little tummies simply hold less, and therefore, they eat more often.

    If you're just looking at the bottom line, stick with asking yourself the first question. But if you're wanting to enjoy your first trip, think about the other benefits the plan allows.

    Wishing y'all a magical vacation!
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Meet the Panelist: Whitney, Mississippi

My family of 6 appreciates Disney's value! Although Ft. Wilderness is our second home, we've enjoyed the resorts for business, reunions and romantic getaways. For me, Disney also means dining: last count, I'd eaten at 55 restaurants around the World! Learn More About Whitney

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