Mom And Daughter; Animal Kingdom
  • On Aug 28, 2013
    Jamie 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.

    Hello, I am trying to plan a family vacation to surprise my nieces with a trip to Disney World. We would be a total of 6 people, but pricing is expensive. To eliminate costs, do you think it would be better if we didn't do the Dining plan?


    The dining plan can be a money saver in the right situations, but in many cases you can keep a budget under control better if you are not on a plan. Why?

    The dining plan is a saver when you compare what you pay for the plan to what it would cost for you to purchase all the items that you get on the plan. But that can include a lot of food and beverages that you would not otherwise purchase. For instance we don't use the Refillable Mugs when we stay at certain resorts because we don't get a chance to use them enough to make them worthwhile. So while they are a nice perk of the dining plan, to say that we saved that money would be inaccurate. We simply would not be buying them.

    Another point is that for most parties traveling with small children, the plans offer more food to those young visitors than they will eat. So you are paying for food that you don't need or want. 

    My recommendation is to do this to keep your food budget under control;

    1. Set your daily food budget based on what can afford
    2. Figure out what your planned dining might be, meaning what table service meals you really want to include in your trip
    3. Determine what you think you will do with the remaining daily budget to keep your group fed, like counter service meals and major, planned snacks
    4. Keep about 10% of your budget unspent, as you will find that the snacking is hard to resist
    I hope that this helps? write me back if you need more suggestions. I can even recommend some restaurants where you get the most bang for your buck. Just let me know about your group, and what you like to eat.

    Have a magical (and delicious) vacation!
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Meet the Panelist: Doug, Indiana

I am one of the Dads on the planDisney Panel, and I love to help parents plan their vacation, with a focus on showing them how it can be fun for them too. I am also here to help Dads plan some nice surprises for the Moms in their life (they deserve it!). Learn More About Doug

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