Mom And Daughter; Magic Kingdom; Cinderella's Castle; AA; Mickey Balloon
  • On Apr 25, 2010
    Mindy 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.

    I am trying to decide between staying at the Swan without a dining plan or at a Disney resort with a dining plan. I know that they can make me all the same reservations but is there a plus with the dining plan?


    I have to admit I have a slightly different opinion of the plan now than when I first came to the Moms Panel over a year ago, especially since they omitted the appetizers with the adult meals and added gratuities.

    Disney touts that the plan can save you up to 30%--and it can--however, I don't know that I would eat as much food as the plan gives me if I didn't feel I had to make the most of it.  Every vacation we've had the plan, we find ourselves with so many snack credits left, we are running around in the candy store on Main Street looking for cookies and candy to pack for home.  On our first trip with the dining plan, we didn't think twice about ordering the most expensive item on the menu. But now that gratuities are added on, it does have us asking ourselves if a steak is really worth the additional gratuity. Additionally, I doubt that I would eat a dessert at every meal--especially counter service restaurants--if I were paying out-of-pocket.

    My recommendation for folks considering the plan is to ask yourself:
    • Do you like to know your budget for your vacation upfront?
    • Do you enjoy all-inclusive vacations and the flexibility they give?
    • Is yours a family of "snackers."
    • Do you have other family members going with you on vacation and would the dining plan make splitting checks up easier?
    • Do you have hearty eaters in your family or picky/finicky/light eaters?
    • Are you willing to make advance dining reservations so you don't end up "dumbing down" your table credits to counter service credits?
    If you answered 'yes' to most of these questions, you'll probably enjoy the Basic Dining Plan.  Otherwise, check out the menus under Dining at and crunch the numbers for what you'd eat if you weren't on the plan versus on the plan and see if it's economical for your family.

    Wishing y'all a magical vacation!
thumbnail image for Whitney

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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