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I Saved My Clients $500 by NOT Adding the Disney Dining Plan

Sign for 'Ohana Restaurant at Walt Disney World

Disney Dining Plan real talk:

I saved my clients $500 by NOT adding the dining plan for them!

That's right. They paid out of pocket for their meals, snacks and drinks at Walt Disney World, and spent $500 LESS than if they had added a dining plan. And this included everything they ate and drank- even dinner at 'Ohana.


  • The Disney Dining Plan requires that children ages 3-9 order from the kids' menu, and children ages 10 and older must order from the regular adult menu- regardless of how much they eat.

    • WithOUT a dining plan, anyone of any age can order from a kids' menu anywhere, any time.

  • You can share entrees, appetizers and desserts, if you're not using a dining plan.

  • You can order appetizers as your meal. So things like salads, soups, and whatever else you love can be your meal- as long as you are not using a dining plan. Heck, once I made a meal of the Famous Cobb Salad and the Grapefruit Cake at Hollywood Brown Derby- and I have no regrets! That wouldn't have been possible using a dining plan.

  • If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, and you order from a menu selected for your needs, you rarely spend as much as the dining plan meal credit is worth.

  • When using a dining plan, you can't just order what looks good. At most of the table service restaurants, you have to stick to certain menu items.

  • You're getting a specialty beverage and dessert with your meal, whether you want them or not- because they're included with your dining plan meal credit. Not a good value if you stick to water with your meals, or were planning to get dessert later in the evening at another location in the park. You basically end up paying for things you don't eat or drink.

  • Some table service restaurants are one dining credit- but many are two! That means you're getting half the value of those credits when you choose those restaurants.

  • And speaking of credits- you have to keep track of those credits. They are tallied on your receipt, and in your My Disney Experience app- but it's up to you to keep track of when and where you want to redeem them, and be sure they are being redeemed properly.

  • The dining plans don't even cover ALL of your meals. You only get two meals a day covered with your credits, so you're still going to pay for some things out of pocket, anyways.

So, what's the deal? Why do people like the dining plans so much?

Convenience. People like to have most of their vacation paid for before they arrive. They love the all-inclusive feeling of not having to pay for each meal and snack.

Also, if you are big on numbers, if you like to coupon, or if you have a competitive streak- the dining plan very well may be perfect for you. There are ways to maximize your dining plan, and if you love numbers, I have some great strategies for you to put to good use, and see how much you can get out of your dining plan! The potential for saving is absolutely there!

It just doesn't automatically save you money, simply by adding it. It all depends on when, where and how you like to eat.

When you plan your vacation with me, we will go through your individual dining preferences, and see if a dining plan truly makes sense for YOUR vacation. Dining plans can be added onto a vacation package any time from booking up until the week before you travel. I will always work to find you the best value for your vacation dollars- even if it's not how you might think!

It's just one of the many reasons why it's smart to have a trusted travel professional help talk you through your vacation decisions- so you can truly get the most out of your vacation.

Is the Disney Dining Plan right for you? Take my quiz and find out!

Mickey Waffle from the Grand Floridian Cafe at Walt Disney World


As always, I am here to help you design your dream vacation. If you've got planning questions, I take away the hassle and guesswork. Schedule a Zoom call or phone appointment with me any time, and let's begin!

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