Character Meals with or without Dining plan

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by ashleyr409, May 24, 2018.

  1. ashleyr409

    ashleyr409 Mouseketeer

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    Hello,

    We are planning our first Disney Vacation for 2019. I have read so much about getting the dining plan and not getting the dining plan. I see that a lot of people say if you want to do character meals then the dining plan is so worth it. My question is how many character meals will make it worth it? We are planning on doing 3 character meals for our summer trip. 8 days and 7 nights.

    2 breakfast character meals
    1 dinner character meal

    Party of 5. Kids will be 15,12,6
    TIA!
     
  2. KrazeeK120

    KrazeeK120 DIS Veteran

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    It really depends on what other table service meals you plan to eat.

    The dining plan value isn’t cut and dry. For some people, it’s worthwhile and for others, it isn’t. We are planning 3 character meals for our next trip and we would still lose money on the dining plan based on how we eat outside of those character meals.

    The best thing to do is to literally sit down and do the math to find out if it’s worthwhile for your family.
     
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  4. ashleyr409

    ashleyr409 Mouseketeer

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    I Think we will only do 2 more table service, and quick service for other meals.

    I have been leaning towards no for the dining plan, but I keep reading. Character meals "DO THE DINING PLAN".
     
  5. KrazeeK120

    KrazeeK120 DIS Veteran

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    You will almost certainly lose money if you don’t do a table service meal every day of your trip. Using a TS credit for a QS meal is very poor value.
     
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  6. crazylady

    crazylady DIS Veteran

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    I think the character meals = do the dining plan advice is for people with multiple kids on the dining plan. Since you only have one kids that would be a child on the dining plan it might not be the best plan for you. It would be worth it to run.the numbers of your cost out of pocket vs the cost of the dining plan.
     
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  7. ashleyr409

    ashleyr409 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you. Looking on my list and we only want to have 5 TS meals.
     
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  8. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    I've never done the dining plan, what you could do is just take down the equivalent amount of money in Disney gift cards. It's what we did this last trip.

    But with 4 disney adults, the dining plan would probably not make financial sense. Especially since at TS you'd have to either order a child's meal out of pocket, or order an adult's portion that your kids may or may not eat.
     
  9. KrazeeK120

    KrazeeK120 DIS Veteran

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    They wouldn’t have to order anything out of pocket. Everyone 3 and older would be on a dining plan. The 15 and 12 year olds would order off of the adult menu and the 6 year old would order off of the kid’s menu. I certainly think a 15 year old boy would eat an adult portion of food and the kid’s menu should be fine for a 6 year old. The only questionable one would be the 12 year old girl...some girls that age eat a lot and some don’t.

    Either way, the dining plan is a poor value for this family since they wouldn’t maximize value of the TS credits.
     
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  10. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Probably not worth it for you, especially since 2 of your kids are "Disney adults" for the dining plan. But it may depend on your dining habits. I suggest you check out the menus -- either on the WDW website or the All Ears website -- for a basic idea of what your meals might cost based on your family's food preferences.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     
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  11. ashleyr409

    ashleyr409 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you all. I have done the research and I think the dining plan is not us. I was just thrown off with character meals=dining plan. We will just pay out of pocket.
    My daughter is a very picky eating. My oldest son will try anything once. And of course my 6 year old can get chicken nuggets for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.
     
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  12. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    I always do the math. Not just for the meals you will probably eat, but I add in snacks if we woudl choose them. Beverages if we would likely get them. My family is a dining plan family, so the math is much easier for us, we tend to book TS meals daily, like character meals, alwasy enjoy dessert and snacks are part of our day. We also use the refillable mugs. For us, it is nto a difficult decision.

    For your family it seems like the DDP might not even be a wash, but unless you look at your daily plans and add up the costs you will not really know.
     
  13. Arielfan98

    Arielfan98 All Star Resorts Fan

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    Keep in mind breakfast meals are always cheaper than lunch and dinners. I know not all character meals offer lunch/dinner, but keep this in mind if you're concerned with value. You get your money's worth on the DP if you use credits for dinner which are usually the most expensive meals.
     
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  14. DisneyFansInNYC

    DisneyFansInNYC DIS Veteran

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    I believe it is the opposite - depending on the character meals it might not be worth it either. I believe you need to order at an a la cart restaurant and you need to order the most expensive meal. Plus you need to eat like this every night in order to make it worth it. Other wise you are losing money. We never get the dining plan and we eat at character meals some of the nights. We pay OOP and always end up saving money.
     
  15. jacksmom

    jacksmom DIS Veteran

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    We are doing the dinning plan for our trip 7/21-7/28 with 2adults and 12 yo dd. We are doing: TH ROL pkg for lunch, Akerhus for lunch, Mama Mellrose fantastic pkg for lunch, Coral Reef for lunch, Boma for dinner, BOG for dinner and Crystal Palace for lunch, and we are doing the BOG breakfast that is a CS credit x 2. I have calculated that with the other CS meals plus alcoholic/specialty beverage along with 2 snacks and refillable mug we will come out ahead plus it’s paid for in advance and we can order anything we want! We are excited to be able to go and know it’s all paid for.
     
  16. jacknsally19

    jacknsally19 DIS Veteran

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    there are a few calculators on line that can help you make the determination as to whether or not the dining plan makes sense financially. I think touring plans has one but you might need to subscribe.

    We have never gotten the dining plan - mostly because it doesn’t mirror the way we eat at WDW. But I am not sure how it makes sense with teenagers now that it includes alcoholic beverages.
     
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  17. 3gr8boys

    3gr8boys Mouseketeer

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    We were a group of four in April...the kids that went were 11 and 15, so, Disney adults. We paid OOP and saved by not doing the dining plan....our TS meals were:

    Skipper Canteeen dinner
    50s Prime Time lunch
    Tusker House dinner
    Crystal Palace breakfast
    Garden Grill breakfast
    Nine Dragons lunch
    Nine Dragons dinner

    I feel like I am missing one....anyway...

    perhaps we would have not seen as much savings if we were ordering specialty beverages....alcohol being available on the dining plan now. Reality is, I knew that my 11 year old would be happier sometimes ordering off of the kid's menu and, in general, we prefer appetizers to desserts. To still have that "paid for" feeling without the dining plan, we put the cost of the dining plan in a savings account way ahead of time, ordered however we wanted at the non-buffets and QSs, charged all of our meals and most of our snacks to the room, and then used the savings account to pay the bill.
     
  18. HodgesMom3

    HodgesMom3 Earning My Ears

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    So glad that I saw this post. I have been on the fence about canceling our QSDP. We are going at the end of September with a 17, 13, & 7 year old. I’ve used one of the calculators for the DP & based on how we’ve ate in the past at Disney it just doesn’t look like it will benefit us at all. I’m glad to see others that don’t feel it’s a great savings. Makes my decision a little easier to make!
     
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  19. Magical2017

    Magical2017 Mouseketeer

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    The only time we did the dining plan was when free dining was offered. It was way too much food, and I felt stressed worrying about getting to all the dining reservations on time along with the fast passes. We have never spent more out of pocket than we would on the dining plan, and that includes a glass of wine at a few restaurants (my husband has done a comparison, lol).
     
  20. monorailsilver

    monorailsilver DIS Veteran

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    We don’t do a lot of character meals...ok we do 1. So doing the dining the dining plan does not make sense for us.

    We actually enjoy the quick serve meals. And I have even brought Mac and cheese cups for 2 of my 3kids and they are fine with that...they always get some kind of ice cream on a pool day!
     
  21. Tk0021

    Tk0021 Mouseketeer

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    The dining plan works for us because we have 2 kids under 10 and we do a character meal everyday. When those factors change we will no longer do the dining plan. As others said you have to do the math.
     

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