A while back, I wrote about my opinions on the Disney Dining Plan, and how it can actually save you some money if you are traveling with children. When I heard on WDW Today about the new changes to the plan, however, I wanted to revisit the subject, because it’s possible things might have changed.
I’m looking at a 4 day trip with my wife, my two kids and myself, and comparing the cost of the Dining Plan to the cost of using Tables in Wonderland. Now, I understand that not all of you out there have Annual Passes and can use Tables in Wonderland, but it’s something to consider. For the price of what you’re paying for tickets and the Dining Plan, you might save money buying one annual pass and Tables in Wonderland.
Looking at the trip I want to take, I’d like to take the kids to eat at some of our favorite spots. For this trip, I’m thinking Biergarten, Crystal Palace, Boma and Kona Café for breakfast. The Dining Plan works out well for us, because we tend to eat one table service meal per day, just to give the kids a little time to sit down and relax.
I deliberately picked those restaurants because they’re not as expensive, and what I’d likely pick if I were not on the Dining Plan. So…whip out your T-81 graphing calculators and let’s do some math.
First, the Tables in Wonderland costs are calculated by taking the 20% discount that you get from the card and then adding the 18% gratuity that is automatically added to the bill. One thing that strikes me when doing this is how high the food prices are, but I digress. For Tables in Wonderland, it comes out as follows, for 2 kids, 2 adults:
- Biergarten (dinner) – $101.88
- Crystal Palace (dinner) – $107.76
- Boma (dinner) – $114.78
- Kona (breakfast) – $47.03
The grand total comes out to $371.05, and that’s just for four meals! This is the reason why people think of how expensive a Disney vacation can be. That doesn’t include the breakfast and lunch for three of those days, and lunch and dinner for the day we go to Kona.
Under the new Disney Dining Plan, the cost has increased to $45.99 for adults, and $11.99 for kids in the non-peak season, and $47.99 and $12.99 during peak season. The trip I’m taking is during peak season, so we’re talking about a total of $121.96 per day. That comes out to $487.84 for the four days. But remember, the Disney Dining Plan doesn’t include tip, so factoring in the tips for those four meals, you get $562.02. Wow! For meals for four people, that’s a lot.
That leaves a difference of about $192 between the table service meals on Tables in Wonderland and the Disney Dining Plan. Could we eat our other meals (3 breakfast, 4 lunch and 1 dinner) for that $192? That’s 8 meals, meaning we’d have only $14 to feed 4 people at each meal. Not likely, huh?
So, again, it turns out that if you have kids, the Disney Dining Plan is probably still a better value than paying out of pocket, even with Tables in Wonderland. As always, the standard disclaimers apply – do your own math (I created a spreadsheet) and make sure you can book your restaurants before booking the Dining Plan.
What about you? Will you change plans due to the increase in Dining Plan prices? Or does seeing these prices make you want to eat off property more?