Monday, April 27, 2015

#MagicalMonday - 5 Reasons Why The Disney Dining Plan Is Not Right For Me & 5 Reasons It May Be Right For You

Hello there pretty people! So glad to see you back around these parts again. Blogging has taken a back seat here at the C household due to me working on my group fitness certification. I am happy to say that I can see the light at the end of the proverbial fitness tunnel (which includes an agility ladder) and can focus on some blogging again. Also, we are shipping off to Walt Disney World later this year and all my planning has given me some blogging inspo.

Last year sometime, I talked about a future blog post regarding the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). I never actually got around to posting about it, so I thought I would make today's first #MagicalMonday post of 2015 - 5 reasons why the DDP is not for me (at this moment) and why it may be for you...

If you are not already familiar with the DDP, you're going to need to read all about it here. You'll find prices (which are based on a per night basis) and all the rules and regulations.

Here are the basics - Each plan is per day/per adult/child & every plan comes with a refillable mug.

First level dining plan - "Quick Service Dining" - 2 quick service meals, one snack. ($41.99/$16.03)

Second level dining plan - "Regular Dining" - 1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, 1 snack. ($60.04/$19.23)

Third level dining plan - "Deluxe Dining" - 3 meals (any combination of table service and quick service), 2 snacks. ($109.53/$29.86)

Now onto an Internet favorite...a list! The numbered sections are why it's not for me and the italicized sections are why it may be for you...enjoy!

1. We always have a rental car - There two types of Disney people - the ones who fly into MCO, immediately hop aboard the Magical Express (Disney's airport transportation) and head straight to WDW. They do not pass go, they do not collect $200 - they go straight for the pixie dust like flies to a bug zapper, pass those blue signs and don't leave those 45 magical square miles for their whole vacation. And then there's people like me...who really enjoy the tackiness that Orlando has to offer. Call me crazy, but I have certain requirements when it comes to food and Orlando, FL. There always has to be a Sonic stop, an A&W stop (corn dog nuggets FTW!)...and maybe even a $2.99 Sizzler breakfast buffet thrown in (#Don'tJudge).

Why it may be for you -  If you will be on Disney property for your whole stay, the DDP is definitely something to consider. You are going to need to eat anyway and you are going to need to eat within the confines of the 'World. Also, the dining plan IS a savings if all you plan on eating is Disney food anyways. The ease of already having your meals paid/accounted for is always a good feeling when having to plan a vacation that is so "package" based. It also prevents you from overspending. Unless you're like me...which brings me to my next point....

2. I can't trust myself to sick to my allotted meals - IMO, the dining plans offered are either not enough food and too expensive or too much food and way too expensive. I could never do the first level offered due to the fact that I always like to do a few table service meals. The second option could work, but some of the restaurants I like to eat at require you to use TWO table service meals from your DDP because they are pricey. That right there requires you to have a few nights of no meal points left and leaves you paying out of pocket for meals anyways. Which IMO defeats the whole purpose of the savings on the DDP. And, the third option would be way to expensive for us as (like I mentioned above) I don't like all of my meals being from the 'World.

Why it may be for you - If you and your family can be disciplined enough to stick to whatever meals are in your dining plan, then it can be somewhat of a "value" (I say that loosely due to the fact that there is really never "value" in a Disney trip). If you are straying from those meals at all, (and don't forget, some table service dining requires the points of TWO meals) then you will end up spending more money in the long run.

3. I truly, in my heart of hearts, don't believe you are saving that much money - After tips and the occasional purchase of something not on your DDP, you pretty much break even.

Why it may be for you - If you are one of those vacationers that like to have every thing budgeted, down to the last dollar, then the ease of the DDP is probably something you're looking for. Every time you eat a meal, you can have a sense of security knowing that meal is already paid for. You are paying a premium for the ultimate convenience.

4. Food is very important to my Disney vacation experience - I want to eat all of the food, all the time and I don't like to be told how much I can eat before even getting to the vacation. IMO, if I want cotton candy, popcorn a Dole Whip AND a Mickey ice cream bar, I don't want to be told I can't have all that because I used all my snack credits that day...yanno?...Did I mention I am a fitness instructor?

Why it may be for you - If character breakfasts are the only table service meals that are important to you, and/or most of all your other days are going to be spent touring the parks/resort and NOT sitting down to eat, the DDP is a great option.

5. I wouldn't travel to Disney just because they are doing their "free dining plan" promotion -At a certain point during the year, Disney announces a free dining plan promotion for select dates. The promotion requirements are a 7/day-6/night non discounted vacation package with a park hopper option. The reason why this doesn't work for me is because, I don't like to pay full price for anything, so buying tickets through the Disney website isn't an option when AAA is always cheaper for ticket prices. So, if I chose to get my tickets through Disney I would be paying more and therefore "paying" for the dining plan anyway.

Why you may think it's a good deal - Because hello, it's free and if your vacation package matches up with the promotion dates and regulations, you are taking the damn DDP because, Dole Whips and Mickey bars.

Coincidentally, Disney just came out with the dates for their free dining plan promotion for fall this morning, you can find that here.

The dining plan can be very confusing at times and Disney wants you to believe that it's the best value (and may be for some people). But, as with anything, do your research to see if it's best for you and your family in the long run.

Have a Magical Day!