It’s that time of year again that Walt Disney World releases their annual “Free Dining” offer. So if you’re on the fence about if this is the best option for you, I’m going to help you break it down and see if this is the best way for you to do your Disney vacation. Here are some things to consider:
Know that It’s Hurricane Season
Disney’s offering these discounts because there’s a dip in attendance. Keep this in mind while you’re booking your vacation. Consider purchasing trip insurance just in case something happens and you’re not able to keep your reservations.
How Do You Book?
Use your favorite Disney travel agent to help book your vacation package! You’re getting the same awesome deals while you’re supporting someone’s business. They’ll help you out and make sure you’re getting the best deals possible and it doesn’t cost you any extra. If you’re a member of AAA, they can also help you book your vacation. You can always book your vacation on the Disney website or by calling the Disney reservation line if you’d rather book yourself.
What Do I Need to Know?
Of course you’ll need to know when you’ll be traveling and who’s traveling with you. These are things you’ll need to put into the Disney website to see the offers available to you. Also know that if you decide to book your vacation, you’ll be making some kind of deposit (or paying in full if you’re willing and able to do that). Learn a bit about the dining plan too so you’re familiar with what you’ll be getting.
Comparing the Offers Available
Use the tool available on the Disney website. It allows you to compare three different vacation options. I suggest one option be your hotel room only. The second option should be the “free dining” option (resort room, park tickets, and dining plan).
Cost of Dining
To be able to compare apples to apples, you’ll have to figure out how much your food will cost. Snacks average about $5 each and you’ll get two per night with each dining plan. The quick service dining plan allows for two quick service meals each night while the regular dining plan allows for a quick service and table service meal each night.
2 snacks/night = $10/person
Quick service meal/night = $15/meal
Table service meal/night = $35/meal
So with a family of four using the quick service dining plan, your daily meal total estimate would be $160 per day (10 for snacks + 30 for two meals = 40 x 4 people). If you’re going with the regular dining plan option, your daily meal total estimate would be $240 (10 for snacks + 15 counter service + 35 table service = 60 x 4 people). Multiply those daily totals by the total number of nights you’ll be staying. That will give you an estimate of how much you’d spend out of pocket on food without the dining plans.
Comparing the Final Numbers
After you look at the different offers available to you, compare apples to apples. Look at the room only deal and add in the cost of park tickets and dining (using the math above). Compare that amount to the total of the free dining offer to see if it’s the better option for you. That should help you decide what’s best for you and your family.