If you have not planned a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort for a couple of years, you may be disappointed to learn that the Disney Dining Plan remains “temporarily unavailable.”
While the Dining Plan information is still available on Disney’s official website, the Resort has not confirmed when (or if?) the Plan will once again be available to Guests. In the meantime, Disney World has released a new special offer designed to incentivize dining out at restaurants around the theme parks and Resorts.
But is it worth it? And, how does it compare to the Disney Dining Plan? Let’s take a look!
The Disney Dining Plan, at least in its previous form, was fairly straightforward to understand. The classic “Disney Dining Plan” (as opposed to various other options offering more or less table-service or quick-service restaurants) included one snack, one quick-service meal, and one table-service meal per person per day (along with an alcoholic beverage at table-service meals for Guests ages 21 and over.)
Rather than allotting a certain number of meals and snacks per person like the Disney Dining Plan, the Disney Dining Promo Card gives Guest a dollar amount to spend at select dining locations with this amount given per hotel room, not per person, and with the card available after check-in at their Resort.
The price of the Disney Dining Plan and the amount added to a Disney Dining Promo Card vary based on several factors based on the time of year, Resort type, number of Guests, and even what offers are available. What cover the Dining Promo Card in this post, but this offer is much more temporary than the Dining Plan was as it is only available during specific weeks of the year.
The Disney Dining Promo Card is also based on an otherwise non-discounted Resort stay, making it more comparable to previous “Free Dining” offers than the Disney Dining Plan itself. And therein comes the question that many asked before booking a Dining Plan package in years past. Is it worth it, but more specifically, is it worth it to pass up on room-only savings to secure a dining discount (of any type).
Unfortunately, there is not a one-size fits all answer to this question. To determine if the Disney Dining Promo Card (or any future dining offers that can only be used on full-priced room packages) you need to determine which savings is more important, accommodations or dining.
Much like the Dining Plan, which boasted up to a 35% savings to Guests who made the most of the Plan, the Disney Dining Promo Card (which could give Guests up to $750) could be very worthwhile…to some Guests. If you are traveling on a budget, and would not be dining out at some of Disney’s pricier restaurants anyway, we can almost certainly know that saving money on your hotel room would be the better deal for you.
Conversely, if you are more focused on trying out several Disney Restaurants, and especially if you are looking for justification in splurging on more expensive locations or dishes, the Promo Card could be just the help you need in making such a splurge happen. (If a budget does still come into play and you are happy moving down a Resort category, say from a moderate Resort to a value, this could work out well.) Conversely, if your priority is making sure you can stay at a moderate or deluxe Resort and dining is secondary, you may want to reconsider.
To actually figure out which process is more cost-effective, you’ll need to run the numbers. If you are working with an authorized Disney vacation planner, they can calculate the best deal for you, but if you are on your own, we recommend running both offers on Disney’s website (as if you were going to check out your cart) and seeing which deal works best for your family.
You can find information on the Disney Dining Promo Card and other special offers, including up to 25% off Resort stays for all Guests, and special savings for Annual Passholders, at DisneyWorld.com. Happy planning!