In my third and final in-depth evaluation of the 2013 Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World, I am going to analyze the least expensive plan option, the Quick-Service Dining Plan. In 2013, this plan costs $37.58 for an adult and $14.32 for a child, per night. Every guest staying in the same room (on Walt Disney World property, of course) must be on the plan, with the exception of children under 3 years old. Children under 3 are free to share from another family member’s plate at no additional charge or a separate meal can be purchased. Per night, each guest using the Quick-Service Dining Plan will receive two Quick-Service meals and a snack. Each guest will also receive a refillable mug that can be used only at the resort he or she is staying at for the length of the stay.
The Quick-Service Dining Plan is often seen as the time and money-saving plan. This plan does not include a sit-down meal; however, that does not mean a family cannot pay for one out of pocket. If you think your family is more of a “one sit-down meal a day family,” you might want to think about the standard Disney Dining Plan. If you are thinking about pricing out the Quick-Service Dining Plan for your family to see if it is a good fit, consider your family’s eating habits. How many full meals do you like to eat a day? Do you often order dessert and a soft drink with each meal? Does your family ever share meals?
Let us take a look at how a family of four (two adults and two children) does on the Quick-Service Dining Plan at the Magic Kingdom. This family is my favorite kind of family. They are very money-savvy and like to get the biggest bang for their buck. To do this, they are going to eat breakfast in their room before heading out to the Magic Kingdom for the day. My prototype family is also going to try to order more expensive options off of the Walt Disney World restaurant menus as they dine throughout the day.
Lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus
Adult 1: Barbecue Chicken Flatbread – $9.69, Chocolate Cake – $3.59, Water – $2.50 = $15.87
Adult 2: Caprese Flatbread – $9.69, Chocolate Cake – $3.59, Water – $2.50 = $15.87
Child 1: Macaroni and Cheese Kid’s Meal = $5.49
Child 2: Cheese Pizza Kid’s Meal = $5.49
Total + tax = $45.49
Dinner at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Adult 1: BBQ Rib Meal – $10.69, Carrot Cake – $3.59, Water – $2.50 = $16.78
Adult 2: 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken – $9.69, Gelato – $3.29, Water – $2.50 = $15.58
Child 1: Chicken Nuggets Kid’s Meal – $5.49
Child 2: Turkey Sandwich – $5.49
Total + tax = $46.15
Snacks at Aloha Isle
4 Dole Whip Floats at $4.49 each = $19.12 (including tax)
- Disney Dining Plan paid for $110.76 worth of food
- Family paid $103.80 for the Quick-Service Dining Plan
- Family saved $6.96
In this situation, the family could not have done things much better while using the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan. Yet, they only came out $6.96 ahead. Had this family ordered a few less expensive options or passed on dessert, they would have lost money. You will notice that I did not include the cost of the refillable mug in my figures. Reason being, the refillable mug is only worthwhile if you use it, and not just use it, but use it every day. The longer your vacation, the more potential value you can get out of the refillable mug. However, if you are staying four nights at Walt Disney World and only one member of your party uses the refillable mug every day, the savings are nonexistent.
One thing to keep in mind when looking at potential savings for the prototype family is how they would eat if they were not on the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan. The cost of the 4 desserts ordered at lunch and dinner totals $14.06. If this family ordered the same things as I listed above, sans dessert, it would be cheaper to pay out of pocket than to use the Quick-Service Dining Plan. If the family’s children happen to be finicky eaters and prefer to eat off of their parents plates, you could save the cost of 4 kids’ meals. All of these alternatives result in a higher savings than choosing the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan.
The bottom line is that your family could very easily lose money using the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan, so you want to really think about it before adding it your vacation package. Many times, people only use the Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan when traveling during a time of year when the popular “Free Dining” promotion is taking place. The way I look at this is that if you are going to book a full-price Magic Your Way vacation package anyway, you might as well add the “free” Quick Service Plan and get some food out of it. However, sometimes a room-only discount at Walt Disney World can save your family more money. The only way to know for sure is to crunch the numbers for your family, and purchase the Walt Disney World vacation package that works best for you.
I’m curious to find out how many of you have used the Quick-Service Dining Plan at Walt Disney World and how it worked for your family. Will you consider using the Quick-Service Dining Plan in the future if the price of the plan increases? Let us know in the comment section!