Anyone remember the good old days when the Disney Dining Plan was affordable and included an appetizer, entrée, and dessert? At one time, the Disney Dining Plan was a decent (albeit never great) option for convenience when dining at Walt Disney World. Over the years, the price of the Disney Dining Plan has increased, and what you got for the price has decreased. Different variations have appeared in an attempt to try and convince people that it is a value, or at least not a waste of money, but overall it seems that interest in the Disney Dining Plan has declined, except when rumors of “free” dining start to swirl around.
This year, an in attempt to bring more people back to the Disney Dining Plan fold, alcohol and specialty beverages are now being included in the (increased) Disney Dining Plan price. So we asked you:
Are you more or less likely to purchase the Disney Dining Plan now that it includes specialty beverages?
Here’s your results:
Less Likely: 279 (22%)
More Likely: 332 (26%)
Neutral: 658 (52%)
For those who are less likely, they have realized that for their travel party, the Disney Dining Plan is a money pit. I’ve often thought that if Disney gave an option for either a dessert or an appetizer, it would be more attractive than desserts for everyone, whether you want them or not. Now that you’re having to pay for alcohol or a specialty beverage, whether you want it or not, the pressure to get your money’s worth is even more of a challenge. You have to try and eat the most expensive dish on the menu (without going for one of the signature types of entrees that are not included), have every one of your party either get an alcoholic beverage (although again from the “included” list) or a specialty beverage, and have every person get a dessert. Even then, for some meals, you might just be breaking even. For some people, this extra challenge has them looking at paying out of pocket.
Free Booze for All! It’s a great marketing point. And when you look at the price increase from this year to last, it does seem like you’re at least getting cheap alcohol. That gives incentive for some people to give the dining plan another try, or to try it for the first time. Although some people have said that they would try it now, some people did say that they would reserve the right to change their minds once they saw what alcohol and specialty beverages were on the included list.
More than half of the respondents took a neutral stance. Some were long-term Disney Dining Plan fans who would continue for the convenience of the plan, and alcohol/specialty beverages were either a nice addition or something that didn’t really matter that much. Others were people who believe that the Disney Dining Plan hasn’t provided a value for a long time, and the addition of alcohol and specialty beverages didn’t change the perception that it was too much money for too little value. From these results, although the new changes to the Disney Dining Plan were great to generate short-term buzz, it isn’t the lifesaver for the Disney Dining Plan, nor will it cause major increases in its popularity going forward.
Do you agree with the results? What do you think Disney could do to save the lagging sales of the Disney Dining Plan? Let us know in the comments.