Enhanced Dining Calculator Released for Walt Disney World!

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In August we released a simple tool that provides the average costs of food provided under Disney Dining Plans offered at Walt Disney World in Florida. Today this tool becomes more powerful, allowing you to customize your analysis based on your group’s dining preferences.

Our Dining Calculator tool now lets you estimate the cost of your meals, as well as determine how well (or poorly) a Disney Dining Plan will meet your dining needs based on average costs from our Disney World menu database. To access this tool, click on the DINING button on a trip on your TouringPlans.com dashboard.

Here is what the new Dining Calculator looks like:

Not every family eats the same way. Maybe you never go out for breakfast or always skip lunch. Maybe you’re arriving late on check-in day and leaving before dawn on check-out day, not needing on-property meals for either of those days. Maybe your son hates desserts or you always get an appetizer for the table. Maybe you and your spouse find Disney portions huge and often share one entree and one appetizer as a meal. There are all sorts of dining options, and our tool helps you estimate the costs of bringing your preferences to life. This may be particularly useful for those traveling in 2018 who want alcohol with their meals (the 2018 plans include this for the first time).

Once you configure the Meal Quantities and Meal Components, Mugs, and Snacks tables with your preferences, click one of the blue Update buttons. This will update the Costs Based on Your Dining Preferences table, which predicts how much money you will spend on meals. This Costs Based on Your Dining Preferences table could serve as a rough meal and snack budget for those paying directly for their food.

Below all this is a Dining Plan Comparison table, which helps you estimate the cost-effectiveness of purchasing a Disney Dining Plan to meet your meal requirements:

Using average menu prices, this table tells you whether using a dining plan will save you money if you eat as you specified. The results are displayed clearly in green and red. Of course, buying a Dining Plan is not a simple decision, and we encourage you to learn as much as possible about any plan before purchasing it – our detailed Disney Dining Plan page on TouringPlans.com or our discussion forum can help.

Finally, at the bottom we have a Dining Plan Details link that expands a table that lists all Disney’s dining plans, along with the plan costs for your trip and what items are included. Dining Plan diehards know this information well, but since it can change from year-to-year, it’s good to have this handy.

We are considering more enhancements to this calculator, so if you like it, please let us know. Happy planning!

19 thoughts on “Enhanced Dining Calculator Released for Walt Disney World!

  • October 23, 2017 at 9:25 am
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    This is AMAZING! A friend and I were using a spreadsheet to do something similar. We have a lot of character meals booked so being able to account for those would be great!!!

    Reply
    • October 23, 2017 at 9:40 am
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      Yes, right now this tool works on averages. Some restaurants and meals (like pretty much all character meals, especially with child credits) are definitely more cost-effective uses of dining plan credits, so this tool is not well-suited to help you tailor your meal choices to get the best value on a dining plan. Perhaps we’ll support that sort of thing in the future. Thanks for trying it!

      Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 9:32 am
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    This simplifies everything for me! I build a spreadsheet to do this, and our numbers come pretty darn close, and the results are the same! Next trip I’ll be able to figure this out in a few clicks instead of an hour! Love it, thanks!

    Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 9:52 am
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    Pretty cool – One thing I think would be useful to add: A selection to say how many of the TS are 2-credit ones so that the calculations take that into account.

    Obviously a rising tide lifts all boats, so a 2-credit TS at a signature, character or show means it will cost more for both the out of pocket and dining plan options which is sort of a wash in the overall calculations.

    But, if for example, one of my TS dinners is HDDR and uses two credits, I then have another TS to cover with either a credit in the dining plan (that I may not have left depending on my choices) or plan to pay OOP in addition to the plan.

    Reply
    • October 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm
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      There are definitely ways we could make this more precise, and that may happen down the road. The different categories of Hoop-Dee-Doo change the price, and the dining plans handle different categories and showtimes differently, so that dinner show’s nuances are especially complex. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm
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    Curious as to what the ‘Extras Not Included’ are for the 3 different dining plans. It’s show as $245.69 for my calculator yet the Full trip amount in the description is show it without the extra cost.

    Reply
    • October 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm
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      Below the Dining Plan Comparison chart, there are some notes, one of which is:

      “The “Extras Not Included” column includes gratuities and the costs of any items that exceed the plan’s entitlements.”

      Let’s say you plan to consume table service meals. There are no table service meals included in the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan, so all of your table service meals would be included in the “Extras Not Included” column on that plan’s row on the Dining Plan Comparison chart.

      Reply
      • October 23, 2017 at 1:42 pm
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        Thanks for the response. If one were to stick to their selected DDP (no additional TS, etc.), then the Extras Not Included would not be nearly as high. Correct?
        This was very helpful but a bit misleading that the Extras Not Included would be that high. I would certainly need to account for Gratuity but don’t necessarily know if I would have $250 worth of additional food.

        Reply
        • October 23, 2017 at 2:05 pm
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          In the “Meal Quantities” table you specify exactly how many meals of each type you intend to purchase. You also specify the number of snacks and refillable mugs in the “Meal Components, Mugs, and Snacks” table. That is all your choice.

          If your choices exceed a given dining plan’s entitlements, then the “Extras” will be higher than if you make choices that are fully included in that plan.

          I’m glad you find the tool helpful. Thanks for the feedback!

          Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 12:49 pm
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    Where are you guys finding this calculator on the TP site? The above page only describes how it works.

    Reply
    • October 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm
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      It is part of a “trip” that folks create on touringplans.com. Visit touringplans.com and login with your account. This should take you to your touringplans.com dashboard, where there is an “Add Trip” button. After you add the trip, you can click on its DINING button.

      Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm
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    I have a 2018 trip. It is telling me I need to add or edit a trip, but it is right there! It knows my fp and adr dates but wont let me use dp calculator

    Reply
    • October 23, 2017 at 1:12 pm
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      If the Dining Calculator cannot be displayed for a trip, it should provide the following notice:

      To use the Dining Plan Calculator tool, your trip must have:

      * Start and Finish Dates
      * A Start Date on or before the last date (currently that is December 31, 2018) for which dining plan details have been announced
      * Number of Adults, Children, and Infants in Travel Party

      If the dashboard displays date-related information, my guess is that your trip’s dates are fine. That leaves only the last option as a possible problem area: my guess is that you need to edit your trip and specify the number of adults, children, and infants in your party.

      Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 1:20 pm
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    Does it include a tip calculator for those that use it,subtle hint.

    Reply
    • October 23, 2017 at 1:23 pm
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      Yes, you specify the gratuity percentage, and the tool calculates a total gratuity amount based on average, pre-tax table-service meal prices.

      Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm
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    OH. MY. GOSH. THANK YOU for this!!!

    Reply
  • October 24, 2017 at 10:58 am
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    Thank you SO much!!! We are visiting this January (lost our FD trip due to Irma) so I’ve chosen to pay for the DDP and have been wondering what’s best. After quickly plugging in the numbers based on our average dining I can see that purchasing the DDP for our family IS the right thing to do!!

    Not only can we eat for an entire week without looking at prices (love this!!) but thanks to you I can do it also knowing that if I were paying OOP I would probably be paying more…and be a lot more stressed.

    Thank you for this wonderful too!!

    Reply
  • November 1, 2017 at 7:26 am
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    Hi!
    I am trying to locate the dining tool as the pictures show up above and I can’t find it on my dashboard. Is there a direct link?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • November 1, 2017 at 9:40 am
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      No, there is not a direct link. The Dining Calculator is part of a “Trip” on the dashboard. If you do not already have a future trip defined, there should be an “Add Trip” button on the dashboard. Once you create a trip, you’ll see the DINING button while viewing your trip.

      Reply

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