After a recent visit to the Walt Disney World resort to take advantage of the FREE Dining promotion, I thought it would be interesting to find out how much our FREE Dining was worth.
During our trip we had 6 days on the Disney Dining Plan. There were 4 of us (myself, my wife, our son, & our daughter). Since both of my children are 10 or older (10 & 12) we all counted as “Adults” on the Disney Dining Plan. That gave us 24 Table Service credits, 24 Quick Service Credits, and 24 Snack credits to spend during our trip.
Before I get into the numbers, I will say up front that we would not have eaten this much if we were paying out of pocket, but since this is what we were given, we enjoyed it to the fullest. I will also mention that keeping all of the receipts to track these expenditures is much easier said than done. Fortuately I was able to keep them organized in order to add everything up.
The Table Service Credits
We used each of our Table Service credits for our evening meal each day. Also, since we had Park Hopper privileges we ate Dinner at Epcot restaurants 4 of the 6 nights.
Here is the breakdown:
- 16-Aug Chefs de France $ 177.01
- 17-Aug Le Cellier $ 182.95
- 18-Aug Tony's Town Square $ 126.29
- 19-Aug Coral Reef $ 159.52
- 20-Aug Ohana $ 123.50
- 21-Aug Le Cellier $ 179.78
This came to a total of $949.05 not counting the tips, which weren’t covered by the Disney Dining Plan.
The Quick Service Credits
We used the Quick Service credits based upon the park we were visiting that day. We chose the best of the Quick Service locations based upon research gained from prior trips and looking at the menus ahead of time. We did change our mind slightly from our pre-trip plan to eat what we were in the mood for that day.
We used 20 credits towards lunches and 4 towards breakfasts. Many of the places provided enough food for 4 people with only buying 3 complete meals. This allowed us to save some for breakfast items. This was part of our plan to minimize out of pocket spending during our trip.
- 16-Aug Flame Tree Barbecue 4credits $ 67.18
- 17-Aug Captain Cooks 2 credits $ 22.83
- 17-Aug Pinocchio's 3 credits $ 45.27
- 18-Aug Tangierine Café 2 credits $ 39.68
- 19-Aug Sunshine Seasons 3 credts $ 53.05
- 20-Aug Wolfgang Puck Express 4 credits $ 82.22
- 21-Aug Fairfax Fare 2 credits $ 21.88
- 21-Aug Toy Story Pizza Planet 4 credits $ 54.40
This came to a total of $386.51
The Snack Credits
The snacks were used mainly for breakfast items and refreshing treats during the 90+ degree August days. Additional dessert items were not really needed since we got a dessert with each meal.
We did use 4 snack credits on the morning we checked out to get breakfast items as we left. It is important to remember that the credits do not expire until midnight on the day that you check out. If you have a late departure time, you can use credits from any category on you departure day.
- 2 Ice Cream Sandwiches $ 8.50
- 9 Smoothie/Shake/Froz Lemonades $ 33.98
- 10 Muffin/Danish/Cinn. Bun $ 28.86
- 3 Diet Coke/ Powerade $ 7.74
This came to $79.09
The actual total for the food that was purchased with our FREE Dining credits equaled $1,414.65. This is quite an impressive total.
I will stress that although we purposely chose the better Table Service restaurants, we ate what we liked, as opposed to just ordering the most expensive items.
The dining is only enjoyable if you like what you eat, and you make the most of the experience. All of the savings in the world does you no good if you had a miserable experience.
If we had purchased the dining plan for the trip, we would have seen a 38% savings versus paying cash for everything.
Dining at Disney World can be very expensive, so FREE Dining is a great perk. By planning ahead and choosing restaurants that have either the food or entertainment that you enjoy, the Disney Dining Plan can greatly enhance your vacation.
I can personally add that it is wonderful to be able to allow your family to order whatever they want on the menu (yourself included) without worrying about the price.
Disney World is still currently offering Free dining promotions through December 17th. Check the Disney World Website or with your travel agent for more details.