Can a Disney Princess Afford to Stay at the Contemporary Resort at Christmas?

Contemporary Resort Wreath, Contemporary Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Mickey Mouse wreath

If you have ever looked at The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney World to see if you could afford a room during the most festive time of year, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. Nothing wrong with making plans and checking things out to see if your budget can handle what your heart desires. Christmas is a truly magical time at Disney. “Holiday Season” runs from December 21 to December 31 of 2012. Without any sort of discount, a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts will cost you $164, and the prices for this time of year go up from there. A standard room a moderate resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, compared to around $190 a night for a summer night on a weekday. Now, are you ready for some really heaving pricing? [Read more…]

Cinderella Castle at Christmas: Photos and Trivia

Castle Dreamlights, lights on Cinderella castle, Cinderella castle, Cinderella Castle at Christmas

Updated for 2017!

How do you take a great American icon and bedazzle it? You add thousand of sparkley-twinkley lights, and bibbidy, bobbidy, BOO!! There you have Disney’s Cinderella Castle, and she’s all dressed up for the Christmas holidays.

Like fun Disney trivia? Here are some fun holiday facts from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney by the Numb3rs.com. You can find all their numerical Disney trivia by using this Disney by the Numb3rs link. Let’s see what it takes to make the Castle pop. [Read more…]

Fun Facts about Disney World Christmas Decorations

how tall is the Contemporary Resort big Christmas tree, Christmas Tree, Disney Christmas tree

Updated for 2017!

The cost of spending Christmas Holidays at Walt Disney World are, if not THE highest, among the highest rates you will pay to stay in Orlando all year-long. Even the off-property hotels charge more this time of year. School will be out, which means so many people will haul the family off to Disney that entire theme parks will close their gates as they reach capacity. So you pay more money for accommodations, stand in longer lines with tons of people, and stress yourself out during your time off from work just to get your Disney fix. Only a true Disney fan would understand this mentality.

Because Christmas at Walt Disney World is like no other place on earth. [Read more…]

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort During Holiday Season?*

Grand Florisian Resort and Spa, Grand Floridian, Disney's Grand Floridian, Seven Seas Lagoon

Often referred to as the “flagship” hotel of the Walt Disney World resort hotels, the Grand Floridian Resort sets the Princess bar high in terms of everything: world-class dining, entertainment and luxurious accommodations. You will pay a pretty penny to stay here any time of the year, but to spend the night during the Christmas holidays may just wipe out your Disney change jar!

The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney runs from December 21 to December 31 of this year. The level of your room cost goes up with your level of accommodations. Without any sort of discount during Holiday Season, a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Value Resorts will cost you $164.  A standard room Moderate Resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, while a standard room at the Deluxe Resort level Animal Kingdom Lodge is $470 a night for holiday season.

Maybe that will prepare you for the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa pricing, sort of like a mental warm up!

What Is The Ultimate Disney World Souvenir? The Mickey Mouse Doll!

Grand Floridian pool, can I afford the Grand Floridian Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Holiday Season Room Prices

A room in the Outer Building with a Garden View is $460 a night on a weekday in Value Season, is $730.

A room in the Outer Building with a Lagoon View is $830 a night.

In the Outer Building – Club Level, you will pay $905 a night during Holiday Season. What’s so great about Club Level?

  • Lounge with beverages
  • Continental breakfast, midday snacks, afternoon tea, evening wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres, late night cordials and desserts
  • 24-hour room service
  • Turndown Service

For a Theme Park View in the Main Building – Club Level, you will pay $1,190 per night.

For a One Bedroom Suite in the Outer Building– Club Level, you will pay $1770 per night. Move over to the Main Building for this same one bedroom suite on Club Level, and you will pay $2020 per night. The suites can sleep up to six.

But maybe you brought eight people to Disney. What you need is a Two Bedroom Suite in the Outer Building – Club Level, which will cost $2525 to $2825 depending on your particular view.

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

Grand Floridian Resort lobby, Grand Floridian grand piano, Disney's Grand Floridian

Or maybe your family of four needs more space to stretch out. The Disney Suite Main Building – Club Level, which includes a master bedroom with a king-size bed and full bath, a second bedroom with 2 twin-size beds and full bath, a parlor area with half bath and a wet bar, will cost $3105 per night.

And if you need the exclusivity of the most expensive accommodations in the building, welcome to the Grand Suite in the Main Building – Club Level. Located in the Main Building in the Royal Palm Club, this suite offers the same accommodations as the Disney Suite listed above, but offers views of Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park and a panoramic view of the Resort hotel property. Welcome to Disney luxury, pals, and be prepared to spend $3210 per night.

Of course you don’t have to stay during those Holiday Season days to enjoy the sights of the seasons, as holiday decorations start appearing throughout the parks by the first weekend in November and stay into the early part of January. And you always have the option to stay off property in  less expensive hotel. But for you to enjoy the holiday decorations during “Christmas” staying on property at a Disney Resort, it’s going to cost you more money than other times of year. That’s what a Cheapskate Princess calls a Disney Splurge.

Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

where to swim at the Grand Floridian, Grand Floridian pool, swimming at Disney, Disney pools, Disney resort pools

Like fun Disney trivia? Here are some fun holiday facts on the Grand Floridian’s Christmas decorations from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney by the Numb3rs.com. You can find all their numerical Disney trivia by using this Disney by the Numb3rs link.

A 40 foot tree is erected in the Grand Floridian lobby with more than 45,000 lights, which is assembled in just one night.

Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford a Dooney & Bourke Disney Handbag?

Grand Floridian Christmas Tree, how tall is the Grand Floridian Christmas tree, Christmas tree, huge tree,

A 16 foot high by 17 foot wide gingerbread house is erected each year in the lobby of the Grand Floridian, which takes up 200 square feet of lobby space.

It will take 10 men a total of 6 days will be used to create the gingerbread house. 60 sheets of plywood and 40 windows will be on the gingerbread house, with 1,000 board feet of trim. There will be a total of 40 window panes in the house.

What kind of ingredients are used to create the gingerbread house?

  • 1,050 pounds of honey
  • 600 pounds of chocolate
  • 800 pounds of flour are used to make the honey dough
  • 180 pounds of apricot glaze are used to make the gingerbread house
  • 35 pounds of spices

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

what is in the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, gingerbread house, Disney gingerbread house, Grand Floridian Christmas decorations

400 hours of baking will be needed to make the 2,000 pounds gingerbread pieces.

It will take 160 hours to decorate the house, because 10,000 pieces of gingerbread are needed to cover the house completely.

600 pounds of powdered sugar are used to dust the gingerbread house to make it look like snow.

Gingerbread house at Disney World, gingerbread, holiday gingerbread

140 pints of egg whites are used to create the royal icing, with a total of 500 pounds of this icing used to create the gingerbread house.

80 square feet of retail space is inside the gingerbread house, with 100 square feet of display area are available inside.

Thanks to our friends at Disney by the Numb3rs, and stop by their site for some fun Disney trivia. Tell ’em a Cheapskate Princess sent ya!

10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

Disney Christmas card, Magic Kingdom Christmas card, Merry Christmas, Merry Disney World Christmas

While I shout it to the world that going to Walt Disney World during the Christmas holidays is mostly just crazy, due to the insane crowd levels compared to other times of year, I need to point out that the holiday decorations are just spectacular. Standing on Main Street, U.S.A., and watching it “snow” might be worth your headache and the stress level of vacationing with so many other people. But can a Disney Princess afford to pay rack room rates during the busiest time at Disney?

The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney runs from December 21 to December 31 of this year. Without any sort of discount, a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts will cost you $164, and the prices for this time of year go up from there.

Disney World at Christmas: Would a Cheapskate Spend Up to $30 for a Christmas Ornament?

Disney at Christmas, Christmas, Cinderella Castle at Christmas, Disney Princess Christmas, Disney Christmas decorations,

A standard Holiday Season room at moderate resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, compared to around $190 a night for a summer night on a weekday.

The least expensive room, a garden wing room, at the Contemporary Resort goes for $530 a night during Holiday Season, compared to $360 for a Regular Season night on a weekday.

A standard room during Value Season at the Animal Kingdom Lodge will cost $265 a night, with a jump to $470 a night for Holiday Season.

And in the Deluxe Villa category, a studio room at Bay Lake Tower will cost $600 a night during Holiday Season, compared to $485 a night during Regular Season, $415 a night during Value Season.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Photos of WDW during the Christmas Holidays

Disney's Yacht Club at Christmas, Yacht Club, Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Vacation Club,

Of course you don’t have to stay during those ten days to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, as holiday decorations start appearing throughout the parks and resorts by the first weekend in November and stay into the early part of January. And you always have the option to stay off property in a less expensive hotel. But for you to enjoy the holiday decorations during “Christmas” staying on property at a Disney Resort, it’s going to cost you more money than other times of year. That’s what a Cheapskate Princess calls a Disney Splurge.

Can a cheapskate afford those resort prices? Yes, but you may have to sell the glass slippers first!

Like fun Disney trivia? Here are some fun holiday facts for the Magic Kingdom from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney by the Numb3rs.com. You can find all their numerical Disney trivia by using this Disney by the Numb3rs link.

how tall is Disney's Main Street Christmas Tree, what does Disney's Christmas weigh, how many decorations does Disney use at Christmas, who decorates Disney at Christmas

The Magic Kingdom Christmas tree is 26 feet wide, and it takes a 70 ton crane to position the theme park Christmas trees into place each year.

25,000 poinsettias are used to decorate the Magic Kingdom for the holidays, which takes two whole nights to put everything in place.

A Cast Member crew of 30 people do the holiday landscaping at the Magic Kingdom.

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

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How tall is the Christmas tree erected in the center of Main Street, U.S.A., each Christmas season? 65 feet.

Talk about your crazy Florida weather forecasts…There is a 100 percent chance of snow flurries during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, taking place on select holiday evenings in Magic Kingdom. And for those who don’t want to pay the $53.95 to $63.95 a ticket for this special party, snow frequently falls on Main Street throughout the holiday season.

Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

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Thanks to our friends at Disney by the Numb3rs, and stop by their site for some fun Disney trivia. Tell ’em a Cheapskate Princess sent ya!

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Christmas at Disney World: Would You Spend up to $30 for a Christmas Ornament?

Mickey Mouse christmas ornament, Mickey Mouse snow man, Mickey Mouse Club, Christmas ornaments

Updated for 2017!

Souvenirs seems to take on an extra special sparkle during the Christmas holidays at Disney World. T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, and rows upon rows of Christmas decorations. We put our Christmas tree up about November 1st every year, so I keep Christmas on the brain. But nothing good comes cheap these days, and with the retail cost of Disney holiday ornaments ranging from $10 to $30, I often wonder if this piece of merchandise is worth the expense.

Would a cheapskate pay up to thirty bucks for a Christmas decoration you will enjoy less than probably 1/12 of the year?

Read: The 5 Worst Times to Vacation at Walt Disney World?

fancy Christmas decorations, fancy ornaments, Disney ornaments, Disney Christmas ornaments

We went to the Cheapskate Princess fans on Facebook to see what they thought about buying Disney Christmas decorations.

Yes, it’s worth it.

Tonya,In 2005, we took our boys to Disney World for their first trip.  Zach was into Woody and Ryan was all about Buzz.  My parents bought each of them a Toy Story ornament with their names painted on the backs.  My boys are teenagers now, yet those ornaments are their favorite to hang on the tree still.”

Kelly-Ann, “No matter what time of year we go to Disney we always get an ornament. I love hanging them on our Christmas tree and remembering how much fun we had. They are worth the money in my opinion.”

Lauren, “I keep my ornaments year after year, so I look at it as an investment. I still have my honeymoon ornament from almost 10 years ago and many others.”

Read: Understanding Disney Park Closure Phases: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Tinkerbell ornament, Tinker bell Christmas,

Dana, “They do have wonderful ornaments this year. I love quite a few of them. But my favorites are the storybook ones that are priced around $10 each. And I think that is affordable for just how cute they are!!!!”

Carrie, “Every year we get out our special $25.99 ornament, and we smile and laugh and remember an incredible trip. Worth every cent.”

Sara, “We started a tradition our first year.  We buy one ornament in the Mickey ear shape and get it personalized with the year on it.  That way every year when we put up the Christmas tree, we can remember each year that we went and relive them.  Love it!”

Read: Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

Mickey Mouse as Santa, Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa, Mickey Mouse Santa, Santa, Disney Santa,

No, it’s a bit pricey.

Ashley“I’ve always wanted to buy an ornament but the price really has kept me from doing so up to this point.  I still plan on getting one, but I’m still waiting to find the special one that I won’t mind dropping that much money on!”

Charlotte“I think ornaments are beautiful, but I can’t see spending that for them. I would want more than one for more impact and just can’t see spending so much for ornaments when there are smarter places to spend that kind of money this time of year. If it was after Christmas and I could find them on clearance for under $10, then maybe I would consider it.”

Looks like I fall under the no votes. As you can see by my photos, I love Disney Christmas decorations. I would readily admit they are quality items, and for what you get, they are probably worth what they charge. Unless you drop it. My non-coffee drinking son dropped his just-purchased coffee mug last summer as we loaded the car to come home from Disney. He then announced purchasing anything glass was definitely not worth the money. I have two metal ornaments, not even featured in my photographs, and both were purchased full price at $12.99 in 2012 prices. Those same ornaments are now $17.99 each.

I haven’t found one for more than that amount that I just had to have, so strangers stare at me while I photograph ornaments I never purchase.

Read: The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

Walt Disney World Christmas ornament, Christmas at Disney, what to buy at Disney at Christmas

Find a sale.

Maybe what I need to convince me is a sale! All Cheapskate Princesses love a sale.

Kristie, “I love them but wait ’til they’re on clearance after Christmas to expand my collection!

Tom pointed out that you can find sales online, in fact, the Disney Store has sales going on all the time, and shopping on eBay can result in fantastic savings.

Dianna, “We got a few at the Disney store (at the mall, not at Disney) I don’t think they were that much, on sale I think.”

Gretchen, “I got some on clearance online from the Disney Store for super cheap when they had an extra percentage off a while back. They are plain Mickey glass balls. I’m going to personalize them with our names and the year.  Since I got a set of four for about $10 it’s quite a bargain!

Read: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Photos of WDW during the Christmas Holidays

Santa Christmas Ornament, Santa ornaments, Disney Santa ornaments, Santa, Disney Moms at Christmas

Find another store.

Jay is shopping non-Disney Stores. “While I love them – check out Target. They usually have Mickey shaped ornaments much cheaper than the theme parks.”

Check out this suggestion from Jarett, “If you visit any of the character warehouse stores, (I know there are two in south Florida, and at least two in Orlando) you can find them much cheaper. Not as big of a selection but always at least 10-20 to choose from. I just bought two for $5, and another for $10!”

So it looks like purchasing pricey Disney Christmas ornaments for some people are an investment in memories, the commemoration of special holidays and happy times.

And for others, paying full price on the spot is definitely out of the question, with the search for a bargain being front and center, regardless of when and where it was purchased.

Read: Where to Find FREE Disney World Theme Parks Christmas Music

Mickey Minnie Mouse Christmas, Mickey Minnie ornament

And if you want to pop over to the Disney Store online to their Ornament Section, just use this link. There are three pages of ornaments, just calling your name, but maybe you better leave your Disney Visa card in the other room, with someone financially responsible.

Disney Christmas decoration prices

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you checking prices, wondering how soon is TOO SOON to put up a Christmas tree!

In my opinion, it’s never too soon. We’ve had Christmas trees in our dining room for years now, covered in…key chains. You can read about it here:

 What to Do with All Those Disney World Key Chains? Put Them on a Tree!

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

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Three Tips for Surviving Disney World at Christmas with Kids

Survival guide for Christmas at Disney World

Updated for 2017!

Debates occur weekly as to when is the best time to visit Walt Disney World. I am a public high school teacher, so it’s hard for me to play hookey and travel to Orlando while school is in session. If you have ever seen Disney during the Christmas holiday season, then you know why this is a favorite among Disney vacationers. Carols really do fill the air, festive lights are twinkling, and you can almost feel Santa’s impending arrival just by touching any of the thousands of Disney holiday merchandising items. There’s even “snow” on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street on special nights. [Read more…]

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

Time is money at Walt Disney World. While I shout to the rafters that going to Disney during the Christmas holidays, when the kids are out of school, is pure insanity, the decorations are truly incredible. The twinkling lights and Christmas trees are spectacular, almost worth standing in lines for hours on end with thousands of people. Almost… [Read more…]

Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford the Disney Dining Plan?

Disney Dining Plan

Updated for 2017

Free Disney Dining has almost taken on a life of its own. If you planned your entire vacation around qualifying for free food,  then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!  Travel agents stay tied up for days to get their clients the accommodations and Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) they have requested to get those free meals. People go crazy for Free Disney Dining, and why not? Traveling during those certain dates can save you a lot of money. Those of us who are DVC members or cannot leave work to travel during  the free dining dates, we just sit around and mope that we don’t get to eat for free.

Free Disney Dining…Is It Really Always Free?

But, uh oh, what if you don’t qualify for the free dining and have to pay for your dining plan?  Is it worth the money? Let’s take a look at how the Disney Dining Plan works.

The Quick Service Disney Dining Plan

For each person on the room reservation, the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan includes:

  • Two quick service (counter-service) meal credits per night including non alcoholic beverage;
  • Two snack credits per night; and
  • A refillable drink mug per stay.

The current 2017 daily price of the Quick Service Plan is $48.19 per adult and $20.88 per child ages 3-9 for a stay during regular season. This is the lowest level for the dining plan.

Read: To Save Money on Disney World Food, Eat Breakfast Here!

Disney Dining Plan

 

The Disney Dining Plan

For each person on the room reservation per night of package stay, the Disney Dining Plan includes:

  • One Table Service Meal credit per night including entree, dessert, and non alcoholic drink or full buffet;
  • One Quick Service Meal credit per night;
  • Two Snack credits per night; and
  • One  refillable drink mug per stay.

The current daily price per night for the Disney Dining Plan is $69.35 per adult and $24.95 per child for most times of the year. Children under three eat free from an adult’s plate. Your gratuity is not included for table service meals. Be sure to include this in your food budget as some guests get a surprise while on vacation. Two table service credits can also be used for signature restaurants, dinner shows, private dining, or pizza delivery.

Read: How to Score Free Drinks at Disney World’s Epcot!

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan

For each person on the room reservation, the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan includes:

  • Three meal credits at your choice of Quick Service restaurants or table service restaurants per night. When using the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, a Table Service Meal consists of an appetizer, entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage or one full buffet or family style meal;
  • Two snack credits per night; and
  • One refillable drink mug per stay.

The current daily price of the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan is $106.68 per adult and $38.75 per child during regular season. Children under three eat free from an adult’s plate.  Two table service credits can also be used for signature restaurants, dinner shows, private dining, or pizza delivery. Gratuity is not included for the table service meals.

Disney Dining Plan

Should You Bring Your Own Snacks to Disney World to Save Money?

Want to see if the Disney Dining Plan is a good fit for you? Click HERE.

Lots of people describe “ease” as one of the main reasons the Disney Dining Plan is the route to go. Here are several reasons purchasing the DDP will make your vacation easier.

  • Simply present yourMagicBand  to your server or cashier just before you order. Your Magicband electronically monitors the meals allocated for your group.
  • You can track your meals with an easy-to-read receipt your server will provide you, which will display your remaining meal balance.
  • You can redeem your meals in any order throughout your package stay until each person’s meal total is complete.
  • There are over 100 select restaurants available throughout the WDW resort and Downtown Disney to choose from that accept the DDP.
  • The Dining Plans can save you money if you plan to eat at the parks or resorts for every meal. Unless you plan on bringing food into the park or eat meals in your room then the dining plans will save you money.
  • A positive reason to get the dining plan is that you can pay for your meals ahead of time. This helps guests be able to save and budget for their meals while on vacation. You will already have everything paid before your vacation even starts. This helps you to not hemorrhage money while eating on your vacation.

We ask our  Facebook fans what they thought of actually paying for the Dining Plan. Here are their thoughts.

Samantha Berry said, “Our family uses the dining plan for every trip! It is the best choice for our on the go family and offers the most flexibility and convenience for our stay at Disney World. It allows us not to price check everything during the trip and because we have already paid for the dining plan included, there are no surprises at the end and no overspending!”

 Want to Save Money on Food at Disney World? Ziplocs Can Save You Cash!

Disney Dining Plan

Kristen related, “Deluxe Dining gives us the flexibility we want in choosing where to eat, the opportunity to sample a greater variety on the menu, and the luxury of including signature restaurants in our plan. It’s my default for great Disney dining.”

Melissa said, “I definitely think it’s worth it. I’d rather pay for it up front and know I won’t have to pay for anything else other than gratuity. I order the most expensive meal and enjoy, when at home, I would always look at price. It’s a nice way to be care free.

Lori said for her family of seven, the DDP is the route to go. “We like to eat stuff other than quick service and really enjoy our character dining. Some of the places (1900 Park Fare from our last experience) are just too expensive to do otherwise.”

Kristy said, “The DDP is definitely worth it if you are going to do a sit down meal. It almost pays for itself with just that. Believe me, we keep receipts to add up and see how much we save!!”

 Read: Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

Disney Dining Plan

Melissa said Deluxe Dining, always. “Since we are DVC, we don’t qualify for free dining. We usually wind up saving a little bit of money, but we eat like kings and queens, and we aren’t worried about the cost, because we already paid for it!”

Tammy told us, “Free dining is by far the BEST, but we’ll still always go with a dining plan. My kiddos are older, and between their dining preferences and mine, we always come out ahead on the dining plan. For our next trip, we actually decided to go Deluxe rather than Basic, as a matter of fact. My number-crunching teenager went through the list of restaurants we want to go to (many of them 2 credit eateries) and ball-parked the costs from the menus on allears.net. When he compared it to the cost of the deluxe plan, we came out money ahead using the plan. We won’t save a TON of money, but a little ahead is still ahead, and that gets combined with the convenience of the prepaid plan and snacks thrown in. If you tend to get quick service most of the time, you’re going to be better off paying out-of-pocket, though.”

These items are not accepted with the Disney Dining Plan.

  • Alcoholic beverages;
  • Items that are more than one serving, like a box of doughnuts or a jar of peanut butter;
  • Items served in souvenir containers;
  • Items sold at recreational rental counters;
  • Items that are considered to be merchandise, like bottle toppers, glow cubes, and bottle straps; and
  • Some special event dining events with special menus.

 

The Fine Financial Points to Remember with the Dining Plan

  • Gratuities are not included except at dinner shows, private in-room dining, and Cinderella’s Royal Table.
  • 18% gratuity is automatically added to your bill for parties of 6 or more.
  • Items that are not included in the Disney Dining Plan will be added to your bill.
  • If a guest under three orders a meal off the menu, this cost will be added to your bill.

I read some DDP reviews on Allears.net., where someone commented that the cost of the Disney Dining Plan has increased by 22% over the last several years, so while you were saving a fair amount of money several years ago, this is not necessarily the case now.

Cheapskate Princess fan said, “You will like the DDP if you like to take the time to eat and like good quality food and trying new things. It works out really well, especially if you are traveling with kids and adults (like me) that like to do character dining experiences. Then it pays for itself. If you have a bigger appetite, the meal plan is the way to go. If you go by yourself or travel with people who do not want to take a lot of time for dinning, then just do Quick Service only. However if you are like my sister and her family, who can live on a cup of soup for 10 hours, then don’t do any of the meal plans.”

Want to Save Money on Food at Disney? Two Words: Kid’s Meals!

Melissa said her group just got back from Disney, “We didn’t do Disney Dining, but we had a condo and brought in lunch every day of sandwiches, drinks, and snacks. We only paid for our princess lunch at Epcot and two other meals in the park, which was less expensive than the dining plan for us.”

Disney Dining Plan

Jennifer described her dining plan experience. “We’ve always had free dining in the past, but this year we’re looking for a room-only rate to stay at a dream resort and won’t have dining. I think it works out. The dining plan for us ends up always being too much food. We wouldn’t normally order desserts and sodas with every meal, and we tend to want less sit-down meals each trip. If we actually calculated what we would normally purchase, it would turn out to be far less than the dining plan cost. Even when it’s “free,” there is a cost because you must pay rack rates for rooms instead of getting the sometimes-hefty room discounts. Since we do like the ease of not thinking about the price of things, I think for the next trip we’ll pre-purchase Disney Gift Cards in large amounts and just hand those over when it’s time to pay. That way we still won’t have to see cash exchanging hands, and it will still have the illusion of being free!”

Kim said, “We used to get free dining, and then once we paid for it because we got a great discount. Now that we have Annual Passes and the dining price went up… Nope. We eat at Taco Bell and Fuddruckers!”

Read – Life Lessons with a Disney Twist: Teach Kids to Save Their Money

Disney Dining Plan

Jennifer explained her opinion, “We’ve been annual pass holders for the last few years. Our December trip will be our very first time on a dining plan. We’ve seen no need for it before, and the only reason why we have it this time is because it was free. We easily save hundreds of dollars more by purchasing meals ourselves. We don’t need a dessert or a soft drink with every meal, and we actually prefer to drink water. And if you stay off resort, it’s much cheaper to eat out, even at Cracker Barrel or Chili’s, than it is to eat in the parks. It’s all about preference and convenience. The meals are so big that you can easily share anyway, especially if you have kids.

Now looking at the numbers, I can totally see how free dining would pay off, even if you were paying for the upgrade for a more expensive dining package. It might not work for every vacation, but run the numbers and you might be surprised that it can save you money in the long run.

One factor to remember is that with the popularity of the free dining promotion, if you plan a last-minute trip while other people are eating for free, or you stay in a DVC resort using points, should you try to purchase the dining plan on your own, you may not be able to get reservations at the restaurants where you really want to dine.

For a Fabulous Disney Meal, Make These Reservations ASAP!

Disney Dining Plan

So most of the Disney’s Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans responded that they purchased the Disney Dining Plan for the convenience of having meals paid for ahead of time. No one mentioned they were saving a tremendous amount of money using the plan, although lots of people said they saved a ton of money by vacationing during the free dining promotion. Which leaves me cupcake icing green with free dining envy.

A special thanks to Bob Angelo for his fabulous dining photos.

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

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Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

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