Can a Disney Princess Afford to Stay at a Disney Resort? Check Out These Prices!!

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2013

If you ever wanted to stay at a Disney Resort, but you settled for something way less expensive off-property, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Choosing the right accommodations for your vacation can be simply overwhelming. Visitorlando.com provides the following numerical information:

  • The greater Orlando area contains approximately 450 hotels and 115,200 hotel guest rooms.
  • There are more than 26,000 vacation home rentals available.
  • There are more than 20,000 vacation ownership units.

That’s a bunch of places! Have you looked into prices for the different levels of Disney rooms lately? Disney Resorts are classified in three categories, from the least expensive Value Resorts, Moderate Level Resorts resting in the middle, to the Deluxe Disney Resorts and Villas ready to test the limit on your Disney Visa.

Take a peak at these 2013 per night room prices, straight off the Disney World website, with no discounts, taxes, or fees added. Some of you might need to take a seat, and hold on to your Disney Princess Tiara…

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Under $200 a Night

All Star Sports, Movies, & Music Resorts –  $96.05

Pop Century Resort – $106.88

Art of Animation Resort $112.50

Caribbean Beach Resort – $182.25

Port Orleans Riverside, French Quarter -$182.25

Coronado Springs Resort  – $187.88

Ready to take a step up into the price level that your average coupon-clipping, cheapskating family will not be able to swing without a significant discount? These prices made my wallet cry out in vicarious-vacationing pain.

Under $400 a Night

Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort – $313.88

Wilderness Lodge – $319.50

Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – $325.13

Contemporary Resort – $371.25

Beach Club  and Yacht Club Resort – $393.75

Top Ten Cheapskate Tips Every Disney World Visitor Needs to Know

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Are you sitting down? Perhaps you should be…

Under $500 a Night

Beach Club Villas -$405.00

Boardwalk Inn, Boardwalk Villas – $405.00

Animal Kingdom Villas, Kidani Village – $414.00

Animal Kingdom Villas, Jamba House – $414.00

Villas at Wilderness Lodge – $414.00

Polynesian Resort – $474.75

Under $600 a Night

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – $508.50

Old Key West Resort – $508.50

Grand Floridian Resort And Spa – $540.00

Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

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Under $900 a Night

Bay Lake Tower Resort – $816.75

Now Disney will run specials throughout the year for stays at their resorts. Typical savings are 15% to 20% at Value Resorts, 25% at Moderate Resorts, 20% to 30% at Deluxe Resorts, and 20% to 30% at Deluxe Villa Resorts, which does not include the 3-bedroom Villas.

These discounts will not apply to club level rooms, campsites, or to The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at the Art of Animation Resort. No group rates or other discounts will apply if you receive one of these discounts, and you will be required to make reservations ahead of time.

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Quick Money Saving Tip!

It’s important to note that the Disney World website will automatically charge you regular = full price unless you go through their special offers page (use this link for their special offers.) If you make your reservations at full price and special offers are announced, you can have Disney or your travel agent apply the special offer to your vacation. Be sure you tell them to apply the discount, because this will not happen automatically.

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun!

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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!

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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Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Vera Bradley Laser Cut Disney Totes

Disney Vera Bradley

Updated for 2018!

There will be many a day on vacation where you just want to spend some money. Disney has no trouble making sticking to a tight budget an issue. So when you want to treat yourself to something nice, bring home a really special souvenir from a fantastic trip, where will a Cheapskate Princess spend her money?

Disney’s Charmed in the Park Jewelry: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

[Read more…]

The Top 10 Best Disney Vacation Planning Web Sites

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Updated for 2016!

If you ever read Disney planning articles on the internet for FREE, rather than forking over cash for planning books, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Should you total up all the gift shops, restaurants, events, resorts, theme park rides, the number of Disney related topics of interest for someone visiting Disney World would be in the thousands. Throw in ride refurbishment schedules, Advanced Dining Reservations, park opening and closing times, and generally wondering what everything costs, and it’s probably no wonder people get overwhelmed when they start planning their Disney vacation. Sometimes, if they haven’t done the proper planning, they show up in Orlando only to get overwhelmed on vacation. What should I do? Where should we go? Is this worth the exorbitant price? [Read more…]

Is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Worth the Big Buck$? Just Ask a Cheap$kate Princess

bibbidy-bobbity-boutique-benefits

Updated for 2018!

Rolling change, clipping coupons, eating at home…whatever it takes to get to Disney World is what many of us will do. But sometimes you just have to put financial thought aside and go for “an extravagance.”  That occurs when a cheapskate finds an event so fabulous, it’s oh so worth it to spend the extra money.

We checked with the Cheapskate Princess fans on Facebook to get their opinion about the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Walt Disney World. Prices start at a minimum of $64.95 before taxes, and that’s also before any dresses, extra accessories, or purchasing of special photos. Did the Cheapskate fans think it worth the extra money? Would they go back? Did they have any words of wisdom for those who haven’t decided to take the plunge and make the splurge?

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Definitely

Kristin speaks for a lot of Disney Moms when she says, “The moment your little one turns to see herself in the mirror makes it worth it.”

Jennifer states emphatically, “Yes completely!! It’s magical the way they transform the children!! They feel like a real princess when they are done being pampered!!”

Tanya, who splurged for the special boutique photos, tells us, “I think it’s worth it to see how special my daughter feels as a princess. The Cast Members play into it by calling them ‘Princess’ through out the park.”

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Tonya’s beautiful Disney Princess!

LeAnn took her daughter to the Boutique at a location where we’ll all be envious…a Disney Cruise ship!  “We just went on the Fantasy ship and actually booked it for my daughter and my son ended up doing the captain Mickey outfit… Yes, expensive, but they had a fantastic time. It’s totally worth it!”

Lyndsey gives us some info and the thumbs up,”Worth every penny! The Downtown Disney location is not any cheaper than the Magic Kingdom. They are the same price, and Cast Members play into it there as well. We have done it at both locations, and they are both nice.”

Read: You Might Be A Cheapskate Princess If..

All About the Memories

Kathy loved it for her granddaughter. “Indeed it is… The memories my 6-year-old granddaughter will keep with her from her day at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will last her a lifetime!! Precious!!”

Kim tells us, “Absolutely worth it! A MAGICAL memory, one of the best from our trip. We went to the BBB at DTD and the ‘Princess Parade’ to the carousel was adorable!!”

Sherie says, “Definitely! The year we did it with my daughter was the year they were picking families to do special things in the park. We came out of Cinderella’s castle and were picked to walk in the parade. We got to march down Main Street with her in her Belle dress and hair and makeup done waving to everyone! Magical!”

Read: Fabulous Gifts For A Disney Princess? Where To Find Inexpensive Silver Jewelry

Kim Merlo's adorable little Princess Jasmine

Kim’s adorable little Princess Jasmine

Make Your Plans to Go…Again

Khara, “I can’t wait to do it with my daughter… she’ll finally be old enough on our next trip. The past three trips, I’ve bought tiaras, a bun hairpiece, princess gown pajamas, light-up shoes from the Disney Store, and spray glitter. We had our own BBB in the room! Didn’t break the bank and she could dress up every day! I’ll still bring down her princess stuff even if we do BBB.”

Kimberly is already making plans to go again, “It’s so worth it. My 5-year-old daughter did it last year and became the Little Mermaid bride. This year we are going back, and she wants to be Cinderella. She is so excited to do it again!”

Kathleen, “We will be going there for the third time this summer. My daughter will be twelve when we go and she is soooo excited. They do such a great job, and the photo pass person during takes awesome pics (as well as the ones I take). This is a present from my parents, her aunt, and us, so we are able to go all out and do the photo session too. The pictures are just gorgeous. We go to Magic Kingdom when we are done and she is loves being all dressed up like a princess.”

Read: Life Lessons With a Disney Twist: Teach Kids to Be Appreciative

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Not So Into The Whole Idea

There are those Disney fans that are not so into the idea of splurging for the Boutique.

Kim tells us, “Those slicked back hairdos are awful looking!

Annette laments, “I have two boys. They don’t like to be pirates, but they deserve to have that kind of experience too. I feel the boys get left out. They deserve to feel special too!!!”

Khara, who is gearing up to take her daughter, has a suggestion for Annette. “Your boys can do a “Knight’s Package” at BBB!  My friend’s son did it and LOVED it. They get a sword and shield and get their hair spiked and colored. I actually saw a dad and his daughter… dad did the knight’s package and daughter did the princess one… sooo adorable!”

Candace votes no. “I say no. Not for the price. It’s worth it for the wow princess factor, so yes, if money is no object. But please don’t let them do the colored hair extensions. It’s not cute. LoL”

Marisa also concurs with a no vote. “No. Three kids equals mommy and daddy completely broke! Two daughters at Bibbidy Boutique and then my son doing Pirates League. Geesh. They make enough money off of us in that park.

Read: Life Lessons With a Disney Spin: Learning Financial Responsibility in a WDW Gift Shop

being a Princess at Disney World, become a Princess, become a Disney Princess,

Tips from the Cheapskate Princess Fans

What suggestions do the Cheapskate Princess fans have for those of you as of yet undecided to spend the money?

Buy your dress and accessories ahead of time

Tara says, “We purchased our favorite princess dress on Amazon before arriving and brought it with us. That really saved on the cost. When at BBB we only paid for the hair/make-up package and it was totally worth it. They absolutely spoil the girls, and my daughter felt so special. The treatment, the photos, and the trip over to the photo studio, which was FREE, thrilled her. Those were some of the best pictures. We scheduled her appointment right before dinner at Cinderella’s castle, and it added so much magic to that experience. It’s a must-do in our opinion, and we’d probably even do it again.”

Be a Disney PrincessDisney Dad Bill says, “Absolutely worth it. Bring your own dress and extras to save money on the add -ons.

Last christmas, on the way out of BBB walking down Main Street just ahead of a parade, a girl asked my DD for her autograph.

Without hesitation my DD signed her autograph book and the Photopass photographer caught it. All made possible by BBB.”

That’s Bill’s daughter featured at the top of the page at the Magic Kingdom, and here she is signing autographs.

Disney princess signs autographs

princess-costumes-at-disney-world

Kids can help out with the cost

Angie tells us, “The year we went, my daughter asked for Disney gift cards so that she could do it. Of course, we also helped her so that she could do the whole experience. She was five at the time and loved every minute of it. She kept saying, ‘I love being a princess!!'”

Make reservations during cooler weather

Rachel reports on the difference between the locations, “Disney Springs has more room to wait in than Magic Kingdom. They both accept walk-ins; can you imagine in the Magic Kingdom, all the people just waiting for an open spot?  I think if you do it once, it is worth it. We took our daughters for their first trip to WDW, and we did this for them. They were very uncomfortable since it was July 2nd. It was very hot and their hair was tight, but the LOVED the attention…”

Life Lessons with a Disney Spin; Why Kids Need a Vacation Budget

Jenny Eubanks and her precious Disney Princess Ashley

Jenny Eubanks and her precious Disney Princess Ashley

Maybe it’s not an “every trip” experience, but try it once

Dawn says, “It is definitely worth doing once. It’s a once in a lifetime, memory-filled experience. And the Cast Members totally play into it. One fun time was while waiting for Spectromagic, a Cast Member seemed thrilled to be in the presence of the Princesses, and she asked for their autographs.  She fawned all over them. Soooo fun!”

I’m going to side with Stephanie who said, “Glad I have two boys. Lol!” I have three pre-teens, and I am pretty grateful every trip that we didn’t drag costumes and make up to the parks with us. Arriving with diapers and fresh undies was tough enough some trips when they were still into watching Disney Movies on the eight-hour ride to Orlando. I won’t go into details about the trip I left all my daughter’s clothes sitting on the upstairs couch, necessitating a new Wal-mart wardrobe just outside Orlando. I can’t imagine buying Disney Pirate and Princess costumes, and then paying for hair and make-up.”

So cheapskates, what do you think? Is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique worth scrimping and saving for tickets and then the extra splurge for the pleasure of seeing your little princess or pirate transform into a Disney creation right before your eyes?

Read: 6 Reasons to Schedule a Haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you booking your princess an experience she’ll never forget, or doing her hair yourself, whatever works for your budget!

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

 

Amanda, 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.

 

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Life Lessons with a Disney Twist: Kids Need a Vacation Budget

why kids need a budget on a Disney World vacation
Updated for 2017!
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Everybody needs money at Disney World. Do your children know how much money they are taking on your next trip? Do YOU know how much money they will be taking? You better, or they will be trying to con you out of your hard-earned cash.

[Read more…]

Impulse Buys: How Returning Kid’s Purchases Is Costing You Money at Disney World

Disney World best souvenirs for kids

Updated for 2017!

With my family right next to me, I spend a lot of time in Disney gift shops when we’re in Orlando on vacation. I’m as much at home and happy on the back bench in the Small World ride as I am in a gift shop at the Polynesian Resort. Through the years, I have realized that my vacation time spent shopping for and purchasing Disney items wasn’t nearly the waste of time that returning those purchases was. [Read more…]

To Get Home From Disney With Your Souvenirs, Bring Less of This…

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Getting to and from a vacation seems to be the worst part of the whole deal, and don’t get me started on the depression that can set in once you are back home. Either flying or driving to Walt Disney World Disney, chances are you will over-pack, especially if you are traveling by car. You know Disney Princesses – we over pack for everything! My husband commented for years that we looked like the Clampetts from the Beverly Hillbillies as we pulled into our hotel. Well, it’s tough to pack light with a family of five. But as our children have grown older, we have tried to take along just the necessities. He swears on the next trip, we can make it in just two large suitcases. The number one thing we always over-pack? [Read more…]

A Disney Princess Wouldn’t Wear a Fanny Pack, but a Cheapskate Princess Might!

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Updated for 2017!

The fanny pack. I’m really not a clothes snob, but those are two words I can’t even say with a straight face. The thought of fanny packs have struck fear into the heart of Disney fashionistas for years. Can you imagine Cinderella with a sparkly fanny pack to hold her car keys and lipstick?

Uh, no. [Read more…]

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…]

10 Cheapskate Ways to Save Time (Equals Money) at Walt Disney World

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Updated for 2017!

Time is money at Walt Disney World.  You will spend a ton of your hard-earned money at Disney, and wasting time is really the equivalent to wasting your precious vacation dollars. The more time you spend standing in lines, the more time you are not doing something else fun. So let’s get to it and not waste any more…time.

Here are 10 ways to save time (equals money), because who among us doesn’t need more of both? [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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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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