A Detailed Look at 18 Nights of Free Dining at Disney World

A Detailed Look at 18 Nights of Free Dining at Disney World

When we were planning this trip there were a number of offers floating around, and it took us a few weeks to decide on which was best for us. After doing the math, the free dining offer (available to UK guests at that time) worked out best after doing rough calculations on how much we’d spend on food each day and comparing that against the savings we’d make with the other offers.

So we went ahead and booked 18 nights at Port Orleans French Quarter. This would have only got us the Quick Service Dining Plan for free, so we paid a small amount extra each and upgraded to the Disney Dining Plan.

We’ve never been ones to eat at the table service restaurants much, apart from a few favorites, so had fun planning our schedule and deciding which new restaurants to try and which old favorites to return to.

The 180 day mark soon rolled around and I managed to make all of the ADRs using the online system, getting all of the time frames we wanted.

I’ve heard a lot of people don’t manage to use all of their counter service or snack credits, but am proud to report that we did!

Normally, when not on the dining plan, we would eat breakfast, have an early light lunch (no dessert), get a snack mid-afternoon, then have dinner. Only one meal a day would be a full proper meal with dessert. So it was very different to be served up with a full entree and dessert at lunch and dinner most days, and we didn’t always managed to finish the desserts. We therefore rarely got snacks during the day, and instead spent snack credits on breakfast items, the odd treat, and Food and Wine Festival menu items, which were a great value as snack credits.

We also paid a couple of visits to Walmart to stock up on bottled water (much cheaper than the parks) and bread, which we used for toast some mornings (toaster in the Resort food court).

By spending some time offsite at non-Disney parks we were able to save table service credits for the 2 TS credit meals, and have spare counter service credits to use on days when we didn’t have any TS meals booked, and to use for CS breakfasts.

By the way, we are 2 adults, 1 x 3 year old and 1 x 18 mth old. The 3 year old and 18 month old usually shared one meal, and at buffets just had an extra plate. Not because we’re mean, but because they don’t eat much! We always ordered a drink each for them at table service restaurants, but were never once charged for the 18 month old’s drink.

Here’s a break down of the credits we used each day and how much we saved. Hopefully it will help someone by giving an idea how the dining plan works, how much money it can save, and if it’s good value. Even if you’re not on the dining plan it will show how much an average family spends on food each day.

Day 1

Dinner - Sassagoula Floatworks
Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/fries  $8.79
Kids Chicken Nugget Meal (inc. drink)  $4.99
Quesadilla  $8.59
Muffin  $2.59
Beignets (3)  $2.99
2 Sodas  $4.98
Entitlements Used - 3 counter service
Money saved$32.93

Day 2

Breakfast - Crystal Palace
2 Adult breakfasts   $45.98
1 Child breakfast  $12.99
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved$58.97

Lunch - Columbia Harbor House
Fried Fish Basket  $7.49
Anchors Aweigh Sandwich  $8.29
Chocolate Cake x 2  $7.18
Lemonade x 2  $4.98
Kid’s Meal Chicken Nuggets  $4.99
Entitlements Used - 3 counter service
Money saved - $32.93

Snack - Enchanted Grove
Raspberry Lemonade Slush  $3.69
Entitlements Used – 1 snack credit
Money saved$3.69

Dinner - Planet Hollywood
Paid out of pocket, using $15 coupon – $49.06

Day 3

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Pancakes w/topping  $6.29
Croissant Breakfast Sandwich  $5.99
Kid’s Pancakes  $4.39
Hot beverage x 2  $4.19
Orange juice x 2  $3.78
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service credits
Money saved$24.64

Lunch - Sunshine Seasons
Rotisserie Chicken  $10.19
Ginger Mongolian Beef  $9.99
Key Lime Pie x 2  $3.79
Kid’s PB&J Lunch Kit  $4.99
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Entitlements Used - 3 counter service, 1 snack credit
Money saved$31.15

Snack - Food & Wine Festival
Dessert Trio  $3.50
Entitlements Used – 1 snack credit
Money saved$3.50

Dinner - Teppan Edo
Filet Mignon  $29.95
Chicken  $20.95
Kid’s Chicken  $13.00
Beverages x 3  $8.85
(Kids were playing up as we had to wait so long to eat, so didn’t stay for dessert)
Entitlements Used - 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved$72.75 (would have been more if had dessert)

Day 4

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Paid out of pocket
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved – 0

Lunch - ABC Commissary
Fish and Chips  $7.49
Chicken Curry  $8.49
Kids Meal Burger (inc drink)  $4.99
2 Chocolate Mousse  $3.59
Lemonade  $2.49
Bottled Water  $2.50
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service credits
Money saved$29.55

Dinner - Captain’s Grille
2 x Fixed price menus  $55.98
(Green Goddess Salad, Pork Chop, Chicken, Key Lime Tart)
Kid’s Meal Pasta  $8.59
Sodas x 2  $5.38
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service credits
Money saved$69.95

Day 5

Breakfast - Boma
2 Adult breakfasts  $45.98
1 Child breakfast  $12.99
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved$58.97

Lunch – The Mara
Chicken Nuggets w/fries x 2  $15.78
Chicken Flatbread  $8.19
Watermelon  $3.19
Yogurt  $1.99
Jello  $1.19
2 x Pink Lemonade  $4.78
Milk  $1.49
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service
Money saved$36.61

Dinner - Liberty Inn
Paid out of pocket
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved – 0

Day 6

Breakfast - Kouzzina
Paid out of pocket
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved - $0

Lunch – Hurricane Hannas
Burger w/fries  $8.29
Kid’s Meal Burger  $6.49
Mango Gelato  $2.69
Bottled Water  $3.25
(paid out of pocket for lemonade & fries = $4.99)
Entitlements Used – 2 counter service
Money saved$20.72

Snack – Seashore Sweets
Princess Marshmallow Lollipop  $2.95
Fudge  $3.95
Entitlements Used – 2 snack credits
Money saved - $6.90

Dinner – Olivia’s
Mahi Mahi  $21.99
Chicken  $17.99
Kid’s Meal Pasta  $8.59
Key Lime Tart x 2  $10.98
2 x Sodas  $5.38
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved - $64.93

Day 7

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Pancakes w/topping  $6.29
2 Hot beverages  $4.18
Croissant  $2.29
Milk  $1.49
Sliced bread  $0.69
Cereal  $1.99 (guessed as don’t have correct price)
Entitlements Used – 1 counter service, 4 snack credits
Money saved$12.75

Lunch – Mel’s Drive-In at Universal Studios
Paid out of pocket $28.48
Entitlements Used - 0
Money saved – 0

Dinner – Three Broomsticks at Islands of Adventure
Paid out of pocket $35.93
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved – 0

Day 8

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
French toast  $5.29
Chocolate milk  $2.19
Hot beverage x 2  $4.18
Orange juice  $1.89
Breakfast croissant  $5.99
Muffin  $2.59
Sliced bread (2)  $0.69
Entitlements Used – 2 counter service, 2 snack credits
Money saved - $22.82

Lunch – Chick Fil-A offsite
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved – 0

Dinner - Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Angus Cheeseburger w/fries x 2  $16.58
Bacon Angus Cheeseburger w/fries  $8.79
Lemonade  $2.49
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Bottled Water  $2.50
Carrot Cake  $3.59
Chocolate Cake x 2  $7.18
Entitlements Used - 3 counter service
Money saved - $43.32

Snack - Aloha Isle
Pineapple Float  $4.19
Entitlements Used – 1 snack credit
Money saved$4.19

Day 9

Breakfast – Cinderella’s Royal Table
Adult Breakfast x 2  $83.98
Child Breakfast  $27.99
Entitlements Used – 4 adult table service, 2 child table service
Money saved$111.97

Lunch – Columbia Harbor House
Chicken Nuggets and Fish  $8.39
Fried Fish Basket $7.49
Harvest salad  $8.19
Apple juice x 2  $4.98
Lemonade  $2.49
Strawberry yogurt x 2  $3.98
Chocolate Cake  $3.59
Entitlements Used - 3 counter service
Money saved$39.11

Snack
Itzakadoozie  $3.25
2 Premium Mickey bars  $7
Entitlements Used – 3 snack credits
Money saved - $10.25

Dinner - Contempo Cafe
(prices guessed)
Pasta  $6.19
Honey-lime Chicken Sandwich x 2  $15.18
Cupcake x 2  $7.18
Worms in Dirt  $3.59
Minute Maid Juice x 3  $8.67
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service credits
Money saved - $40.81 (guesstimate)

Day 10

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Paid out of pocket $20.01
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved - 0

Lunch - Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafe
Orange Beef  $10.99
Sweet n Sour Chicken  $9.99
Kid’s Meal Chicken Nuggets  $4.99
Chocolate Cake x 2  $7.18
Lg Fruit Punch x 2  $5.18
Side fries  $3.99
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service, 1 snack credit
Money saved - $42.32

Snack – Animal Kingdom
Cookies ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream  $3.50
Key Lime Mousse  $3.59
Entitlements Used – 2 snack credits
Money saved - $7.09

Dinner - Grand Floridian Cafe
Ribeye Steak  $27.99
Chicken Dinner  $16.99
Kid’s Meal Salmon  $5.09
Kid’s Meal Apples  $2.09
Kid’s Meal Worms in Dirt  $2.09
Chocolate Fondue  $6.99
Mini Tiramisu  $3.29
Lemonade  $2.69
Iced Tea  $2.69
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved$69.91

Day 11

Breakfast – SeaWorld Character Breakfast
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved – 0

Lunch - SeaFire Inn, SeaWorld
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved – 0

Dinner - Riverside Mill Food Court
Fish Basket x 2  $14.98
Pasta Your Way  $10.49
Crisped Rice Treat x 2  $6.98
Carrot Cake  $3.59
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Soda x 2  $4.98
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service
Money saved$43.21

Day 12

Breakfast – Sassagoula Floatworks
Pancakes w/ fruit topping  $6.29
2 x Hot beverage  $4.18
Cereal  $1.99
Yogurt  $1.99
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Entitlements Used - 1 counter service, 3 snack credits
Money saved$16.64

Lunch - Whispering Canyon Cafe
Canyon Skillet  $18.99
Pulled Pork Sandwich  $12.49
Kid’s Meal Chicken Nuggets  $8.99
Chocolate Shake  $6.39
S’mores Cheesecake  $6.99
Lemonade  $2.69
Root Beer  $2.69
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved$59.23

Dinner - Sassagoula Floatworks
Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/fries  $8.79
Pepperoni Pizza & Salad  $8.69
Kid’s Meal Cheeseburger  $4.99
Apple slices  $3.49
Beignets  $2.99
2 Sodas  $4.98
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service
Money saved - $33.93

Day 13

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Yogurt  $1.99
Muffin  $2.59
Hot Beverage x 2  $4.18
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Entitlements Used – 5 snack credits
Money saved - $10.95

Lunch - Backlot Express
Chicken Nuggets (8 pcs) w/fries  $15.78
Turkey Sandwich w/fries  $8.89
Strawberry Parfait x 2  $7.18
Cheesecake  $3.59
Sodas x 2  $4.78
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service
Money saved$42.41

Dinner - Sci-Fi Dine-In
Chicken Bruschetta w/fries   $13.99
Steak  $22.99
Kid’s Meal Burger, Fruit Salad & Sundae  $8.99
Fruit Salad  $5.99
Apple Crumble  $6.99
Lemonade  $2.69
Vanilla Coke  $3.19
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved - $64.83

Day 14

Breakfast – Sassagoula Floatworks
Paid out of pocket
Entitlements Used - 0
Money saved – 0

Lunch - Bahama Breeze offsite
Paid out of pocket
Entitlements Used – 0
Money saved – 0

Dinner -Wolfgang Puck Express
Kid’s Meal Spaghetti  $7
Creme Brulee (part of kid’s meal)  $5
Side of fries  $4
Entitlements Used - 1 counter service, 1 snack credit
Money saved$16

Day 15

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Waffle with fruit  $5.59 (paid out of pocket)
Hot beverage x 2  $4.19
Orange juice  $1.89
Kid’s Meal cereal with milk  $2.99 (guessed)
Cereal  $1.99 (guessed)
Entitlements Used – 5 snack credits
Money saved - $11.06

Lunch - Blizzard Beach
Cheeseburger  $8.79
Chicken Nuggets  $7.89
Hot Dog  $7.49
Soda  $2.49
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Apple Juice  $1.89
Chocolate Cake  $3.59
Cheesecake  $3.59
Cookie  $1.99
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service
Money saved - $39.91

Dinner - Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
Category 2 seating Adult x 2  $113.98 (inc tax)
Category 2 seating Child  $27.99 (inc tax)
Entitlements Used – 4 adult table service, 2 child table service
Money saved - $141.97

Day 16

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Entitlements Used – 0 paid out of pocket $12.94
Money saved – 0

Lunch - Liberty Inn,  & Food & Wine Festival
Side Fries x 2  $4.98
Lg Lemonade  $2.49
Churro  $3.50
Pot Stickers  $3.50
Grilled Beef Skewer  $4.75
Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies  $5.00
Baked Cheese Ravioli  $4.50
Bison Chili   $3.50
Lamington  $3.00
Creme Brulee  $3.75
Belgian waffle  $2.75
Seared Albacore Tuna  $4.00
Kerrygold® Cheese Selection  $3.50
Entitlements Used – 14 snack credits
Money saved$49.22

Snack - Boulangerie Patisserie, Karamell-Kuche
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Caramel & Marshmallow Roll  $3.95
Caramel & Chocolate Covered Marshmallow   $3.95
Entitlements Used – 3 snack credits
Money saved$10.09

Dinner - Le Cellier
Chicken entree  $24.99
Mushroom Filet Mignon  $35.99
Kid’s Meal Pasta  $8.99
Chocolate Moose  $5.99
Creme Brulee  $6.99
Lemonade  $2.69
Molson Canadian  paid out of pocket $5.75
Entitlements Used - 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved$85.64

Day 17

Breakfast - Sassagoula Floatworks
Entitlements Used – 0 paid out of pocket $13.57
Money saved – 0

Lunch - Kona Cafe
Polynesian Plate Chicken x 2  $29.98
Kid’s Meal Burger  $8.59
Creme Brulee  $5.99
Kilauea Torte  $5.49
Root Beer  $2.69
Lemonade  $2.69
Entitlements Used - 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved - $55.43

Dinner - Columbia Harbor House & Casey’s
Fried Fish Basket x 2  $14.98
Apple Crisp x 2  $7.18
Lemonade  $2.49
Chocolate Milk  $2.19
Hot Dog  (Paid out of pocket)
Entitlements Used - 2 counter service
Money saved - $26.84

Day 18

Breakfast – Kona Cafe
Tonga Toast  $10.99
Big Kahuna  $11.99
Kid’s Meal Pancakes  $4.79
Juice x 2  $4.98
Hot Tea  $2.69
Hot Coffee  $2.69
Entitlements Used – 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved - $38.13

Lunch – Golden Oak Outpost
Fries x 2  $4.98
Lg Lemonade  $2.49
Entitlements Used – 3 snack credits
Money saved - $7.47

Dinner - California Grill
Crispy Seared Chicken  $33.00
Grilled Pork Tenderloin  $34.00
Valrhona Chocolate Cake  $13.00
Organic Pear Tart  $12.00
Lemonade x 2  $5.38
Kid’s Meal Salmon  $12.00
Kid’s Crisp Rice Sushi Plate  $6.00
Entitlements Used - 4 adult table service, 2 child table service
Money saved$104.38

Day 19

Breakfast - Chef Mickey’s
Adult breakfast x 2  $57.98
Child breakfast  $15.99
Entitlements Used - 2 adult table service, 1 child table service
Money saved$73.97

Snack - Goofy’s Candy Co.
Fudge  $3.95
Cookie  $3.25
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow  $3.95
Bag Gummy Worms  $2.95
Entitlements Used – 4 snack credits
Money saved - $14.10

Lunch - Cooke’s of Dublin
Fish sandwich  $10.95
One & One  $10.95
Kid’s Meal fish  $6.95
Cookie  $1.95
Milk
Fruit cup x 2  $7
Soda x 2  $4.50
Entitlements Used – 3 counter service
Money saved - $31.83

TOTAL SAVED = $1929.97 (give or take a few dollars allowing for errors, and not including tax)

Divided by 18 nights is an average of $107.22 per night.

If we’d have paid for the dining plan we’d have paid around $96 per night in total, plus tax.

Verdict

If we’d have paid for the dining plan we’d have still come out on top. The fact that we got it mostly for free (apart from paying small amount to upgrade from QSDP to DDP) is a huge bonus. OK, we paid full price for the Resort, but the savings we made on dining more that make up for that.

After eating so much you’d think we’d have put on a fair bit of weight? We got weighed before and after the trip and were surprised by the results. I only put on 1 lb, and DH somehow managed to lose 3 lbs!

If given the choice again I’d definitely opt for paying full price for the resort and getting free dining. It was nice to eat at table service restaurants so frequently, and without worrying about the cost.

More information on the Disney Dining Plan can be found here.

Watch out for dining reviews and dining plan tips, coming soon!


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