Disney just announced a new promotional offer that could save guests money on food in Disney World — and who doesn’t love to save money in Disney World?
This promotion allows guests to book a vacation package where they’ll receive a free gift card that can only exclusively be used in Disney World restaurants. It’s not exactly the return of the Disney Dining Plan, but it’s about the closest thing we’ve seen since the dining plan was put on hold in 2020. But is it something you should consider for your Disney World trip?
Well, the answer is “it depends.” How much you get on your Dining Promo Card depends on WHERE you’re staying and WHEN you’re staying. Here are the values of the card based on hotels and travel dates:
- Value resort stays will get $35 per night (note that this amount is for the WHOLE group and not per person) if arrival date is between June 25th and June 30th or July 11th and the 31st, and $50 per night if your arrival date is between July 1st and the 10th or August 1st and September 14th.
- Moderate resort stays will get $75 per night if arrival date falls between June 25th and June 30th or July 11th and the 31st, and $100 per night if your arrival date falls between July 1st and the 10th or August 1st and September 14th
- Deluxe resort stays will get $125 per night arrival date falls between June 25th and June 30th or July 11th and the 31st, and $150 per night if your arrival date falls between July 1st and the 10th or August 1st and September 14th
You do have to book for at least four nights, meaning that gift cards start at $140 for value resort stays, $300 for moderate resort stays, and $500 for deluxe resort stays. As we mentioned, you only get one gift card per room, NOT per person.
Yes, you should get the dining card package
Let’s look at the reasons why you SHOULD book your trip around the dining card package. If you’re staying at a deluxe resort, you’re going to get $125 PER NIGHT, which would go a long way to feed your group, especially if it’s small. You’ll get MORE to spend on food by staying at a deluxe resort than anywhere else.
Speaking of which, if you have a small group, you’ll each get more money from the card for food, making it a good value. So if your party is just two people and you’re staying at a deluxe resort, you each get $87.50 per night.
Likewise, you only qualify for this deal if you’re staying in Disney World for at least 4 nights — if you’re planning a shorter stay, this promo is not for you.
Perhaps the biggest reason why the Dining Card Promo package could be right for you, though, is if you miss the convenience of the Disney Dining Plan. This is NOT the same thing, but it may be Disney’s answer for the Dining Plan in 2023 — you basically are getting food that’s already been paid for in advance up to a certain amount.
Finally, the Dining Card Promo could be a great deal for you if you plan on dining at quick-service restaurants, at least for some of your meals. As these meals are less expensive than at table-service restaurants, your dining card’s value will go a little further.
Why you should NOT get the Dining Card Package
Okay, now let’s get to why you should NOT plan your 2023 trip around the package. If your plans involve staying in a hotel not owned by Disney, it’s not for you. That includes staying at Disney Springs hotels and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. However, if you get a better room rate at those hotels than a Disney World hotel, you might just be getting the better deal.
If you’re staying at a value resort with multiple people, let’s face it — $35 per night is probably not going to go very far — honestly, it might not go that far even if you’re traveling solo or with just a few people. Likewise, if you have a large group, you’re not going to get as much value out of the dining card.
It may make more sense to travel during a cheaper time of year with a large group instead of planning your trip around the Dining Card deal. You may end up spending more money by trying to go during the busy summertime instead of the off season.
The dining card also won’t go very far if you plan on dining at a lot of expensive table service restaurants or want to book several character dining experiences. This is especially true for those staying in value or moderate resorts. However, if you were going to eat at these restaurants anyway, it could save you a little bit of cash you were already planning to spend.
Remember that the offer is only valid if you stay in a Disney World hotel for certain dates: between June 25th and September 14th, 2023. If those dates aren’t good for your trip, the dining card promo won’t work for you.
Current reservations that fit the dates can be modified with the new offer, but keep in mind that some hotel prices recently increased, so the modification may cost you more than it cost when you originally booked. You may also want to take advantage of a different hotel deal — explore all of those here.
There’s another thing to consider: if you book the Dining Promo Package, you’re also purchasing your Disney World tickets WITH the package. So if you prefer purchasing your Disney World tickets separately (perhaps even at a discount), this promo might not be a great deal for you.
Finally, if you’re an Annual Passholder, this deal might not be great for you because Annual Passholders generally get good room offers, which will end up saving more money on a Disney World vacation than the Dining Card Package.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to do the math in deciding if this promotion is worth it for you and your party. There are many factors to consider, but we hope we’ve laid everything out so you can make the best decision for your next vacation.
Another GREAT way to save money on your Disney World trip is by planning your food budget and sticking to it! Our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining comes with downloadable worksheets to help you do just that – along with our comprehensive look at restaurants, snack stands, and, well, everything you can eat at Disney World! Click here and use code WDW2023 to save 25% off your purchase.
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What do you think? Will you be booking a trip with this promotional package? Let us know in the comments!
The post Should YOU Get Disney World’s New Dining Card Package? first appeared on the disney food blog.