is a Disney Vacation Plan?
What types of plans are available?
a Disney Vacation Plan good for me?
Will a Disney Vacation
Plan make my vacation better?
Will a Disney Vacation
Plan save me money?
What is a Disney
Disney offers several different vacation packages/plans. Ranging from room and tickets to all inclusive plans that include everything you can image. Each year these plans change slighty, so be sure to check with Disney for the current offerings. Also some outside vendors offer variations of these plans too.
In 2009 Disney offered the following packages:
- Magic Your Way Package - Room and Tickets
- Magic Your Way Plus Quick-Service Dining - Room, Tickets, 2 Quick service meals and 2 snacks per day
- Magic Your Way Plus Dining - Room, Tickets, 1 Table Service, 1 Quick Service, and 1 Snack per day
- Magic Your Way Plus Deluxe Dining - Room, Tickets, 1 Table Service, 1 Quick Service, and 2 Snacks per day
- Magic Your Way Premium Package - Room, Tickets, 3 meals, 2 snacks, recreation and select tours
- Magic Your Way Platinum Package - Room, Tickets, 3 meals, 2 snacks, recreation, tours, tourdown service, spa treatment, and more... (pretty much everything and anything)
For more information on these packages and what they include you can check out the Disney Travel Company Brochure.
Is a Disney Vacation Plan good for
Now that you know what the plans are, you have to decide if its
for you and if so which one. Over the years I have experienced most of these plans (or variations of them) and if you plan accordingly they could work out really well for. The one advantage to doing such a plan is you know most of your costs up front and if you are ok with spending that money then you are worry free from the finance side. Or if you are like us, you treat it almost as a game/mission to see how you do compared to the plan cost. Some call this maximizing the plan/your money...
I would recommend the all inclusive plans to anyone who wants to take
full advantage of the recreational activities and dining options
Disney has available. These plans are not good for people who want
to spend most of their time in the themeparks, around the resort
pool, or want an occasional good meal. The dining plans are a little more dicey to recommend and you really should do some homework and see how the dollars and cents work out before committing to one.
The plans are cost effective only if you actually do these activities,
otherwise you will end up paying for things you do not use and it
will be cheaper for you to just pay as you go. Yes it is cheaper
to stay onsite, buy a park hopper pass, eat hot dogs, hamburgers,
and chicken sandwhichs for week, and ride the free ferryboat by
the Magic Kingdom when you want to go boating, but this is not everyones
idea of fun. Sure you say your not this kind of person and that
you would always treat youself, but once you get down there and
you have the choice of the $10 hot dog and drink vs. the $50 meal
at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, which are you going to choose more
times than not... sure many people are not this way, but a lot of
Now with that being said if you are a first time visitor or traveling
with small children you may want to look into other options. First
time visitors will be spending most of their time in the themeparks
seeing the attractions and entertainment Disney to offer. This is
great and exactly what you should be doing. Parties with small children
will also be spending a lot of time in the parks, at the hotel pools,
or just resting. In order to take full advantage of these plans
you end up spending less time in the theme parks touring attractions.
For repeat visitors this is not a problem because you have already
experienced the attractions and only want to see what' is new, your
favorites, or something to fill in some time while you wait.
Will a Disney Vacation Plan make my
This is really a matter of opinion and what you consider better.
Having everything prepaid is both a blessing and a curse. Its great
because you know how much you spent and that you do not need to
take more money with you.
Its also good because it will let you try new things because they
are included. For example I would never pay the high cost of going
but since it was included in a plan I went. Or with dinning if your
paying for it, you may not order an apatizer, entree, and desert
from sit-down resturants every meal for every person. But on a plan you may... You will end up skipping meals,
combining meals, eating counter service, and then for a treat go
to a nice restaurant and order an entree and maybe a drink, but
if its on the plan you go and order it all and are happy.
The plans can be bad also. Knowing how much you spent, makes some
people feel like they have to spend that much. Which means they
will rush from activity to activity just to get reach their $$$
quota for the day. Also by doing an all inclusive plan to really take advantage of it you must plan out a good portion of your vacation ahead of time to really maximize its usage.
Will a Disney
Vacation Plan save me money?
Your first instinct when looking at the Disney pricing system is
to run and hide… I mean sticker shock sets in. The second rule with plans is in general you will not "save" money.. they do cost you a fair amount. But when comparing what you pay for the plan and what the list price of the activities/meals are you can "save" money. Disney offers several
different plans ranging from simple resort and passport plans to
all inclusive plans (meaning resort, passports, dining, recreation).
The first thing to be aware of is that Disney is not cheap. Always
remember it is a company and it is trying to make as large a profit
off of you as possible. The trade-off is you will be hard pressed
to find another place that will offer you similar experiences. I
think there is a plan to fit any vacation style or price range.
We have gone on several different plans and combinations of plans
over the years.
On some plans you "do better" than on others. What I
mean here is the actual cost is sometimes as much as 32% lower than
if you did the same things a la carte, or sometimes it can be as
low as 5%. Just to give you a feel for how the numbers work out,
here is a quick example from my December 2000 trip(all numbers are
taken from my spreadsheet and rounded to make it easier to follow,
if your interested in exact numbers let me know). We stayed at the
Yacht Club for 6 nights on the Deluxe Magic Plan (4 adults). Cost
with MKC was about $6K. If you subtract out 6 nights hotel which
would have been approx. $300 a night and subtract out the cost of
your length of stay pass which would have been approx. $280 per
person, you come up with a remaining balance of about $3K left for
food and recreation. This comes out to about $115 per person per
day to spend to break even.
We ended up "spending" (if paid for al la carte) approx.
$8k which was 31% over the amount the plan actually cost.
Here is a summary of the dining stats for you. We averaged $27
for breakfast (usually ate at counter service just to save time).
Lunch came in at $90. Dinners averaged $196 (high of $252 low of
On the recreation side of things we went golfing 3 times, fishing
3 times, 4 tours, biking once, boating once, and mini-golfing 3
times for a total value of just shy of $2,400. Also on this plan
you got a pin per person and a Leave a Legacy Tile.
You can see how things add up really quickly. If you have questions
or want more detail on this just drop me a line.