Planning for a Disney vacation can be overwhelming. Where should we stay, should we rent a car, how much is food going to cost, should we get the Dining Plan, These are all questions you will need to answer at some point during the planning stages.
Today, I’m going to help you work out the Dining and decide what the best option would be to give you an idea of how much the food on your vacation is going to cost you.
First things first, download my dining budget planner. This is an excel file so you will have to have a program that supports it to use it. Microsoft Excel is what I recommend but it may work with open office or some other programs as well. Give me some feedback on what worked for you and I will add it as supported here.Dining Budget (288 downloads)
Once you get it downloaded, go ahead and take a look around. Have fun with it, look around the interwebs to find pictures of food and different menu items you may be interested in. My favourite places for food prices are Allears.net, WDWinfo.com, and of course the official DisneyWorld.com website. Compare the prices and go day by day to add your information to the planner. By the end, you will have a better idea on how much you need to budget for, and if the Dining Plan will work for you financially.
First Page – Vacation Information Overview
This is the section you are going to add basic information about your trip.
- Here you enter your Check In and Check Out date. Be sure that your total vacation is no more than 14 nights.
- Enter the number of Adults and Children here. No more than 6 guests total.
- Here you can enter the names of each guest. Will make your meal planning a bit easier.
Dining Detail Adjustments
Here you can make adjustments to the costs of the Dining Plan, Tips, and so forth. As of Jan 2017 these numbers are accurate, but may need to be changed if Disney adjust the price of the plans so be sure to check to see if the numbers are correct.
- Here you are going to enter the details for each plan. “Cost” is the current cost including tax for each day of the plan. “Credits” are to adjust how many credits each plan includes per night of the Dining Plan. “Mug” is if the plan includes the refillable mug for the length of your trip.
- Enter the Tax %, should be good at 6.5%.
- Tip %. Here you can adjust what % you would normally tip at when required. This will be consistent across all meals that require a tip. (Keep in mind that T.I.W. costs will override this number with the 18% that is automatically added to bill when using T.I.W.
- Tables In Wonderland Cost. This cost will be different depending on your eligibility.
- Here you can select yes or no depending on if you normally purchase the refillable mugs on your vacation. If you select yes, the price of the mug will be added to your total cost for all options except the dining plans as it is included.
- Here you can adjust the cost of the Mug.
Dining Plan Selection
Here you will select what Dining Plan you would like to compare to your “Out of Pocket” costs to see what option will come out as the cheapest.
- Select what Dining Plan you would like to budget for (Quick, Normal, Deluxe)
- After you make your selection, the total credits you have for your trip based on Days, Guests, and Plan will be displayed here.
- Here you can see the credits you have left to assign to meals. Once you are finished all your budgeting, these should all be 0 to ensure you have used up all your credits and maximized the plan.
Once you have entered all your meals on the following pages, as well as select the dining plan you are budgeting for you will be left with 4 totals representing total costs for dining for your entire trip.
- Out of Pocket costs – This will represent the full price cost of all your dining with no discounts applied.
- With Discount – This will represent the cost of all your dining but take into account any discounts you may be entitled to such as DVC or AP.
- With T.I.W. – This will represent the cost with if you are to purchase the T.I.W. card.
- Dining Plan – This will represent the total cost of meals on the dining plan you selected.
This is the fun part! Each day of your trip will have a “tab” located on the bottom of the spreadsheet that will allow you to plan out each meal plus snacks for each day of your trip. This will require you to find the prices of current items and figure out what you are most likely going to order for each member of your party. While this is a lot of work this will ensure that this tracker is more accurate than any of the generic trackers found online. Plus, it fun!
- First, enter the name of the Restaurant that you are planning to go to for this meal. Then, for each guest, lists the cost of the item you are most likely going to order. It is important to keep the costs assigned to the different menu items (Appetizer, Entree, Dessert, Drinks, and Premium Drinks). This will ensure that when you apply any discount, or dining credits that all the calculations will be correct. After you enter all the info you will be able to see the 4 different “out of pocket” costs you can expect to pay at the table.
- Here you want start off by assigning the credits you plan on using for the Dining plan if you intend to. If you don’t add any credits, the tracker will assume you plan to pay for this meal out of pocket and apply the out of pocket price to the cost. But, if you enter credits it will discount the cost of all the items that are included in the plan and you will only pay for any extras you get like Premium Drinks and Appetizers. If this Location accepts T.I.W. be sure to select that it does here. Is this meal a Table Service meal that needs a tip? If so, select yes here. Discount Entitlement allows you to enter any % off you might be entitled to for this meal (DVC,AP, Anything that gets you a discount). Be sure to research restaurants and enter this information correctly to get the best results when finished.
- Here you want to enter 2 snacks for each day and the total snack credits used. Credits used should always be 2 times the amount of guests to ensure all calculations are correct.
- Here you will see the total costs for the day broken down. These costs include the daily cost of the dining plan in the calculation so you will have a good idea what option was the cheapest for this day only.
- Here you can see how many credits you used for this day.
Be sure to let us know what option worked out best for you. If you have any questions about the file at all go ahead and ask in the comments and I will be sure to point you in the right direction.