Disney has a deal that you can get the Dining Plan for FREE when you book a stay at one of their select resorts during certain dates. We will be visiting the parks during the free dining plan, so this is something we could take advantage of. We have a larger family, so in order to get a room that we would all fit into we would have to stay at the Disney’s Saratoga Springs, for a whopping total of just over $8900 (that price would include our park tickets and food). Seriously, that is way to much!! Plus, we wouldn’t have enough space in the room for all of us comfortably.
I knew we could get a better deal (and more room) if we stayed off property. Plus, we came up with a way to create our own FREE Disney Dining Plan. Since January, I have been saving all of the gift cards we have gotten. Plus, we have redeemed our reward points for restaurant gift cards. With the gift cards we saved, we should be able to pay for most of the food during our vacation.
Here is what we have saved so far:
$400 in Disney gift cards ($200 was for applying for a Disney Visa (2) and another $200 in Disney reward dollars we earned) – We will use this money for the Disney themed restaurants we plan to eat at.
$120 in Target gift cards (These came from Target store deals and rewards programs) – We will use this money to buy food that we plan to cook in the home we are renting. I get to shop at a Super Target! Woo Hoo!
$100 in The Cheesecake Factory gift cards (The came from rewards programs) – This will cover dinner for our family
$75 in Restaurant.com gift certificates – I checked the restaurants in the area and found 2 that would work well for us.
$75 in Visa gift cards – These will help to pay the money that is remaining from our Restaurant.com meals
$50 in Panera Bread gift cards (These gift cards come from Mypoints rewards) – These will give us lunch out.
$25 Costco gift card – I will use this to buy snacks we can take into the park each day
Total = $845 in FREE money for our food
So, we will have our home, which incidentally is WAY bigger than the hotel we would have gotten, with 5 bedrooms,a kitchen, game room, laundry and our own private pool + park tickets + food paid for with gift cards + rental car + parking it all comes in at right about 1/2 of what it would cost us to stay on property. That is some serious savings!
Now, I am not saying that the FREE Disney Dining Plan is not a good deal, because it may work out to be a great benefit for some, but for our family by doing a little math and making some different plans we were able to create our vacation for thousands less.
What are your thoughts on the Disney Dining Plan? Has it been a big money saver for your family?