Yesterday, I posted an update about a new dining option for day guests available at the Magic Kingdom. Today, I want to take a closer look to see if it’s really worth it.
Guests can purchase a daily meal plan for $29 per adult and $12 per child (ages 3-9). Included, are one quick service meal (entree and nonalcoholic beverage) before 4PM, and one after 4PM. Participating restaurants include Casey’s Corner, Columbia Harbour House, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe and Pinocchio Village Haus. The meal plan can only be purchased once inside the park.
Best Bang For Your Buck:
If I’m paying for a meal plan, I’m going to get my money’s worth out of it! Looking over the menu prices from the quick service locations included, you will get the most for your money if you have one meal at Pecos Bill’s and one meal at Cosmic Ray’s.
At Pecos Bill’s, the most bang for your buck comes with the Taco Burger at $15.99. You can also come out ahead with the Fajita Platter at $14.99. Assuming they give you the large drink with your purchase, those are $3.69 each.
Dinner at Cosmic Ray’s could be 1/2 Chicken and Pulled Pork combo with mashed potatoes and green beans at $15.99. An alternative would be the Barbecue Pork Bacon Cheeseburger at $14.99.
If you get the most expensive items, which both sound delicious – I’d totally order both of them, then both of your meals would total $39.36 (with drinks), so you would be saving about $10 on your two meals for the day.
Do you really want two heavy meals like those in one day? Probably not. They both sound very filling, and I’m not sure if I want to be eating like that and then hop on Space Mountain or ride the Tea Cups.
Most of the entree items at the quick service locations are about $10-$12. If you stick to the low end of the entree prices, you might actually lose money on the meal plan, totaling only $27.38 for both meals. Chances are, you will probably break even if you do the meal plan versus paying out of pocket.
Everyone in your party does not have to purchase this meal plan, unlike the Disney Dining Plans, where it’s “all or nothing” with everyone on the reservation. It’s nice to have the flexibility of choosing who will get the plan, and who won’t. For people like us, I know I do not want to have to purchase the dining plan for our daughter, who barely eats anything. She can easily share what we eat and be fine for the day.
Speaking of meal sharing, some of the heavier meal choices at the included quick service locations could easily be split between two people. If you can share a meal between two people, then the plan absolutely becomes worth it.
This is a great option for families that like to split up for meals, but only have one form of payment. Magic Bands make charging privileges and dining plan credits easy to use, but what about guests staying off site or locals who want to keep expenses on one card? Without cash, that becomes tricky. Now you’ve got Mom or Dad hitting up different quick service locations to Junior can get his macaroni and cheese. Or, perhaps teens that wanted to do “their own thing” in the park don’t have a way to pay for lunch. This option makes that easier to manage.
If you are planning to stay off site, you are a local, or you’re staying on site and you don’t want to purchase a full dining plan, look at the menus and pricing before you visit the Magic Kingdom. Do the math for your family. See if this will actually be a good deal for your before you commit to it.
But if you’re a salad person or you’re looking forward to a bunch of corn dog nuggets from Casey’s Corner, then this is definitely not a good deal for you.
Because of the short life of this offer (dates only include 1/12-2/22), I’m assuming it’s probably a test to see if it’s worth rolling out to the other parks on a more permanent basis. This is definitely something I would purchase at Epcot. I really wish they would come out with a snack plan for the Food & Wine Festival!!