I am going on a romantic trip with DH. I have booked us four signature restaurants, and one breakfast. We will be staying four nights. That's already 9 credits. Would you plan on doing the DDP or OOP? We will most likely get refillable mugs because we are going to Vero Beach after, and I believe they will work there, too. We typically each get an appetizer, and usually order the most expensive steak and seafood. However, we're not big on desserts. I've ran it through an online calculator, and I am not sure which way to go.

If you normally get two appetizers and order from the high end of the menu, you'll do quite fine on DxDP, even with skipping desserts. Assuming you find a good home for the remaining 3 credits each, of course. (And snacks!) Your break-even target will be about $30 pre-tax per credit used (slightly lower since you would buy the mugs anyway, and I usually treat them a $0 value for ease of calculation). Oh, and as for dessert, some of those signatures likely have cheese plates available as dessert items. Just sayin'. Edited to add... did some quick menu lookups for signatures... ordering an average appetizer, a non-alcoholic beverage, and a high-end entree, it should be easy to average near or even above $10 savings per credit ($20/meal) over menu prices at an estimated cost of $30/credit for those meals. The ~$80 savings there almost completely covers the three as-yet-unspoken for meal credits, so you could even use them on CS meals without any fears of losing money on the whole.

DxDP for four nights is about $850 for 24 credits, or $35 per credit. you would need to spend fifteen more credits. That's like two more signature meals, three more TS breakfasts, and four more TS lunches, and you would have to find a way to use 24 snack credits, to break even. If you go with the regular dining plan, you would have to pay for your breakfast reservation out of pocket and you would still have four QS credits remaining, and you just might break even if you order only the most expensive items at your signature meals. I say pay out of pocket. Pay for your room in discounted Disney gift cards from Target or BJ's and charge all your meals to your magic bands.

As a number cruncher, I have to disagree with the math presented above, based on your circumstances. To determine the break-even credit values, you need to solve for: 3D + 2S + M = 103.57 (That is, 3 deluxe meal credits, 2 snack credits, and the per-night value of the mug credit equals the nightly cost of the plan.) Well, we know what M is - you'd buy that anyway, you say, and you're staying 4 nights, so that's $4.79/night (at $17.99 plus tax, re-run the numbers if the price has changed from the last time I saw it). We can run the numbers assigning different values to S, using $0.00 and $5.00 to establish a range. So with 2 variables "known", we can solve for the 3rd. At S = 0, D = 32.93 At S = 5, D = 29.59 But those numbers already include sales taxes, menu prices don't, so divide by 1.065, getting: At S = 0, D = 30.92 At S = 5, D = 27.79 So, even if you value the snacks as $0, you break even at just under $31 per meal credit, or $62 for a signature, based on menu prices. So, go look at signature menu prices. With a medium-of-the-road appetizer and a top-end entree each, you'll easily be at $70+ per person on average, especially with a non-alcoholic beverage added, and should rapidly approach $80+ at some restaurants. And that can go even higher by getting a savory dessert such as a cheese plate, if desired. This means that we can see a savings of roughly $10-$20 per meal, let's average that to $15, so over 4 meals, the savings is enough to cover the cost of 2 of the remaining 4 credits (including the breakfast) each, so to break even, you'd need to get approximately $62 value combined from the breakfast and however else you wish to use the 3 spare meal credits (CS, TS, pizza delivery, room service, whatever), plus 8 snacks. Let's just say a sit-down, non-buffet breakfast and 3 CS meals. That should be $60+ right there, at roughly $15+ each on average. So, even without optimizing those credits, you break even plus have 8 snacks as a bonus. Any further optimization goes straight to savings.

That makes a lot more sense. Thanks Faldred! Another way of thinking about it is to subtract the cost of those four signature meals (let's say $150 each) from the $850. That leaves $250 that you would have to redeem the 15 remaining meal credits and 8 snack credits for over the length of your stay. So subtract the mugs and the breakfast ($40 + $60?) that leaves you with $150. Outside of the meals you already have planned, if you would spend more than $150 on food during your trip, the DxDP will save you money. I rarely do this in my head and before morning coffee. Sorry for the confusion!

No need to apologize. This is why I made the spreadsheet - much easier to do the math once and let the computer re-calculate whenever the numbers change.

If you need a calculator, spreadsheet and algebra to figure it out, I say just get the plan since it looks like either way the amount isn't going to be huge. I always told my math teacher I'd never need algebra when I grew up, who knew it was going to be needed to figure out food at Disney.

Hehehe. I was actually using just this case with DS11 the other day to point out how his middle-school algebra (that he's just starting, this is a bit more advanced) actually applies to "real life". Not that anything Disney is truly "real life", but still.