We love getting your questions! Often times when asked on social media, the question can be answered in a sentence or two. Other times, your question is the perfect idea for a new article.
Today, Jason writes in and asks how many times would he need to use an all-season dining plan to make it worth the cost?
All-Season dining plans vary in price depending on when you purchase them in the season. At the end of 2015 when 2016 season passes became available, the All-Season dining plan was $87 for regular season passholders and $99 for Platinum members. Today they are $99 and $135 respectively. While prices CAN increase more as the season goes on, last season they were capped at where they currently reside. It is always better to buy earlier than later to save the most money and to use the plan more often.
Now onto meal plan options. All-Season dining plans do not include a drink. On average, dining plan meal options without the drink cost roughly $7-12. So for calculation purposes, let’s go with $10 for a dining plan meal.
Using the meal plan pricing, that means your average break even point is roughly 10-14 meals. At two meals per day (4 hours apart), within 5-7 visits your dining plan will break even.
These calculations do not include the 10-20% Platinum pass food discount available at the parks for use when purchasing food outside of a meal plan. If you factor in the Platinum discount, your breakeven point goes up to 12-17 meals dependent on the park discount and food selected.
So before buying the All-Season dining plans, you definitely need to consider how many times you will be going to the parks.
Our home park is Cedar Point, and before they had even opened, we had already used our passes for several days at each of Knott’s Berry Farm, Carowinds, Kings Dominion, and Kings Island. By the time the GateKeeper started to fly, we were already ahead of the game, especially considering we renewed and purchased our All-Season dining plans in the fall at the $99 price point.
All of this is also assuming you already planned on eating at the park and paying a higher premium for food. If you consider that a meal may only cost the park a couple dollars in time and material and you could pack a lunch and keep it in your vehicle for the same amount, than the dining plans may not be for you.
For us and the many that do purchase All-Season dining plans, the little bit of up-front cost far outweighs the time and effort that would be required to always pack a picnic and then having to walk all the way back to the vehicle. When you already pay money to get into the parks, time is money and the hour that it takes to walk back, eat, and then walk back in could have been an extra ride or two on your favorite attractions.
All-Season dining plans are also a good “excuse” to not make dinner. On nights where you feel tired and do not have the energy to cook, making a trip to your park knowing that dinner is already waiting for you is a fantastic motivator.
So, Is All-Season Dining Worth the Cost?
Do you have more questions about dining at your favorite Cedar Fair parks? Drop us a note on Facebook or Twitter, or use our convenient contact form. We are here to help and love getting your questions!
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