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View Full Version : How do you determine if DDP is worth it?


twinklebug
08-02-2006, 10:34 AM
How do you determine if DDP is worth it? Unless you plan on some very pricy meals, all in all it seems one would do better just buying as you go. :confused3

I'll admit I don't understand the concept of an appetizer, entree & desert all in one meal. :confused3 Isn't that an awful lot of food in one sitting? Boy oh boy, NO ToT, Rock'n Rollercoaster or StarTours after that meal!

OKWMom
08-02-2006, 11:15 AM
Before we purchased it, I looked at the menus/prices of the places we were planning on eating and did spreadsheet with an estimate of what we would spend if we were not on the plan, adding in tax and tip. I then compared that to the cost of the plan itself. (I know, overkill, but Iím an accountant, I canít help it).

It worked out for us to be a savings so we did it. We wouldnít have bought it if it didnít make sense for us financially, but we really enjoyed it. It was nice having the meals budgeted into the vacation cost on the front end instead of receiving that print out on the last day and getting sticker shock. It was nice to be able to try things we normally wouldnít have. And the kids loved being able to have dessert at every meal. Having appetizers and desserts was actually once of the things they told their teachers about when we returned.

Laz
08-02-2006, 12:12 PM
I think it all depends on how much you plan to spend on food. For example, I save all my Disney Visa points and use those points for food on our trips. I have seen others who bring their own breakfast foods and use the toasters and Microwaves at the All Stars. Also, My family and I do not eat as much as offered with the dining plan. Pluse we enjoy the flexibility of NOT eating if we do not want to, In most cases we split desserts because we are too full, or we lose our appetite when we get hot. Some will save money, some will not.

DVC Grammy
08-02-2006, 12:31 PM
What do you usually eat on an average WDW day? Do you like TS restaurants an a daily basis, and for which meals? And are you able to make your ADR's far enough in advance to get most of your choices?
This is one of those decisions that is completely subjective; for people who enjoy large meals, in nice restaurants, it can be very worthwhile. For those who eat less per meal, or prefer CS places, or would rather be "spur of the moment" planners, it could be a problem. As other people have said, analyze what works for you and your family. :)
We have found that the DDE works better for us (me and DH), based on our needs. When our family might join us (big eaters :rotfl: ), we'll probably do the DDP, since there won't ever be "leftovers"! :goodvibes

twinklebug
08-02-2006, 12:50 PM
I hear a theme - plan plan plan :) maybe that's why it's called the Disney Dining PLAN? :teeth:

I am often criticized for over-analyzing (it's the engineer in me) :surfweb: and it does take the spontanious fun out of a vacation when I'm always watching our spending.

I gave rough estimates to the ADRs we have that we'll pay out of pocket(HDDR, WCC, CM, CP, Si-Fi, Tony's) as well as a few snacks & CSs and it looks pretty much like we'd break even just ordering the basic entree and a drink. It's a ton of money to spend on food, but I guess it's worth it just to be able to relax and not tell the kids "No, No, No" all the time because of prices.

Thank you all for your help! :wave2:

Jlampley
08-02-2006, 01:05 PM
I have to agree that it may not save tones of money if you choose to go with counter meals throughout your stay and maybe choose one or two table-service meals. However, if you plan a sit-down meal each evening to a table service meal and or a number of character meals, I think the plan is worth it. I have two young children and we've planned 4 character meals and 3 high-end, more adult meals. Last year our receipts (which you will receive at the end of each meal to show your savings) never were under $100.00 for the non-character meals and around $80 for character meals. That one meal covered the costs for our entire day. I also bring begals and ceral and we eat breakfast in the room.

If your party is past the character meal stage (if that's possible) and is more interested in using your time on rides and events - skip the plan. It definately takes more time to have a table-service meal every night.

One other item to note: to get the most out of your plan you should make ADRs in advance - sometimes months in advance - of your visit. I'm going in Oct and today wanted to see if I could get into Ohana - I could only get a table at 9:15 - too late for us and here we are two months out.

Good luck and have fun.
Julie

Sammie
08-02-2006, 01:13 PM
How do you determine if DDP is worth it? Unless you plan on some very pricy meals, all in all it seems one would do better just buying as you go. :confused3

I'll admit I don't understand the concept of an appetizer, entree & desert all in one meal. :confused3 Isn't that an awful lot of food in one sitting? Boy oh boy, NO ToT, Rock'n Rollercoaster or StarTours after that meal!

How long are you staying and what are the ages of your group?

toocooltobeMom
08-02-2006, 02:07 PM
I agreed with Twinklebug. You must be willing to plan ahead. As for us, We found that w/o the DDP, we usually eat about $35 -$40 pp each day. That $$ was just for drinks and CS meals most of the days. Maybe just one sit-down the 1st night at DTD :blush: It runs anywhere from $6 to $8 + per entree(burgers and fries; nothing fancy!!) and drinks. At Epcot, we tend to spend a little extra (to sample different food from different countries ;) )
This is the first time we have DDP for "free". :woohoo: We couldn't be more happier. :thumbsup2

Ashley80
08-02-2006, 03:04 PM
We like the DDP because we eat at places we normally would have turned away from just because of the prices. It allows us to have a little freedom in that sense to go/eat whereever/whatever we want. There's no way we would pay $100+++ cash for lunch and dinners every day like we get to do on the DDP. Also, its just FUN to be able to get so much great food and how often do you get to go whereever you want and eat whatever you want and not worry about money?

n2mm
08-02-2006, 03:37 PM
You have to remember that the DDP includes taxes and tips, so if you do the math you'll find you save even when not getting everything required. I figured the 37.99 is about what a sit down meal costs, by the time you add the entree ($20), beverage ($3), and desert ($6), taxes (7%) and tip (18%)(notice I did not add an appetizer and did not choose a expensive entree). So the CS meal and snack are basically free for us. So with the plan we don't have to count pennies and can choose a more expensive entree if we WANT, we can add an appetizer and we can even get the most expensive desert and take it to go. You need to make sure you check out the menus so you can do the math.

dementia412
08-02-2006, 03:52 PM
something that could tip it against the ddp is the cost of a package. If you can get the room and tickets separetly cheaper than the package, you will have to factor in that cost as well

BlindTyldak
08-02-2006, 03:58 PM
Our first intro to dining plans was Magical Wishes, which we'd gotten as part of a Magical Gathering package. It turned out to be the only part of the package that was worth it! :lmao: When our first night we ended up "spending" about as much at CR as we did on the entire points package, we knew it was well worth it and since we prefer our TS meals at night, it always ends up being a bargain. But if people ate mostly light lunches at TS restaurants, or didn't want to take the time for a TS every day, I could see it being a waste of money.

bbangel
08-02-2006, 05:21 PM
We decided to go with the dining plan because it gives us permission to eat at places we would normally not consider due to the price. We are doing our first character meal for instance!
My mom also likes the fact that we can prepay so don't have to worry about money while we are there. And since you are basically only doing two meals a day the larger amount that you eat at the TS meals isn't as much as at seems. (At least that is what I'm telling myself :) )

LizinSTL
08-02-2006, 05:53 PM
I hear a theme - plan plan plan :) maybe that's why it's called the Disney Dining PLAN? :teeth:

I am often criticized for over-analyzing (it's the engineer in me) :surfweb: and it does take the spontanious fun out of a vacation when I'm always watching our spending.

I gave rough estimates to the ADRs we have that we'll pay out of pocket(HDDR, WCC, CM, CP, Si-Fi, Tony's) as well as a few snacks & CSs and it looks pretty much like we'd break even just ordering the basic entree and a drink. It's a ton of money to spend on food, but I guess it's worth it just to be able to relax and not tell the kids "No, No, No" all the time because of prices.

Thank you all for your help! :wave2:

I think that's exactly the benefit of the ddp. You get to relax and enjoy your vacation. Order as much or as little as you want. Some people think they aren't getting enough out of it if you do character meals and fixed price buffets, etc. I think that those meals are pretty costly and you aren't "losing" money on them using the dining plan. What I loved most about it was being able to NOT look at the prices (except to say Thank goodness we're on the DDP!) LOL We passed the extra CS desserts on to other guests who were always very thankful for the surprise treat. We took home some mickey goldfish and mickey pretzels for souveniers.

tabrizia
08-02-2006, 06:00 PM
I hear a theme - plan plan plan :) maybe that's why it's called the Disney Dining PLAN? :teeth:

I am often criticized for over-analyzing (it's the engineer in me) :surfweb: and it does take the spontanious fun out of a vacation when I'm always watching our spending.

I gave rough estimates to the ADRs we have that we'll pay out of pocket(HDDR, WCC, CM, CP, Si-Fi, Tony's) as well as a few snacks & CSs and it looks pretty much like we'd break even just ordering the basic entree and a drink. It's a ton of money to spend on food, but I guess it's worth it just to be able to relax and not tell the kids "No, No, No" all the time because of prices.

Thank you all for your help! :wave2:


This is exactly what I did before deciding on the plan. I looked over where we would eat without the plan, and figured out how much it would cost, we would have been doing only 4 sit down meals for our 8 days and the rest CS. Even with that it was cheaper for me and hubby to go on the dining plan. We do tend to get one appitizer fairly often though and 1 desert between the two of us, so it helped push the prices higher.

We also found it would be just about the same price paying out of pocket or with the Dining plan so that is what we went with.

Of we then ended up with free dining (which cost us $100 more, because we added two days and had to get a room upgrade) and adding about 3 OOP TS meals, but who's counting?

antmaril
08-03-2006, 07:39 AM
something that could tip it against the ddp is the cost of a package. If you can get the room and tickets separetly cheaper than the package, you will have to factor in that cost as well

This is what I'm struggling with a little. Don't you have to factor in the difference between the rack rate of the room and getting a discount on the room (whether it's AAA or a code, etc.) For example, we are staying at BWI in January. The room only rate at the moment is $315. This will be the rate if I add the dining package, right? However, if I can apply the AAA discount (hopefully next week), that room rate will be reduced by approximately $47 a day. I have to factor that amount into the cost of the dining plan.

Someone please straighten me out if I'm wrong on this. Is it possible to get the AAA discount on the room when adding the dining package. I realize we have to buy at least one day tickets into the parks to add the dining package.

tabrizia
08-03-2006, 10:23 AM
Someone please straighten me out if I'm wrong on this. Is it possible to get the AAA discount on the room when adding the dining package. I realize we have to buy at least one day tickets into the parks to add the dining package.

yes but you have to book through AAA.

antmaril
08-03-2006, 10:27 AM
Okay - thanks.

BeccaG
08-03-2006, 12:29 PM
Figuring out the DDP for us. When my DH and I went for our honeymoon three years ago, we made some TS reservations and some days we had nothing planned. We are going on a shorter trip next December (five nights instead of nine) with family and friends, and are trying to figure out the best way to handle the food! Seems like the DDP locks you in a little. Anyone feel trapped?

dl1955
08-03-2006, 01:29 PM
One other item to note: to get the most out of your plan you should make ADRs in advance - sometimes months in advance - of your visit. I'm going in Oct and today wanted to see if I could get into Ohana - I could only get a table at 9:15 - too late for us and here we are two months out.Not to take this terribly off topic, but how important are the reservations? With the acception of V&A's, I don't think I've ever waited more than 15-30 mins as a walkup at any restaurant. Am I missing something here? Are there other places where ADRs are definitly recommended?

I've viewed some of the menus on wdwinfo and keep seeing a note (Disney Dining Experience 20% discount). I'm assuming that the DDE is different from the DDP? I'm also curious to know if any of you include an extra tip (even though tax and tip is included). Thanks!

UPDATE - DDE answered through the FAQ

beth_cam
08-03-2006, 01:55 PM
Guilty of not reading through the posts. Forgive any repetition.

1)We did not look at what you can get ooh all that food is it too much? BUt rather is the food enough. We arent breakfast eaters (well we eat but we dont care to get up early enough to take time for real food..at home school mornings etc are dry ceareal granola etc and milk or juice). So 2 plan meals a day was good, and enough food.

2)How much will we spend with/without the plan. Plan cost for the family about 100 a nightX7 nights 700. I knew I didnt want to wait in lines for characters so We were definitely doing a couple of character meals for the interaction. So my family of 4 - 2 kids 2 adults, if I was very very careful nothing special lets share all the time, we could eat a cs for about $30 for the family. 7 days 2 character DINNERS tax tip all encluded probably around 100 each, then 12 cs at about 30 each would and the total was about 560. I could have brought that down more by sandwhiches whatever but lets face it I really didnt want to. So dining plan would cost an extra 140 for the week to have ts everyday. BUt we cant forget that more drinks would have had to be purchased if we had to share all those cs drinks wethere this was at the park or brought from home. This doesnt allow for any cool ice creams or whatever that you know the kids are going to beg for. also lets also forget that in the end but I didnt know it would work out this way to start with so couldnt figure it in deciding and it may not be allowed in the future sharing meant we covered all meals we were on site for for 8 days 9ts & 7 CS so 16 meals instead of 14 - all done within rules not trying to get away with kid for adult use, etc except the one time I got my son a hot dog but got myself kids to make up for it.

3) reading the boards complaints of too much food, well I guess but we didnt have a problem with it. Rarely threw out food but then we shared ALOT. and we did a lot of buffets. It didnt really figure into the equation. We got what we wanted and didnt order extras if we didnt....always took my deserts to the room if I couldnt eat them then though and not all of them got eaten. But most atleast got partially eaten. Cs's we tried to get a lot of fruit for deserts to help balance out the kids diets and them getting hungry at off times.

To me it was a no brainer for an extra 140 (if i stood my ground and got no extras) I didnt have to scrimp and we got to go to lots of character meals. Try new things - but honestly next trip we may try new restaurants but we wont be trying new things we always end up not liking it.

hollyberry16
08-03-2006, 07:00 PM
We did DDP in January. We wanted meals to be an experience as well as the parks, rather then just trying to find the cheapest place to eat - which would probably have been unhealthy as well. Also, with everything pre-paid, we could eat without worrying what things cost.

We figured it would be a perfect amount of food for us - one snack, one counter service and one table service a day....well it was WAY more than we needed, but it allowed us to share, and try new things.

After we purchased the plan, we looked at all the different restaurants we wanted to go to, including different buffets, character meals etc. We had all our meals planned so that we agreed on the restaurants, and got the most of our money.

counterservice didn't matter so much - there was only junk food available (except for Pinocchios in MK)
Table Service - we searched out the most expensive menu's we could - best meal was Wolfgang Pucks, where we got a sushi platter & pizza.
the snacks were good.

By the end though....man we were searching for good food! All we could find was junk, until we found pinocchio's - SALAD!!!

Disney's Fab 4
08-04-2006, 11:45 PM
We used the DDP last October and it was well worth it.... I figured it all out and no matter how you look at it, I think you save....

Next time we go, 1 of my DS's is considered an adult (kinda funny cuz he is only 11) but we are still doing the dining Plan.... I don't think we would have tried so many different restaurants.......

beth_cam
08-05-2006, 10:16 AM
Figuring in the difference in rate...the first time we ended up getting the dining with some discount I know now that shouldnt have happened but it did so there wasnt any difference in rate. The second time we went we werent able to get any discounts other than AAA. The discounts at a value or even a mod usually arent enough to be enough better than AAA to make that much difference but Yeah if there was a room disocunt available I'd have to think about it. THe current room discount for august/sept is available for use in packagaes including dining....maybe this will continue to be a trend. As well packages have been being offered with free ticket upgrades with small room discounts so that helps offset that difference too.

twinklebug
08-05-2006, 01:28 PM
AHHHHH!!!!

I'm pulling my hair out on this one, so if anyone sees a 1/2 bald lady walking about MK in a couple weeks - that'd be me - Say HI, I might look like I have mange but I'm perfectly friendly :rotfl:

I signed myself, DD(12) and DS(9) up for the dining plan, & have our ADRs. Problem I'm having here is we'll be in a villa. Kitchenette has toaster, microwave, fridge. Everything we need for quick light meals when we're around the resort. I also don't like eating big meals when it's hot. popcorn::

So assuming we'd be eating light, all but one of our ADRs are breakfast or lunch meals and that one is HDDR, I'm thinking we'll save at least $100 by cancelling a few of the less desired meals, going with a wegoshop visit and chilling at the resort more.

My only doubt on my numbers pertains to snacks, drinks and light CS when in the parks. We'll use the free ice-water available as much as possible, but the kids will want mickey bars and dole whips.

Too much thinking.... time to commit. :crazy: