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lazarru
11-01-2006, 04:17 PM
Has anyone tracked how much saving they had with the Dining Plan. Everything seems to show that you do save, but how much for a family of 4 (5 & 7) can save per day?

Thanks

budbeerlady
11-01-2006, 04:21 PM
When we did the dining plan last December... it was Dh and I and DD (5). We looked at it as getting the cs and snack free after buying the app, entree and dessert at dinner. You would come out ahead more money if you dont do the buffet. Since 1900 Park Fare is $28.99 for an adult, where as dinner at Le Cellier with the app and all will run around $38 for me.

comicguy
11-01-2006, 04:34 PM
For us in August Me, DW, and DS(13) Receipts totals just over 1800.00 for 10 days. The dining plan would have been about 1200.00 for the 10 days for the 3 of us(but of course we had free dining so we really saved!! :cool1: ) If we had bought the plan we would have saved 600.00 dollars.

Plantlady
11-01-2006, 04:53 PM
If you normal eat at Ts resturants, you will save money, as a PP stated, the CS and Snack are basically free.

I know our bill for Coral Reef was $175 for one dinner, (five people) and we paid a little over $100 per day for the dining plan.

I started by saving our receipts, just to see how much our savings was, but we were having too good of a time for me to remember to do that.

sweetp267
11-01-2006, 04:56 PM
Hi

I posted my first experience with the DDP back in Sept and I would recommend it to anyone! Here, read my original posting below.

DDP review 8/29-9/5

I am not going to go into detail about every TS or CS meal. I do want to say that we are DVC members and did not get the plan for free. There were three of us, 2 adults one child.

Let me start with the TS meals we had.

Ohana (breakfast)
Le Cellier
Concourse Steakhouse
Flying Fish (2 credits)
Liberty Tree (dinner)
Chefs de France

We arrived 15 to 20 minutes early for every meal. With the exception of Ohana, which was for 9:30 am, our ADRs were around 6 to 6:30 pm every night. Upon arrival we were seated immediately or within 10 minutes. Every meal was excellent and I cannot find one complaint worth mentioning about the service. Yes we were full by dessert or so we thought since the desserts we were entitled to were so good we managed to find room for them.

The CS meals (if I can remember them all) are as follows

Pecos Bills (MK twice)
Beach Club Marketplace
American Adventure (EPCOT twice)
Hurricane Hannah (Beach Club pool)
Lotus Blossom (EPCOT)
Artist Palette (Saratoga Springs)
Tusker House(AK)

All of the CS meals were well worth it since the average cost was about $33 for two adult meals and one child's. You just have to make sure that you don't get a hot dog that comes with chips, drink and dessert or a breakfast meal of some sort which doesn't come with dessert or some kind of side order. Something like that I would pay OOP since it costs much less. For example we went to The Land to get fastpasses for Soarin and went to Seasons for something for breakfast. They had a few things to eat and I got a breakfast platter and a drink since that was all that was covered under the DDP. I couldn't add a side of fruit or anything else so I opted to pay OOP and save the credit for lunch. The cost was less that $10 and to me was not worth wasting a CS credit.

We did not have an excess of snack credits at the end of our stay. I was hot enough that we got at least one or two drinks a day which we shared between the three of us. We also got a dole whip float one day and a specialty coffee at MGM another time. We tried to get as many snacks as close to $4 to maximize the value. If we weren't sure we just asked if it was covered. Our last day we had 3 credits left. We bought one rice krispie treat, one bag of Mickey pretzels and one bag of Fritos. Both bags were huge for the credit price. The are still in the kitchen unopened. Probably not for long though.

The cost for the plan for 7 nights for 2 adults and one child was $608.79. We saved all our receipts and the total cost that would have been OOP would have been right around $1000. So that is almost a $400 savings. Pretty good if you ask me.

Now dont get me wrong, without the plan, we probably wouldn't have eaten a TS every night and we would have not eaten at Flying Fish at all but since we had the option and knowing that we were saving money it was just so nice not to buy stuff to bring along everyday made buying the plan much easier to swallow and we will definitely do it again.

One last note. I made our room reservations back in February to make sure I could get the Beach Club Villas since they are so popular and we were there during free dining. I made all of our ADRs for the above places sometime in June. If I didn't, I probably wouldn't have gotten Le Cellier or Liberty Tree since people were being turned away the whole day. The other ones were probably not completely full but your choices would be seriously limited.

If you have any specific questions about a specific restaurant or anything else about my report feel free to ask away.

Brooknwdw
11-01-2006, 04:57 PM
We could not look at it that way because we would not nornally eat like we do on the plan (we've done it free and paid for). We each order app, entree, dessert, on the plan, EACH. For example, at Le'Cellier our bill for 4 people was $192! But if we'd been paying we would have split entrees, etc, and spent half that at least. PLus eaten more CS. :sunny:

Hedy
11-01-2006, 05:03 PM
My two cents: I was planning to do DDP, but the best room rate I could get was through AAA room only. It was cheaper for me to get room only at the AAA rate and pay OOP for meals as opposed to MYW+DDP.

nicknamy1996
11-01-2006, 05:17 PM
Well I picked the right post to click on. I'm a numbers guy AND we just went with... get this... 5 and 7 years old.

We had the free dining plan for 8 nights last month. We ended up with $1090 worth of "free" food. We could have spent/"saved" a lot more but we did all 3 dinner show and that took 24 of our 32 TS credits. Without that we would have had WAY too much food/credits. I think the plan for 8 nights would have been around $800. (37.99 and 10.99??? Tax included???) So technically we would have saved nearly $300... BUT we ate more than we normally would have and more than we needed. We normally would not do 2 appetizers and 2 desserts (4 desserts at CS meals!) especially not 7 days in a row! We normally drink water too vs. soda 1) we don't need it, 2) my boys definitely don't need the sugar and 3) it adds up quick! (4 sodas 2 times a day for 4 people for 7 days = 56 sodas well over $100.)

If we started deducting soda, appetizers a couple of meals, a lot of desserts, all the snack credits we burned 'just to use them up', etc... it wouldn't be the hard to get it down under the $800, but the question is how much. If you do all that and get it down to $700... then you need to figure out if its worth it? For $100 you can add a lot of food to your trip. or you can save $100 and not eat like crazy for a week. Got to run... for now... and I had much more to say....

LizinSTL
11-01-2006, 07:24 PM
Has anyone tracked how much saving they had with the Dining Plan. Everything seems to show that you do save, but how much for a family of 4 (5 & 7) can save per day?

Thanks


My girls were 5 and 9 when we went to Disney in June. We LOVED the dining plan and won't return without it. Our cost was under $700 for 7 nights. Our TS meals were : 50s PT (lunch), H&V (fantasmic dinner), Boma (dinner), PSB Norway (lunch), Le Cellier (dinner), Chef Mickey (Breakfast), and Biergarten (dinner). As you can see we didn't "maximize" our dining credits with those TS meals. That said, our OOP cost, including tax and tip, for those 7 meals was pretty close to the total cost of the DDP. We'd have done 4/7 of those meals for sure w/o the plan and those OOP would have been over $400.

We were able to enjoy B, L and D using our credits over the course of the week. We shared a bunch of meals. Our OOP for all of our meals for the week was approximately $1200. We almost had better values w/ our CS credits! Each child CS credit at lunch or dinner was worth more than the daily cost (adult beverage and adult dessert plus cost of kids meal) for the kiddos.

LoriNSC
11-01-2006, 08:01 PM
When we went in July, we paid $624 for DDP for me, DH, DS15 & DS4 (DD1 was free). We added just our TS meals & they were $790. We estimated that all our meals (cs,TS & snacks) was about $1200. So, we saved about $400. I'm sure if we had paid OOP we wouldn't have ate at such nice places. It was plenty of food & well worth it to us. We will continue to use DDP when we go. Can't wait for this year! :cool1:

3dog2kidmom
11-01-2006, 08:15 PM
I just sat down and figured this out from the menus on allears. For DD and myself, I made a spreadsheet for our 4-night trip... one TS meal, 1 CS, and one snack a day (only one being a character meal - 1900 Park Fair), and sharing some meals, desserts, etc... paring it down as much as I could I came up with a reasonable budget of $250 including tax & tips. The meal plan for 4 days costs $196 so I figure the plan will save us ~$50 and we won't have to worry about sharing or skimping. Needless to say we booked a package with dining!

We did this with our family of 4 over Christmas and felt it was very worthwhile. We are not getting it in January because it's not available with land/sea, so we'll be able to compare better then.

newchic99
11-01-2006, 08:26 PM
DH and I saved about $350 on our 6 night stay. However, we ordered way more food than we normally would have paying as you go.
While I enjoyed the fact that everything was paid for, I just don't think we will do the dining plan again.

nicknamy1996
11-01-2006, 09:10 PM
DH and I saved about $350 on our 6 night stay. However, we ordered way more food than we normally would have paying as you go.
While I enjoyed the fact that everything was paid for, I just don't think we will do the dining plan again.

So if you saved $350 why not do it again? I'm guessing because of what I said earlier... take off all of the extra food that you normally don't need (like the desserts for everyone (and in my case the soda) and you didn't really save any money. But did you "break even" if so why not do it again... and just eat less? Unless you come in way under then its an easy choice. But if its close....

That's the funny thing about the DP for average diners, it seems like it gets you close enough to that break even point.




We ended up with 11 snack credits at the end of our trip so I used them on the wrapped mickey ear rice krispy treats and brought them home for friends and family. But we "wasted" a few desserts by just picking at them, I even turned them down a couple of times (usually ordering 2 and saying "no thanks" for the other two) I think at one meal we skipped them all together. If we were ever to do it again I would get those whenever possible and we were not in the mood for dessert.

GOOFY4DONALD
11-01-2006, 11:11 PM
So if you saved $350 why not do it again? I'm guessing because of what I said earlier... take off all of the extra food that you normally don't need (like the desserts for everyone (and in my case the soda) and you didn't really save any money. But did you "break even" if so why not do it again... and just eat less? Unless you come in way under then its an easy choice. But if its close....

That's the funny thing about the DP for average diners, it seems like it gets you close enough to that break even point.




We ended up with 11 snack credits at the end of our trip so I used them on the wrapped mickey ear rice krispy treats and brought them home for friends and family. But we "wasted" a few desserts by just picking at them, I even turned them down a couple of times (usually ordering 2 and saying "no thanks" for the other two) I think at one meal we skipped them all together. If we were ever to do it again I would get those whenever possible and we were not in the mood for dessert.
I have a question for all of you DP gurus. Not one person in my family likes dessert right after the meal but we love late night treats. If you have no room for the dessert are there to go options for it or do you just lose it?

kaybracon
11-02-2006, 12:23 AM
.

kellyg403
11-02-2006, 07:53 AM
Our family consists of 8, all considered adults on the dining plan. We do love the dining plan for our family. But, then again, we would eat about $40.00 a day per person anyway. To me, the dining plan just gave us the opportunity to:

1. Have the whole vacation planned and paid for before we left. No worrying about did we have enough money saved to take with us etc.

2. Gave us the opportunity to try places that we normally probably would not have. I can only eat so many burgers, though my teens would disagree.

3. And because we were on vacation, I didn't have to worry that someone was picking something off the menu they would eat all of, didn't like etc. I didn't have to worry about desert or convincing them to get a much cheaper treat like an ice cream in the park.

Overall, one TS meal covered the cost of the daily dining plan. Like others have posted, it meant the CS and snack were free. I don't think at this point I would consider NOT using the dining plan unless it were just dh and I going. And even then, I probably would take alot of convincing since I like everything paid for before we get there.

As for the dessert....We had them box it up several times to take back to the room for a late night/early morning snack. My teens ate cake alot for breakfast on vacation. Towards the end of the week though we did pass on a dessert a few times. The thing about the dining plan is that the amount of food sneaks up on you!

Kelly

nbodyhome
11-02-2006, 08:23 AM
So if you saved $350 why not do it again? I'm guessing because of what I said earlier... take off all of the extra food that you normally don't need (like the desserts for everyone (and in my case the soda) and you didn't really save any money. But did you "break even" if so why not do it again... and just eat less? Unless you come in way under then its an easy choice. But if its close....


IMHO, it isn't worth always getting a package - I'd rather do room only with an AP rate, and use my DDE card then get a dining package.

If it's free, that is the only way I'd do it.

I am not the person you were talking to - but I also don't like wasting food (or eating too much because it's on a plan). That said, it can be a good deal for many.

Plantlady
11-02-2006, 09:04 AM
I have a question for all of you DP gurus. Not one person in my family likes dessert right after the meal but we love late night treats. If you have no room for the dessert are there to go options for it or do you just lose it?

You can get your dessert to-go. My husband did it once. It was a pain to carry around the park for the rest of the night, but he did enjoy it in the room later that night.

disneyvacalover
11-02-2006, 10:04 AM
The dining plan really could cost you more than just the cost of the dining plan. We are annual passholders. We have made ressies for 2/14/07 for 7 nights at POR. We have 3 children, ages 6, 9, and 12. The dining plan will cost us roughly $140.00/day. The room portion of our package will cost around $135.00/day with the current package discount. We could get a room for $99.00/day with the AP rate. A difference of $36.00/day. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO, the dining plan will REALLY cost us $176.00/day. YES, we will get free hopping and water parks but to be honest in Feb water parks are iffy. And we have old water park days left on old passes. Yes, we would get hopping so there is some savings there, however we would normally get tickets through a ticket broker so again we are paying more for tickets also.
We did decide to do the dining plan because it is so convenient and you really add to the Disney experience, but who knows we could very well be better off purchasing a DDE card and going with the annual pass room rate.

nicknamy1996
11-02-2006, 10:30 AM
The dining plan really could cost you more than just the cost of the dining plan. We are annual passholders. We have made ressies for 2/14/07 for 7 nights at POR. We have 3 children, ages 6, 9, and 12. The dining plan will cost us roughly $140.00/day. The room portion of our package will cost around $135.00/day with the current package discount. We could get a room for $99.00/day with the AP rate. A difference of $36.00/day. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO, the dining plan will REALLY cost us $176.00/day. YES, we will get free hopping and water parks but to be honest in Feb water parks are iffy. And we have old water park days left on old passes. Yes, we would get hopping so there is some savings there, however we would normally get tickets through a ticket broker so again we are paying more for tickets also.
We did decide to do the dining plan because it is so convenient and you really add to the Disney experience, but who knows we could very well be better off purchasing a DDE card and going with the annual pass room rate.

Great point! [Dining isn't even an option for us this Feb. (did the AP thing) Just booked All Stars last night for $59/night! I love that! 7 nights on property for 4 people with tax... $464! (and of course the tickets are "free" for this trip) APs are good through Oct of next year. I'm going to have a hard time not justifying a trip (especially if they have AP rates again) just before our APs expire]

So yes if you have to pay for the dining and lose a discount you'll want to factor that in.

I need to start working on my budget to see if I'm going to buy the DDE card. We are doing Chef Mickeys so that will be a chunk of it right there. Am I correct that the DDE card is only good for TS meals?

Another side note that I had posted when we got back was that the snack credits were a lot of fun. I was like SuperDad with that thing. At Fantasmic I bought nachos, cotton candy, a soda, while mom was riding ToT we had Mickey ear ice cream bars, etc... every time they asked (and often when then didn't) we were getting treats... and me being the budgeteer of the family (ok I'm a cheapskate) I would normally cringe at the thought of paying for all of those. SO for the next trip (without dining) I've already planned to have my own mini dining/snack plan. I'm going to load up a debit card with $50 (thinking about it I'll think I'll leave that much on my Disney Visa Reward Card) either way I'll label it our "snack card" and write it off before we head to WDW for the week. When I got back I figured (minus the 11 rice krispy treats we brought home) we spent less than $50 using up our snack credits.

disneyvacalover
11-02-2006, 12:32 PM
I need to start working on my budget to see if I'm going to buy the DDE card. We are doing Chef Mickeys so that will be a chunk of it right there. Am I correct that the DDE card is only good for TS meals?

Yes the DDe card is good at TS meals, BUT IT IS GOOD at the value reosrt food courts as there no TS restaurants at those reorts. Great deal if you are staying at a value!!!! :cheer2:

storybookstory
11-03-2006, 06:52 AM
So if you saved $350 why not do it again? I'm guessing because of what I said earlier... take off all of the extra food that you normally don't need (like the desserts for everyone (and in my case the soda) and you didn't really save any money. .


Question - can you only get soda with the dining plan? How about juice or milk? We just don't drink soda in my family.

OceanAnnie
11-03-2006, 07:01 AM
I know the free DP isn't a sure thing, but we're thinking about going for this next year. What was the time period it was offered? Was it Aug./Sept./Oct.? We were sorry we missed out on it!

Seems like they probably will offer it again next year because it is such a hit. Hope so! :)

noodleknitter
11-03-2006, 07:28 AM
It depends on how much you eat. We would never save money, because we aren't gorging kind of people. So there would be an abundance of waste.

nicknamy1996
11-03-2006, 08:09 AM
Yea you can do juice, milk, etc... some places will even let you do milk shakes. But bottled water is an choice too, and a good one, you can get 4 of those and keep some for later.

KelNottAt
11-03-2006, 08:29 AM
The DDP was a waste for us during our August trip. We are not big eaters plus we found the obligation of ADRs and limits on participating restaurants to be too restrictive. Money-wise, it was about break-even, but just not worth it.

We mainly purchased the plan because everyone else in our family reunion group had it. We thought it would keep meals simple when we were all together, and it did.

But, the meals were huge. We could have saved money splitting CS sandwiches, etc. TS took too long. We never ordered app AND dessert at the same sitting. Etc Etc.

In hindsight, DH and I both agreed that if there is ever a "next time" for us on the DDP we will only use TS for the double-credit restaurants. That will reduce the number of ADRs by half. For the rest of our meals, we can easily survive off of CS and cooking in the villa.

At least we didn't lose money on the deal...just flexibility and satisfaction.

powellrj
11-03-2006, 08:44 AM
I have a question for all of you DP gurus. Not one person in my family likes dessert right after the meal but we love late night treats. If you have no room for the dessert are there to go options for it or do you just lose it?


It hit or miss. I know wolfgang pucks wouldn't do it for us, but it could of just been our waiter didn't want to. Several times at counter service most of the desserts were prewrapped, so we would ask the table next to us if they would like it. We would explain that we were on the dining plan and it was just too much food and nobody ever said no!

disprincesspatty
11-03-2006, 10:14 AM
We will not be getting the DP for a few reasons. (1) My brother and his family were there recently and said they could never eat the amount of food it offers. (2) I just recently lost a large amount of weight, and even if I don't HAVE to eat that much on the dining plan, I am afraid if it is available I will. (3) I have looked at all the menus, and there are few TS restaurants where everyone in my family would find something they like.

Wilsonfamily4
11-03-2006, 10:43 AM
I have a question for all of you DP gurus. Not one person in my family likes dessert right after the meal but we love late night treats. If you have no room for the dessert are there to go options for it or do you just lose it?


DO tell. I want to know too. We will have a fridge so it would be nice to take the dessert home. I did read somewhere where they got a milkshake for their dessert to go but has anyone else done real desserts?

crisi
11-03-2006, 11:16 AM
Keep in mind that if you are willing to share, pack food in, eat counter service, and stick to a few table service meals for your trip, it is possible to eat at Disney for less than $40 a day.

Any old timers remember back before the dining plan when we'd have "how much do you spend per person threads?" Many of the same people who think the dining plan is such a bargain at $40 were formerly spending $25-30 a day, sharing meals, eating counter service - it was ludicrious in the minds of many budget boarders to spend $50 a day on food!

However, the dining plan is a great bargain if you like sit down.

shirleyb
11-03-2006, 11:22 AM
We didn't do it, and it would have cost us money. DDP would have costed us about $160 per day, and we generally ate for about $100 per day.

mickeyluv'r
11-03-2006, 11:24 AM
Well said Crisi.

It all depends on how you like to eat, what other discounts are available, etc.

LizinSTL
11-03-2006, 12:08 PM
DO tell. I want to know too. We will have a fridge so it would be nice to take the dessert home. I did read somewhere where they got a milkshake for their dessert to go but has anyone else done real desserts?


We did. We took our desserts with us at 50s PT and at Le Cellier. We were served plated dessert at Le Cellier and then asked for a box to take it back to the room.

mousefanmichelle
11-03-2006, 12:15 PM
So let me ask a silly question - forget about the dining plan for a moment-how much do you allow for food for a 7 day vacation at other places besidesd Disney?

We went to the East Coast this summer and for my family of 5 I wouldn't even consider spending something like $1800 on food for us for the week. We ate breakfast in our hotel rooms brought lunchmeat and bread with us if we wanted a sandwich and ate out for dinner - not at bad places either (or what I consider cheap places TGI Friday's, Olive Garden) We spent like $65 bucks for dinner for the 5 of us there - but even then if we ate like that every night - which we didn't - it would only be like $400 bucks. So in my minds eye if you got free dining - which is awesome btw - your going to eat like kings and then some. If you paid for the dining plan - that's alotta dough to spend vs. being a little prepared. I mean how much does a 5 year old eat after all do they eat what it cost for the plan? No flames please I am just wondering. I am very cheap when it comes to food and eating out that is why I am wondering.

cvrapclark
11-03-2006, 12:18 PM
subscribing

nicknamy1996
11-03-2006, 12:50 PM
So let me ask a silly question - forget about the dining plan for a moment-how much do you allow for food for a 7 day vacation at other places besidesd Disney?

We went to the East Coast this summer and for my family of 5 I wouldn't even consider spending something like $1800 on food for us for the week. We ate breakfast in our hotel rooms brought lunchmeat and bread with us if we wanted a sandwich and ate out for dinner - not at bad places either (or what I consider cheap places TGI Friday's, Olive Garden) We spent like $65 bucks for dinner for the 5 of us there - but even then if we ate like that every night - which we didn't - it would only be like $400 bucks. So in my minds eye if you got free dining - which is awesome btw - your going to eat like kings and then some. If you paid for the dining plan - that's alotta dough to spend vs. being a little prepared. I mean how much does a 5 year old eat after all do they eat what it cost for the plan? No flames please I am just wondering. I am very cheap when it comes to food and eating out that is why I am wondering.

Not flaming... don't think you will be flamed for the post. Where does the $1800 come from. Assuming 2 adults and 3 kids for 7 nights it would be around $800 for the dining plan. Even with 2 adults, 2 teens, and 1 child it should be under $1000. So lets say $900. Still a lot more than the $400 that you can feed your familiy for a week for but not $1400 more.

I think the dining plan is only a factor if you plan to eat on property alot. They will add up fast.

The thing to factor in (and the reason each person should do their dining budget to figure it out-all the menus are on the web) it that just one trip to Chef Mickeys with a family of 5 will blow over 25% of your food budget. So even if you just plan on doing few meals on property you may get closer to that $900 than you thought.

nicknamy1996
11-03-2006, 01:04 PM
Keep in mind that if you are willing to share, pack food in, eat counter service, and stick to a few table service meals for your trip, it is possible to eat at Disney for less than $40 a day.

Any old timers remember back before the dining plan when we'd have "how much do you spend per person threads?" Many of the same people who think the dining plan is such a bargain at $40 were formerly spending $25-30 a day, sharing meals, eating counter service - it was ludicrious in the minds of many budget boarders to spend $50 a day on food!

However, the dining plan is a great bargain if you like sit down.

Interesting point... I wonder if I chimed in on any of those.

Two points...1) It would really depend on if you are budgeting to get down to $30/day or if you are eating comfortably or normal to do so. If you are not missing anything or cheating yourself you might at well save the $7.99 per day. And 2) is the "per person" per adult or per person? A family of 4 (2a2c) at the low end of $25pp/day is at $100, or exactly what the dining plan would cost (cheaper if you are at the $30pp/day).

crisi
11-03-2006, 01:26 PM
I remember lots of those threads - I'm on the high end - we eat a sit down meal every day and we drink with it - so it isn't uncommon for us to spend $75 a day per adult and $20 per day on the kids (currently 7 and 8), for a day total of around $200. For us, with the drinks and signature dining, I think we do better with the DDE. Dining plan cost would be $110 a day (or so) for our family - but that ignores the $20+ bar bill that comes with dinner or the extra out of pocket dollars from signature dining.

Disneysteve still gets buy for $20 a person per day - he does some offsite eating - two adults, but his daughter is old enough for dining plan purposes to be an adult. That's a little on the low side.

But lots of people would respond that they wouldn't spend half my $75 per adult per day - that was ridiculous and who would spend that! They were doing really well on around $25 per adult and $10 per child per day. They would maybe have a single character meal (which used to be considered a huge budget breaker) and maybe one other sit down meal - which they might split. They'd get a counter service double hamburger and two buns (for an additional $.20) and feed two adults. The family meal at Ray's was a big hit. They would maintain that they ate fine and always had plenty of food this way. That $100 2A2C family was eating for $70 - is the $30 upgrade worthwhile - probably. Did they save any money upgrading to it. No.

I'm glad that these people have discovered how nice sitting down for a meal can be and that the dining plan has made it affordable, but a little disappointed that more people aren't realizing that they are spending more now - that it is still possible to eat at Disney for less than $40 a day as an adult. Its like we measure our savings by how much we could have spent rather than by how much we would have spent.

storybookstory
11-03-2006, 01:27 PM
Thanks for this thread - I had not considered the dining plan, but now I think its a good deal for us. We will always eat at a TS restaurant at least once a day. We don't gorge but we like to slow down and get the kids something besides french fries and hot dogs (even if it's just pasta).

disneyjunkie
11-03-2006, 01:49 PM
My two cents: I was planning to do DDP, but the best room rate I could get was through AAA room only. It was cheaper for me to get room only at the AAA rate and pay OOP for meals as opposed to MYW+DDP.


You can add DDP onto a AAA room rate. In order to do that, you have to book with AAA not WDTC.

My son and I used the dining during our April 2005 trip. We skipped many desserts and appetizers, (just too much food.) Even without maxing out the plan, I still came out ahead.

mousefanmichelle, I'd much rather pay for the dining plan than eat cereal and sandwiches in our room. I had to do that during our first trip. It's an experience I don't ever want to repeat. :sad2:

The dining plan doesn't cover all of our meals. I still pay out of pocket for breakfast and the snacks that arenít included in the plan.

mousefanmichelle
11-03-2006, 02:02 PM
For us in August Me, DW, and DS(13) Receipts totals just over 1800.00 for 10 days. The dining plan would have been about 1200.00 for the 10 days for the 3 of us(but of course we had free dining so we really saved!! :cool1: ) If we had bought the plan we would have saved 600.00 dollars.

Not flaming... don't think you will be flamed for the post. Where does the $1800 come from. Assuming 2 adults and 3 kids for 7 nights it would be around $800 for the dining plan. Even with 2 adults, 2 teens, and 1 child it should be under $1000. So lets say $900. Still a lot more than the $400 that you can feed your familiy for a week for but not $1400 more.

I think the dining plan is only a factor if you plan to eat on property alot. They will add up fast.

The thing to factor in (and the reason each person should do their dining budget to figure it out-all the menus are on the web) it that just one trip to Chef Mickeys with a family of 5 will blow over 25% of your food budget. So even if you just plan on doing few meals on property you may get closer to that $900 than you thought.




Nicknamy - I guess this is what I meant by the $1800 bucks spent on food for a family of 3. Yikes! I could never imagine spending that - ever - dining plan or no dining plan. I am thinking that you would get the dining plan so that you can eat at the better restaurants on site and that is great and when my kids are old enough to appreciate really good, expensive food - you know when they can pay for it themselves - I would maybe consider this for DH and I. Like I said I am a cheapskate out-to-dinner kinda person. :)

nicknamy1996
11-03-2006, 03:50 PM
Nicknamy - I guess this is what I meant by the $1800 bucks spent on food for a family of 3.

Holy Carp! Now I see what you are talking about! We had 4 people and "spent" $1090 using all of our credits. 32,32 and 32. I thought we did pretty good.

For that post (it says 10 days, I'll assume 10 nights) for 30 credits they got $1800 worth of food? That's $60 per person per day worth of food. At $3 for the snack and $17 (on the high end?) for CS that still leaves $40 per person per day on average for TS.

Not hard to hit $120 for a sit down. Do-able. But to average that, if you ate at 10 different restaurants that would almost mean you'd have to each order (the most expensive?) appetizer, dinner and dessert at each meal. To do that for 10 days in a row (especially after eating a 17 dollar CS meal each day)... WOW. I would think that was the extreme and I would not suggest that most people use that number to judge weather its worth it or not.

My2Cinderellas
11-03-2006, 05:26 PM
I ran the numbers with the help of the allears menu page. We had 2 adults, and 2 children, ages 5 and 7. I guessed on what we would normally order at a TS, added 6.5% tax and 18% gratuity (included on the dining plan TS credit) and about the only way to beat the dining plan and still get TS meals is to eat TS for breakfast/lunch with no appetizers or desserts ever. A "normal" meal out for us is an appetizer to share, 2 adult and 2 child entrees, and 1 dessert to share all around. Milk for the girls to drink, water or pop for the adults, or beer/wine. Figured it with what we like to eat, not the most expensive options, and still couldn't beat the dining plan.

We have only been to WDW the once, and do not have AP's etc. We purchased the package through AAA to get the room discount.

Part of a vacation for me is the chance to try new restaurants. I enjoy eating out and like the break a sit down meal offers. so the dining plan made sense for us. We were there for 7 nights, had 7 TS reservations, 1 lunch (princesses in Norway) 5 regular TS, and 1 double credit TS (girls went to a kids club, we used their credits on our meal). We always shared CS credits, 2 or 3 covered lunch. We had breakfast in the room most mornings with stuff I brought from home, had CS breakfast twice as well. On the last day, I used 4 CS credits on lunch, two of which were wrap sandwiches we took to the airport with us and still had 1 CS credit left. We rationed our snack credits and bought a few drinks OOP.

I brought along peanut butter, cereal, pop tarts and granola bars from home. We bought quarts of milk in the gift shop, and a loaf of bread too. On get up and go mornings to make the park opening, we had breakfast in the room while getting ready and saved so much time. $$$ too, but the time was more important. When getting CS at the resort, I'd get cut up fruit for desserts and save them for breakfast the next morning. We usually got bottled water for the drink with CS meals and didn't have to spend snack credits that way.

I loved having it all prepaid, the souvenir and alcohol bill was large enough without having all our meals on it as well. NOt stressing over the prices on the menu added to the relaxation of our vacation. Was there a lot of food? Absolutely. We rarely finished anything, but ate what we wanted and didn't try to haul around leftovers.

IF you think you want to eat TS everyday, and don't have AP for room rates and the DDE, then I think the dining plan is wonderful!

neatokimmo
11-03-2006, 05:51 PM
We were there in Sept with free dining staying at POP.

We had an originally had an offsite room for $49 a night, the Pop was $79. Subtract the cost of parking from the Pop's price and we paid about $20 a night for the dining plan.

So $120 in cost.

It is very easy to skip breakfast and eat two counter service meals. With a couple of drinks you are looking at about $25 each. We don't really snack.

So $300 in savings (for 2 people)

Soooo...the dining plan saved us $180 on the trip and we ate better food :)

mickeyluv'r
11-03-2006, 05:55 PM
As others have sort of pointed out - the answer to the OP's question varies widely with where you choose to dine. Let's say you use you TS for a character breakfast - It's worth $19 at CP. If you use that same TS credit at Maya Grill or Olivia's or a place like that - that same TS credit may be worth over $30. Figure you QS credit is worth about $12, and you snack is worth about $3.

If you do a character breakfast - you get a value of $19 + 15 = $34 (plus tax and tip)

Whereas if you do a non-buffet TS for dinner, and use your QS for lunch, you get more like $33 + 15 = $48 (plus tax and tip)

It also matters quite a bit if you skip appetizers and/or desserts.

carmie3377
11-04-2006, 10:18 AM
We have never done the dining plan before but plan to for this trip. Last year, I considered but thought "I know we can spend less than 87.00 (2A,1C) per day on food." Yes, we can, but do we want to? We spent almost 87.00 at one TS meal and didn't even get any app. and I drank water. We don't eat out a lot when not vacationing and when we do, I usually drink water. With the dining plan, we can eat what we want and I won't try to order the cheapest thing off the menu. We won't have to share like I have felt obligated to do before. Yes, the dining plan will cost us more money, but only because we will eat at places we normally wouldn't. If we paid OOP for all the places we plan on going, it would add up way over the cost of the dining plan. Plus, knowing it's all paid for is nice not worrying about the budget the whole time.

windycitymom
11-04-2006, 11:14 PM
Our family of 4 went in Sept. on the Free DDP (all considered adults). We got $1800 worth of food (7 nights/8 days) and paid $1500 for our trip. We stayed at Pop Century and did the parks only (no hopper tickets or any extra add-ons). That's a deal!! :dance3:

GOOFY4DONALD
11-05-2006, 01:12 AM
I have not yet gone to WDW but I did add the dining plan to my package. This is how I looked at it. First I can totally understand how you could spend much less than that paying OOP. But this is our first trip and who knows when we will go again. These resturants, at least to me, are way different than any other kinds that we could go to if we just happened to vacation somewhere. These places are only at WDW. I wanted to go have a meal at a place and not have my husband say... on day 1... OMG we won't be eating at a place like this again this trip. If we went to one OOP that cost almost 200.00 we wouldn't go back. I want to go and enjoy this food and not have to worry that we will have enough $$ for the rest of the trip. I haven't crunched the numbers but to me the convenience of the DP and being able to enjoy my trip without worring about food $$ is well worth the cost.

Took
11-05-2006, 05:29 AM
The dining plan seems to work best for those who like its "convenience" and who might not go very often to WDW ("we're only doing this once so we'll do it right"). However, it's just not a savings for us.

It's not convenient as we don't want to stop touring and eat at a ts restaurant virtually every day. It doesn't offer a 'novel' experience as we've been to WDW many times and eaten at most of the restaurants. It won't save us money as we don't eat a lot of food (we always split meals) and we rarely buy snacks in the parks. Last, the DDP encourages big eating. Having struggled to lose 40 lbs some years back, I don't want to tempt myself to overeat for our 10 day trip. Sure, I'll have a couple of treats, but appetizers, entrees, and dessert every day--no way.

Paying OOP probably makes sense for us, too, since DD is 10 (a WDW adult) and not a big eater, at all. Thus, she would never get her money's worth at ts restaurants. She usually just eats a bowl of soup!

That all said, we do come out on top by just paying OOP. In addition, as an AP holder, I receive a bigger discount on my room which, given our eating habits, more than makes up for paying OOP for meals.

crisi
11-05-2006, 10:03 AM
Actually, I think the dining plan is a huge disservice to first timers, a boon to regulars who now get an affordable upgraded dining experience, and a disservice to those who used to eat sit down all the time anyway.

First timers: Often they don't realize how much there is to do and how much they will pack into a trip or how far apart everything is. In the end, you are trading about two hours of park time for the ability to sit down and eat - perhaps more if you didn't pay attention and have lots of travel time involved. Where if you'd just grab something in off times, you could eat in half an hour. That hour and a half difference could be used touring - and since no one ever manages to see it all, may be a better investment. Over seven days that's almost 11 hours of park time - or a full park day. The Disney restaurants are nice, and some of them are extraordiarily well themed, but there are really only a few that stand out from what is available in most medium to large sized towns. To give up a full day worth of time from a "once in a lifetime trip" so you can eat Le Cellier's perfectly average steak in its perfectly average room (its good, its not any better than you can find at a decent steak place back home - and if you are from Kansas or Omaha (or Chicago or Minneapolis or New York or San Francisco), you may wonder what the fuss is about).

Regulars: Regulars know exactly what they are giving up in that half hour and are making a concious choice. Maybe they won't get to ride Splash Mountain three times this trip because they have reservations at Tony's, but they know exactly the trade they are making. It allows them to slow down, something regulars can make time to do. We are regular sit down eaters, and its been a huge benefit to our touring style, but we know exactly the trades we are making - and we know we will be back to ride Splash next time (actually, we haven't rode Splash in ten years, my kids are frightened of it).

Those who used to eat sitdown anyway: Since we first started eating sitdown pre dining plan, the quality of the food and the portion sizes have gone down, the restaurants are far more crowded. So we can now eat for cheaper, but we don't feel like we get the value out of our sit down meals we used to (good food and some relaxing time), so we tend to favor signature dining - which is much more expensive, but keeps what we saw as the value - good food, relaxing time.

GOOFY4DONALD
11-05-2006, 10:40 AM
Actually, I think the dining plan is a huge disservice to first timers, a boon to regulars who now get an affordable upgraded dining experience, and a disservice to those who used to eat sit down all the time anyway.

First timers: Often they don't realize how much there is to do and how much they will pack into a trip or how far apart everything is. In the end, you are trading about two hours of park time for the ability to sit down and eat - perhaps more if you didn't pay attention and have lots of travel time involved. Where if you'd just grab something in off times, you could eat in half an hour. That hour and a half difference could be used touring - and since no one ever manages to see it all, may be a better investment. Over seven days that's almost 11 hours of park time - or a full park day. The Disney restaurants are nice, and some of them are extraordiarily well themed, but there are really only a few that stand out from what is available in most medium to large sized towns. To give up a full day worth of time from a "once in a lifetime trip" so you can eat Le Cellier's perfectly average steak in its perfectly average room (its good, its not any better than you can find at a decent steak place back home - and if you are from Kansas or Omaha (or Chicago or Minneapolis or New York or San Francisco), you may wonder what the fuss is about).

Regulars: Regulars know exactly what they are giving up in that half hour and are making a concious choice. Maybe they won't get to ride Splash Mountain three times this trip because they have reservations at Tony's, but they know exactly the trade they are making. It allows them to slow down, something regulars can make time to do. We are regular sit down eaters, and its been a huge benefit to our touring style, but we know exactly the trades we are making - and we know we will be back to ride Splash next time (actually, we haven't rode Splash in ten years, my kids are frightened of it).

Those who used to eat sitdown anyway: Since we first started eating sitdown pre dining plan, the quality of the food and the portion sizes have gone down, the restaurants are far more crowded. So we can now eat for cheaper, but we don't feel like we get the value out of our sit down meals we used to (good food and some relaxing time), so we tend to favor signature dining - which is much more expensive, but keeps what we saw as the value - good food, relaxing time. Your post was very discouraging. I have always thought of my meals as part of my vacation. Although I have over 6 months to make my ADR's I have been trying to plan my meals now. I planned mostly Dinner and a few breakfast TS meals. I figured that way we won't have to stop in the middle for a TS lunch. I even thought of doing a 2 credit meal. I am so :confused3

crisi
11-05-2006, 11:30 AM
Your post was very discouraging. I have always thought of my meals as part of my vacation. Although I have over 6 months to make my ADR's I have been trying to plan my meals now. I planned mostly Dinner and a few breakfast TS meals. I figured that way we won't have to stop in the middle for a TS lunch. I even thought of doing a 2 credit meal. I am so :confused3


You need to ask yourself if the time you'll spend dining is worth it. Its opportunity cost of time - not just money - and at Disney time is money - you spend a lot to get yourself on vacation. Dining takes time - and for many people time at Disney is precious and limited - they don't go back every year, they don't spend 30 days a year in the parks. What would you rather do - dine or get an second chance to ride Space Mountain? Dine or get to see Storytime with Belle? For me, I can eat out at home (for a lot of people that isn't an option, vacation is the only time they'll budget for dining out, so dining out is special), so if it were something we were only doing occationally, I'd skip dining. We go every other year for about seven days, and it only takes us about five to see what we want to see now - which means we have eleven hours to spare - and another eleven to spend in the pool. Lots of Disboarders go fairly often and/or take longer trips. So the touring plan of someone like that is going to be very different - they know that - despite the Unofficial Guide not liking it - the Tiki Bird show MUST be done every trip, but if they don't get on Splash this trip it isn't a big deal since that's not their thing. A first timer has no idea if they, personally, will like the Tiki Birds or Splash. However, if dining is important to you, you should make time to do it, even if you realize that you may be giving up an afternoon on Tom Sawyer's Island.

Took
11-05-2006, 12:41 PM
Good points, Crisi. Time is valuable, especially for first timers (although no one, no matter how long their trip, can do everything at WDW :) . Again, the DDP seems more hype than value to us, but your point that the DDP can work for some is true. LIke you, we tend to go to signature restaurants more now to get the laid-back but delicious experience that we used to get at many WDW ts restaurants. We'd prefer to splurge on one or two of these during our trip and to eat CS the other days than to eat a mediocre TS meal every day (at least, we think most ts is mediocre at WDW).

Anyway, folks do need to consider if they want to spend the time, as well as the money, to use the DDP.

took

GOOFY4DONALD
11-05-2006, 12:51 PM
You need to ask yourself if the time you'll spend dining is worth it. Its opportunity cost of time - not just money - and at Disney time is money - you spend a lot to get yourself on vacation. Dining takes time - and for many people time at Disney is precious and limited - they don't go back every year, they don't spend 30 days a year in the parks. What would you rather do - dine or get an second chance to ride Space Mountain? Dine or get to see Storytime with Belle? For me, I can eat out at home (for a lot of people that isn't an option, vacation is the only time they'll budget for dining out, so dining out is special), so if it were something we were only doing occationally, I'd skip dining. We go every other year for about seven days, and it only takes us about five to see what we want to see now - which means we have eleven hours to spare - and another eleven to spend in the pool. Lots of Disboarders go fairly often and/or take longer trips. So the touring plan of someone like that is going to be very different - they know that - despite the Unofficial Guide not liking it - the Tiki Bird show MUST be done every trip, but if they don't get on Splash this trip it isn't a big deal since that's not their thing. A first timer has no idea if they, personally, will like the Tiki Birds or Splash. However, if dining is important to you, you should make time to do it, even if you realize that you may be giving up an afternoon on Tom Sawyer's Island. Slightly OT.. you keep mentioning attractions that are at the Magic Kingdom. I am under the impression that you favor MK of all the parks. I may be wrong. Although this is my first time to WDW I have been to DL over 50 times. I never liked the fact that at DL (not CA or DTD) only has 1 TS resturant. SO except for AK and Epcot I do know what I like and don't like as far as rides in the MK

theblackbird
11-05-2006, 12:53 PM
we are going to try the dining plan this trip. we have been several times so I know what I want to do and when I want to eat. :) dd likes to eat off the adult menu anyway (which I guess is a good thing since she is an "adult" as far as disney is concerned). Have no idea if it's "worth" it or not, but it sure is nice not to have to worry about how much a meal is going to cost because it's already paid for. dd likes the snacks and we never get them so she'll be happy. I think it just depends on what you want to do on your vacation. it's a vacation remember, so just do what you want too. :)

GOOFY4DONALD
11-05-2006, 01:02 PM
we are going to try the dining plan this trip. we have been several times so I know what I want to do and when I want to eat. :) dd likes to eat off the adult menu anyway (which I guess is a good thing since she is an "adult" as far as disney is concerned). Have no idea if it's "worth" it or not, but it sure is nice not to have to worry about how much a meal is going to cost because it's already paid for. dd likes the snacks and we never get them so she'll be happy. I think it just depends on what you want to do on your vacation. it's a vacation remember, so just do what you want too. :)
I was thinking the same thing. I want everyone to have a good time. For me that includes sitting down in a resturant that I have never been to. Even the Rainforest Cafe will be new for us (I know not on DP) we have never been and the closest one is about 1000 miles away.

crisi
11-05-2006, 01:02 PM
Slightly OT.. you keep mentioning attractions that are at the Magic Kingdom. I am under the impression that you favor MK of all the parks. I may be wrong. Although this is my first time to WDW I have been to DL over 50 times. I never liked the fact that at DL (not CA or DTD) only has 1 TS resturant. SO except for AK and Epcot I do know what I like and don't like as far as rides in the MK

No, my favorite park is Epcot, followed by Animal Kingdom. MK next and MGM last. We have little kids (7 and 8 now), so the past few years have been a little more MK focused. But most first timers really focus on the MK - obviously if you've been to Disneyland, that may be a half day park for you, freeing you up to spend a lot more time on the slower paced activities.

I've never been to Disneyland, but I do understand there are some differences worth experiencing. But you guys will be able to "back burner" quite a few of the MK attractions, plus Star Tours, Soarin', Fantasmic and some other things that are readily available at Disneland/CA.

The biggest difference though is the scale. Don't think you'll be able to get from somewhere in Animal Kingdom over to Epcot easily for dinner - its probably 30 minutes worth of bus time and a 20 minute walk to the back of Epcot - longer if you need to wait for a bus - and a little bit shorter with a car, but you have the parking lot hassles. That sort of plays into the problem with first timers, a MK focus, and the dining plan - a lot of the popular restaurants are in Epcot or MGM - a long way from the MK where a lot of people believe they will be spending time.

GOOFY4DONALD
11-05-2006, 01:14 PM
No, my favorite park is Epcot, followed by Animal Kingdom. MK next and MGM last. We have little kids (7 and 8 now), so the past few years have been a little more MK focused. But most first timers really focus on the MK - obviously if you've been to Disneyland, that may be a half day park for you, freeing you up to spend a lot more time on the slower paced activities.

I've never been to Disneyland, but I do understand there are some differences worth experiencing. But you guys will be able to "back burner" quite a few of the MK attractions, plus Star Tours, Soarin', Fantasmic and some other things that are readily available at Disneland/CA.

The biggest difference though is the scale. Don't think you'll be able to get from somewhere in Animal Kingdom over to Epcot easily for dinner - its probably 30 minutes worth of bus time and a 20 minute walk to the back of Epcot - longer if you need to wait for a bus - and a little bit shorter with a car, but you have the parking lot hassles. That sort of plays into the problem with first timers, a MK focus, and the dining plan - a lot of the popular restaurants are in Epcot or MGM - a long way from the MK where a lot of people believe they will be spending time.Since our kids are little we will be spending most of our time at MK as well. We are staying at The Poly so hopefully that will be slightly more convenient for MK & EPCOT travel. I already figured that if we were to spend the day at AK, for example and then want to go to Epcot for dinner we would need at least 2 hours for travel. BTW Star Tours has been at DL for years (at least 15) and Soarin is at CA. Now I have a question for you...is the Indiana Jones ride at WDW? i just love it...last time we were at DL my dd was too short to ride.

crisi
11-05-2006, 02:08 PM
No Indy Ride - I understand the "Dinosaur" ride at AK is pretty much the same thing with a different theme. There is an Indy stunt show at MGM that I think is worthwhile.

I think you are going in with realistic expectations. We always try and structure our touring plan so we are spending time in the park where we will have dinner. This often means mornings in the MK (or AK), afternoons back at the hotel for pool time, then heading to Epcot for dinner and Epcot attractions - we spend evenings in the World Showcase - giving Future World a morning. Being a Disneyland vet and having some idea of the scope gives you an advantage over a lot of firsttimers who are shocked to learn that the themeparks aren't all right next to each other. The kids are tired and even at six and seven (our last trip) we'd rent a double stroller and push them around Epcot for the evening doing masks and seeing the country entertainment. (They are so disappointed that their stroller years have ended, but I'm NOT pushing an eight and nine year old!)

GOOFY4DONALD
11-05-2006, 02:14 PM
No Indy Ride - I understand the "Dinosaur" ride at AK is pretty much the same thing with a different theme. There is an Indy stunt show at MGM that I think is worthwhile.

I think you are going in with realistic expectations. We always try and structure our touring plan so we are spending time in the park where we will have dinner. This often means mornings in the MK (or AK), afternoons back at the hotel for pool time, then heading to Epcot for dinner and Epcot attractions - we spend evenings in the World Showcase - giving Future World a morning. Being a Disneyland vet and having some idea of the scope gives you an advantage over a lot of firsttimers who are shocked to learn that the themeparks aren't all right next to each other. The kids are tired and even at six and seven (our last trip) we'd rent a double stroller and push them around Epcot for the evening doing masks and seeing the country entertainment. (They are so disappointed that their stroller years have ended, but I'm NOT pushing an eight and nine year old!)
I just guessed that when I have heard references to WDW as being as big as Manhattan or S.F. that it will be big. I already know that we can't see everything and we aren't going to try. I figured that we will see what we can and then the next time we go we can go to our favorites and try something new. Thanks for all your helpful posts.