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View Full Version : To the budget minded - DDP is it worth it?


SCQ86
09-03-2008, 03:30 PM
I'm really debating whether or not to take it. I will be in WDW 10/9 thru 10/13. However, I will be arriving at midnight on the 9th and departing in the afternoon on the 13th. If I purchase the the DDP it will run me an extra $600 for 4 days, but I don't see myself using it for the 4 days....maybe only 3 days. Let me know your thoughts.

TIA

Nie0214
09-03-2008, 03:34 PM
Is it just you? Do you really think you could spend $600 out-of-pocket for food for 3 days for just you?

I think it's not worth in your case. Even if you eat at a signature restaurant two nights and pay out-of-pocket, I don't think you'd come close to $600 for yourself.

Check out the menus on AllEars and choose something you'd probably eat, factor in a drink, tip, and a possible appetizer/desert (which I'm sure you don't eat with every meal). If you are going to spend over $75 per meal you might want to consider it. I highly doubt you'll come close to that though.

PS I thought the Dining plan was only $40 per adult per day? I'm confused where the $600 is coming from!

Goofy'slady
09-03-2008, 03:37 PM
Ooo, I'm interested to hear what people have to say, because my DH and I are on the fence as to whether or not we should get it for our family of 4 during next's year's trip. He seems to think it will save us tons of money I'm still wanting to be convienced.

T.

SCQ86
09-03-2008, 03:38 PM
Just to clarify....it for me and my 3 kids...we enjoy a good meal, but we like to eat on the run....only when we are at WDW.

Nie0214
09-03-2008, 03:43 PM
If you have teenage boys it might be worth it.

Honestly I am not a DDP fan. I do not have a desert with all of my meals, it would force me to eat more than I would like to eat and refrain me from getting things I might otherwise have gotten (an appetizer or an alcoholic drink with my meal). I also typically drink water with my dinner, so it's like I'm not even using the drink credit portion of the DDP.

james'mommy
09-03-2008, 03:44 PM
I personally love the dining plan. It really does save us money. But if you like to eat on the run and don't mind doing counter services then the dining plan probably wouldn't be for you.

labdogs42
09-03-2008, 03:45 PM
I think it is worth it, but you have to do the math to find out if it is worth it for you. I use the menus on AllEars and figure out what we would spend OOP if we went that way, and I always end up with the dining plan. We like to do sit down meals instead of an afternoon break. We sit down and enjoy the air conditioning for an hour or so and we are rejuvenated!! I also like that the meals are paid for in advance. That makes planning my budget a little easier!

Darcy03231
09-03-2008, 03:46 PM
I'm doing it more for the convenience of having my meals prepaid than any cost savings. For me and DN its about $50/day. We're doing lots of Character meals which can get pricey. I'm planning on using the snack credit for breakfast and think we'll most likely break about even. I know I could eat less expensively if we just did counter service meals, but its her first trip (and most likely her last unless I take her again) so I wanted to make sure we got lots of character meals in.

zoemurr
09-03-2008, 04:01 PM
I guess we'd really have to sit and figure it out. It is nice to have it all prepaid and not worry about what you order.

As for the too many desserts thing.. no we wouldn't have ordered them all the time, but often there is fruit for a substitute. The kids always ordered the fruit, and then we split the sweet stuff.

We like a sit down dinner each night, so we probably did break about even just from that. However, we found most CS to be a lot of food, and sharing 2 or 3 between 4 of us was fine. We hardly used any snack credits. (When our 8 days were over we had 8CS left and 16 snack credits. We got things to take home, and I bought food for strangers. So, we felt frustrated by that.

You definitely need to go figure out where/what you want to eat and just calculate it all out. For example, we went to Le Cellier one night and spent $120. DDP was $100. So even wasting the CS and snack credit that day we were ahead.

tonilea
09-03-2008, 04:04 PM
For us, we can eat cheaper than using the DDP, but I think we will be more likely to try new things and eat at places that we wouldn't before, because of the cost.

So this trip we are trying the DDP. We will see about future trips.

briarrose
09-03-2008, 04:06 PM
It's not worth it for my family. My children would rather be on rides that sitting at a table eating. My children can split a kid's meal. They are 10 and 7. We also eat breakfast in the hotel room and usually go back to the hotel in the afternoon. When we have a rental car my DH can go out and pick up something to eat. We also take snacks along to the parks.

chocovrdmicears
09-03-2008, 04:08 PM
For us, a family of 4 (2 adults & 2 kids) is it definately worth it. As a pp said, we enjoy 1 table service a day as a cool down/break from the parks so it works for us. Plus I love going into a vacation knowing everything is paid for except spending $$.

wickywinn
09-03-2008, 04:27 PM
It really depends. How old your children are, are they snackers, do you want to try some of the wonderful sit down restaurants or, when you say on the run, rely on counter service? If your kids are over 6 and you want to have 2-3 sit down than I would say it's worth it, esp if you have snackers who may not devour their whole meal and, two hours later, you're hearing 'mom they have popcorn...I want some poooopcoooorn!' like my kids. With the meal plan you're set as far as your meals go and don't have to keep track of what you're spending where. Plus each of you gets a snack each day. Ice water is free in the parks so you don't have to use a snack option for a drink during the day, if you don't want to.

The plan saved us money since the buffets and TS we ate every night, alone, came really close to paying for our pp cost per day for the ddp. And, if your kids are 9 and under the plan is very reasonable.

Also, I'd probably continue doing it on future trips even if it didn't save us much. The fact that I can pay on it within the package, a little at a time, until we go is very appealing. When I'm making small payments I don't feel it like when I'm having to come up with money all day everyday for food while I'm there. And having to compromise on where we want to eat and how much because of it.

ajk912
09-03-2008, 04:35 PM
I think it's a great value for $42 an adult and $12 a kid (or whatever it is now!) and you can certainly eat VERY well for that $42. But, is it budget friendly. Nope. ;) If I was on a budget, I could eat a heck of a lot cheaper in the parks. Utilize the room fridge and get milk- you can have cold cereal for breakfast, make cold cut sandwiches for lunch (either pack a lunch for the parks, or take a break) and do CS for one meal around $10 a head (drinking water, no dessert!) I can see how you can easily feed an adult for $17 a day in the parks..and put the $25 back in your pocket! That being said, I am on vacation, I would probably get the DDP even though it's not budget friendly!

eliza61
09-03-2008, 04:36 PM
I'm really debating whether or not to take it. I will be in WDW 10/9 thru 10/13. However, I will be arriving at midnight on the 9th and departing in the afternoon on the 13th. If I purchase the the DDP it will run me an extra $600 for 4 days, but I don't see myself using it for the 4 days....maybe only 3 days. Let me know your thoughts.

TIA
For my family, no it wasn't worth it. We do like sit down meals but usually not every day, we ended up with a lot of extra credits. We very rarely have dessert at the restuarant prefering to hit one of the many bakeries or ice cream shops in the parks at the end of the day. DH & I will have a beer or a glass of wine occasionally which we still have to pay OOP. I think it turned out that we saved only $60.00 bucks which was not worth the hassle the ddp is.
If you are only going to use it for 3 days then you lose out on the credits.

CarolA
09-03-2008, 04:41 PM
Just to clarify....it for me and my 3 kids...we enjoy a good meal, but we like to eat on the run....only when we are at WDW.

Then it's not worth it. You have to do the one table service meal to make it worthwhile.

For me it's not worth it. At most on a three or four day stay I want one sit down meal....

timzagain
09-03-2008, 05:15 PM
We just returned from a Free Dining week - gave me a chance to test out the dining plan.

DH, DD 10, DD 16 and I were in one room - in spite of our best efforts, we still ended up with something like 10 or 12 unused TS credits. At home, we only eat one "big meal" a day, and very often, after lunch (CS) we weren't usually hungry enough to eat a big TS meal. And some of the TS meals were so huge, they could have easily been shared between me and one of the girls.

Now, the snack credits disappeared in a hurry - a Danish here, a serving of fruit there and poof ... the snack credits were gone.

We were unable to secure a reservation at a Signature restaurant which would have used up 8 of those credits.

Based on our usage of the dining plan, I would not be tempted to buy even the basic dining plan. Free dining, yes! But other than that, not likely!

For a family with big appetites, the dining might make sense but for my household, it would have been a total waste!

dislal
09-03-2008, 10:06 PM
when my family and I went in Jan of this year we had the dining plan and money wise I don't know if we saved or not, but when you ask my kids what their favorite memories are of their trip they would tell you it was one of the meals we had. We would not have done all of the places like hoop de du revue, 50's prime time, Tusker house character breakfast and we had dinner in France where we could not understand our server half the time and a few other places I cannot think of right now, we laughed and had a great family time at every meal even ones that weren't shows. We are planning on going back sometime in 2010 and all three have been begging to do the dining plan again.:banana:

njziggy
09-04-2008, 05:17 AM
I'm confused why everyone keeps saying that your choice should be based on whether or not you would use TS credits. My understanding is that they are coming out with a 2009 DPP that is just CS & snack combo. It includes 2 CS, 2 snacks & 1 refillable mug for $29.99 adult & $8.99 kids.

eliza61
09-04-2008, 05:55 AM
I'm confused why everyone keeps saying that your choice should be based on whether or not you would use TS credits. My understanding is that they are coming out with a 2009 DPP that is just CS & snack combo. It includes 2 CS, 2 snacks & 1 refillable mug for $29.99 adult & $8.99 kids.

Because this will be the first time they are offering they CS plan. Previous years you had 1TS each day that had to be used.

Debbie
09-04-2008, 06:05 AM
My family-myself, DH, 2 teen DD's- were on the DP two years ago. DH and I enjoyed the TS meals, but the girls said, "Please don't EVER do that to us again!". They just wanted to do the parks, not waste 2 hours at a TS restaurant every day.

CarolinaMomOf3boys
09-04-2008, 06:33 AM
we just got back from Free Dining last Friday and are also trying to figure out if paying for the DDP would be worth it for us. We enjoy the sit down experience at the fine restaurants, although with the plan changing now, I am not sure. The new prices seem pretty good, though, especially with the mug being thrown in, that alone is about $12 or so.

Priorityonecb
09-04-2008, 06:39 AM
We used the dining plan the last two visits. We loved trying out all the great resturaunts, but the next time we won't be using it. We spent a fair amount of our trips having to plan our park touring around reservation times.

Next time, we plan to play hard and eat casually at the many CS places we haven't had a chance to check out.

ajk912
09-04-2008, 06:51 AM
I'm confused why everyone keeps saying that your choice should be based on whether or not you would use TS credits. My understanding is that they are coming out with a 2009 DPP that is just CS & snack combo. It includes 2 CS, 2 snacks & 1 refillable mug for $29.99 adult & $8.99 kids.

IMO, this plan is a not a good value at all! The refillable mug is a wash, that's a $14 charge once so I don't even consider that. I could easily eat cheaper than $15 a meal in CS! I hardly ever would get dessert- we may get one to share- so my bill would be about $9-$10. And a snack, we don't use those much either..and we share a lot because the portions can be huge!

ajk912
09-04-2008, 06:55 AM
I would love the dining plan if reality was that you could call up and make ADRs that day, after you realize your energy level and what park you want to hit that day. But, the true reality is that you have to plan your whole vacation 6 months in advance if you want the popular restaurants..and, well, that's just not realistic for those of us who hate planning our life around ADRs. We just got back from a week trip, and we had a BLAST, but definitely felt confined to those ADRs a bit. For us, we would do TS every other day to get a good meal in us..but didn't want to be obligated to one everyday.

hsmamato2
09-04-2008, 06:56 AM
I'm really debating whether or not to take it. I will be in WDW 10/9 thru 10/13. However, I will be arriving at midnight on the 9th and departing in the afternoon on the 13th. If I purchase the the DDP it will run me an extra $600 for 4 days, but I don't see myself using it for the 4 days....maybe only 3 days. Let me know your thoughts.

TIA

Only if you take the time and trouble make ADR's at a lot of sit down restaurants- will you want to do that? sounds like a short trip,and you'll use up a lot of time getting to/waiting for/and using the ADR's-
I think you can eat for WAY less than $6000 for 3 1/2 days,I KNOW you can.:banana:
A dinner at Crystal palace will cost about 29.00- even times 3,think about the cost...

nilseks
09-04-2008, 07:30 AM
I think a lot of it depends on HOW you eat.

This is our first year doing the DDP. Past 2 years we have not. Last year we debated doing it but didn't, so we consciously made an effort to add up what we were eating, and what we paid came out to be a little more than the DDP, and we probably ate far less than what we would get on the DDP. We enjoy doing sit down meals, particularly the character meals. Also, last year we took the kids to the 'McDonald's' (don't know what it's really called?--Restaurantosaurus?) in AK and paid $6-7ish each for the equivalent of a happy meal. Since that was just ONE TS meal, I figured it was worth it to pay $10 for the kids to eat on the DDP. I mean, when one character meal is $11.99, how can you go wrong paying $10 to feed a kid for the whole day? Although I think the DDP has gone up now, but still...

bubba
09-04-2008, 07:49 AM
We've used the DP the last 2 times we've visited the World. Loved the fact that everything (except gratuity this last visit) was paid for ahead of time, Loved that we got to try some of the great TS restaurants on site - probably wouldn't have done Mickeys Backyard BBQ if we hadn't been on DDP, and that would have been a shame ! The kids got more of a selection at the TS places - even my DS 10 and DS 5 get sick of pb&j and chicken fingers at the CS places. And, as a PP mentioned, it's a great time to get out of the heat, sit down and recharge. 75% of our TS credits were used at lunch and that worked great for us. We often used the downtime in the restaurants to talk about our morning and loosely plan our afternoon. I also appreciated the fact that I wasn't always telling my kids 'no'. They got to have a dessert everyday, a mickey bar or some yummy dipped pretzel rods from Goofys Candy place at DTD with their snack credits. I priced it out and we came out slightly ahead using DDP, although we'll definitely use it again for the convenience !

mousefanmichelle
09-04-2008, 07:51 AM
We just got back and I have to say at first I wasn't a believer in the DDP. I thought we could eat way cheaper if we payed out of pocket but the truth is for 8 days we didn't want to only eat burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and the like. We wanted some variety and so we went with the ddp and paid for it. I really enjoyed it. I also liked the fact that it was pre-paid and we never had any problems at the carts (maybe that was because most of them were closed due to Faye? hmmmm... LOL!!)

Yes, it took some pre-planning and yes, we still had to pay for the tip but I think it was worth it and I will do it in the future again. My only beef with the plan was the kids menus - they are lousy. My dd who is 9 got tired of eating the same old thing at each TS place. I mean basically the CS and TS meals are the same for kids and they don't want macaroni every meal.

The portions are huge and we didn't get dessert every night but we did try! Sometimes we took the dessert to go and put it in the fridge for later.
We did have a hard time using our snack credits - we took some snacks home and that was a nice treat for later as well.

Next year I thought about trying the 2 CS meal plan but again - I just don't want to eat the same ole same ole for lunch and dinner (we bring breakfast as my family is a 3 meal a day kinda family). I guess we could use one CS for breakfast and one for dinner and snack for lunch - might have to think about that.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Michelle

budbeerlady
09-04-2008, 08:02 AM
I used to love the dining plan untill they striped it. It isn't such a good deal for us anymore. Once you figure YOU have to leave the tip, it isn't included.

So even with the free dining we had last week the meals were still costing us $15-20. (I know it was free....) But we decided with the extra $18 a night it just wasn't worth it to us to buy the dining plan like we always did in the past.

So figure out what the DP will cost you and add in your tips to get the real cost. Also I eat Vegetarian and those meals are on the lower end of the scale. If you are eating the mushroom fillet every meal or something $30ish it might be a better savings for you.

candee0512
09-04-2008, 08:06 AM
My family loves the dining plan, but it suits the way we live. We tour the TGM way so we have plenty of time for a leisurely evening meal and still have plenty of time for rides. As others have said, we usually use a snack credit for breakfast, CS for lunch, and TS for dinner. We're not big between-meal snackers. One of our biggest discussions when a WDW trip is in the works is where we're going to eat!

But you know your family, and their style. Either way, have a great trip!

Candee

fakereadhed
09-04-2008, 09:22 AM
It's not worth it since the tip is not included. If you are budget minded I think that really puts the brakes on the fun of a prepaid meal plan. If you all order the expensive items your tips are more. That adds up over the week and really kills the deal for me. When I ran the numbers it was close to break even and I would rather just plan sit down meals as a like rather than feel like we have to have one each day to use up credits.

kellyg403
09-04-2008, 11:00 AM
For our family, the old dining plan was the way to go. The new dining plan scenerios, I don't really think they will be in the end. That being said, we budget so much over the year that dh really doesn't care if we spend extra on the dining plan and wants deluxe dining. Our family is us and 5 teens and while we eat alot of the meals it also will give us the luxury of doing a few of those 2 TS meals we haven't done before.

So budget wise we could do better, but the convenience of having everything paid in full before we go is a good. Now with the tips being extra, not so sure we are paying for more than convenience but its the only part of WDW dh really cares about. My sweetie loves his food, and my teenage sons are not far behind him.

Kelly

starann
09-04-2008, 11:43 AM
OP, I must agree that you should go to AllEARS and see where/what you might eat to figure out if it is worth it. My personal thought is to try the CS plan. If you like to 'eat on the go' then this has everything paid ahead of time (no tips for CS) and seems like it would be plenty to eat. Yes you will have an 'extra' day of credits, but you can use them toward b'fast the other days that you are there. Snack credits can be used to get some 'snacks' for the ride home or souvies to bring home to others (at the candy shop in DTD).

I know when we were down 2 years ago, 1 persons meal at a CS was almost $12 for the drink, meal and dessert. They all aren;t that much, but it is nice to know that you need to bring less cash with you for your trip.

Good Luck!