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View Full Version : Help me decide: Should I upgrade to Deluxe Dining Plan from Free Dining?


ejsmomma
05-06-2009, 06:53 AM
So please help us decide is it WORTH it to upgrade from Deluxe Dining plan to free dining plan.

We will be there from Noon monday - 2pm Sat with free dining each night of our stay. Mon,Tues,Wed, Thurs, Friday.

In those 5 days I can EASILY see us having 2 SIT DOWN/TABLE meals a day (most often Breakfast and dinner) and 1 quick service/counter meal not to mention snacks throughout the day (especially fruit and ice cream). In addition, I would like to eat at the Artist Pointe one night in our hotel which is 2 Table Meals.

So we would have to pay out of pocket for an additional Table Service meal each day and on the day of Artist Point 2 Table Meals.
The meals would be for my dh, me and my 4 year old - my 2 year old would share with his brother or us.

In MY case is it worth it to pay the difference and upgrade to the Deluxe Dining?

We currently added the Water park and More to our tickets but I am thinking of dropping that and adding Deluxe Dining instead.

HELP US DECIDE! TIA! :lovestruc

onejellyshelly
05-06-2009, 08:12 AM
How much is the upgrade?

ejsmomma
05-06-2009, 08:19 AM
Less than $400. $350 or so for the 3 of us (ds1,dh and me not ds2 he will still be 2) for 5 days.

remark44
05-06-2009, 09:59 AM
I did deluxe last year. And it is A LOT of food. It also takes up a lot of time. It was fun to do it once but I would never do deluxe again. We did use 2 credits for one dinner. But I still ended up with 5 extra meals at the end of the trip. And we had 20 extra snacks, which I used to buy lollypops for my dd classmates.

If you are only going for 5 days I would not recommend it. You are going to want to spend as much time as possible in the parks. Eating 2 sit down meals will eat up at least 1 1/2 hours per meal. Not including travel time if it is at a resort.

But that's just my opinion.

catne
05-06-2009, 10:11 AM
I wouldn't do it for a couple of reasons - one, needless expense on your vacation - I'd keep the water park extra instead - September is HOT! And with the kids, deluxe is way too much restaurant/travel time. Have you done the basic dining plan before? We find that to be plenty of food - we use the snack credit to buy a pastry for breakfast, have it in the room with coffee to start the day. Counter service lunch & TS for dinner - about every other day we bought a snack OOP in the park, but not every day at all. Most of the time we were full for hours after lunch, and full all evening after dinner. We've done some 2 TS meals and frankly they were good but not worth double credits, IMHO. We've done basic several times & deluxe once, for only 2 nights/3 days. We could not begin to eat all the food on the Deluxe (and very, very large appetites - Pooh-sized, lol) And we spread 2 night's credits over 3 days - 2 meals the first day, 3 the second & breakfast on the day we left. We did not use a single snack credit while we were there...bought pastries & yogurt to take with us on check-out day.

buzz1fan
05-06-2009, 12:26 PM
I would look at the places you would pay OOP for if you where on basic and see how much it will cost you, include snacks, mugs, meals TS or CS. We are debating on going deluxe on a 4 day stay, because the day we check out we will be at the park for most of the day before we drive to our condo, and plan on eating 2 times this day.

Coparm
05-06-2009, 12:42 PM
I would agree with the last poster. I am taking DD6 in September for 7 nights and was considering the same. I listed all the restaurants I wanted to go to and went to allears.net and worked out how much extra that would cost me OOP, using the credits for the more expensive meals and OOP for the cheaper ones, plus the cost of the mugs and it was still cheaper than upgrading the 2 of us to the deluxe plan. Plus I know we wouldn't use all the snacks (althought DH who is staying home tried to convince me I should be buying him all the snacks from Goofy's Candy co to take home!!:rotfl2: ).

What I've done that is working for us as only 1 adult and 1 child is, I've upgraded my daughter to a 10 year old, paid the adult ticket price for her (extra $37 for 6 days worth of tickets) and have adult dining for both, so on some of the extra breakfast meals I will use 1 of her TS credits for me and pay OOP for her as a child, so even on regular dining we get more sit down meals and is cheaper still as I'm only ever paying OOP for her. Was rather impressed with myself when I worked that one out!! :cool1:

The other thing to factor in, is will you get all the ADR's you want. If you decide you want to upgrade, wait till your 90 days, call and see if you can get all your bookings and if you do you have until 72 hours before you arrive to upgrade and if you don't then you haven't lost out.

sharadoc
05-06-2009, 12:50 PM
I think the decider for me to say NO is the fact that you'll have to make all your reservations as soon as you can. You'll be tied down to your reservations - it's not like you'll be able to say "Since we're in the Magic Kingdom today, where should we eat?", so I could never be a slave to that many reservations.

We'll be there for 9 nights during Free Dining and don't even think we'll use a TS every day - too much of a restriction on our time.

Good luck.

abc999
05-06-2009, 12:59 PM
DH and I love the DxDP and we have DD5 and DS3. Instead of wasting 2-3 hours going back to the resort, where the kids would fall asleep by the time we got to the bus stop and sleep until we got off the bus at the resort, run around our room a bit before begging to go back to the park. We would take a break at a restaurant where we would have a relaxing meal and the kids could have a break.

hmgray95
05-06-2009, 01:10 PM
We did the deluxe last year, and like some of the previous posters, I listed out all of the places that we wanted to eat, worked out how much we thought we would spend there if we paid out of pocket, and then compared that cost to both the regular dining and the deluxe dining. In the end we decided on deluxe because if we had gone with the regular plan and eaten at all of the places we wanted to, we would have had to spend money out of pocket. Using the deluxe plan however, we could go to all of the places we wanted, and not have to spend any money out of pocket, and it only cost about $200 more than if we had done the regular plan plus the out of pocket money. Given the flexibility of the deluxe plan (you don't have to plan out counter service meals and table service meals...you just eat wherever you want), we felt like the extra money was worth it. When I tallied up my receipts when I came home, I found out that if we had paid for everything we got out of pocket, it would have cost us $350.00 more than we paid for the deluxe plan so we more than got our money's worth. The flexibility of the deluxe plan was also helpful...there were several times when we decided to ignore our ADRs and go to counter service restaurants which we would not have been able to do if we had gone with the regular plan. We did use all of our credits...but did two meals that used two table service credits apiece, and one night my husband ate two dinners because he was hungry again a few hours after dinner! And I found the extra snack credits helpful as my DD4 was often too wound up to eat during meals, and then was starving later, plus we used them a lot for bottled waters.

All that being said....there are some cons to the plan. It was a lot of food! And it did take a lot of time away from our time at the parks because we usually had a TS breakfast and TS dinner, with a CS meal for lunch. Having been to Disney a lot, and because food is an important part of our Disney experience, we didn't feel like we were missing a lot by forgoing park time in favor of a lot of table service meals. Also, while we did drop a few table service ADRs in favor of CS meals because we just weren't that hungry, for the most part, we felt compelled to stick to our ADRs because we knew that table service meals would give us the most bang for our buck.

texaslady22
05-06-2009, 01:16 PM
Keep in mind you're going during free dining, so the restaurants are going to be PACKED. Do you really want to fight them two times a a day instead of one?? And do you really want to fight for 2 ADR's a day instead of one?

When will you go to the parks?? :goodvibes

catne
05-06-2009, 04:01 PM
Don't try to "wing it" during free dining. If you want table meals, you must have ADRs for every table service restaurant you'll want -- and better get them way in advance, too. When we were there for free dining last year, was had some early ADRs (around 5) because that's when we wanted to eat -- if you arrived right then when the restaurant opened they were taking some walk-ups, but every restaurant when we left an hour or so later was standing-room only, packed lobby waiting to be seated and they were turning away walk-ups.

Colleen27
05-06-2009, 05:17 PM
So please help us decide is it WORTH it to upgrade from Deluxe Dining plan to free dining plan.

We will be there from Noon monday - 2pm Sat with free dining each night of our stay. Mon,Tues,Wed, Thurs, Friday.

In those 5 days I can EASILY see us having 2 SIT DOWN/TABLE meals a day (most often Breakfast and dinner) and 1 quick service/counter meal not to mention snacks throughout the day (especially fruit and ice cream). In addition, I would like to eat at the Artist Pointe one night in our hotel which is 2 Table Meals.

So we would have to pay out of pocket for an additional Table Service meal each day and on the day of Artist Point 2 Table Meals.
The meals would be for my dh, me and my 4 year old - my 2 year old would share with his brother or us.

In MY case is it worth it to pay the difference and upgrade to the Deluxe Dining?

We currently added the Water park and More to our tickets but I am thinking of dropping that and adding Deluxe Dining instead.

HELP US DECIDE! TIA! :lovestruc

I would drop the waterparks and upgrade the dining.

We really enjoyed the deluxe dining. It is such a nice break from the parks to have a meal where you sit down and they bring you your food in air conditioned comfort. Counter service with little ones is such a hassle, especially during free dining, because the CS locations get very busy around normal meal times but that's when the kids get hungry. Wilderness Lodge is in a wonderful location for deluxe dining too, because you're just a boat ride away from the Contemporary and all the wonderful restaurants along the monorail line.

As far as the waterparks go, my kids didn't really think of waterparks as being any better than the resort pool until they were older. Up until 5 or so, they were just as happy to play in the pool at the hotel, and even now they're not all that impressed with Disney's waterparks (DS11 will rattle off a half-dozen that he thinks are better). Plus on shorter trips (6 nights or less), we never seem to fit in much waterpark time anyway because we'd rather be hitting the major parks.

treehugnmama
05-09-2009, 07:50 AM
we did deluxe in february. I love to eat and we found it was too much food and it took to long. we thought we wuld do exactly like you ts breaky and dinner cs lunch. after eating a big breakfast nobody was hungy at lunch. Breakfast took away from those low crowd ams. We went to a few places that took 2 credits each and we had left over credits. I am going in september for free dinign and i will not be upgrading. It is not the money but more it is too much food and taked too much time. I am glad we did it once as we wanted to hit ALL the character meals and we did but i won't do it again. loved the waterparks!!!

lklasing
05-09-2009, 08:42 AM
I am glad we did it once as we wanted to hit ALL the character meals and we did but i won't do it again.

This is the line that jumps out at me. My situation is identical to the OP's - 5 days in September with FD, and had to decide whether to upgrade. After thinking long and hard about it, I decided we're definitely upgrading. This will allow us to eat at several character and signature restaurants we haven't eaten at previously - HDDR, Artist Pointe, Narcoosee's, not to mention our favorite CG - while not running out of credits and having to pay OOP. The way I'm looking at it is that this will likely be our only time to do this, so we're going to live it up.

elump1
05-09-2009, 11:48 AM
I think it depends on what your family likes to do at the parks. If park time is what you want, it may not be the best idea to go deluxe. Our kids are young so a morning at the park is about all they can handle before a serious break, whether it be a sit down meal or a trip back to the hotel.

We recently decided to upgrade to deluxe dining plan for our upcoming trip, because we think it is what will work best for us. We had originally planned on regular ddp but we want to take our dd to CRT for her birthday so we had planned on paying for that OOP. When I added the expense of that meal along with mugs and meals on the last day (we always spend a full first and last day there since we drive), the deluxe plan was worth it for us. It will also give us the liberty to try several 2 credit places at night. We also want to hit alot of character meals for our dds. We are always at the park at rope drop and are ready to rest by lunch, so a sit down meal or buffet works perfectly for us for lunch. Our past 2 trips, we found that CS meals were actually more of a pain for us that TS meals, with one of us having to stand in line, get the food, and balance it all to make it to a table while the other got the kids and tried to find a table.

My hubby and I love eating when on vacation. Since this is a priority to us, the deluxe makes sense. Our upcoming trip will be the first time we've used it though, so we'll see how it goes!