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View Full Version : Disney Dining Plan -- Are you really saving that much?


Greg24
05-07-2009, 04:42 PM
I just recently got back from Disney and found some flaws with the Dining Plan. Don't get me wrong, I liked the plan and it was very convienient, but I found that you don't really save a ton of money. You order food that you would have never ordered in the first place, such as a dessert for lunch (which I and most other people would never order without the dining plan). This really leads you to believe that you saved hundreds of dollars, but when you really look at it, it isn't that big of a savings. Does anyone else feel this way?

Also, the childrens servings are incredibly small. They are fit for 5 and under, definitly not 10 and under.

Just some thoughts I have, although I did find it very convenient, but hey, saving money is saving money, no matter how much it is :)

MKCP5
05-07-2009, 05:17 PM
Well, when you get it for free it certainly is a savings! :)

Greg24
05-07-2009, 05:20 PM
I understand that, but people make it sound like you save a ton of money, when in reality, you just get things for free that you would have never ordered without the dining plan. With that said, I would still take the dining plan over regular room charge.

DLW8
05-07-2009, 05:26 PM
I have heard more people say it is the convenience they like rather than a huge savings.

I like that I can order what i want and not worry about the price....and we often chose lunch desserts that we could take with us for later (cookie/brownie, etc). I

annnewjerz
05-07-2009, 06:35 PM
Originally for our trip in December, I wasn't even considering the DDP. I looked at the menus, figured out what we would order (mostly DM and I splitting meals and DH eating his own with the occassional dessert thrown in) and figured it out to be $400 per person for food for a 7 day trip (including tips, drinks, snacks, etc.)

Just recently, I decided to calculate what it would cost to get the DDP, as well as any additional food costs and found that it would save about $35 per person. While I realize this isn't much savings in terms of dollars---it will allow each of us to order our own meal, our own desserts, etc. without having to worry about sharing.

Typically I wouldn't order dessert at lunch, but with the DDP I will be able to and still save at least a little bit of money, so I think we may add it to our trip this year.

wishtdream
05-07-2009, 08:02 PM
While we would not ordinarily get cake for lunch at home, we often order a fruit cup for dessert at lunch when at Disney (unless the cake looks really good , like at sunshine seasons). We use it to help fill our kids up or ourselves after the kids eat all our lunch. We have a child who eats more than your typical Disney kids CS and a toddler who can eat a typical kids meal but is free if she eats off our plate. Last year my 6yr old ate my rib platter at flame tree bbq. That left me with..Frozen MM lemonade.. yum. If the dining plan was not free for our trip we would happily pay for it. All those snack credits make it so easy to say yes to that Giant lollipop you just know is going to end up in the trash. Saying yes to our kids makes Us happy and it makes them happy. Now that is value for your dollar.

nan214
05-07-2009, 08:13 PM
This is my first time doing the DDP. I have always been very skeptical of the DDP, but I dont know anyone who has complained about it. In fact everyone raves about it. Honestly, when making my ARD's I have been trying to make sure Im getting the most for my money. Im booking dinners/lunch vs. breakfast ARDs for the most part. But thats me, Im a little nuts with this stuff:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

ancestry
05-07-2009, 08:26 PM
For us, part of the vacation that we enjoy is eating out and eating things we wouldn't "normally" order. We enjoy being able to order appetizers and desserts (we have the DxDP). So could we eat cheaper -- probably but we don't want to. Considering we do order appetizers and desserts and that we do want to eat three meals a day we do save money on the DxDP -- several hundred dollars worth.

La2kw
05-07-2009, 08:42 PM
I just recently got back from Disney and found some flaws with the Dining Plan. Don't get me wrong, I liked the plan and it was very convienient, but I found that you don't really save a ton of money. You order food that you would have never ordered in the first place, such as a dessert for lunch (which I and most other people would never order without the dining plan). This really leads you to believe that you saved hundreds of dollars, but when you really look at it, it isn't that big of a savings. Does anyone else feel this way?

Also, the childrens servings are incredibly small. They are fit for 5 and under, definitly not 10 and under.

Just some thoughts I have, although I did find it very convenient, but hey, saving money is saving money, no matter how much it is :)

That's exactly why we have never done the DDP. It would cost us more to use the plan than not to, and some of our favorite restaurants are not on the plan.

allboyzz
05-08-2009, 12:47 AM
I understand that, but people make it sound like you save a ton of money, when in reality, you just get things for free that you would have never ordered without the dining plan. With that said, I would still take the dining plan over regular room charge.


For me it is about covenience. I'm going next month and I know exactly how much I'm going to be out of. The kids know exactly how many meals/snacks they have to use whatever way they want. I will give them a little spending money but that is it.

starstruck93
05-08-2009, 12:56 AM
I understand that, but people make it sound like you save a ton of money, when in reality, you just get things for free that you would have never ordered without the dining plan. With that said, I would still take the dining plan over regular room charge.

I would have to agree with this. DH asked me what was the "Free Dining" thing. He's in the National Guard so we get 40% off the room W/ Dining plan... I told him it would be alot more than what we were paying. However, even if he was'nt in the guard, a room at regular price is insane IMO.;)

ReneeA
05-08-2009, 06:40 AM
It is about convenience mostly, but we also do save money. We normally stay at the moderates and usually go during free dining, so it's a no-brainer for us. We have, however, paid for it during times when free dining isn't offered.

I have added up exactly how much we would spend on food using the menus posted on the web compared to what we spent on the DDP. What I have found is that we would spend more, yet eat less TS meals (and I would tend to order something like a salad and no dessert to keep the cost down) and spend more money.

Yes, the children's meals are very small. They aren't enough for my big-for-his-age 7 year old. However, DH and I don't eat all of our meals because they are very large IMO. So we all share, not much goes to waste, we save some money, I get a TS meal everyday, and everybody's happy. You really can't beat it.:thumbsup2

PrincessTrisha
05-08-2009, 07:39 AM
I like steak and the higher end 1 credit restaurants. It is not unusual that the cost of my table service meals cover the cost of the plan (or at least very close to it).

So anything spent on counter service and snacks is savings. So if I save $15 a day x 3 people = $45 a day savings X 7 nights = $315 savings in a week. That's a big savings as far as I'm concerned.

Dani C
05-08-2009, 09:53 AM
We have gone both with and without the dining plan (when we paid, not just when free). I can say that we actually spent less money without getting the plan, but we didn't have the fun of trying so many new things.

Honestly, I would never spend thirty dollars on a meal that I had no clue whether or not I would like it. On the plan I go ahead and try it. If I hated it, I could always get something else later. Also, even at table service restaurants we still share our meals. We don't order one meal and split it though, we each order one and let everyone have an opportunity try all of them.

If it is free, it is great. If not, you have to determine what works for your family and your budget. There are many ways to spend less money on dining while at Disney, but if the budget allows it enjoy the opportunity to expand your culinary palate and take the time to get a taste of the atmosphere at the different dining venues.

kevgraub
05-08-2009, 10:20 AM
I sat down and figured up what we would likely eat while we are at Disney (we would probably do 1 CS and 1 TS meal every day anyway) and compared that to the DDP. For us, the DDP is saving us probably about $30 for the entire week.

I kind of fall into the camp of doing it for the convenience. It was not going to cost us any more to do the DDP than paying OOP, so I liked the idea of having the costs paid up ahead of time and being able to sit down and order whatever I want on the menu without worrying about the cost of the item.

For us, the cost was essentially a wash.

Smiling Cheshire Cat
05-08-2009, 10:32 AM
I think you really only save a lot if you research. Our last trip we, DS and I went and we ate what and where he wanted since it was his birthday trip and we only saved about $40. Next trip we are eating more dinners and I hope to save about $200. So if you are worried about saving money research the menus and use your credits at more expensive places or meals.

I love food and love trying new places and the DDP gives me the freedom to do this without worrying about the cost.

Faldred
05-08-2009, 11:03 AM
There are so many different ways to look at "value" that one could easily say that they saved a great deal on the dining plan or that they spent significantly more money on the plan than out of pocket. Possibly even both statements at the same time.

Truth be told, if I had gone without a dining plan, I would have spent a lot less money. First and foremost, I would have stayed off-site in a timeshare exchange rather than at a Disney resort hotel. We would have eaten breakfasts and maybe some dinners at our resort and probably only have done counter service in the parks.

So on that score, staying on-site and going with deluxe dining was much, much more expensive.

On the other hand, it also makes it a completely different vacation. We were able to try all sorts of restaurants we never would have before, we didn't have to worry about which menu items to order (as in... do I really want to pay an extra $10 for the xxx?), and we had the convenience of having it all (minus tips) pre-paid. We did feel we got good value for what we paid for the plan.

So... how does one truly compare value? If it's on what we actually ordered, we saved around 25-30%. If it's on what we would have ordered with the same dining plans if paying OOP, we saved around 5-10%. If it's on what we would have ordered on a more budget-conscious vacation, we paid much, much more (I never ran the numbers).

Steve_WDW_TRIP
05-08-2009, 11:10 AM
The savings for a family of 4 is about $300 a week, but you do find yourself ordering stuff you would not normaly order. It has its pros and cons.

lvstitch
05-08-2009, 11:38 AM
I have worked this plan out every way possible and in the end we will save about $80 for two adults. However, we will be able to experience more table restaurants this trip, so for us it's worth it.

bjscheel
05-08-2009, 12:12 PM
I never thought we would do dining plan, until we got it free for our November trip. Now I think I would do it again, even if we had to pay. We normally carry cash on the trips and it was nice not to have to carry much. No, we would not normally order all those desserts, or two drinks with breakfast, but we sure appreciated those extra juices we stuck in our bag after breakfast, and didn't have trouble eating the desserts at some point. It saved on buying drinks and snacks later. I never did the in-depth comparison, but I think I'm sold on the convenience, like everyone else. We do a lot of character meals too, so we probably wouldn't save a lot paying OOP.

Free dining was so great, we had a new 10 year old and she loved being able to order the adult meals. If we had not been on the plan I would have been trying to push QS kids meals on her. She is a steak, potatoes and veggies girl, while her younger sister is extremely happy with nuggets/fries/uncrustables/grapes.

DisneyBamaFan
05-08-2009, 07:49 PM
Family of 4 here - and the DDP costs much more than we spend on food/snacks.

When we go during free dining, we break even - the cost of the tips and meals eaten at places that do not take DDP get us to where we would have been had we paid out of pocket on our usual budget. We eat better, but spend just as much money.

IMO, the DDP is not worth it when you calculate the additional cost of tips and other things not covered - especially if your family enjoys CS meals...

Toots
05-08-2009, 08:12 PM
We're on the fence regarding DDP. We paid for DDP once before when appetizers and tips were included. No complaints, other than the rush from meal to meal and my need to encourage the family to order in a way to get the most bang for the buck.

For our upcoming June trip we haven't added the DDP yet. At home we almost always order (tap) water with our meals and rarely order dessert. If on the DDP, I'm thinking maybe coffee with each meal to go along with all the desserts would be a treat.

We'd also like to try ESPN (not on plan), breakfast at Whispering Canyon, the Giddyup and Go chicken meal at the Trail's to Go and lunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe. All something new and different for us but probably not the best way to use credits on the DDP.

Colleen27
05-08-2009, 09:43 PM
I just recently got back from Disney and found some flaws with the Dining Plan. Don't get me wrong, I liked the plan and it was very convienient, but I found that you don't really save a ton of money. You order food that you would have never ordered in the first place, such as a dessert for lunch (which I and most other people would never order without the dining plan). This really leads you to believe that you saved hundreds of dollars, but when you really look at it, it isn't that big of a savings. Does anyone else feel this way?

Also, the childrens servings are incredibly small. They are fit for 5 and under, definitly not 10 and under.

Just some thoughts I have, although I did find it very convenient, but hey, saving money is saving money, no matter how much it is :)

We do the deluxe plan, so the math is a little different for us, but in general I think the DDP is a substantial savings if it matches the way you eat and a slight savings but substantial convenience if you tweak the way you eat to fit the plan. The same is true of the deluxe plan, just on a bigger scale. We wouldn't do the basic plan any more - we don't like CS every day and we're appetizer people, so the plan just doesn't make sense. The deluxe plan fits the way we eat much more closely, and is still a good deal when we skip/share desserts.

I didn't think the children's portions were too small at all. My DS is a big eater and he was fine with the quantities on the kids' meals at 7 & 8. At 9 he was doing a lot of sharing off our plates in addition to his kids' meal, but that was as much because he prefers adult foods as because the kids' meal was too small. My DD is 7 and still can't finish a kids' meal at Disney.

Colleen27
05-08-2009, 09:45 PM
We'd also like to try ESPN (not on plan), breakfast at Whispering Canyon, the Giddyup and Go chicken meal at the Trail's to Go and lunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe. All something new and different for us but probably not the best way to use credits on the DDP.

ESPN Club is on the plan. We've eaten there twice with the DDP, and it was really good sports bar food. It might not be the highest value use of credits, but it is worth doing.

MelanieC
05-08-2009, 09:47 PM
If I had to pay for the DDP, It wouldnt pay for us because we dont' eat that way. By doing the free dining, we really are saving LOTS of money. I figured it out both ways, we are saving over $200 just on the package and that doesn't even include the savings of the food we would have ordered including lunch and dinner. For the 9 nights on the package it's over 1500 savings for the 4 of us.

Toots
05-08-2009, 10:20 PM
ESPN Club is on the plan. We've eaten there twice with the DDP, and it was really good sports bar food. It might not be the highest value use of credits, but it is worth doing. Good to know. Thanks!
I must have assumed it wasn't on the plan after I read reservations were not accepted.

MJAJmom
05-09-2009, 09:04 AM
We'll be doing the Deluxe Dining Plan for the first time in June. We like TS meals and will be doing several character meals. With the extra dollars charged for summer surcharge for buffets, the DP becomes more attractive. Otherwise, that would be extra dollars spent OOP.

Momto2PrncChrmgs
05-09-2009, 12:58 PM
I sat down and figured up what we would likely eat while we are at Disney (we would probably do 1 CS and 1 TS meal every day anyway) and compared that to the DDP. For us, the DDP is saving us probably about $30 for the entire week.

I kind of fall into the camp of doing it for the convenience. It was not going to cost us any more to do the DDP than paying OOP, so I liked the idea of having the costs paid up ahead of time and being able to sit down and order whatever I want on the menu without worrying about the cost of the item.

For us, the cost was essentially a wash.

I did the same thing...had a cute little spreadsheet and everything (yes, I'm a dork:)). I planned what I would order if NOT on the plan (basically a cheaper meal), no desserts for me and DH, but desserts for the kids. It pretty much came out even. BUT with the DDP, I can order a filet (YUM-only do that on vaca), I can get a soda at meals and not worry about the $2+ it costs, and we get the desserts thrown in for a snack later! At any TS meal that wasn't a buffet, we'd take the desserts home for a midnight snack! PLUS, it's prepaid, I don't have to worry about blowing our meal money budget in the first night (we're known to do that) and I just don't have to worry about the costs. MUCH less stress for me which makes my family much happier all the way around! :cloud9:

TDC Nala
05-09-2009, 01:51 PM
Sure, when you are trying to decide whether or not you are going to pay for the dining plan, and you are interested in the savings aspect rather than just the convenience, it is useful to figure in your calculations what you'd eat if you did not have the dining plan and whether just going about your regular dining behavior would save you more than actually purchasing the dining plan. If you're into the plan for the convenience factor, or because you want to splurge and try restaurants you'd never go to if you had to pay for them, it isn't a factor - but if you are looking into using the plan as a money-saving device, that's a calculation that should be made.

picktails
05-09-2009, 06:44 PM
This is our first time on DDP & 12th trip to WDW. We're not big eaters, and noticed last trip that it would probably work in our favor. We can easily share a lunch, save dessert for a snack later. We don't eat full breakfasts - yogurt, fruit & coffee is perfect. I think it really depends on your habits!

Westiefan
05-09-2009, 09:42 PM
I analyzed it and it seems it is a wash for us. If you eat a CS meal and a 1 credit TS meal every day it probably makes sense.
We like to mix it up with a lot of TS meals for lunch (but not enough to get DxDP) and a lot of 2 credit TS dinners. I figure Disney is charging about $26 pp for the TS meal (subtracting out snack and CS lunch) and that is too much if you are using it for, say, lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern. 2 TS meals at Cali Grill, for example would equate to around $52 for entree and dessert, which is a little on the high side compared to actual cost.
I went thru every meal that we would use credit's for and included dessert for everyone for a TS meal and the snack's and it came out to a $10 difference, which in my book is a wash.
The main "problem" I had is that I was figuring in dessert w/ TS meals--if I was on DDP I know we would each order dessert; if not--we will probably split it since we try to watch what we eat. I just discovered I lost 5 lbs and that helped me make up my mind - why tempt myself if I am happy with less food. I expect to spend less than the DDP cost given we are not big eaters.
Plus, my DH does not want to "deal" (although I don't think it is a big deal) with watching/counting credits. I think, in his mind, it kind of cheapens the vacation, but I don't feel that way.
I do think it is nice not to worry about prices if you have the plan, and that is worth some $$ to me, and just go with the flow, especially, like I said above, if you eat a CS and 1 credit TS meal every day.

Hallowishes
05-10-2009, 05:40 PM
well... heres my 2 cents. im receiving the dining plan for free this year ... last year i paid for it. it all depends on you. for me, the dining plan was terrific. it was the peace of mind knowing that i had my food already paid for. the money i brought paid for alchohol and souvinirs .. and for me, i preferred it that way. :thumbsup2

WantToGoNow
05-10-2009, 08:41 PM
We had the basic dining plan last trip and plan to do it again in November. We enjoyed having our meals pre-paid and being able to go into a restaurant, look at the menu, and order what we want. Generally, when our family of 5 goes out to eat (3 adults, 2 children), yes we look at the prices and buy what we think we should spend at that time based on what's in the bank. When we are on the dining plan, it adds to the vacation to order more expensive items than you normally would - I probably wound not order that $35 steak at LeCellier if I was not on the plan. And really, who doesn't like to have dessert - even if you don't eat it all. The kids thought it was great having cake/ice cream/other goodies for lunch and dinner every day because that's not something that would ever happen at home. And then to have an extra treat everyday as well.

And most important, my dh didn't have a heart attack the nights we ate at Coral Reef and LeCellier when the bills were laid on the table and they were over $250 (this was when appetizers/gratuities were included).

When we started planning our upcoming trip, dh's only request was that we do the dining plan - and yes, he knows we won't have appetizers every night and we have to pay our own tips but to him it's still worth it.

We did save over $500 last trip over what we paid for the plan.

Tam1067
05-10-2009, 11:20 PM
I made my ADRs today for our August trip. We're on the deluxe.

We've done the basic DDP three times before, but this time, we upgraded to deluxe because my kids like breakfast buffets, we have some favorites, and we wanted to try some new places.

We are spending $2000 on the deluxe. I estimated based on menus posted online, that we'll have about $2400 in meals at the TS places I reserved--and that's not counting the mugs, any snacks or the meal credits (two each) we'll use at CS places.

I'm planning on using snacks for breakfast four mornings of our trip, and then a combination of CS lunches and snacks for three days of lunches. So I'm already $400 ahead, and that's not counting the value of those snacks and CS meals we'll use.

So really, if you are eating at TS meals, you do get your money's worth and even save money when you use the DDP. And if you eat at least two meal credits per day at TS places, you get your money's worth with the deluxe.

Of course, if you don't use your credits, you won't benefit.

emlutz23
05-11-2009, 08:25 AM
Once they took away the appy and tip I thought it wasn't a good deal anymore. Then I went on a 3 night trip in March and we didn't use the DDP. I have to say I probably spent just as much money. I did have appy's instead of dessert, and tried to pick things not ordinarily on the plan. But at Sunshine Seasons I thought it would be great to try some of the a la carte items, it ended up being $12 bucks!

We are on the DDP for our trip coming up in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to trying some new places and I made sure our ADR's were at restaurants that had expensive entrees! :thumbsup2

RahRah573
05-12-2009, 11:03 AM
We do the deluxe plan, so the math is a little different for us, but in general I think the DDP is a substantial savings if it matches the way you eat and a slight savings but substantial convenience if you tweak the way you eat to fit the plan. The same is true of the deluxe plan, just on a bigger scale. We wouldn't do the basic plan any more - we don't like CS every day and we're appetizer people, so the plan just doesn't make sense. The deluxe plan fits the way we eat much more closely, and is still a good deal when we skip/share desserts.

I didn't think the children's portions were too small at all. My DS is a big eater and he was fine with the quantities on the kids' meals at 7 & 8. At 9 he was doing a lot of sharing off our plates in addition to his kids' meal, but that was as much because he prefers adult foods as because the kids' meal was too small. My DD is 7 and still can't finish a kids' meal at Disney.

We're similar here - our trips are now me, DS (will be five when we go this year) and my parents (both in their 70's) --- poor DH can't go since he has to work :lmao: ......for us, the deluxe plan made the most sense when I looked at the DDP and DxDP when planning our trip last year. We all like to start our meals with an appetizer, whether it's a simple salad, cheese plate or something that looks interesting....so DxDP scored ahead just on that inclusion for us.

I wouldn't say we're necessarily dessert orderers - sometimes we do, sometimes we don't....even with the DxDP we didn't always order dessert - or we didn't order one for each of us, but split one or two amongst us.....and we still saved money at the end of the trip purchasing the DxDP - I don't think there was much we ordered that we wouldn't have ordered and perhaps the reason we saved money is that we tend toward higher price meals anyway - at home or while on vacation. I look at it that when I'm eating out, I'm going to eat what I like regardless of price since we don't typically eat out frequently....I like cooking, so make most of our meals at home.....when we travel, even when we have a full kitchen, I prefer to be waited on for a change - so we're much less likely to eat meals in...even at home, our meals almost always, I'd say like 90% of the time, include a starter - salad or soup or cheese plate or something I think sounds good and want to try. So for us the DxDP aligns with our eating habits well and isn't more than we'd spend if we paid out of pocket, even if we occasionally have something in the room, or if we have a full-kitchen and grab breakfast before heading out to the parks and aren't eating breakfast out, but having a TS luch and a 2TS dinner.

What I do think is perhaps the downfall of the DxDP is the quantity of food - three full meals a day on the plan are very difficult to eat, even when you're accustomed to eating a dinner each night that includes some sort of appetitzer - I doubt many actually eat three course meals for every meal, and that's the one thing that we thought was a bit over the top! Not complaining - it was sorta nice to have dessert after lunch, something we don't normally order after lunch.....but it's A LOT to try to eat, day in, day out when you're there for a week or longer!

Trying to use the snack credits on top of all the food - really difficult....if not impossible - we just wound up buying up a bunch of stuff to take home, so it's not like the credits went unused.....but they weren't used on-site while there, for the most part!

I wish there were a way to customize the plan a bit - maybe offer a way to set up your meals and what's included and then you have what you really want! Like instead of having it be an all-or-nothing proposition - DDP that lacks appetizers and has only 1TS, 1CS and 1S per day --- OR --- DxDP that has 3 complete meals and 2S per day....maybe have a way to say, yeah, I like having table service, so in a week, 7 appetizers, 7 entrees....and well, let's say 3 desserts for the week....that way you're a bit more customized? Just a thought!

Colleen27
05-12-2009, 12:12 PM
What I do think is perhaps the downfall of the DxDP is the quantity of food - three full meals a day on the plan are very difficult to eat, even when you're accustomed to eating a dinner each night that includes some sort of appetitzer - I doubt many actually eat three course meals for every meal, and that's the one thing that we thought was a bit over the top! Not complaining - it was sorta nice to have dessert after lunch, something we don't normally order after lunch.....but it's A LOT to try to eat, day in, day out when you're there for a week or longer!

Yeah, 3 meals a day every day would be tough! We only had 2 days on our 11 night January trip where we ate 3 meals, and the one where we actually ate at all three was a LOT of food. We're not breakfast people, though, so only one of our 3 meal days was because we wanted to eat at all three restaurants. The other was because we wanted to do the Ohana character breakfast, where the kids ate but DH & I just sort of grazed on the fruit bowl and had our coffee/tea.

How we do the deluxe plan is mostly TS lunches in lieu of a midday break and then signature dinners in the evenings. If we're staying at a deluxe resort, we use some credits for room service, and on our next trip we're trying our first dinner show. On our January trip, we had 7 two credit meals over 11 nights. My plan for Sept is to do 7 two credit meals over 9 nights. That really cuts down on the "too much food" factor but doesn't cut into the overall value of the plan.

mpls_mm
05-13-2009, 06:29 PM
Who are these people you speak of? The people who would not have dessert at lunch? I would always have dessert at lunch if I could. And since DH cannot take the sight of me whining and trying to choose between two desserts for a half hour, he can order the other one and I get to have my cake and eat it and then have his creme brulee and eat it too.

WendyisDarling
05-13-2009, 06:45 PM
Who are these people you speak of? The people who would not have dessert at lunch? I would always have dessert at lunch if I could. And since DH cannot take the sight of me whining and trying to choose between two desserts for a half hour, he can order the other one and I get to have my cake and eat it and then have his creme brulee and eat it too.

:thumbsup2:rotfl:
Great post.

caroline1851
05-13-2009, 08:07 PM
On the ddp, we ordered what we wanted. No more, no less. We didn't eat only dinner adr's to maximize the plan, etc. and we saved $200.

catne
05-13-2009, 08:08 PM
Who are these people you speak of? The people who would not have dessert at lunch? I would always have dessert at lunch if I could. And since DH cannot take the sight of me whining and trying to choose between two desserts for a half hour, he can order the other one and I get to have my cake and eat it and then have his creme brulee and eat it too.


:thumbsup2:worship::thumbsup2
Clever, clever woman.

goofy4tink
05-15-2009, 08:08 AM
The only time I have 'saved' money by using the DDP was when it was free and I was at POP...I saved about $250 for three of us for 4 days. Then, when I was solo and used the ddp over the course of a night and two days...that was worth it. But, if the whole family is going, it seldom works out cheaper. My dd at 15, is a light eater, so we lose money on her.
I have the TiW card....after using it for one trip, I have usually recouped the $75 cost of the card, so future trips are pure profit.
Every single trip I go on, I sit and figure what we are going to spend on food. I run figures using TiW and using ddp. If the ddp comes out less the $50 more, I will use it. But if it is more than that, vs TiW, I won't do it. Convenience is one thing but I find that I can't eat the way I want to on the ddp.

Yes, I am one who prefers appetizers to desserts. The Disney desserts, for the most part, don't get it done for me..especially counter service desserts. I would much rather be able to have an appetizer with dinner and forgo the dessert. But, that's not an option....obviously appetizers cost more to make than desserts.

Heading down again in August....will be using my TiW card. DDP would have cost me about $120 more than using the TiW card..way too big a difference for the sake of convenience.

ExtinctDino
05-15-2009, 09:46 AM
It's saved me tons of money. But I've always had the free DDP.

If I had to pay for it, no, it would not save me any money at all. Even if they cut the price of it by 1/3 it still wouldn't save me any money. I have 10 and 11 year old kids who don't eat much.

TY31088
05-15-2009, 08:17 PM
I understand that, but people make it sound like you save a ton of money, when in reality, you just get things for free that you would have never ordered without the dining plan. With that said, I would still take the dining plan over regular room charge.

We are doing the DDP in September since it will be free.

But I tend to agree with you, we spend less on meals then what they charge for the DDP. But we don't eat alot of TS, and we usually eat one time at Boston Lobster Feast by the Florida Mall.

PaulaSB12
05-16-2009, 04:14 AM
Who are these people you speak of? The people who would not have dessert at lunch? I would always have dessert at lunch if I could. And since DH cannot take the sight of me whining and trying to choose between two desserts for a half hour, he can order the other one and I get to have my cake and eat it and then have his creme brulee and eat it too.

I also like my starters and desserts and as I go solo there isn't anyone to share food with. Mind you with some of the desserts it would be pistols at dawn before I shared them!!!!!!! I booked the free ddp with upgrade to deluxe but they came out with a deal that made staying at the GF with deluxe dining an option I could afford so I am doing that instead.


:lmao:

bleeps
05-16-2009, 05:39 AM
We are a family of three, and DS is 11 so WDW charges him as an "adult." We used the "old" DDP and went with DxDDP once they made the changes.

We love using the dining plans for a number of reasons, and we do save $.

First, though, being able to pay off the entire trip (basically) ahead of time makes a big difference in our ability to relax and enjoy our vacations. Next, while we order what we want to eat and not just the most expensive items to 'maximize' our value, it is a huge psychological benefit to me to be able to look at a menu and get what I want, and not feel compelled to get the least expensive thing (which I tend to do under usual circumstances).

Being able to have an appetizer or dessert (or not -- we skip 'em if we're full) is a lovely perk that makes it feel like vacation.

And finally, being able to say 'sure!' when DS would like popcorn or a mickey premium bar or some other snack treat during the day (when, again, without the plan I'd be reluctant to do so) adds to our overall enjoyment.

cbilton
05-16-2009, 11:07 AM
We used the DDP last week (first trip) and found it to be very convenient and loved using the snacks for those $3 drinks or $4 snack items! LOVED not having to shell out bucks everytime! (With the hot, hot, hot weather we were having to buy additional beverages through the days...)

The one thing we didn't like is the kids portions were incredibly small and the choice options were not always very good. That was disappointing.

disneysuncat
05-16-2009, 11:17 AM
We did it back in 2007 when the tip and appetizer was still included. I felt BAD not leaving actual cash for the tips, so I tipped my usual 20% on top of it being included. I did enjoy it overall, really liked not thinking about the cost once I was there.

This year, I have a free dining code. We chose to stay at Pop this time, so the free dining is the quick service. I had upgraded to deluxe, then had selected all of my reservations, planned out approximate tips, etc. I got to thinking about it, and decided to downgrade back to the free quick service, and maybe do two or three table services out of pocket. This way we're not all tied down to reservations, plus it'll save me a ton of money.

Given my usual thought process though, I truly like the "all inclusive" factor to the dining plan.

mrstamil
05-20-2009, 07:18 AM
I like to save money. I have spreadsheet after spreadsheet to analyze just how much things will cost. :confused: Two years ago we got the free dining with free appetizer, dessert and tip. It was too good a deal to pass up. By the end of the trip our food total for 2 adults and 1 child (9) came to the price of our package.

The Disney dining plan saved a lot of stress. Usually I am so neurotic about saving money that I couldn't possibly order what I REALLY want. My husband does, regardless of price, and it stresses me out! With the dining plan there was no stress and we ate like pigs! I never once passes down dessert.

Of course, after 3 days, I had to pack my NON-stretch shorts :eek:

The only complaint I had about the 2007 plan (and I believe it's the same for now) was the kid's menus. My son would MUCH prefer a steak over chicken fingers. He was SOOOO sick of kid food by the end of the trip. This year he's 11 and looking forward to the adult menu.

For this years trip I AGAIN pulled out the spreadsheets to analyze the saving with NOT having an appetizer and having to pay tip at the Table Service. It's still an incredible bargain. I'm sure I'll be calculating my savings when I'm there in August, but I KNOW it'll be a deal.

If I had to pay for the dining... I'm not sure. If you're happy with the quick service menu's, or skipping dessert, I don't think the savings would be that much. If you want to order anything under the sun... I'd probably go with it anyway. Even saving $30 a day would at least cover the tip.

DIS-kc
05-20-2009, 03:00 PM
This summer will be our very first trip to the World. To give us all (includes two disney fanatic daughters -- DD9 and DD4) the disney-est :) meal experiences possible, we overloaded on the character meals. With four char-dinners - Akershus, CM, Play&Dine, and CP - the DDP figured to be a no-brainer.

Without Character meals, i think the DDP would not save that much. You're basically buying convenience or perhaps peace-of-mind, in that case, which is not necessarily good nor bad...

rosiep
05-20-2009, 03:30 PM
I'm not sure the dining plan saves me money, but it does offer peace of mind. I like having most everything paid upfront.

I would even pay more for the plan if they would add the gratuity back in.

One of my favorite thing about staying on property is the RAC service...it makes ending the vacation that much more pleasant. I liken the DDP to that, it makes returning home easier, knowing that there won't be a huge CC bill awaiting me.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Tina G
05-20-2009, 03:36 PM
Just back from a week at Disney. We are a family of 3 with 2 adults and a 10 year old girl. We opted not to do the DDP mainly because DD was considered an adult but still eats children's portions. Here are our totals for food:

Price of the DDP for 3 adults for 7 days: $840
Actual cost of the food we bought for those same meals: $744

We had 10 table service meals plus the Spirit of Aloha show. I counted the 7 most expensive TS meals in my total. We had 6 QS meals so we would have wasted 4 QS credits. Even if we had used them, our total would still be less than $800.

The DDP is not always a savings. We are proof of it.

That being said, I really don't understand the argument that people get the plan because it is convenient. What could be more convenient than walking into a restaurant and ordering anything you want and then quickly paying for it with a credit card or room key? In our experience, the DDP was less convenient for people as they wasted time trying to figure out what they were allowed to have, what counts as a snack, etc. while we quickly picked out our items and paid for them. And for the argument of paying for the trip in advance, that doesn't seem like a good reason to possibly overpay for your meals. Wouldn't you rather hold onto your money a little while longer and get interest on it? I would really love to know how people feel getting the DDP is more convenient than paying OOP. If you are saving money, which many people do, then I'm all for it. But if you are using the excuse that getting the plan is more convenient even if you aren't saving money, that's a bad decision in my opinion.

Also, having character meals doesn't mean you are saving money with the DDP. Many of the character breakfasts are less than $20 per person so you are actually not saving money with the DDP at those prices. We had character meals at Chef Mickey's (dinner), Ohana (breakfast), and Crystal Palace (breakfast). We also had a breakfast at Kona Cafe that only cost about $12 per person so for a table-service meal on the DDP, that is a big waste of money.

I would just strongly advise people to look at the menus on allears.net and get an idea of the prices you may be paying. If your TS meals are not averaging at $25, then you probably won't save money on DDP.

TheDWord
05-20-2009, 03:51 PM
Just got back ourselves and though at first glance it appeared we saved over $400, the "real" savings was less than $100. Click on my detailed analysis link in my sig for details.

bubblycoconut
05-21-2009, 11:52 AM
That being said, I really don't understand the argument that people get the plan because it is convenient. What could be more convenient than walking into a restaurant and ordering anything you want and then quickly paying for it with a credit card or room key? In our experience, the DDP was less convenient for people as they wasted time trying to figure out what they were allowed to have, what counts as a snack, etc. while we quickly picked out our items and paid for them.

That is one of the reasons we opted not to do the dining plan on our next trip. To me it's easier not to worry about what's included and what's not.

We're going during the free dining period but felt we got a better deal with a room only discount. We had the dining plan on our first vacation and didn't feel the need to get it again. We thought we would really enjoy having a sit down meal everyday but we actually prefer to grab something quick and spend more time in the parks. We also prefer TS breakfast meals as opposed to TS dinner and we don't usually get very many, if any snacks while we are in the parks. At the end of our last trip we had a ton of snack credits left over that we ended up using at the grab and go place on our last day so they wouldn't be wasted. We also had leftover ts credits because we missed one of our meals since our DS wasn't feeling well one morning.

Now if we had ts dinner everynight and got a lot of snacks through out the day the dp would be a whole different story for us. For us it's just not the best option but I know other people can save a lot of money using it. I think it just depends on what you would normally eat. :goodvibes

bleeps
05-22-2009, 06:11 AM
And for the argument of paying for the trip in advance, that doesn't seem like a good reason to possibly overpay for your meals. Wouldn't you rather hold onto your money a little while longer and get interest on it? I would really love to know how people feel getting the DDP is more convenient than paying OOP. If you are saving money, which many people do, then I'm all for it. But if you are using the excuse that getting the plan is more convenient even if you aren't saving money, that's a bad decision in my opinion.

Our DS, 10 on our last trip and 11 when we go in August, orders and eats adult meals; if he still preferred to eat off the kid menus, we'd lose money on the plan.

We have kept track of our meal expenses, too, and found that we've always come out ahead on the plan. I appreciate that's not true for everyone, but it is true for us.

So, my comments about the peace of mind of having the vacation paid off before we go, and the benefit for me personally of not stressing over price when I order, are benefits in addition to saving money.

Finally, since we get DxDDP, we've never had any confusion or time wasted over what was or wasn't included on the plan, and when/if we encounter something we'd like (a snack, typically, since we've never encountered a menu limitation) that's not on the plan, we just pay OOP; we still save $$ without feeling limited by the plan.:hippie:

Colleen27
05-22-2009, 07:11 AM
That being said, I really don't understand the argument that people get the plan because it is convenient. What could be more convenient than walking into a restaurant and ordering anything you want and then quickly paying for it with a credit card or room key? In our experience, the DDP was less convenient for people as they wasted time trying to figure out what they were allowed to have, what counts as a snack, etc. while we quickly picked out our items and paid for them. And for the argument of paying for the trip in advance, that doesn't seem like a good reason to possibly overpay for your meals. Wouldn't you rather hold onto your money a little while longer and get interest on it? I would really love to know how people feel getting the DDP is more convenient than paying OOP. If you are saving money, which many people do, then I'm all for it. But if you are using the excuse that getting the plan is more convenient even if you aren't saving money, that's a bad decision in my opinion.


The convenience aspect is just as individual as the savings aspect, I think.

For me, it is convenient to have the food budget set in advance. I'm the kind of person that would worry over prices even if I had a million dollars in my pocket, and the DDP (DxDDP for us) avoids that thought process entirely. That would make the plan worth it for me even if we merely broke even. I don't think the interest earned on the relatively small cost of the dining plan over the 45 day advance payment period is enough to fret over losing either.

I also think that the DIS is a skewed sample when it comes to knowing what is on the plan, because we're all here learning that before we travel. We go armed with a list, whether printed or mental, of snacks we want to use our credits on, and we don't need an explanation of the plan while we're down at Disney. I can see how the DDP could be inconvenient or confusing for the less informed visitor, especially if it is their first time on the plan or their first time since the changes.

Absolutely people should run the numbers for themselves, and I don't think anyone has said otherwise. But for many, it will work out that the DDP offers some savings and convenience over paying OOP.

MelanieC
05-22-2009, 09:20 AM
We did it back in 2007 when the tip and appetizer was still included. I felt BAD not leaving actual cash for the tips, so I tipped my usual 20% on top of it being included. I did enjoy it overall, really liked not thinking about the cost once I was there.

This year, I have a free dining code. We chose to stay at Pop this time, so the free dining is the quick service. I had upgraded to deluxe, then had selected all of my reservations, planned out approximate tips, etc. I got to thinking about it, and decided to downgrade back to the free quick service, and maybe do two or three table services out of pocket. This way we're not all tied down to reservations, plus it'll save me a ton of money.

Given my usual thought process though, I truly like the "all inclusive" factor to the dining plan.

I'm confused. I'm staying at POP and my free dining plan has 1 TS meal pp and 1 CS meal pp and 1 snack per person.

Why does yours include the QSDP?

Colleen27
05-22-2009, 09:27 AM
I'm confused. I'm staying at POP and my free dining plan has 1 TS meal pp and 1 CS meal pp and 1 snack per person.

Why does yours include the QSDP?

Certain offers have linked the type of free dining plan to the level of resort booked. The big annual free dining is the basic dining plan at all resorts, but the UK offer and a PIN code offer have been for the free quick service plan at value resorts.