View Full Version : Dining Plan or Wingin' It?

05-11-2009, 10:34 AM
My DD16 and I are going the first week of December. We are staring to plan things now and I'm sort-of panicking with all the decisions.

If we do the DDP we are confined to eat at a table service once per day, there is a counter service for lunch and a snack. With the QS Plan, we have two counter services and two snacks for the day.

My concern is this: Each "meal" allows a dessert and while that is great we do not normally eat dessert at every meals. We have decided that we will have a table service at least once per day and we are eager to try all the different restaurants, but will it be cheeper for us to split one meal, appetizer and dessert ot get the DDP?

Sorry, I know this isn't difficult to people who have done all this before, but it seems a bit overwhelming and confusing to me.

I am a single mom taking her to DW, money is tight, it is for everyone. I just want to make the best use of my money.

Any information or suggestions are appreciated. :flower3:

05-11-2009, 10:37 AM
You can certainly eat cheaper ala carte than on the dining plan, especially if splitting meals. Obviously, you can't split meals at buffets or other "all you care to eat" places, but at standard TS (and all CS) restaurants you can do so.

The dining plan only makes sense from a $$$ standpoint if it matches (or at least comes close to) the way you want to eat.

05-11-2009, 03:20 PM
We have never done the DDP because we eat a large (and relatively inexpensive) buffet table service breakfast and then a dinner and have always found that this will be cheaper oop than ddp. However, next year we have decided to book DXDP for two reasons, firstly we want to do a lot of 2TS meals and think it will work out cheaper overall and secondly the exchange rate over here is so bad at the moment that the dining plan should work out cheaper.

We have seen people eating huge desserts that they obviously don't really want just because they are on the dining plan but there is nothing to stop you having it to go for the following day.

05-12-2009, 08:32 AM
Thank, I appreciate it. I'm still not sure what to do at this moment. I believe that we want to go to the following TS: Whispering Canyon Cafe, Sci-Fi, Crystal Palace for a Character Meal, and maybe Liberty Tavern not sure about that one.

I have looked at all the menus and I'm just not sure if my daughter would like some of the places in addition again, it's a lot of food with dessert at lunch and dinner.

But I do know there are many CS that we want to try like Flame Tree BBQ, Harbour House, Caseys,Earls, Yakitori, Yak n Yeti, and many others that I can not remember in Epcot...but again they are all CS.

If we pick the QSMP then I feel that we may be wasting some of the CS credits because we want to sit down for a few TS meals. I'm just trying to make sure that we use our money the most efficent way. I work two jobs to make ends meet and this is a huge extravagance for us.

Honestly, I would love to go to disney every year, but I just do not understand how people do it. Even a vacation for that matter. This will be our first in five years.

(Sorry for this being so long - but many thanks!)

05-12-2009, 09:24 AM
QSDP is a funny animal in terms of "value". You can get excellent value on it, and it can wind up "losing" money on it. Depends on how you use it. (The other dining plans are the same, but QSDP requires a little more "optimizing" for value's sake.)

First of all, how many nights are you staying? That may help a bit for cost comparison when looking at your TS plans and how many CS credits you'd want/need.

05-12-2009, 11:54 AM
We are arriving on Saturday and staying through Friday. We depart Disney on Saturday.

05-12-2009, 12:53 PM
Okay... let's work some mathematical magic, then.

Basic DDP: $559.86 for 2 adults / 7 nights (1 TS, 1 CS, 1 snack pp/night)
QSDP: $419.86 for 2 adults / 7 nights (2 CS, 2 snack pp/night + resort mug)

These are the target numbers to work toward, in determining costs for the week. If you plan on eating 1 TS each day, but splitting whenever possible, we'll go with 2 beverages + 1 appetizer + 1 entree + 1 dessert as the basis. Assuming these are mostly dinners and chosen from the middle of the menu, price-wise, a typical TS meal would be on the order of $35, including tax. Obviously, there would be variation here, depending on specific choices, but we're just "ballparking" for now. With Crystal Palace and LTT (dinner), you can't split a meal, so let's assume 2 AYCE/buffet choices at an estimated $55 each, including tax. Now we're at $280. I'm not including tips here, since they should be a "wash" on DDP vs. OOP.

Assume also that you're splitting a CS breakfast (at the resort) and lunch (at the park) each day. A breakfast would be one "platter" and two beverages, for about $12 each (including tax). A lunch would be one higher-end combo (to be split) plus 2 beverages, for about $16, taxes included. CS meals over 7 nights come to $196.

(Adjust the numbers accordingly if you change the underlying assumptions.)

Total: $476, compared to appx. $560 for DDP. But that presumes you're splitting 3 meals a day, and not having any snacks. By going with a dining plan, you'd be able to have a lot more food, and you could each choose what you want to eat, for a higher, but not excessively high, cost.

If you went QSDP and pay OOP for the 4 TS meals, the OOP cost is $180... probably better to just go with Basic and schedule the extra TS meals.

So, if you do decide to go with Basic, here are some tips that might work for you:

Pack some compact, quick breakfast foods to have in the room (pop-tarts, protein or granola bars, etc.); that way you won't be paying OOP for an exta meal, and you can reserve a snack credit for use later. If you don't think you'll need that snack credit (see below), then maybe use the snack credit to get a pastry from the resort for breakfast
Minimize tips by using the DDP options that include gratuity -- maybe go to a 2 TS credit meal such as the Castle or the Hoop De Doo Revue (if the latter, it might make a good replacement for Whispering Canyon). You can split a few CS meals at the places with large combo meals to cover the "gaps" created by burning an extra credit once or twice. Pizza delivery at the resort is also an option for using extra TS credits without needing to tip, though not particularly cost-effective.
Save your CS dessert from lunch to use as an afternoon snack; if you don't want a cake or cookie, they may be able to sub some fruit from the kid's menu. Likewise, consider taking one (or both) TS dinner desserts "to go" and just use them for breakfast the next day. You won't have a refrigerator at a value resort, so bear that in mind when choosing something "to go".

Honestly, your best bet is if "free dining" offers are extended to include your week. I wouldn't hold my breath, but there are reports of some people getting offers for free dining through the week before Thanksgiving, so who knows? You'll probably save more with "free" basic DDP at full rack rate at a value resort than you will with a room rate discount and paying OOP.

05-13-2009, 10:04 AM
Thank you so much for putting forth all the effort...you are amazing! So, you are suggestiing the DDP not the QS right? Then use any additional TS credits for something else or we can revisit some of our favorite restaurants if we want to.

Thank you again...I really appreciate everything that you have done. It has made my mind a little less cluttered.

05-13-2009, 11:56 AM
Thank you so much for putting forth all the effort...you are amazing! So, you are suggestiing the DDP not the QS right? Then use any additional TS credits for something else or we can revisit some of our favorite restaurants if we want to.

Thank you again...I really appreciate everything that you have done. It has made my mind a little less cluttered.

Based on wanting to already do 4 TS meals over 7 nights, then yes, I'd say basic DDP over QSDP. Remember, however, that more TS meals means more tips, so bear in mind the options to do "gratuity included" choices, which for your situation would be CRT (2TS), any of the dinner shows (2TS), or pizza delivery (2TS/pizza). (The non-relevant options are room service [generally only at deluxe resorts] and grand gathering events [requires a minimum of 8 paying guests].)

Basic DDP vs. OOP/sharing comes down to a cost vs. convenience issue. I think you'll easily save more money going OOP and sharing a lot of meals, but the question is whether or not it would be worth the savings.

05-13-2009, 12:20 PM
That being said...we do not normally eat alot or need alot of desserts. We are bringing breakfast items we can have in our rooms as well as snacks with us.

I figured we would split a lunch CS meal, buy s snack for my daughter sometime during the day, and then dinner either splitting a CS meal again or opting for a TS meal. Also, there are more places that are "CS" in Epcot, but not TS that I feel she might be interested in. In all honesty I cannot see my daughter sitting down for a fancy dinner somewhere, but who knows...I can be wrong.

Princess Disney Mom
05-13-2009, 12:25 PM
I'd say pay out of pocket. Since you don't eat dessert you will be paying for more food than you would buy. Also you said you and your daughter would split meals. I do this with my daughter. You will be so free not on the DDP.