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View Full Version : DDP: pros vs. cons


wdwislife
05-12-2009, 01:16 PM
Though I've been to the world several times, my family's never done a DDP.
I'm considering one for our next trip in February 2010, and I was wondering if people could share their dining plan success or failure stories, pros and cons of being on a plan or testimonials to help me decide if its as great as people make it sound.
Thanks in advance! :)

RahRah573
05-12-2009, 01:40 PM
Though I've been to the world several times, my family's never done a DDP.
I'm considering one for our next trip in February 2010, and I was wondering if people could share their dining plan success or failure stories, pros and cons of being on a plan or testimonials to help me decide if its as great as people make it sound.
Thanks in advance! :)

Last year was our first trip with a dining plan and we purchased DxDP (deluxe), so I'm not sure how helpful this will be if you're looking at the basic DDP, but:

PROS:

Convenient - everything is already paid in advance, except tips and alcoholic beverages (sort of like an all-inclusive resort or cruise), so you're done, you just pick what you want from the menu and enjoy!

Not thinking about price - some restaurants have exceptionally high prices for some meals...like I personally think that Coral Reef for lunch is very high price - but it's a 1TS restaurant, so eating lunch there --- if you were going to try to anyway --- is great because you don't have to worry about how much it costs, it's included in the plan. Same thing with snacks - if your kids want something like a $4.00 way too big lollipop, you'll probably let them get it if you're on the plan more readily than if you weren't, so that leads to...

Experience - I think the dining plan adds to the whole Disney experience because it fosters trying things you might not otherwise try if you hadn't bought the plan, let's you have dessert you might not order if you're trying to stay in a budget....on DxDP includes the appetizer too and an extra snack each day.

Flexible - Now I haven't purchased or used the basic DDP, but the DxDP is fairly flexible - if you want a CS meal, you can have it and will be comped an additional snack credit since there is a price difference between TS and CS meals. I think the DDP allows you to exchange a CS for two snacks too? With the DxDP it's pretty easy too, to use snack credits for breakfast to keep breakfast light and then do a 1TS lunch and get to eat in a lot of signature, 2TS restaurants for dinner while you're there!


Value - highly subjective, but for the adults, either the DDP or DxDP IMHO is a really good deal IF you don't eat mostly at character meals, but prefer the table-service restaurants. Kid's meals, on the other hand, in the TS restaurants are standard pricing, so they have no fluctuation and what you pay for a child on the DxDP is pretty much what you'd spend out-of-pocket unless you eat at a lot of the character meals, which tend to cost more for the kids (the adult price, by comparison to the kid price, is very close and less a value).

CONS

Food Quantity - with the DxDP, it can be way too much food to reasonably eat in a day....with each meal being complete, ie three course, it is a lot to try to eat day-in day-out if you're there for longer than a few days.

That said, it's also nice to have that much, I'd think, if you're a big eater!

Time to eat - it takes longer to eat sit-down meals, so the DxDP can mean more time sitting in a TS restaurant than if you'd gone with a CS meal. We prefer eating at TS restaurants, so for us it's great - but if you're not up for the time-out, you may not like the time needed to eat in a TS restaurant.

Scheduling - if you go with ADR's, be careful not to plan meals too closely together, which is easy to do by mistake.....I did that last year and we managed, but some days weren't much fun having to run between reservations and parks!

At this point, I can't imagine doing Disney without the DxDP....but that's me!

sgrabin
05-12-2009, 02:14 PM
We're going to Disneyworld in late September this year and the only, only, ONLY reason I'm staying on property is the Free DDP. Not out of cheapness, but it will be something "different" for us and we can try out a lot of restaurants that in Disney are NOT worth paying for ($28 for a buffet, pleeeeeese..) We usually stay off site. (see below)

That being said, I notice you have "offsite" listed a lot on your previous trips. Everybody knows you can get much bigger, better accomodations with more ammenities for $150 a night by renting a condo or a house in Orlando than by staying in a Disney hotel room. All those rentals have nice, fully equipped kitchens.

It's much, much less expensive with a family to get one of these accomodations, buy some groceries at Wal-Mart and cook/prepare some of your own meals.

If your the kind of family that loves to eat out 3 times a day, every day, while on vacation, then hey go for it.

Good Luck! popcorn::

Pakey
05-12-2009, 04:45 PM
We've done regular dining plan, deluxe dining plan and OOP. We prefer to do OOP but I'll give my lists of pros/cons.

Pros: The dining plan is convenient. We have adult children who are married and we take the entire group every other year and pay for their vacation. Being able to put credits on a room key is more convenenient than doling out the cash, especially since we seldom all eat together.

Many people state "its prepaid" as a pro but I don't buy that (I'm an accountant) because you could prepay onto a gift card or a credit card and get the same effect.

Cons: Deluxe plan is too much food, even for my 200+lb 28 year old son. Regular plan only gives you 1TS credit per day which eliminates the signatures unless you are paying OOP or skipping a day somewhere. We are not dessert eaters so that's money thrown down the drain.

Also, it eliminates any flexibility because spur of the moment changes in plans don't work or you leave credits on the table. Or what if I would rather have an appetizer instead of an entree? Four months ago, when we took everyone (11 total), 4 of the 11 got very sick on the second day there. They were forced to cancel meals, too sick to leave their rooms. I don't even want to think about how many "prepaid" meals that did not get used.

smk09
05-12-2009, 04:52 PM
Really interested to see responses!

I'm new on the boards, and brand new to WDW. We're a family of four planning on going with another family of four. We're trying to decide whether it's worth it to to the free dining or to stay off-site.

RahRah573
05-12-2009, 05:27 PM
Many people state "its prepaid" as a pro but I don't buy that (I'm an accountant) because you could prepay onto a gift card or a credit card and get the same effect.



Well, maybe, but not with the same small level of protection Disney provides if you lose your KTTW...a quick trip to a CM/conceirge and within minutes your KTTW is canceled and a new one issued - if someone found (or stole) your card and bought something, Disney removes the charge from your room charges and/or adds the meal credits back if it was food on the key card.....if it was a loaded gift card lost, you're SOL; if it's your credit card lost, well you can alert the CC company to the loss, no one can charge on the lost card, so you won't lose there....but you'll typically wait at least 24-hours for replacement card, hope you have some cash on you to eat or another credit card! Just sayin'....

I'll also add that it is pre-paying for your meals....whether you actually would have paid more out-of-pocket or not depends on how you use the plan you have. Personally I don't want to think about what something I'm ordering costs, so I like having the plan....see what I like, order whatever, don't have to try to keep a running tab of what's being spent since I already spent the money pre-paying for the convenience!

tndisneyfan
05-12-2009, 10:08 PM
I've only done the basic DDP so here are my thoughts for it.

Pros:
1. I like that your food is prepaid. It feels more like an all-inclusive deal.
2. Having the freedom to order whatever you want no matter the cost.
3. Getting dessert every meal, because I like dessert.


Cons:
1. You are tied to your ADR's because you have to use up that TS credit or lose it. If you're not on the DDP and don't feel like keeping your ADR you just cancel and you don't have to worry about losing the credit.
2. Not as good of a value as it used to be since appetizer and tip are no longer included.

monkeyknuckler
05-12-2009, 10:31 PM
We came back from Orlando just 2 weeks ago. We were going to keep all the receipts and total the cost of the food vs. what the cost of the plan was, but for CS meals, the cost of the food doesn't show up on the receipt, so we would have had to write it down ourselves and calculate taxes (not a Florida resident, I don't even know what it is). The cost of a TS meal is on the receipt, so that you can see how much you're gonna have to shell out for the 18% gratuity. We don't have a clue if its worth it. But yeah, if you like desserts and your spouse and kid can't handle it, then it might be for you. Gotta go for a jog now...

catne
05-12-2009, 10:53 PM
We like desserts - we've always splurged on desserts on vacations no matter where we are at...to us that's just part of vacation. We like being able to order the most expensive item on a menu without caring about the price (we do not deliberately try to maximize the value, it's just that we tend to like the high-end entrees like steaks!) We also like having most of our vacation paid for in advance, including the food - we find it a more enjoyable time that way. We like having the chance to try all those different restaurants (and no matter what the naysayers claim, there are different items on the menus - it's not all the same everywhere.) We do not mind having one reservation a day - we've never been the patient types - not "o.k." to wing it & get turned away or have to wait for 30-45 minutes for a ride, show or restaurant -that's not for us!

And I have kept receipts for several trips now (and written down the amounts that don't show up on the final bill.) The two of us average saving about $25 a day buying the basic dining plan - so over the course of week we'll save about $150-200.00 by purchasing the dining plan. We use snack credit for breakfast, counter service for lunch and table service for dinner.

momto2greatkids
05-12-2009, 10:54 PM
We did the DDP and loved it! We enjoyed all the food -and there was alot of it! We didn't have to worry about trying to find somewhere or something to eat because we had ADR's for all of the places we ate. I wouldn't go back without the DDP! We loved not having to worry about having to pay for it when we got there. We already had that taken care of.

teach22180
05-13-2009, 11:29 AM
Pros:
3. Getting dessert every meal, because I like dessert.


We like desserts - we've always splurged on desserts on vacations no matter where we are at...to us that's just part of vacation.

THANK YOU!! I've often thought I'm the only person on the board who likes the desserts on the dining plan. It seems like most discussions are full of people saying they don't like the desserts. I'm picking restaurants based on the desserts!! :lmao:

catne
05-13-2009, 11:47 AM
THANK YOU!! I've often thought I'm the only person on the board who likes the desserts on the dining plan. It seems like most discussions are full of people saying they don't like the desserts. I'm picking restaurants based on the desserts!! :lmao:

I ALWAYS check the dessert menu when trying to decide which restaurants to try next. LOVE the restaurants that allow "samplers" where you get small servings of multiple desserts to try.

Also been know to check the adult beverage menu, too...don't drink all that much (or buy the fancy drinks) when we go out to eat at home. But on vacation, love to try all the frozen/fruity/slushy concoctions (and a few glowing ones, too:rotfl:)

wdwislife
05-14-2009, 03:10 PM
Thanks for all your imput everyone!
One more thing:
Has anyone done a DDP while staying offsite?
My family is splitting our time between off and onsite.

arielmomma
05-14-2009, 03:33 PM
You can't get the DDP when you stay off site. You have to have a Disney Vacation Package, thus staying on site.

As for the Dessert lovers out there - I'm with you!!!!:thumbsup2

DaveStroem
05-14-2009, 04:39 PM
I love the DDP. For me being a CAB I would have never gone to 3/4 of the restaurants that we went to in March. While you are tied to your ADRs, your also free to get what ever you want and not worry about the cost.

During our March trip we were 3 "Disney adults" and 1 child. The Dining plan cost $132 a day. Most nights our dinner alone was over $150. CS Lunches came in at $50-$60 each day. So for us it was a major savings. I too love getting desserts when we are on vacation. The DDP made me a hero by being always able to say yes.

hrh_disney_queen
05-14-2009, 06:12 PM
I love the DDP. For me being a CAB I would have never gone to 3/4 of the restaurants that we went to in March. While you are tied to your ADRs, your also free to get what ever you want and not worry about the cost.

During our March trip we were 3 "Disney adults" and 1 child. The Dining plan cost $132 a day. Most nights our dinner alone was over $150. CS Lunches came in at $50-$60 each day. So for us it was a major savings. I too love getting desserts when we are on vacation. The DDP made me a hero by being always able to say yes.



This says it all for me!! We always have eaten CS at WDW, and even then we would share, because we are not really big eaters. DH can eat a whole meal, but doesn't need to, and DSs could share a kid's meal and be fine. We almost always say "no" to dessert because we know it would not get eaten. We also tried to limit the snacks because they would be wasted. But since we now have FD, we are going to see how the other half lives! This will be the trip of YESSES, not the trip of NOS!:laughing:

Disney Mommy 3
05-15-2009, 08:41 AM
I agree with Dave..our last meal at Cinderellas Royal Table was over $180!!!! But, what we paid for the dining plan that day was $40 less, plus we all got a 'free lunch' and a 'free snack'. This year my younger son turned 10, so I will have to see if it's going to be feasible for him bumping up to adult menus. I think it probably will....hope so, it's mighty convenient!

sharadoc
05-16-2009, 02:48 PM
I love the DDP. For me being a CAB I would have never gone to 3/4 of the restaurants that we went to in March. While you are tied to your ADRs, your also free to get what ever you want and not worry about the cost.

During our March trip we were 3 "Disney adults" and 1 child. The Dining plan cost $132 a day. Most nights our dinner alone was over $150. CS Lunches came in at $50-$60 each day. So for us it was a major savings. I too love getting desserts when we are on vacation. The DDP made me a hero by being always able to say yes.

I think that's says it all - IF you like to eat out for all your meals. We've never eaten that much at WDW, but we're trying free dining this time to see what it's like, so we can decide if we want the dining plan for future trips. We generally like to stay where we can cook some meals in the room.

Generally, we like to go to WDW twice a year. We're getting tired of the restaurants, so I'm thinking that for us it will be free dining, or no dining plan in the future. We'll see in August!

I think the DxDP is great if you're there during long park hours. If you go in Jan/Feb short hours season, you may waste over half the day eating!

DaveStroem
05-16-2009, 02:58 PM
I would love to try the DxDP. But that trip would be all about eating and not so much about riding. I can't imaging how much food that would be. We were stuffed on the regular DDP and we are big eaters.