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View Full Version : DDP rant / budgeting ouchness.


anthony2k7
10-06-2009, 05:15 PM
So, here we were thinking with free dining our trip this year we would need far less spending money than last year when we didnt bother with DDP (and ate mostly on site).

Ohhhhhhh no. I dunno if its just because we didnt make the most of it - or maybe thats because its not flexible enough to suit us. Either way I think we ended up using up as much if not more spending money this year than last!

First issue was that we're not big eaters, and so only really eat one big meal a day, so the CS credits were a complete waste with us - I think we maybe only used 8 of the 28 credits.

Second issue was that if you spend long days in the parks, then we got through several bottles of water a day - and I hate the tap/fountain water. So we basicly had the choice of using snack credits, paying $2.75 per bottle, using a CS and binning the food just to get the drink, or driving off site buying bottles of water and carrying them around all day. Most days we ended up using snack credits AND buying a couple of bottles. Those 2 bottles a day soon add up ($6.50 a day * 14 = $91 just on bottled drinks). Drinks seem to have gone up at least $.25 since last year.

Third issue - at the end of the long day we want nice usually 3 course meal - especially at the signature restuarants. So those starters were also being paid for out of pocket. I also prefer an alcoholic drink with the meal - wine is paired with dishes for a reason, it complements it in a way coke just doesnt!

Forth issue - Disney world seems to have its own little hyper inflation going on. Everything over there seems to have gone up so much in just 12 months.

So overall, free DDP seemed a waste, didnt help save us any spending money over last year, but does seem a necessaty due to how much everything has gone up.

Maybe if you're willing to only eat what Disney will let you have free, can stomach the fountain water, are tight on your tips then it might be a good deal - but for us it was disappointing for it to still cost so much.

Ideally, it would be great if Disney could build some flexibility into it - say to allow 7 food credits a day where :

4 food credits = 1 TS meal
2 food credits = 1 CS meal
1 food credit = 1 snack

In addition you could even say 2 food credits = 1 alcoholic drink (glass of wine/cocktail).

Then allow you to use those 7 credits a day however you wanted - but I guess thats never gonna happen.

wayneg
10-06-2009, 05:43 PM
Shame it didn't work for you. I am suprised it worked for us.

We found the credits spot on over 16 nights, last 2 days we had no TS credits left but we had 4 CS so exactly right. Snacks we bought about 8 bags of Haribo Gummi bears to use them up.

We don't eat breakfast, eat CS for lunch and TS for eve meal. Same if paying or free (although we would have been offsite if paying)

We had plenty of food with the 2 courses at TS with the exeption of Cali Grill, only meal I was hungry after.

We rarely drink alcohol, I think DW had 1 cocktail all 16 nights. Prefer soda with meals. I either drink or eat, don't enjoy both together.

For drinks we had enough with meals, odd one bought with snack credit and always take a bottle of water in with us. Gallon at Publix for $1.19 fill small bottles from it. Can always ask for free iced water at any drinks outlet in Disney, its better than fountain. Never bought water onsite, just couldn't pay it.

In 16 nights we had $2,409 worth of meals and snacks, cost me $2,300 for 16 nights at OKW for 3 of us.

Worked out about same price as me staying in a budget hotel offsite and eating offsite but I felt better accomodation and trying Disney Dining I would never pay for was worth it. If I find some flights will probably be doing again next year.

Only downside to me was it ties you a little too much, we found service slower than offsite in some places (Cali grill for 1).

natalielongstaff
10-07-2009, 01:30 AM
it sounds like the dp doesn't suit your family, we love it and it does save us money.

orangetiggs
10-07-2009, 02:15 AM
yes it saved us money as well this year, but without it we would not have tried half the places we did so I loved it for that

We only took around $1500 and we spent most of it on baby stuff!

Pegasus928
10-07-2009, 02:27 AM
First issue was that we're not big eaters, and so only really eat one big meal a day, so the CS credits were a complete waste with us - I think we maybe only used 8 of the 28 credits
Second issue was that if you spend long days in the parks, then we got through several bottles of water a day - and I hate the tap/fountain water. So we basicly had the choice of using snack credits, paying $2.75 per bottle, using a CS and binning the food just to get the drink, or driving off site buying bottles of water and carrying them around all day. Most days we ended up using snack credits AND buying a couple of bottles. Those 2 bottles a day soon add up ($6.50 a day * 14 = $91 just on bottled drinks). Drinks seem to have gone up at least $.25 since last year..

Rather than leaving with 20 credits still left why didn't you just use them for your water or other drinks? So what if it meant wasting a meal - if Disney are happy to waste it then it wouldn't give me any sleepless nights.


Third issue - at the end of the long day we want nice usually 3 course meal - especially at the signature restuarants. So those starters were also being paid for out of pocket. I also prefer an alcoholic drink with the meal - wine is paired with dishes for a reason, it complements it in a way coke just doesnt!

I've never been a fan of alcohol - even less so with a meal. I find it tends to deaden the taste buds in a way that water or a soft drink doesn't, so that would be money saved in our case.

Sorry it didn't work for you, but judging by the trip reports that I have been reading you are definately in a minority so you are probably right to say that Disney won't change it.

zippy99
10-07-2009, 06:03 AM
We did the QSDP in Sept - and because we had planned to pay OOP for some 'Special' meals we frequently used CS credits for breakfast and got two drinks with - plus we had the mugs - so we always had plenty of liquid!

We were there for 2 weeks so started the holiday with 112 Counter Service and 112 snacks

We left with 25 CS remaining and between 30-40 snacks on sweets to bring home with us.

When dining is 'Free' it is great although cost comparions are often pointless as when paying OOP you would not be getting 2 drinks at breakfast or paying for deserts with every meal.

For those who go for 2 weeks and do not need to rush round the parks to fit everything in - it is great as you have the time to plan dining. Next time we will definately go for the DDP with a Table service included as we loved eating with metal cutlery! In fact, we already have out list of where we want to eat planned!

madmumof2
10-07-2009, 06:23 AM
For us it wouldn't have worked, it would have ended with us spending more, like you, and I would never pay for it, but if it's free then that's nothing to sneeze about! lol

Neoshoegal
10-07-2009, 06:46 AM
I don't get it. You knew beforehand what the DDP entails so if you know you like a starter and an alcoholic drink, then budget for it.
As for spending so much on water. A trip to Walmart could have saved you a bunch. We bought 12 half litre bottles for less than $3.

Also if you prefer signature restaurants, then why didn't you use the CS for the other days. Example: go 14 days that could be 7 signatures on the DDP use the CS on the other days.

A bit of research could have saved you some cash.

:confused3

igk
10-07-2009, 07:22 AM
I think perhaps with a little more planning you could have budgeted better. The DDP is quite clear in what is provided and what isn't - the TS meal is a main course and dessert, no appetiser, and no alcohol is included.
You say you're not big eaters, but you do want a three course meal in the evening. i understand that, but what I think you really mean is that the balance of credits doesn't suit your dining preferences - you'd rather eat less during the day, but be able to have an appetiser with your evening meal. TBH, I don't think that's a bad idea, swapping a CS credit for a TS appetiser for example.
With regards to alcohol, again, you knew in advance you'd have to pay for it, so you could have allowed for that. I like a couple of beers before dinner (helps my appetite/digestion for some reason :confused3), so I know I'll have to pay. With four of us on the DDP I know that I'll still spend a great deal less than I would have to if I were to pay for the whole thing OOP.

UKDEB
10-07-2009, 07:46 AM
I can't ever imagine wanting to use the Dining Plan in its current form. Eating is a big part of our trips and the plan is way too rigid for our preferences. A nice dinner out without wine is inconceivable to me and I do think you've struck on something with your suggestion of more flexibility in using credits. Why not drop Disney a line?

wayneg
10-07-2009, 09:13 AM
We did the QSDP in Sept - and because we had planned to pay OOP for some 'Special' meals we frequently used CS credits for breakfast and got two drinks with - plus we had the mugs - so we always had plenty of liquid!


Now I know 100% the QSDP would not work for us. Our last 2 days we had no TS credits left so used 2 CS a day each. Totally did not enjoy that and it was only 2 days. I don't mind a CS for lunch but evening meal has to be TS. Next time even if I had spare CS and not enough TS I think I would eat offsite somewhere at TS.
We ate a lot of CS at Woolfgang Pucks which feels more like TS dining. QSDP probably works for some but I am not a fan of CS meals.

Twilight Terror
10-07-2009, 10:03 AM
It's a shame it didn't work for you. We did half our trip paying OOP and half on the Dining Plan (which we paid for since DVC don't get free dining). Anyway, the upshot was it worked out about equal, although we ate a lot more CS in the second week than we did in the first, and had we not been on the dining plan the second week, I don't think we would have eaten all those meals.

I had a couple of meals with a glass of wine, but I knew in advance I was paying for those. I don't normally drink, so only do so with a meal on holiday or or at Christmas! lol

Since we all have APs, we are actually looking into getting the Tables in Wonderland card for our next trip, especially as we have two trips next year. Going by the eating pattern described in your post, perhaps this would benefit you guys more in the future? 20% off most TS meals and drinks (inc alcohol), so you can have what you want.

Elise79
10-07-2009, 01:17 PM
Now I know 100% the QSDP would not work for us. Our last 2 days we had no TS credits left so used 2 CS a day each. Totally did not enjoy that and it was only 2 days. I don't mind a CS for lunch but evening meal has to be TS. Next time even if I had spare CS and not enough TS I think I would eat offsite somewhere at TS.
We ate a lot of CS at Woolfgang Pucks which feels more like TS dining. QSDP probably works for some but I am not a fan of CS meals.

We always eat at least one meal offsite when on the DDP as we like to do a couple of 2TS restaurants on a 14 night trip.

We have done the QSDP and it work great for that trip but we probably wouldn't do it again. We used in March when DD was 9 mths and we were not sure of how her eating habits would change and how she would cope with a restaurant meal every night. Also with her sleeping pattern uncertain I didn't like to make ADRs. We eat at places that were a bit more like TS and still only had lunch in the parks.

Next time we are not going to get any DP - we are going to see how much it costs us. We want to try some different places offsite as well. We might or might not go back to it in the future but as we are DVC now it has to be a cost saving;)

anthony2k7
10-07-2009, 06:10 PM
The issue wasnt that there wasnt enough food, if anything there was too much.

We would never actually plan to use CS for a main meal of the day - its a special holiday and so we carefully planned ADRs for specific restaurants we wanted to visit for every day we were on site (including 4 signature restaurants).

We did end up using a couple of CS credits for main meals on off site days when we got back (well done disney, I guess in that sense DDP is a complete success!) to save cash and for flexibility.

We used all our TS credits up (and if we could have swapped some CS for TS we'd have used more).

As for others comments about how we should have known what was included and wasnt and budgeted accordingly - we did!! what we hadnt budgeted for was that everything OOP had gone up so much since last year.

The other thing that really bugged me about the DDP was how you tell them you're going to use it when booking the ADR, then again to the front of house person when you get there, then again to the waiter when you order then again when you ask for the bill - yet when the bill comes it doesnt mention it. So you're left to figure out the OOP costs yourself - which is fairly easy for it all except the tax and they expect you to enter an amount for the tip and somehow total it. We generally didnt bother filling in the tip or total and just left enough cash for what we hoped would work out around a 20% tip. I'm sure they could figure out a better way of doing all that though.

Twilight Terror
10-07-2009, 06:25 PM
Did you guys not get two receipts? Anytime I had alcohol with my dinner, we got the initial bill with all the food costs (which we would write the price down on a separate piece of paper - good for planning next year's!), and then when the receipt came back to be signed, I'd have two - one for the dining plan, with everything $0 and the other for the OOP expenses.

We also never filled in the tips bit. In fact, I made a point to cross it out every time, just so no could write in their own little amount! We just left a cash tip, but since we were writing all the prices down, we always knew what the tip amount would be.

We are now trying to work out if we would be better off just having a TS buffet breakfast and a TS evening meal, then having a snack midday to keep us going, in which case we won't be paying for the DDP but getting the Tables in Wonderland.

If the DDP is free, then you might as well take it and make use of what you can, after all you're not loosing out. We, on the other hand, had to make extreme use out of it because we had to pay for it in the first place! I will be doing some serious calculations before we go on our next trip!!! :scared1: TiW v. DDP!

anthony2k7
10-08-2009, 01:42 AM
we did get two receipts at the end yes and I suppose thats how the process is supposed to work - get bill, hand KTTW card over, server comes back with new receipts showing remaining OOP costs which you can then leave cash for. However I didnt like this process as it needed three visits to the table by the server (I wouldnt feel comfortable walking out with cash left on the table) - who as someone said earlier, arent particularly quick! you could be sat there 15 to 20 minutes waiting I bet at some places doing it that way?

Personally I'd like them to take a swipe of the KTTW card on arrival or something (we found they often ask to see your card at that point anyway) whilst you're looking at the menus.

I dunno..... just seems like it could be better somehow.