View Full Version : Disney dining plan

10-15-2009, 05:05 AM
Hello, Im sure this has probably been asked before but has anyone purchased the disney dining plan & did you think it offered value for money ?
We are going nxt yr & thought this might be cheaper than purchasing meals but finding it difficult to work out if its good value, should have kept my reciepts as we are just back, we thought it was more expensive to dine out this time but maybe we are wrong & just noticed it this time compared to previous as pound is not so strong. I should add that we are staying in WDW for the 14 days & not venturing outside WDW except for a bit of shopping of course !!

10-15-2009, 05:18 AM
i wouldnt pay for it but we got it free this year and next year.

We ate so much more than we needed and normally dont do many TS meals so we wouldnt get value for money out of it so I wouldnt buy it

10-15-2009, 05:20 AM
we had the regular DDP for 12 nights on last months trip. we had originally booked ASM with free dining, but ended up cancelling that, renting DVC points, then paying to add the dining plan back on.
i know the dining plan doesnt work for everyone, some people just dont like having to plan where they're eating months in advance, but we loved it. we ended up trying restaurants we wouldnt have been to otherwise, and had a great time trying all the new places.
i kept our receipts and totalled it up when we got home. we had 4 lunches (our total "spent" would have been more if we'd have had all dinners) and 8 dinners. we had a mixture of proper table service and buffets. again if we'd have chosen waitress service meals for every meal and eaten every dinner we'd have spent more.
but even doing it the way we did we saved money.
buying the dining plan cost us $959.76 for 12 nights.
between the counter service and table service bills (i forgot to keep track of how much the snacks were), we used $1108.63

so we ended up saving at least $148. we loved being able to go out to nice places and not having to order the cheapest thing to save money, and we had some really nice meals!

we'll definately be doing the DDP again! but as i said earlier, i know it doesnt work for everyone :)

10-15-2009, 05:43 AM
So many things to consider before paying.
2 of the main things,
Would you eat all onsite with or without the plan?
Would you prefer Starter instead of dessert?

We had it free for 16 nights, on the face of it 3 of us eating $2,409 worth of food its a great deal. Must be worth paying $1,920 for DDP, would give us a saving of $489 BUT that is eating every single meal onsite, 2 out of 3 of us usually eating most expensive entree on the menu.

If we had not had free DDP then we would eat majority eve meals offsite, lunch onsite. We would probably average $80/day($1280 over 16 nights) and a LOT less tips.

For us not a chance its worth it, it was great free but $40pppd is a lot when you eat offsite.

If you are sure you are eating all onsite I would say look at menus, make a rough costing for 3 or 4 days and see if you would make a saving.

Twilight Terror
10-15-2009, 07:44 AM
It really depends on what and where you are going to eat. We are DVC and have to pay for the Dining Plan. We did a split stay this September, and spent the first week paying out of pocket, and the second week on the dining plan. We used all our TS credits, all our snack credits, and left with just 4 CS credits remaining.

The most sensible way to make the most of the TS credits, is to eat dinner everywhere and pick the most expensive. I refer to eat somewhere different and at a different time just because we're on the DDP, so we don't get as much out of it as you could. We prefer to have a large buffet breakfast and then not eat until much later in the day, so effectively we lost out a bit there. So we did manage to use up our TS credits, but on meals we were originally planning to eat at anyway.

As for the CS credits, we came home with 4 to spare. I know we would not have eaten all those CS meals had we been paying out of pocket. Our OOP week, we never bought a meal for everyone, just one or two and shared. We bought a total of just 12 meals. Second week, on DDP, we bought a total of 20 meals, and on quite a few occasions not everyone finished those meals. So that was meals that would never have been bought had we paid OOP.

We did use up all our snack credits in the end, but only because we spent the 7, on the last day, buying sweets and cookies for the flight home. Again, something we would never have bought had we been paying OOP.

For us, the DDP cost us: $1079.79; we spent a total of $1,196.14. So we did save some money. Had we paid OOP for the second week and removed the excess snacks and extra CS we wouldn't have had, it would have probably still worked out equal with buying the plan. So the plan had it's advantages in that we didn't have to carrying around the extra cash to pay for meals, and if we wanted to have a random snack, the opportunity was there.

I will be doing some serious calculations before we go next year, and we are considering doing Tables In Wonderland, rather than paying for the DDP.

If you want to make the most out of it, you really need to know what you're going to eat, where you're going to go, and stick to evening meals. If you picked the right evening restaurants, you can probably make the DDP work just on the TS. Like eating at Le Cellier is going to cost you about $40 per person, which means your snack and CS for that day are totally free.

10-15-2009, 08:01 AM
We own DVC so usually add on the DDP, whilst we really enjoy the plan for our stay we usually stay a max of 7 nights in one place and that's enough for us. If your staying on site and plan to eat on site then I would say it's worth it. You just have to use the credits wisely.

10-15-2009, 08:26 AM
We are Dvc members, that is why we stay on site & as we are travaling with our DS who will be 4 when we go it is very doubtful we will eat off site as we have no car !
But am finding it difficult to work out if we would spend $42 a day on food each !!:confused3
Think i will pull up some menus & work out what we would order over a 4 day period & see if it works out good value.
DH would hate the thought of paying for it & not using it, I could come home 2 dress size bigger just so he would not moan about the waste of money & I'm not doing that !:rotfl:

10-15-2009, 08:43 AM
I can see your splitting your stay so why don't you do the DDP for the first part of the holiday and not the second that is what we tend to do, as I said 7 nights on the DDP is enough for us (but we always have a car so tend to eat of site too) for us we eat ourselves silly when on the DDP and after that tend to go off food a little.

Twilight Terror
10-15-2009, 07:12 PM
Think i will pull up some menus & work out what we would order over a 4 day period & see if it works out good value.

I don't know if the menus on here have been updated or not, but when I budgeted for our holiday, it wasn't quite enough. We found once we got to the parks that meals were a little bit more expensive than the Dis Menus said! Just keep that in mind! Also going to send you a PM.

10-16-2009, 10:01 AM
We just came back from WDW and had the DDP for 14 days and thought it was fantastic value given the exchange rate. Last time we went it was $2/1so it wasnt as good value.

It is only the really popular ADRS (character meals, Cali Grill Le Cellier etc) you need to book straight away we were able to move others around while we were there and the California Grill was the only place we ate at where the restaurant was full (and had a 45 ADR wait :eek:) so I think you could do walk ins too.

We were able to get smoothies and milkshakes as drinks instead of sodas and if you didnt want dessert you could get fruit or another drink. We only paid for one starter at the California Grill and by the end of the 3 courses we couldnt move :lmao:

For counter service we also got drinks instead of desserts most days or fruit bags. Too be honest I don't think I actually finished a single meal as there was so much food :lmao:

We did visit two signature places (Cali Grill and Artist Point) which were fab, I know people say this makes the DDP worth less but for us it was great value for money. The only place we paid of cash for was Trex Cafe which I wasn't very impressed with and we wouldnt go back.

Dinners are more expensive in Disney than breakfast or lunch so thats where you get the most value on the dining plan - we had a mixture of all, we really enjoyed have a relaxing lunch (with lots of air conditioning) to break up the day and to have a rest.

We will do this again next year or get a tables in wonderland card as we will have an annual pass as part of the wedding.

10-16-2009, 12:09 PM
We did it in May (paid for it). Although we didn't make much of a saving I liked it just because all the meals are already paid for, so it takes part of the stress away of daily costs! I am someone who always plans and book's their ADR's well in advance, so that wasn't a problem for me!

10-16-2009, 12:22 PM
I've just returned from 2 weeks and we purchased the DDP. I couldn't decide whether to add it or not but i'm so glad we did.

The only thing I would say is that for children the TS meals are rubbish - chicken nuggets, mach cheese almost everywhere. However, I booked lots of buffet meals so they could have much more choice and so we had a great time. For the odd non buffet meals wwe did they didn't mind the choices they had.

We paid 66/day for the 4 of us and we averaged DDP spends of $150 so fo us it was worth it as it worked out saving us around 420 - Plus this was eating 1/2 of the TS as lunches so we would have saved even more had we eaten more evening meals. We had lots of charactor lunches which are expensive so the DDP really helped. However, had we not had the DDP we would not have eaten in the restaurants we chose (cheapskates) so I suppose we would not have spent so much on food in the first place.

Also none of us are big eaters lots of food got left. I think we were not as bothered as it was "paid" for but I think if I was paying cash at the time I would have been a bit more miffed when the girls when they left half full plates. :confused3

If the offer is still on in 2011 I would consider again depending on costs and the exchange rate. For any futher trips when the girls are older and we would be doing other things than Disney I doubt we would as it does tie you down with meal reservations etc

10-16-2009, 01:37 PM
free yes, paid for no,if they ever go back to appetizers and tip included then paid for yes