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View Full Version : Upgrade to DxDDP or upgrade to Park Hopper?


alm99
08-16-2011, 04:31 PM
I need some advice. Our family of 5, Ages:33, 32, 8, 6, 4, will be taking our first trip to Disney. DW and I went when we were younger. We will be going for 8 days/7 nights.

I can't decide if it would be better to upgrade the dining plan or upgrade to the park hopper option. The regular dining plan seems like we would pay out of pocket for a meal almost daily, whereas the other plan would allow for greater options. However, will we want to be able to park hop or would it be reasonable since we are going for 7 nights to stay at one park per day?

EPCOTatNight
08-16-2011, 04:41 PM
I would NOT do either. Being that it's your first time, you will want as much park time as possible. Too many sit downs will take a lot of time away from touring. Park hoppers are nice, but may be a waste for newbies. Also, you will do a LOT of walking and might find yourself too tired for a sit down meal in the evening. There are many a tale of people falling asleep at dinner (myself included). Lastly, I know a week seems like a long time, but it's not. I went for 9 nights my first trip and still couldn't do it all. On top of that, we were exhausted when we got home.

bob6sims
08-16-2011, 04:49 PM
I would upgrade to Park Hopper tickets - that way if you are at a park but its really busy you can go to another park - or if the kids want to head to another park to go to a particular attraction then you can are free to do that :cool1:

Going for so many sit down meals will eat into the time you spend at the parks and you often have to book well in advance to get the better/popular places - you would then also be tied to going to a specific park (or resort) on given days :rotfl2:

lin7
08-16-2011, 05:00 PM
I need some advice. Our family of 5, Ages:33, 32, 8, 6, 4, will be taking our first trip to Disney. DW and I went when we were younger. We will be going for 8 days/7 nights.

I can't decide if it would be better to upgrade the dining plan or upgrade to the park hopper option. The regular dining plan seems like we would pay out of pocket for a meal almost daily, whereas the other plan would allow for greater options. However, will we want to be able to park hop or would it be reasonable since we are going for 7 nights to stay at one park per day?

You already know at this point that you're going to be paying out of pocket, so why not just upgrade now before having to worry about it later? You might end up upgrading to a parkhopper and also end up paying out of pocket

Tough situation. It's not convenient sticking to one park a day either :sad2:

Edgehopper
08-16-2011, 05:11 PM
Maybe park hop, definitely don't do DxDP.

On regular DDP, you will, if everyone eats a full meal with each credit, pay out of pocket one meal a day. And except for the few days you do character breakfasts, that OOP meal will be breakfast, and will probably less than $6 per person on average (a pastry and a drink, or a more substantial platter at your resort food court where you get a free drink.). On your character breakfast days, most counter service is on the order of $12 for an adult and $7 for a kid, at most--you can get lower prices most of the time.

DxDP is for people who want to use nearly all of their credits on TS meals, including a decent number of signatures. For example, a honeymooning couple that wants fancy food and more time relaxing over meals. You've got 3 kids, they're not going to want to sit through those kinds of meals. Get the regular plan, pay out of pocket for cheaper extra meals (and you can always use snack credits on pastries for breakfast).

Park Hoppers can be nice to have, but it's a place you can save money through planning. Are your kids the type who will change their mind (DHS is boring! We want to go back to the Pirates ride!)? Also, which resort are you at? If you're at an MK or Epcot resort, it's easier to go back to the hotel in the middle of the day and go to a different park at night. If you're at an All-Star, park-hopping can just get exhausting, because you won't want to take the long bus trip back to the hotel and will go straight between parks without a rest.

MickeyMomTo2
08-16-2011, 05:11 PM
We never pay for a meal out of pocket on the regular dining plan. We bring some prepackaged breakfast foods from home. This enables us to get to the park early without having to sit down for breakfast. However, we always end up eating one counter service breakfast because we end up with some credits left over (because we are full from the amount of food from snacks and table credits and end up not using all the counter meals). Also, when we do a character, we always get the latest seating and count it as lunch so we don't use our table meal at the breakfast time (so we still eat our prepackaged stuff at the hotel or while waiting for the bus). We prefer to get park touring in when lines are short rather than doing a meal first thing in the morning.

As far as hoppers are concerned. You can always upgrade if you get there and decide you do want to hop. You don't have to decide that now.

Winky65
08-16-2011, 05:17 PM
What resort are you staying at? If you are at an Epcot area resort, Parkhoppers are very nice. Otherwise it does take a while to get from park to park. If you plan your ADR's well, hopping should not be necessary.

I would only do the deluxe dining plan if I planned on doing a signature meal almost every day, otherwise 3 sitdown meals a day is a lot of food, and a lot of time for 3 young kids to be in a restaurant. The regular dining plan (the middle one) is really more than enough food. You don't have to all get a QS meal at one sitting. You could get 3 or 4 and split the food. Some of the QS meals give a TON of food. Then you stockpile extra QS meals to stretch them out. I believe you can do the same with the TS meals. Order 2 kids meals to be split between the kids. And a snack can be close to a meal if you pick wisely! Or even upgrade your oldest child to an adult and have more options from the adult menu at each meal. I have not priced it out, but I would think the cost of the meal plan and park ticket upgrade would still be far less than the cost of upgrading the whole family to Deluxe.

lin7
08-16-2011, 05:26 PM
alm99 has already indicated that he/she already knows that they will have to pay out of pocket if they dont upgrade. So either way they're still going to be paying extra for food, whether it be upgrading to deluxe or paying out of pocket.

What may work for others, doesnt work for his/her family. The regular dining plan doesnt work for them

I agree that deluxe plan is a lot of food, and it takes time from the parks if you're eating 3 table services a day. But we always do lunch and a signature dinner. Any credits we may have left over we order room service the night before our departure. We pack that to go. We're Canadians so we're at the airport at least 3 hours prior, and with connecting flights we could be stuck at the airport for a while. Disney food is still better than airport food

Cafeen
08-16-2011, 05:32 PM
For first timers, I normally advise against DxDDP. It does require a good amount of time to utilize as well as plan for, and when you don't know the scoop, that planning is even tougher. I've seen many people who try to plan for DxDDP their first time, and it just doesn't work out for them. Either they try and do 3 TS every day, or they book things way too out of sync with their actual plans, or they completely don't know how their families react to everything. Suffice to say, it's best left off of a first trip, especially a "shorter" one with 3 little ones.

As far as hoppers. I wouldn't bother with those either. If you think you're going to need them (or you plan your days so that you need them), then you may as well, but if it's only a "just in case" thing, put the money aside and decide when you're there. You can upgrade all tickets up until all days have been used up or 14 days after first use, whichever comes first. Since there is no price difference between adding hoppers now and adding them when you go (unless you're going sometime after June or so of 2012), then it doesn't matter when you add them.

Winky65
08-16-2011, 05:34 PM
alm99 has already indicated that he/she already knows that they will have to pay out of pocket if they dont upgrade. So either way they're still going to be paying extra for food, whether it be upgrading to deluxe or paying out of pocket.



To be completely accurate, the OP said: "The regular dining plan seems like we would pay out of pocket for a meal almost daily,"

And they said it is their first trip to Disney, so I inferred they might be underestimating the amount of food they would get on the regular DP. Having done the regular dining plan, I know it is enough food for me, which is why I used the word "I".

jblrn2b
08-16-2011, 05:38 PM
You could get the little ones a cinnamon roll/bagel/muffin for breakfast which count as a snack credit and probably enough food for them. Then have cs lunch & then ts for dinner or vice versa.

For us we always do park hoppers because we do the am EMH go back to the resort we are staying at and then hit either the EMH pm park or eat/ride at another park. This may be a lot for your little ones. You have to figure out what is best for your family.

lin7
08-16-2011, 05:41 PM
They should have a dining plan in btween the regular dining and deluxe really. We never have breakfast since by the time everyone gets out of the room, it's lunch. So it limits us to 2 meals a day.

DIS_MERI
08-16-2011, 05:45 PM
We went on our first trip in June and had the DDP when we went and we had meals leftover. Except my 4yo, none of us are huge eaters (she is not a huge eater, really, just a constant snacker), so we split a few CS, usually skipping kids meals and assuaging my conscience by getting a few meals at places that didn't have kids meals. We took some pop tarts and granola bars to have in the room as a quick breakfast, and either had a late TS breakfast buffet and an early dinner or an early lunch and a late TS dinner. We mostly did character buffets, but I think we could easily have split at Tutto Italia (instead of each ordering our own dish) and had another TS split meal (if we could have found the time, lol). We did have hoppers, which was nice, but we would have been fine without them. Don't upgrade your tickets to hoppers until you actually want to hop and then you can pocket the savings if you decide you don't need to. Hopping (and eating TS) eats up a huge amount of time.


ETA: We had CS meals leftover because POPs system went down when we were supposed to be leaving, so they let us convert them into snack credits (6 credits for 3 CS meals), so the poor cashiers in the gift shop could deal with them (the line in the food court was a good hour long and we needed to catch the ME).

starousse
08-16-2011, 05:49 PM
Me personally would definitely pick the Deluxe Dining upgrade. This way you get to enjoy one park at a time and then you're able to have a nice Signature meal for dinner.
It also depends on whether or not a good meal is important to you, or if you're one who is more interested in grabbing a quick hot dog and getting in as much park time as possible.

For me, when I'm on vacation, I enjoy quality park time, but I also enjoy quality food.

iloveeeyore
08-16-2011, 06:31 PM
We used to buy Park Hoppers, but have learned that with proper planning (perhaps use a website that recommends which park will be least crowded on which day like easy wdw) they are not necessary. We have spent our last 3 trips without them and haven't missed them in the least (not purchasing them again this trip). I would say that PHs are generally only necessary if you plan on using EMH a lot, or if you want to dine in Epcot several times.

As far as dining goes, only you can determine what would work best for your family. We have found that the regular DDP works pretty well for us, but it isn't perfect; we usually have to supplement a little. We usually use snack credits for quick breakfasts on our way out to the parks or we eat cereal bars and/or fruit that we bring from home. We usually pay out-of-pocket for a few snacks, because we never seem to have quite enough credits, even though we do share most of the time (because we use some credits for breakfast). We like having counter service lunches and TS dinners, but some days (esp. in Epcot) we have trouble picking just one restaurant, so we occasionally enjoy a TS lunch and a TS dinner. And we also really enjoy the signatures and the dinner shows (2 TS credits each) so if we do those while on the DDP, we have to pay OOP for something.

We would LOVE to do DxDP some day. We would use 2 credits per day on a really nice signature dinner, and one other on either a late character breakfast or a nice sit-down lunch. I think that 3 ADRs per day is too much getting from place to place and being hostage to the clock...at least it would be for us. Like I said, you know your family best. Perhaps it would help us give you advice if we knew more about how you plan to dine and where you hope to get ADRs.

Have a magical first trip!

Cheshire Figment
08-16-2011, 07:14 PM
The cost to add hopping (or WPF&M) is $55 ($58.58 including tax) per ticket. It does not matter if it is adult or child, two day or ten days, first day of use or last day of use, the price is the same. (For a Florida Resident it is $27.50 plus tax.)

Note that to add hopping to a one day ticket is $35 ($37.28 including tax)

So if you are not sure, don't order them. If you find you do need them, then upgrade your tickets at any ticket window or Guest Relations Office. It only takes a minute or so.

alm99
08-16-2011, 08:10 PM
Thank you all for the fantastic feedback and advice. I think we may just try the free dining plan and then take snacks with us to hold us over for an early pre-breakfast snack and make either a late morning breakfast and regular time dinner or vice versa.

As far as park hopper goes, we will go without and decide later after we figure out our plan for meals, parks, etc.