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View Full Version : First time Disney dining plan questions


macewindu
10-02-2011, 02:23 PM
My mum and dad are thinking about booking Disney dining plan in Florida for summer holidays next year any information we should know? Any advice for what to do and restaurants to try? I would be grateful of anything you could tell me.

Cafeen
10-03-2011, 12:28 AM
The #1 piece of advice is to "Do the Math". Make sure that for their intended dining itinerary, it makes sense.

Be sure to add any subjective value of the plan being pre-paid and (somewhat) restrictive in there as well. For example, since I'm ok with the restrictions (mainly on locations, which the vast majority do take the plan, as well as the entitlements per meal) and not very good at saving the lump sum of money that would be needed, I put a good $50 to $100 value on the pre-paid nature of the plan. So, if I do the math, and come in better than $50-$100 short on the plan, I call it good for me.

Others do the opposite, and feel the restrictions are too much for them (or they don't really want to eat that way). They'll put say a 5-10% negative on the plan, so that after doing the math, if it doesn't save them at least 5-10%, it's not worthwhile for them.

It's all about identifying if a plan is right for your trip, and then which one fits the best. Don't try to fit your holiday to the plans, but rather see if one fits your trip. Included in my "Do the Math" is also to determine that the plan is how you intend to dine in the first place. If you (or them) are going to go "off plan" for much of the trip, it's usually better to just pay OOP for the meals. You can put the money onto a Disney/Visa Gift Card, charge the meals to the room, and pay the room with that Gift Card if you prefer to "prepay" for the meals, but the plans don't fit.

If they decide it's a good deal and just looking at DDP (normal, 1TS/1CS/1Snack), aim for the pricier meals and try to keep the majority of the TS for dinner with CS for lunch. Avoid Signatures and other 2TS experiences for the most part (depending on length of stay, 1 or 2 may not hurt, but that's only if the trips are longer).

catra121
10-03-2011, 10:00 AM
My number one piece of advice with the DDP is to make ADRs for your TS meals (as far in advance as you can so you get the times you want), and to try to plan them in the parks/area that you think you will be in anyway. If you plan them for the parks you plan to be in anyway then you won't lose time commuting to the restaurant. I've heard so many stories of people not making ADRs and then they end up walking from one TS to the next being told they aren't accepting walk ups and then they end up MORE frustrated. That's not to say that this always happens, so if that's what they want to do then that's fine, but just be aware that this is what you risk happening if you don't make those ADRs.

Also...I recommend knowing ahead of time what comes with the plan and how to use it. I think a lot of people don't understand ahead of time what come with the plan or that they can use credits in any way they want, or what sort of things you can get as snacks, and then they end up frustrated while they are on vacation.

Other than that...just have fun with it. Check out menus online to see what places sound good and don't be afraid to try something new. I love the freedom and convenience of being on a dining plan (Deluxe is my favorite) and it just seems to take a lot of stress out of my vacation because I have less to worry/think about while I am there. But it does require some planning ahead of time for it to work that way.

havoc315
10-03-2011, 10:28 AM
As Cafeen said, first and foremost, decide whether the dining plan is even right for you, and which dining plan.
I think Disney encourages an attitude that 1 of their dining plans are right for everyone. Certainly, some of their dining plans are good for some of their guests. (I've even some people under the false impression that they can't make dining reservations unless they are on a dining plan). But they aren't for everyone.

If you have decided that a dining plan is beneficial, then be prepared to make your TS reservations well in advance. It is often recommended to book at the 180 day mark. Unless you want to eat at CRT on Christmas Eve, this extreme isn't usually necessary. But it is necessary to book pretty far in advance, especially for popular restaurants are popular times. (You won't get a California Grill reservation 1 week in advance).

In terms of picking restaurants, look at the menus on allears... look at the restaurant review section of this message board. And pick restaurants that appeal to you. Some restaurants are a better value on the plan than others.. but go with the restaurants you want, not those with the best dollar value.

havoc315
10-03-2011, 10:29 AM
As Cafeen said, first and foremost, decide whether the dining plan is even right for you, and which dining plan.
I think Disney encourages an attitude that 1 of their dining plans are right for everyone. Certainly, some of their dining plans are good for some of their guests. (I've even some people under the false impression that they can't make dining reservations unless they are on a dining plan). But they aren't for everyone.

If you have decided that a dining plan is beneficial, then be prepared to make your TS reservations well in advance. It is often recommended to book at the 180 day mark. Unless you want to eat at CRT on Christmas Eve, this extreme isn't usually necessary. But it is necessary to book pretty far in advance, especially for popular restaurants are popular times. (You won't get a California Grill reservation 1 week in advance).

In terms of picking restaurants, look at the menus on allears... look at the restaurant review section of this message board. And pick restaurants that appeal to you. Some restaurants are a better value on the plan than others.. but go with the restaurants you want, not those with the best dollar value.