View Full Version : Best dining plan if want to do multiple "fancy" restaurants

10-28-2011, 12:54 AM
Husband and I are planning a 30th anniversary trip, and many of the restaurants we are hoping to visit require two table service credits, like Narcoossee's and Cinderella's Royal Table. We'd also like to visit Mama Melrose's and Todd English's restaurant and perhaps the Fantasmic! Dining Experience.

Those will probably be our "big meals" of the day.

We'll probably want to get two or three sodas a day while doing the parks, plus "combo meals" for lunch.

We'll probably do a quick breakfast at the hotel, Contemporary, if that's available.

Any suggestions as to which meal plan to go with?



10-28-2011, 07:58 AM
You really need to figure out how many of which type of credits you will need and price it out.

I don't think bluezoo takes the dining plan, and I didn't think you could use it for the Fantasmic package either, but I could be wrong (we are not a DDP family).

From just what you posted, it sounds like the regular plan with the counter service credits would work for you. You've only listed 2 signature restaurants (2 credits) and mentioned quite a bit of CS things - lunches & breakfasts.

Next year, refillable mugs will come with all the plans, so that doesn't need to be a consideration.

10-28-2011, 08:22 AM
We are planning on getting the Deluxe Dining Plan for our trip on Sept 2012, because we want to do a Signature every night, and then use the remaining credits for either a early lunch/late breakfast each day, using snack credits for the other meals, and paying OOP as necessary.

Make sure to check which places take DDP. From what I remember, most if not all restaurants at Swan/Dolphin do not accept DDP, and several in DTD do not either.

Ultimately, you will have to decide how many 2TS credit places you want to try and which will be more cost effective. If you only want to do 1 or 2 2TS credit places, it may be more cost effective to get the regular dining plan, and pay OOP for the least expensive meals (usually breakfasts). Also, don't forget that you can always share your CS meals so you don't have to blow 2CS credits on one meal, and end up eating only 1/2 of the food. We did this, for example, bought 1 bounty platter and subbed the biscuit for more eggs. Then used a snack credit for a pastry. It was enough food for the two of us.


10-28-2011, 09:30 AM
Todd English's restaurant does not take the dining plan.
I believe you can use it for the Fantasmic package, which is basically a regular dinner at Mamma Melrose (or another DHS restaurant), with tickets for reserved seating at Fantasmic.

Your math isn't very simple, as you don't fit neatly into any of the plans.
It sounds like you mostly want to do a snack breakfast, a cs lunch, and a 2 credit dinner.

So let's do some approximate math using early 2012 pricing, per person.
Let's price it over 2 days.
Breakfast -- snack pastry and using a mug for beverage, is about $5 per day, or $10 over 2 days.
Cs lunch- though there are a few isolated examples over $20, it's more typically around $13 without dessert or $17 with dessert. So assuming you want dessert, about $34 over 2 days.
2-credit dinner -- entree, beverage, dessert, usually around $60. So $120 over 2 days.

So total oop -- about $164.
You could get the deluxe plan, but it wouldn't be saving anything. You'd actually be losing a couple dollars per night. And nights when you opted for a 1 credit meal, and your night at Blue Zoo -- you'd be losing tons of money. The deluxe plan would start to make sense if you did mostly ts lunches, instead of cs.

You could get the regular ddp. But it would only cover a 2-credit dinner every other night. So you would have to pay some meals oop. And the regular ddp is a poor value for 2 credit meals. Applying the math to our example -- for 2 nights, ddp is about $104 (I forget the exact cost). So that $104 would cover your breakfasts, lunches, and 1 out of 2 of the dinners in our example. Once you pay for that dinner oop, you're back up to $164.

Wow... Math is virtually identical in your case, whether you pay oop, deluxe, or regular.

But if you want to eat at Bluezoo 1 night, and you plan on skipping some desserts, then oop is the most cost effective.

10-28-2011, 10:56 AM
One more note, no plan really covers 2-3 sodas in the park, per day.
All the plans in 2012 come with the refillable mug, but it can only be used at your resort.
You can use snack credits to get soda in the parks, but it sounded like you wanted to use your snack credits for breakfast. (1 snack under the ddp, and 2 under the dxdp)

10-28-2011, 11:01 AM
One more note, no plan really covers 2-3 sodas in the park, per day.
All the plans in 2012 come with the refillable mug, but it can only be used at your resort.
You can use snack credits to get soda in the parks, but it sounded like you wanted to use your snack credits for breakfast. (1 snack under the ddp, and 2 under the dxdp)

11-01-2011, 07:50 AM
each dining plan; so, this is not a black and white answer.

Basically, you will have to make a choice. The deluxe dining plan would allow you to enjoy even more signature restaurants that are two credits. The regular dining plan will probably not be enough credits to do as you planned for signature meals.

We do the Fantasmic package all the time on the DP and it includes an appetizer at MaMa's for a 1 credit meal per person. This is a great deal. If you want the Brown Derby for the package it's 2 credits per person.

Another consideration would be do you want to do any special meal shows. The Aloha dinner show would be a nice one for you guys. You would hop the monorail to get to the Poly from the Contemporary. This is a 2 credit meal/show per person.

Using a snack credit is a poor choice, poor value for most soda purposes. Personally, I would do free water in the parks. If you have Disney refillable mugs and want to carry them to the parks you can fill them up before you leave your resort. Add some ice if you want them to be cold a few hours later and your first drink is covered. You can get sodas with your QS and TS meals. Drink more at your meals and this might satisfy you some. If you don't plan on food snacking at all in the parks then using those snack credits would be fine for sodas, but it still doesn't cover three drinks a day per person. There are limits to each plan.

Your breakfast times sound like you want to use snacks for it, as well. This is your conflict. You won't have enough snack credits for drinkis in the parks and breakfast. If you use QS service credits to have a bigger breakfast at the resort then you won't have the credits for a QS meal in the park on the regular plan.

If money is not an object then I would go with the deluxe plan and enjoy more restaurants and such. Even on this plan though you might have to pay for some OOP drinks. You have the most options with this plan, but it comes at a price.

Based on your plan you really don't fit well into any of the dining plan categories. You may want to play with some menus and see what OOP would do to your pocket book. When you pay for everything as you go you really have the most freedom to make choices.

You can download the different dining plans and see the differences between the plans. Each plan describes what you get. It sounds a little like you need to train yourself on these plans; so, you can make the best choice for your trip.

11-01-2011, 03:07 PM
Just an FYI - Bluezoo has a coupon on restaurant.com you can get. Look at discount codes available by signing up and they will e-mail them to you. I get discount codes every few days in my e-mail. So for example a gift certificate for $25 off of two entrees at Bluezoo may only cost you $2 at 80% off instead of the normal $10 for that same gift certificate.

We just used a House of Blues one and one for Garden Grove. :thumbsup2

11-01-2011, 04:37 PM
Don't agree with the math being done to get it to work out even on paying out of pocket or getting the deluxe plan. It really depends on you using your 3rd meal credit each day for counter service, as well as an error on the real cost of signature dining on the deluxe plan. First, if you skipped counter service meals entirely and you switched to doing 1 one-credit table service and 2 two-credit meal per da, you'd probably save money on the deluxe dining plan.

Also, the math on the two-credit meal at signature restaurants is not correct: if you're on the deluxe plan you would get appetizer, entree, dessert and beverage. (The example on costs above lists the meal as entree, dessert, beverage...that's not what you get on Deluxe) Our experience at signature places on the deluxe plan is that the receipt listing "cash" costs is often very close to $150 for the two of us...many appetizers at those places run $10-15 per person, and each person is getting an app. So your $60 estimate turns into $75 per person (nearly the total daily cost of the deluxe dining spent at one signature meal.)

We've done the deluxe plan many times and have never had it break-even...it has always been 20-25% less than the cash cost. But we rarely eat counter service meals. We do like snack credit for breakfast, table service lunch and 2 credit dinner. AFter the first day, we rarely want any snacks through the day...often go "snack shopping" on our last day to use up the snack credits so don't think you'd have any trouble using your snack credits for sodas in the park.