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View Full Version : When you get FD, do you then upgrade your resort or room?


JJsmama
09-18-2012, 07:59 PM
We're all so thrilled to discover we can save money by getting Free Dining. I am wondering how many of you then decide to use the savings move up a resort category or to upgrade your room to a 'better view", thereby erasing the savings?

I guess it is all part of the WDW planning Addiction. I know I have this sickness. :blush:

Sue M
09-18-2012, 08:44 PM
No, paying rack rate to get free dining, I don't upgrade my room. Paying rack rate is more then enough!!
With a moderate, it isn't worth upgrading room view, I just stick with Garden View.
If we stay Deluxe we don't get free dining, it cost less for us to book with a % discount and buy DDP. This past 2 trips we've gone without DDP, and we find we have saved $, we still eat CS & TS daily, we just don't eat the most expensive thing on the menu, don't like pop, so have water, and don't eat 2 desserts + a snack daily.

MMS1125
09-18-2012, 08:59 PM
I will do a mod over a value with FD since we would upgrade dining anyways. Maybe even a deluxe if it's worth it to us. We're 5 so usually FD is better than a room discount but it hurts paying rack rate even with FD for a deluxe.

musicmantrs
09-18-2012, 09:08 PM
I got FD value and then upgraded to Full dining and then I talked myself into upgrading into a mod. My cheap vacation took about a $500 increase.

minnie mum
09-19-2012, 01:03 AM
Free dining is no bargain for us. We wait until we can get a room only discount. This almost always will save us more money than FD. And we book the room upgrades we want at the time of booking. That way we know we won't be disappointed by lack of availability (FD is usually not available for all room categories).

kddisney502
09-19-2012, 03:14 AM
When I choose FD it's because it's a better deal than the room discount. I never make it a point to upgrade my room type anytime I get a discount (FD or room discount). But sometimes when the discounts are announced the standard rooms are not offered or already booked. So I have to upgrade to a slightly better view to get the discount. I've lucked out though, each time I haven't paid much more than I was expecting to get the discount and the view/room type has been worth the upcharge.

Mousemommy1
09-19-2012, 05:39 AM
The one time that we used Free Dining, we did decide to stay moderate instead of value. We were saving a good $1200 for the four of us, so paying a couple hundred more to upgrade to moderate wasnt a big deal, because we were still saving money. Plus, we wanted the regular DDP versus the QS that was offered at values, so that's another reason we chose to upgrade on that trip.

Missytara
09-19-2012, 05:55 AM
Nope, I always take the savings and do something special on the trip; like a spa day.

CareHeartsDisney
09-19-2012, 11:46 AM
Last year, I initially booked WL. I stayed there years ago and knew the kids would love it. After getting free dining, I switched to the Poly for about the same price. Since the rooms sleep 5, we decided to bring my mother along. It was her 1st time to WDW. We ended up saving about $230/night with 5 Disney adults.

clanmcculloch
09-19-2012, 12:20 PM
The first time I tried a moderate over a value was because of free dining. When doing the math comparing value + upgrade to DDP + fridge rental to moderate (DDP and fridge included) for 4 people, there was only a $200 difference for a 12 night stay so it seemed like a no-brainer to us.

These days I typically don't book until there's some kind of deal I can be happy with and I evaluate the overall cost with the discount when choosing my resort. I don't upgrade but I do consider the cost compared to what I'm getting. I don't see the discount as meaning I can now afford more. I see it as bringing my trip into the price range I'm willing to pay for what I'm getting.

Masonmj84
09-19-2012, 03:58 PM
For our upcoming trip, I originally booked a mod (CSR).

When FD came out, I applied it to our existing reservation but it didn't cover our first two nights. So I had to book a room only for those nights.

Then when AP room discounts came out, I switched our existing reservations to Poly and BC (if free dining had covered all of our nights at CSR, however, I might have stayed put).

So, yes, I ended up upgrading. But I went with AP room discounts instead of free dining. :laughing:

davedmaine
09-19-2012, 04:05 PM
Believe me you're not saving with free dining...

Mousemommy1
09-19-2012, 04:24 PM
Believe me you're not saving with free dining...

Really? :confused3

That's kind of an unfair statement. Depending our your situation, free dining may very well be a better savings. For instance, take a family of four and assume they are going to purchase the DDP no matter what. Typical room discounts are about 30% (at most) for values.

I ran numbers for a hypothetical trip in April 2013

A 5 night stay ay POP costs $737 rack rate. A 30% discount yields you a $221.10 discount, but you still have to pay for the DDP which costs $727.50. If you take the rack rate and get DDP free, that's a much bigger savings over a room discount.

And, in considering whether to upgrade (assuming that this family has a set budget they are willing to spend), CBR books for $1114 those same dates, so with free DDP, you are only looking at $337 to "upgrade" resorts and still get the free DDP. Makes it much more attractive of course.

Not every discount works for all people. If it doesn't work for you, great, but someone with different circumstances may find it to be a great savings! I know we did in one situation. We have opted for room discounts the past few years but FD can be a great thing! :thumbsup2

OrangeCountyCommuter
09-19-2012, 04:31 PM
You failed to consider the mark up on the hotel which is worth about half of what Disney charges. So to get FRRE you pay


If you came across a concrete block exterior corridor hotel with the 'service' Pop provides anywhere else it's a $60 a night room. 5 nights is $300.

Mousemommy1
09-19-2012, 04:34 PM
You failed to consider the mark up on the hotel which is worth about half of what Disney charges. So to get FRRE you pay LOL

Well, there is no way around that if you want to stay onsite.

OrangeCountyCommuter
09-19-2012, 04:38 PM
I agree but acting like free dining is a deal without realizing the 'rack rate' is a ripoff is bizarre

GreenCntryGirl
09-19-2012, 04:56 PM
I agree but acting like free dining is a deal without realizing the 'rack rate' is a ripoff is bizarre

Bizarre why? I had it wrong and someone explained it me the other day. Nothing bizarre about it.

Now I understand it more clearly. Some of us are still on a learning curve.

TwoAtDisney
09-19-2012, 04:56 PM
DavedMaine & OrangeCountyCommuter, if your don't mind, please explain how free dining is never a better deal than the Special Offer Room Discount? I'm really interested in knowing how you calculate it, because 3 years in a row that has not been my result. Am I not computing correctly! :confused3

We booked POFQ in Aug 2012. We watched for a price drop but didn't get one. We anxiously awaited for the "up to 30%" off special.

Free DDP came along (just like in 2010 & 2011). We added it to our POFQ reservation for the same rate we booked in Aug. We still watched for a room price drop - none came.

Then, "up to 30%" off Special Offer came. I went to Disney online. Clicked onto that "Special Offer". Put in our dates & POFQ. The difference in price from our Aug price was $80. In 2011, the difference was $60. I even called Disney reservations to be sure I had gotten the Special Offer rate - I had.

So, I just don't get the references to the "inflated" rack rates for free DDP? I know we would spend more than $80 for food during a 6 nite stay. Therefore, we kept the free DDP, even though we don't really care about having it - just seemed financially unsound not to get it.

:confused3 :scratchin

dansdad
09-19-2012, 04:59 PM
popcorn::

Mousemommy1
09-19-2012, 05:01 PM
I agree but acting like free dining is a deal without realizing the 'rack rate' is a ripoff is bizarre

I completely realize, and agree, that the Disney rack rates are high...but that is a moot point in this discussion, because we are assuming that the person considering the options has already decided to stay on site.

The other option is to stay off site, at which point, the DDP isn't even an option.

So, again, assuming that the person has already decided to pay to stay onsite at Disney, and wants to get the DDP regardless...my previous argument.

This isn't a thread about why rack rates at Disney aren't fair.

CarrieR
09-19-2012, 05:07 PM
Nope. We do upgrade the dining, but we stay at the same resort.

We are typically 3-4 adults in a value room. Even at $150/night, a 20% room-only discount only nets us $30... and you better bet it costs more than $30/day to feed three or four adults! LOL!!! We have run the numbers every which way (including off-site) and FD usually makes the most sense for us. It's not "free," but it is pften the least expensive of our options.

DizneyNutz
09-19-2012, 05:42 PM
Believe me you're not saving with free dining...

Its only for those trying to justify it. :thumbsup DISNEY DOES NOTHING FOR FREE PEOPLE. Go and have fun. :thumbsup2

DisneyHardin
09-19-2012, 06:47 PM
When FD was released for this Oct., I had to upgrade from standard view to garden view to get it, but my total still went down by $300.

canopynut66
09-19-2012, 06:51 PM
we stay value POP and then upgrade our FD to MYWD so we have the TS and CS so but is still less than any discount on the value room

LRHOH
09-19-2012, 06:57 PM
Unless your whole family is a group of big eaters, I don't see how you can make out on the FD.

Mousemommy1
09-19-2012, 06:58 PM
Its only for those trying to justify it. :thumbsup DISNEY DOES NOTHING FOR FREE PEOPLE. Go and have fun. :thumbsup2

It's not about justifying it, it's about the bottom line for what people have to pay. And sometimes, a free dining package comes out to be the lowest bottom line than any other discount.

I think just about everyone on the Dis realizes that free dining isn't really "free". It's about the lowest bottom line.

TwoAtDisney
09-19-2012, 08:05 PM
LRHOH, I agreed with you the first time we did free DDP. However, then DH & I learned "how to do it".

Snacks - We rarely eat a snack at Disney; maybe we split a Pineapple Dole Whip Shake once, & split an ice cream once. We take the snacks home - usually POR Magic Cookie Bars. After our last trip, we still had some bars left 2 weeks after arriving home!

CS - We usually split a CS each day for lunch.

TS - We each use our TS credit for dinner.

Breakfast - At home, we don't eat breakfast. On DDP, if we have any leftover desserts from TS or CS, we share those for breakfast. We don't usually eat dessert with our meal.

Leftover CS credits we use at POR pasta & Starring Rolls sandwiches. We always have an "after Disney" stay. So, we store the pasta & sandwiches in the hotel fridge & eat for "free" for a few days.

We also learned after our first free DDP of 14 days, to only do a short DDP. This Nov it will be 6 nites, then we go to FtW cabins without DDP.

Works for us. Would never pay full price for it though. Only paying $80 for free DDP above the Room Special Offer. So, we figure those TS dinners are worth the $80 - especially the nights we stuff ourselves with crab legs at CMC! :banana:

mousefan73
09-20-2012, 01:16 AM
We just got back from a FD plan at FQ. 5 nights I kept all receipts and it totalled around 925.00 not including tips. This was including snacks, free soda, the never ending water, juices from Ts meals ( we saved that for breakfast in room). We were 2 adults 2 kids. Granted we ordered high end off the menu at TS.

I am more than happy to pay rack at a moderate and get the 925.00 "free" in food. Had we paid OOP of course we wouldnt have eaten so many snacks or high end. I see F D as a nice way of forcing some of us penny pinchers ( when it comes to dining atnhome) to sit back and enjoy a vacation without worrying about the price on the menu.

I also dont think any room only % will give us 925 in savings for 5 nights and then still have no meals. I have been pricing out packages for 2 yrs now and FD has always worked best for us. The only way for us to save even more signifcantly would be staying at an offsite motel and brown bagging it. Not my cup of tea.

Masonmj84
09-20-2012, 08:19 AM
I agree but acting like free dining is a deal without realizing the 'rack rate' is a ripoff is bizarre

I think this is an overly broad generalization.

For deluxe resorts, I generally agree. Rack rates at those are insane (even during value season). So free dining generally isn't a good deal at those (as compared to a room discount) unless you're staying a a lower priced room category, have more than two "Disney adults" per room, and plan to eat a lot of table service meals (whether you're on free dining or not).

For mods and values, it's a different story. With the exception of peak season prices (when there usually aren't alternative discounts anyway), I honestly don't think rack rates at these resorts are that outrageous.

For example, we recently stayed at CSR with free dining during value season. Rack rate was something like $170 per night. I'm from New York, where hotels are generally pretty expensive, and CSR was far nicer than just about any place I've stayed in-state for $170 a night (this includes upstate).

Now, one could argue that a better comparision would be an off-site Orlando hotel, where, perhaps, there are comparably nice places to CSR for less than $170 per night during value season (or places nicer than CSR for $170 per night). But you also have to factor in the benefits of staying on-site that also provide real cost savings vis a vis staying off-site (e.g., Magical Express/not having to rent a car and pay to park, etc.).

Throw in free dining (which we upgraded to deluxe), and we felt like we got terrific bang for the buck. We had three Disney adults and one Disney child in the room. So free dining was about the same per night as rack rate on our room (basically equivalent of stying in the room for free in exchange for buying a dining plan - and we had a grand time eating in all those signature restaurants).

In short, in certain circumstances, I think free dining can represent a good deal for people.

clanmcculloch
09-20-2012, 10:21 AM
Believe me you're not saving with free dining...

You failed to consider the mark up on the hotel which is worth about half of what Disney charges. So to get FRRE you pay

If you came across a concrete block exterior corridor hotel with the 'service' Pop provides anywhere else it's a $60 a night room. 5 nights is $300.

I agree but acting like free dining is a deal without realizing the 'rack rate' is a ripoff is bizarre

I really don't understand blanket statements like these. Sure, I get that some people like OCC believe that staying onsite is rediculous and nobody should pay these rates. Fine. People are entitled to their opinions on this. It has nothing to do with whether the free dining promotion is a valuable discount for some people. I also see how basic numbers can be refuted showing that free dining is a good deal for some people if they want to stay on site regardless. Sure, it might be cheaper to stay off site (when we choose a value resort vacation during value season, even that's in question once adding in rental car, parking, gas, tolls) but not everybody even wants that option. If you'll be staying on site anyway, a discount to the insane rack rates is still a discount. No, free dining doesn't reduce the cost of the hotel but it does reduce the cost of the overall vacation. That being said, it definitely isn't always the best deal even for families of 4 Disney Adults like mine. We do much better with room discounts when we stay deluxe but when we stay value and often moderate we do better with free dining. If free dining is the only discount then at least is SOME kind of savings to the overall trip cost.

My family always stays on site. It's a given for us. We don't like driving at WDW and shuttles from offsite are nothing like onsite transportation. We like DME. We like the theming. While obviously some don't like the service at WDW resorts, we do. We just like onsite. I'm free to feel how I feel about this just as others are free to feel that onsite is a wrong choice. I'm willing to pay extra for location. So what is most important to my family is the best overall price for the resort at which we want to stay. I've stayed several times without dining plans and will never pay for one because I can eat the way I want for cheaper than it costs to buy the plan. I figured out based on past trip receipts that it costs us an average of $145 per night OOP to eat the way we want which actually is more TS and less CS than the DDP allows. I compare this amount to the room discount I need in order to make a room discount more attractive to us. If the room discount is even close to this then I'll take the room discount. But, at a value and even a moderate, it's hard to find a room discount anywhere near that, especially now that discounts at values are usually 20% and moderates 25%. Even at 30% at a moderate during a high season like Christmas when there aren't discounts (but for the sake of arguement I'm choosing the most expensive time), that's only $87 per night discount. That's a better discount how? If I have APs or want to sign my kids up for YES class then that also lessens the value of free dining but it doesn't mean I ignore the math. I ALWAYS do the math to figure out which available discount will save me the most money while still giving me my choice of vacation.

Absolute blanket statements just don't make sense. Yes, that was a blanket statement. LOL

nikki7680
09-20-2012, 10:44 AM
I guess "Free Dining" only helps those who are planning on purchasing the DP regardless. Of course if you aren't planning on purchasing the DP, then yes, a room discount is the way to go. But for those planning to pay for DP, then "Free Dining" is the bigger money saver. Our past 4 trips to Disney have all been when Free Dining was offered. We like the character meals and the buffets and to buy those out of pocket can get very expensive. There is no right or wrong way to book your trip! All depends on the family or person traveling. Personally, I enjoy anything that makes my bottom line a little sweeter!!

btk2333
09-20-2012, 02:45 PM
I guess "Free Dining" only helps those who are planning on purchasing the DP regardless. Of course if you aren't planning on purchasing the DP, then yes, a room discount is the way to go. But for those planning to pay for DP, then "Free Dining" is the bigger money saver. Our past 4 trips to Disney have all been when Free Dining was offered. We like the character meals and the buffets and to buy those out of pocket can get very expensive. There is no right or wrong way to book your trip! All depends on the family or person traveling. Personally, I enjoy anything that makes my bottom line a little sweeter!!

Everyone has to do the math for themselves. I would agree that it's a good option for people who are planning to do DDP regardless; however, I would urge people to do the math themselves as to whether DDP is worth it and whether that's really how you would like to eat. (We prefer AP and TiW since it allows us the flexibility to eat what we want, when we want it). That being said, there's some value in almost any option as long as you do your homework and know what you're buying!

robinb
09-20-2012, 03:13 PM
When Disney stopped offering the regular DDP at the values, I upgraded to moderates (twice) to receive the regular DDP instead of the QSDP. It was just a tiny bit more to upgrade at the time to the moderate and get the better DDP than to stay at the value resort and pay for the upgrade to the dining plan. We were then at a nicer resort with a bigger room and better pools & other amenities.

clanmcculloch
09-20-2012, 04:26 PM
I guess "Free Dining" only helps those who are planning on purchasing the DP regardless. Of course if you aren't planning on purchasing the DP, then yes, a room discount is the way to go. But for those planning to pay for DP, then "Free Dining" is the bigger money saver. Our past 4 trips to Disney have all been when Free Dining was offered. We like the character meals and the buffets and to buy those out of pocket can get very expensive. There is no right or wrong way to book your trip! All depends on the family or person traveling. Personally, I enjoy anything that makes my bottom line a little sweeter!!

Actually, even if you're not planning to buy the DDP regardless, free dining can be a good deal. As I said, we average around $145 per night for our family when paying OOP. If the room discounts for where we want to stay don't come close to this then free dining is a better deal for us. Yes we do change how we eat when we have the DDP vs paying OOP but that's ok by us. We do more of the expensive fixed price meals and eat more CS than we would when paying OOP but we also enjoy that as well as the more TS but menu based restaurants. We go often enough that we like a bit of variety in the way we do things from trip to trip and we just let one of the deciding factors be whether we used a free dining promotion or a room only promotion and therefore pay for dining OOP be a deciding factor on that.

Belle & Ariel
09-20-2012, 06:31 PM
Believe me you're not saving with free dining...

I priced our December stay with a room only discount and added the park tickets we are getting with free dining.
Our package for 7 nights is $165 more with the free dining. We would spend almost $50 with tax for 3 mugs bringing the difference to $115 since the DDP includes them. We could eat about 3 meals for that--we get 14 each plus 7 snacks so those are what we are getting free. We will save a few hundred dollars over room discount and get more than if we were paying OOP.

KELLY
09-20-2012, 06:41 PM
Nope we stick with the QSDP at the values.. If we Wanted the RDP we would probably stay at a moderate but 11-14 days of ad's would make me nuts.

AliceIn
09-20-2012, 09:36 PM
Believe me you're not saving with free dining...

We do FD and then upgrade the deluxe dining plan for 2 adults and 3 children (one of whom counts as an adult), and we find that we would have spent far more out of pocket because of the way we like to use the plan. We do character breakfasts in the park early mornings, and then do signature dinners. For us, it works out because we generally order a lot of seafood and steak. For folks who usually order chicken or pasta, I can see where you wouldn't get as much out of it. Once all the kids are counted as adults, we might rethink things. We end up using the snack credits to buy candies to bring back as gifts. :) It works for us.

Sacgirl
09-21-2012, 06:30 AM
Hello everyone,

I spoke with Disney yesterday and made reservations at a deluxe resort for December.
I was quoted room rate only with discount.
Then she checked the "free" dining, which also requires a 2 day base ticket.

When I take the room only rate and then add the cost of the dining plan plus a 2 day base ticket I come up with a little over $200 savings for the free dining vs the room and add ons.

So in terms of comparing apples to apples. I "think" that I got a better deal by doing the free dining. Did I miss something?

Thanks!

Mousemommy1
09-21-2012, 06:34 AM
Hello everyone,

I spoke with Disney yesterday and made reservations at a deluxe resort for December.
I was quoted room rate only with discount.
Then she checked the "free" dining, which also requires a 2 day base ticket.

When I take the room only rate and then add the cost of the dining plan plus a 2 day base ticket I come up with a little over $200 savings for the free dining vs the room and add ons.

So in terms of comparing apples to apples. I "think" that I got a better deal by doing the free dining. Did I miss something?

Thanks!

Nope, you're not. The Free Dining made your bottom line lower for what you wanted to book. Congrats and enjoy your trip!!! :goodvibes

robinb
09-21-2012, 09:08 AM
Hello everyone,

I spoke with Disney yesterday and made reservations at a deluxe resort for December.
I was quoted room rate only with discount.
Then she checked the "free" dining, which also requires a 2 day base ticket.

When I take the room only rate and then add the cost of the dining plan plus a 2 day base ticket I come up with a little over $200 savings for the free dining vs the room and add ons.

So in terms of comparing apples to apples. I "think" that I got a better deal by doing the free dining. Did I miss something?

Thanks!Maybe yes and maybe no. You called for a room-only reservation and were upsold to a package. Did you really want a package? Did you really want the DDP? Did you really want to buy passes from Disney rather than from a place where you could get a discount (like Undercover Tourist where a 6-day PH will save you $31 per adult)?

If you usually don't purchase the DDP, an easy way to see if Free Dining is "worth it" is to look at how much your room only discount would be plus park passes with NO dining and compare that with the same resort and #of park passes with "free dining". That difference is how much you are paying for the DDP. Would you be able to feed your family for that amount? If it's a bit more, is it worth the 'splurge' to be able to book into restaurants you normally would not book?

zy144622
09-25-2012, 07:40 AM
For us the room discount would save us $40 a day at most. I can't feed 3 people 2 meals and a snack for $40 a day. For us free dining saves more.