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tinkerbell1992 10-14-2013 01:38 PM

Can't decide-deluxe plan
I am going back and forth about upgrading from the regular to the deluxe dining plan for my mother/daughter trip in February. It will be my mom's birthday so I want this trip to be as magical as possible. However, I am not sure if running from one ADR to the next will hinder the fun of the trip.

We are both adults and we like to eat. I would really like to try some signature restaurants this trip so that would cut down on eating 3 meals a day since those each take 2 credits. I just need some opinions please!!

Donna in NJ 10-14-2013 01:57 PM

Everyone has a differant way to vacation. I can't tell you what will work for you but It is just my husband and I and we love the deluxe plan. We like a signature every night. We personally are not rope drop to park close people . If we have breakfast for our other credit we eat early go to the park for a few hours and then go back to the resort to swim and shower before dinner. On lunch days we go to the park at rope drop and then go to lunch. After lunch we go back to the resort to swim and have a later Dinner. This last trip we used one snack credit a day to get a Starbucks coffee.

ArwenMarie 10-14-2013 02:00 PM

Unless you like the idea of having it all paid ahead of time (and there is something to that!) I don't see a reason to upgrade to Deluxe. You can use the regular credits on 1 credit or 2 credit meals until they run out and then just pay OOP for the rest. Just my opinion!

robynluvsdisney 10-14-2013 02:00 PM

We have done the deluxe dining once. The only way I would do it again is if we were doing signature dining a lot. I love to eat too but I think it may border too much dining. Why not take the extra money and go have facials? Hope this helps.

ericstac 10-14-2013 02:05 PM

while the simplicity of having the deluxe and not having to worry about anything food related is awesome it just didn't work out economical for us. I'm saving close to a $1000.00 by just keeping the regular meal plan and paying OOP for the less expensive restaurants and still eating everywhere we wanted to and more..

tinkerbell1992 10-14-2013 02:06 PM

Thank you everyone for the quick responses! You all make really good points. And that facial sounds like a great option. If we really wanted more food, I guess we could pay OOP for it. I don't think anyone will be going hungry either way!

akaler2010 10-16-2013 01:50 PM

DH and I LOVE the deluxe plan. We typically did a buffet breakfast around 8:30AM, snack credits for lunch, and then a signature for dinner.

We loved having the option of more signature dinners or being able to do 3 sit down meals a day. For us, it's a nice break from the chaos of the day and a chance to talk about our experiences so far!

If you like signature restaurants, I recommend it. However, you should know that it really is a lot of food!

vhartwell 10-16-2013 10:36 PM

My mom and I LOVE the deluxe dining plan. We wouldn't visit Disney any other way!

CraigInPA 10-18-2013 02:40 PM

My wife and I have done DxDP for the last 6 trips. Our forthcoming trip in February 2014 will likely be the first one in years where we are not purchasing DxDP.

We love eating at the signature restaurants. We have our particular favorites where we like to eat breakfast and lunch, as well. Our last trip, due to the price increase in DxDP, we saved 27%. So, why not do it again?

1. Most of our 27% savings (on a 10 day trip) was due to snack credits and the mugs. My wife used her mug twice. I used mine once. Most of the snacks went home with us and became gifts for co-workers.

2. We felt that we should always take the appetizers, even at lunch. By the half-way point, we were app'ed out. While we took them, were usually didn't finish the ones at lunch. At some of the restaurants, there were no enticing desserts, but we chose one anyway, because it was included. We probably would have been happier getting an ice cream cone in the park, at a significant savings.

3. We've been to WDW enough to know what rides we want to ride, when those rides will not be super crowded, and when to leave the park and do something else. Having made the decision to have sit down lunch and late signature dinner, we were somewhat tied to being in a particular park at a particular time. Before DxDP, we typically ate a light breakfast (like a donut from starring rolls), a walk-up lunch or sit-down lunch, and a late signature dinner. Because of the need to use up those DxDP sit down credits and maximize the savings, we lost the ability to choose where and when to have breakfast and lunch "on the fly".

As we get closer to February, I'll re-calculate what we spent this February, compare it to our itinerary (yes, we did make reservations), and then see if any plan would save us anything. We're getting 35% off the room at the Poly, and s/p/d is actually less savings than the room only rate. So, we're not stuck with some dining plan. I suspect out of pocket may actually be cheaper than DxDP.

We're eating at:
'Ohana, Monsieur Paul, Narcoossee's (twice), California Grill, Raglan Road, HBD, Yak and Yeti, Tutto Italia, Teppan Edo, Rose and Crown, Liberty Tree, Artist Point, San Angel Inn, Restaurant Marrakesh, and Kona Cafe.

tinkerbell1992 10-20-2013 08:54 PM

Thank you for the advice! I think for now we are going to stick with the regular dining plan and just pay out of pocket if needed. That way we aren't pressured to eat so much!

3pletprincesses 10-21-2013 02:08 PM

Well we always do deluxe... well that was until this year and our lovely 17 month old will not stay in a sit for too long as she wants to always move. Deluxe takes a lot of time and is a lot of food IMO. We have 4 kids and until last year when our toddler was a tiny infant, we would do character meals in the morning for our big 7yo girls and then the trade off was a signature meal every evening. It was the perfect amount of food for us but believe me, no way would we be able to do the 3 meals a day unless you skip the appetizer or/and dessert and then the value goes out the door and it's purely convenience to have the plan. We used our snacks as a drink or a mid afternoon snack if he girls were hungry. We saved a lot of money over the past 4 years with that plan but it also means taking about 90 minutes at every meal. To us it was perfect. I was character signatures in the morning with all it's excitement then in the evening we would chat about our day and what we would do next. It was our forced down time. If all goes well we are hoping to do it again next year when our little terror understand that you need to stay still for a bit and not be so loud for other guess to enjoy their meal too.

this year, I'm sticking with regular dining with mostly character meals LOL it should keep her busy in her seat

vinotinto 10-21-2013 07:20 PM

Like CraiginPA, we also did deluxe dining in our last 4 trips, but are not doing the deluxe dining plan in January 2014.

The cost of it has risen quite dramatically. It used to be that you didn't have to "maximize" the plan - you could use some credits for quick service and some meals without an app or without a dessert and still come out way ahead. But at $105/adult, you pretty much have to maximize the plan to break even. For example, if you went to a breakfast buffet (like Crystal Palace), had a typical snack and ordered three courses at a Signature restaurant, this is what it would look like:

Breakfast Buffet - Crystal Palace -$25.70 (including tax)

Snack - $4.30 cupcake (including tax)

Signature dinner at Jiko -
$15 for oysters app
$39 for duck breast main entree
$10 for flourless chocolate cake dessert)
$68 (including tax)

Total for the day = $98

You would not even break even in your $105 investment. And if you had to cancel the dining plan or your trip within 24 hours hours of arrival, it would be non-refundable.

CraigInPA 10-23-2013 12:54 PM


Originally Posted by vinotinto (Post 49890028)
But at $105/adult, you pretty much have to maximize the plan to break even. For example, if you went to a breakfast buffet (like Crystal Palace), had a typical snack and ordered three courses at a Signature restaurant, this is what it would look like:

Breakfast Buffet - Crystal Palace -$25.70 (including tax)

Snack - $4.30 cupcake (including tax)

Signature dinner at Jiko -
$15 for oysters app
$39 for duck breast main entree
$10 for flourless chocolate cake dessert)
$68 (including tax)

Total for the day = $98

You would not even break even in your $105 investment. And if you had to cancel the dining plan or your trip within 24 hours hours of arrival, it would be non-refundable.

You forgot the drink, $4, which brings you up to $102. There's still no savings unless you get the second included snack, and then your savings is miniscule.

But, even though I agree with the sentiment (having expressed it myself), I'm still in the camp that says that you CAN save money on DxDP if you like expensive menu items.

Going back to Jiko, this is what I ate the last time I was there:
Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin app $16.
Oak Grilled Filet Mignon $44
Cinnamon-Chocolate torte $10
Iced Tea $4
That's $78 including tax.

The same day, I ate at Yak and Yeti:
Pot Stickers $7.50
Bourbon Chicken $18
Fried Wontons $8
Lemonaide $4
That's $40 including tax.

I didn't have my 2 snacks that day, making my total eats worth $114. That's a savings over the cost of the plan at $99/day (early 2013) or $104 (2014).

But, let me point out that one day I spent only $80 on food because I wasn't feeling well. Another day, it was about $90. Over the whole trip, between my wife and I, we fell below the break even point almost half the days, only reaching break even when we factored in the daily snack credits (which we took home as gifts) and the daily cost of the refillable mug (which we rarely used).

Disney has this figured out. You'll only break even if you take EVERYTHING included. You'll save a little if you eat the most expensive menu items and use the credits for lunch and dinner only, with signature dining a given. Using table service credits for breakfast (unless it's a character breakfast) isn't the most cost effective to you. Using table service credits for counter service is just as bad.

MrsUqdah 10-23-2013 08:10 PM

My family and I are going on a 6 night 7 day trip May 2014 and decided on the deluxe dining plan. It will be myself, my husband, my 14 year old , 6 and 2 year old. This is what I have mapped out for dining....

Arrival day
{DINNER } Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review ( Wilderness Resort) 2TSM 6:15 p.m

Day 2: May 13th
{BREAKFAST} Tusker House *character meal* (Animal Kingdom) 1TSM 8:00 a.m
{LUNCH} Rainforest Cafe (Animal Kingdom) 1 TSM 2:00 p.m
{DINNER} Whispering Canyon Cafe (Wilderness Lodge) 1 TSM 7:30 p.m

Day 3: May 14th
{BREAKFAST} Crystal Palace *character breakfast* (Magic Kingdom) 1TSM 8:00 p.m
{LUNCH} Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom) 1 TSM 2:00 p.m
{DINNER} Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom) 1 TSM 7:30 p.m

Day 4: May 15th
{BREAKFAST} Cape May Cafe ( Beach Club Resort) 1 TSM 8:00 a.m
{LUNCH} Coral Reef (Epcot) 1TSM 2:00 p.m
{DINNER} Teppan Edo (Epcot) 1TSM late dinner to view IllumiNation 7:30 p.m

Day 5: May 16th
{BREAKFAST} Hollywood and Vine *Disney Jr character breakfast* (Hollywood Studios) 1TSM 8:00 p.m
{LUNCH} Sci-fi Dine In (Hollywood Studios) 1 TSM 2:00 p.m
{Dinner} Mama Melrose's (Hollywood Studios) 1TSM Reserve Fantasmic Dinner 7:30 p

Day 6: May 17th
{BREAKFAST} Chef Mickey *character meal* (Contemporary Resort) 1TSM 9:00 a.m
{LUNCH} Trails End (Ft. Wilderness Resort and Campground)1 TSM 2:00 p.m
{Dinner} Fulton's Crab House (Downtown Disney) 2 TSM 8:00 p.m

{BRUNCH} House of Blues Brunch (Downtown Disney) PAY OUT OF POCKET

I know it seems like a lot but I figured TSM were the best way to maximize the plan. And because we KNOW Disney is known for large portions, we would utilize our snack credits left over at the end of our trip as take home gifts that travel well like popcorn and cookies and the like Any suggestions or thoughts

smiths02 10-24-2013 10:16 AM

MrsUqdah...does House of Blues take DDP...I wouldn't pay OOP if using DxDP

At some of your a la carte places (this doesn't work at buffets, AYCTE, dinner shows)...I would split meals and this would leave you enough credits for HoB

ETA: I am guessing you are staying at WL? If so, it looks like you did good at minimizing travel

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