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Old 12-28-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
pattilee08
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Smile Help? Dining Plan, Yay or Nay w/ young children?

Please help me decide what to do?
This will be our very first trip as a family to the World, have been to Disneyland many times and have never used a dining plan. We have a 3 and 6year old boys, who barely ever eat. We've booked points through a broker at the Beach Club for a week starting January 22nd and then 4 days at AKL savanah view and the first night since we fly in late, we're at ASM. So, only 25 days to go and I'm so so excited.

Here's the dilemna, it's going to cost us $145.50 per day on the regular dining plan for my little family and just can't see us spending that much money normally. We are going with another family who is getting the dining plan and we said even if we didn't opt for the dining plan, we'll still eat everywhere with them. I'm sure on the days we're doing character dining then we might be ahead but normally, I don't see that being the case?? I think we're booked for 3 character meals.

I would so love to have your opinon on this. I've truly enjoyed reading all the posts and typically right before bed I take my phone and open up the DIS app and get so excited to read everything. I have saved so much money thanks to all of you from learning about booking points to getting tickets through the YES program. I'm so appreciative of this site and hope you can help me with this last thing..

So, what do you guys think for us?? Dining plan YAY or NAY and why??

Thank you!!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:51 PM   #2
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If you are traveling with another family that has kids and is on the DDP, I would go with it was well. While your boys may be able to share a kid's meal....are they going to be happy to do that when the other kids get to choose whatever they want and have their own dessert too. Are you going to be comfortable just sitting there while the other family enjoys dessert on the DDP. If you are going to join in with them, it will be just as economical to do the plan and just easier all the way around!
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
cydswipe
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my vote.. NAY!

Meals can easily be split for the kids (minus buffets) I didn't like paying for desserts we normally wouldn't buy. (AND I do NOT need 2 desserts per day... lol) The snack credits are "nice" but in the big picture, what I want to snack on is a credit! LOL! Water with crystal lite packets can be used if you're not big into soda pop.

We also had a hard time using up counter service credits. It is A LOT of food. I felt like we were eating just to eat, as it was paid for and we HAD to use up credits.... kind leaves you feeling icky....

We've done the dining plan numerous times, but our last trip (Nov 2012) we decided that was the last time for it. We'd rather have a prepaid gift card, eat where we want, snack when we want it and GET what you want!!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:31 PM   #4
Nina1
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Dining at Disneyland is very different than dining at WDW. Having been to DL several times and WDW more times than I can count, I can say this with certainty. There are way more choices at WDW and a lot more fun destination dining opportunities, for lack of a better word (think EPCOT, etc.) Although, we do love DL and, btw, DL coffee is a zillion times better. Lol. Anyway, I think you would be better off with the dining plan. We always use it at WDW. If you will be joining the other family wherever they dine, you may run into a huge expense. The dining plan may very well save you money. Additionally, we are a healthy eating family. The desserts and snacks have never been a problem for us. First of all, you are on vacation and should treat yourself if you want to. Keep in mind you will walk way more at WDW than DL. For those times when you don't want dessert, you can almost always get fruit or a lighter option (Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square has a to-die-for raspberry sorbet with fresh blueberries and strawberries). Or, take your dessert back to the room. As for the snacks, you can use these for many things...water, fresh and dried fruit, tea, coffee, bagel with peanut butter (kid's breakfast), treats to take home for yourself or gifts, etc. Do a little research...you have many options! Anyway, I hope this helps. Have a wonderful time!!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:39 PM   #5
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Go to allears.com and look at the menus for the restaurants where you would be eating. Do your best to make a reasonable estimation of what your family would choose and then price out whether the dining plan is worth it or not.

Since you are dining with another family who is on the DDP, that might push you towards getting it. But I am in your exact situation - two kids who are VERY light eaters and it would never make any sense for us to purchase the DDP out of pocket. Prices have gone up again for 2013 which means you have to use almost every dining credit for its maximum value to make it a break even proposition. Just a couple of instances of ordering a cheaper entree or skipping a dessert or having your kids skip meals/snacks means the DDP has lost its value. With the 2013 pricing structure, you really have to plan to make it cost effective. Not worth it at all to me, but mileages vary.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angie789
Go to allears.com and look at the menus for the restaurants where you would be eating. Do your best to make a reasonable estimation of what your family would choose and then price out whether the dining plan is worth it or not.
This would be my suggestion, too. We do the DDP (especially with "free dining") because we love character meals and it's totally worth it for us. But with only a few, especially I'd they're breakfast, it might not be. When we do the math, it's usually that the DDP is about what we'd spend for regular food and then we get the desserts/snacks for free. Plus, it's paid for, and no one worries about the price of an time we're buying, and we love not paying attention to that on vacation.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:54 AM   #7
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We won't do the dining plan anymore unless it is free. We like the freedom no dining plan offered us our last trip, don't want to tie our money up in the dining plan (we would have had to purchase it full price out of pocket which was way more than 14.95 ) and liked the freedom of ordering what we really wanted.

Now we did not save money by going without the dining plan but again we got what we really wanted as we weren't limited by the "rules" of the dining plan. We do have favorite TS restaurants but that is where we mostly broke even with out of pocket vs dining plan costs.

We have three small children and I recall some meals they split and some meals they had their own.

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Old 12-29-2012, 09:42 AM   #8
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We have done the dining plan and not done the dining plan, and enjoyed both. Since you are doing a split stay, you could just do the dining plan at one location. Keep in mind that the credits don't expire until midnight, so you could use half the credits the day you move to a new location. If you are eating breakfast and lunch out, you could split the credits there as well. If the other family is on the dining plan, I think you are going to want to be on the dining plan as well.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:16 AM   #9
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I don't see the worth of the dining plan, especially since they just increased the price again. Look at the menus on here or on allears to see how much you would be spending out of pocket and do the math
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattilee08 View Post
Please help me decide what to do?
This will be our very first trip as a family to the World, have been to Disneyland many times and have never used a dining plan. We have a 3 and 6year old boys, who barely ever eat. We've booked points through a broker at the Beach Club for a week starting January 22nd and then 4 days at AKL savanah view and the first night since we fly in late, we're at ASM. So, only 25 days to go and I'm so so excited.

Here's the dilemna, it's going to cost us $145.50 per day on the regular dining plan for my little family and just can't see us spending that much money normally. We are going with another family who is getting the dining plan and we said even if we didn't opt for the dining plan, we'll still eat everywhere with them. I'm sure on the days we're doing character dining then we might be ahead but normally, I don't see that being the case?? I think we're booked for 3 character meals.

I would so love to have your opinon on this. I've truly enjoyed reading all the posts and typically right before bed I take my phone and open up the DIS app and get so excited to read everything. I have saved so much money thanks to all of you from learning about booking points to getting tickets through the YES program. I'm so appreciative of this site and hope you can help me with this last thing..

So, what do you guys think for us?? Dining plan YAY or NAY and why??

Thank you!!!
Are you sharing your DVC villa with this other family? If you are, then you have no choice but to get the dining plan that they are buying. Everyone on a room reservation must have the same thing (dining plan or no dining plan) even if you're staying on DVC points.

If you're on different reservations, then I would recommend not getting the dining plan since your boys are not big eaters. The dining plan includes dessert with every meal and that's a lot of empty calories for kids that don't each much to begin with. The exception would be if you have a lot of character buffets planned. You will pay the same price whether your kids are huge eaters or pick at their food. The character buffets also tend to be pretty pricey when you're paying out of pocket.

I'm hoping that you've already made your ADRs for your trip, so go over to allears.net and look at their menus for the restaurants you have planned. You'll get an idea of price ranges from there. It will give you a better idea of whether the dining plan will be a good value for you. Here's a link to the main page for the menus: http://allears.net/menu/menus.htm

ETA: Since you will be changing resorts, you can elect to skip the dining plan at AKV for your last 4 days. If you stretch your dining credits out, you can still use the last of the ones from BCV on your check in day at AKV until midnight.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:36 PM   #11
ekatiel
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I think getting the plan for the first week of your stay and then skipping it for AKL is a great idea. Try to schedule all your character meals and buffets in the first week. Then, schedule cheaper ala carte places for the stay at AKL. Best of both worlds . --Katie
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:09 PM   #12
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The dining plan had never been a money saver for my family. We dropped it when they got rid of the tip and appetizer
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:23 PM   #13
Juliet25
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No to the dining plan. For our family, it just doesn't work. DH and I used it when our oldest was an only child, and it was fine (plus a better value). Now that we have three kids, the dining plan does not work out well at all. So much of our vacation is spent trying to keep grumpiness to a minimum, and a big part of that is keeping bellies full. The QSP is better for us for flexibility. My kids just don't like eating at restaurants, and I don't like our trip revolving around dining reservations. For us, it just doesn't make sense financially or logistically.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:30 PM   #14
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I find if your kids are under 10 - the dining plan is totally worth it! We can save without being on the dining plan but then it is a constant struggle to eat on the budget - get the cheapest meal, split, etc...

so we prefer to use it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:44 PM   #15
mymeme
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We had Free Dining last May and it was great! We did Character meals everyday and the grandson loved it. That would have been very expensive for the meals and tips. Wish we could get it again this May.
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