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Old 01-18-2013, 04:46 PM   #1
HWY20RIDE4MYSON
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Your Good and Bad and even the ugly on the Meal Plan

Looks like were going to do 7-8 days in "July" ARRRRRRRR!!!!! were prob going to stay at DWL my question is if were going to spend all day at the parks is the meal plan good for this?? This is our first on site stay is DWL good for food and also if were going to close the park every evening will we be able to get food at the resort late? Would it be better just to wing it and pay as we go? I like the idea of having everything paid for but I know with the Summer heat H20 will be our main dish lol!!! Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by HWY20RIDE4MYSON View Post
Looks like were going to do 7-8 days in "July" ARRRRRRRR!!!!! were prob going to stay at DWL my question is if were going to spend all day at the parks is the meal plan good for this?? This is our first on site stay is DWL good for food and also if were going to close the park every evening will we be able to get food at the resort late? Would it be better just to wing it and pay as we go? I like the idea of having everything paid for but I know with the Summer heat H20 will be our main dish lol!!! Thanks!
We ditched the DDP a few years ago and have not looked back. The DDP really is not all it's cracked up to be for the cost, especially having to pay a higher cost due to it being summertime. I would suggest if you're driving or have a car, head to a store offsite and stock up on beverages, water and light snacks and pack them into a soft side cooler and take them into the parks everyday to start. If you're flying and won't have a car, I highly recommend gardengrocer.com. GREAT service and very reasonable prices. In order to get your $$ worth, you need to eat lunch at the most expensive CS you can find and eat all TS meals at supper time, again needing to order the higher cost items in order to get your money's worth. Keep in mind that you are also responsible for your gratuities. Take the money that you have spent on the DDP and get Disney gift cards with your cash. Your meals will still be pre-paid and you can eat as you wish. If there are few TS you really want, make sure you make your ressies at the 180 day mark to ensure you get them.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:58 PM   #3
mrsR123
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I have to agree; DDP is just too much food and way too much money. The only way I can see it being beneficial is if you think you'd eat that way anyway: one sit down with dessert for every person every day and desserts for every person at every counter service plus the snack.

I try to do late breakfasts or early lunches for our big meals anymore so that the sit-downs are a little less expensive vs. dinner prices-- especially if we're doing buffets. We do a like to do 2-3 in a week's time. It's nice to be able to sample lots of things, I can get the DSs to eat something green, and desserts are included.

Good luck deciding and have fun this summer.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:03 PM   #4
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If you were actually going to order and eat the volume of food that the DP gives you it does save you money. I think though, even the heartiest eaters are unlikely to ever order that volume of their own volition.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:30 PM   #5
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thanks for the info, on our other trips we allways stayed off site, we usually bring snacks and bottled water. So we really drink more then we eat, usually split a lunch or if super hungry we get individual meals. I def agree with the online store, we were planning of flying and renting a car for the day just to stock up on snacks. I think we will skip the meal plan for the reason that were not heavy eaters when at the parks, Now at the resort that is a dif story!!! lol
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HWY20RIDE4MYSON View Post
Looks like were going to do 7-8 days in "July" ARRRRRRRR!!!!! were prob going to stay at DWL my question is if were going to spend all day at the parks is the meal plan good for this?? This is our first on site stay is DWL good for food and also if were going to close the park every evening will we be able to get food at the resort late? Would it be better just to wing it and pay as we go? I like the idea of having everything paid for but I know with the Summer heat H20 will be our main dish lol!!! Thanks!
I will not do it unless its free at this point... this article sums it up pretty well:
http://blog.touringplans.com/2012/07...-plan-exposed/

I don't think its worth it at all. You may break even but I can't see how you would be "saving 20%" like it advertises. Maybe bf all the changes and price increases... You basically pre-pay for your meals, but you have to use those credits and you do not get reimbursed. So you could end up losing money on it. Also you are stuck using it the way it is laid out for your whole trip, which makes it kind of restrictive. If you go with the quick service, you are stuck eating quick serv every meal for your entire trip. You pay out of pocket for any character meal etc- plus there are those unused credits... If you do the standard plan, you are stuck getting at least one TS meal a day and what if you want to keep moving and just grab quick serv? nope... Plus tip is not included anymore so there is always going to be out of pocket every day. We only did 2 ts meals, but each was over $100. Not a big deal but if you have to do TS and leave a tip on a $100 meal every day that really adds up. Especially for the heavy tipper like me. (I tip 20% unless the service is horrible) The deluxe is way too much food for the average person and its really pricey.

Just my two cents. Some people love it
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:30 PM   #7
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The only time I like the dining plan is when it's free dining. I know it's not really free because you lose the room discount but with our last trip, if we had gotten the same room discount as in past years without free dining, it was like we had gotten the room discount during free dining but paid $16 a person a day, for the Quick Serice plan (before that we had gotten the regular plan when values still got the regular plan).

My biggest issue with it is that it was way too much food and included stuff we would never order. We usually drink water with our meals so wouldn't have bought soda and never all get a dessert with a meal, either counter or table service. Most of the time, our snack credits went unused most of the trip because we weren't hungry in between lunch and dinner and ended up using them for stuff to take home at the end of the trip.

If we had to pay $34.99 a person a day for the Quick Service or more for the regular plan, I'd feel like we might be overall saving money based on the regular prices but wouldn't actually be saving anything because when ordering off the plan, our meals would have been cheaper to begin with. As an example, eating at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot our total for 4 people on the dining plan was around $62, if we were paying out of pocket what we would have ordered would have been around $35.

Last edited by Yoshi; 01-18-2013 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:48 PM   #8
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We would only do the DDP if it were free and the offer made the price better a room discount that may be offered. You end up spending more for the DDP in most cases than the food you would actually eat. I have a 2013 pricing analysis spreadsheet comparing out of pocket, the dining plan and tables in wonderland. Of all 3 options, the dining plan costs us quite a bit more money.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:53 PM   #9
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We would only do the DDP if it were free and the offer made the price better a room discount that may be offered. You end up spending more for the DDP in most cases than the food you would actually eat. I have a 2013 pricing analysis spreadsheet comparing out of pocket, the dining plan and tables in wonderland. Of all 3 options, the dining plan costs us quite a bit more money.
Many folks don't have access to TiW.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:33 AM   #10
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We love the dining plan--the deluxe plan in particular since it gives us the flexibility to eat wherever we want We always upgrade from the regular dining plan and have always came way out ahead from what we spent on meals compared to the price it was to upgrade. It is a personal preference but I can't imagine Disney without the deluxe dining plan! Love it!!
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:47 PM   #11
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OK just my 2 cents here...
We are planning a trip for Sept of this year, and we will have the DxDDP. I know know all the arguments against it and I know many who will think we are wasting our money/time on it.

But we have 3 Adults/1 Disney Adult/1 9yr old. No for us it looks like it will work out well. My oldest DS(15) loves steak and would eat it 3 meals a day if i would let him, plus he is like a bottomless pit when it comes to food. My youngest DS (9) can eat like an adult most of the time. My DH is semi picky and also lactose intolerant. DBro is diabetic. Me I'm a bit of a foodie, but don't always eat a lot at one time.

We are going to be onsite for 7 nights and plan on spreading our meals out over the 8 days we will be there. 4 of the 8 days will only have breakfast and dinner, 3 dinners will be either signatures or dinner shows, 3 meals will be character meals. Yes we will probably do a few CS but not many. And as far as snacks I know they will get used for more then just bottled water with 4 guys on the trip I have no doubt that we will get our money's worth.

Besides I spent more in 2010 when we went last and we stayed offsite Granted there were 6 of us then but we were only in orlando for 6nights then. I spent way more per person for food that year then doing the DxDDP this year. In 2010 we averaged about $132 per person/day OOP not including tips. So about $99 adult/day and $26 child/day does not sound too bad to me.

Plus I don't have to worry about how much the bill is other then tip. Which will make my vacation a lot better.

Do I think DDP is a good thing? Yes I do but that is just for our family. I know it wouldn't work for everyone nor is it cost effective for everyone. But that is part of what is great about WDW. A disney vacation can be fit into many budgets if it is worked out right and planned.

Well that is just my 2cents on the subject.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HWY20RIDE4MYSON
Looks like were going to do 7-8 days in "July" ARRRRRRRR!!!!! were prob going to stay at DWL my question is if were going to spend all day at the parks is the meal plan good for this?? This is our first on site stay is DWL good for food and also if were going to close the park every evening will we be able to get food at the resort late? Would it be better just to wing it and pay as we go? I like the idea of having everything paid for but I know with the Summer heat H20 will be our main dish lol!!! Thanks!
Do you have kids? How many and how old? Are you planning to do character meals? We found that when our kids were all "kids" on the DDP, and we had character meals, it was a good deal. Our next trip we decided we didn't want an ADR every day. But in July, you might like air conditioned breaks for meals! It all depends.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:18 AM   #13
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We used the dining plan for the first time in December 2012 and my husband said never again. He said he felt like all we did was eat and it was way too much food and he is a big eater.

I agree with the poster that said you need to eat more dinners than lunches. I kept track of what each meal would have cost for the entire week so I could find out how we came out. Well -- if we had not had to use the snack credits (got candy and cookies for Christmas stockings with these), Disney would have made about $30 on us. As it turned out, we almost broke even.

A funny example of the dining plan is the dessert in Rainforest Cafe called the volcano. It is a huge dessert with brownies, ice cream and hot fudge. Anytime anyone orders this dessert they waiters scream out volcano as they take it to the table. Before the dining plan, you heard Volcano maybe once while you were there. This year we heard volcano being screamed about every 5 minutes. This is because everyone feels they have to have the dessert or they are giving away part of their dining plan.

We would have eaten several table service meals anyway, but we would much rather have a salad or appetizer than a dessert. Also , the sandwiches are huge at Disney and ordinarily we would have shared one, but on the dining plan you don't want to waste the credits.

We decided that whoever instituted the dining plan for Disney should get a big fat raise because everyone is using it. We paid for the dining plan because the discount on the room was $100 more than free dining. We know now not to add dining plan again.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:05 AM   #14
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I did the dining plan back when it included appetizers and gratuity for something like $38 pp/day and it was a no-branier that it was "worth it" financially. However, even with that great deal, I still had issues with it.

When I have a program like that, I am always thinking "Am I getting the best value from the plan?" So even though I had all these snack credits I was concerned about going unused, I still wouldn't use them for a bottle of water as it wasn't a high-cost item and therefore not a "value". Also, there are meals you might want that are not included on the plan. An example: We were stying at the WL and one evening wanted appetizers and drinks in the lounge in lieu of dinner. The plan doesn't cover anything in the lounges.

Now that the price has gone up so much, I don't see how it would be a "value" like it used to be.

You've been before, so you already have an idea of what types of meals you prefer, unless you want to try something different this trip. But think about that - your mix of counter service vs. table service. Then look at the menus on here or All Ears. What would your family likely order? How much does that cost? And think about your own psychology - are you likely to stress over getting the most value out of the plan? Or would you just think about it like some say as "Pre paying" for your meals and oh what a relief that is?

Years ago they had a dining plan called "Food and Fun". It was full TS breakfast and dinner each day, and unlimited "Fun" - things like boat rentals, bike rentals, etc. We joked that we were always planning where we were going to eat next. We saved our receipts and found that, in the end, we broke even on the meals. The one boat rental put us over the top. But if we weren't on the plan we would never have eaten a full TS breakfast and dinner every day. My point is, are you enjoying your vacation, eating what and when you like? Or is the dining plan ruling you?

I like what someone said about purchasing Disney gift cards in advance and "pre paying" for your meals that way.

And don't forget that it is not necessarily a table service every day. You can do a signature dining experience once or twice for two credits. I love Artist Point at the WL, and CA Grill at the CR.

You asked about dining options at the WL. Late night your option will be Roaring Fork, the QS at the WL. Not sure how late it is open. May only be until 10 or 11 .p.m. Oh, and the meal plan works for people who are going to be in the parks all day. Lots of QS and 1 credit TS options, but you will likely have to plan and make your ADRs far in advance.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:15 AM   #15
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OP, the way you worded your post leads me to believe that you think you need to eat at the resort. The DDP gives you credits that you can use almost anywhere on Disney property.
Having said that, I only did it once and would not do it again. I like appetizers, but rarely eat dessert. I don't want to feel like I have to eat dessert and then pay outnof pocket for my appetizer. I like wine with my dinner....
The upside is that the bulk of your food is all paid for ahead of time (don't think this doesn't factor into Disney's thi king...with your food prepaid, you feel like you have more cash on hand for souvenirs).
But I prefer Tables in Wonderland. it gives me 20% off my entire sit down meal, including appetizers and alcohol.
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