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Old 02-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
Arsenal1982
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Disney Dining - Can't Justify The Expense

Maybe someone can persuade me but I just can't justify the fixed cost for the dining plan unless I'm missing something.

Basic Dining Plan = $56.00 per person

1 Lunch = $12.00 max

1 Dinner with Dessert = $40.00 (This is the absolute most that it would cost and a lot of nights won't approach this number.. example if I do the buffet at Biergarten.. or get a pizza at Via Napoli)

1 Snack = $3.00 to $4.00... again this is the high end of costs.. some snacks will be less but I won't ever spend more than $4.00 on a snack even though I know you can.. shake at Beaches and Cream for example.

So if I basically max out. max lunch, max dinner, max snack, it meets the dining plan expense. If I don't and its not reasonable to expect I would each night, then I'm better off just paying out of pocket.

I also investigated the deluxe dining plan which seems even more of a bad deal at $100 a night. That just doesn't make any sense to me... If I eat a lunch, 2 snacks, and do a signature dining out of my pocket, I will pay less than $100 guaranteed.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:52 PM   #2
sharonabe
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The dining plans don't work for us, but I'm not sure you've given it a fair calculation.

A QS entree is around $10, large soda is $3 and most desserts are $4, so you're lunch (if you eat everything you're entitled to) is more like $17 than $12.

Your TS at $40 is pretty close, although many places will be less. But if you can maximize most of your TS to the $40, you're at $57 with just TS and QS, so your snack is free and you also got the refillable mug for drinks at the resort or at least a souvenir.

You do have to use all your entitlements and you do have to do some homework to make sure you maximize your choices, but you can still save money on the DDP. A lot of people like it for the convenience factor and the "all-inclusive" prepaid feel.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:59 PM   #3
Arsenal1982
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharonabe View Post
The dining plans don't work for us, but I'm not sure you've given it a fair calculation.

A QS entree is around $10, large soda is $3 and most desserts are $4, so you're lunch (if you eat everything you're entitled to) is more like $17 than $12.

Your TS at $40 is pretty close, although many places will be less. But if you can maximize most of your TS to the $40, you're at $57 with just TS and QS, so your snack is free and you also got the refillable mug for drinks at the resort or at least a souvenir.

You do have to use all your entitlements and you do have to do some homework to make sure you maximize your choices, but you can still save money on the DDP. A lot of people like it for the convenience factor and the "all-inclusive" prepaid feel.
Good point regarding the QS. We think the lunch desserts are terrible and don't touch them. I'd rather go buy an eclair at the French pastry place if I wanted a sweet.

And as you said.. many TS will be less than $40 if you like variety.

Also sometimes we go to a restaurant which doesn't even have very good dessert options like Nine Dragons..

It just seems to me that OOP is the best option.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:08 PM   #4
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It sounds like you've done your homework and come to the same conclusion as many others regarding the DDP.

My family of four Disney adults can eat 3 meals each day for $50 per person, per day, including tax AND tip and still eat at least one TS per day and some buffets. That's $6 less than the DDP would cost us and I've already included the tip. That's a no-brainer for us.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:33 PM   #5
MyTwoPrincesses
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharonabe View Post
The dining plans don't work for us, but I'm not sure you've given it a fair calculation.

A QS entree is around $10, large soda is $3 and most desserts are $4, so you're lunch (if you eat everything you're entitled to) is more like $17 than $12.

Your TS at $40 is pretty close, although many places will be less. But if you can maximize most of your TS to the $40, you're at $57 with just TS and QS, so your snack is free and you also got the refillable mug for drinks at the resort or at least a souvenir.

You do have to use all your entitlements and you do have to do some homework to make sure you maximize your choices, but you can still save money on the DDP. A lot of people like it for the convenience factor and the "all-inclusive" prepaid feel.
This is really helpful. I have gone twice with Free Dining but with my upcoming trip, I'm leaning towards NOT getting the DDP.

I don't really drink soft drinks and neither does my SO. The kids sometimes do, sometimes don't. The QS desserts are worthless. I never ate them. And many QS meals work out at around $12 with tax. I normally get water when I eat out.

As for TS, I do like TS, but I also think that even with say, Biergarten at ~ $34 for an adult for dinner, 34 + 12 = 46. I don't think I'd come up with the other $11 in snacks. And many TS meals are less expensive and will come out to about $20-25 an entree (or less). If we get dessert at all, we are inclined to share. Again, we're not soft drink people.

I do think for kids there is value there. But again, it depends on how many character meals/buffets you do. The way I'm calculating it, for OUR eating styles as no soft drink maybe 2-3 shared desserts during the week, at best, DDP is a break even proposition. But more likely, we'll spend less on food going OOP.

ETA: After I posted, I did end up adding DDP to our reservation. For 2 adults and 2 Disney kids, DDP is $145.50 per day, which is actually my estimate of what we'd spend on food at WDW anyway. I figure that since it is break even, it's worth the peace of mind to have food mostly prepaid except for tips and alcohol.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:17 PM   #6
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If you have kids age 3-9 and want to hit character meals...that can boost your savings.

That being said...I probably won't ever get DDP again unless it is offered as a discount.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiths02
If you have kids age 3-9 and want to hit character meals...that can boost your savings
This is why it works for us. Between Cali Grill, Fultons and CRT we definitely see a savings. When you add in Tusker House, Akershus, and Crystal Palace we expect to save $300-400 over 8 days, more over, 10 days.

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Old 02-02-2013, 09:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Srbright View Post
This is why it works for us. Between Cali Grill, Fultons and CRT we definitely see a savings. When you add in Tusker House, Akershus, and Crystal Palace we expect to save $300-400 over 8 days, more over, 10 days.

Stacy
So you see savings with the DDP at Cali Grill? Can you explain how because I looked at it. If you ordered the most expensive app, entree, and dessert at Cali, that comes to $77. Throw in a $15 QS lunch. Then add in 2 snacks at $3.00 each. Total comes to $98.

Am I missing something here?
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arsenal1982 View Post
So you see savings with the DDP at Cali Grill? Can you explain how because I looked at it. If you ordered the most expensive app, entree, and dessert at Cali, that comes to $77. Throw in a $15 QS lunch. Then add in 2 snacks at $3.00 each. Total comes to $98.

Am I missing something here?
And on the regular DDP, you don't get the app, so your total is even less than that and you've used 2 of your TS credits.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:47 PM   #10
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Lots of people don't see a savings unless they have a discounted or free dining plan. We save money using the DXDP where most people don't (it was discounted). I'd have to reevaluate if it was full price.

Lots have people make it pretty clear they wouldn't get the DP at the full cost because they could eat for less OOP or break even and order more things that interest them (apps instead of dessert). Some people don't really care about the minimal savings or not saving at all, but prefer the convenience.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:34 PM   #11
MommaBarb
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I realize that the DDP isn't the greatest value, though we've always gotten at least a discount. For us, it's about budgeting. We'll do better if we have to pay $XX amount to go to WDW. Also, with our young girls, they love the character dining. Otherwise, we'd probably just pack a lot more food and pay OOP for like QS or something.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:22 PM   #12
davedmaine
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And don't forget that with the plan, you're going to be paying a much larger gratuity (most likely) than by paying OOP. This is due to most people trying to maximize the value of the plan and therefore having to order the most expensive things on the menu.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:38 PM   #13
ilovediznee
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We do the dining plan - works for us.

Last August for the 1st time in probably ten years, we didn't do the Dining Plan and I stressed out at every meal. We've done all plans except the QS. We usually always come out ahead because my DD and DH are total carnivores so our meals are very meat - mostly steak - oriented. My DH is a big eater so we make out well. We use snack credits usually all at EPCOT in France and get a bunch of pastries. Our DD is 12 and now an adult but mostly wants stuff off the kids menu still so we are saving her credits and we will be using them.

The dining plan - either regular or deluxe - is not for everyone, but it works for us. I loke the idea of not having to worry about what we are ordering, even with paying OOP for some of her meals, but it comes in handy when we go to the Yachtsman and our bill is well over $250.00 and all I need to worry about is the tip.

Like I said, not for everyone but the dining plan and eating at the restaurants is part of our vacation.

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Old 02-03-2013, 07:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ilovediznee View Post
Last August for the 1st time in probably ten years, we didn't do the Dining Plan and I stressed out at every meal. We've done all plans except the QS. We usually always come out ahead because my DD and DH are total carnivores so our meals are very meat - mostly steak - oriented. My DH is a big eater so we make out well. We use snack credits usually all at EPCOT in France and get a bunch of pastries. Our DD is 12 and now an adult but mostly wants stuff off the kids menu still so we are saving her credits and we will be using them.

The dining plan - either regular or deluxe - is not for everyone, but it works for us. I loke the idea of not having to worry about what we are ordering, even with paying OOP for some of her meals, but it comes in handy when we go to the Yachtsman and our bill is well over $250.00 and all I need to worry about is the tip.

Like I said, not for everyone but the dining plan and eating at the restaurants is part of our vacation.

This sounds almost like us! DxDP is the way we go. Some of the days we had 3 sit downs.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:54 PM   #15
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Convenient, but too expensive

Having the DDP is certainly a convenience, but it's definitely NOT worth the cost of paying the regular price for it. We got "free" dining last trip and that was a good value getting it that way. I'd never pay for it separately. You can get wonderful, higher quality meals outside the World and eat better while paying less.
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