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Old 02-17-2013, 05:40 PM   #1
jhaig
I'd bet you'd be hungry if we were having Tony-loaf
 
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Considering Out Of Pocket For The First Time

Let me preface this by saying we have gone to WDW for the last 4 years and used the free dining promotion, but last year we upgraded to the deluxe dining plan. It seemd like a HUGE waste of food for us. An appetizer, the entree, and a dessert twice a day was just not what we had in mind. In fact, after a hefty meal at Rose and Crown, I was so full halfway through our meal at Le Cellier I actually (sigh) passed on my maple creme brulee! Yes I know, you don't have to eat everything placed in front of you. But in order to justify the expense, we tried a little bit of everything and probably went a little overboard.

So this time around, we thought about doing the food OOP. After sitting down and doing some quick calculations, we should be able to save a ton of cash, still be able to eat where we want, and may even be able to use a room-only discount instead of getting the free dining.

Anyone else had this work out for them?
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Last edited by jhaig; 02-17-2013 at 05:41 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:05 PM   #2
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It does for us. My family of four (all Disney adults) can eat 3 meals a day, including at least one TS per day, tax AND tip for right at $50 per person per day. That's $6 less than the DDP, the tip is included, and all three meals instead of just two and a snack.

We don't all want dessert at every meal and we prefer to drink water, so the DDP is just extra food we don't really want.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
dalayney
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We're going OOP and we'll be at disney 10 nights/11 days. I sat down and figured out how much each meal would cost/with tip. (w/my hubby ordering the most expensive thing on the menu because well, that's how he rolls) We have reservations at CM, Sci Fi, LeCellier, 50's Prime, Ohana, LTTavern, .... Rest will be CS meals. I also added in tips, breakfast in our room for 4 of those 10 days (the rest of the days breakfast will be at the resort food court) , and $30/day for snacks. (family of 4) ...We still came out over at least $300 ahead of using the dining plan.Oh, and our OOP was including food for both of our flying/travel days. Plus the groceries we ordered from garden grocer including the 2 cases of bottled water. (this was compared to the 1 CS/ 1 TS / 1 snack plan)

So ya, no dining plan for us.

I can understand why some people just want it paid for, less hassle maybe? But they still have to pay for tips, alcohol.. etc.

OOP totally works for us.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:37 AM   #4
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I really think it depends on which resort you are staying at and what discount you are getting. I have tried to convince myself that the 20% at Pop would be as good as the free dining, but it really is not for my family. Now I certainly think that paying out of pocket versus buying the dining plan is a better value.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wildcatfan View Post
I really think it depends on which resort you are staying at and what discount you are getting. I have tried to convince myself that the 20% at Pop would be as good as the free dining, but it really is not for my family. Now I certainly think that paying out of pocket versus buying the dining plan is a better value.
Our trip is planned for May 2014 when there is typically no free dining promotion anyway, so I figured this would be a good time to try not using the dining plan and taking advantage of a room discount. We would like to stay at the Contemporary for 10 nights, so any discount (especially a 30%) would help there....a 30% at CR would take the sting out of paying for food OOP.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:38 AM   #6
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We are also going OOP this time. We have done regular ddp twice and qsdp twice, but when did the math this time, neither is a good option for us.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:15 AM   #7
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It's so individual I think. I wasn't sure for this trip as I previously had gone during FD. On the one hand, SO and I don't get soft drinks every time (I usually get water) and we are inclined to share desserts. Plus I typically hate CS desserts. On the other hand, I have 3 kids, one is under 3 but the other 2 are 8 and 6. For kids that age, the DP is totally worth it. (For 2 adults and 2 kids under 10, the DDP is $145.50 per day this year). I think that if you do a TS a day and plan to do some character meals/buffets, chances are you'll at least break even if not come out ahead with the DDP.

For kids under 10, the cost of a buffet or character meal is often higher than the daily cost of the DDP. Any other meals are free. Plus my kids do like to snack, so even if SO and I wouldn't use that many snack credits ourselves, they are very useful for the kids. So, you just have to look at your individual situation.

I have never done the DxDP but it really does seem like too much food. The regular DDP isn't quite as much. IMO, it's a good amount. However, once my kids become "Disney adults" I highly doubt we'd do the DDP.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:48 PM   #8
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The last three trips we have not done the DDP, but I did have the TIW card.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:10 PM   #9
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We have done the DDP the last (and only) two times we have gone to Disney. We have another trip planned for November and I just sat down and did the math. For my family of 5 it is very close and actually comes out to be a savings of about $100-$150 for a 6 night stay.

That said, some of our favorite places to eat are the expensive character meals, so that does a lot to add value to the plan. For our six days stay I had us eating at the following restaurants. 4 of them are Character Buffets. All are for Dinner. The two "regular" TS places I did not factor in a dessert for the OOP and I did add normal tips for both OOP and the DDP.

Ohanas
Chef Mickeys
Crystal Palace
Garden Grill
T-Rex
Sci-Fi Drive In

So the DDP makes sense for us. Personally, even if it had come out $100-$200 in favor of OOP I would have gone with DDP simply for the flexibility.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhaig View Post
Let me preface this by saying we have gone to WDW for the last 4 years and used the free dining promotion, but last year we upgraded to the deluxe dining plan. It seemd like a HUGE waste of food for us. An appetizer, the entree, and a dessert twice a day was just not what we had in mind. In fact, after a hefty meal at Rose and Crown, I was so full halfway through our meal at Le Cellier I actually (sigh) passed on my maple creme brulee! Yes I know, you don't have to eat everything placed in front of you. But in order to justify the expense, we tried a little bit of everything and probably went a little overboard.

So this time around, we thought about doing the food OOP. After sitting down and doing some quick calculations, we should be able to save a ton of cash, still be able to eat where we want, and may even be able to use a room-only discount instead of getting the free dining.

Anyone else had this work out for them?
ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!

A few years ago, I thought I was the only person on the planet who didn't "get" the value of the DDP and never opted to buy it. But every time I'd sit down and do the math on how, when, and where we planned our meals, the DDP came out as a *huge* money loser for us.

This isn't at all to say it's universally a bad deal. You/everyone *must* do the "due diligence" on how your family will handle eating at Disney, and work through the numbers. What works for family A won't work for family B.

For us, we drive to Disney, stay on-property, and plan most breakfasts to be in our room early in the morning before we hit the parks. Having a POV means that we also don't mind visiting the surrounding area some, and we've found a nice family pizza place we don't have back home, a local Orlando seafood place, and - perhaps most importantly - the option not to eat at all.

When we sat down and worked out where we *did* want to eat Disney meals, we identified a grand total of four places we really wanted to go. One of them doesn't even accept DDP. So, guesstimating our expense for those four meals (three sit-down, full service meals, one walk-up location), we calculated a total that wasn't even in the *ballpark* of the additional cost to add DDP to our vacation. Plus, we were forewarned of how having DDP can encourage you to eat more than you might have otherwise, and that didn't quite make sense to us, either.

So, again, for our family, DDP didn't work and doesn't provide us with any value. Our Disney meals are all out-of-pocket, and we never feel compelled to eat more, or eat an extra meal, or scarf down a snack just to use up unspent credits. If we stayed 100% within the confines of Disney (no local transportation), and knew up-front every meal would be a Disney restaurant, our calculations might have been different. For us, out of pocket was clearly the way to go.

The key, as I said, is planning. You have to do what's right *for you*.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:14 PM   #11
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I was playing with the calculator from See Ya Real Soon and it's pretty interesting. I'm not sure which way I would go to be honest. It pretty much comes out a wash for me based on what kinds of things I put in.

It'll be tricky for me to decide because when we go it will be the first time since 2000 for both me and my husband. And I've never actually eaten anywhere at WDW besides a few random CS places and snack kiosks. So we'll have no opinion on any place, and there's a lot we'd like to try.

We drink a lot of pop and like to get desserts. Apps we only get sometimes but some on the menus sound really yummy. Some I'd rather have instead of an entree. I don't know what kind of character meals we'd do, but I'm sure there would be at least one or two.

It's a way down the road but strangely enough this is fun for me.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:28 PM   #12
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Our trip in April will be our last on DDP. We are starting to plan our next family trip for Dec 2014 as my niece is now a disney adult and the plan is just not worth it where she is concerned. She would rather eat a kids pizza or chicken nuggets over anything on the adult menu so the plan for her is just a complete waste of money. Our last family trip we had free dining, which was great, so unless its free dining time when we go next, it will be OOP from now on.

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:48 PM   #13
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Dining plan works best when it is "free" otherwise we find that our OOP costs and DDP cost are about equal except with OOP we retain our flexibility and choice along with not having all that money tied up in food. Pricing out the dining plan for 3 adults and 2 children comes to 800.00 for QS and 1100. For DDP. We are eating at Akershus (b)
Cp (b)
Prime time (L)
BOG (d)

We don't eat dessert with every meal and often a snack is the dessert. We prefer breakfast buffets and the boys would rather split a adult entree......
So OOP is best for our family.

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Old 02-21-2013, 11:15 AM   #14
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I don't have time to read through the whole thread right now, but I am interested in looking into this again. We did the free dining in 2005 and 2008. 2005 was definitely worth it with appetizers and tips included! 2008 was still fun, but the quality of food seemed to go down and I hated the automatic tip for large parties.

If I remember from the last time I did cost comparisons, it really depended how many people you had per room and where you ate. When I chose some it came out close in favor of the plan. The other deciding factor was how many character buffets we did. If you do a lot of those isn't the dining plan always cheaper? (make sure you look at my signature before you answer...)
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:37 PM   #15
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I don't have time to read through the whole thread right now, but I am interested in looking into this again. We did the free dining in 2005 and 2008. 2005 was definitely worth it with appetizers and tips included! 2008 was still fun, but the quality of food seemed to go down and I hated the automatic tip for large parties.

If I remember from the last time I did cost comparisons, it really depended how many people you had per room and where you ate. When I chose some it came out close in favor of the plan. The other deciding factor was how many character buffets we did. If you do a lot of those isn't the dining plan always cheaper? (make sure you look at my signature before you answer...)
Even with all those "blessings" in your signature, it still depends. The three under 10 and your 10 yr old will probably be your deciding factor. If you do mostly buffets/family style, the cost of the plan for your under 10s is right at or under the cost of that one meal, so their QS and snack are free.

Your 10 yr old will be counted as an adult, so you have to balance paying adult prices for the DDP with her eating habits. However, if you still do mostly buffets/family style and pay OOP, you will still have to pay adult price for her at these places.

If these buffets are mostly breakfast, you need to do the math because your adult people will start losing money with this scenario.

Does everyone want their own dessert at EVERY meal? Will you really want all those QS desserts and drinks?

However, a lot of people like the DDP just for the convenience and peace of mind it brings to their vacation. That in itself may be enough for you with all your "blessings."
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