Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Disney Restaurants > Disney Dining Plan
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-28-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
pinkpenny58
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6

Dining Dilemma

My family and I have gone to Disney tons of times but have always stayed at our time share, this is the first time that we will be staying on property. We are going Aug 24-31. We have two kids 11& 14. We are trying to decide if we should buy the dining plan or not. Can you please give us your opinions and reason on whether or not to buy or not to buy the dining plan. Thanks so much!
__________________
__________________

pinkpenny58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
lroger01
DIS Veteran
 
lroger01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 620

Get the dining plan if:
  • You look at the menu, freak out at the prices, and end up ordering the cheaper things.
  • Members of your family (teenage boys) tend to inhale food
  • You like to get dessert but hate to pay for it
  • You want to have your meals paid for before you leave (note, tips are not included for table service meals so you'll still need to pay $10 to $20 at the end of the meal).
Skip the plan if:
  • You feel like you'll need to get your money's worth and will feel compelled to order the most expensive thing on the menu, even if that isn't what you really want.
  • You price out some sample meals, and realize it's cheaper to pay out of pocket. And not having your meals paid in advance won't bother you.
  • You never eat dessert.
If paying out all those tips is a deal breaker, consider the Quick-Service Dining Plan. There are plenty of places to get "knife & fork" dinner food. You won't be eating hamburgers for a week. You can still plan a few table-service meals at your favorite places with the money you save. And not having to rush to an ADR can be kinda nice.
__________________
Remember forum newbies
When responding to first timers, please make an effort to spell out acronyms the first time you use them in a post. The newbies will thank you!
lroger01 is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 04-28-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
StitchesGr8Fan
DIS Veteran
 
StitchesGr8Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,785

Quote:
Originally Posted by lroger01 View Post
Get the dining plan if:
[*]You look at the menu, freak out at the prices, and end up ordering the cheaper things.[*]Members of your family (teenage boys) tend to inhale food[*]You like to get dessert but hate to pay for it[*]You want to have your meals paid for before you leave (note, tips are not included for table service meals so you'll still need to pay $10 to $20 at the end of the meal).

Skip the plan if:
[*]You feel like you'll need to get your money's worth and will feel compelled to order the most expensive thing on the menu, even if that isn't what you really want.
[*]You price out some sample meals, and realize it's cheaper to pay out of pocket. And not having your meals paid in advance won't bother you.
[*]You never eat dessert.

If paying out all those tips is a deal breaker, consider the Quick-Service Dining Plan. There are plenty of places to get "knife & fork" dinner food. You won't be eating hamburgers for a week. You can still plan a few table-service meals at your favorite places with the money you save. And not having to rush to an ADR can be kinda nice.
This is an excellent post and a good way to evaluate it.
__________________
'86-offsite, '91-Buena Vista Palace, '92-offsite, '97-offsite, '98-Magic Music Days, '06-ASMu, '07-FtW, '09-ASMu,'10-POR,'12-Poly (Honeymoon!)
'14 - Pop
StitchesGr8Fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 09:17 AM   #4
anorman
DIS Veteran
 
anorman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: The Great White North
Posts: 906

Quote:
Originally Posted by lroger01 View Post
Get the dining plan if:
  • You look at the menu, freak out at the prices, and end up ordering the cheaper things.
  • Members of your family (teenage boys) tend to inhale food
  • You like to get dessert but hate to pay for it
  • You want to have your meals paid for before you leave (note, tips are not included for table service meals so you'll still need to pay $10 to $20 at the end of the meal).
Skip the plan if:
  • You feel like you'll need to get your money's worth and will feel compelled to order the most expensive thing on the menu, even if that isn't what you really want.
  • You price out some sample meals, and realize it's cheaper to pay out of pocket. And not having your meals paid in advance won't bother you.
  • You never eat dessert.
If paying out all those tips is a deal breaker, consider the Quick-Service Dining Plan. There are plenty of places to get "knife & fork" dinner food. You won't be eating hamburgers for a week. You can still plan a few table-service meals at your favorite places with the money you save. And not having to rush to an ADR can be kinda nice.
Since WDW restaurants ask for an 18% tip and your kids are "disney" adults, you'll likely be looking at a $40-50 tip for each table service meal.
__________________
Me dh dd12 dd13
off-site 1987, off-site 1991, Pop Century-Nov 2008, Pop Century-Aug 2009, POFQ-Aug 2010, POR/RPR-Aug 2011, Universal's RPR/Vacation Villa-Aug 2012, Vacation Villa-Aug 2013, 1D trip to Toronto/Niagara Falls-Aug 2014, Universal's RPR/Vacation Villa-Aug 2015
anorman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 09:34 AM   #5
CaoilinnsMom
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 112

I have spent a little time thinking about this myself. I am interested to see what the bouceback offer for my May trip is, if it is free dining I just might try it. I don't think it would be much better than a room only discount, since I have annual passes, but I'd like to try it sometime. My daughter is little and between us we don't each much food, we can share a counter service meal and both be full. It might be nice to commit to trying it once though.
CaoilinnsMom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 12:32 PM   #6
MinnieLovesMickey12
DIS Veteran
 
MinnieLovesMickey12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Way down South near the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.
Posts: 2,098

Quote:
Originally Posted by anorman View Post
Since WDW restaurants ask for an 18% tip and your kids are "disney" adults, you'll likely be looking at a $40-50 tip for each table service meal.
This was us. We had the DDp and paid OOP every day for breakfast, used our CS credit for lunch then used our TS credit for dinner every night. The cost of almost every meal we had (5 Disney adults) was right around $200 give or take 2 or 3 dollars. That was a $40 tip EVERY NIGHT we were there for 9 nights. You have to keep that in mind when adding up what the plan actually ends up costing you.

Now you will have to pay that tip whether or not you have the DDP but if you didn't have the DDP you could eat more CS and save paying tips all together.

We would never pay out of pocket for the dining plan. We can always eat cheaper paying OOP because we don't normally eat desserts or snacks.

The 2 times we have had the dining plan (QSDP once and DDP once) we got the dining free and just paid to upgrade from QSDP to DDP at $20 per person per day. So the only cost to us for the dining plan was $100 a day plus tips. So we came out ahead financially. The food for the day including dining plan upgrade, breakfast OOP and tip added up to about $190 a day for food. And that is with FREE DINING.

Most buffets do not cost anywhere near $60. They average about $18 breakfast and $35 dinner. Even the all you can eat Crab legs buffet at Cape May is only $35. CRT cost a lot but it will also cost you TWO dining credits not one.

We are 3 meal a day kind of family so the only plan that would actually cover all 3 meals a day for us would be the deluxe dining plan. And there is no way I would pay $100 a day for food per person. I can eat 3 table service meals a day on my own for around $60-$65 plus tip. But we would not eat 3 TS meals a day. We would eat 2 CS and 1 TS so we would automatically lose a huge amount of value from the DlxDp. If you are staying in a mod and getting Free DDp and pay to upgrade from DDP to DlxDp it is only $45 a day to upgrade...THEN it is worth the money to have the deluxe dining plan because you only actually paid $45 per person per day for 3 TS meals. If I did that I would eat 1 CS breakfast and TS lunch and dinner. We aren't interested in any of the signatures.

SO my long answer is NO the dining plan is not worth the money.

If you have kids under the age of 10 and eat a lot of character breakfasts it can work in your favor.

You can even eat cheaper having 3 CS meals a day than what the QSDP gives you for 2 meals a day. The plan is $37 a day for QSDP and I can eat 3 CS meals a day easily for under $30. closer to $25 actually. So even the QSDP is not a good value for us unless it is free.

But it appears Disney has decided to severely cut back or completely eliminate free dining.
__________________
10/27-11/6/11 All Star Music Family Suite (QSDP) --Family trip 1/26-2/1/12 Quality Suites Lake Buena Vista --Adults Only trip
4/16-4/21/12 Rosen Inn --Adults Only Trip 10/27-11/4/12 All Star Music Family Suite (DDP) --Family Trip
4/14-4/19/13 Quality Suites Lake Buena Vista -- Adults Only Trip 11/10-11/16/13 Wyndham Bonnet Creek -- Adults Only Trip
12/7-12/13/14 Wyndham Bonnet Creek-- Adults Only trip 10/31-11/10/15 Wyndham Bonnet Creek -- Family Trip
MinnieLovesMickey12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 12:44 PM   #7
MHSweb79
DIS Veteran
 
MHSweb79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Providence, RI
Posts: 3,941

ITA that the TS plan is a lot of food. People think you have to starve until lunch, but it's pretty easy to work breakfast into the plan. First, did you know a side of scrambled eggs can be a snack credit? Also, you can order a breakfast platter at your resort and split it. At POFQ there's a platter that includes a biscuit and a Mickey waffle. We ask for 2 waffles instead, and believe me, it's plenty for the two of us.

As others have mentioned, you get dessert with each CS and TS meal. You can get something fruity or a muffin and ask them to box it up. Bingo- breakfast!

The dining plan really doesn't save you money any more. It used to include appetizers and tips and cost much less- THAT was a bargain! Now you will have to work hard to save anything. And if you are sick of desserts by Day 3 (like we get) then you really are throwing money away on the plan.

I am glad that we've had the dining plan several times. We got to try restaurants that we just would not have gone into, given the cost. So it was great in that way and now we know which restaurants are really worth the price for us (Teppan Edo, Biergarten come to mind) and focus our few TS meals on those we know we love.

Most people on the regular dining plan end up with extra snack credits at the end of the week - this should tell you something...

Edited to add: Don't forget that even "free dining" is not free- you have to pay rack rate for your room. The first time my AAA travel agent added Free Dining to our plan I had to go over there and give here a check for $250 MORE, since we lost our room discount. It turned out to be half-price dining, since there were only 2 of us in the room.

Last edited by MHSweb79; 04-29-2013 at 12:53 PM.
MHSweb79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 01:05 PM   #8
BlueStarryHat

Just picture everyone sitting at the computer in their underwear
 
BlueStarryHat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,713

We like the DP because it's convenient for us as food lovers, and since I have the cost of meals budgeted into my package price, I like the fact that I can "pay off" meals before we go.

What we do is eat our breakfast at the food court in our hotel, then use a snack credit for lunch (an ice cream cone or something), and then have an early TS dinner, around 5 pm. It works for us, as you get so much food at dinner we're usually not hungry for the rest of the night.

I would follow others' advice and do the spreadsheets and calculations, though. What's good for one may not be good for another.
__________________
Aww...no ticker for me.
BlueStarryHat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 12:31 PM   #9
squirrel4569
DIS Veteran
 
squirrel4569's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Frisco, Texas
Posts: 904

Quote:
Originally Posted by lroger01 View Post
Get the dining plan if:
  • You look at the menu, freak out at the prices, and end up ordering the cheaper things.
  • Members of your family (teenage boys) tend to inhale food
  • You like to get dessert but hate to pay for it
  • You want to have your meals paid for before you leave (note, tips are not included for table service meals so you'll still need to pay $10 to $20 at the end of the meal).
Skip the plan if:
  • You feel like you'll need to get your money's worth and will feel compelled to order the most expensive thing on the menu, even if that isn't what you really want.
  • You price out some sample meals, and realize it's cheaper to pay out of pocket. And not having your meals paid in advance won't bother you.
  • You never eat dessert.
If paying out all those tips is a deal breaker, consider the Quick-Service Dining Plan. There are plenty of places to get "knife & fork" dinner food. You won't be eating hamburgers for a week. You can still plan a few table-service meals at your favorite places with the money you save. And not having to rush to an ADR can be kinda nice.
This is a great summary and as other posters have said, it's fairly specific to your situation. If you and your family are picky eaters it's likely not a good plan. If you guys are foodies and like to eat a lot then it's probably a good deal.

We did DxDP in 2010 and did Mickey's BBQ, CRT twice, Crystal Palace, 1900 Park Fare, Chef Mickey's and most of the other character meals. We had gotten FD on that trip so we paid the upgrade from QSDP to DxDP and saved a ton of money. Even if we had paid full price for it we still would've saved a ton.

We did DDP in 2012 and had breakfast in our room most mornings (we brought cereal and milk from home) and hit up character meals and some of the higher end CS places. We still save quite a bit vs OOP but not nearly as much as the previous trip.

We are doing DDP on this upcoming trip and using the spreadsheet it looks like we're going to save a bit again. We had planned on doing QSDP originally but that would've pretty much been a break even. The convenience of having it pre-paid was nice for that, but otherwise there wasn't much saving.

The pre-paid aspect is very nice. You get to the trip and it's all paid in advance so you don't have your trip following you home on a credit card and you also don't have that voice in the back of your head saying "you should skip the dessert and save that money or spend it on something else."

Good luck whatever you decide!
__________________
April 1981 - Holiday Inn - MK only (no other parks existed!);May 1999 - Travelodge - First adult trip;Aug 2003 - Disneyland's California Adventure;Dec 2004 - La Quinta - Christmas trip w/fiance to HS;Sep 2010 - Pop - DD1's 5th birthday;Nov 2012 - AoA - DD2's 4th birthday (KOTS trip);Aug 2013 - AoA - Just because trip

squirrel4569 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 07:59 PM   #10
Pixie Princess
DIS Veteran
 
Pixie Princess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: With Cinderella's mice making a new dress for Belle
Posts: 2,064

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpenny58 View Post
My family and I have gone to Disney tons of times but have always stayed at our time share, this is the first time that we will be staying on property. We are going Aug 24-31. We have two kids 11& 14. We are trying to decide if we should buy the dining plan or not. Can you please give us your opinions and reason on whether or not to buy or not to buy the dining plan. Thanks so much!
__________________
For my money no, not any more. It used to be nice value, but not so much now. In my estimation, I have to think more than I want to think about what I'm ordering to make it worth it. In most cases the things I would choose to eat are not going to get me to the break even point. I also do not like that I still have to pay tips when I get there. It used to be tips were included in the purchase price, but now I have to budget for tips as well. I know I pay them if I pay for my meals as I go, but I can budget "x" dollars for meal and know that's what it is tips and all. I also don't like that at some restaurants I am limited as to what I can order from the menu. And specific to me, my DD is 13 and is a picky eater, so unless I want to do a bunch of b'fast buffets, there is a good shot she will try something and simply not like it. Money wasted. Also specific to me, I find that the desserts at most restaurants have a dairy component, and I can't have them. Again, money wasted. For me, an appetizer would be better, but those are no longer included on the regular DDP. The DDP is a lot of food, that I normally wouldn't eat, so for us, it simply isn't a good value.

However, the question of "is the DDP for me" is a pretty individual one, and in terms of savings, I think you really need to run the numbers is you want to determine if you are going to be saving by purchasing it. The best calculator I've found was created by the SeeYaReelSoon folks. Here's a link to their You Tube video explaining their calculator. It is pretty involved, but worth it if you take the time to fill it out. I've done that for me and my DD just to verify that the DDP is not a savings vehicle for us. I suggest you watch the video, and if you want to put the work into using it, download the calculator from the link provided in the description section of the video.

I will say this, it is nice to pay for everything up front and not have the sticker shock of the bill being brought to you. When you pay $60 bucks for a b'fast buffet, it is a tough pill to swallow in the moment.
Pixie Princess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 08:10 PM   #11
cancersucks
Mouseketeer
 
cancersucks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Watertown,Wisconsin
Posts: 235

Our thoughts on the Dining plan are that we would more than likely save money paying OOP (we don't do table service, just quick service) BUT we know we will say "well, I want the stake sandwhich, but it is $6 more than the hot dog, so I guess I will just have the hotdog." kinda thing. We like having it prepaid, and then getting whatever we want. It is just the simplicity and ease for us.
__________________
cancersucks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 08:18 PM   #12
sharonabe
DIS Veteran
 
sharonabe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,224

The only way you'll know if it's for you is to go over to allearsnet or up above to the dining area and price out your meals. Look at where you WANT to go and "order" exactly what you WANT to eat without any regard to the prices. If you include apps, kinda keep them in their own space. If you go with the deluxe plan, apps are included, but otherwise, they will be OOP.

If you go over to the Dining Plan sub-forum under the Restaurant forum, you should find a thread that has a spreadsheet to help calculate what is best for you, but you need to know where you want to eat to use it most effectively.
sharonabe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2013, 06:03 AM   #13
luckypup
Mouseketeer
 
luckypup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 89

Quote:
Originally Posted by cancersucks View Post
Our thoughts on the Dining plan are that we would more than likely save money paying OOP (we don't do table service, just quick service) BUT we know we will say "well, I want the stake sandwhich, but it is $6 more than the hot dog, so I guess I will just have the hotdog." kinda thing. We like having it prepaid, and then getting whatever we want. It is just the simplicity and ease for us.
Agreed!! We do deluxe, but for all the same reasons.
__________________
Luckypup
GF 6/89
YC 5/09
BWI 5/11
POR 5/13




luckypup is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2013, 06:52 AM   #14
lizzi6692
DIS Veteran
 
lizzi6692's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Indiana
Posts: 747

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypup View Post

Agreed!! We do deluxe, but for all the same reasons.
Same here, we're hopefully going to upgrade to deluxe dining this time and I'm doing the planning with that in mind(will cut it down if we end up on the regular DDP) and it's great to just be able to pick the restaurants we want with no regard for price. Same with choosing our food. If I knew at the end of the meal I was going to have to fork over the money for the meal I wanted, I would probably end up getting something cheaper. With the dining plan, it's already paid for so I don't have to worry about the cost in that moment.
__________________



Previous Trips:
September 2010: Caribbean Beach
May 2011: Coronado Springs
December 2011: Pop Century
Next Trip:
December 2013: Port Orleans French Quarter Pre-Trip Report
lizzi6692 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 08:23 PM   #15
GaBelle
DIS Veteran
 
GaBelle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,013

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharonabe
The only way you'll know if it's for you is to go over to allearsnet or up above to the dining area and price out your meals. Look at where you WANT to go and "order" exactly what you WANT to eat without any regard to the prices. If you include apps, kinda keep them in their own space. If you go with the deluxe plan, apps are included, but otherwise, they will be OOP.

If you go over to the Dining Plan sub-forum under the Restaurant forum, you should find a thread that has a spreadsheet to help calculate what is best for you, but you need to know where you want to eat to use it most effectively.
This!

Another factor to consider is the convenience factor. With the DDP, everything is paid for ahead of time.
__________________
Sept 2008- offsite, Sept 2010- Poly, Sept 2011- GF, Sept 2013-WL, Sept 2014- YC
4 MNSSHP
GaBelle is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:33 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.