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Old 09-29-2012, 04:19 PM   #16
bluejasmine
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Our family always uses the DDP since 2005 it really does save $ in fact some examples

Ohana, CG, LC, CM, all cost my family of 5 over $200! That's just one meal! I couldn't afford that!

I like having everything pre paid as well, makes it so easy!
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:22 PM   #17
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Op, if you don't already (sounds like you have two trips planned) maybe get one AP for your family and get a TIW card. When my kids were younger (between say 10 and 14) the DDP wasn't great for us. Paying that much for our dd in particular was nuts. The TIW (back then it was dde) allowed us to tailor our meals to what worked. Now my kids are 16 & 18 and the DDP is great for us. Heck, Crystal Palace and Cape May probably lost money due to my ds' pig at both in March!

But for several years, the TIW card was a lifesaver. Especially when we stayed value since our foodcourt meals were 20% off.


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Old 09-29-2012, 04:49 PM   #18
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It's not killing Disney itself, just the dining experience
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:06 PM   #19
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For us, WDW is only affordable with the DDP because it factors in lots of free food and wonderful restaurants. And yep, it is free. We got £2000 worth of free food and that is 25% more than we paid for our hotel in the first place!
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texashokies View Post
I don't know where y'all eat, but I don't think the prices are near what you pay at a restaurant. I would consider most of Disney's table service restaurants to be equivalent to Chili's, Rainforest Cafe, or a chain steak house. There is no way that those cost $40 per person like a Disney table service restaurant.
True, but those places also don't let your kids eat with their favorite princesses and characters. Reminds me of somebody who after eating at CRT once said "I can't believe I just spent 40 bucks for my kids to eat a couple of chicken nuggets" to which the reply was "No, you just spent 40 bucks so your daughter could meet, talk with, and get pictures with princesses that she always dreamed of meeting, creating what quite possibly was the most amazing, magical experience for her in her life to date. The chicken nuggets? They were free."
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:48 PM   #21
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It's not killing Disney itself, just the dining experience
That's exactly what I meant...
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:23 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by davedmaine View Post
It's not killing Disney itself, just the dining experience
. Well said.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:33 AM   #23
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We've only done it once, but we loved it ... and we're eagerly anticipating using it again next year. We ate at a lot of places we never would have tried before, did character meals for the first time ever, etc.

Before, my DH would worry about money constantly before, obsessing about how much we had left, what we could order, etc. He doesn't do that with the dining plan. And I can't wait to take my parents on the dining plan someday, because if anything, my dad is much worse! My mom says she'd love to see him just relax about it.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:23 PM   #24
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You need the free dining!

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Originally Posted by fireman17 View Post
You all have very valid points which is why I asked my question. And yes, I was incorrect in saying $40.00 for the breakfast buffets. It was more towards the dinner buffets I was speaking of. As for us we'll keep looking it over but it's tough because with our large family we are paying adult prices for five out of the seven in our family but our daughter who is 11 is not a big eater and is no way a picky eater but we will decide on our choice later. Like most people it all comes down to how it suits each family. My wife thinks I'm nuts because I am definitely a Disney food groupie...
Eating anywhere but at home is, imo, very expensive for a family of 7. A disser friend of mine who is a whiz with spreadsheets thinks the dining plan comes out about even with OOP unless, like us, you are light eaters and prefer an appie to an entre and then the dining plan is more expensive. If your wife is frugal then she should look at going for the free dining promotion. For me it doesn't make sense because I can get an AP room only discount which saves me a lot of money as I go solo or with one other person. But the free dining special is MADE for big families - especially those with teenagers. Then the regular dining plan is great - you get great healthy food which i find difficult on QS - and save a bundle!
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:54 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmat1 View Post
True, but those places also don't let your kids eat with their favorite princesses and characters. Reminds me of somebody who after eating at CRT once said "I can't believe I just spent 40 bucks for my kids to eat a couple of chicken nuggets" to which the reply was "No, you just spent 40 bucks so your daughter could meet, talk with, and get pictures with princesses that she always dreamed of meeting, creating what quite possibly was the most amazing, magical experience for her in her life to date. The chicken nuggets? They were free."

we have done the free ddp before, this is our 3rd attempt and i have to agree with the above esp CM... we have 3 children (disney adults) who after long days in parks and pools, and 14 days on the ddp couldnt eat anything else, we spent $200 (plus tip) for all three to eat cheese cubes and apple slices... dh and i had jacket potatoes and salad... we could have eaten that off site for what- $20?? BUT we saw the characters and had our pictures taken on a very special last night in wdw....
for all, esp people coming from a distance, this is an expensive holiday, for us too telling the kids to go fetch a ice cream/cake/smoothie/pretzel/drink makes a huge difference to the quality of our holiday. we have yet to use all the food, and often bring home SC treats for family but one day we ll brak even until then i ll continue to enjoy the fact that everything is prepaid and THAT works for me!!!!!!
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:51 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by sarmat1 View Post
T "No, you just spent 40 bucks so your daughter could meet, talk with, and get pictures with princesses that she always dreamed of meeting, creating what quite possibly was the most amazing, magical experience for her in her life to date. The chicken nuggets? They were free."
This is how we look at it. When my DGD was younger it was worth every penny we spent to see her face when she met her "friends", chatted with royalty and kissed Pluto. The food was just a perk.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:09 PM   #27
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I guess that the buffet prices are reasonable for people with young kids if you look at the chance for them to spend some time with characters. It's a different matter for those of us with older kids or no kids though. Even though there are of course exceptions.

We avoid the buffets now (except Boma - love it) and have been trying less visited restaurants. It has been fun and these tend to cost less than the hot places.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:19 PM   #28
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Most people

trying to figure out whether it's a good deal or not forget that tax and tip and not included. Those are paid out of pocket. Is it killing dining? I think it has had a negative inpact for certain. They keep raising prices to make the dining plan look like a better and better deal. That means everyone not on the dining plan has to pay more.

We started using tables in wonderland about 12 years ago and it works so much better for us. We have been on the all inclusive plans and felt like every day was planned around food and not fun. Three huge meals a day is just to much to handle and ad snacks onto that...whew...I would weigh 400 pounds!
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:47 PM   #29
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We have been to the World many times but this last trip was our first with the Dining plan (it was free in September). My DH is a penny-pincher (which is great in real life but not so great on vacation ). The DDP for us was SO nice because we could eat whatever we wanted AND have treats and DH did not feel like we were nickle and dimed to death. He would have had a hard time buying all of us Mickey bars but as a snack credit it was "sure kids, have one!" In fact, he loved it so much that we are paying for it out of pocket we when take our anniversary trip in December. It was his idea to "splurge" a little and be able to enjoy eating instead of ordering the cheapest thing on the menu/always getting water/bringing tons of food from home. Is it really a value? Probably not. But for our family it is a nice treat to take a break from pinching pennies (which we did to get to WDW) and really enjoy our vacation. Just my two cents
This.
It doesn't matter how much money we have saved up to spend, it doesn't matter that he knows how much it will be... I quite frankly prefer not to deal with my husbands mood once he pays $50+ for lunch on day one of the trip. The dining plan allows us to eat what we want when we want and not have to share. We used the dining plan in '09 and what a difference. It was amazing. Is it the best value, no... we absolutely could do it cheaper... much cheaper. But I think the peace it brings to my husband is worth it because that makes our vacation that much more pleasant.

But to address the original question. DDP ruining Disney? No. Ruining how many ppl remember dining at disney. Probably. I have been going to Disney since 1979 since we lived locally. Before the Disney Dining Plan, you used to be able to decide that day where you wanted to eat. There was a board listing restaurant availability and a phone in Epcot that would link you with the dining reservations center. When EPCOT first opened, I remembered the restaurants were pretty packed and you had to make reservations on the earlier side. In the early 90's, however, when were would go monthly, we had no problem walking up to the restaurant and being walked in at sat down immediately. We did a couple meals where we were the only people in the restaurant the entire time. Prices then were still on the very high side meaning we paid well over $100 for 4 people in China once. While it sounded nice, to be able to walk up to the restaurant of your choice and just be able to eat, I was actually concerned about the health of disney as a company.

While I can concede that the menu's are a lot less specialized than they once were, I prefer seeing them packed and people enjoying the experience. I thought we were only going to do quick dining this time but my sister is wanting to join us for dinner at Ohana and a friend requested we join them at 1900 Park Fare. The prices for those two table service meals were more than the upgrade to regular dining so we did. I am looking forward to a relaxed and fun vacation without anyone being sour about food (the price, not being able to have something, ect.)
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:32 PM   #30
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I think the complaints about the dining plan are overblown. Menus are streamlined, yes, but so are bar menus and merchandise offerings which suggests to me that is a consequence of corporate philosophy rather than of the plan.

The most valid complaint I see about the dining plan is that it has made ADRs unfortunately essential and increasingly rigid, but even that is a mixed bag. I'd rather have to make ADRs at whichever of the hundred or so restaurants I want to dine at than see the variety of restaurants decline in an effort to "right size" dining capacity to customer demand in a purely OOP environment. And make no mistake... The same management approach that came up with "Disney parks" merchandise so they don't even need to have separate items for the CA and FL parks isn't going to sit back and accept running dozens of restaurants at a fraction of their capacity like in the "good old days" before the current DDPs.
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