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Old 10-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #61
leebee
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We have never paid for the DDP; we've always stayed at a value resort and upgraded from QSDP to DDP during free dining. The difference in room rate ($30) and the upgrade ($22) per night (so $52 a day total for "free" DDP) was cheaper than what I could feed two of us on per day, and we were able to experience some terrific restaurants that we'd never been to during previous trips. We shared 1cs credit at breakfast and 1cs at lunch, then had a nice sit-down meal at dinner (or did a couple of character b'fasts, so cs for supper). Because we went during free dining, it made sense for us. HOWEVER... if we had to pay for the dining plan, we wouldn't do it. We find Disney portions to be huge, so we are happy sharing meals, and many days don't do a ts meal at all, just cs (especially at Epcot). Also, if we were paying OOP we wouldn't be having dessert with every meal; we just don't eat that way, and especially not at the cs meals, so paying for the DDP wouldn't be cost-effective for us.

The REAL problem with the DDP is that now we WANT to do a ts meal every day, because we really enjoyed the restaurants. Before DDP, Boma and Crystal Palace were our must-do meals; we were happy with cs most of the time. Now? There are SO many places we want to visit again... and again and again and again!

Sure wish I was at Disney right now, maybe sitting down to a wonderful meal at Boma!
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:37 PM   #62
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The REAL problem with the DDP is that now we WANT to do a ts meal every day, because we really enjoyed the restaurants. Before DDP, Boma and Crystal Palace were our must-do meals; we were happy with cs most of the time. Now? There are SO many places we want to visit again... and again and again and again!
And that is part of Disney's plan.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:07 PM   #63
elaine amj
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We're hooked too after getting free dining twice. Disney's plan worked.

I don't know what I will do when Disney outprices me.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:12 PM   #64
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I don't know what I will do when Disney outprices me.
I think thye 2013 pricing and changes do for many people.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:32 PM   #65
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I have not read through this entire thread so excuse me if I repeat something that has already been said. We have done the dining plan the last few times we have been to WDW and we find that it is worth every penny. The food prices at Disney are inflated and we have done the math at each meal and have always found that paying for the Dining Plan is less expensive than out of pocket. It is a lot of food also and with the exception of a meal or two, the quality of the food is very good. We plan to purchase the dining plan for our up coming vacation in June.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:05 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by michelleiada
I have not read through this entire thread so excuse me if I repeat something that has already been said. We have done the dining plan the last few times we have been to WDW and we find that it is worth every penny. The food prices at Disney are inflated and we have done the math at each meal and have always found that paying for the Dining Plan is less expensive than out of pocket. It is a lot of food also and with the exception of a meal or two, the quality of the food is very good. We plan to purchase the dining plan for our up coming vacation in June.
It may be less expensive than out of pocket for the exact same items. But many people wouldn't eat the same things or as much when paying cash.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #67
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We booked March 2013 trip yesterday, and I was also debating the dining plan. We've never received free dining and never done the dining plan. But for our family of five - DH, DS20, DS19, and DD17, it would cost us $280 a day, and I just don't see any way that we would spend that much OOP, even with Disney's inflated dining costs.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I checked online for Garden Grill, which is one place we always enjoy eating. It looks to be $39.95 per person. So for five of us, that's roughly $200. We would probably eat at some of the other table service restaurants, but that isn't the focus of our trip, and we're usually very content with counter service.

Also, I know my guys will want to eat at the ESPN restaurant on the boardwalk, and it's not covered in the dining plan. I don't think we'd want to be tied down to having to eat at certain restaurants or feeling that we had to get our money's worth out of the plan.

And none of us are big dessert eaters. Sure, if we're on DCL we'll order a dessert, but I don't normally indulge like that even on vacation.

I can see the benefit of having it all paid for ahead of time, but I'd rather spend the extra on souvineers.

Thanks for everyone's input!
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:59 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by vicki_c

It may be less expensive than out of pocket for the exact same items. But many people wouldn't eat the same things or as much when paying cash.
I suppose but I guess when on vacation we indulge a little. We always go home a couple pounds heavier.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #69
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If I might add also, eating at some of the WDW restaurants is part of the whole Disney experience for us. We still enjoy character dining, and eating at many different places. They are all experiences themselves. Love to eat at O'Hana, and at Animal Kingdom Lodge overlooking savannah. Love eating in World Showcase. Everyone has different ideas of what their vacations should be though. Some people don't like taking time away from the parks for dining...understandable!
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:21 PM   #70
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We have used the Dining Plan on all of our past trips with the exception of our very first trip b/c we didn't know about the DP at that time. I'm now planning another trip for next August and we've gone back and forth about the DP this time after seeing how much it will cost us. We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 teen DD's, 18 & 14. For a 9 night stay the dining plan next August is coming out to $2001 + change. At first, both DH & I thought that was a litle high and we were pretty sure we could spend less. After going back and forth on it, we finally sat down tonight with the girls and sketched out which restaurants we'd like to go to and looked over menus to see what we would eat, (everyone has their "must-do" restaurant). After doing some addition we quickly surpassed the $2000 mark by over $130 and still hadn't added any snacks and the cost for breakfast items so now we're back to leaning towards the DP again.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:42 AM   #71
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It sounds like you come at it from the opposite end that I do. I look at the meals I have planned, and then see if the plan makes sense. I don't get the plan and then force myself to eat a certain way in order for it to make sense cost wise.

Some trips the plan makes sense and others it doesn't. That is why it is always smart to run the numbers. I can't imagine forcing myself to eat large, expensive meals just to get my moneys worth from the dining plan. Yuck!
Quite, of course, for myself, the realization that Vegetarian = Cheap [except for QS Veggie Burgers actually] for dining costs made it a hard decision for me.

I greatly appreciate prepaying, but we end up paying about 30% more than OOP because of the price difference, so we're going to try sans DDP. Of course, I may relent and add it back to our plan before we arrive.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:57 AM   #72
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Also, I know my guys will want to eat at the ESPN restaurant on the boardwalk, and it's not covered in the dining plan. I don't think we'd want to be tied down to having to eat at certain restaurants...
While that is a valid concern ESPN Club is on the dining plan. Right now the 2013 brochure is incomplete because 3rd party restaurants aren't added until the end of the contract-renewal season, but it has been on the plan since its inception and most likely will be again (along with most of the other "missing" restaurants). Only one restaurant has stopped accepting the plan in the 7 years it has been offered - Fultons in 2006 - and they returned to it for 2012. And for 2012 a BUNCH of new restaurants signed on, including T-Rex, Rainforest, Paradiso 57, Bistro de Paris, etc. so there are really very few restaurants on property that don't participate these days.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:29 AM   #73
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We have done the dining plan the last few times we have been to WDW and we find that it is worth every penny. The food prices at Disney are inflated and we have done the math at each meal and have always found that paying for the Dining Plan is less expensive than out of pocket. It is a lot of food .
How about doing it a little different? How about looking at the menus as if the dining plan didn't exist, and ordering exactly what you want? Perhaps ordering an appetizer and not dessert? Do you really want that non-alcoholic drink (vs tap water)? And those desserts? Or splitting one entree and sharing some appetizers. And maybe since you may order less your tip will be less too.

Then compare that way of ordering to the Dining Plan. Then you get a better sense if it is "worth every penny".
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:07 PM   #74
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While that is a valid concern ESPN Club is on the dining plan. Right now the 2013 brochure is incomplete because 3rd party restaurants aren't added until the end of the contract-renewal season, but it has been on the plan since its inception and most likely will be again (along with most of the other "missing" restaurants). Only one restaurant has stopped accepting the plan in the 7 years it has been offered - Fultons in 2006 - and they returned to it for 2012. And for 2012 a BUNCH of new restaurants signed on, including T-Rex, Rainforest, Paradiso 57, Bistro de Paris, etc. so there are really very few restaurants on property that don't participate these days.
That's great information - thanks! The WDW travel representative who booked my trip did not mention that they had ever been on the DP. He just said that they were one of the few that werw not a part of it.
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:43 AM   #75
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Well, we are back!

We decided not to do the dining plan because all of our pre-run numbers came to the conclusion that it was not the right route for us. We also saved every receipt from food (including F&W festival). DH is going to do a spreadsheet now and see if we came out ahead or if the dining plan would have been better. Then next time, we'll know.

We'll keep you posted!

Thanks to everyone who offered their input,
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