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Old 10-14-2012, 05:35 AM   #16
BuzznBelle'smom
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I appreciate your insights. I'm going down in Jan. with my two younger kids (DD9, DS5), with me the only parent. It's a gift trip, so Deluxe Dining would be "free" to us--I would be paying tips, but that's it. I still decided against it, for several reasons you mentioned. I couldn't make it be a good value. I didn't want to go hither and yon for several meals (BTDT--the kids lose interest fast on that!). My kids aren't big eaters, and aren't particularly adventurous. So, we'll do regular dining, and I'll pay OOP for a few extras if need be.

Glad to hear your DD5 is doing better. It can be so scary to have a sick child on vacation!
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:22 AM   #17
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I think the "lessons learned" here are:
1. Choose dining locations in or near parks you are planning to attend.
2. If you're staying at a bus-only resort, consider taking a taxi to your far-off dining location if there is a requirement to change buses. Alternatively, if you are going to a dining location on a monorail resort, go to the MK and take the monorail, not to DTD and take another bus. Alternatively, rent a car and drive.
3. Don't feel obligated to eat everything they put on your plate.

I hope your child is ok.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by princessaloha View Post
Sorry, this is probably more than you asked for. And these are extreme cases. Our last trip, we loved, loved the bus system and we were staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. So I'm not sure if something was going on during the two weeks we were there.
Choice of resort makes all the difference when it comes to the bus system, and transportation is one of the most frequent complaints about OKW. Several of my DVC friends have advised against staying there without a car because of the bus situation, and that's not OKW's fault... it is just a big, sprawling resort that needs many bus stops, and that inevitably makes getting anywhere on a bus take much longer than at a smaller resort like AKL.

We had the same issue with CBR - the resort itself is very nice and they've got the best pool of any of the moderates, but with 7 bus stops it takes forever to get anywhere. I wouldn't stay there again for that reason; we don't want to rent a car when we're at WDW so I'd rather stick to resorts with better bus service. Hence my affinity for Pop and desire to stay at AKL for one of next year's trips.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:29 AM   #19
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First of all, let me just say that I am so sorry you had to go through the issues with one of your children being sick on vacation That is never good and I am glad that everything turned out alright and your child is better now!!!

We have used the regular DP a few times (paid for once/FD a few times) and I can say that even though I have paid to upgrade from the QSDP to the Regular Plan, I would never have considered upgrading (or even if it would have been completely free) to the DxDDP because that just seems an overload of sitdown restaurants and food.

With the regular dining plan, we use it mainly for Character meals and meals in the park we will be at that day. We only plan for meals outside of the parks if we don't have a park day scheduled on that day. We usually have a character meal breakfast/QS for lunch and sit down restaurant meal for dinner. Sometimes we only have have sit down meal per day or even 2 QS meals the whole day. We stop at Publix on the way to our resort and stock up on breakfast items and snacks. That way, if we don't have a breakfast ADR, we always have breakfast in the room, which saves our QS credits for lunches and dinners.

We also love appetizers, but I know ahead of time that I may not want to order any at some restaurants (depending on the main course I am ordering) and if I do want to order some appetizers, I'll pay OOP for them!

With the regular dining plan it gives us a nice mix of enjoying sit down restaurants and some (but not too much) down time, getting to sit down, rest our legs, etc.

Also, for any monorail resort ADR's we always take the bus to MK and then change over to the monorail. And if we are going to Cape May Cafe we take the bus to DHS and then take the Friendship Boat to the resort. (also goes for any restaurants at any of the resorts on the Friendship boat loop!)
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:40 PM   #20
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Thank you everyone for your responses, concern for DD and helpful tips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLS View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience. I am a HUGE believer in renting a car at Disney. Usually you can get a rental car for less than $20 (plus taxes) on Priceline and you save so much time and hassle its unbelievable. Particularly when you stay at a resort that shares buses or has multiple bus stops. Its ridiculous, IMO, to spend a ton of money to go to WDW and then spend 1-2 hours per day (or more) of your precious vacation time waiting for or riding Disney transportation, just to save on a rental car. And with little kids I would so much rather have them in a car seat than worry about holding them on a bus and folding up your stroller.

I consider us to be pretty big eaters and even on the regular dining plan I have found our refrigerator at the Beach Club full of leftovers by the end of the trip. Just the desserts alone are excessive - every family member does not need their own huge dessert with every meal, and then you have snack credits for sweets! I can't even imagine the situation on the DxDP.
ITA JLS! We've made the decision to get a car next time. We spoke we several people during our extensive bus wait times, or as I've come to call it "bonding time with random strangers", who loved using their cars and think this is probably the way to go for us. Will report back next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzznBelle'smom View Post
I appreciate your insights. I'm going down in Jan. with my two younger kids (DD9, DS5), with me the only parent. It's a gift trip, so Deluxe Dining would be "free" to us--I would be paying tips, but that's it. I still decided against it, for several reasons you mentioned. I couldn't make it be a good value. I didn't want to go hither and yon for several meals (BTDT--the kids lose interest fast on that!). My kids aren't big eaters, and aren't particularly adventurous. So, we'll do regular dining, and I'll pay OOP for a few extras if need be.

Glad to hear your DD5 is doing better. It can be so scary to have a sick child on vacation!
KUDOS to you for taking your younger kids solo! You're one of those amazing parents. Instead of a Disney celebration pin they should give you a super hero/mom cape! Hope your trip is amazing! Ita on your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigInPA View Post
I think the "lessons learned" here are:
1. Choose dining locations in or near parks you are planning to attend.
2. If you're staying at a bus-only resort, consider taking a taxi to your far-off dining location if there is a requirement to change buses. Alternatively, if you are going to a dining location on a monorail resort, go to the MK and take the monorail, not to DTD and take another bus. Alternatively, rent a car and drive.
3. Don't feel obligated to eat everything they put on your plate.

I hope your child is ok.
ITA, these are great lessons and tips. Quick story: at one point we started telling the waiter/waitress the minute we sat down that no matter how wonderful their bread service was, no matter how much we enjoy it, at no time are they allow to refill the bread basket, not even if we became weak and begged them. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to give them a 20% tip. That always got a laugh and some joking and no extra bread.

Ok, one more quick story: We also started asking for all the desserts to go. One restaurant said that usually for anniversary's they do a special dessert for the couple but since we were obvious so full we had to take our desserts to go, they decided instead to give a gift of light up ice cubes to "float in the jacuzzi, when the kiddies are in bed". That was a wonderful gift and yes, they do work in the jacuzzi lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colleen27 View Post
Choice of resort makes all the difference when it comes to the bus system, and transportation is one of the most frequent complaints about OKW. Several of my DVC friends have advised against staying there without a car because of the bus situation, and that's not OKW's fault... it is just a big, sprawling resort that needs many bus stops, and that inevitably makes getting anywhere on a bus take much longer than at a smaller resort like AKL.

We had the same issue with CBR - the resort itself is very nice and they've got the best pool of any of the moderates, but with 7 bus stops it takes forever to get anywhere. I wouldn't stay there again for that reason; we don't want to rent a car when we're at WDW so I'd rather stick to resorts with better bus service. Hence my affinity for Pop and desire to stay at AKL for one of next year's trips.
WOW, CBR has 7 bus stops?!!! Wow. Well, guess I should stop complaining about OKW's system. BTW, loved OKW! Beautiful, relaxing, AMAZING staff from the front desk to the bell hops (love these guys) to the restaurant staff.

We loved AKL. It was my son's only request on our first trip and it was amazing. I love the feeling walking into the lobby (both lobbies). It almost feels like you're actually on safari in some exotic locale. You're going to have a great time when you get there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by discookiemonsta View Post
First of all, let me just say that I am so sorry you had to go through the issues with one of your children being sick on vacation That is never good and I am glad that everything turned out alright and your child is better now!!!

We have used the regular DP a few times (paid for once/FD a few times) and I can say that even though I have paid to upgrade from the QSDP to the Regular Plan, I would never have considered upgrading (or even if it would have been completely free) to the DxDDP because that just seems an overload of sitdown restaurants and food.

With the regular dining plan, we use it mainly for Character meals and meals in the park we will be at that day. We only plan for meals outside of the parks if we don't have a park day scheduled on that day. We usually have a character meal breakfast/QS for lunch and sit down restaurant meal for dinner. Sometimes we only have have sit down meal per day or even 2 QS meals the whole day. We stop at Publix on the way to our resort and stock up on breakfast items and snacks. That way, if we don't have a breakfast ADR, we always have breakfast in the room, which saves our QS credits for lunches and dinners.

We also love appetizers, but I know ahead of time that I may not want to order any at some restaurants (depending on the main course I am ordering) and if I do want to order some appetizers, I'll pay OOP for them!

With the regular dining plan it gives us a nice mix of enjoying sit down restaurants and some (but not too much) down time, getting to sit down, rest our legs, etc.

Also, for any monorail resort ADR's we always take the bus to MK and then change over to the monorail. And if we are going to Cape May Cafe we take the bus to DHS and then take the Friendship Boat to the resort. (also goes for any restaurants at any of the resorts on the Friendship boat loop!)
Thank you discookiemonsta! I'm thinking we're probably going to use the TIW card next time and put the amount we would have spent on a dining plan on a Disney gift card and see how that plays out. Although, this time next year I'll probably re-think the regular dining plan.

Love all the advice on maximizing the bus system! Very helpful!
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:06 PM   #21
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FWIW, our gang really loved OKW--it's very relaxing. We had a van, though, so we only used the bus for MK. Because of the MK parking system, the bus is much better for going there.

We've also had success with the TIW card. We're actually a family of 6--this next trip, DH is staying home with DD17 and DS15, who can't miss school. So, for us to go to a WDW restaurant, it's $200 to say "hello". Keep in mind the TIW card means they'll automatically add on an 18% tip--not a big deal, just don't forget it's already on the bill.

P.S. You can save my "Mom of the Year" trophy until after the trip--we'll see if I'm ready to kill the younger two by Day 3...
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:54 PM   #22
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I love the deluxe dining plan but I have never been on it for 11 days. I think 11 days of eating like that would be too much. We are going to Disney for 9 nights and only have the plan for 2 nights then using TIW card for the remainder of the trip. The deluxe plan pays for our character dinner the first day, our 2 credit dinner on the second day and character brunch and 2 credit dinner on our 3rd day. We are paying out of pocket for CRT breakfast on the second day. TIW cannot be used on our 2nd day and 3rd day since they are major holidays. TIW is definately a better way to go if you are going to eat for 11 days. You save 20% on your food as well as your drinks and you do not feel obligated to eat an appetizer, entree and dessert in order to get your money's worth. Hope your daughter is doing better. My children cannot wear sunblock due to allergies. I have no idea what is in that stuff but even the Aveeno gives them an outbreak.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:10 AM   #23
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We only get the DxDP when it is just the two of us going. If we take the kids, it's the regular plan or out of pocket. Now that our hethans, I mean kids, are grown and either married or in college, I think that DxDP is just right for me and my wife. We don't eat breakfast, but we use a snack credit soon after getting to a park, eat a sit down meal for lunch, rest up at the hotel in late afternoon- evening and have a really nice two credit signature restaurant between 7-9. I know some feel we waste our other snack credit when we get something to drink with it, but we get one mid morning to share and one late afternoon to share. We have also been known to spread desert pixie dust to families sitting near us as we are not big desert fans.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:03 PM   #24
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We love the Deluxe Dinning Plan and think it is a good value at least for this year. That said, it is not a plan for everybody. It does take quite a bit of time and planning. It can be too much for people with small children. Part of why we like it is because we feel that the Signature restaurants give us a more upscale adult experience. One thing nice about Disney is that there is something for everyone.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzznBelle'smom View Post
FWIW, our gang really loved OKW--it's very relaxing. We had a van, though, so we only used the bus for MK. Because of the MK parking system, the bus is much better for going there.

We've also had success with the TIW card. We're actually a family of 6--this next trip, DH is staying home with DD17 and DS15, who can't miss school. So, for us to go to a WDW restaurant, it's $200 to say "hello". Keep in mind the TIW card means they'll automatically add on an 18% tip--not a big deal, just don't forget it's already on the bill.

P.S. You can save my "Mom of the Year" trophy until after the trip--we'll see if I'm ready to kill the younger two by Day 3...
We love OKW too. We're hoping the one little issue we had will be resolved with a car.

OH, so understand how it costs to just say, "hello" at Disney with a family, lol. We don't mind the automatic 18% as we always do 20% or more (just recently we discovered that it's suppose to be 20% BEFORE taxes as we do 20% AFTER therefore, at least here in HI, that's a 24% tip). The 18% would automatically save us 2% plus the additional 2% so theoretically we would be saving at least 4%. Throw in the fact that DH always has a drink or two with each meal, sounds like a good deal. But won't know until next year.

Pretty sure you deserve your cape. But I'll let you decide if you want to wear it or not


Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyFansInLINY View Post
I love the deluxe dining plan but I have never been on it for 11 days. I think 11 days of eating like that would be too much. We are going to Disney for 9 nights and only have the plan for 2 nights then using TIW card for the remainder of the trip. The deluxe plan pays for our character dinner the first day, our 2 credit dinner on the second day and character brunch and 2 credit dinner on our 3rd day. We are paying out of pocket for CRT breakfast on the second day. TIW cannot be used on our 2nd day and 3rd day since they are major holidays. TIW is definately a better way to go if you are going to eat for 11 days. You save 20% on your food as well as your drinks and you do not feel obligated to eat an appetizer, entree and dessert in order to get your money's worth. Hope your daughter is doing better. My children cannot wear sunblock due to allergies. I have no idea what is in that stuff but even the Aveeno gives them an outbreak.
That's a very good point about the duration. The longer you're on it the harder it is to keep up with that amount of food and time needed to enjoy the program.

Thank you DisneyFansInLINY, DD is almost completely back to normal. It was weird as we live in sunscreen. It was a new brand plus the combo with whatever they put in the swimming water was freaky nightmare for us. I reported it to the manufacturer and they've been very receptive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigger's ally View Post
We only get the DxDP when it is just the two of us going. If we take the kids, it's the regular plan or out of pocket. Now that our hethans, I mean kids, are grown and either married or in college, I think that DxDP is just right for me and my wife. We don't eat breakfast, but we use a snack credit soon after getting to a park, eat a sit down meal for lunch, rest up at the hotel in late afternoon- evening and have a really nice two credit signature restaurant between 7-9. I know some feel we waste our other snack credit when we get something to drink with it, but we get one mid morning to share and one late afternoon to share. We have also been known to spread desert pixie dust to families sitting near us as we are not big desert fans.
HEATHENS! LOL!!! I love that you are able to spread some pixie dust around! We were very blessed to have a lot pixie dust sprinkled on us and would mean a lot to us to return some it back to the WDW universe. I just thought of a way we could have pulled it off after our original rejections. If I hadn't been so anxious, I should have used the left over credits to buy meals at Earl and give them to the bell hop station. They're such great people and deserve a little pixie dust. They took all our bottles of milk and soda so thinking they would have loved the meals. Oh well, hindsight and all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bedogged View Post
We love the Deluxe Dinning Plan and think it is a good value at least for this year. That said, it is not a plan for everybody. It does take quite a bit of time and planning. It can be too much for people with small children. Part of why we like it is because we feel that the Signature restaurants give us a more upscale adult experience. One thing nice about Disney is that there is something for everyone.
I totally agree. It's great that there is something different for everyone!
____
Just wanted to clarify though for anyone reading that the actual Signature dining wasn't the issue, we still plan on doing many of them every time we go. The time issues were mostly centered around travel time. And the the Signature/sit down dining is more like what we're use to in real life. My kids don't know any difference since they've been eating like this since they were born. We'll just have to plan WHICH signature better so we're not running from one end of WDW twice a day, each and every day. Also, the portions were huge for us. Then all the left over credits made it not a good value for us. Although, if we had been able to make all the meals, it would have been a GREAT value.

Personally, I still love the concept of the DxDDP. It sounds so luxurious. All that yummy food. Just didn't work this time around for us. But I love to hear how it worked for others.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:08 AM   #26
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OP, speaking of the signature restaurants, I would really like to know which were your favorite dining experiences (not counting the hassle to get there!)
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:08 AM   #27
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Princessaloha--This is a little different, but ~10 years ago, we were at WDW on the Premium dining plan--this is even bigger than the Deluxe, it includes tips and water sports, etc. We went as a group of 11 (4 of us, MIL and friend, BIL and his family), and on our last day, we had a bunch of meal credits left over. We were dining in the Plaza Restaurant--a family favorite,a dn were lamenting that we were leaving in a few hours with these leftover credits. Well, the manager was able to arrange it so we left a $200 tip there! Not sure what she did, nor did I care. It was nice to benefit the CMs. So, I think your idea of having wrapped sandwiches to "donate" to some hard-working CMs would be well-received.

It's kind of a shame that they don't have a way to donate credits to something. I realize Disney makes money on your unused ones, but they would get some great PR if you could give them away--maybe to GKTW guests?
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:29 AM   #28
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OP, speaking of the signature restaurants, I would really like to know which were your favorite dining experiences (not counting the hassle to get there!)
My favorites were Narcoosee's, Jiko and Artist Point with Flying Fish coming in close to AP. I'm doing a dining review right now if you want to see pictures from the dinners. It's in the dining review section and is titled: "For heaven's sake mom, leave the gecko at home!"

My least favorite would be Fulton's and Brown Derby.

When I asked DH which were his favorites he said Victoria and Albert's, JIko's, and Narcoosee's. When I told him V&A isn't a signature restaurant, he said, "well it should be". I told him there are probably a lot of people who would agree with him. So his would be Jiko's then Narcoosee's. Same with DS.

The DDs would probably be Flying Fish because they treated us like royalty there. It was our first meal after DD's medical situation and I can't say enough about the wonderful staff.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzznBelle'smom View Post
Princessaloha--This is a little different, but ~10 years ago, we were at WDW on the Premium dining plan--this is even bigger than the Deluxe, it includes tips and water sports, etc. We went as a group of 11 (4 of us, MIL and friend, BIL and his family), and on our last day, we had a bunch of meal credits left over. We were dining in the Plaza Restaurant--a family favorite,a dn were lamenting that we were leaving in a few hours with these leftover credits. Well, the manager was able to arrange it so we left a $200 tip there! Not sure what she did, nor did I care. It was nice to benefit the CMs. So, I think your idea of having wrapped sandwiches to "donate" to some hard-working CMs would be well-received.

It's kind of a shame that they don't have a way to donate credits to something. I realize Disney makes money on your unused ones, but they would get some great PR if you could give them away--maybe to GKTW guests?
That's so wonderful! I wish I had known about that. You must have made those CM's day!

ITA. They should have some kind of program for the orphaned credits. Like air miles that are going to expire. Maybe you could send a suggestion to them. Not sure how. But what a great idea!!!
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:51 PM   #29
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we were instead dropped off at Saratoga Springs to then wait for a MK bus (which we could have done at DTD and saved the more than 30 min ride to SS and wait for the MK bus)
What a story! I hope everything is much better next time.

Something I noticed that you'll want to be aware of for your next trip...busses don't go to the theme parks from DTD that's why the driver took you over to SSR.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:18 PM   #30
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WOW!! Lots of great reading!! I wasn't planning on a DP but now I'm starting to get nervous I'm making the wrong choice.

Are there a lot of "other" places to eat other than the restaurants that need ADR??? 10 DS is pizza and chicken nugget kid and 13DD and is lactose intolerance so she is tricky. DH and I are not very picky eaters.. But we are celebrating our anniversary and his birthday while there.. So I was thinking that we would just pay OOP for those. I was planning on going to publix for snacks, protein bars and water for the room... I may have to rethink all this and re-budget all this, tomorrow I can start making ADR. Hmmmm
thoughts??? Thanks!!!
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