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Old 12-19-2012, 11:16 AM   #61
smiths02
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Originally Posted by aml3679 View Post
We are also using gift cards and I think it is smart. We save all year by buying a gift card every week and then use them to pay for our extra expenses. Of course you keep track of them like you would any form of payment. Each person does what works for them. I don't want to use a credit card or have a balance when we are finished with our vacation.
I don't think gift cards are smart because why trade in cash money that is good anywhere in the U.S. for anything you want for cards that are only good at Disney? Cash and/or gift cards can get lost and/or stolen and have little security.

If I save my money in a savings account before vacation and accrue interest, then work within my budget on vacation, then use my credit card to pay my room balance, then use my savings money to pay my credit card bill then I have (1) had my money in a secure place (2) Had access to my money if say my Disney vacation had to be cancelled (3) earned interest on my money while I waited for the credit card bill (4) earned rewards on my credit card (5) I haven't had to go around buying multiple gift cards and stashing them away and I don't have to stand in line at check out watching the CM ring up a bunch of gift cards
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #62
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I don't think gift cards are smart because why trade in cash money that is good anywhere in the U.S. for anything you want for cards that are only good at Disney? Cash and/or gift cards can get lost and/or stolen and have little security.

If I save my money in a savings account before vacation and accrue interest, then work within my budget on vacation, then use my credit card to pay my room balance, then use my savings money to pay my credit card bill then I have (1) had my money in a secure place (2) Had access to my money if say my Disney vacation had to be cancelled (3) earned interest on my money while I waited for the credit card bill (4) earned rewards on my credit card (5) I haven't had to go around buying multiple gift cards and stashing them away and I don't have to stand in line at check out watching the CM ring up a bunch of gift cards
We used gift cards because our grocery store sells them for money off of gas. Our store give 10 cents for every $50 spent in the store. Several times a year the gift cards are 20 cent for every $50 spent on them. It adds up. We paid for our whole entire trip that way plus our spending money for tips and extras. Plus we put it on my Disney credit card, so I'll have reward points too.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:41 PM   #63
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We used gift cards because our grocery store sells them for money off of gas. Our store give 10 cents for every $50 spent in the store. Several times a year the gift cards are 20 cent for every $50 spent on them. It adds up. We paid for our whole entire trip that way plus our spending money for tips and extras. Plus we put it on my Disney credit card, so I'll have reward points too.
I know a few people who do that (gas/gift cards). It can be very lucrative.

I don't do the Disney visa card though, the rewards suck.

The best CC rewards I've seen so far are thru Discover with their new "IT" card. I got about $200 off my last trip from their cashback program. That's aside from the other perks.

This quarter I've racked up nearly $500.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:14 PM   #64
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I don't know that it's meant to be the best value around, though. It's advertised that it can save you up to a certain percentage (which isn't that big), not that it's a guaranteed savings. Many people, including myself, get the dining plan for convenience as you said, and convenience comes at a cost in the service industry (i.e: preferred rooms). If you're not willing to pay for convenience, that's fine, but it's hard to judge the value of it for most people when everyone's idea of what they would pay for the convenience will vary greatly.

Before we got into Disney, we frequently vacationed at all inclusive resorts. The all inclusive vacation industry is successful because people love the convenience. You pay one price before you even get there, and you don't bring out your wallet again (except for tours) until you leave. No one has to think, calculate, worry about what they order, the cost, etc. The dining plan is the closest thing to an all inclusive vacation you can get at Disney. With all the other things to worry about in Disney vacation planning, it's nice to be able to take out the element of budgeting for food, which is why we do it. We know the cost when we book about 10-12 months ahead of time and it's paid for before we even arrive. I don't split hairs over whether I will save $100 doing it out of pocket or not. I don't care. I pay for the convenience and I'm fine with it, and that's why it IS good value for us (and many others!).
This is exactly how I see it too!

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Old 12-19-2012, 02:17 PM   #65
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Sure hope you don't lose your gift cards. Doesn't seem smart to me.
Good point! IMO a good way to work around that is (if staying on property) charge everything to the room, keep the gift card(s) in the room safe and then use the gift cards to pay off the room balance.

There is the added risk of losing cash/gift cards over simply bringing a CC but for us the added benefit us being able to use CC rewards to purchase gift cards along with the ability to purchase discounted gift cards at Target is worth it.

You are right though, definitely something to think about.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:23 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by smiths02 View Post
I don't think gift cards are smart because why trade in cash money that is good anywhere in the U.S. for anything you want for cards that are only good at Disney? Cash and/or gift cards can get lost and/or stolen and have little security.

If I save my money in a savings account before vacation and accrue interest, then work within my budget on vacation, then use my credit card to pay my room balance, then use my savings money to pay my credit card bill then I have (1) had my money in a secure place (2) Had access to my money if say my Disney vacation had to be cancelled (3) earned interest on my money while I waited for the credit card bill (4) earned rewards on my credit card (5) I haven't had to go around buying multiple gift cards and stashing them away and I don't have to stand in line at check out watching the CM ring up a bunch of gift cards
receive big bonuses for buying gift cards. We buy ours at Kroger and get big discounts on gas and we use our Disney Visa cards to buy them so we accumulate reward dollars to use to buy annual passes etc.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:28 PM   #67
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The last time

I did any kind of dining plan was the old Gold Key program that was totally all inclusive with meals, park admission all recreation. I loved it that program but I know I could not handle three sit down service meals ever again.

What works best for us since we never get free dining being vacation clubs members if to eat breakfast in our villa (or occasionally at Trails End or Olivia's) and then schedule a late lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. We don't feel the need to eat at siggies or the expensive places although we can if we want to.

If we only went one time a year instead of 3-4 then we might live it up more but what we do works well for us
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:38 PM   #68
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We did the DXDP one trip for 7 nights. I really liked it but DH did not. We did a character breakfast and then dinner. We had no trouble using all the credits and snack credits.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:28 PM   #69
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I've used the DxDP for two separate trips in 2012 (the first was on an upgrade from free dining).

We only do two TS meals a day (a non-sig and a sig). I'm an uber planner, so I don't mind the lack of spontaneity. The signatures are great, but can be a big time suck. And you can reach a point of, "filet mignon again? meh."

Overall, at the $85 per adult price point, it's worked for us. Not so sure if I'll ever do it going forward at the $100 (and up) per adult pricing for 2013 and beyond (unless on another upgrade from FD).

The one area where I'll note that it's a particularly good deal is if you have any kids between say about 5 and 9, because they're only around $25 a day. Given, that an average kids character breakfast is probably something like $15, plus two snacks (total of say $8), plus a 3 course kids' dinner at a signature restaurant (which, can easily run into the $20-25 range with tax and a drink), you're talking at least $45 a day OOP for food, meaning the DxDP provides a near 50% savings. However, once a child becomes a "Disney adult", that value goes completely out the window.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:21 AM   #70
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I would not do it although I often contemplate it. We did do it once for just 3 days and that was plenty. It was just too much food but it was fun to try things I wouldn't have otherwise.
If money were no object, I'd just book whichever ADRs I wanted and get whatever snacks I wanted without a second thought anyway. With DxDDP I feel obligated to use every credit and make the most of it!
Now we generally buy the TIW card if we have more than one trip planned in a year or a long enough one to make it worth it. That gives us savings and doesn't limit our options.
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:32 PM   #71
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We've upgraded from QSDP to DxDP twice now during free dining. I think it's well worth it and plan to do it again.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:37 PM   #72
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I don't think gift cards are smart because why trade in cash money that is good anywhere in the U.S. for anything you want for cards that are only good at Disney? Cash and/or gift cards can get lost and/or stolen and have little security.

If I save my money in a savings account before vacation and accrue interest, then work within my budget on vacation, then use my credit card to pay my room balance, then use my savings money to pay my credit card bill then I have (1) had my money in a secure place (2) Had access to my money if say my Disney vacation had to be cancelled (3) earned interest on my money while I waited for the credit card bill (4) earned rewards on my credit card (5) I haven't had to go around buying multiple gift cards and stashing them away and I don't have to stand in line at check out watching the CM ring up a bunch of gift cards
We have saved $1800 this year on gas with points received purchasing gift cards.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:47 PM   #73
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I'm tentatively planning a trip in September (haven't been to Disney World since I was a teenager so this is all new to me!) and I'm really torn between dining plans. The basic plan doesn't seem like it's enough and the Deluxe seems like it is too much. I would love a plan that included 2 counter service and 1 table service meal a day.
I'm with you on this!
We are going in April for our 1st trip and trying to see what is best! We are a party of 5 with 3 kids (6-9 years). We have ADR's set-up with 4 of them Character meals! I believe the TS credits can be used for CS? I calulate we have to "spend" $280 a day for all of us to break even on the Deluxe Dining! What is an average cost for snacks and CS breakfast/lunch? Also, having sit down meals will give the kids a chance to rest!
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:13 PM   #74
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I'm with you on this!
We are going in April for our 1st trip and trying to see what is best! We are a party of 5 with 3 kids (6-9 years). We have ADR's set-up with 4 of them Character meals! I believe the TS credits can be used for CS? I calulate we have to "spend" $280 a day for all of us to break even on the Deluxe Dining! What is an average cost for snacks and CS breakfast/lunch? Also, having sit down meals will give the kids a chance to rest!
You can use TS for QS. Check out allears.net for menus and pricing on QS meals and snacks. I usually just estimate $5 a snack and $13 for an adult QS meal.
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