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Old 01-09-2013, 04:34 PM   #1
jweb20
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New to DDP.

I am getting ready to book our vacation to Disney this summer. We are family of 4. 2 adults, 1 child, 1 under 3.

I was planning on getting the basic dining plan. But I have read a lot of mixed things saying you are spending more getting the dining plan then you actually would if you just ate and paid out of pocket.

So I am curious to hear stories from you! How many of you use the dining plan? why or why not?

Also, the dining plan will cover character dinners to 1 table service right?
Do I really need to book months in advance?

Thank you in advance
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jweb20 View Post
I am getting ready to book our vacation to Disney this summer. We are family of 4. 2 adults, 1 child, 1 under 3.

I was planning on getting the basic dining plan. But I have read a lot of mixed things saying you are spending more getting the dining plan then you actually would if you just ate and paid out of pocket.

So I am curious to hear stories from you! How many of you use the dining plan? why or why not?

Also, the dining plan will cover character dinners to 1 table service right?
Do I really need to book months in advance?

Thank you in advance
Yes, you should definitely book your ADR's as soon as your able. The character meals are all 1TS credit per person, except for Cinderella's Royal Table.

The DDP and money saving abilities vary by family, and greatly at that! I'd plan out your restaurants, get a cost of the DDP, and then price out what you'd order if you paid out of pocket at those places (or just pay if it's a buffet). You can still do a 2TS credit meal, you'll just have 2TS credits deducted from your total (you'll get all of your credits at check in, at once).

Our family does the DXDP and it does save us a few hundred dollars. We do a TS breakfast early, and a TS dinner later in the evening with tons of character meals taking up the majority of them. It works for us, it doesn't work for a lot of people! One of my favorite things about it though is that you can meet characters while eating and the kids are distracted in between versus standing in line at the parks - it opens up a lot of time for us whereas others think it takes away from park time.

www.allears.net has a list of menus and prices to help you figure it out!
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:05 PM   #3
iamfishie
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Yes, you really need to book 180 days out. We did the DDP for our family of 4 (including one 2YO) back in November. It saved us money. For one character lunch, it would have been $130 OOP. The DDP was $52/day for adults and $30 something for kids. So we paid roughly $130 that day for the DDP so in reality, we got our CS meal and snack for free. Even if you just broke even for the day, it was better than the sticker shock of dropping $40 for a CS OOP. We did a character meal each day for a couple of reasons- I didn't want burgers and chicken fingers every day, I wanted to sit down..., it's nice to have the characters come to you instead of waiting 45 minutes in line to meet them in the park (they do say plan about 1 to 1.5 hours for a character meal), and the 2YO can eat off the buffet for free. Like the PP said, I don't mind 1.5 hours for a meal, it frees up the time we'd be standing in character lines to do other stuff. Our 2YO wouldn't nap in the park (he was too excited) but as soon as we sat at the table, he'd pass out! The only character meal that is 2 credits is the castle. Norway has a great princess restaurant and it's only 1 credit.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:56 PM   #4
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Make sure you check the current prices of the dining plan. Prices increased this year.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:02 AM   #5
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I was never "sold" on the dining plan, however the last trip we took(Dec '12), we took advantage of the free QS dining....wow, I guess when we added up all that we got from the meals, desserts, drinks,...we saved. We are not the type that usually eats a ton or even makes it to a dessert and did feel like we waisted a bit, but are now looking to add the DDP to our next trip even if it isnt free...

we did use the QS this last trip and didnt upgrade to table service-we were a family of 6 and I hated to be told gratuity prices plus we usually only do 2 table service meals anyway. we payed oop for those. The next trip we will be taking in Dec 14, we are looking at doing DDP (only looking at a 4-5 night tripand with 2-3 table, might as well upgrade to table) and we will be down to a family of 5 for this trip.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:33 AM   #6
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We do not use it because we don't eat the way the plan dictates. We prefer to drink water with our meals. Only two of us like desserts, but most of the desserts that come with QS are not what we want to eat. Our kids are also past the Disney kid definition, so we would have to pay adult price for them.

And, I've perused the menus enough to know we can eat 3 meals a day, with at least one TS per day and spend an average of $50 per person a day including tax AND tip. That's $5 less than the DDP for an adult and I've already paid the tip too, so even more of a savings.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:03 PM   #7
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We do the dining plan and enjoy it. We find it very nice not to have to worry about exactly what each meal will cost, since it is taken care of ahead of time. We have been fortunate enough to get "free dining" based on when we were there, and we find it to be a great value for us.

We book about one ADR a day, which kind of sets a schedule but gives us a good amount of freedom for deciding where else to go on a given day. For most of the nice restaurats ADRs are a must, and the closer to the 180 day mark the better. It sure beats spending your WDW time waiting to get a table. This also fits well with the regular dining plan, where we get the one big meal a day and then use QS or snacks for our other meals. We do often choose to share a QS meal between two of us for a lighter meal, or maybe add a snack to it to make it more filling for two.

Another thing we have found is using our resort mugs for drinks when we can, which saves snack credits (and means we get more yummy treats)! If for example we share a breakfast meal at our resort, we will take a bottled drink to go as the beverage and use it later in the day, since we already have our resort mugs. With these things we learned we end up having plenty of credits for the whole trip, and get to enjoy food way more than we would paying out of pocket for each Disney meal.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:57 PM   #8
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The DDP works well for my family. We love the Ddxp the best. We like not having to think if we can afford this meal but have to cut back on the next meal. Plus we like to try new things. My kids want steaks and seafood. Love the apps and desserts.
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