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Old 01-19-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
sadossey
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Can't decide on dining plans

I am torn. Have trip planned with DDP with reservations with a couple character meals, O'hana and couple more. But I am considering dropping down to the QS plan. The thought of not having to be anywhere at a specific time sounds great. Will also save about $200. Probably more for my money with reg plan and kids would like the character meals but just really like the thought of not worrying about making it to any reservations. Went to DW last year for first time and had the regular DP and did enjoy the meals but we also had some pretty decent QS food. What would you do? FYI kids are 6 & 2 and we will have our car and staying at Pop. Also thought about keeping QS plan and paying OOP for one character meal or just going OOP all the way.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:38 AM   #2
Mom22girls56
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With the ages of your kids I would definitely suggest the Dining Plan with character/unique meals, if you can afford it. Honestly, I wouldn't go to Disney without the dining plan. I think the dining experiences are just as important as the rides in each park.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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Unless it was FD, I would go with no DP over QSDP. The savings just isn't there to make it worth sticking to the rules of the plan. Depending on how you eat, it's probably cheaper to pay OOP.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
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I would never get the dining plan. People say it saves money, but I don't think people would generally eat that way. Dessert at every meal just doesn't happen.

We have three kids--3, 3, and 8. We find that a few sit down meals are great, too many are a disaster. We prefer to make a few ressies, cancel them if our appetites or moods dictate that. Having to be at a certain restaurant at a certain time hold no appeal.

I'd still plan a character meal, but pay out of pocket. Otherwise eat what you want, when you want. There is always something good to be had--even withough reservations. We are WDW veterans--been 18 times and find ADRs are less and less necessary the more we go. Have fun and base your meals on your kids' moods.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:59 PM   #5
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The new dining plans don't really save too much money.
The QS one is really hard pressed to break even unless you know the high ticket places to go.
If you went and ordered all the food you wanted without looking at prices,
I'd bet you would be under the cost or within a few dollars and you have all the flexibility you want.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:00 PM   #6
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I only recommend the regular plan if you have a couple kids (you do) and you want to hit a few character meals, because you would get some value out of those high priced meals.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quandrea View Post
I would never get the dining plan. People say it saves money, but I don't think people would generally eat that way. Dessert at every meal just doesn't happen.
This is the reason that we *do* always get the deluxe dining plan.

At home, I almost NEVER order dessert even if I want it simply because by the time the meal is over, I'm not actually hungry enough to pay more money for just a bite and DH and I have drastically different preferences in sweets so there aren't many desserts we would want to split. We might order one appetizer sometimes for the whole table, but not always and we don't always want the same thing.

We get the deluxe because then we *will* order those things and try things that we otherwise wouldn't. We're on vacation, we do things differently (and thanks to the magic of Disney, none of us have ever gained any weight while on a trip to the world despite the huge difference in how we eat!). We try to all get different appetizers and have a few bites of each one. If we don't finish it, we don't stress. We eat what we want from the entrees and then we can eat just a few bites of dessert (or all of it - I admit it!). Since we've prepaid it makes it ok...and I think that you *do* save money vs. buying all of those same components OOP (obviously with some wiggle room dependent on what you order).
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quandrea View Post
I would never get the dining plan. People say it saves money, but I don't think people would generally eat that way. Dessert at every meal just doesn't happen.

We have three kids--3, 3, and 8. We find that a few sit down meals are great, too many are a disaster. We prefer to make a few ressies, cancel them if our appetites or moods dictate that. Having to be at a certain restaurant at a certain time hold no appeal.

I'd still plan a character meal, but pay out of pocket. Otherwise eat what you want, when you want. There is always something good to be had--even withough reservations. We are WDW veterans--been 18 times and find ADRs are less and less necessary the more we go. Have fun and base your meals on your kids' moods.
I agree and we have 4 kids. We did the dining plan once and was left with many QS and snack credits. After that I kept track each time and paying OOP saved us money. We never order the most expensive item on the menu and just are never hungry for dessert at lunch and dinner. We can't eat like that. You don't get appetizers and have to pay tip. So with tip it is almost $70 a person per day. For my family that is $420 a day without breakfast. We don't go over that OOP.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:35 AM   #9
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We have never used any dining plans and never regretted it - we were able to budget what we wanted to spend per day on food - and with little ones they can usually share QS meals and be okay -

That being said - HOWEVER - I've decided that if free dining comes back this fall during the time our trip is planned - I'll add the QSDP to our package and then budget in a couple of table service OOP - it will be my experiment to see how we like it....

To DDP or not DDP - that is the question!!! It could help with budgeting - so you know what meals are paid for in advance - you know the saying - different strokes for different folks...

I guess I've rambled here and really not answered your question - the DP stuff is really hard to come to a conclusion on - good luck!
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:58 PM   #10
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DDP worksheet

Here is the link to a youtube video that was posted on another thread in Theme Park strategies. They created a spreadsheet that is awesome in letting you determine the best way to utilize the various dining plans and whether they are worth it for you and your family. Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jMDg...456VJg&index=1
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:00 PM   #11
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You tube video on dining plan

I don't know why the link didn't work, but do a youtube search for Disney Dining plan calculator. It is episode 24 of their series.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:10 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies. I think we are going to stick with it since this is the last year my son will be free and we had a couple character meals planned. Also ditched a couple of the cheaper TS meals and added a res for the yachtsman.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:02 PM   #13
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I just can only eat so many french fries and burgers and, while the CS places do have some variety, it's just not enough of a variety. Plus, if you're going during the summer, it's really nice to have a nice break in the middle of the day if you do any lunches.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:45 PM   #14
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We go to Disney every May. We always do the dining plan, and rotate between the reg. and counter dining plans. Last year we did the reg. one, so this year we are going to do the counter service. I have found the places that give us "the most bang for our buck". We love Wolfgang's at Downtown Disney, and when we do the counter plan, we eat there several times. I don't like having to plan what time we will have to eat, so this is why we rotate. My DH says that he will never go to Disney and pay OOP. He likes that we are paying up front for meals. When we go out to eat at home, we always order water, and never desserts. (He is cheap.) So this is our one family splurge.

I will never tell him that we may save $ paying OOP. Its our little secret. LOL
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:00 PM   #15
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We've done all three dining plans....QSDP, DDP and DxDDP. For us, the DxDDP was just too much food. If we do it again, I would do more 2TS meals like Hoop Dee Do and the Luau.

We always share meals since the portion sizes are so large. The only places we don't share are at buffets (because it's not allowed). If you want to do any character meals, the DDP is the way to go.

Last summer, we used the QSDP and contrary to popular belief, we didn't eat just burgers, chicken nuggets, fries and pizza. There are a ton of other options around WDW than those foods. With the desserts we received, we saved them and ate them for breakfast the following morning. Do I allow my kids to eat cookies and cupcakes for breakfast at home....HECK NO! Is it OK on vacation.....of course it is! One day, we had a late breakfast and an early dinner so guess what our "lunch" was.....Mickey ice cream bars for everyone! Now that our kids are older, we spend much more time at the resort and less time in the parks. It was quite nice not being tied to any ADR's. But when our kids were younger, character meals were a must-do! I agree with a PP, the dining experience is sometimes just as important as your park time.
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