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 02-02-2013, 08:33 PM #1 Arsenal1982 DIS Veteran   Join Date: Aug 2012 Location: Chicago Posts: 767 Disney Dining - Can't Justify The Expense Maybe someone can persuade me but I just can't justify the fixed cost for the dining plan unless I'm missing something. Basic Dining Plan = \$56.00 per person 1 Lunch = \$12.00 max 1 Dinner with Dessert = \$40.00 (This is the absolute most that it would cost and a lot of nights won't approach this number.. example if I do the buffet at Biergarten.. or get a pizza at Via Napoli) 1 Snack = \$3.00 to \$4.00... again this is the high end of costs.. some snacks will be less but I won't ever spend more than \$4.00 on a snack even though I know you can.. shake at Beaches and Cream for example. So if I basically max out. max lunch, max dinner, max snack, it meets the dining plan expense. If I don't and its not reasonable to expect I would each night, then I'm better off just paying out of pocket. I also investigated the deluxe dining plan which seems even more of a bad deal at \$100 a night. That just doesn't make any sense to me... If I eat a lunch, 2 snacks, and do a signature dining out of my pocket, I will pay less than \$100 guaranteed.
 02-02-2013, 08:52 PM #2 sharonabe DIS Veteran     Join Date: May 2009 Location: North Carolina Posts: 4,264 The dining plans don't work for us, but I'm not sure you've given it a fair calculation. A QS entree is around \$10, large soda is \$3 and most desserts are \$4, so you're lunch (if you eat everything you're entitled to) is more like \$17 than \$12. Your TS at \$40 is pretty close, although many places will be less. But if you can maximize most of your TS to the \$40, you're at \$57 with just TS and QS, so your snack is free and you also got the refillable mug for drinks at the resort or at least a souvenir. You do have to use all your entitlements and you do have to do some homework to make sure you maximize your choices, but you can still save money on the DDP. A lot of people like it for the convenience factor and the "all-inclusive" prepaid feel.
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02-02-2013, 08:59 PM   #3
Arsenal1982
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by sharonabe The dining plans don't work for us, but I'm not sure you've given it a fair calculation. A QS entree is around \$10, large soda is \$3 and most desserts are \$4, so you're lunch (if you eat everything you're entitled to) is more like \$17 than \$12. Your TS at \$40 is pretty close, although many places will be less. But if you can maximize most of your TS to the \$40, you're at \$57 with just TS and QS, so your snack is free and you also got the refillable mug for drinks at the resort or at least a souvenir. You do have to use all your entitlements and you do have to do some homework to make sure you maximize your choices, but you can still save money on the DDP. A lot of people like it for the convenience factor and the "all-inclusive" prepaid feel.
Good point regarding the QS. We think the lunch desserts are terrible and don't touch them. I'd rather go buy an eclair at the French pastry place if I wanted a sweet.

And as you said.. many TS will be less than \$40 if you like variety.

Also sometimes we go to a restaurant which doesn't even have very good dessert options like Nine Dragons..

It just seems to me that OOP is the best option.

 02-02-2013, 09:08 PM #4 sharonabe DIS Veteran     Join Date: May 2009 Location: North Carolina Posts: 4,264 It sounds like you've done your homework and come to the same conclusion as many others regarding the DDP. My family of four Disney adults can eat 3 meals each day for \$50 per person, per day, including tax AND tip and still eat at least one TS per day and some buffets. That's \$6 less than the DDP would cost us and I've already included the tip. That's a no-brainer for us.
 02-02-2013, 09:17 PM #5 smiths02 DIS Veteran   Join Date: Feb 2009 Location: Georgia Posts: 2,149 If you have kids age 3-9 and want to hit character meals...that can boost your savings. That being said...I probably won't ever get DDP again unless it is offered as a discount. __________________ Disneyland 1981-1999 Countless day trips as a kid (born in OC), 2007 (Portofino/Jolly Roger), 2010 (Jolly Roger) Disneyworld 2003 (AKL), 2009 (AKL), 2011 (CBR- room), 2015 (AoA-Cars Suite)
02-02-2013, 09:55 PM   #6
Srbright
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by smiths02 If you have kids age 3-9 and want to hit character meals...that can boost your savings
This is why it works for us. Between Cali Grill, Fultons and CRT we definitely see a savings. When you add in Tusker House, Akershus, and Crystal Palace we expect to save \$300-400 over 8 days, more over, 10 days.

Stacy
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02-02-2013, 10:01 PM   #7
Arsenal1982
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Srbright This is why it works for us. Between Cali Grill, Fultons and CRT we definitely see a savings. When you add in Tusker House, Akershus, and Crystal Palace we expect to save \$300-400 over 8 days, more over, 10 days. Stacy
So you see savings with the DDP at Cali Grill? Can you explain how because I looked at it. If you ordered the most expensive app, entree, and dessert at Cali, that comes to \$77. Throw in a \$15 QS lunch. Then add in 2 snacks at \$3.00 each. Total comes to \$98.

Am I missing something here?

02-02-2013, 10:25 PM   #8
sharonabe
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,264

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Arsenal1982 So you see savings with the DDP at Cali Grill? Can you explain how because I looked at it. If you ordered the most expensive app, entree, and dessert at Cali, that comes to \$77. Throw in a \$15 QS lunch. Then add in 2 snacks at \$3.00 each. Total comes to \$98. Am I missing something here?
And on the regular DDP, you don't get the app, so your total is even less than that and you've used 2 of your TS credits.

 02-02-2013, 10:47 PM #9 aaarcher86 DIS Veteran     Join Date: Feb 2010 Location: Columbus, OH Posts: 8,107 Lots of people don't see a savings unless they have a discounted or free dining plan. We save money using the DXDP where most people don't (it was discounted). I'd have to reevaluate if it was full price. Lots have people make it pretty clear they wouldn't get the DP at the full cost because they could eat for less OOP or break even and order more things that interest them (apps instead of dessert). Some people don't really care about the minimal savings or not saving at all, but prefer the convenience. __________________ Hilton Head TR..........Halloween DAS TR
 02-03-2013, 02:34 PM #10 MommaBarb Mouseketeer   Join Date: Oct 2012 Posts: 151 I realize that the DDP isn't the greatest value, though we've always gotten at least a discount. For us, it's about budgeting. We'll do better if we have to pay \$XX amount to go to WDW. Also, with our young girls, they love the character dining. Otherwise, we'd probably just pack a lot more food and pay OOP for like QS or something. __________________
 02-03-2013, 02:54 PM #11 sgrabin Mouse Junkie   Join Date: Feb 2004 Location: Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 132 Convenient, but too expensive Having the DDP is certainly a convenience, but it's definitely NOT worth the cost of paying the regular price for it. We got "free" dining last trip and that was a good value getting it that way. I'd never pay for it separately. You can get wonderful, higher quality meals outside the World and eat better while paying less. __________________ Aug 1978 - WDW offsite (1st trip ever) Sep 1998 - Carribean Beach Resort Oct 2000 - All Star Music Oct 2002 - Wilderness Lodge (plus offsite days) Sep 2006 - Calypso Cay Kissimmee Dec 2008 - Calypso Cay Kissimmee Sep 2009 - Coronado Springs Resort (Loved It!) Oct 2010 - WDW offsite
02-03-2013, 03:00 PM   #12
Arsenal1982
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by sgrabin Having the DDP is certainly a convenience, but it's definitely NOT worth the cost of paying the regular price for it. We got "free" dining last trip and that was a good value getting it that way. I'd never pay for it separately. You can get wonderful, higher quality meals outside the World and eat better while paying less.

I remember the good old days when it was about \$30.00 per person per day and the TS included the app. Now its almost double without the app.. ha!

 02-03-2013, 04:20 PM #13 disneyworldaddict Mouseketeer     Join Date: Feb 2010 Location: entirely too far from WDW...NJ Posts: 420 The plan is definitely worth the cost to us. Yes, we can eat cheaper but we enjoy using the plan. We go to places that we normally wouldn't because of the cost. So instead I eating QS we at nice restaurants like Ohana. We know which quick service restaurants we can get the best value at, and we get to try a lot of nice sitdown restaurants sometimes we can use two sit down credits and get a signature dining meal. The places we choose to eat with the Disney dining plan are definitely more expensive than what we would be willing to pay out-of-pocket so for us it is still a value and it makes it feel like a real vacation going to all these nice restaurants every night of our vacation. We see it as a value because the quick service meals can be expensive in this way instead of eating quick service meals two times a day we can a quick service ones and a nice sitdown restaurant once we definitely got her moneys worth out of it. __________________ 1972 offsite, 1974 Poly, 2002 Movies, 2003 offsite, 2004 Music, 2005 CSR, 2006 CBR, 2007 Pop, 2008 POR AB,2009 CBR, 2009 Pop, 2010 CBR, 2010 Poly, 2011 AKL, 2011 POP, 2012 FWCCs, 2013 pending
02-03-2013, 05:16 PM   #14
aaarcher86
DIS Veteran

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 8,107

Quote:
 Originally Posted by sgrabin Having the DDP is certainly a convenience, but it's definitely NOT worth the cost of paying the regular price for it. We got "free" dining last trip and that was a good value getting it that way. I'd never pay for it separately. You can get wonderful, higher quality meals outside the World and eat better while paying less.
Not everyone can get outside the world to eat during their stay, nor would they want to take the time to do so. Makes a big difference if you don't drive to WDW.
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02-03-2013, 07:11 PM   #15
danceintherain
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 5,102

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Arsenal1982 I remember the good old days when it was about \$30.00 per person per day and the TS included the app. Now its almost double without the app.. ha!
Yeah. It's definitely not as good of a deal as it used to be. We've only used it once, and banked almost exactly 20% savings (which I calculated to be basically the value of all the desserts we ordered just because we could). That was 4 year ago...

I've priced it for every trip since, and it just doesn't work. We do tend to plan a TS per night, but DH likes to have a full breakfast in the morning, so we end up buying a CS per day.
For our trip in April, I estimate we'll spend less than \$1200 for food for 3 adults and one infant.
The QS plan would be a little under \$800 for the three of us plus another \$450ish for our table service meals = \$1250
That's the closest, and would allow us to cancel any ADRs that we don't end up needing.

The Regular Plan would be around \$1150 plus around \$240 for any extra Counter Service meals. = \$1390 (it would include an extra 2 credits, but we don't need that)
Neither of those include any meals we may need to purchase OOP for our 2 year old and at Universal, while the \$1200 does.
I figure we'll probably drink water in most cases, only get dessert at select table service, and get a few snacks per person.
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