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Old 02-05-2013, 11:20 AM   #1
TKH
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How the DDP worked for us...

Just a quick run-down, in case it's helpful to anyone. We're a family of 5 - 2 adults and 3 children (ages 3, 7, 8). We just got back from WDW, and we had purchased the regular dining plan. One snack, one counter service, one table service per day. It was $1,138 for a 7 night stay. We didn't go out of our way to order the most expensive things, but also didn't limit ourselves to cheaper items or share foods.

Chef Mickey's - $144
Hollywood and Vine - $122
Teppan Edo - $150
50's Primetime - $105
Yak and Yeti - $95
T-Rex - $90
Biergarten - $122
Counter Service total - $375
Snack total - $158
Refillable mugs - $85
GRAND TOTAL - $1,446

Now, if we didn't have the dining plan, we would have ordered a few things differently. For example, we probably would have had more water to drink, and we would not have ever ordered dessert. I would have shared some meals with my 3 year old, since he doesn't eat much. I figure that paying OOP, we would have spent $693 on table service, $300 on counter service (this is because my 3 year old would have shared more, but my 8 year old would have ordered off the adult menu a few times), and $80 on snacks. We would not have purchased the mugs. So the total OOP would have been $1,073. So, we're $65 off from what the DDP cost was. No tips have been included, and of course tips were higher because of ordering more food with the DDP.

All things considered, we would not do the dining plan again. We found it too stressful to get to each ADR, and we generally appreciate a more flexible, go-with-the-flow style of touring. These were restaurants we wanted to try though, and this was a good time to do it because the kids were all still counted as 'children'. No way would the dining plan be of value once our 8 year old is considered a Disney Adult. Also, it was just too much food. We felt forced to get snacks when we weren't hungry. We ended up with 3 leftover CS credits, but a CM at Contempo Cafe suggested to trade them in for 9 rice krispie bars on the morning of our departure. We did that. It was a good experience but kind of a been-there-done-that for us, and next time we'll probably order groceries and eat a few TS and CS meals. We did enjoy being able to order what we wanted and not worry about paying.

Hopefully that's helpful to someone! Any questions, just ask!
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:25 AM   #2
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The DDP is one thing where every family really needs to do the math for themselves, based on what they want to eat. There is no one-size-fits-all (or even one-size-fits-most) answer.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:32 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
The DDP is one thing where every family really needs to do the math for themselves, based on what they want to eat. There is no one-size-fits-all (or even one-size-fits-most) answer.
You are right, which is why we tried it despite people telling us it probably wasn't the best choice. We tried it, it was nice, but I don't think we'll do it again. Since people often wonder if it's 'worth it', I just thought I'd post our numbers since we tracked them. Everyone, of course, needs to gather info and decide for themselves!
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. Regardless if each family will be different it is still great to see how it worked for you. I think we will do the deluxe dining plan when we go in August using it for an early breakfast buffet and then a signature dinner.
Thanks again
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
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I am facing the same dilemma for our trip in late July. We are 6 adults, 1 ten year old who I classified as an adult and three kids (9,9,7). Right now we have booked the DDP...... I have not done the math yet but we do have ADR's at:

Akershus
Hoop Dee Doo
BOG
Mama Melrose/Fantasmic
Tusker House Breakfast
'Ohana

We are staying at PORFQ and all the reservations are around 6pm. They all required credit card guarantees so we will have to allocate enough time to get to each one. Do you think it would be worth my while to calculate the approximate OOP cost? Is that even possible? Would the savings be worth it? Are we going about this the right way?

Thanks
Karen (this is our first family trip)
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:36 PM   #6
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You nailed it. There's pretty much no value in the dining plan anymore.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davedmaine View Post
You nailed it. There's pretty much no value in the dining plan anymore.
1) Yep.
2) Do you really think Disney would give money away?
3) To many, DDP is convenient.
4) But, when convenience vs savings, I'll take the savings.
5) Besides, just as easy to say "charge the room".
6) It is the same key card you are giving the waitress.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:27 PM   #8
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This is what I tell Disney newbies who are curious about the dining plan:

These days, the dining plans are not so much about saving money as they are about providing the psycological benefit of giving the vacation a paid up-front, all-inclusive feel.

I think it's disingenuous for Disney to advertise that the dining plans save money (at least for anyone age 10 or older).
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martyap
I am facing the same dilemma for our trip in late July. We are 6 adults, 1 ten year old who I classified as an adult and three kids (9,9,7). Right now we have booked the DDP...... I have not done the math yet but we do have ADR's at:

Akershus
Hoop Dee Doo
BOG
Mama Melrose/Fantasmic
Tusker House Breakfast
'Ohana

We are staying at PORFQ and all the reservations are around 6pm. They all required credit card guarantees so we will have to allocate enough time to get to each one. Do you think it would be worth my while to calculate the approximate OOP cost? Is that even possible? Would the savings be worth it? Are we going about this the right way?

Thanks
Karen (this is our first family trip)
You would have to sit down with the menus and figure out what you think you would order and add it up. Compare that to what you would spend for the cost of the DP. It really doesnt take long. I always use an excel spreadsheet. The buffets and shows are easier because they have a set cost. You only have two menu places that you would need to determine what you might order. The rest are set costs.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:11 PM   #10
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This is for Martytap:

Since most of your choices are buffet/family style, it's a little easier to do some quick calculations.

For an adult, the meals you have planned minus BOG will cost approximately $210. You have 7 credits used, so I'll assume 7 nights which would cost an adult $385. So will, the adults "spend" another $175 on BOG and QS and snacks?

Now, the three children make it a little more worthwhile because you are doing mostly buffet/family style. Their one-day cost for the DDP will be used up with your TS meal, so their QS and snacks are basically free.

You will probably save money, but you've already asked some of the other questions to be considered. Your 6:00 ADRs will take you out of the parks, so you need to decide how much that time is worth to you. But it also means you have some break time factored in and everyone has some time to sit down and regroup. You also need to consider your 12 yr old and your two 9 yr olds. Will kids' meals be enough for the 9 yr olds? Since their other meal is a buffet, that won't matter quite as much; they should get plenty to eat.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKH View Post
Hopefully that's helpful to someone! Any questions, just ask!
Thank you for your honest assessment. I think that you have hit on many of the important points.
  • The DDP can save you money, if you "work the system".
  • But by working the system, you don't always order and eat exactly what you would prefer.
  • There are times when you are just fed up (literally) with Disney food and want to have a light salad to cleanse your system. While on the DDP, you will lose value by doing this.
  • People who are not on the DDP can eat anything they want, any time they want, and order off of any part of the menu that they want. People on the DDP can only do this if they are willing to incur extra OOP costs.
  • People who are not on the DDP can dine at every single restaurant at WDW. People on the DDP cannot unless they are willing to incur extra OOP costs.
  • Portions sizes at WDW are fairly big. Sharing is easy to do. But once you do this, your DDP savings quickly go out the window.
  • People on the DDP are more likely to "treat" themselves with desserts and snacks since they are paid for. There is something to be said for self gratification every now and then.
  • Being on the DDP encourages one to jump into the ADR game with both feet at the 180 day mark to ensure that you are getting all the reservations that you want, for fear that not doing so will negatively impact the dining experience. It is easier to "go with the flow" when you are not on the DDP. If you get completely shut out of a great TS restaurant for dinner and have to eat a taco in Mexico, it is easier to bear that shame when you aren't wasting a credit on that meal.

All things to consider. For us, having no limits on what, when and where we can eat is liberating. Even if I could save $100 over the course of the week, I would still rather have the freedom to go wherever I want, and perhaps order two apps as my meal, and skip dessert.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:08 PM   #12
Martyap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Tonga Wingo~ View Post
You would have to sit down with the menus and figure out what you think you would order and add it up. Compare that to what you would spend for the cost of the DP. It really doesnt take long. I always use an excel spreadsheet. The buffets and shows are easier because they have a set cost. You only have two menu places that you would need to determine what you might order. The rest are set costs.
Possibly someone could give me a quick check of my math.

DDP for 7 adults X 6 days X $57 = 2392
3 kids X 6 days X $18.16= 327
total on DDP tax inc.
refillable mugs inc Total DDP $2719

OOP for 7 adults 3 kids 6TS each
Hoop Dee Doo (2TS) $466
Akershus (1TS) $349
TH Breakfast (1TS) $217
Mama Melrose
Fantasmic (1TS) $279 (app,entree,des,bev-average)
'Ohana (1TS) $279

Total inc tax $1695



CS for 7 adults and 3 kids (used CHH as a guide-entree/des/bev)
Kids $6 x 6 days x 3 = $108
adults $16 X 6 days x 7 =672
total inc tax $830
Snacks
$4 x 6 days x 10 = $255 (inc tax)
Mugs $16 x 10 = $160

total OOP =$2940

What am I missing? Am I just picking the wrong restaurants?
Or is the point of going OOP more options in menu choices; doing w/o the mugs and snacks????
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martyap View Post
Possibly someone could give me a quick check of my math.

DDP for 7 adults X 6 days X $57 = 2392
3 kids X 6 days X $18.16= 327
total on DDP tax inc.
refillable mugs inc Total DDP $2719

OOP for 7 adults 3 kids 6TS each
Hoop Dee Doo (2TS) $466
Akershus (1TS) $349
TH Breakfast (1TS) $217
Mama Melrose
Fantasmic (1TS) $279 (app,entree,des,bev-average)
'Ohana (1TS) $279

Total inc tax $1695



CS for 7 adults and 3 kids (used CHH as a guide-entree/des/bev)
Kids $6 x 6 days x 3 = $108
adults $16 X 6 days x 7 =672
total inc tax $830
Snacks
$4 x 6 days x 10 = $255 (inc tax)
Mugs $16 x 10 = $160

total OOP =$2940

What am I missing? Am I just picking the wrong restaurants?
Or is the point of going OOP more options in menu choices; doing w/o the mugs and snacks????
I didn't want to look at the numbers if it was wrong - but I noticed your DDP calcs are saying 6 days. The DP gives/charges credits based on the number of nights. Are you staying 6 nights? Or are you staying 5 nights and 6 days? That can change your numbers.

And I feel like $16 for a QS is a tad on the high side but I guess it depends where you're eating.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:24 PM   #14
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Many of your restaurants are lower costs than ones we always go to. Our trips include Coral Reef, Le Celliar (when it was 1TS), San Angel, Kona among others. I'd added it up on a few trips and DDP has saved us considerably. However, nowhere's near the savings we had when DDP included appetizer and tip. Now free dining makes a trip to WDW affordable. Without FD the higher room rates, higher ticket costs, higher airfare and higher food costs make a WDW vacation unaffordable anymore.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martyap View Post
Possibly someone could give me a quick check of my math.

DDP for 7 adults X 6 days X $57 = 2392
3 kids X 6 days X $18.16= 327
total on DDP tax inc.
refillable mugs inc Total DDP $2719

OOP for 7 adults 3 kids 6TS each
Hoop Dee Doo (2TS) $466
Akershus (1TS) $349
TH Breakfast (1TS) $217
Mama Melrose
Fantasmic (1TS) $279 (app,entree,des,bev-average)
'Ohana (1TS) $279

Total inc tax $1695



CS for 7 adults and 3 kids (used CHH as a guide-entree/des/bev)
Kids $6 x 6 days x 3 = $108
adults $16 X 6 days x 7 =672
total inc tax $830
Snacks
$4 x 6 days x 10 = $255 (inc tax)
Mugs $16 x 10 = $160

total OOP =$2940

What am I missing? Am I just picking the wrong restaurants?
Or is the point of going OOP more options in menu choices; doing w/o the mugs and snacks????
You're not missing anything. Your group will save about $200 on the plan. The three Disney kids and the fact you're doing mostly dinner buffets is the reason for the savings.

That $200 can easily dwindle if someone decides they don't want dessert at QS or they sub water/fruit for that $4 dessert. Or you just get tired of buffets and don't want to eat at another one. I predict you will have lots of snack credits waiting to be used on your last day unless you use some of them for breakfast along the way. If that happens, you may find yourself grabbing things less than that $4 price point, which will also take away from that $200 savings.

My family does OOP because we prefer water with our meals and that is free. Only two of us eat dessert and we don't like the QS desserts; we'd rather grab something more delicious later on. AND my kids are now Disney adults. We can eat three meals a day with at least one TS (some are buffet) for less than $50 per person per day and that includes the tax AND tip.
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