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Old 02-17-2013, 05:40 PM   #1
jhaig
I'd bet you'd be hungry if we were having Tony-loaf
 
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Considering Out Of Pocket For The First Time

Let me preface this by saying we have gone to WDW for the last 4 years and used the free dining promotion, but last year we upgraded to the deluxe dining plan. It seemd like a HUGE waste of food for us. An appetizer, the entree, and a dessert twice a day was just not what we had in mind. In fact, after a hefty meal at Rose and Crown, I was so full halfway through our meal at Le Cellier I actually (sigh) passed on my maple creme brulee! Yes I know, you don't have to eat everything placed in front of you. But in order to justify the expense, we tried a little bit of everything and probably went a little overboard.

So this time around, we thought about doing the food OOP. After sitting down and doing some quick calculations, we should be able to save a ton of cash, still be able to eat where we want, and may even be able to use a room-only discount instead of getting the free dining.

Anyone else had this work out for them?
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Last edited by jhaig; 02-17-2013 at 05:41 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:05 PM   #2
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It does for us. My family of four (all Disney adults) can eat 3 meals a day, including at least one TS per day, tax AND tip for right at $50 per person per day. That's $6 less than the DDP, the tip is included, and all three meals instead of just two and a snack.

We don't all want dessert at every meal and we prefer to drink water, so the DDP is just extra food we don't really want.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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We're going OOP and we'll be at disney 10 nights/11 days. I sat down and figured out how much each meal would cost/with tip. (w/my hubby ordering the most expensive thing on the menu because well, that's how he rolls) We have reservations at CM, Sci Fi, LeCellier, 50's Prime, Ohana, LTTavern, .... Rest will be CS meals. I also added in tips, breakfast in our room for 4 of those 10 days (the rest of the days breakfast will be at the resort food court) , and $30/day for snacks. (family of 4) ...We still came out over at least $300 ahead of using the dining plan.Oh, and our OOP was including food for both of our flying/travel days. Plus the groceries we ordered from garden grocer including the 2 cases of bottled water. (this was compared to the 1 CS/ 1 TS / 1 snack plan)

So ya, no dining plan for us.

I can understand why some people just want it paid for, less hassle maybe? But they still have to pay for tips, alcohol.. etc.

OOP totally works for us.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:37 AM   #4
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I really think it depends on which resort you are staying at and what discount you are getting. I have tried to convince myself that the 20% at Pop would be as good as the free dining, but it really is not for my family. Now I certainly think that paying out of pocket versus buying the dining plan is a better value.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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We are also going OOP this time. We have done regular ddp twice and qsdp twice, but when did the math this time, neither is a good option for us.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:15 AM   #6
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It's so individual I think. I wasn't sure for this trip as I previously had gone during FD. On the one hand, SO and I don't get soft drinks every time (I usually get water) and we are inclined to share desserts. Plus I typically hate CS desserts. On the other hand, I have 3 kids, one is under 3 but the other 2 are 8 and 6. For kids that age, the DP is totally worth it. (For 2 adults and 2 kids under 10, the DDP is $145.50 per day this year). I think that if you do a TS a day and plan to do some character meals/buffets, chances are you'll at least break even if not come out ahead with the DDP.

For kids under 10, the cost of a buffet or character meal is often higher than the daily cost of the DDP. Any other meals are free. Plus my kids do like to snack, so even if SO and I wouldn't use that many snack credits ourselves, they are very useful for the kids. So, you just have to look at your individual situation.

I have never done the DxDP but it really does seem like too much food. The regular DDP isn't quite as much. IMO, it's a good amount. However, once my kids become "Disney adults" I highly doubt we'd do the DDP.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:48 PM   #7
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The last three trips we have not done the DDP, but I did have the TIW card.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:02 PM   #8
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Another thing we considered, is our 14yr old. He would be considered an adult for the dining plan, but no way would he order off the adult menu at some places, as he's still a picky eater. That would be a huge waste of money for the dining plan, for him. And I heard they are pretty stern about this. So we would still have to pay OOP for him. The child's menu at alot of places is still more his style.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:10 PM   #9
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We have done the DDP the last (and only) two times we have gone to Disney. We have another trip planned for November and I just sat down and did the math. For my family of 5 it is very close and actually comes out to be a savings of about $100-$150 for a 6 night stay.

That said, some of our favorite places to eat are the expensive character meals, so that does a lot to add value to the plan. For our six days stay I had us eating at the following restaurants. 4 of them are Character Buffets. All are for Dinner. The two "regular" TS places I did not factor in a dessert for the OOP and I did add normal tips for both OOP and the DDP.

Ohanas
Chef Mickeys
Crystal Palace
Garden Grill
T-Rex
Sci-Fi Drive In

So the DDP makes sense for us. Personally, even if it had come out $100-$200 in favor of OOP I would have gone with DDP simply for the flexibility.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #10
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We are doing our first OOP this year too. We usually do our TS at breakfast or lunch, and dont eat dessert unless its a buffet, and also drink water most of the time, that we bring with us. So when I did a figure I came out almost $1000 up!!!! Sounds crazy but 4/5 of us are considered adults, and I swear it was almost a $600 difference, and that was with tips so I figure close to $1000. We are doing a TS, CS and snacks every day too. Plus, if I want a snack I can pick whatever I want, and if we want to share we can.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildcatfan View Post
I really think it depends on which resort you are staying at and what discount you are getting. I have tried to convince myself that the 20% at Pop would be as good as the free dining, but it really is not for my family. Now I certainly think that paying out of pocket versus buying the dining plan is a better value.
Our trip is planned for May 2014 when there is typically no free dining promotion anyway, so I figured this would be a good time to try not using the dining plan and taking advantage of a room discount. We would like to stay at the Contemporary for 10 nights, so any discount (especially a 30%) would help there....a 30% at CR would take the sting out of paying for food OOP.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:18 PM   #12
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Last year was our first trip without the DDP. (Regular, not Deluxe.) We got YES tickets, so weren't elligible for a Magic Your Way Package.

I hated it!

The YES class was fabulous. But I hated not having prepaid our meals. I felt as though we were hemoraging money. I found myself looking at the price before the entree.

From this point on, we're back to being a DDP family.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:18 PM   #13
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I always pay OOP. I have added it up many times and it is always cheaper to pay OOP. However, if I was going to do a TS meal every day and none of them were breakfast, it may work out better to use the DDP, but we don't do that.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhaig View Post
Let me preface this by saying we have gone to WDW for the last 4 years and used the free dining promotion, but last year we upgraded to the deluxe dining plan. It seemd like a HUGE waste of food for us. An appetizer, the entree, and a dessert twice a day was just not what we had in mind. In fact, after a hefty meal at Rose and Crown, I was so full halfway through our meal at Le Cellier I actually (sigh) passed on my maple creme brulee! Yes I know, you don't have to eat everything placed in front of you. But in order to justify the expense, we tried a little bit of everything and probably went a little overboard.

So this time around, we thought about doing the food OOP. After sitting down and doing some quick calculations, we should be able to save a ton of cash, still be able to eat where we want, and may even be able to use a room-only discount instead of getting the free dining.

Anyone else had this work out for them?
ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!

A few years ago, I thought I was the only person on the planet who didn't "get" the value of the DDP and never opted to buy it. But every time I'd sit down and do the math on how, when, and where we planned our meals, the DDP came out as a *huge* money loser for us.

This isn't at all to say it's universally a bad deal. You/everyone *must* do the "due diligence" on how your family will handle eating at Disney, and work through the numbers. What works for family A won't work for family B.

For us, we drive to Disney, stay on-property, and plan most breakfasts to be in our room early in the morning before we hit the parks. Having a POV means that we also don't mind visiting the surrounding area some, and we've found a nice family pizza place we don't have back home, a local Orlando seafood place, and - perhaps most importantly - the option not to eat at all.

When we sat down and worked out where we *did* want to eat Disney meals, we identified a grand total of four places we really wanted to go. One of them doesn't even accept DDP. So, guesstimating our expense for those four meals (three sit-down, full service meals, one walk-up location), we calculated a total that wasn't even in the *ballpark* of the additional cost to add DDP to our vacation. Plus, we were forewarned of how having DDP can encourage you to eat more than you might have otherwise, and that didn't quite make sense to us, either.

So, again, for our family, DDP didn't work and doesn't provide us with any value. Our Disney meals are all out-of-pocket, and we never feel compelled to eat more, or eat an extra meal, or scarf down a snack just to use up unspent credits. If we stayed 100% within the confines of Disney (no local transportation), and knew up-front every meal would be a Disney restaurant, our calculations might have been different. For us, out of pocket was clearly the way to go.

The key, as I said, is planning. You have to do what's right *for you*.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliceacc
Last year was our first trip without the DDP. (Regular, not Deluxe.) We got YES tickets, so weren't elligible for a Magic Your Way Package.

I hated it!

The YES class was fabulous. But I hated not having prepaid our meals. I felt as though we were hemoraging money. I found myself looking at the price before the entree.

From this point on, we're back to being a DDP family.
We put what we think we will pay on a prepaid card and it doesn't feel like we are spending money any differently then if we had the DDP, but we don't feel like we have to eat or have snacks if we don't want them. We always end up with money left over on the card as well, which we just load up again for the next trip
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