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Old 05-07-2013, 01:23 PM   #1
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May 2014 Dining Plan Help

Long time DVC'er here. We have never ever considered using a dining plan, but next May, we are heading down for a week. Our party consist of me, my wife, my son and his wife and their 2 year old, my daughter and her husband and their 1 year old. Our last trip together, we found the cost of eating in the parks and restaurants has risen exorbitantly, and our food budget (not really but what I expected to spend) was gone much more quickly than before. As DVC'ers, we often eat in the room as least one meal a day, yet in looking at our upcoming trip, I think this may be something we should consider. I expect we will do at least show (most likely hoopty do review) and perhaps another double credit sit down meal.
Tell me why we should or shouldn't do one of the prepaid dining plans. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:26 PM   #2
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That's going to be entirely up to you. There are a few things you should know about the dining plans. I'm assuming you are going to have everyone in one villa.

1. Everybody in the room has to be on the same dining plan.
2. Kids under 3 don't get dining credits. All the children in your party are under 3. So you will be getting the plan just for the 6 adults. (Since you're DVC and no ticket purchase is required you could get the plan for the children if you register them as 3 years old.)
3. The plan is often a better deal for kids than it is for adults. How good a deal it will be depends on the restaurants you select and the items you order.
4. You've already mentioned that your family eats at least 1 meal a day in the villa.
5. On the regular dining plan, 2 credit meals are not the best use of the TS credits value-wise.
6. Some users place a high value on the "convenience" of having the dining plan, above and beyond its possible monetary value. It's up to you how you feel about that.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:04 PM   #3
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Some questions to ask your group:

Do you want soda/tea/coffee with ALL your meals or do you prefer to drink water?
Do you want desserts at ALL your meals (keeping in mind that if you eat all together, you will have SIX desserts on the table)?
Will you want the more expensive entrees at a la carte places?
Are you planning mostly character/buffet dinners? (Breakfast and lunch prices are not good value on DDP)

If you say "no" to too many of the above, you won't come out ahead on the DDP. As TDC Nala said, the 2TS places are even less a value on the DDP. HDDR is $62.99 for Cat 2 and $58.99 for Cat 3 (only two allowed at earlier dinner times). Both of those sound expensive when paying OOP, but to even break even on the DDP, you need to "spend" $35 for each TS credit. So you're losing at least $7 pp on just this meal alone.

We are an OOP family, so I'm sure I'm a little biased. BUT we are an OOP family because the math FOR DDP just doesn't work for us. The food at WDW is expensive, but I've looked at the menus enough to know that MY family can eat 3 meals a day, one of which is TS, some buffets/character meals, include the tax AND tip for $50 pp per day.

You may need to peruse the menus over at allearsnet.com and up your budget a little or someone else may come along and persuade you to try the DDP.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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I agree with sharonabe. We typically eat breakfast in our room, then one CS and one TS meal each day. Every time we run the numbers, we come out ahead paying OOP (vs the DDP). I think at the current prices for the DDP, it's more for convenience rather than cost savings.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharonabe View Post
Some questions to ask your group:

Do you want soda/tea/coffee with ALL your meals or do you prefer to drink water?
Do you want desserts at ALL your meals (keeping in mind that if you eat all together, you will have SIX desserts on the table)?
Will you want the more expensive entrees at a la carte places?
Are you planning mostly character/buffet dinners? (Breakfast and lunch prices are not good value on DDP)

If you say "no" to too many of the above, you won't come out ahead on the DDP. As TDC Nala said, the 2TS places are even less a value on the DDP. HDDR is $62.99 for Cat 2 and $58.99 for Cat 3 (only two allowed at earlier dinner times). Both of those sound expensive when paying OOP, but to even break even on the DDP, you need to "spend" $35 for each TS credit. So you're losing at least $7 pp on just this meal alone.

We are an OOP family, so I'm sure I'm a little biased. BUT we are an OOP family because the math FOR DDP just doesn't work for us. The food at WDW is expensive, but I've looked at the menus enough to know that MY family can eat 3 meals a day, one of which is TS, some buffets/character meals, include the tax AND tip for $50 pp per day.

You may need to peruse the menus over at allearsnet.com and up your budget a little or someone else may come along and persuade you to try the DDP.
What is OOP?
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:36 PM   #6
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OOP=Out Of Pocket

We usually figure out where we want to eat and then look at menus and costs. We then know if we should get the DDP or go OOP. It could be tedious and a lot of work, but that is the only way to see if it is worth it for you.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:44 PM   #7
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There was a Podcast (by the folks that run this site) and they analyzed all the various dining plans. If I remember correctly you had to be real vigilant on what you ordered where to make it worth it, vs paying out of pocket for the regular plan.

This past January we got a heavily discounted plan and it was usually more food than we could handle. We are not light eaters either. We ate breakfast in our rooms and the refillable mug was not worth the hike to the food court. The plans was 1 TS, 1 CS, and 1 Snack per day. By the last day we had multiple snack credits left.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:07 PM   #8
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As others have said, you have to evaluate your eating habits to see if it is worth it.

I have run the numbers before each trip, and for my family, its worth it. We like to get a soda (or milkshake at some places), usually order steak from the menu and like to get a desert.

We would probably spend less if we weren't on the dining plan, because I would always be worried about cost, and would order a cheaper entree. But it would not be the one I would really want. We tend to like the steak or more expensive options on the menu, so we save money and get what we really want.

For my husband, eating steak and desert most every TS meal, is something he loves and does not get to do at home much. For him Disney World is eating how he wants.

But if you are the type of folks who will order a salad at a TS restaurant, no soft drink, no desert, then the dining plan is not for you.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madonniac View Post
OOP=Out Of Pocket

We usually figure out where we want to eat and then look at menus and costs. We then know if we should get the DDP or go OOP. It could be tedious and a lot of work, but that is the only way to see if it is worth it for you.
This is similar to what I do. I look at the table service meals we will eat. We know there are certain places we just have to go. I add them up then subtract that from the price of the DDP. Then I divide the remainder by the number of meals we have left (that will be counter service) for our trip. It gives me a really good idea if the plan will be cost effective for us or not.

Every trip we've had a ton of snack credits left the last day. We drive home so that pretty much covers snacks in the car the whole way.
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