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Old 05-27-2013, 10:51 AM   #16
erincon23
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You have to figure in the loss of any room discount you might get if you don't take free dining. And a lot of it depends on how many people are with you. I've found that traveling solo or with one other person, the room discount is greater than the amount I'll actually save on the dining plan, since the food I actually eat will cost a lot less than the amount I'll pay for the plan. But if it was a mom, dad, and three kids, two of which are older than child age, it could be worth it!
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:57 AM   #17
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It depends on what you want to pay for. I'm going to get it for the peace of mind of alone. Our last trip was very stressful over just the cost of food alone. It really became an issue between hubby and me.

There are folks out there who go thru all the menus, add up what the meal would cost, add up all their meals and them compare. That is WAY to much planning for me, personally.

Give me pre-paid and peace of mind, thank you. But to directly answer your question - no, the general answer is it's not worth it....
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:06 AM   #18
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See Ya Reel Soon has a FABULOUS dining plan calculator. You put in some details about your trip, group and eating habits, then where you plan on eating, and it gives you the amount you would pay out of pocket, under the different dining plans, and with the TIW card. It is awesome! Much easier than trying to calculate it all yourself.

Just google "See Ya Reel Soon dining plan calculator" to get to it.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:14 AM   #19
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I've run the numbers many times, and the dining plan (if not free dining) is mostly a convenience, not a money saver. Some also like it so that they don't have to see a big lunch or dinner bill while they are at Disney.

It is also somewhat limiting (appetizers not offered).

We've been on the dining plan the last three years, and will be this year as well, but that's ONLY because we've gone in when "free dining" has been offered.

If I were going when free dining was not offered, I would just pay out of pocket.

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Old 05-27-2013, 11:19 AM   #20
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Everyone is saying "do the math."

Let me save you some time (No need to do any math):

Skip the dining plan.

It's not worth it.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:24 AM   #21
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It's only ever worth it for us if we get a good discount through our CM friend. We hadn't done it in years but we got a great deal for our feb trip. It was weird being on the ddp again!
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:57 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Romamom444 View Post
Just wondering do you really save money paying for the dining plan without free dining? Trying to figure this out for upcoming trip?
First, I always need to respond to the marketing pitch of 'free' dining. Its not free. Disney is a business. The cost is recovered by other things guest do during their stay and your room rack rate.

Do you save money on the DDP? Most people pay for the DDP, well in advance, and can't even tell you the cost/value of 1TS ticket or 1 CS ticket or a snack ticket. Its the design of plans to take your money and convert it to something people loose track of the value of a ticket.

Like others have already stated you have to do the math. Also, look at what they give you and what you will actually eat and need. Often the DDP is like a hat that one size fits all, so there often is stuff you don't use or need, but paid for in advance. We find you have to run the numbers, look at menus and estimate what you might select, often you don't pick as much as on the DDP. Tickets can end up not used and not be a value.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:08 PM   #23
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Last year was our first trip and we opted for the dining plan. We rented points from a dvc owner so there was no possibility of free dining for us...but renting points was a huge money saver itself.

We are renting points again this December and will again add the dining plan. We have 3 kids. We plan to book mostly buffets as we find it's quicker than ordering off a menu and allows my DH to sample a variety of foods.

It does give us peace of mind knowing it's all taken care of and we are not watching the price of each item. We didn't find that it was too much food. While, it 'may' be more cost effective to pay oop - I really don't know, we didn't keep track, it's nice to say 'sure' when someone wants a snack instead of saying, 'well can you wait until lunch'? It feels more like a vacation to us.

Good luck deciding.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:15 PM   #24
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Red face Thx for all the replies.....helped to clarify what I thought

Thanks everyone for the replies. It gave me a lot to consider. The convenience would seem to be the greatest benefit for me... ie; no oop expense during trip. Since it will only be me and DD (13) and we aren't huge eaters it really would only be the convenience. We would only be attending a couple of character meals (DD has autism and loves the princesses.) I looked at some of the menus and the choices are just that not appealing. I don't want to overheat or eat something that I wouldn't normally choose simply because I already paid for it. I appreciate hearing the differing opinions and why some choose the DDP while others don't. I think we will probably forgo the DDP. Thanks again for everyone's point of view!
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:21 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Romamom444 View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies. It gave me a lot to consider. The convenience would seem to be the greatest benefit for me... ie; no oop expense during trip. Since it will only be me and DD (13) and we aren't huge eaters it really would only be the convenience. We would only be attending a couple of character meals (DD has autism and loves the princesses.) I looked at some of the menus and the choices are just that not appealing. I don't want to overheat or eat something that I wouldn't normally choose simply because I already paid for it. I appreciate hearing the differing opinions and why some choose the DDP while others don't. I think we will probably forgo the DDP. Thanks again for everyone's point of view!
Sounds like the right call. On the Dining Plan you still have to pay for meal gratuity at TS so there will be OOP expenses anyway.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:21 PM   #26
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As others have said, you need to estimate what you would likely spend on meals and compare it to the DDP cost.

For us, it varies from trip to trip, when we stayed in a value resort and got "free" dining, it was a much better deal than the room discount. We actually saved a lot of money on that particular trip.

On other trips, we have paid for DDP sometimes and paid OOP others. It all depends on which restaurants we will be eating at (and also if we staying moderate or deluxe with a discount). When we paid for DDP, we enjoyed a modest to moderate savings. The savings was only about $25 when comparing our actual meals. But then I factored in the snacks and mugs that were included. So we got about $125-150 additional "value" from the plan. I didn't consider that to be "savings" per se, because we probably would not have gotten all those snacks OOP. But since we were already saving some on the DDP, that was basically $150 worth of additional free stuff.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:58 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romamom444 View Post
Just wondering do you really save money paying for the dining plan without free dining? Trying to figure this out for upcoming trip?
No! Not a penny!
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:06 PM   #28
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I did the math on our first trip (we had the deluxe dining plan) and we technically "saved" money. I use the term loosely. While we did save money if we calculated the cost of what we ate vs. what we paid, under normal circumstances we would have never ordered an appetizer, entree and dessert with every meal. I enjoyed the convenience factor of being able to have everything pre-paid for, and also the ability to branch out and try some restaurants we wouldn't have normally tried.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:07 PM   #29
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For us... we go to a lot of character meals which are expensive... basically we figured it out to be that we get the snacks and maybe the resort cup for "free". We enjoy not having to watch our money on vacation and having it prepaid.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:14 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Romamom444 View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies. It gave me a lot to consider. The convenience would seem to be the greatest benefit for me... ie; no oop expense during trip. Since it will only be me and DD (13) and we aren't huge eaters it really would only be the convenience. We would only be attending a couple of character meals (DD has autism and loves the princesses.) I looked at some of the menus and the choices are just that not appealing. I don't want to overheat or eat something that I wouldn't normally choose simply because I already paid for it. I appreciate hearing the differing opinions and why some choose the DDP while others don't. I think we will probably forgo the DDP. Thanks again for everyone's point of view!
Definitely the right call.

We have had free DDP a couple of times and enjoyed eating places we wouldn't have normally but really we had more food than we would normally eat. I wouldn't ever order a dessert at a QS location for example normally. It was great when I could get a fruit cup as I saved it for breakfast. I also probably wouldn't order dessert in a TS either as I just didn't need it but I ate one everyday whilst on the DDP and my waistline knew about it by the time I got home!
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