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Old 05-31-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
mi*vida*loca
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Why the DDP won't work for us anymore....

When we went last time it was in August. With the heat we absolutely had to have midday breaks. The parks close earlier. I did multiple dinner reservations without really thinking this out. My kids whined because they wanted to stay in the parks but I didn't want to lose meal credits. It wasn't anything over the top but I got the moans and groans for a few minutes.

We will be going again in August. My son will be a Disney adult with only an adult appetite 50% of the time. Especially in the heat. I'm thinking of what I would like to do and I'm thinking we will mostly do late breakfast buffets or lunches since we will hit the parks at opening or AM EMH. We will still leave midday and come back out in the evening to hit the parks. I know they'd rather not have dinner reservations especially since the parks close earlier around late August.

Last trip we would hit the parks by 8/9 am, midday break around 1, back to the parks around 5/6 with a dinner reservation around 5. Parks close at 9. Sometimes 7 so we couldn't go back to the park.

Next trip I want to be in the parks by 8 or 9 am...late breakfast/early lunch, leave park around 1-2.....back in the parks by 5/6 and they close at 9. Sticking a dinner reservation in there sucks. We'd have 1-2 hours to do rides in the evenings.

Also I've never eaten my way around the WS! I've always done dinner reservations on Epcot night. This time I want to eat my way around the world at least two nights out of our 7. So no dinner reservations on Epcot nights. Just lunch if we want.

When I went in 2009 my kids were child priced. We had a nice room discount and paid for the DDP. Since my kids were little we did tons of character meals and got our money's worth. Xh was also a big non picky eater. I could make ADR's around the kids schedule and he'd eat whether he was hungry or not. I was also a bigger eater then. We saved over $200 by doing the DDP. My kids were younger and less time in the parks was sufficient for them and me while pushing a stroller! Now that they are older they want to ride every single ride and some over and over again.

Also our eating habits have changed. My df is a big eater when he's in the mood. If we have an ADR and he isn't hungry he won't eat or just order something small. He's a huge appetizer person. Now that I've changed my eating habits and made a lifestyle change I don't eat as much and often like to do just apps. If we are enjoying ourselves and want to cancel an ADR we will without worrying about credits. DDand I can share cs meals. I can get a Mickey bar later and pass on the cupcake dessert at CS. We won't do as many character meals.

I've been reading about this for a few weeks now and it's making sense to not go with it. But at one time we got out money's worth.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:10 PM   #2
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I think you are right.

In all of our trips, we have never done the DDP. Even when it was free during our trip. We have always gotten a better deal with a room only discount, and the DDP wouldn't be a good fit for us either.

Many folks love it, which is great for them.

Honestly, all the counting credits and planning the whole thing out seems more stressful than I want to deal with.

Eating around the world showcase is fun!

We will be there is Aug., too!
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:14 PM   #3
Jonathan Swift
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The dining plans are not like they used to be when they were first offered. They were designed to get people to stay on property and spend money at Disney vs. other places. No car rental means no split-trip to other attractions like Universal or Sea World. No leaving property to eat someplace cheaper. The more time you're on Disney property, the more money you'll spend at Disney. Simple marketing plan.

The "problem" is that this was extremely effective. The deal was a good one. Give me cheaper eats, and I'll stay and spend all my money at Disney. It was so effective, that Disney has been ratcheting the price up and ratcheting down the benefits ever since. It's gotten so bad, that now you need to do a cost/benefit analysis just to know if it's going to save money or cost more money above and beyond the OOP prices.

The problem is that people have fond memories of the dining plan (when it was clearly a good deal), so they just keep doing it out of loyalty. The other problem is simply cognitive dissonance. You show them that it's a bad deal, but they rationalize and do it anyway. Lastly, people are just plain bad at math. Sorry, but it's true.

If you want Disney to change their policies, vote with your pocketbook. Don't buy into a system that causes you to lose money and give up your ability to make thoughtful choices. Unfortunately, I may be in the minority, so I expect the status quo to continue for some time with the dining plans.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:24 PM   #4
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Also my SO isn't a huge planner. If I tell him I have all of these ADR's booked he might break out in a sweat. I'm thinking of booking 3 must do's and on a day by day basis see what we can get IF we feel up to ADR's on that particular day.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mi*vida*loca View Post
I've been reading about this for a few weeks now and it's making sense to not go with it. But at one time we got out money's worth.
Welcome to the club. Disney has raised the price and taken away the value over the years so the value for most is gone. Or the value is minimal vs. all the downsides.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:39 PM   #6
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Honest question. Do people on the dining plan get to skip to the front of the line in some instances? Maybe at CS? My friend is convinced this is the case but I've seen no mention of this on the boards.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:45 PM   #7
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Honest question. Do people on the dining plan get to skip to the front of the line in some instances? Maybe at CS? My friend is convinced this is the case but I've seen no mention of this on the boards.
No, not at all. They don't even know you are on the plan until you get to the front of the line to order.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:46 PM   #8
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Sadly I won't be back for a while, the meal plans and prices have gone crazy while the value and service have declined.
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Old 05-31-2013, 04:46 PM   #9
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I think I'm getting on the non-DDP bandwagon for our next trip too. I've math-ed it to death, and it comes out really close in price, plus there's not a whole lot of QS restaurants we really want try. I'd rather just pay OOP and eat exactly what we want! And I felt so guilty for throwing away half a pop at every QS meal. DH and I could have shared at pretty much every single one!
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Old 05-31-2013, 04:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jaykorf001 View Post
Honest question. Do people on the dining plan get to skip to the front of the line in some instances? Maybe at CS? My friend is convinced this is the case but I've seen no mention of this on the boards.
Only thing I can think of might be the Fantasmic Lunch/Dinner package, and you don't need to be on the Dining Plan to do that.
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Old 05-31-2013, 04:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by melissafox18 View Post
I think I'm getting on the non-DDP bandwagon for our next trip too. I've math-ed it to death, and it comes out really close in price, plus there's not a whole lot of QS restaurants we really want try. I'd rather just pay OOP and eat exactly what we want! And I felt so guilty for throwing away half a pop at every QS meal. DH and I could have shared at pretty much every single one!
That's another thing. I rarely if ever drink soda. Especially in the heat. I also feel so guilty wasting food.

Our family dynamics is changing. It did work for us once upon a time but not anymore.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:20 PM   #12
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That's another thing. I rarely if ever drink soda. Especially in the heat. I also feel so guilty wasting food.
I never drink soda but I will order iced tea. I also have a sports bottle with me that I dump it in before I leave so it isn't going to waste.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:39 PM   #13
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In addition to all these reasons that the DDP does not work for many people... Many people are of the opinion that the DDP has driven up the cash price of meals. Increase the cash cost of the meals and the DDP seems like a better value when you start crunching the numbers. Although, DDP price has increased so much that cash is a better deal now.
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Swift View Post
The dining plans are not like they used to be when they were first offered. They were designed to get people to stay on property and spend money at Disney vs. other places. No car rental means no split-trip to other attractions like Universal or Sea World. No leaving property to eat someplace cheaper. The more time you're on Disney property, the more money you'll spend at Disney. Simple marketing plan.

The "problem" is that this was extremely effective. The deal was a good one. Give me cheaper eats, and I'll stay and spend all my money at Disney. It was so effective, that Disney has been ratcheting the price up and ratcheting down the benefits ever since. It's gotten so bad, that now you need to do a cost/benefit analysis just to know if it's going to save money or cost more money above and beyond the OOP prices.

The problem is that people have fond memories of the dining plan (when it was clearly a good deal), so they just keep doing it out of loyalty.
Unfortunately, I may be in the minority, so I expect the status quo to continue for some time with the dining plans.
Boy did you just describe me, up until about a year ago. As an AP holder I go to WDW several times a year and pretty much always bought the DDP or the DxDDP every single trip (sometimes free back when free dining required only a one day park ticket, but otherwise as part of a ticketless AP pkg). Anytime anyone here on the DIS asked about the DDP, I always highly recommended it.

One trip it was like light bulb went off. In order to get the most out of the DDP I was actually ordering the most expensive items on the menu, when there was actually another item I would have actually preferred. Being brutally honest with myself, for my next trip, I looked at the menus and figured exactly what I really actually wanted. I refuse to skimp on vacation, so didn't even consider the prices. I don't always want a dessert. Alot of times I would actually rather have two appetizers than anything listed under entrees. I would rather actually have water than soda or tea. Anyway, I quickly found that OOP was actually cheaper and I would be ordering exactly what I actually want.

Last Sept, Oct/Nov, and just a few weeks agp (May 10th-20th), we decided to rent a car, so ate alot of meals offsite. The meals were much better and much cheaper and did not take long. In fact, getting away from the parks for awhile made a very nice break. I can't see us ever using the DDP or Disney transportation again. We have also fallen in love with Universal and can't see ever going down there and not doing at least a day or two over there. They give wonderful discounts for renewing their APs and also great discounts in the parks at all CS and TS restaurants and shops. I just received a Pin a couple of weeks ago for Universal for 50% any of their resorts for AP holders. Disney never sends me Pins.

My last two trips have also been offsite (over at Westlake Town Center in Oct/Nov and at Wyndham Bonnet Creek a couple of weeks ago). I paid $64.00 per night for my stay in a one bedroom villa at Westlake and $89.50 per night for a one bedroom villa at Bonnet Creek. Bonnet Creek is actually inside the Disney gates, so is closer to the parks than alot of the WDW owned resorts, we rent a car anyway, and love going right offsite for our meals. Give me one good reason we should pay Disney's high prices for their resorts and meal plans. I can stay in a one bedroom fully equipped villa with washer/dryer and full kitchen at a Deluxe resort cheaper than I can use my AP discount for a tiny Value room. Disney would have give me alot more incentives to ever come back fully onsite or to use their meal plans.

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Old 06-01-2013, 06:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaykorf001 View Post
Honest question. Do people on the dining plan get to skip to the front of the line in some instances? Maybe at CS? My friend is convinced this is the case but I've seen no mention of this on the boards.

A few years ago, we saw someone who thought that! We were in line at Flame Tree BBQ, when this lady came barging through. When she was called on it, by several patrons, she sarcastically waved them off, saying she had the DDP, so got front of the line access, ahead of all of us. She was quickly informed that quite a few people in that line also had the DDP and had been waiting and she needed to get to the back of the line. The CM at the nearest register, explained to her that having the DDP did not mean she did not have to wait in line for meals and for her to please go to the back of the line. She continued to argue that her travel agent told her that they would have immediate access and would not have to wait in any lines at either TS or CS restaurants, since they had the DDP. It was obviously their first day in the parks. I bet her TA got an earful when they got home.

I also saw it at Le Cellier one September night. There was a family trying to check in right ahead of us. They were arguing that they didn't need a reservation, that they had the free DDP, and their travel agent had told them they got immediate front of the line access at any restaraunt they wanted to eat at, so she had to not only let them in, but they got seated before everyone else that was standing around there, waiting to be called. lol When the CM tried to explain ADRs to them, the mom got even more upset, yelling "you don't understand, I don't need those. Disney gave us the free dining plan and we're using that. We don't need a reservation and we get in ahead of all these other people, because we have the dining plan". They demanded a manager be called and refused to move until one came out. After still being turned away, they finally stomped off, yelling that they were going to guest services to complain, and that they knew their rights, and that manager and CM were going to be fired, and it wasn't right that Disney had sold them this free dining plan, then wouldn't let them into restaurants to eat. lol

Again as an AP I used the DDPs 4-6 times a year, ever since the very first year Disney started the DDP (back when an appetizer and tip was included and it was actually a good deal). Never, never, never has it allowed one to skip to the front of any line (counter service or table service). Now the Fantasmic dining pkg offered at Brown Derby, Hollywood & Vine, and Mama Melrose give seating in a specific area of the stadium and you don't have to wait in that long line to enter the stadium for Fantasmic. You do have to wait in line at the restaurants though. However, anyone can purchase the Fantasmic pkg, you don't have to be on the DDP to book it.

Off topic sortof, but if you are staying onsite over at Universal and show your room key, you do get seated ahead of offsite guests, when checking into most of their TS restaurants. At Disney restaurants though, everyone waits. It doesn't matter if you are on the DDP or not, onsite guest or not, AP holder or not, etc.

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