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Old 10-26-2012, 10:02 AM   #16
crazydisneyman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADP View Post
Just throwing in my 2 cents.

I think the answer is a compromise. I know lately our family or myself (when travelling solo) has enjoyed a few table and counter service restaurant meals during our stay, but then other times we dined off property. Like the op we love dining on property, but it's expensive so we go offsite and enjoy meals as well. We found balancing these two options together very enjoyable.

Another option - If you are staying in a DVC villa that has a kitchen, and have access to a rental car drive to Wal-Mart or another local store like Publix and purchase your food for meals to prepare in the villa. I had a friend who did this recently and they saved a mint on dining costs. The friend invited me over for quite a few meals and they were just fabulous. Their family and myself saved a ton of money on food.

Using these strategies will still help your family get your fix with dining on property while at the same time saving some money too.
I am the friend that ADP is talking about. We did the math and it would have been $1600 for us to use the dining plan for our last trip. We were staying DVC and thought why would we do that when we have a kitchen. I have finally drawn the line. The prices are way too high for us.

We went to Wal-Mart and got all of our food, 6 nights of dinners and some breakfast and lunch meals for around $220 for 5 people (3A, 2K).

When we pulled up to our DVC resort, the CM helping us take the food up to the room commented, "You guys just saved a whole bunch of money."

We really enjoyed eating in the room. We had a full kitchen, the kids were happier (especially at dinner time), and I was happier knowing that we had control over the cost of our dining.

We ate at 4 Character Breakfasts for the kids which were a a great investment!

We also went to O'Hana one night. The other times we ate a couple of QS and snacked around the world in Epcot at F&W.

$50 pp for the dining plan was my limit. When the dining was 1.5 times our airfare, I said that's enough.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydisneyman View Post
I am the friend that ADP is talking about. We did the math and it would have been $1600 for us to use the dining plan for our last trip. We were staying DVC and thought why would we do that when we have a kitchen. I have finally drawn the line. The prices are way too high for us.

We went to Wal-Mart and got all of our food, 6 nights of dinners and some breakfast and lunch meals for around $220 for 5 people (3A, 2K).

When we pulled up to our DVC resort, the CM helping us take the food up to the room commented, "You guys just saved a whole bunch of money."

We really enjoyed eating in the room. We had a full kitchen, the kids were happier (especially at dinner time), and I was happier knowing that we had control over the cost of our dining.

We ate at 4 Character Breakfasts for the kids which were a a great investment!

We also went to O'Hana one night. The other times we ate a couple of QS and snacked around the world in Epcot at F&W.

$50 pp for the dining plan was my limit. When the dining was 1.5 times our airfare, I said that's enough.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
Great analysis Chris!

Val & I are long past the point where any of the dining plans, "free" or not, are worth it to us. We are almost always in a DVC unit so breakfast is coffee and bagels, or perhaps something more elaborate. Lunch is sometimes splitting a sandwich-type meal in a quick-service place. We do splurge a bit on dinners, typically at a Signature restaurant, but that's more because we enjoy the fine dining experience. Our appetites just aren't big enough to eat all the food you would have to eat in order to make a dining plan pay off.

As far as eating off property goes, we often do that if we are going to be out and about. We don't typically drive off property just for the purpose of dining out (although we have), but if we are out shopping at the outlet malls or meeting friends we do eat off property.

When we do eat on property, we take full advantage of the TiW card so that helps a bit on price.

hmmm, reading this it sounds like we are scrimping. Take my word for it, we are not. Although I'm retired now, we still have a reasonable cash flow so its less the actual cost of dining than the way we prefer to dine that drives our WDW meal decisions.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:32 AM   #18
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Ate on-site only for the first few years we visited, and have now been eating more and more off-site. And yes, it's a cost and quality related issue that is driving this move off-site. Sure, I can afford to go and eat at Le Cellier every day if I so choose, but I choose to save my money for other things other than over-priced food. I have had people on these boards tell me I shouldn't even go to WDW if I'm not willing to eat every meal on-site or that I'm just being cheap. Really? I think I'm being wise with my money.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:41 PM   #19
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We were eating at Donalds Breakfast at the Tusker House in AK one morning. We got there at 830A (park opened at 900A), and I watched a family of ten get there at about the same time, wolf down their food in 30 minutes, and they were gone by 900A for rope drop. They spent about $300-$400 for 30 minutes. I couldn't believe it. I still comment on that even now. I guess people have different focuses. We were all about having a great park experience, but I wanted to "get my money's worth" on food and character experiences for the kids. And when we stay a little longer on the table, we tip a little bit better. We always hope that helps.

I discussed this with a few people, and they said that some people want to get into the parks early and will pay the extra price for those perks. I understand that.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:12 PM   #20
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We just came home from a trip at the end of Sept. We only get to do Disney World every 2 years or so, so when we go we go all out. We are DVC but still do the deluxe dinning plan. We are also foodies at heart and seriously deprived of good choices here at home, so we do all table service and quite a few signature dinning nights as well - we are those sick people with a spreadsheet and a plan that call exactly 180 days out to make our ADRs.

And with all that, and being on the dinning plan, we were still amazed a few times at the price of our meals. We under budgeted for tips due to what seemed like a 20% increase overall in prices everywhere. We expect high prices, in part as we pay for table service and understand that costs more. And being from Alaska, we are a bit immune to sticker shock as many of our everyday prices are already much higher than other place. This trip Disney managed to give us sticker shock several times and we were very glad we had prepaid for the dinning plan in this case.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:23 AM   #21
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The regular dining plan was a great value when we used it in 2007. We had two kids and calculated that we recovered the cost of their plans with one TS meal a day. Each adult received an appetizer and dessert so sometimes we only ordered one adult meal and split it, making our credits go a little further.

Then they took away the dessert and then our kids turned 10 which, contrary to Disney mythology, did not made them magically crave a full adult meal over night.

It was no longer a value for us. Yes, it is convenient to have everything on the Key to World Card, but it isn't that much more convenient than having my other credit card with me to pay for exactly what my family will eat.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:40 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Seaside66
My family loves to eat in Disney's restaurants, both in the parks, and the resorts. In the past decade, prices haven't been inching up, they're been jumping. We're avoiding some of our favorite Disney restaurants, because prices are way too high. Am I the only one who thinks so?

For example, we loved eating in Coral Reef. Now, a lunch for four (no alcohol), with dessert, is going to cost approx. $150.00. Lunch prices are what they should be at dinner. I've seen a pattern of Disney removing reasonably priced lunches, and replacing them with what amounts to all-day dinner. The Brown Derby is another one. It's another example of pure greed. Lunches used to be reasonably priced, and you didn't have to study the menus to find the best lunch deals. I'm not even talking about dinner...

Dining in Disney is a high point of our day, but greed has taken over and we don't like this trend! Has anyone else noticed?
I agree. The prices are horrendous. 3 of our last 4 trips, we had the dining plan. On our last trip, we decided to see if we could save money by not buying the dining plan. Guess what? It costs more without the plan.
Clearly, they are raising prices to force people to buy the dining plan. Our way around that was we enjoyed 2 dinners in Kissimmee. We enjoyed dinner for a family of 4, consisting of two steaks with two sides, kids dinners, appetizers, unlimited drinks, all for 32 dollars before tip. And, the food was as good, if not better than Disney restaurants( it was Logan's Roadhouse, just 5 minutes away from CBR.)
You are right. Too expensive.
Entree prices are in the upper 20's to mid 30 dollar range. Those prices here in New Orleans, will get me and the family a 5 star dinner by award winning chefs. Disney needs to check their dining practices.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:04 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydisneyman View Post
I am the friend that ADP is talking about. We did the math and it would have been $1600 for us to use the dining plan for our last trip. We were staying DVC and thought why would we do that when we have a kitchen. I have finally drawn the line. The prices are way too high for us.

We went to Wal-Mart and got all of our food, 6 nights of dinners and some breakfast and lunch meals for around $220 for 5 people (3A, 2K).

When we pulled up to our DVC resort, the CM helping us take the food up to the room commented, "You guys just saved a whole bunch of money."

We really enjoyed eating in the room. We had a full kitchen, the kids were happier (especially at dinner time), and I was happier knowing that we had control over the cost of our dining.

We ate at 4 Character Breakfasts for the kids which were a a great investment!

We also went to O'Hana one night. The other times we ate a couple of QS and snacked around the world in Epcot at F&W.

$50 pp for the dining plan was my limit. When the dining was 1.5 times our airfare, I said that's enough.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
I'm late to this, but I just had to ask...did you reply that you had just switched to Geico?
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:49 AM   #24
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Wink

I am with the OP. It has gotten very expensive for food that's not very good. I'm happy when I find a nice restaurant that's not overrun with reservations.

I don't know if Guests want to pay for it with the high demand of visitors for FREE Disney Dining Plan.

I would pay if they make good food. I don't think that's too much to ask for. Also I DO NOT LIKE the new trend of having the same menu ALL DANG DAY. It's just a way to charge the guest the premium price or make them feel like they are getting the most from the DDP

I'm sorry just had to get that off my chest.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:51 AM   #25
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For us, this is not an issue at all. We eat primarily table service because we are on vacation, and pick and choose restaurants we know are going to serve good food. It is part of the cost of going to Disney, IMHO. If we had ever had a bad meal, maybe I would feel differently, but we’ve never even had a meal that was just okay.

Edited to add that adding the cost of a car to drive off property seems like a more expensive trade than eating in a nicer restaurant on property.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:44 AM   #26
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DH and I usually visit Disney World solo, stay at a DVC 1 bedroom and have a rental car. We've never done the dining plan, but do have Tables in Wonderland. We'll stock the unit with breakfast foods, snacks, wine - and whatever else we feel like picking up.

We eat on property some of the time, maybe breakfast at Fresh (Dolphin), Olivias (OKW), or Garden Grove on the weekends (characters and eggs benedict), and schedule a few signature dinners.

The rest of the time, we'll go off property. Orlando Ale House, Celebration Town Tavern, etc. Even iHop - something we never do at home.

We usually end up eating leftovers at least one night, and maybe fried chicken from Publix.

Our next trip (starting tomorrow) we're sharing a 2 bedroom with my brother and his family. They're used to doing the dining plan and staying at a budget or moderate resort. We're compromising - no dining plan, but we're scheduled for table service dinners on property every night (plus breakfast at Crystal Palace).

It will be interesting to see how we all feel at the end of the week about what works best.

DH and I are back in December - just the two of us - and have made exactly three ADRs for 8 nights. We may add one or two later, but maybe not. Prices, quality, and (sometimes) the hoops you have to jump through just to get a table (with an ADR) all make dining on property less inviting.
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