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Old 07-28-2013, 09:24 PM   #1
kat6724
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Free Dining Vs Room Rates?? Help!

So let me just start off by saying that I am new(ish) to the boards and if there's already a thread about this (which there probably is!!) I apologize!

My husband and I are going to DW the last 2 weeks in October and I've heard the rumors about Free Dining (which seem to be more and more certain) but I've also heard that there might be Room Rates offered. What's everyone's thoughts on Free Dining vs Room Rates?? We already have 5 Table Service ADRs but we are staying at POP so we would have to upgrade for those to be covered. Worth it or no???

Thanks!!!
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:29 PM   #2
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Welcome to the DIS!

We actually have a forum better suited for you to ask this question in. I've moved this thread to the Discount Codes and Rates forum.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:36 PM   #3
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You really have to run the numbers for your particular situation. It all depends on where you're staying, how many in the party, ages of everyone, etc. So it's totally individual for everyone.

But, assuming it's just you and your husband and you're staying at Pop, I'd say free dining, even QS is a better deal than any room only rate you'll get.

Let's say the room only discount is 20% (which seems to be about average for values). Pop averages about $125 per night at the time you're looking. So that 20% discount saves you $25 a night. Even just the QS will save you much more than that per day!

As for whether it's worth it to upgrade to regular dining or not, you really have to do the numbers. Would you do a TS every day? Or, if you're only planning a few during your stay, would it be cheaper to pay OOP for those and stick with the QS plan? The upgrade is about $18 per person, per day. So that's about $36 per day for the two of you.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:05 PM   #4
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We are a family of 4 (2 children <6yrs , 2 adults) staying at AoA Cars Suite. It was a bigger savings to take dining plan (the Disney reservations person ran the numbers for both options for us - it was about $200 less to go with dining and full price room than to go with discount room and add dining)

That was enough to make it worthwhile to take the free dining - we figure the Deluxe Dining is about a break even for us vs paying cash, so saving $200 ultimately ends up in our pockets, or at least pays for most of the gratuities.

Just call and ask.. they'll tell you the figures and you can decide then.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:31 PM   #5
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yes, at a Value, FD is ALMOST always going to save your more money then a Room only discount.


But here is the thing, most people will tell you to do the math WRONG.

Its not important to figure out what you are going to save off the free dining vs Room only.

What is important to determine is how much you will save off of what you WOULD have purchased without the dining plan, vs room only.

We have been twice in the last year, and both times had the Dining Plan, even though I tried to explain to my DW we weren't getting a good deal, she made me do the math after our last trip, we will never use the dining plan again.

This is what I mean. Ok, so if you are looking at going to a Moderate anyway: Port Orleans Riverside we will say.

Room only $3000 for the 17th - 31st.
Meal plan 2 adults $1640

ok If you save 30% savings of $900 on room only,
If you take free Dining savings of $1640.

Seems simple, BUT, in reality, for us at least (and its just myself and my wife) is that we don't EAT all the food on the Dining plan, and we actually get food that's OFF the dining plan.

We don't really do deserts, and we certainly don't do 2 deserts, especially with the portion sizes at Disney.

We like to get an appetizer, which we pay OOP for.

We usually end up with at LEAST half our meals sitting on our plates, and then we take out deserts to go, we stick them in our fridge, and throw them out a day or two later.

We get a couple drinks and an app at every meal and pay OOP for them, so we still drop like $30 minimum per meal.

This really came to light for my wife at Wolfgangs' and Via Napoli ... lets look at Via ...

So, we bought a bottle of wine, OOP of course, and then an app, rice balls, OOP. Then we ordered our mains, we each got Individual pizzas, on the menu, $17/each. however, they arrive and they must be 14 - 16 inches across each. No WAY we are eating all this, we ended up each eating a QUARTER of one, and then getting the rest to go, we as usual, took our deserts to go as well.

We can't WAIT to go back, its awesome, but we already know we are just ordering a single individual pizza to split, it was the best part anyway.

You figure about $30-$40 of the $55/day for the meal plan goes towards your dinner, so our DP would account for $70 for our Via Napoli, which we ate half of $17 worth.

For us, we are better off taking the $900 room only savings, and paying OOP. We wont feel like we have to "eat our moneys worth" at restaurants. At Wolfgangs my wife really just wanted something cheap, I think it was a small salad or something, but she felt guilty "wasting" our DP value ...

You have to calculate not only how much paper $$ you will save with each, but how much VALUE each has ... that's the real trick, and what makes figuring out FD vs Room only more difficult when there are only 2 of you.

Add in the fact that you can buy a Tables in Wonderland card for $100 and save 20% off your food, alcohol and your merch (I think merch is included) and for us there really is no question, room only with TiW

Last edited by Shaden; 07-28-2013 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by WDWFreaks View Post
There is no way a RO discount is going to save you more money than a FD discount if you are staying at Pop. A room only discount at Pop is going to save you about $15 to 20 per night. A FD, even with the upgrade to the regular plan, would save you at least $70 per night with 2 adults - if you have kids or other Disney adults on the reservation it could be double that amount of savings per night.
agree 100%. Nothing will beat over $80 a night in 'free' value of dining plan. no point in running those numbers, FD is as good as you will get.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:36 AM   #7
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I agree with a PP to look at how you actually eat to determine what your best saving option is. We don't eat how the DDP is set up, we learned that the hard way last year when we bought the DDP.

However, since you're staying at POP, I think the savings off of your room rate is going to be quite small. So, you've got to figure out how much it will cost to upgrade to the DDP, and then figure out how much you would be paying OOP at each of these meals.

It's important to look at all the variables and do all the math.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:39 AM   #8
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This is exactly what I'm trying to figure out. On our trip in October it will just be DH and I staying at POFQ. Now when we go with the kids and we do character meals it's a much better value for us to get free dining but for 2 adults staying a mod I'm not sure yet. Have to run the numbers.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shaden View Post
But here is the thing, most people will tell you to do the math WRONG.

Its not important to figure out what you are going to save off the free dining vs Room only.
The way I compare "free dining" with a room only discount is this: I calculate the total for the RO discount including taxes and whatever my park passes will cost (like from Undercover Tourist). Then, I calculate the total for "free dining" including taxes and same length of park passes. I calculate the difference in price, divide it by the number of days that I am staying and I ask myself: "Can my family of 3 eat at WDW for LESS than that amount per day?" If the answer is "yes", then I stick with a RO discount. If the answer is "no" I go with "free dining".

Quote:
Add in the fact that you can buy a Tables in Wonderland card for $100 and save 20% off your food, alcohol and your merch (I think merch is included) and for us there really is no question, room only with TiW
The TIW card is only available to Florida residents and Annual Pass holders. In addition, at $100 for the TIW card you need to spend $500 in meals just to break even. If you spend $1000 you are only saving 10% or $100. We gave up the TIW card when Disney jacked the price up to $100 since it just wasn't worth it to us since we receive 10% discounts at many restaurants with our AP and DVC cards. In addition, we don't spend anywhere close to $1000 in meals at WDW even when we go twice per year. Oh, and the TIW does not include merchandise discounts but it does include free valet parking. An 18% tip is also automatically included in every transaction even if you are just stopping at the Rose and Crown for a beer.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:44 AM   #10
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I'm curious from a PP when was the last time you saw a 30% room only discount for a mod? You are lucky if you get 30% on deluxe.

But if you are comparing what is the better discount...UNLESS there is only 2 of you and you are staying in a deluxe room that costs more than $300 per night and you get a room only discount of 35%, free dining will always be the better value.

If you are staying at POR and get a 20% discount (which is likely what it will be) the rooms are around $200 a night, so that room only discount would save you $40. Getting the free DDp for 2 ppl will save you almost $120 a night. If you have more than 2 ppl the savings is even doubled or tripled.

Look at it like this, that room with a discount would cost you $160 a night plus if you paid for the dining plan for 2 it would cost almost $120 a night. So add those up and you get a total cost per night of $280.

If you get FREE dining you are paying $200 a night for the room, plus free dining for a total nightly cost of $200.

Some ppl like to say the free dining isn't really free because you pay rack rate for your room. That is ignorant. I had my package booked with no discount. Rack rate. Had it paid in full. That is what my vacation cost. Then free dining comes out and I add it to my package and all of a sudden I have over $200 a day worth of free dining plan for the 5 of us. So it really was free.

Just because you pay full price for a jacket doesn't mean the discount you got on your jeans wasn't really a discount since you had to pay full price for the jacket. That is logic that even grade schoolers can understand.

We always end up paying for some meals OOP even when we had the DDp because we eat 3 meals a day at home and the dining plan doesn't give you 3 meals a day. So we usually buy a CS breakfast (about $8 per person) every day. Then use the CS for lunch and the TS for dinner.

I would never PAY for any dining plan because you can eat much more cheaply paying OOP. But if the dining plan is free you can't beat the value of it.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:17 PM   #11
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Lol! Sorry, but that made me laugh! You are never going to see a 30% discount on a moderate resort - heck you are luck to get a 30% off discount now at the deluxes. You won't get anything more than, maybe, a 20%, discount at POR, which might be $50 per night. If you can feed yourself and your wife less than $50 per day at Disney, then book the RO, if not FD is going to have you coming out ahead.

Also, Tables In Wonderland is only available for purchase from DVC holders and/or AL holders, so not really a viable option for most Disney travelers.
Um, we were offered 30% on Mods our last 2 trips, not via a pin, General public.

2012, and 2013, CSR and POR.

Last edited by Shaden; 07-29-2013 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:24 PM   #12
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Some ppl like to say the free dining isn't really free because you pay rack rate for your room. That is ignorant. I had my package booked with no discount. Rack rate. Had it paid in full. That is what my vacation cost. Then free dining comes out and I add it to my package and all of a sudden I have over $200 a day worth of free dining plan for the 5 of us. So it really was free.

Just because you pay full price for a jacket doesn't mean the discount you got on your jeans wasn't really a discount since you had to pay full price for the jacket. That is logic that even grade schoolers can understand.
The Jacket Jean thing just doesn't work.

The problem with your logic of $200 a day of free dining, is that you have to eat ALL $200 worth for you to actually GET it.

Its like buying a Jacket, getting a discount on a pair of jeans that you never wear. Did you actually get a discount ?

If, like my wife and I, you don't EAT the food off the DP you aren't getting a "discount"

We get breakfasts from Garden Grocer, we usually split a QS for lunch, the portions are generally huge. And the dinners are GIANT for us, just too much food. We have to TRY to "spend" the value of the DP. Its just not enjoyable, if I want an $8 salad, I don't want to feel like I am "missing out".

If the both of us combined only eat $40-50 a day while at the parks, getting a "free" $100+ a day of food does not equal a $100 savings per day.

PS: The answer to "when did you last save 30% on a mod" ... May, 2013.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:43 PM   #13
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POR has not received a general public RO discount over 20% in years - and I believe it even had 5 or 5% off in some cases. You may have had a 30% off discount pin code attached to your account, but there have not been any 30% GP RO discount for any mods in recent years. Some deluxes aren't even getting that.
You are simply wrong ...

A couple threads that talk about the 30% off @ Mods this past Spring
http://www.www.disboards.com/showthr...1#post48245671
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3063558

Lists the 30% off at POR winter 2013 ...
http://www.portorleans.org/discounts.php
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:19 PM   #14
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You are simply wrong ...

A couple threads that talk about the 30% off @ Mods this past Spring
http://www.www.disboards.com/showthr...1#post48245671
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3063558

Lists the 30% off at POR winter 2013 ...
http://www.portorleans.org/discounts.php
Um ... your first link refers to a bounceback offer. Not a general public code. The second one was incorrect: the 2013 Spring Promo was for 25% off moderates. Your last one was the best in that it did show a 30% discount but only for 4 weeks out of the last 2 1/2 years (2011, 2012 & 2113). Four weeks out of 130 is the EXCEPTION to the rule, NOT the rule itself.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:22 PM   #15
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Um ... your first link refers to a bounceback offer. Not a general public code. The second one was incorrect: the 2013 Spring Promo was for 25% off moderates. Your last one was the best in that it did show a 30% discount but only for 4 weeks out of the last 2 1/2 years (2011, 2012 & 2113). Four weeks out of 130 is the EXCEPTION to the rule, NOT the rule itself.
I am not sure where you are seeing the first link as Bounce back, maybe it is, I just did a quick google Search 30% Moderate ...

We JUST CAME BACK from POR May 5-17th, 30% off ... booked Jan 3rd, 2013, no Bounce Back, no pin.

We had the same offer February 2012, CSR.

General public offers, geeze.
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