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View Poll Results: What would you do?
Take the free dining, IT'S FREE! 11 78.57%
Pay OOP for dining 3 21.43%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-19-2013, 11:06 AM   #1
Julie521
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DH is NO help, needs advice Dis community. WWYD?

So we are planning a trip for next September and I have been going back and forth about the dining plan. Last time we went was on our honeymoon and we were offered free dining, so we took advantage of it. It was nice not having to look at prices and just order what we wanted. However, we both are not huge dessert eaters when we go out to dinner, and mostly only ordered them because they were included. We would usually rather have an app. or a salad. Also, I like to have an adult beverage with a water rather than a soda with my meal (hubby not a big drinker, does the soda) My dilemma is what to do for our next trip. I don't think we will book with dining plan, but my debate is if free dining will be offered for our dates, should I take it?! I am booking through AAA and got a 30% room discount for CSR last trip and will do the same this time. So we will book package now, without dining.. but do i take the dining plan if its offered free? i feel like i am crazy paying oop if it is offered, but at the same time it doesn't match our dining habits! AHHHH What would you do?

**edit** a little about our plan: staying 10 nights from most likely august 31-sept. 10 at coronado springs booking business class. this would give us access to the cove where we would get free breakfast.. Plan on doing 1 universal day, 2 water park days, 1 pool/mini golf day, and get a 7 day park ticket with water park/more option. We will be driving and have our car so we can bring some snacks and drinks with us also
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:28 AM   #2
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no brainer. We often don't use all our cs credits as we prefer a 'big' breakfast and dinner and no snacking during the day. We often don't use our cs dessert because in general (fruit is only sometimes swapped at cs depending on location) we don't like the desserts. In 2009 we did dxdp (paid oop) and brought back almost all of our snacks but as I work in a primary school the kids loved their Mickey rice krispie gifts!

It's hard not to get 'forced' into making full value of the freebie but we would take it, eat what we want even though 'wasting' some credits and paying oop for some things too.

Last year was our first trip on free ddp where we actually used all the credits and only paid for a tiny bit oop
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie521 View Post
So we are planning a trip for next September and I have been going back and forth about the dining plan. Last time we went was on our honeymoon and we were offered free dining, so we took advantage of it. It was nice not having to look at prices and just order what we wanted. However, we both are not huge dessert eaters when we go out to dinner, and mostly only ordered them because they were included. We would usually rather have an app. or a salad. Also, I like to have an adult beverage with a water rather than a soda with my meal (hubby not a big drinker, does the soda) My dilemma is what to do for our next trip. I don't think we will book with dining plan, but my debate is if free dining will be offered for our dates, should I take it?! I am booking through AAA and got a 30% room discount for CSR last trip and will do the same this time. So we will book package now, without dining.. but do i take the dining plan if its offered free? i feel like i am crazy paying oop if it is offered, but at the same time it doesn't match our dining habits! AHHHH What would you do?
I would take the free dining and pay OOP for alcohol, appetizers, etc... If you don't want dessert, I would not feel obligated. We were on the DDP last Spring and I did not eat my dessert most of the time. Paid off for us, as we could eat either a CS breakfast or lunch, and get some down-time with a TS for dinner. It's easier to do night-time in the parks when we have had some relaxation/glass of wine during dinner.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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If it's actually FREE, I say take it. The only issue would be if you have to pay rack rate for your room in order to get "free" dining. If you lose a 30% AAA discount in order to get "free" dining, I don't consider it free. If that's the case, you'd have to work out the numbers and see if it pays off. Otherwise, I'd take the dining and eat what you want. If it covers your entree, that's a large part of your dining bill. Even if you want an alcoholic beverage or appetizer, what you're paying out of pocket still won't be as much as you would have spent for the drink, apps, and entree. If you don't want dessert, don't order it. Either way, have a great trip!

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Old 08-19-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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There is a calculator around here somewhere.

You would have to look at numbers. How much is the 30% room discount? How much does free dining save you from the components you would actually order anyhow (Don't calculate desserts, only calculate one soda, etc.)?

For instance, let's say your 30% saves you $75/night at CSR. Would you normally spend more $75/night for the two of you on DDP included components? If the answer is yes, then get the DDP free and don't worry about getting the FULL value, you only need to get a value at least equal to what you would have saved with your room only discount (so you can skip dessert, skip the nonalcoholic drink, etc.)
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:39 PM   #6
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If I remember previous calculations I have seen, a couple who have a 30% RO offer at CSR is likely better off taking the RO only and paying OOP than taking the free dining - especially given your dining habits.

For our family of 4 in a Value - NOTHING beats free dining. Not even offsite with YES tickets (in the days when YES tickets offered a significant discount).

BTW, I sympathize - my DH wants nothing to do with the DDP vs OOP debate other than "we saved soooo much money, honey!!"

I rarely discuss my obsessive Disney planning or the intense debates I have with myself - except on the Dis where folks understand DH and the kids want nothing to do with it. Although I will sit them down with some Youtube vids to see what rides/restaurants they prefer. Much easier when you tell me now that "I really really want to eat in the Castle" rather than the day of when no ressies are available!
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:14 PM   #7
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Take the room discount if there is one, and if not, book under free dining. We had "free" DDP as 2 adults and tried to maximize the value of it...we wouldn't do it again because like you, we don't want a dessert at every meal and sometimes we just want water with our meals (plus we had to pay OOP for alcohol). We did use our snack credits for breakfasts like giant yogurt parfaits and didn't feel like snacking in between meals. It's just too much food for us.

I think you will save money by taking the 30% room discount and paying OOP for the food/beverages that you actually want. You can only eat so many steaks in a week! Sometimes a salad is what you really want.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LJSquishy View Post
I think you will save money by taking the 30% room discount and paying OOP for the food/beverages that you actually want. You can only eat so many steaks in a week! Sometimes a salad is what you really want.
I love my steak and by the end of our 12 days, we were begging for apple slices instead of fries and ice cream and I was ordering salads everywhere!

That said - we did love the crazy indulgence of free DDP. For us, the psychological factor of "free food" plays a huge role. I KNOW it's not real - but it still makes our frugal hearts happy!
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chocolateMinnie View Post
no brainer. We often don't use all our cs credits as we prefer a 'big' breakfast and dinner and no snacking during the day. We often don't use our cs dessert because in general (fruit is only sometimes swapped at cs depending on location) we don't like the desserts. In 2009 we did dxdp (paid oop) and brought back almost all of our snacks but as I work in a primary school the kids loved their Mickey rice krispie gifts!

It's hard not to get 'forced' into making full value of the freebie but we would take it, eat what we want even though 'wasting' some credits and paying oop for some things too.

Last year was our first trip on free ddp where we actually used all the credits and only paid for a tiny bit oop
I almost feel like i HAVE to use all the credits, but you are right.. it is free so if you don't use them, you aren't really losing anything.

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Originally Posted by csjordan View Post
I would take the free dining and pay OOP for alcohol, appetizers, etc... If you don't want dessert, I would not feel obligated. We were on the DDP last Spring and I did not eat my dessert most of the time. Paid off for us, as we could eat either a CS breakfast or lunch, and get some down-time with a TS for dinner. It's easier to do night-time in the parks when we have had some relaxation/glass of wine during dinner.
Sounds crazy but that was one of my biggest things. We never eat dessert when we go out but felt like we should order it because it was included. I guess if free dining is offered I would be paying OOP for the drinks/app. regardless of if i was on the dining plan or not. Why do i do this to myself? LOL

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Originally Posted by justcantwait View Post
If it's actually FREE, I say take it. The only issue would be if you have to pay rack rate for your room in order to get "free" dining. If you lose a 30% AAA discount in order to get "free" dining, I don't consider it free. If that's the case, you'd have to work out the numbers and see if it pays off. Otherwise, I'd take the dining and eat what you want. If it covers your entree, that's a large part of your dining bill. Even if you want an alcoholic beverage or appetizer, what you're paying out of pocket still won't be as much as you would have spent for the drink, apps, and entree. If you don't want dessert, don't order it. Either way, have a great trip!

Kathy
That would be the case. Through AAA you can only apply one discount. If free dining was offered, it would eliminate the room discount. Last trip we booked originally with dining plan and room discount, and ended up saving $200 BY switching when free dining was offered. I think we want to book without dining plan and switch to free dining if offered, so the price would end up increasing.. I need to study some menus and prices when they become available for next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smiths02 View Post
There is a calculator around here somewhere.

You would have to look at numbers. How much is the 30% room discount? How much does free dining save you from the components you would actually order anyhow (Don't calculate desserts, only calculate one soda, etc.)?

For instance, let's say your 30% saves you $75/night at CSR. Would you normally spend more $75/night for the two of you on DDP included components? If the answer is yes, then get the DDP free and don't worry about getting the FULL value, you only need to get a value at least equal to what you would have saved with your room only discount (so you can skip dessert, skip the nonalcoholic drink, etc.)
Time to crunch some numbers!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine amj View Post
If I remember previous calculations I have seen, a couple who have a 30% RO offer at CSR is likely better off taking the RO only and paying OOP than taking the free dining - especially given your dining habits.

For our family of 4 in a Value - NOTHING beats free dining. Not even offsite with YES tickets (in the days when YES tickets offered a significant discount).

BTW, I sympathize - my DH wants nothing to do with the DDP vs OOP debate other than "we saved soooo much money, honey!!"

I rarely discuss my obsessive Disney planning or the intense debates I have with myself - except on the Dis where folks understand DH and the kids want nothing to do with it. Although I will sit them down with some Youtube vids to see what rides/restaurants they prefer. Much easier when you tell me now that "I really really want to eat in the Castle" rather than the day of when no ressies are available!
That is the thing, it is just my husband and I. We typically eat one large meal a day, don't eat breakfast because we both work late nights. He works 3-midnight and I am a bartender that gets out anywhere from 11pm-2am. We are never awake for breakfast. I get nervous that we simply won't be able to use enough of the credits to make the dining plan worth it. Unless we started doing a ton of signature 2 ts credit meals, i am afraid of the waste. Totally understand too. Every time i ask a question about planning, I always get "whatever you think is best!" I HATE that answer DH just wants to show up and be told where we are going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LJSquishy View Post
Take the room discount if there is one, and if not, book under free dining. We had "free" DDP as 2 adults and tried to maximize the value of it...we wouldn't do it again because like you, we don't want a dessert at every meal and sometimes we just want water with our meals (plus we had to pay OOP for alcohol). We did use our snack credits for breakfasts like giant yogurt parfaits and didn't feel like snacking in between meals. It's just too much food for us.

I think you will save money by taking the 30% room discount and paying OOP for the food/beverages that you actually want. You can only eat so many steaks in a week! Sometimes a salad is what you really want.
I love me a good ceasar salad!!!! I keep going back and forth thinking I don't want to worry about using all our TS credits and getting the max value out of them. I am totally a salad person, or chicken. Hubby eats steak but will only have so much of it during the week! Once kids come around (which will not be for a LONG time ) the benefit of free dining might out way the room discount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine amj View Post
I love my steak and by the end of our 12 days, we were begging for apple slices instead of fries and ice cream and I was ordering salads everywhere!

That said - we did love the crazy indulgence of free DDP. For us, the psychological factor of "free food" plays a huge role. I KNOW it's not real - but it still makes our frugal hearts happy!
LOL i was that way on our honeymoon. I wanted to order steak because it was $50 and i wasn't paying for it. This is the only thing about our trip i cannot decide on. everything else was easy. knew the resort, dates, how long of a trip, one day at universal, want to hit both water parks, how many park days. why the hell does food have to matter so much
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:39 AM   #10
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If you have to give up a room discount I would say don't take it, especially if you are going off property. I used the menus on these boards to figure pricing on what we would normally order and the counter service didn't pay. As for the sit downs I was unhappy with it our last vacation and the last night was the final straw. It was our last night and friends from FL came in to have dinner with us at CM. When the bill came we gave the server our room/dinning card, the server came back to the table after a few minutes like we were deadbeats bc our plan only allowed for 2 adults and 4 children (we were a party of 8 this night, 4 adults and 4 kids) and we couldn't just add 2 adults even though we had extra sit downs that we couldn't use bc we didn't go out to eat a few nights bc the baby's got sick during our stay. Our friends didn't understand what was going on and assumed our credit card was declined for the whole dinner! What an embarrassing mess!!! In the end we put the two extra meals on our room charge (server was annoyed again bc we didn't tell her we wanted two checks in the beginning ) and ended up giving the extra meals to a family to enjoy before heading home. Spoke to a mgr regarding the service we received, then forced to tip 18% for a buffet where drinks were never refilled and i finally put dirty dishes on the floor under the table, and the fact we had to pay for 2 dinners that we already paid for and were going to go unused on our card. All I got was an apology and that was the policy for the meal plan.I understand some of the rules Disney must enforce bc people take advantage, but I still can't figure this one out.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:06 AM   #11
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If you have to give up a room discount I would say don't take it, especially if you are going off property. I used the menus on these boards to figure pricing on what we would normally order and the counter service didn't pay. As for the sit downs I was unhappy with it our last vacation and the last night was the final straw. It was our last night and friends from FL came in to have dinner with us at CM. When the bill came we gave the server our room/dinning card, the server came back to the table after a few minutes like we were deadbeats bc our plan only allowed for 2 adults and 4 children (we were a party of 8 this night, 4 adults and 4 kids) and we couldn't just add 2 adults even though we had extra sit downs that we couldn't use bc we didn't go out to eat a few nights bc the baby's got sick during our stay. Our friends didn't understand what was going on and assumed our credit card was declined for the whole dinner! What an embarrassing mess!!! In the end we put the two extra meals on our room charge (server was annoyed again bc we didn't tell her we wanted two checks in the beginning ) and ended up giving the extra meals to a family to enjoy before heading home. Spoke to a mgr regarding the service we received, then forced to tip 18% for a buffet where drinks were never refilled and i finally put dirty dishes on the floor under the table, and the fact we had to pay for 2 dinners that we already paid for and were going to go unused on our card. All I got was an apology and that was the policy for the meal plan.I understand some of the rules Disney must enforce bc people take advantage, but I still can't figure this one out.
What's to figure out? The policy clearly states that entitlements are not transferable, and cannot be used for people who are not on the plan. It also states that, in your case, each meal instance is allowed 2 adult, and 4 child credits.

You tried to circumvent the policy in several ways, and got caught. Why would you expect Disney to have to apologize, much less do anything other than what they did, because you didn't apply the rules of the dining plan to your situation?

Generally speaking, rules and policies are available for EVERYONE to read before they enter into a deal for something. I've noticed that most people who are dissatisfied or complain in public forums, haven't done their research.

OP - we are a family of five. The "free" dining DISCOUNT (as needs to be specified before the (non)free dining police come in with fingers pointing!) is by far a better deal for my family - as it is, we wouldn't normally eat what we will be entitled to on the plan, but since I've done the math and it is only $9 more for my family to be on the plan rather than even being offsite at a Hotwire hotel, the nearly $1000 worth of free food is something we cannot pass up. If it was just DH and I, it wouldn't be worth it.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:41 AM   #12
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What's to figure out? The policy clearly states that entitlements are not transferable, and cannot be used for people who are not on the plan. It also states that, in your case, each meal instance is allowed 2 adult, and 4 child credits.

You tried to circumvent the policy in several ways, and got caught. Why would you expect Disney to have to apologize, much less do anything other than what they did, because you didn't apply the rules of the dining plan to your situation?

Generally speaking, rules and policies are available for EVERYONE to read before they enter into a deal for something. I've noticed that most people who are dissatisfied or complain in public forums, haven't done their research.

OP - we are a family of five. The "free" dining DISCOUNT (as needs to be specified before the (non)free dining police come in with fingers pointing!) is by far a better deal for my family - as it is, we wouldn't normally eat what we will be entitled to on the plan, but since I've done the math and it is only $9 more for my family to be on the plan rather than even being offsite at a Hotwire hotel, the nearly $1000 worth of free food is something we cannot pass up. If it was just DH and I, it wouldn't be worth it.
Totally understand why this would make sense for you! Seems the bigger the family the more worth it the free dining would be. FOr just the two of us, I think it would be on that brink of being a savings or not. I just think that We would end up wasting a lot of desserts and struggle to use all the snack credits since we are driving and can bring our own stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fab5Mom View Post
If you have to give up a room discount I would say don't take it, especially if you are going off property. I used the menus on these boards to figure pricing on what we would normally order and the counter service didn't pay. As for the sit downs I was unhappy with it our last vacation and the last night was the final straw. It was our last night and friends from FL came in to have dinner with us at CM. When the bill came we gave the server our room/dinning card, the server came back to the table after a few minutes like we were deadbeats bc our plan only allowed for 2 adults and 4 children (we were a party of 8 this night, 4 adults and 4 kids) and we couldn't just add 2 adults even though we had extra sit downs that we couldn't use bc we didn't go out to eat a few nights bc the baby's got sick during our stay. Our friends didn't understand what was going on and assumed our credit card was declined for the whole dinner! What an embarrassing mess!!! In the end we put the two extra meals on our room charge (server was annoyed again bc we didn't tell her we wanted two checks in the beginning ) and ended up giving the extra meals to a family to enjoy before heading home. Spoke to a mgr regarding the service we received, then forced to tip 18% for a buffet where drinks were never refilled and i finally put dirty dishes on the floor under the table, and the fact we had to pay for 2 dinners that we already paid for and were going to go unused on our card. All I got was an apology and that was the policy for the meal plan.I understand some of the rules Disney must enforce bc people take advantage, but I still can't figure this one out.
Yeah we will just be going off property for one day, but a few days of dining wouldnt be in the parks so we would have to do resort or a different resort. Have to check out some restaurants around the resorts to see what my extremely picky husband will eat off the menus.
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