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Old 08-30-2013, 09:05 AM   #1
shawsy
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Disney Dining Plans

basically - are they worth it?

we want to go out into international drive etc (ill be driving) and try a few diff places to eat and not rely on resorts all the time but is it worth doing the dining plans at all?

two adults, a 10 and 6 year old.

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Old 08-30-2013, 10:25 AM   #2
momofboyz3
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IMHO if you are going to be eating off property as well than the dining plan might not be worth it for you. For my situation it is, my twin boys 13 eat like grown men. My ds10 eats like a teenager. They love their snacks and food. I like the convenience of it being pre-paid.
** everyone is different, I know that there is a dining plan calculator around here somewhere as I have used it ~ maybe someone else can post that link? Have a great vacation
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:30 AM   #3
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For our family, the dining plan works. We don't save a ton of money but we do save some and the convenience of knowing everything is prepaid is worth it to us. I also like knowing that it doesn't matter what we order from the menu since it's all paid ahead of time. No saying "oh that's too expensive".

I forgot to look and see if this were your first trip to WDW or not and if it said how long you were staying. Going offsite can be a bit of a hassle unless you are familiar with the area. Or, at least it is for us even though we do have a car at our disposal and have been to the area many many times.

I'd suggest that you make a spreadsheet or chart of some sort that breaks down each day you are in Disney. Then, use the menus and prices on the allearsnet site to plan our your meals. Here's the link: http://allears.net/menu/menus.htm

Once you have the spreadsheet complete, total your meals (remember the menus and prices do not include tax). If you break even or come out ahead by using the dining plan, then I'd suggest purchasing it.

Like I said, we like the convenience of the plan so it works well for our family.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:41 AM   #4
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If you're going to be dining over on I-Drive then you should probably steer clear of the Dining Plan. The DP is not about saving money, but convenience. We take advantage of the "free" DP and it comes in handy because we have two teenagers who can eat like crazy sometimes.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:54 AM   #5
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We like the dining plan but stay onsite. For some reason people tend to have strong opinions either way. For an easy cost comparison tool, there is a spreadsheet linked from this thread that makes estimating meal prices at different places easier and shows you whether you will save money with DDP in your situation. It is easier than adding up all of your anticipated meals on your own. Happy Planning
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:43 AM   #6
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It's worth it to us due to the convenience factor. If you want to know whether its worth it financially, the best thing to do is check the menus, add up what you would order, then add up what the dining plan costs and see which way you come out ahead. If you plan to eat off site as well, I'd guess it's not worth it financially.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:09 PM   #7
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It works well for us. Although, I'll mimic the previous posters that if you're going off property you're probably better off paying out pocket.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #8
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Moving to the Dining Plans board..
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynne M View Post
Moving to the Dining Plans board..
oops sorry
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:51 PM   #10
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i have been before, ac ouple times but a while ago when i was young free and single!!Lol..this is my first time with the kids. i do know my way about a bit, and used to driving over there as live din chicago for a while.....but will look into all the info you have given and go from there.....thanks all!
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawsy View Post
basically - are they worth it?

we want to go out into international drive etc (ill be driving) and try a few diff places to eat and not rely on resorts all the time but is it worth doing the dining plans at all?

two adults, a 10 and 6 year old.

There are so many cheaper places to eat outside of Disney.

For 3 of us for the DDP its $180. Can the 3 of us eat cheaper then $180 a day. ABSOLUTELY.

The only way we enjoy the dining plan now is if its free or deeply discounted.

We aren't pop drinkers or dessert eaters so if we were to even pay for our disney meals out of pocket it would save us money.

If you are staying at a Disney resort grab some bagels or breakfast stuff. Use the toaster or microwave thats there in the cafeteria. People do it all the time.

Most quick service meals are under $10 and a lot of them are large and plenty of food to share.

Stop at walmart and by milk and cereal for the morning.

When our son was kids prices for dining it was ok. but now he's adult prices but still eats like a bird he can't eat his money wort if he tried.

Alot of people like the dining plan even if it doesnt save them money because your meals are"prepaid"
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:00 PM   #12
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Agree with what most are saying above. We are basically breaking even with the dining plan and are doing it for convenience.

I recently went to the Minnesota State Fair and got really annoyed at having to shell out $5 here, $10 there, for overpriced drinks and snacks. I know Disney prices are similar, and I can really see that putting a damper on my vacation, even though I know we'd be spending about the same in the long run. It will allow us to relax and order what we want. Want a snack at the park? Sure, use a snack credit, and you won't have to listen to me gripe about that $4 bottle of water or $5 ice cream, lol.
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:09 PM   #13
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I just tried that calculator... so awesome!

For me (just myself & 6yo daughter)... it's about $10 -$20cheaper to pay out of pocket... sooooo... I'm still undecided... We're doing one table service per day several of which are character. The biggest variable is 'snacks'... I don't know if the refill mugs are factored into this spreadsheet/calculator either.
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawsy View Post
basically - are they worth it?

we want to go out into international drive etc (ill be driving) and try a few diff places to eat and not rely on resorts all the time but is it worth doing the dining plans at all?

two adults, a 10 and 6 year old.

The DDP is convenient and does work for a lot of people, but I agree with others that if you will be eating some meals off property, I would pay OOP for your food.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:25 AM   #15
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It is not worth it unless you have children under 10 and want to do character meals or buffets daily, or your party will have dinner every night at a WDW restaurant (and order the most expensive items).

If you want to drive offsite to eat, the plan will not be worthwhile for you.

Snacks do not really make a huge difference in the calculation, except maybe during Food & Wine where you have the option of getting nearly $8 lobster rolls with a snack credit.

If you are not staying at a Disney resort, you will not even be eligible to get a dining plan.
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