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Old 09-15-2013, 12:09 PM   #1
KaLyn
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Our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) is traveling to WDW in May 2014 and we got the regular dining plan.

We land in Orlando at 10:00am on a Sunday and we leave at 9:00pm on a Friday. So that's 5 nights, but it's basically a full 6 days since we get in early and leave later. I understand that we will still only receive 5 days worth of food, no big deal.

We plan on stretching our dining plan to make it cover all 6 days, which seems very doable to us on the chart (yes, i charted it out lol) that I scribbled out. Breakfast will be light and quick in our room. We will (hopefully) have early lunch hour ADR's at Liberty Tree (this one will be dinner), Coral Reef, Mama Melrose's, Ohana (this one will be breakfast) and Akershaus for the Princess Storybook Dining. Other meals (mostly dinners) will be late quick service or using snack credits for a "meal".

My questions are...
1- I've seen so many people say that the dining plans always provide them with too much food. With us stretching out our meals for basically 6 full days do you think this will still be the case?

2-I also have seen people mention that the plan is too expensive when compared to paying OOP. So I researched all the menus of the restaurants that we plan to eat it and what each family member would likely order. I'm coming up with a savings of $250 by using the DDP compared to paying OOP. I feel like I am the only one who is finding a savings by using the DDP, am I crazy? Am I missing something here? It feels odd being the minority.
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Me28 DH30 DD6.5 DD3.5
Past Trips:
April 27-28, 2009: All Star Music Resort - Country Western Area
This was our quick-take-a-Disney-vacation-to-get-a-feel-of-what-it's-like-before-we-have-kids-to-drag-along trip.
Planning in Progress:
May 4-10, 2014: Coronado Springs Resort
This is our the-kids-are-only-little-for-so-long-so-lets-make-this-as-magical-and-as-awesome-as-possible trip.

Last edited by KaLyn; 09-16-2013 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:24 PM   #2
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We always find it to be not only a savings, but very convenient. We split lots of Counter services, that way we can try more yummy things!
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:44 PM   #3
bigbabyblues
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2-if you "kids" are kids in Disney's eyes, it is easier for the plan to come out cheaper. My "kids" are now Disney adults (12 & 10), and oop is definitely cheaper for us. Plus, we tend to split cs meals because 2 or 3 adult meals is usually plenty for the 4 of us. We saved about $400 on our 10-day trip in June by paying oop and eating the way we wanted. It is different for every family.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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If you have kids under 10 and/or a majority of fixed price restaurants (you have three out of five - Liberty Tree, 'Ohana and Akershus) then you will likely come out ahead using DDP. Anyone else will probably need to work harder to realize a discount.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
LJSquishy
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The DDP doesn't come out cheaper for my husband and I and here is why:

With DDP, the "value" of it includes a beverage, entree, and dessert at lunch & dinner. When paying OOP, we would never want to order dessert twice per day so we deduct that from what our OOP expense would be. We also don't want a beverage at each meal...we prefer to have a soda or other beverage at a TS meal, but when we eat at a CS location we either share 1 small drink or we drink water. So that is an additional savings to us. Also, at TS restaurants sometimes we may just want a grilled chicken salad instead of a steak...DDP isn't usually a great value if you order the lesser priced items.

The biggest savings for us is the desserts. We may order 1 dessert to share every 3 days or so.

We used our snack credit for breakfast (yogurt parfait most mornings), had a CS lunch, and a TS dinner and were STUFFED all day long. We shared 2 snack items during our full 8 day trip. Had we not been on the DDP, we would have had a slightly heartier breakfast (like a CS kid's breakfast platter), then had an early TS dinner (4pm or so). That would have been plenty of food for us.

It probably won't be possible for you to stretch your credits for your entire stay without paying OOP at all unless by you saying you will have breakfast in your room means you will have already purchased breakfast items in advance such as cereal/oatmeal & fruit. In that case, yes, you will probably be able to stretch them just fine. You may find that you want to share a TS or CS meal at times which you can do as long as they aren't buffets or family-style.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJSquishy View Post
...It probably won't be possible for you to stretch your credits for your entire stay without paying OOP at all unless by you saying you will have breakfast in your room means you will have already purchased breakfast items in advance such as cereal/oatmeal & fruit. In that case, yes, you will probably be able to stretch them just fine. You may find that you want to share a TS or CS meal at times which you can do as long as they aren't buffets or family-style....
Sorry, I should have been more clear, that is what I meant when saying we were planning for breakfast in the room. Something small to last just a few hours until we can have a big TS lunch to fill our bellies.

I planned on some sharing too, I guess I should have mentioned that as well, oops. I was hoping the my girls (6.5 and basically 3) could share some meals to help us stretch.

I'm glad to hear that you think the stretching is doable!
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Me28 DH30 DD6.5 DD3.5
Past Trips:
April 27-28, 2009: All Star Music Resort - Country Western Area
This was our quick-take-a-Disney-vacation-to-get-a-feel-of-what-it's-like-before-we-have-kids-to-drag-along trip.
Planning in Progress:
May 4-10, 2014: Coronado Springs Resort
This is our the-kids-are-only-little-for-so-long-so-lets-make-this-as-magical-and-as-awesome-as-possible trip.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
KaLyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbabyblues View Post
...2-if you "kids" are kids in Disney's eyes, it is easier for the plan to come out cheaper. My "kids" are now Disney adults (12 & 10), and oop is definitely cheaper for us....
Yes, our kids are kids in Disney's eyes (6.5 and 3 when traveling). I guess I should have mentioned that in the beginning. And now that you say that, I can see where paying almost $60 per day per person would work out to be more expensive than paying OOP once the child is a Disney adult. I'll have to remember this when we go when they are 10+.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TDC Nala View Post
If you have kids under 10 and/or a majority of fixed price restaurants (you have three out of five - Liberty Tree, 'Ohana and Akershus) then you will likely come out ahead using DDP. Anyone else will probably need to work harder to realize a discount.
I was thinking that the buffet/family-style restaurants could have been what was what was helping us to come out ahead with the DDP. Just out of curiosity, what are the other 2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybird View Post
We always find it to be not only a savings, but very convenient. We splint lots of Counter services, that way we can try more yummy things!
My husband is in it for the savings (I'm a stay at home mom, so this trip is all on him) and I'm all for convenience so so far the DDP is working well in our favor. I love the idea of the adults splitting meals, I was only thinking of the kids doing that!
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Me28 DH30 DD6.5 DD3.5
Past Trips:
April 27-28, 2009: All Star Music Resort - Country Western Area
This was our quick-take-a-Disney-vacation-to-get-a-feel-of-what-it's-like-before-we-have-kids-to-drag-along trip.
Planning in Progress:
May 4-10, 2014: Coronado Springs Resort
This is our the-kids-are-only-little-for-so-long-so-lets-make-this-as-magical-and-as-awesome-as-possible trip.

Last edited by KaLyn; 09-15-2013 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:50 PM   #8
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We find the kids meals are rather small. There would definitely not be enough food to share for my kids, even when they were young. We do not get the DDP plan because my "adults" don't eat like adults. We do share meals but they are adult sized. Also the kids meals do not come with dessert like the adult meals do. They usually come with a prepackaged cookie.
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:23 PM   #9
KaLyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momto3pirates View Post
We find the kids meals are rather small. There would definitely not be enough food to share for my kids, even when they were young. We do not get the DDP plan because my "adults" don't eat like adults. We do share meals but they are adult sized. Also the kids meals do not come with dessert like the adult meals do. They usually come with a prepackaged cookie.
Thanks for the info! Thankfully, my kids aren't the biggest eaters (they are both tiny for their age and are often times happy with just a half PBJ and a handful of pretzels for lunch) but with being in the parks all day that may change. And even if we end up needing to purchase an extra CS meal or 2 or 3 OOP, it'll still work out in the long run to keep with the DDP since I'm finding it to be such a big savings for us. At least for our family it really seems like it'll be a good fit for at least this trip, which is strange to me cause so many people seem to say it doesn't work for them. But as a PP mentioned, my girls ages and our choice of restaurants helps make the DDP worthwhile for us. I guess what it comes down to is everyone has to figure out if it works for them or not. I'm learning that it's definitely not a universal one size fits all thing.
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Me28 DH30 DD6.5 DD3.5
Past Trips:
April 27-28, 2009: All Star Music Resort - Country Western Area
This was our quick-take-a-Disney-vacation-to-get-a-feel-of-what-it's-like-before-we-have-kids-to-drag-along trip.
Planning in Progress:
May 4-10, 2014: Coronado Springs Resort
This is our the-kids-are-only-little-for-so-long-so-lets-make-this-as-magical-and-as-awesome-as-possible trip.
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:32 PM   #10
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If you're arriving on Sunday and leaving on Saturday, then you have SIX nights and will have six TS, six QS and six snacks pp. So you can do one more TS somewhere.
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:56 AM   #11
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You shouldn't have any trouble stretching out your meals. Like you, we always take an early morning flight in and leave late on the last day and always end up bringing home a ton of snacks with our leftover credits!

It is true that the kid's meals aren't large, but they also get snacks. Even if they are still hungry after they finish their meals, if your kids are anything like mine, they will want to nibble off your plate because whatever you have must be better than what they have

We bring our own breakfast from home. Small cereal boxes/Fiber One Bars - something our bellies are used to. We eat a lot of rich foods down there that we do not eat at home. The simple breakfast is more to keep our stomachs calm than stretch the plan. We also often split cs meals, not to make meals go farther, but just b/c the items we adults prefer are large and we like to try a variety of places. In doing this, we often don't have room to use up our snack credits. Also, like you, we primarily choose buffets/family style restaurants, usually for lunch. These keep us full most of the day. Plus, Florida is a lot hotter than home. 90 degrees and humidity does not encourage gluttony.

So, long story short, you will be fine. If you priced out the plan and came out ahead, you made the right decision for your family. You should have plenty of food if you planned it out right ahead of time, which it sounds like you did. You are off to a great start. Have a magical vacation!
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:22 AM   #12
KaLyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharonabe View Post
If you're arriving on Sunday and leaving on Saturday, then you have SIX nights and will have six TS, six QS and six snacks pp. So you can do one more TS somewhere.
Oh, I'm so dumb! Thank you for pointing that out! It's 5 nights, we leave late Friday evening not Saturday. While typing the original post I was thinking how I want to try to talk my husband into staying until Saturday lol. Oops! I'll go back up and fix that.
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Me28 DH30 DD6.5 DD3.5
Past Trips:
April 27-28, 2009: All Star Music Resort - Country Western Area
This was our quick-take-a-Disney-vacation-to-get-a-feel-of-what-it's-like-before-we-have-kids-to-drag-along trip.
Planning in Progress:
May 4-10, 2014: Coronado Springs Resort
This is our the-kids-are-only-little-for-so-long-so-lets-make-this-as-magical-and-as-awesome-as-possible trip.

Last edited by KaLyn; 09-16-2013 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:40 AM   #13
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It's a cost savings for us too because the fixed price of character meals and such is basically the same cost as the kids dining plans for the day. For the adults I find it's typically a wash for us. For CS we sometimes get 2 adult meals and share it between the 4 of us (my kids are 4 and 7, the 7yr old has a hearty appetite and was never hungry). For TS I often book character meal dinners which are buffet or all you can eat at the table so between that, cereal in the room, and snacks throughout the day if desired, it's plenty.
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