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Old 10-12-2013, 08:43 PM   #16
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I think the phrase "we felt like we saved money" is key to the OP's perception. When you see those big TS bills you feel like you saved money but for us when I took the time after our trip to add everything up we really saved very little especially considering some of the things we took even though we didn't want them like some of the desserts and lots of the drinks. Saving less than $100 on our trips isn't really much once you go through and think out desserts that were tossed after one bite and every trip there was a meal we ate when we weren't hungry at all just because of the ddp. If someone were to get sick and not really eat for a day that would totally make it worthless. We tend to eat expensive entrees so I could justify it somewhat until we made a trip without the plan. We ate at a bunch of places that weren't a good value on the DDP and LOVED them. We also ate at a number of signature places. Really they aren't a good value on the ddp because they tend to cost about 1.5 times as much as a 1 credit meal and you are paying 2 credits for them. We much prefer sharing an app and a dessert or 2 rather than being stuck with 4 desserts every meal. My kids did worry that I wouldn't let them really have the snack per day without the ddp so I bought them Disney giftcards to cover it and they loved having more flexibility with their snacks too. Our next trip we are traveling with family and little kids and getting the ddp heavily discounted so we'll do the ddp for ease of use but not really for the savings but having little kids and character meals does make it make more sense.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:24 PM   #17
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I have only paid for the DDP once and all other times it was free. If we had to pay oop we would not eat as many sit down meals, would probably just get water, and would almost always pass on dessert. Luckily we have been able to get a free dining deal the past several times but if I did not have that offer I would definitely pass and stick with CS, waters and no desserts. It really makes no difference to me but if I can get it for free, I'll enjoy what I get.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:12 AM   #18
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There is never going to be an agreement on this, don't know why people on these boards think there has to be a "right or wrong" answer. We love the DDP, use it almost every trip. Could we bring in food, eat cheaper and pay less? Possibly. Do we enjoy a trip where the boys can order steak every meal, we can do sit downs and have beverages and desserts? Absolutely!

I kept up with receipts this trip with free DDP, short of a 59% room discount, there is no way we could have come out ahead paying OOP, and that was with 2 of us. When it is 4-6 of us, it is a no brainer.

If it is the dead heat of summer, and we can get an outrageous room only discount, sometimes we do that and eat light OOP.

In short, we love going to WDW. How and what people eat is up to them. If it works and people are happy, why the big debate?
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:55 AM   #19
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I think the debate comes in because some of us see this board as a way to help "friends" with their trip. Those that LOVE the DDP want their "friends" to experience Disney with all the culinary delights that they love. Those that see the DDP as a losing proposition don't want to see their "friends" waste money. So when people come here seeking advice, they get both sides and the debate ensues.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:14 AM   #20
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I agree - every family should do the math and get their own results. For us, the Deluxe Dining Plan works well and has for 5 trips. I will say, I do the math very carefully and it gets closer every year. But of course, as the plan cost increases, so have meal prices.

I think what you need to be careful of is doing the math based on how you want to eat, not what gets the most "value". If I felt like I had to always order dessert or the most expensive entree, I would be miserable.

When I plan it out, I use the allears menu for the restaurants where I plan to make ADRs (this all works out well because with planning OCD, I enjoy doing this exercise and can appreciate that others may not). I add up what the kids would likely get, what DH would likely get and what I would likely get. I never include desserts for lunch for the adults or at dinner for DH. I don't include beverages because I usually just have water and wine at dinner. I don't include snacks and I don't include the refillable mug because we don't drink much soda. We usually have lunch and a signature dinner, but do have some breakfast buffets. We come out $200-300 ahead on the dining plan, so I figure adding in tax, snacks, etc. it makes it an even better deal for us.

I will say that once the kids are "Disney adults", the math will change dramatically and I don't see us getting it.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy it and use it to order the food I would order anyway.


ETA: If we had an AP, the TIW would likely be a better deal for us - so maybe we'll have to consider that when the kids are older!
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:10 AM   #21
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I keep reading on here that people got the DDP for free. DDP to me means the Deluxe Dining Plan.. 3 TS, 2 Snacks daily..

can you really get this for free? We stay at the deluxe resorts and have only ever seen the Plus Dining included which was 1-TS, 1-CS, 1-snack
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:13 AM   #22
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One of the issues is I think there are many of us that feel that the DDP ruined Disney dinning.

Once they released the DDP it took them a while to figure out how to maximize profit with it - and they sure did.
They started to standardize food across restaurants and removed much of the creativity that existed for a few years just before the DDP and even the first year of the DDP.

Just one very small example of this is something as simple as the Pretzels in Germany - they used to make them in the restaurant - now they are the same pretzel you get throughout the parks - made in a central kitchen and taste like cardboard compared to the fresh buttery pretzels they used to have.

They also removed many items because people would order them just because they were the most expensive thing on the menu. Then they would send it back because they did not like it and that was a loss for the restaurant - so just easier to take it off the menu.
Heck - look back at all the complaining about unique items on the BOG dinner menu a few month ago.

I don't see myself ever getting the DDP again - especially if it was not "free" - but I know it is a great deal for many people. And even though this board is split 50/50 on this - I'm sure in the general population that goes to Disney it is split more like 90/10 in favor so I have no hope of seeing it go back to what it was.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:02 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ericstac View Post
I keep reading on here that people got the DDP for free. DDP to me means the Deluxe Dining Plan.. 3 TS, 2 Snacks daily..

can you really get this for free? We stay at the deluxe resorts and have only ever seen the Plus Dining included which was 1-TS, 1-CS, 1-snack
DDP = Disney Dining Plan
DXDP = Deluxe Dining Plan
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:07 AM   #24
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I refuse to buy the dining plan. It does not work for the way I eat (I prefer many appetizers over dessert) and leads to over eating (in my opinion) since you may order a dessert even if you are not hungry to get the most out of the plan. So very much not for me.

Now, if I got it free and had no other discount options I would grab it. Either way I would be paying rack rate so it would save me money. The odds of that is slim though since I prefer to stay at POFQ.
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:08 PM   #25
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A lot depends on the size of your family,there ages and how you like to spend your time eating. This trip will be the second time getting the dining plan for free. The first time we were staying at pop so it was the qs plan and did three ts dining which we paid oop. Though it was convenient I do not eat that way with desserts at every meal. I don't eat that way on vacation either but it was nice to have. Now during that trip, if I had not gotten the dp for free I would never have purchased it. It would not have been worth it since I would have been paying for just myself. This trip is different, my son is 16 and eats well. My mother,who will be turning 70 this trip has never experienced many ts resteraunts so the dining plan works this time. I guess each trip you need to run the numbers and see what works.
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:57 PM   #26
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It really is a very personal decision based on who is in your family and how you like to eat. In order to make an informed decision you really have to spend some time doing the math. As a previous poster said, each trip we take, I spend a significant amount of time looking at the menus on allears.net and adding up the items we are likely to each for each meal (yes, my family is THAT predictable). Then I add up the totals for each meal, add in any applicable gratuities, an estimated snack amount per day and compare it to the cost of the dining plan (which has to include tips, and other food not covered with the plan). So far, every trip has come out in favor of NOT doing the dining plan. However, this upcoming trip we are doing a split stay on either side of the cruise and the math indicates that the deluxe dining plan would be our best option for the 2nd half of the stay. I was very surprised to see it and double and triple checked my math. But it is what it is so I think we'll go ahead and give it a try. I know that the reasons that it's coming out in favor of the DxDP this time is that due to the cruise and flight schedules we will essentially be there for 3 days but only paying for 2 nights of DxDP. And we have little kids and are doing some character and other pricier TS options the 2nd half of the stay. So, I suggest you take the time to sit down and figure out what it will cost you out of pocket compared to the total cost of the dining plan. Then pick the lowest one.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:00 PM   #27
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I'm going back tonight and looking at menus to decide if free dining is better than 30% room discount. When i originally looked it was a better discount but that was based in the two totals and not what we would actually order. We might save by just paying OOP for all our food.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:35 PM   #28
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After our Christmas trip we will have had the DDP on 3 trips. The first time was in 2006 when both of our kids were under 10. At that time tips and appetizers were included. I think we paid $100 per day for our family of 4. It was an amazing deal.

The second time was a few years ago. Both kids were over 10. We had loved the plan so much in '06 and "free" dining was available so we took it. It was solid savings for our family but I can't remember if tips were included or not.

Our 3rd time with the plan will be 12/20-12/30 and again we have "free" dining. Since our AP discount (or any other discount) would only be applied for 3 nights of our stay, free dining is a huge savings for us since it provides a discount for our length of stay. We are staying at a moderate to maximize the value as well.

The plan used to be easy to save some money, but now, you really have to be informed to know how to save with the plan.

Our family enjoys the DDP and the "no limits" of it adds to our vacation enjoyment. Our kids love having snack credits, will enjoy the refillable mugs, and who doesn't love having a dessert sampler with every TS dinner. The QS desserts are a big waste and we will try to substitute fruit or water instead.

We also tend to eat 1 QS, 1 TS, and 1 snack even without the plan although we may share something at times (although as it turns out teenage girls can eat as much as boys and sharing has been less likely in our family)
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:26 PM   #29
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The original poster asked about why people did or didn't like the dining plans, and here is my thoughts.

We did the "Gold" plan back on our honeymoon 10 years ago. We are going back in April/May for our 10th anniversary and this time doing the dining plan again b/c we really enjoyed the ability to have our trip (and meals) paid for and not worry when we are there. I am with some others who may not normally order dessert but on vacation, since its included I will-and I will enjoy it

For us, we actually get the premium plan b/c of the other extra includes and the fact that I don't have to use 2 meals for some of the signature restaurants that we plan to eat at. Its just the two of us and we plan to use all our meals for table service if possible as well as enjoy some of the extras.

I agree its pricey and I go back and forth on the worth the money argument but for us there is a price to pay for convenience of not worrying about if we have spent too much money to eat where we really want while on our trip. We are going for 11 days and haven't been back since our honeymoon 10 years ago so it was a decision to "splurge" but I definitely understand how for many, especially if you visit often, the cost just might not be worth it.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:11 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by livinintexas View Post
After our Christmas trip we will have had the DDP on 3 trips. The first time was in 2006 when both of our kids were under 10. At that time tips and appetizers were included. I think we paid $100 per day for our family of 4. It was an amazing deal. The second time was a few years ago. Both kids were over 10. We had loved the plan so much in '06 and "free" dining was available so we took it. It was solid savings for our family but I can't remember if tips were included or not. Our 3rd time with the plan will be 12/20-12/30 and again we have "free" dining. Since our AP discount (or any other discount) would only be applied for 3 nights of our stay, free dining is a huge savings for us since it provides a discount for our length of stay. We are staying at a moderate to maximize the value as well. The plan used to be easy to save some money, but now, you really have to be informed to know how to save with the plan. Our family enjoys the DDP and the "no limits" of it adds to our vacation enjoyment. Our kids love having snack credits, will enjoy the refillable mugs, and who doesn't love having a dessert sampler with every TS dinner. The QS desserts are a big waste and we will try to substitute fruit or water instead. We also tend to eat 1 QS, 1 TS, and 1 snack even without the plan although we may share something at times (although as it turns out teenage girls can eat as much as boys and sharing has been less likely in our family)
We will be there during the same time.. And we're from TEXAS!!

I crunched the numbers tonight and for my family it is better to get the free dining then to get the 30% off room rate so we are sticking to it.. I'm very Happy about that as that's all we know and ever experienced and it's the first year two of our three boys will be treated to adult meals and they are stoked about that
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