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Old 01-09-2014, 11:49 AM   #16
maddiebee
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Originally Posted by momofmaz View Post
Exactly! You pay over the course of months instead of throwing 1k down for food for the week. It's all relative but this is how I feel as well.
This is another big part of it for me. I'm not super good at setting aside chunks of money but I'm really good about paying bills! I like that including the dining plan with the price of my trip means that I don't have to set aside money for food.

I have been strongly considering getting gift cards though. Has anyone had experience with doing this instead is getting a dining plan?
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:02 PM   #17
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All year we do everything we can to save... pinch pennies, forgo eating out, you name it! When we go on vacation, we don't want to worry with how much we're spending on food. We like paying in advance and we're willing to pay the few extra bucks not to have to worry about it. Wish alcohol was included in the pay before you go plan.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by summersalt View Post
All year we do everything we can to save... pinch pennies, forgo eating out, you name it! When we go on vacation, we don't want to worry with how much we're spending on food. We like paying in advance and we're willing to pay the few extra bucks not to have to worry about it. Wish alcohol was included in the pay before you go plan.
I am not an alcohol drinker, but I believe you can add alcohol to your meal plan at an extra charge. (However, that may just be for Deluxe and Platinum)
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:26 PM   #19
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We are a family of four adults, and my DH can be a cheapskate when it comes to dining out. Since he's the type who voices negative comments on the prices of menu items, there is NO WAY that I'd ever go to WDW for a week without the dining plan. Wish we could get free dining for our upcoming trip, which saves our family a ton. But I went ahead and paid for it; thankfully DH doesn't know how much "that" cost - what he doesn't know won't hurt him.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:28 PM   #20
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Well, it could be argued that a lot of the spending we do is for convenience. This might be convenient for some, not for others.

People rent cars even though they're staying on property, for the convenience. People stay at monorail resorts so they can use the monorail, for the convenience. People pay for Early Bird Check In on Southwest, for the convenience.

It's all about individual priorities. Some people don't mind spending a little more if it makes them more relaxed on vacation.

Me, I'll take Free Dining any day!
It's a matter of perspective. Renting cars can eliminate the need to wait on busses or stand when they do arrive. You also have the ability to go offsite, if you choose. (For what it's worth, we use Disney transportation, but I can see the value in renting cars.) Monorail resorts are convenient for the easy access to MK & Epcot, when the monorail is working properly. For anyone spending most of their time at these parks, they also allow you to push on a stroller & not worry about folding it for the busses. Monorail resorts are also convenient to several good restaurants. (We prefer Epcot resorts, but I see why some people could find Monorail resorts more convenient.) There are definitely advantages to early bird check-in on airlines for many people. IMHO, it's no more convenient to pay for dining at WDW with DDP than it is with room charge or a CC. With the latter options, you don't even have to be concerned with keeping up with credits. I can buy the pay in advance argument, even if I'd rather save money & pay at the time. The convenience argument just doesn't make sense to me. As a matter of fact, I see it as less convenient to feel the need to order what I'm entitled to rather than what I really want for equal or lesser money. Naturally, free dining is a different story all together. It's an easy choice for many families. Anyone staying at a value or moderate (other than singles) or a larger family at a deluxe resort will most likely be better off taking FD for their discount. It's when you're paying for DDP that I think it's loses value in many cases. In the end, it's up to the individual. As far as I'm concerned, people don't need a valid reason for the way they choose to spend their money as long as I'm not paying. I was just voicing my opinion on whether or not I find DDP worth paying more for. Obviously, I don't, but I also don't care what others choose to do.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:01 PM   #21
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I agree with the PP who spoke of everyone having different priorities for their vacation. Our priority is a deluxe resort in a convenient location, only with a discount. I would not use a dining plan, because I won't pay that much to eat mediocre food anywhere, paying in advance or not. It is just not worth the money to us.

We have a few restaurants that we return to and we always have a character meal breakfast one morning. So, usually it is 2-3 sit down meals on WDW property during a 7-10 day trip. We have a few offsite restaurants that we return to and we always stock our room refrigerator with snacks and drinks.

We tend to eat when we want to and are not tied to ADRs. We eat less than we would on a plan and feel better. There were times in the past that we would feel terrible by day 4, having eaten a sit down everyday.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by maddiebee View Post
I have been strongly considering getting gift cards though. Has anyone had experience with doing this instead is getting a dining plan?
During my recent trip I didn't get a giftcard but took travellers checks which for me works the same...I set aside a certain amount of $-checks for Disney food bevore my vacation starts so I don't have to worry about choosing an expensive entree or snacking a lot.
When at Disney a dining plan wouldn't work for me. I've had the quick service plan for free before and not even that one worked.
I like to try lots of different things and snack a lot as opposed to having 1 or 2 big meals a day. It was a waste of money and food when I got an entree with a side and dessert twice a day since in between meals there were all the goodies like cupcakes, pretzels, popcorn, corn dog nuggets, dole whips, nutella waffles...! I could never finish my whole meal when on the dining plan because of all the yummy snacks.
Maybe that works for you too...set aside a food budget (put in on a prepaid credit card, disney gift card, whatever) and think about what you really want to eat. So many times I just have a sandwich without the fries so I can get icecream someplace else for desert. Or I just go for an apetizer and dessert at table service restaurants. You have so much more freedom when you're not on the dining plan. Do you really want 1 sit down meal every single day? Including all the planning, the adrs, rushing through the park to make it on time? "Having to get dessert" cause you've paid for it even when you're full and would rather wait for a while and get something later? Think about it.

Set aside the food budget...that way it's just as convenient as beeing on the dining plan. Plan on setting aside as much as the dining plan would cost. I'm sure at the end of your vacation there'll be money left that you can spend on something nice. Get the most expensive item on the menu whenever you want...there'll be days when you're satisfied with just an app and dessert and those days will more than make up for the expensive steaks.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddiebee View Post
This is another big part of it for me. I'm not super good at setting aside chunks of money but I'm really good about paying bills! I like that including the dining plan with the price of my trip means that I don't have to set aside money for food.

I have been strongly considering getting gift cards though. Has anyone had experience with doing this instead is getting a dining plan?
That is what we do now. I got the DDP when I had two kids under 10. After my oldest turned 10, I started thinking about it more.

When I thought about my ideal meal schedule, that alone didn't fit into the DDP. I like to eat breakfast in the room. I have more TS meals than I have credits for and few QS meals. I don't care for the QS desserts (one dessert per day is plenty).

Now I pick up a few gift cards per month. I charge our meals to the room and then go down to the front desk a couple of days before check-out and apply them to the charges. So, it is really no more convenient to have the DDP. Either way, I just need my magic band at the meal.

I do have a TiW card, so that really puts the savings over the top for me. My suggestion for you would be to really think about where and what you want to eat an compare that cost to the DDP. So, if you won't eat dessert at QS, don't include the dessert const in your OOP comparison, etc.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by J.C.&ALI'SMOM View Post
We tend to eat when we want to and are not tied to ADRs.
Just to note that having the dining plan does not mean you have to make ADRs and be tied to a schedule. We'll have the dining plan for our trip next month, and have no ADRs. We've always done fine "winging it."
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:54 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by maddiebee View Post
This is another big part of it for me. I'm not super good at setting aside chunks of money but I'm really good about paying bills! I like that including the dining plan with the price of my trip means that I don't have to set aside money for food.

I have been strongly considering getting gift cards though. Has anyone had experience with doing this instead is getting a dining plan?
I live a little away from a disney store. I used the disney gift cards i found online (rataloilli ) and put 100.00 on that card- then each month I took the card to the disney store and uploaded 100. to it. By the time we left I had $800. on it.

Dining plan would have cost me about 959 for 2 adults 1 disney child. We do not eat the desserts each meal and we did have one snack each day. We were in the parks 8 days 7 nights.
We had some nice meals, Teppen Edo, Be Our Guest, Ohana, Mama Melrose
Ohana and 1900 park fare and Kona for breakfasts. But some of our counter services were not worth the counter credit-- Casey's Sleepy Hallow and Earl of Sandwich.
We came home with $6.36 still left on the card.

I have seen pictures that people post of boxes of stuff using snack credits.
For us a snack credit saved me $15.00 per day for the 3 of us. some of the snacks we purchased did not cost 5 bucks. Getting rid of the dessert with each meal saved me another 15.00 per day. I could not eat another bite after eating and could not tour the park the rest of the night be uncomfortably full
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:55 PM   #26
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I had the dining plan for the first time this past September and I travelled with my DS and DDIL. It was free so was nice but when we worked the numbers out in the end we did not 'spend' the amount the dining plan would have cost us.

We threw away more cupcakes than I care to admit along with only having dessert once a day. We also ended up using a table service meal at a counter. We were told we would find desserts that could be used as breakfast food but we did not find that anywhere we ate.

We used snack credits to bring home rice krispie treats for friends.

I know people who love the dining plan but we all agreed we would not pay for it.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:34 PM   #27
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I'll be honest... I simply do not get the convenience argument. All you need to do is not look at the bill and pay with your room key. Same thing. One charge at the end of the trip.

So in my mind either it's one charge before the trip or one charge after. Same thing. Why woudl I pay more for the provelege of prepaying for my meals and pricing ni things I may not want?
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:56 PM   #28
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Quote:
I am not an alcohol drinker, but I believe you can add alcohol to your meal plan at an extra charge. (However, that may just be for Deluxe and Platinum)
There used to be a wine add-on to the dining plans that included table service, where you paid a per-night price for a bottle of wine, but it was discontinued in 2011.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:15 PM   #29
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Once my kids got to adult age the DDP just wasn't worth it for us anymore. Between a few kids meals and shared meals of barely "adult" aged kids and not being much of soda drinkers it just wasn't worth it. After doing an OOP trip where we tried a bunch of meals that weren't good deals on the ddp (LTT lunch, 50's, Sci Fi) and 2 credit meals that really price-wise are just about 1.5 credits worth and we found lots of new places we loved far more than the convenience of the ddp. On the ddp invariably we'd come across a meal that we just weren't hungry for that we were forced to go eat or we'd lose the $$$ we paid and it was nice to just be able to cancel something if we didn't want it. The other variable is if someone gets sick and you have to miss meals once you've paid you're stuck. When we have used it the past few trips when it is free we find that we would have saved $50-75 over the course of the week at best which isn't worth it to me especially since I think a good bit of that is sodas we don't even really want.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:40 PM   #30
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POLY WITHOUT! You want convenience? What's more convenient than a nice big room in a beautiful resort with access to TWO monorails AND boat transportation besides bus? AND you can get Tonga Toast in the quick serve - you don't have to go to Kona.
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