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Old 01-29-2014, 03:55 PM   #19
fuzzylogicllc
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DDP is generally not going to save you money. Think about it... Disney is not mass marketing this for millions of dollars to make less profit!

The goal is to get ppl to commit to spending money from home while they're eager and dreaming about going, but before they get to the parks and are hit w the sticker shock of being there. Thus, Disney is pushing ppl to buy this now. Before you're there. They know people are all eager to buy everything until you get there and are slammed w just how much everything costs and you start pulling back...

Here is a sample of what we would actually spend. Keep in mind we tend to buy more expensive entrees, so we are "ideal" DDP candidates:



What you can see here is clear:

Table Service

Menu service restaurants are "worth" about $100/meal to us. That's around $24, $20, $18 for 3 adult entrees, $9, $9 for two child entrees, and an adult drink and dessert that we'll share (hey it's free refills).

Buffet service restaurants are "worth" about $150/meal to us. Relatively clear cut pricing.

Specialty shows are worth about $170 per point ($340 but 2 points) to us. The best "value" to use on a DDP.

Counter Service:

I'm figuring $12/adult and $6/child. That seems pretty fair. Adult entrees are $9, we'd buy 3 of them ($27) and a soda ($3) plus tax ($3) is $33, or $11 per person. So I'm rounding up and calling that $12 cuz some entrees are $10'ish tho most are $9'ish.

Kid entrees are pretty much across the board $5.50-$6 and include drink.

Dining Plan

Now for us, the DDP would run $1282. (3/2 for 6 nts) AMAZINGLY (not scripted to end up this way) my calculations indicate we'll spend about $1285.

But where it all falls apart and the value of the DDP disappears is that in many cases I'm going to want to break from that mold. I will quite often prefer a beer to a soda and not order a soda at all... or save our money on a dessert and get something elsewhere. This makes a-la-carte menu restaurants VERY BAD for ordering on the DDP.

Even if I was to deliberately pick all "expensive" places like swapping in two buffet's for the two menu-service restaurants, all that does is bump my cost by about $50x2... or $100. Is it a value then? Well... maybe. At that point you're up about $100. But, what this doesn't factor is that all Disney goods can be purchased w gift cards - which can be gotten at Target for 10% off. So by using a $100 gift card at each meal, I can save $100 easily, and just bring a gift card in my wallet each day - no biggie!

Then I get all the benefit of prepaying that ppl seem to like about not having a mondo-charge to pay at the end of your stay. By using $100 or $150 in gift cards, I end up w some small change charges to the room, which we'd end up with ANYWAYS even if using the DDP since gratuities are never included.

To get to where I'm breaking even, I've already had to micro manage this and plan ahead which meals of mine would be the most expensive.. I left Y&Y and Sci-Fi off the list cuz they are even a worse value to consider.

In summary... yes... if you really want to micro manage and pick your restaurants specifically to "rack up enough charges to make the DDP worth it" then the DDP can break even or even get you a few bucks ahead... but you are spending more money, then chasing that expenditure with trying to find more expensive things to buy!

Likewise if you have at least 1 point per day of buffet- or specialty- dining already planned, then this will get you a little discount.

The premise of this post was "Does it work that way ON AVERAGE". And on average, no, the average person will do better just paying for what he wants. Rational spending will kick in, and less will be spent than when one is at home dreaming and perfectly willing to buy anything since you're excited to go.

It's really hard to separate the excitement of buying the DDP from the reality of... unless you're willing to spend a lot and then find places that will be worth what you spent, it's not really a good value.

(Free dining aside - of course if you get it free then it's worth it)

As an analogy... if I said to you... Ok, give me $200... then go out to eat and have a good time w your sig other. On me. Wherever you want to go, up to $200 at one place. Where are you going to go? You will go somewhere that uses most of the $200! You will order some bottle of wine that you wouldn't otherwise.

On the other hand... if I say... Cough up $200 and go spend that on a night out having dinner and fun... you might spend $100 of that on dinner, $30 on a movie, $20 on ice cream, and come home w $50 in your pocket.

Disney wants you to spend the $200 up front. Then find things to consume with it. That is the whole premise of the dining plan. It's why every other theme park is copying them now and offering pre-purchase food options.
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