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Old 01-29-2014, 03:55 PM   #76
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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Old 01-29-2014, 03:56 PM   #77
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We saved about 23% last time we went on regular dining plan. Of course, we also went during F&W and used all of our snacks on that, and booked the most expensive restaurants that were one point. We did Yachtsman for two and that was our "special" night, and we still wound up on top.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:07 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schrammalot View Post
We saved about 23% last time we went on regular dining plan. Of course, we also went during F&W and used all of our snacks on that, and booked the most expensive restaurants that were one point. We did Yachtsman for two and that was our "special" night, and we still wound up on top.
If the DDP was not available, would you still have picked the same absolute most expensive restaurants?
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:52 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzylogicllc View Post

If the DDP was not available, would you still have picked the same absolute most expensive restaurants?
I can not answer for that poster but I can answer for myself.., YES we would still pick all the expensive restaurants as that's how we like to eat, including when we are at home!

I did already post saying how the ddp works perfectly for our family and saved us a ton of money.

The reason being, I do not eat pasta and rarely eat a chicken dish,
I eat mainly steak and seafood, I also will always have a dessert to finish my meal, I just won't scoff it all lol, I like to have a few bites of something I fancy and do this oop as well!

So using the plan allows me to do this and not worry about wether its a waste of money,

We also always have dessert with QS meal as our boys love gelato, sunshine seasons does great QS desserts so we often go there or to the poly where we can have dole whip as dessert!
If you shop around you will find there are many fantastic QS desserts to be had.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:40 AM   #80
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Quote:
I did already post saying how the ddp works perfectly for our family and saved us a ton of money.
That is great! It works well for us, too. Just because it doesn't work for some doesn't mean it is bad for all.
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:09 AM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzylogicllc View Post
If the DDP was not available, would you still have picked the same absolute most expensive restaurants?
Honestly? Yes. We're foodies. Did we need to go there? No, but we don't have anything like those places near us.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:53 AM   #82
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Another reason we go no-DDP is because my family really likes the late-lunch approach. We'll eat our big meal at 2:00ish rather than for dinner and then snack/CS all evening. Opting for a lunch (at some restaurants) means a cheaper meal, even if by a few bucks so it again reduces your DPP savings.

Another reason we avoid DDP is b/c we are subject to the AG and as such, DDP ends up costing us more in tips if we maximize the plan by getting an entree per person (when we often share, even in general at restaurants) getting a dessert per person (at $6/7 each) where we would have instead gotten on to share. And why not, it's "FREE" right? Oh wait, maybe not.

I will say that on our first trip in 2009 DDP was really great! And a lot cheaper than it is now I might add. It was nice to not have to look at the prices or even the bill. It really was. We really enjoyed it. Also at that time we only had to pay for one child as my daughter was 2. So yeah basically for the price of 3 ppl we had it for 4 ppl b/c we did a good many buffets. Total bargain!

Now, we have two kids to pay for and my daughter is a very small eater and many times on our 2nd trip she and her brother shared to then get a snack later so again, DDP fails us. The bottom line is that YOU have to decide for your family and how you choose to eat. In 2012 we did not get DDP and after comparing the two trips both in terms of cost & convenience, we concluded that DDP does not serve our family well. We actually spent less than the DDP would have cost for everything at the park - tip, souvenirs, food that would have been off the plan, etc. However I feel it necessary to point out that we only had 4 TS meals b/c that's just how things worked out and IMO was the perfect number for our family. But again, that's MY family.

Your conclusion may be different and that's fine!
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:34 AM   #83
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DDP or Not DDP?

In 2009 trip, we did the DDP as it was a great deal. We also stayed at BWI Club Level, which was also good deal. CL gave us the Concigere lounge for breakfast, drinks, snacks...etc. throughout the day. See the DDP link in my signature. We ate very well and ordered deserts, which we would normally not do.

Well, 5 years later, we are now a group of 7 and DDP rates have increased some. See ages of my kids in my Signature.

For our upcoming 7 night stay in March:
QS Plan ~$1330
Disney Dining Plan ~$1900
Delux Plan ~$3351

Quick Service
Issue I have is it is (2) QS and (1) snack. Don't most eat 3x a day (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)?

Disney Dining Plan
Ok, so now (1) TS, (1) QS and (1) snack. Again, for $1900, I'm still having to buy another meal OOP

Delux
(3) meals and (2) snacks - covers all but $$$$

I have yet to crunch the numbers for my family but see the $1900 for DDP + still having to buy one more meal per day OOP and not feeling so well about it. If we decide to do TS/Char and eat well, then i'm sure we will come out ahead. We are there for 6 days but have 7 nights, so we have an extra days worth of TS and QS, which really helps. Another issue is DD, Ellie, is only 23mo at the trip and will eat a kids ration but is not included in the plan. $1900 for 6 days works out to be $45 to $53/person per day (depends on if you use 6 or 7). I could see adding $300-$400 on top of that $1900.

I'm analytical and will do as many of you did, start crunching the Frugal #'s and the All-out #s and decide from there.

I'm going to post all of the above in my pre-trip report as well. If you are in a similar situation as me / my family (2 adults, 14yo, 11yo, 9yo, 3yo and almost 2yo), leave some comments there.

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Old 01-31-2014, 08:52 AM   #84
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We're heading to Disney in Nov all ready made my ADR, for all the restaurants that we woul have not usually eaten at. Chef Mickeys, Ohana, CApe May and BoG just to name a few! We are banking on free dining being offered that week we are there, and all ready hearing there will be! We will upgrade for 19 bucks a day per person to the second level of free dining witch includes I quick service and 1 table service plus a snack! For people like us it makes sense to take the free dining plan and do the upgrade of $19 per day per person! So it basically boils down to $240 for the entire week for me and my fiancé to eat at all the top notch restaurant! Ok guys sorry about the delay just remember I didn't come back on and update my saving for the week trip we took! My fiancé and I ate like kings for the 6 nights! We saved about 400-500 bucks during the week! A huge advantage for doing free dining was Food and Wine was going on when we were down there! We used all our snacks credits, it was a great way to try all kinds of different food from different countries.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:03 AM   #85
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We're heading to Disney in Nov all ready made my ADR, for all the restaurants that we woul have not usually eaten at. Chef Mickeys, Ohana, CApe May and BoG just to name a few! We are banking on free dining being offered that week we are there, and all ready hearing there will be! We will upgrade for 19 bucks a day per person to the second level of free dining witch includes I quick service and 1 table service plus a snack! For people like us it makes sense to take the free dining plan and do the upgrade of $19 per day per person! So it basically boils down to $240 for the entire week for me and my fiancé to eat at all the top notch restaurant! Ok guys sorry about the delay just remember I didn't come back on and update my saving for the week trip we took! My fiancé and I ate like kings for the 6 nights! We saved about 400-500 bucks during the week! A huge advantage for doing free dining was Food and Wine was going on when we were down there! We used all our snacks credits, it was a great way to try all kinds of different food from different countries.
How did you make your ADRs already for November?!?!?
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:05 AM   #86
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How did you make your ADRs already for November?!?!?
I wondered this too! I assume they meant they picked them out, not actually reserved them.
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:26 AM   #87
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How did you make your ADRs already for November?!?!?
it was for 2013, it was just an update
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:19 AM   #88
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When we did the dining plan in 2009, we "saved" the marketed 20%.
We ordered sodas with every meal, even though we wouldn't have necessarily otherwise, and had a lot of desserts that we barely touched.

Since then, I've priced it out for every trip. I pick all the restaurants we're interested in eating at based on our plan, and make a guess as to what we'll order. Sometimes it's the most expensive thing on the menu, sometimes it's not. I plan on us ordering dessert or a soda about half of the time.

Last year we actually saved 20% by not doing the dining plan, but eating exactly what and where we wanted. We tended to split desserts or wait until later in the day to get them somewhere else, if we got them at all, and drank mostly water.

Ultimately, we tend to like two smaller (but full) counter service meals a day, in addition to one table service.
DH really likes the convenience of the plan, but he's the one who can't deal with a snack for breakfast...so we pretty much always end up buying extra food that isn't included on the plan.

I still plan on pricing it out for every trip, so things may turn around a bit in the future.
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