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Old 12-21-2008, 08:43 PM   #46
BradyBz12
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I think it totally depends on each family, how they eat and how they tour.

DH and I used the DDP twice before they changed it this year. The first time we made out like bandits, and LOVED it! We used all our TS meals at restaurants we probably never would have eaten at if we were paying out of pocket. When we totaled things up after, each dinner we had came to minimally $100, and several were more like $150-$200. That was the beauty of the DDP for us - that we had really nice dinners we never would have attempted off the plan.

However the last time we used it (2007) we found ourselves spending too much time planning things around meals, we weren't keen to plan ADRs months in advance, and generally we had WAY too much food we felt obligated to eat since we'd payed for it. We stayed at FW and I can't tell you how full our camper fridge was with all the desserts we took "to go." And the last day, we had so many QS credits left, that we "bought" dinner for 5 of our friends who were there with us too. We aren't big on snacks, so usually we stocked up on sodas for the ride home with those extra credits.

Since we'd essentially tried all the TS restaurants we wanted to (thanks to the DDP) and when they changed it this year to exclude the appetizer and gratuity, we decided not to opt in this time.

We just returned from 3 weeks camping at FW. I brought some food and we ate most breakfasts at the camper, snacks, and a couple of lunches. Otherwise we had typically one big meal out (which is normal for us anyway). Many of our meals were QS, but we also had a few nice TS meals - including 2 at the Kona Sushi Bar that were tops (and didn't need an ADR).

Not counting one ADR at Calif Grille (which was our big extravagant $150 dinner) we figured that we averaged non-camper meals and snacks for both of us at about $40 total per day.

Convinced us that the current DDP really isn't for us anymore. But that's ok, we more than got our money's worth out of it the 2 times we used it.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:55 PM   #47
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We love the dining plan. We get the deluxe dining plan and I'll do it again. It's not about the money at all for us. It's the vacation style I guess. We have plenty of credits and don't give a second thought to where we'll eat. It sort of feels "all inclusive" to us and we choose wherever we want to eat, including character meals, as many or few as we choose. I love the idea that everything is paid for before the trip and we don't have to think about it.

I loved using the deluxe dining plan on our last trip and wouldn't think twice about doing it again. We don't go to Disney often, and find it's already so expensive anyway and are not trying to do it on a tight budget. I like the flexibility of the dining plan. It was great for the snacks too!

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Old 12-21-2008, 10:09 PM   #48
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We did the dining plan on our first visit just because it was easier that way. Having it prepaid was good for our budget! However, we realized that with the ages and appetites of our kids, it really wasn't for us. The children counted as adults, but they didn't eat that way. We're not a rope-drop kind of family, so we also missed that 1 1/2 to 2 hours that the table service took. However, when our kids get older and begin to eat like adults, we'll probably try it again, if it's still there.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:53 PM   #49
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just my 2 cents...

We used the dining plan December 2007 for the first time.
Having been on DISboards for so long I knew I had to plan. We were a party of 8 (grand gathering) and we made reservations 6 months in advance for the most expensive / fun places I could find (that we all agreed on...)
So Yes, we did save money because we were eating at places like Coral Reef ($180 for 3 people... ) Was it too much food? Yes, my kids would say "we don't want dessert, we're full" I would say "It's paid for, just order something and take a bite..." and yes we did have credits left over. I actually was a stalker in a few places our last day offering to pay for people's food to use my last credits. so yes, they all got used.
Now, here's what I didn't like.....When our family goes to Disney, we hit it hard. There was alot of complaining when we got ready to do something fun and I had to say "we only have a short time before our reservation we can't do that". Also, because many of the reservations were at resorts, we have to allow plenty of time to get there, we did get to ride EVERY form of transportation there was . Some meals were wonderful some not so good.
We did find a few new favorites.
Another thing that is new for me before our next trip is that I have had a gastric bypass. I would be a horrible value on the dining plan. I think we will save money this year because I can share with one of my boys.
I think since the have changed the plan in 2008 taking away the appy and having you pay the tip, MAYBE the dinning plan is not the value it once was.
Just my two cents...
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:05 PM   #50
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I agree with what most others have said. It really just depends on your family. We've done the basic DDP (1 cs, 1ts, 1 snack) twice and loved it both times. But if you don't want to sit down for a meal every, or almost every night, then it's not for you.

Now that being said, we didn't do the DDP last trip and don't plan to do it this trip. We are maybe thinking about the quick service DDP. The reason we aren't doing it is a TS meal every night takes away so much park time, unless you do a TS meal in the parks. Our last trip we spent nine nights in WDW and ate two or three TS meals. Will probably do the same our next trip.

Just wanted to agree with a PP. Counter service meals can take up a lot of time too. We've spent a lot of time standing in line to order, standing in line for a table, and then standing in line again for burger condiments.
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:51 PM   #51
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The Dining Plan: why we will ALWAYS do it.

Well... barring changes.

I understand it's not for everyone. Just like everything else on the planet, someone is going to dislike something while another person will feel the opposite. Exceptions include toilets and the almond crusted cheesecake from Narcoossee's (if you've tried it and aren't allergic to anything in it) both which are extraordinary inventions.

ANYWAY... Disney's dining plan works for us. Before the DDP, we would usually make a trek to the grocery store for some breakfast and snack fare to save on some dough. We'd also pack water and some juices. Even then, WE'RE AT DISNEY, so we weren't about to just eat what we could get at home all the time so most of the time we would have two counter service meals or rarely one counter and one table (usually a buffet). Even at the counter service meals entree and drink, plus tax came to $13-16 per person per meal which is close to $30. If we decided to go CS, TS one would definitely surpass the $38.99 mark.

Going with the DDP, made it so that we always got a TS and a CS everyday. And like many complaints, we didn't like eating at a TS every single day as it's time consuming and takes a lot of planning. What do we do then... we use our noggins... duh. We book more signature restaurants than ever before. During our last trip we had 14 TS credit each so... we booked Narcoossee's, California Grill, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Artist Point and Jiko essentially freeing extra day that we knew we weren't going to want or need to use a TS and helping us use up our CS credit easier.

One VERY good thing I like, is you take the food budget out of the unknown category. You know ahead of time how much you're going to spend. Even now without gratuity included, you still have a very good idea of what will be spent on food.

I know I am rambling, I am good at it but I'll try to wrap it up...
-$38.99 was close to what we'd spend anyway
-We know how much money will be spent on food ahead of time
-We get to try new reataurants we normally wouldn't go to
-In going during the F & W Festival, we can save our snack credits for sampling 'round the world
-Good planning=good DDP experience, poor planning=a significant amount of credits left over
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:55 AM   #52
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Before every trip I try to convince myself that the dining plan is a good deal, but when I sit down and figure it out on paper it never works for us.

Mostly because we don't like to eat a sit down meal every day or be tied down to keeping up with ADR's everyday.

But if you don't mind those things then I think its a great deal
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:29 AM   #53
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I think it really depends on how one eats at Disney. I wish one of the plans worked for us but it just doesn't. We just returned from 16 days at WDW - and only ate counter service three times - so obviously we wouldn't use the quick service or regular plans. But we also never ate three times per day so the deluxe wouldn't work either. We did eat at four of the signatures, but others days we ate at two regular restaurants per day. On the deluxe we would have had tons of credits left and spent way more than we did in buying it for 16 days.

For us - as AP holders - who like to have drinks before and with dinner - the Tables in Wonderland (old disney dining experience) works best. Twenty percent off pretty much everywhere we ate - on food and alcohol
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:53 AM   #54
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A couple for reasons why it works for us is that we go for 2 weeks so there's a lot of flexibilty on when we can use our credits.

I wish it wasn't crazy for us to get APs but we go for 2 weeks per year and live on the opposite end of the country but we definitely wish we could go more often.

We're adults as well so perhaps in trade, we never go to the pool area... we have a more flexible daily schedule... idk, I also enjoy the structured schedule however, when I make the ADRs I plan them around the tennative park hours.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:15 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lacrosse_lady72 View Post
A couple for reasons why it works for us is that we go for 2 weeks so there's a lot of flexibilty on when we can use our credits.

I wish it wasn't crazy for us to get APs but we go for 2 weeks per year and live on the opposite end of the country but we definitely wish we could go more often.

We're adults as well so perhaps in trade, we never go to the pool area... we have a more flexible daily schedule... idk, I also enjoy the structured schedule however, when I make the ADRs I plan them around the tennative park hours.
Were adults that go for two weeks per year from th opposite coast as well. We find that we go to the parks at a minimum 14 times in those two weeks so the APs better for us. We don't do a lot of pool time either. I'm not sure it makes a lot of difference as to what your park touring style is - just what your eating style is. No counter service (or very little) is what makes the majority of the dining plans not right for us
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:34 AM   #56
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You're right it's different for everyone. We did the DDP last year. We really liked it as we tried places we hadn't before for TS. But on the other hand was the time factor. So this year we're going to try the quick service plan and have a couple of TS on the side. It depends on everyone's tastes etc. I like that they've added the quick service to give people another option. We have been looking at the menus for the quick service to figure out where we can go in the parks to get variety, especially for the kids. We have found those choices can be very limited so we try to figure out where we'll be when and have more choices for everyone. As far as cost, I think it's a great deal. But I know some people are more diligent about making all of their meals. Again, it's up to personal tastes and budgets.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:49 AM   #57
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Were adults that go for two weeks per year from th opposite coast as well. We find that we go to the parks at a minimum 14 times in those two weeks so the APs better for us. We don't do a lot of pool time either. I'm not sure it makes a lot of difference as to what your park touring style is - just what your eating style is. No counter service (or very little) is what makes the majority of the dining plans not right for us
That's probably where it changes for both of our parties shelly. We stay for 14 days but only get 10-day tickets. We know we're going to go to the MNSSHP regardless so that's essentially an additional day. And this year with the celebration promotion my mom is going to get another day where I am going to participate in the Everest Challenge (crossed fingers) for a 12th day. And with two non-park/DTD/relaxing days=great for us.

But heckola- we both get to go for 2 weeks a year- lucky us!
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:04 AM   #58
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We will be in WDW in less than a month with our 2 children and are using the regular DDP for the third time. As long as the kids are excited about character meals, the DDP is the way to go for us. When we do the math for our family, we come out just a little ahead by using the DDP, plus there is no hassle of budgeting for food. To me it is a great way to plan the vacation and since we usually travel during the low crowds I have always been able to get the ADRs that we want.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:30 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lacrosse_lady72 View Post
One VERY good thing I like, is you take the food budget out of the unknown category. You know ahead of time how much you're going to spend. Even now without gratuity included, you still have a very good idea of what will be spent on food.


I don't care about maxing out the plan. I have no desire to sit down and figure out which meals will give us the best value... If we decide to use a credit for CS breakfast fine. If we decide to use a snack credit on water instead of a $4.00 snack, fine.

I just want to have as much of the trip prepaid as possible.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:30 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by lacrosse_lady72 View Post
Just like everything else on the planet, someone is going to dislike something while another person will feel the opposite. Exceptions include toilets and the almond crusted cheesecake from Narcoossee's (if you've tried it and aren't allergic to anything in it) both which are extraordinary inventions.
I don't like cheesecake -- ANY cheesecake.

We used to like the dining plan -- the 2007 and earlier version, which included appetizers and the tip for TS meals. The 2008 and later version just isn't worth the money.

However, we are doing the DDP for our 2009 trip... because the $200 gift card we're getting as part of the 4/3 deal will make up the difference. $200 will cover an 18% tip on $1111 worth of meals. Or it will cover an 18% tip on $900 worth of meals and an appetizer to share at each meal.

So the $200 gift card makes the 2009 DDP roughly equivalent to the 2007 and earlier DDP for us.

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