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Old 12-23-2008, 01:11 PM   #91
Faldred
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First Time Using Dining Plan

March 2009 will be my 4th trip to WDW and the first time staying on-site. With three young children (DS4, DS2, DD2), my wife and I already expect ANY meal to take no less than 45 minutes, so going with the deluxe plan and having mostly sit-down meals makes a lot of sense this time around.

Especially since the twins will be free.

Besides, as somewhat experienced cruisers, we've definitely come to terms with the fact that when we're outside and active, we tend to eat quite heartily at meals, so I'm hoping deluxe won't actually be overkill. Plus, the twins will be sharing off our plates and DS4's.

We'll see how it goes and decide which plan (if any) to get the next time. Personally, I'd like an "in between" package of 2 CS + 1 TS or 2 TS + 1 CS per day rather than the 3 TS, 1 TS + 1 CS, or 2 CS options.
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:25 PM   #92
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Especially since the twins will be free.
Ain't it great! We're taking our 2yo granddaughter in June. The only thing we're having to pay for her is her plane ticket.
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:49 PM   #93
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OK, before I go to far, I have to say we have only PAID for DDP once, the other two times we had free dining, which no-one can argue is not worth it!
But, we so far love the dining plan for the following reasons.

1) We really enjoy being able to eat in the sit-down restaurants...we could not afford them regularly, but the savings for the DDP makes it worth it. I also love having the "break" of sitting down an eating the meal.

2) We don't have a problem using all the creidts...do people really have difficulty eating two meals in a day?

3) Being tied to the ADRs has never bothered us...I am a big time planner, and it makes the planning more fun.

4) We DEFINITELY saved money, last trip I actually kept complete track of everything we "bought". DDP would have cost $688 for 8 days, our total food cost was $863, so we save about $175. And we did NOT at all use the credits effeciently, even though we did use them all. For instance, we only did two dinners, and did lunches and breakfasts the rest of the way. We easily could have gotten $1000 worth of food for our $688.

5) If we were not on the DDP, i would not enjoy the meals as much. I would be looking at prices: "Hmmm, steak is $29.99, but if I get the chicken it's only $21.99." or "$7 for dessert, I don't think so." By pre-paying the meals, I never think about how expensive they are, and thus enjoy them more.

6) Our DD5 is a decent eater, and likes a variety of food - so she gets her money's worth too.

So, for us at this stage it is a definite winner. However, I think when DD turns 10, it probably won't be. This is the one place where I think the DDP really can screw you...what 10 year-olds eat like adults? I understand why they use 10 as the cut-off, because people try and cheat and get their kids in their until they are old. But, that doesn't make it useful. I have to imagine that when DD turns 10, we will go off the meal plan after that for a while.

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Old 12-23-2008, 01:58 PM   #94
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5) If we were not on the DDP, i would not enjoy the meals as much. I would be looking at prices: "Hmmm, steak is $29.99, but if I get the chicken it's only $21.99." or "$7 for dessert, I don't think so." By pre-paying the meals, I never think about how expensive they are, and thus enjoy them more.
This is key for us too! I love Filet Mignon, but do I get it everytime I go out to eat at home - no! It's a rare, special treat. Yet, I had it twice in 6 meals on our last trip!
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:16 PM   #95
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....I think the DDP really can screw you...what 10 year-olds eat like adults? I have to imagine that when DD turns 10, we will go off the meal plan after that for a while.

SkierPete
If I were in your shoes, I would still get the Basic DDP. Since all adults credits are pooled together, you can use yours plus your DD's and she can order off the kids menu(pay oop). I think this would work.
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:20 PM   #96
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Personally, I'd like an "in between" package of 2 CS + 1 TS or 2 TS + 1 CS per day rather than the 3 TS, 1 TS + 1 CS, or 2 CS options.
The Deluxe Dining plan could work sort of like that if you treated your 3 TS credits per day as 2 TS meals...

Think 1 credit TS breakfast plus a 2 credit TS dinner at a signature restaurant. Not a bad way to get through the credits. Then at lunch time you just use a couple of snack credits instead of a full meal. Or reverse that -- a couple of snack credits used on breakfast, a 1 credit TS lunch and a 2 credit TS dinner.

David
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:06 PM   #97
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We just got back and saved just about $100 with the basic DDP. Now this was a trip for 2 adults, and so for us it made sense because we wanted to eat in some of the WS places we had not tried like Les Chefs, Teppan Edo, Nine Dragons etc. If we were to go with our kids who are now "adults" on the DDP since they are 10 and 12, this would not be a good value for us. First of all we would probably stay in a bigger room, most likely rent DVC points so we would have the kitchen. Therefore we would have drinks, breakfasts and snacks in the room, have pizza delivered one night, etc. Also my 10 year old is a very picky eater (Autism) and will really only eat chicken nuggets and fries. Not all of the sit down places offer these and if they do it is off the kids menu so we would be paying adult prices for kids meals. Now this is just my family, but I am sure that many families have the same or similar reasons why DDP just does not work for their family (kids ages, picky eaters,touring plans, etc) . For us we will do it again ALWAYS when we go without the kids and most likely NEVER for our trips with the boys. Although there is the QS plan, that might work.......have to go get my calculator.....
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Old 12-25-2008, 10:18 AM   #98
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Always

Even with my disappointment of losing appetizers (can I PLEASE have an appetizer instead of dessert??!!)

I wasn't convinced; my mom talked us into it. As expensive as CS meals are, and I could SOOOOOO not have CS for every meal....We had ADRs around 5:30 every night & it was the perfect time to slow down & relax together. And we ate SUCH good food--and I am a foodie! Ohanas, Le Cellier & Boma are on our ALWAYS list, but I would not hesitate to eat at Le Chefs, Kona & Narcoosees again! We LOVED Wolfgang Pucks for lunch as well.

ALWAYS--for convenience, avoiding CS for all meals, and terrific TS meals (both quality & experience)...trying to decide what new places to try this year!
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:22 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post
\
So, for us at this stage it is a definite winner. However, I think when DD turns 10, it probably won't be. This is the one place where I think the DDP really can screw you...what 10 year-olds eat like adults? I understand why they use 10 as the cut-off, because people try and cheat and get their kids in their until they are old. But, that doesn't make it useful. I have to imagine that when DD turns 10, we will go off the meal plan after that for a while.
It really depends upon the kid. My DS, now 10, has been eating enough like an adult long enough that we seriously considered up-aging him on our last trip when he was 9. He'd much, MUCH rather order adult meals than anything on a typical kids' menu. We did okay with him as a child for that trip, only because we were on the deluxe plan and had plenty of food to share with him when he didn't feel like kid food and because Disney offers a little better kids' options than most places, but we have no doubt that his eating habits will be worth the adult price on our next trip.
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:32 PM   #100
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It really depends upon the kid. My DS, now 10, has been eating enough like an adult long enough that we seriously considered up-aging him on our last trip when he was 9. He'd much, MUCH rather order adult meals than anything on a typical kids' menu. We did okay with him as a child for that trip, only because we were on the deluxe plan and had plenty of food to share with him when he didn't feel like kid food and because Disney offers a little better kids' options than most places, but we have no doubt that his eating habits will be worth the adult price on our next trip.
We are the opposite.

We had the DDP in 2006 that we paid for, but tips & appetizers were included. DS was still a "child" for that one and we saved about $250.

In 2007 we had "free dining" which was not free at all because we lost the AP discount on the room. We saved some money, but not tons.

This year for part of our trip we had DxDDP and we got absolutely stomped as far as value. I should have just stood in front of the toilet and flushed money down. DS counts as an adult but still prefers kid's meals. We thought by doing buffet breakfasts and signature dinners we wouldn't be stuffed, but we were. Not having tips included added about $60 per day in OOP costs. I got sick on the last day our credits were valid so we lost some, wasted some on grab & go sandwiches, and used a bunch of snack credits (10 or 12) on $2 bottles of water. For the rest of the trip we just used the DDE card and let DS order from the kid's menu if he wanted to. No more dining plans for us!
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:37 PM   #101
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Personally, I'd like an "in between" package of 2 CS + 1 TS or 2 TS + 1 CS per day rather than the 3 TS, 1 TS + 1 CS, or 2 CS options.
The deluxe plan allows for the flexibility you're looking for since the credits can be used for either table service or counter service.

Generally speaking, using the plan for a counter service breakfast and then table service lunch and dinner or table service breakfast and dinner with a counter service lunch, you would still be at the break even point (or still ahead).

For instance:

Ohana breakfast $18.99 (plus tax) = $20.22

Peco's bill's (with tax) = $12.33
Chicken Wrap $7.59
Yogurt $1.99
Bottled Water $2.00

Tony's Town Square (with tax) = 31.69
Mixed Greens $5.49
Shrimp Scampi $16.49
Lemon Walnut Cake $5.49
Soda $2.29

2 snacks @ $3 each = $6

Total for the day $70.24

And I have chosen the less expensive items for the most part. If you like steak, you could easily spend well over the cost of the plan, even using 1 credit per day for counter service.
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:56 PM   #102
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I have not read this entire thread but a few of the last pages. Our problem with the DDP was not the cost or the value but rather the amount of time we felt we lost in the parks going to a TS every day. I can not imagine doing 2 TS a day!

Between traveling to the park or hotel where we had reservations, getting there 15 minutes early, usually waiting 20-25 minutes for ADRs, getting seated, ordering, getting our dinner, eating, cashing out and getting back on our way we felt we "lost" 2 - 3 hours each time in the parks. If we wanted to fit in a nap during the day plus this time we spent eating we felt we only had a minimal amount of time in the parks because of the time of year we generally go the park hours are so short.

We are going with the CS plan this time and will pay for a couple of TS meals during our stay in April to see if this makes a difference to us. I guess it really comes down to the importance food and dining plays in your vacation plans and for us it just really isn't that important to spend all that time.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:28 AM   #103
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Spending time around the table enjoying good food is part of what makes our vacation a vacation.

Of course, I travel with adults so that probably makes a difference.

We like different things in the parks and differ in how we spend our "down" time (sleeping, pool, shopping, etc) so meals are the one time we get together and talk about what we've liked about the day, what we did, what we want to do later or tomorrow.

It's not just about the food, it's about the company.
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:04 PM   #104
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Our problem with the DDP was not the cost or the value but rather the amount of time we felt we lost in the parks going to a TS every day
Travel time is major problem, if you can't plan your TS meals at the park you're in. So, we always have to figure on a few taxi rides, to cut down on the time problem, with travel to other resorts (even more planning)

But park time is another interesting point to discuss... after we've gone to Disney year-after-year, I find we spend less time on rides and more times trying other things
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:54 AM   #105
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The dining plan has worked well for us since it came out. Even before the DDP we would have 1 TS meal per day, usually dinner. I am on holidays and feel I deserve this. We have always planned for this, so ADRs are not a big deal. We try to make them either in or close to the park we plan on being in that day. Like Boma on AK day, one of the Monorail resorts on MK day, etc. Dealing with CS with children in tow is just as bad as making the meal myself. KWIM.

Last time we went DS was 9 and had the childrens plan. He was not usually happy with this as he has a more mature palate and also a large appetite. Thankfully there were also 10 adults with him so there was always plenty to share with him. Next time we go he will be 11 and I am not sorry that he will have to have the adult plan. It will be worth it. For the younger DS the kids plan is still perfect (he is 7) cause all he eats is Pizza, chicken nuggets, etc. Typical kids menu fair.
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