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Old 06-13-2009, 06:39 PM   #1
Valencia Joe
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Is Disney Dining really worth it for DVC members?

We're going for nine nights in mid-July. I am on the fence about paying for the Disney Dining plan. Is it worth it? I know that there will be a day or two of visiting the Universal parks during this stay. Any thoughts would be appreciated!
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:46 PM   #2
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The only way to answer this question is to look at the menus, figure out where you will be dining, and run the numbers to see what it would cost both on and off the plan to eat during your stay. If you have or are getting an AP, you may also want to look into the Tables in Wonderland card.

We have done the DDP in the past, and aren't this trip. Last trip it saved us money, this year it won't based on what we have planned.

Other considerations include being locked into dessert every TS meal - sometimes you want to try an appitizer and skip dessert. Also, maybe you don't want that many TS meals on your trip. So, flexibility (or lack thereof) is something to look at also.

Good luck either way.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metsoskil View Post
The only way to answer this question is to look at the menus, figure out where you will be dining, and run the numbers to see what it would cost both on and off the plan to eat during your stay. If you have or are getting an AP, you may also want to look into the Tables in Wonderland card.

We have done the DDP in the past, and aren't this trip. Last trip it saved us money, this year it won't based on what we have planned.

Other considerations include being locked into dessert every TS meal - sometimes you want to try an appitizer and skip dessert. Also, maybe you don't want that many TS meals on your trip. So, flexibility (or lack thereof) is something to look at also.

Good luck either way.
A few additional thoughts.

1. When you do the math, don't use the inflated Disney restaurant prices for the entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic drink. Compare the price of the DDP to what you estimate you would actually spend if you were paying out of pocket. That's the only way to really determine whether DDP would save you money.

2. Understand that there are other legitimate benefits to DDP, including convenience and being able to try places you would not normally eat and order anything on the menu.

3. Consider the prospect of eating Disney food for nine straight days. I used to get really tired of it about 4 days into a five-day trip, and could never imagine doing DDP for more than 5 days. It just all starts tasting the same.

4. Eating offsite is a very good option. It's a better option if you will have a car anyway, but even if you weren't planning on having a car, I'd consider renting one and eating offsite. The variety is much better offsite, and the cost is somewhat less.

5. Never believe anyone who hangs out at Citi Field. Every year they think they have a ball club, and every year the Marlins knock them out of the playoffs the last weekend of the season. This year they're all pumped up because of their beautiful new ballpark, but in October it will be the same old tune!
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:10 PM   #4
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That's going to depend on you.

Do you have a car like JimMIA and access to offsite restaurants? If so, you may do better eating offsite (and that doesn't mean at Universal where prices are similarly inflated for the tourists - that means at local establishments that don't cater to the tourist trade)

Which dining plan are you looking at? How much dining do you plan to do at WDW restaurants that accept the dining plan? Would you typically order an entree plus dessert at every TS meal - and do you mind skipping the appetizers on the basic plan? Would you generally want a dessert at every CS meal? How many kids under age 10 do you have and do you want several Disney character meals for them?
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:46 PM   #5
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I think July is too hot and humid to do the Dining Plan - especially for 9 nights. But others will have different opinions.

It's easy to feel like you didn't get your money's worth if you don't use every credit and order the more expensive items. We don't eat as much in the hot & humid weather as we do when the weather is cooler and we're more active. We come out better paying as we go.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:56 PM   #6
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We were having the same delema. But we are doing a split stay, 3 nights at BLT then 6 nights at OKW. So we decided to do the dxddp for the first part of our stay and get all our big expensive meals out of the way (CRT, CG, etc) and then not do any plan for our OKW stay. We are only staying in a studio but will still have a few meals in our room, definitely breakfast then alter lunches and diners. I did the #'s and it definitely worked out cheaper for us to do the dxddp to cover all our big meals in the begining but didn't work out for the 2nd half of our trip to do a plan. I went thru all the menus and added up everything but of course we splurge when doing DDP and get stuff we wouldn't normally get. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valencia Joe View Post
We're going for nine nights in mid-July. I am on the fence about paying for the Disney Dining plan. Is it worth it? I know that there will be a day or two of visiting the Universal parks during this stay. Any thoughts would be appreciated!
As a rule it's not worth it for a stay this long. Given you're going to be off property for at least a day or two, no way should you get the DDP for 9 nights.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:16 PM   #8
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I think the answer to this all depends on how you value a dollar...and what this you think are priceless...for me ddp works well though it can be too much...I just dont have the extra time to want to do any extra planning...i never have a rental, i never go off site, and i sure dont even grocery shop at home so i def wont do it while i am away from home...so ddp is convient to me will at the world just like BJ's is convienent to me at home
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:29 PM   #9
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For me it is worth it right now since my kids are all young and LOVE character meals. Without the dining plan I would find it hard to justify the price in cash for the character meals. When they get older and character meals are no longer a necessity then I am likely to stop adding the dining plan.

SO just as others have said, it depends on how you use it.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:03 PM   #10
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I like the DDP. I like the fact that your food is already paid for one less expense you have to worry about.

If you are planning on doing Universal you could double on sit down meals on a few days or eat at a place that is double credits like Cindy's Castle.

This is definately a personal opinion type of question. What one person deems reasonable another may think the opposite.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:05 PM   #11
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I believe it's worth it for my family of 4 (me, DH, DD14, & DS 11). At the cost of $40.00 a day per person, I think we come out ahead (definitely break even anyway) because we eat out EVERY meal....and dinner each night is TS.
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:30 AM   #12
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When we vacation at Disney, we do the dining plan. Having DVC is not going to change the fact that we don't like cooking on vacation, and the DDP does still save us a little bit of money (believe me, I make the calculations after every trip just to confirm). I like the conveninece of prepaying our meals ahead of time, and I find it a wonderful luxury to eat dessert with every meal - - that just screams vacation to me. I will say, however, that when we went to Disney in September, 2008 for 9 days, by about day 6 we were really getting tired of having Captain Cook's for our breakfasts and lunches...everything we ordered from there really did start tasting the same. When doing extended stays in the future, we will definitely branch out a little bit (eat at the parks, other resorts, etc.) so we don't fall into a rut again.

ETA: To the OP, since you will be staying off site for a couple days, you could use the opportunity to dine at a couple of Disney's signature restaurants since you'll have excess credits. Just something else to think about.

Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:45 AM   #13
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the DDP does still save us a little bit of money (believe me, I make the calculations after every trip just to confirm).
Crystal, is that a savings over what you would have ordered without the plan or compared to what you actually get using the plan?
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal_27 View Post
When we vacation at Disney, we do the dining plan. Having DVC is not going to change the fact that we don't like cooking on vacation, and the DDP does still save us a little bit of money (believe me, I make the calculations after every trip just to confirm). I like the conveninece of prepaying our meals ahead of time, and I find it a wonderful luxury to eat dessert with every meal - - that just screams vacation to me. I will say, however, that when we went to Disney in September, 2008 for 9 days, by about day 6 we were really getting tired of having Captain Cook's for our breakfasts and lunches...everything we ordered from there really did start tasting the same. When doing extended stays in the future, we will definitely branch out a little bit (eat at the parks, other resorts, etc.) so we don't fall into a rut again.

ETA: To the OP, since you will be staying off site for a couple days, you could use the opportunity to dine at a couple of Disney's signature restaurants since you'll have excess credits. Just something else to think about.

Good luck!
With the extended calculations we have from several trips with the DDP and without, we found we saved over $200 NOT doing the dining plan. First of all, we like the signatures, and we rarely eat at counter service places. When we are on the dining plan, we MUST eat at counter service places once in awhile to make up for the signatures. Then on top of that, we can't order our preferred appetizers with DDP, but we get dessert if we want it. We rarely get dessert, but do end up paying extra for the appetizer....not worth it to us. We also found we tended to have a fist full of counter service credits left at the end of the trip. Now that doesn't mean that was "wasted money", but it did seem like we were paying for something we didn't get. We did find we enjoyed the DDP for just the two of us on a short stay, but for longer trips and for trips with more guests, it was just too confusing and too expensive to deal with. That was what led us to doing all the detailed accounting for several trips. We expected the trips with DDP and without to come out pretty close to the same, but we were amazed by how much less it cost us without the DDP.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:35 AM   #15
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We have used the free dining plan and will do so again in Sept. Unfortunately, we will be staying at POP instead of our DVC home but my family loves the plan.

When we go in July it will just be the kids and I staying at AKV so we are going to try the QuickService Plan. It is just to hot in July for us to eat big meals. I won't have to worry about watching my budget and limiting the kids food choices. If we are to full for desert we will save it and get a water or soda as a snack option later in the day. My kids are grazers they don't eat a lot at each meal but they eat all day long. We are thinking this will be a great option for us especially since DS19 usually gets up later and will spend mornings on his own and some afternoons with friends.
DD14 also likes to be able to "pay" for her own food with her card. There is no way I would trust her to have charging privileges on the room key. In the past I have given her $x.xx amount of money to spend on snacks everyday and she has started to learn to budget.
In the long run for our family we usually break even or come out a little ahead. (I think the QS plan will really amount to free snacks each day and the refillable mugs)
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