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Old 07-22-2011, 08:47 AM   #46
ML_LovesDisney
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We have done the dining plan twice, once basic and once deluxe, and no, I don't feel it's worth it unless you want to do lots of character dining buffets and signatures. I have calculated everything in a spreadsheet to to analyze the numbers. This trip we will do TIW card that has 20% off entire bill and see how that works.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:11 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by ML_LovesDisney View Post
We have done the dining plan twice, once basic and once deluxe, and no, I don't feel it's worth it unless you want to do lots of character dining buffets and signatures. I have calculated everything in a spreadsheet to to analyze the numbers. This trip we will do TIW card that has 20% off entire bill and see how that works.
That is what we do. It really does keep costs down. We usually go for a week and eat 5 TS meals or so (usually 1 character). So the TIW discount is great on those. There are also some counter service places that take TIW so we try to hit those as well (Flame Tree, Pizzafari, and the food courts at the values and some of the mods for example). It really fits our style so much better as we don't really eat that many desserts and snacks on a normal trip.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:33 PM   #48
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Not worth it for us. We like to plan dinner as we go - sometimes it's at a salad buffet off-site, sometimes counter service. We don't do character meals. We dont' do desserts. We drink water. There's too much food on the dining plans for it to be worth it for us.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:19 AM   #49
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When we went last year we did not have it. I spent a lot of money on food and snacks and we only had 1 character breakfast and TS meal. This year we are going to try it. DS appetite has picked up lately and we want to do more character meals and TS. I added it up from the prices on allears and we would definitely save money as well as have more of a selection of food. Plus I can use that time to get out of the sun and take a break
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:09 AM   #50
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Love the Basic/Plus dining - we have used it at least 7 times - don't want to ever go back without it!!! It's not as big a savings as it used to be, but it would still save us about $250.00 vs. paying out-of-pocket. I do want to say though, we do now try to revolve all of our annual trips around free dining promos. It saves us about $1,200.00 and we love it :-)

I, personally, think the Disney Dining Plan has been one of the best things WDW has come out with in years and the Free Dining promotion would have to be considered a stroke of marketing genius on Disney's part. Free Dining now fills the resorts and parks during timeframes when they were previously almost empty. I will concede that there may be slightly less items on the menus (due to DDP in general, not free dining), but overall still quality items and plenty of choices. As for value, that can be subjective too. If your family plans to eat at least 1 Table Service/Character meal per day then the Basic DDP is going to save you money. Now when you get into Free Dining, it can come down to numbers too. If you are staying at a value or a moderate level resort then Free Dining is almost always going to be the best discount you will get at WDW. If you are staying at a Deluxe resort and have a 40% off room discount then that is going to be a better discount than free dining. If you are staying deluxe and can only get a 30% or less discount, then free dining is probably going to save you more money. If you are a family that eats all or most of your meals in your room or are bringing a picnic lunch in your backpack, then no, the DDP is not for you. I think, again personally, that the Deluxe dining plan is generally a huge waste of time and money. Unless you are an adult couple doing mostly 2 credit meals and dinner shows, it's certainly not worth it. I find the Quick Service Plan to just be a wash, the only upside I see is just the fact of having everything pre-paid. Is the DDP as big a savings as it was in 2005 when they released it? No. But, is it still a good value? Yes, I think so.
Hi Princess Tiffany.

I have to agree with EVERYTHING you just posted! lol.

When the DDP first came out, and my kids were under 10 years old, it was the best thing. Now that my kids are both over 10 years, the only way I would do the DDP would be if it's Free Dining AND we're staying at a moderate. I'm trying to decide if staying at a Value and then upgrading to the DDP would even be worth it. We stayed at Value once (POP Century), and we really hated the buses. However, we liked POP and would maybe give it another chance.

What are your thoughts on that? Stay at moderate during FD to get the DDP? Or stay at a Value during FD and then pay for the upgrade to the DDP? We like the table service dinners so we really don't want to try just the CS Dining Plan.

TIA!
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:06 AM   #51
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Question What isTIW discount? Few more ?'s. & we loved pop century and why.

What is the TIW discount and how to get it?
If we use the BDP can we get all you can eat at that sitting?
Any restaurants that yall feel should be worth going too?
If I purchased no dining plan and decided I wanted it-woulld I be able to upgrade w/no fees?

Pop Century,
1st off we have stayed there and loved it!! and we are going back there spring break.
2nd I learned on these boards that out of all the value resorts pop has the best variety of food at the food court. I also learned that they have their own buses that go straight to every park and then right back to pop-they dont share buses, which I found out, with the other value resorts. Like the music, movies, and sports share buses, which tends to make many stops, leaving sometimes no seats and you will have to wait and wait until the next bus and then the order they pick up and drop off, you may have the resort that drops off last-which leads to a very long ride back to your resort. The pools are great, there is less than a 5 min walk to the dining and bus area, even if staying in a standard room. We like to stay near the main pool preferred room. It is awesome.

Thanks so much for all the great info and responses to this thread!!!!
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:27 PM   #52
PrincessTiffany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krowe333 View Post
What is the TIW discount and how to get it?
If we use the BDP can we get all you can eat at that sitting?
Any restaurants that yall feel should be worth going too?
If I purchased no dining plan and decided I wanted it-woulld I be able to upgrade w/no fees?

Pop Century,
1st off we have stayed there and loved it!! and we are going back there spring break.
2nd I learned on these boards that out of all the value resorts pop has the best variety of food at the food court. I also learned that they have their own buses that go straight to every park and then right back to pop-they dont share buses, which I found out, with the other value resorts. Like the music, movies, and sports share buses, which tends to make many stops, leaving sometimes no seats and you will have to wait and wait until the next bus and then the order they pick up and drop off, you may have the resort that drops off last-which leads to a very long ride back to your resort. The pools are great, there is less than a 5 min walk to the dining and bus area, even if staying in a standard room. We like to stay near the main pool preferred room. It is awesome.

Thanks so much for all the great info and responses to this thread!!!!
TIW is Tables In Wonderland. It is a discount care you can get to use at WDW restaurants, but I beleive you must be an AP holder to get it, which leaves most of us out.

On the Basic DDP, all Disney owned restaurants in the parks and resorts participate, including all-you-can-eat buffets (if that's what you were asking).

You can add the DDP up to 72 hours before check-in, you can not add at check-in. There is never a penalty to upgrade, as Disney does not turn down your money.

Also wanted to mention that the All-Stars don't really share buses all of the time. We have stayed at All-Star Movies numerous times and out of the hundreds of times we have riden those buses, we have "shared" a bus maybe 4 or 5 times and that was usually at park closing and it only took a couple of minutes to drop off at the other two resorts. We have also stayed at Pop and I like it too, but I dont' factor the buses into which of those resorts we stay at.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:33 PM   #53
PrincessTiffany
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Hi Princess Tiffany.

I have to agree with EVERYTHING you just posted! lol.

When the DDP first came out, and my kids were under 10 years old, it was the best thing. Now that my kids are both over 10 years, the only way I would do the DDP would be if it's Free Dining AND we're staying at a moderate. I'm trying to decide if staying at a Value and then upgrading to the DDP would even be worth it. We stayed at Value once (POP Century), and we really hated the buses. However, we liked POP and would maybe give it another chance.

What are your thoughts on that? Stay at moderate during FD to get the DDP? Or stay at a Value during FD and then pay for the upgrade to the DDP? We like the table service dinners so we really don't want to try just the CS Dining Plan.

TIA!
Just from a econmical standpoint, it is still cheaper to get the value room and pay the minimal difference to upgrade, which is what we do. All-Star Movies is our favorite Value Resort. Here's a tip, the All-Stars are all right next to each other, if you stay at ASMo request the Mighty Ducks section. Why, you ask, because that is the farthest from the bus and food court? Well, mighty Ducks is actually right beside the All-Star Music bus stop and food court. It's literally closer than the ASMo preferred rooms are to the ASMo bus stop and food court - and you aren't having to pay the $10.00 per night upgrade for the preferred room and they have their own pool area. Of course, my kids always prefer the Fantasia pool :-)
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:08 PM   #54
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We think it is worth it!

How much we save each year by using the dining plan varies. What it does do for us is allow us to pre-pay forr our meals and not have to worry about the cost while at WDW. Food just becomes another part of our package deal. When we get to WDW all we need is spending money and tip money- everything else has been pre-paid and we love that.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:27 PM   #55
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I wrote a blog on this topic. You may find it helpful and a friend gave his counterpoint...

http://idisneyplan.blogspot.com/2011...ning-plan.html

http://idisneyplan.blogspot.com/2011...rent-view.html
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:57 PM   #56
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No, I don't find the dining plan worth it. In order to make it worth it, you must eat a certain way. Our family does not.

We like signature dining, and two credits is always a waste of credits. We also like to do quite a bit of TS (character meals), more than the basic plan would allow, but not enough to cover the cost of the deluxe plan. Especially since we do not eat an appetizer and/or dessert at every meal. I refuse to not eat where we want to eat just to fit into a plan--or to over eat. Just doesn't make any sense to me.

I found an article about evaluating disney's dining plan years ago and highly recommend it. VERY sound theory. It really shows how to look at it to see if it is right for YOU (since every family is different).
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:28 PM   #57
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I, personally, think the Disney Dining Plan has been one of the best things WDW has come out with in years and the Free Dining promotion would have to be considered a stroke of marketing genius on Disney's part. Free Dining now fills the resorts and parks during timeframes when they were previously almost empty. I will concede that there may be slightly less items on the menus (due to DDP in general, not free dining), but overall still quality items and plenty of choices. As for value, that can be subjective too. If your family plans to eat at least 1 Table Service/Character meal per day then the Basic DDP is going to save you money. Now when you get into Free Dining, it can come down to numbers too. If you are staying at a value or a moderate level resort then Free Dining is almost always going to be the best discount you will get at WDW. If you are staying at a Deluxe resort and have a 40% off room discount then that is going to be a better discount than free dining. If you are staying deluxe and can only get a 30% or less discount, then free dining is probably going to save you more money. If you are a family that eats all or most of your meals in your room or are bringing a picnic lunch in your backpack, then no, the DDP is not for you. I think, again personally, that the Deluxe dining plan is generally a huge waste of time and money. Unless you are an adult couple doing mostly 2 credit meals and dinner shows, it's certainly not worth it. I find the Quick Service Plan to just be a wash, the only upside I see is just the fact of having everything pre-paid. Is the DDP as big a savings as it was in 2005 when they released it? No. But, is it still a good value? Yes, I think so.
Thank you so much for this breakdown!! What an excellent rule of thumb. You've just saved me HOURS of tinkering with a spreadsheet and Allearsnet's menus. I think I love you!
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:24 PM   #58
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@PrincessTiffany - do you remember when you were notified about the free dining in January? I can't remember. We are trying to decide where to go in January - ski, beach, or Disney - and the free dining plan may sway me. I am hoping they will put something out soon.
Thanks!!!
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:27 PM   #59
PrincessTiffany
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@PrincessTiffany - do you remember when you were notified about the free dining in January? I can't remember. We are trying to decide where to go in January - ski, beach, or Disney - and the free dining plan may sway me. I am hoping they will put something out soon.
Thanks!!!
Disney released a huge block of 2011 free dining dates, that included January, in October of 2010. It usually gets leaked here on the Dis a day or two before it goes public. Best thing to do is subscribe to one of the may FD thread on the Codes and Rates section of the Disboards.

Last edited by PrincessTiffany; 07-27-2011 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:30 PM   #60
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Thank you! I'll do that now
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