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Old 10-02-2012, 06:17 AM   #61
bluejasmine
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I guess for my family who eats three meals a day and snacks it a great deal not as good as it was in 2005 when tax, gratuities were paid and each person got an appy but still a good deal.

For a family of 4 the counter service lunch would cost around $60 and the TS meal over $200 plus I'd say at least $22 in snacks and then count in the free refillable resort mug and all its refills..

I do remember the days of picking up a phone in Epcot and being able to make dinner reservations for that night! I miss that but honestly even if Disney did away with the DDP your never getting those days back! So..if the DDP is good for your family get it if its not then don't! No biggie!!
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:08 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by DixieLandings1992 View Post
I have used the TIW card for years and I love it. I pay $75 as I have an AP and I save money every time. Don't forget they tax the total bill before the d/c but when they include the tip it's convenient. I am obsessed about figuring out what the real bill would have been with the tip I would have given and the answer always makes me smiles because I saved money. I believe you have made a very wise choice. remember it covers wine and beer as well. Enjoy your next visit !

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Thank You for the advice. I have done so much research on DDP vs. TiW for our family. I did figure everything at original price for tax & tip. I think it will work out better for us. We are really looking forward to it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:17 AM   #63
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Even if they get rid of the dining plan (which isn't going to happen) food service at the Disney parks is not going to go back to the way it was before the dining plan.

They introduced the dining plan to go with the way they were changing food service - they didn't change the food service to fit the dining plan. I think now they are doing some of that - the cost structure has been reengineered to steer dining plan guests toward buffets and family-style restaurant experiences. At least that is what I'm seeing.

DDP is a great deal for a diminishing number of parties, a good deal for some, a decent deal for many, and no deal for many others - it's not meant to fit every party.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:34 AM   #64
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And yes, I was incorrect in saying $40.00 for the breakfast buffets. It was more towards the dinner buffets I was speaking of.
Cinderella Royal Table breakfast is $58.13 during peak season!

Akershus Breakfast is $46.85 during peak season!


We don't do the dining plan. It doesn't fit how we eat. I try to work the numbers to favor the dining plan, but I just can't. The only way I can make it work is if we order stuff that we normally wouldn't. For example my DH would prefer an entree salad (like a salad with chicken, cranberries, apples, etc.). That is what he would order if it is on the menu. That isn't really a good deal for the dining plan. And DH would NEVER order the steak instead of the entree salad just because it is a better deal on the dining plan. He would order what he wants.

Me and my girls are light eaters. We usually share one entree and one appetizer between the 3 of us and have some left over.

Personally I believe the dining plan has dumbed down the food at Disney. I'm so sad to see many restaurants have the same menu for lunch and dinner. (50s Prime Time, Brown Derby, Mama Melrose, Sci Fi)

I also think the price of restaurants is out of line. Many of the places have priced me out of eating there. We make good money and can afford the places, I just don't think it is worth it! We now no longer do any fixed price places. It just isn't worth it for our family and how we eat. I can't justify paying $42.59 for my 18 year old daughter to eat a salad and roll at Cape May Clam Bake! So we go to ala carte places. So far we haven't been driven to eat off site, but I am afraid it may come to that soon!

I did a review of our last trip (just DH and I for our anniversary) and compared what we spent OOP to what we would have spent on the various dining plans. And we ate what we wanted when we wanted. No scrimping because we were paying OOP.

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Old 10-02-2012, 09:52 AM   #65
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As many others have stated it really varies on a family to family basis. For some it would be way too much money while for others it's a financially viable thing to do.

To me it also depends on when you are going, specifically if you can take advantage of the Free Dining Promotion. My wife and I will be there in three weeks and we're doing a split stay (4 nights at CBR, 2 at WL.) We upgraded to the DxDDP for our CBR portion since we can use it for 5 nights as opposed to 4 and leaving early the next day. We did out the difference between paying rack rate for CBR and booking with the current discount rate (which was 20% for our stay) and added that to the price of upgrading from DP to DxDDP which came up to $413.20.

That's $413 spread over 5 days plus 8 snack credits for each of us. We normally wouldn't go to signature restaurants as we'd be keeping track of the $'s adding up over the vacation which as many know can add a another layer of stress. We both enjoy sit-down meals to take a break and recharge our batteries, plus it's an added perk when we get to try restaurants that we normally wouldn't. One of our ADRs is for Narcoosees and we both have our eye on the surf and turf (being native New Englanders it's hard to turn down lobster!) and if we were to both gets apps and desserts it would account for about 50% of that amount, just on one meal!

So for us on this particular trip when you factor in we'll be doing character breakfasts as well as other 2 TS restaurants (Flying Fish and Artist Point) it's an absolute steal for us. (I do plan on doing a cost analysis report when I come back so keep you're eyes out for that!) Maybe on another trip with a 30% discount we'd decide we wouldn't pay OOP for the dining plan and rather eat smarter and take advantage of CS options in Epcot and DTD.

There's no "right" answer in regards to the dining plan. Whether it's purchasing it outright, getting FD, getting a TiW card or just paying OOP you have to use the method that's best for you and your family!
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:57 AM   #66
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I think that you may want to consider that people vacation the way that they want to vacation. I know a lot of people who only stay at all-inclusive resorts because there are no worries once they step foot inside that door. For whatever personal reason they have, it is important to them to make sure that their vacation is totally paid for and they do not need to consider finances when it comes to food, alcohol, etc. It works for them. They know how much it costs and there is a value for them.

And then there are others who find an all-inclusive resort a total waste of money. They prefer to make their own purchases as they go. This way works for them.

What I do not understand is why some people are so offended by either decision a family makes. Vacation values are not all tangible. Club Level is not always a great financial value yet their clearly is a reason some choose that route. Some folks factor in what the cost is and then determine if they will eat and drink enough to "pay" for it. Others want the convenience that the IPO provides. Who is right? The people who run the numbers and decide their family will "pay for it" by eating and drinking enough in the lounge to cover teh additional cost, ot the family who may use the lounge and may "pay" for it or not with the offerings but really wanted the peace of mind knowing that the IPO will be there if they need them?


FWIW- I always break even on the DDP. actually I never have lost a dime but that is not the only reason I like it. My reasons are valid eve if you do not consider them to be financially sound. Sometimes we stay CL and the offerings have very little to do with why I make that decision. Again, I have my reasons for spending my money the way that works for me. My reasons, even if you don't know what they are, should not bother you or anyone else.

For many families a Disney vacation is a very special event. They have saved and saved and planned and planned. They do not want to look at entree prices and have those prices factor into their decision. They want to step back and let the kids all order their own desserts instead of sharing like they do at home. It may be too easy to fall back into those "when at home" habits and for this vacation they don't want to do that and for them this is the best way to go. Break even, lose a little, come out ahead? They are not paying for only the food. They are paying to enhance their vacation experience and that does have a value. I don't understand why some people refuse to respect that decision.



Excellent post

We are a family of four disney adults and have always gone oop doing cs. Next summer 2013 for our 11 night stay I am seriously considering the QSDP. My family cannot be bothered with ADR's plus the added cost of tips. I know all the arguments against it and am not happy about the price increase in 2013. It will cost $150 per night so $1650 in total.
When I talk to my kids about it and how they will have their own dessert and drink at every meal plus snack I see their face light up. They keep asking me if they will be able to order anything they want at any time. YES! They are already thinking of the different cupcakes.

Now knowing myself even if I budget $150 per day oop a lot of times the answer to them would be "it's too expensive, you just ate" or something to that effect. Parting with $10 for 2 cupcakes would cause me to go lol
In doing the calculations for oop and ordering mostly the cheapest meal without dessert or drink (2 meals plus a snack per person per day) the cost is still around $100-$110 per day.

So really for an extra $40-50 per day our vacation will be so much more enhanced and enjoyable being able to order the more expensive entrees at places like Cosmic Rays, Wolfgang Puck express etc. without worry. For us the value of that is worth the extra money just like for some people paying thousands more $$$ to stay a deluxe is worth it for them but something we would never do as we stick with values and are very satisfied with them.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:28 AM   #67
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I think a lot of guests blame DDP for the downgrading of the WDW restaurant experience, and that is why they are resentful. However, even if WDW got rid of the dining plan tomorrow, the restaurant experience would not go back to what it was before the current management took over.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:55 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by bluejasmine View Post
Our family always uses the DDP since 2005 it really does save $ in fact some examples

Ohana, CG, LC, CM, all cost my family of 5 over $200! That's just one meal! I couldn't afford that!
Did you not pay for the Dining Plan? That costs over $200.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:40 AM   #69
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I think a lot of guests blame DDP for the downgrading of the WDW restaurant experience, and that is why they are resentful. However, even if WDW got rid of the dining plan tomorrow, the restaurant experience would not go back to what it was before the current management took over.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:54 AM   #70
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Did you not pay for the Dining Plan? That costs over $200.
I believe what she is saying that one meal alone, cost close to what an entire day on the DDP cost. Meaning her cs meals, snacks and refill mugs which were part of the plan, cost her far less than had she paid OOP. If her DDP was part of free dining, even with the cost of rack rate on the room, she came out even more ahead.

This scenario this poster wrote about saved her money even with the cost of the DDP given the places they went to. Someone else who ate their table service at the Plaza, Sci Fi or one of the other cheaper places, wouldn't come out as well.

If any of her kids are under 10 her savings would be even greater since their part of the DDP is far less.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:53 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by Amy&Dan

I believe what she is saying that one meal alone, cost close to what an entire day on the DDP cost. Meaning her cs meals, snacks and refill mugs which were part of the plan, cost her far less than had she paid OOP. If her DDP was part of free dining, even with the cost of rack rate on the room, she came out even more ahead.

This scenario this poster wrote about saved her money even with the cost of the DDP given the places they went to. Someone else who ate their table service at the Plaza, Sci Fi or one of the other cheaper places, wouldn't come out as well.

If any of her kids are under 10 her savings would be even greater since their part of the DDP is far less.
Exactly!!! I have gotten FD about half the time and paid for it the other half!

Once we took a 1 day trip and I had booked Chef Mickeys in June 2011. When I did the math on just that cost of the meal in peak season the DDP actually was less! Not counting the fact I also got QS lunch and a snack that day on the DDP!

We got FD for our stay in Dec this yr. I'm a Disney TA so I run all the discounts and for our party of 5 staying at POR it can't be beat! Your talking 3 character meals plus Yak&Yeti and SciFi for 5 ppl plus lunches, snacks and refillable mug and all their refills of coffee, soda, tea!

Light eaters would do good with QSDP but ppl who want 2-3 hearty meals and time off their feet in the AC like our family DDP for now is good!
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:16 PM   #72
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I've done DDP, no DDP, TIW, QS, etc. There was a time when DDP was worth it to us - for various reasons: Tax/tip was included, apps were included, our kids were young enough that we did mostly character meals, neither kid was yet "adult" in WDW terms.

We've since found that TIW makes way more sense. Mainly b/c my oldest is now considered "adult" and wouldn't nearly eat the DDP cost in a day (I don't even eat the DDP cost in a day). Also, character meals are SO overpriced that DDP makes sense. I also LOVE my apps and often sub for my meal. We've also found that the TIW benefit of including beer/wine in discount can add up as well.

So IMO the DDP is built "well" for:
1.) infrequent visitors (ie: 'we want to try SO many restaurants')
2.) that have kids young enough that they like many character meals
3.) that feel the need to have that many meals/breaks/snacks during their day.
4.) Aren't versed well enough to "really" understand that FREE dining isn't really FREE - it simply means your regular discount is now simply being use do pay for your meals instead of in your pocket to use AS YOU SEE FIT for meals.

None of the above is us... so we don't do DDP. BUT it was once us...so I understand WHY some people like it.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:04 PM   #73
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So IMO the DDP is built "well" for:
1.) infrequent visitors (ie: 'we want to try SO many restaurants')
2.) that have kids young enough that they like many character meals
3.) that feel the need to have that many meals/breaks/snacks during their day.
4.) Aren't versed well enough to "really" understand that FREE dining isn't really FREE - it simply means your regular discount is now simply being use do pay for your meals instead of in your pocket to use AS YOU SEE FIT for meals.
None of the above is us... so we don't do DDP. BUT it was once us...so I understand WHY some people like it.
One can easily argue that a room % discount isnt really a discount because you have to pay for your food.

Im versed well enough to understand that free dining is just that, its free. And its a great deal for us. It works for some, but not everyone. We dont stay at delux resorts, so a room % discount at a value wouldnt save us much. Free dining is the way to go for us. I've paid OOP on many trips and spent A FORTUNE on food. We save money with the DP.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:53 PM   #74
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One can easily argue that a room % discount isnt really a discount because you have to pay for your food.
I disagree. You don't "have" to pay Disney for your food. There are other options - in room dining (kitchenette), offsite, etc.)

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Im versed well enough to understand that free dining is just that, its free.
It's not free IMO. I'd rather spend $120 per night on the room...and spend my $80 discount the way I want (souvenirs/QS/Drinks/etc.) Then spend $200 and tell myself I got "free dining." It's not free if you paid for it.

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It works for some, but not everyone. ... Free dining is the way to go for us. I've paid OOP on many trips and spent A FORTUNE on food. We save money with the DP.
That was my point...it works for some, but not for others. Doesn't work for us... but DID work for us at one point with our travel habits at THAT point.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:37 PM   #75
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I've never used a dining plan. I usually make 2 reservations, then the rest of the time eat at a quick service or "wing-it". Find with two people without huge appetites, the dining plan is over kill. Of course if I got one for free, I wouldn't complain.
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