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Old 01-02-2013, 09:55 AM   #16
Marionnette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snarlingcoyote View Post
Hmm. .. now I'm left wondering why Disney would do away with something so profitable. We've all run the numbers and from what I've seen posted by people, unless you're a family with bottomless pits known as teenagers, it's usually cheaper to just pay for the same meals and use a PIN, but we're a tiny sliver of the Disney population. I'm sure most people see "FREE" and just jump on it without doing all the math.

One wonders what this says for PINs. . .which in turn makes me wonder about the DVC rental market. . .
You have a very valid point about people responding like Pavlov's dog to the word "free". But I also think that Free Dining has become less profitable at the Value resorts over the past few years. I don't think there's as big a profit margin at the Value level as there is at the Moderate and Deluxes, which is why they stopped offering free DDP at the Values and replaced it with just QSDP over the past couple of years. Perhaps, in an effort to keep the rack rate of the Values more affordable (not that I think they are a great value for what you get), they've shaved the profit margin too thin to be able to absorb the cost of the QSDP. I've also noticed that the room-only offers at the Values have a very low percentage off, too. The most recent ones have only been in the range of 15% off the rack rate.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:15 AM   #17
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Also remember a lot of people seem to like it for the convenience. Even if they don't save money it's prepaid (or free) and once at the world they don't worry about what they order.
I never understood that but I have heard that used as a reason many still purchase the ddp.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:33 AM   #18
LisaInNc
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I have tried every way to make free dining work for us but it just does not. If I look at the menus and price what we would actually order or really need not just the most expensive thing to get a better deal.

I never drink soda and I have wine or water with meals. I never eat dessert so I have to deduct those charges.


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Old 01-02-2013, 10:41 AM   #19
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Our fall trips are always to Fort Wilderness where they have never offered FD. Ever. We can't participate due to that.

In September 2011 we went to POP instead of FW for the sole purpose of taking advantage of FD. We upgraded to TS since the Values were only offered QS. It was a GREAT way to take advantage of eating at many TS restaurants that we would not normally eat at; especially character meals (4 out of 7 that week were with characters). It was fun to do but I honestly don't know that we'll ever do a TS dining plan again. We are discussing adding QSDP to our Sept. ressie at FW. There's just so many CS places we enjoy eating at! The only TS I imagine we'll do is BoG.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:51 AM   #20
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We have hit the "sweet" spots with FD the last 2 times we have booked it.

This past October, there were 2 adults and 2 teens (17) and we stayed 6 nights at POFQ, standard room, 6 day tickets, with dining plan for under $2300. I ran all the numbers and even when adding back in tips, it worked out great. We took my daughter's boyfriend with us and I knew it would be great for him, being able to order anything at mealtime and not worrying about the "cost." I ran the numbers all the way around and just could not get a better deal for our particular situation at that time.

In 2009, I had originally booked at All-Star Sports and then got a free upgrade to SSR 1-bedroom resort. That was when the values still got regular dining for free. That trip was wonderful because it was just 2 adults and the 1-bedroom was so much fun!!

While I have taken trips in between 2009 and 2012, they have actually been off-site for various reasons.

However, losing free dining doesn't bother me too much. My daughter will be starting college this fall and that means we are no longer locked into the school system for travel dates, plus we have already decided to do a little more traveling to the rest of the world.

I do understand though that it will be a pinch for some people...especially for those that fall right into the perfect situations for savings like I have in the past.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:51 AM   #21
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for us it would actually be great. I have several sets of tickets (probably 3 or 4) that we've acquired during FD (when we had APs) that I've been saving. We need to start using them up!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:23 AM   #22
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Thanks for the info. And I'm kind of happy to hear this.

We have ONLY stayed onsite with Free Dining...We have done so 10 or so times since they first offered it. I have to disagree with some pp's - I think that 9 times out of 10, Free Dining (esp. when it was prior to the QSDP) in a Value room with 2 or more people was a HUGE deal. Considering the 'discount' on a value room is usually not more than $15-$40 per night and getting the regular dining plan was HUGE! We did stay at a MOD once since they changed it to QSDP for Values - but it was still $200 more than the upgrade cost would have been. AND - back several years ago - got a FREE UPGRADE to Old Key West from All Star Movies. So my family and 2 other families we were traveling with got to stay at Old Key West for $100 per night with all our food included too - Now THAT was a deal of a lifetime!

We are a family that has gotten a HUGE advantage from the free dining promotion. And we have saved hundreds of dollars and done way more character meals than we ever would have without it. But with all the changes and the QSDP, etc. at the values I have been planning our August 2013 trip a bit differently. We want to try staying at the Beach Club. AND the kids are really into Harry Potter now. So we'll stay a couple/few nights offsite and do US and WWOHP and then head to WDW and stay at the Beach Club. To keep costs down since it's an expensive place, I decided to use some of our non-expiring tickets that we have (usually only use when we stay offsite). So I was not going to participate in Free Dining this year anyway.

I've been trying to rack up points on my Visa Rewards card and my intent is to go to all the same WDW restaurants that I would have with Free Dining - but instead just use rewards points for them - so that it still 'feels' free to me.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:41 AM   #23
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It won't affect me at all.

I don't do the dining plans, I'm a room only person with an AP and normally have the TIW card. I prefer a room only discount.

Although with the price increase on TIW, I'll have to really take a look at the numbers and see if it's worth getting it for me. I don't do TS everyday.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:02 PM   #24
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Our last trip free dining worked fine as it was the only discount for the time we were traveling. I liked the concept but like many, I'll go for the deal that saves me the most money and I know free dining isn't always the best deal.

But since then I've been earning Starwood points so we'll be staying free at Swan/Dolphin from now on, so free dining was not going to be an option for us anyway. But free hotel beats free food any day of the week so it's all good!
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:14 PM   #25
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I think that getting free dining at a moderate is a big deal for our family of 4. We love the buffets and character meals and even though we pay full price for our room, the buffets alone set us back $140.00 + per meal without tip. Our room doesn't cost us $140.00 more paying rack rate at a mod. Then add QS dining which even without dessert can set us back $50.00 per meal. The snack is also beneficial to us. We often use our snack credit to pick up a breakfast-y type snack in the park (bagel/cream cheese at the bakery) etc. Add in the refillable mug and it's great for us.

I know that we save some on our meals if we were not on free dining (less character meals, breakfast in the room, sharing meals at TS restaurants) but we really love the character meals and honestly to do not want to do without them. We always bought the refillable mug even before it was included in the dining plan so that's a savings. We're fine sharing TS meals and sometimes do that even when we're on the dining plan to make our credits go further but for us it works.

I didn't intend on turning this thread into "is free dining a good deal" because I know that's not what the OP was asking. But the background information leads to my vote on the topic. Yes, if free dining isn't offered, we'd be less likely to travel. We weren't going to WDW in 2012 but when free dining was offered clear through 12/20, we hopped on that very quickly.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:27 PM   #26
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I could understand Disney doing this if the economy was improving. But that's not the case so it has me scratching my head in wonder. I'm sure there is an economical reason for it, but as a little fish in a very big pond, I don't see it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:11 PM   #27
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IMHO the DDP was great when my kids were all kids in "Disney eyes" and it included gratuity. Now it's just not worth my time keeping track of credits or the expense for tweenagers that are charged at adult rates.
I hate relying solely on disney transportation, and always have a car, which enables us to save $ on eat off site or grab pizza!

This was another reason we bought DVC: the savings that WDW is offering lately are becoming not worth it to us!
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:26 PM   #28
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It means we probably won't stay onsite.

I think I want to do a cruise instead for my 21st if Disney are cutting incentives to stay onsite.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:36 PM   #29
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I think it is too early to say one way or the other. As I remember a couple years back them saying they were not going to offer any discounts like we had become use to getting. A few months later they rolled out free dining for the rest of the year and into the next one. If what I saw the two weeks we were there in Dec is any indication they are going to have to offer some sort of discount because it was no where near as busy as other years we had travelled during the same time.. The last day to book free dining for Dec I checked the website and they still had many room choices left for our dates.. Also if I recall correctly free dining was offered for the values already as a bounceback offer.. Also if the same economist that predicted the last recession are right we are going to be right back in what could be an even worst one this year.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:58 PM   #30
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Don't believe it for one minute. Doesn't matter though....I have one starting college in the fall and Disney is no longer in my budget. Need to get him and the next one and the next one through school with the least amount of debt possible.
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