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Old 01-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #1
smec73
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Which dining plan or none?

I was confident that the dining plus pkg would work for us, no I am not so sure.
My in-laws will be traveling with us, so we will have 4 adults and 2 children, ages 7 and 2. My children will not eat a lot of food, but they will most likely want to eat at a lot of character meals, and so will I. So, I was thinking the deluxe would be better, we could hit most of the popular character meals, and eat at a few other restaurant too.
Thoughts from others who have dined with small children,...Thanks
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:17 PM   #2
WizardLarz
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crunch the numbers

In my opinion you have to crunch the numbers. Check Menus and see what the cost are for the meal that you would likely order. If your meals cost per day do not exceed the price of the Meal Plan then you should skip it and pay out of pocket.

The Plan used to be a good deal, you could save anywhere from $5 -$15 per day depending on the meal and what you ordered. Now you Alway have to order the most expensive Item on the menu in order to get to a break even point. To me it is no longer worth it.

Unless we are talking Free Dining, which means paying full price for you Resort room. Once again run the numbers, but in this case I think you will likely find 'Free Dining' will save you some money.

I've read that a number of people use the Deluxe Plan since most of all the Character Meals are 2 Table Service credits.

Note: You have to get the Dining Plan for all members of you party. Your kids can not be left off. They would of course be at the Kid rate and order from the Kids menu.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:51 PM   #3
sharonabe
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Character meals are NOT 2TS. CRT is the only one that is 2TS.

The deluxe plan will cost the adults $100/night. To get value out of this, you'll need to do a TS breakfast/lunch and a signature (2TS) dinner almost every day or do 3 TS meals each day. You also get 2 snacks per person, so it's A LOT of food.

The only way to see which plan, if any, works for you is to do a virtual dining experience. Go to allearsnet.com and chose the restaurants you want. Order what you WANT to eat without worrying about price (high or low). Include apps and desserts you think you would want or leave them off if that's not how you eat. Add up your totals (include a 6.5% tax) and see where you are. That should give you a good idea if that $100/night is a good deal or if staying with the regular plan is a good deal or if you should do OOP.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:18 PM   #4
GrandCalifornian
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We really enjoyed the regular dining plan with four adults and a 2 year old last September. We were able to do three different character meals (Tusker House, Hollywood and Vine, and Chef Mickey's) and since our daughter was under three the buffets for her were free. We got to eat at a variety of restaurants, and all of the adults felt it was a good amount of food. We really like having the 1 TS, 1QS, and 1 Snack for each day. Next year we are going back and doing the same plan again, and this time our daughter will be three and now on the plan so she will get her own meals and snacks as well under the plan.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:35 PM   #5
princessjennie
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We've done deluxe dining for several years now but are likely to switch to TIW in March. Can't recall if we had to pay taxes outside of dining plan along with gratuity. Can anyone help me. Want tone fair in my comparison. Thank you😃
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by princessjennie View Post
We've done deluxe dining for several years now but are likely to switch to TIW in March. Can't recall if we had to pay taxes outside of dining plan along with gratuity. Can anyone help me. Want tone fair in my comparison. Thank you��
Dining plan includes your tax, but not your tip. For OOP comparision, you'll need to add the 6.5% tax to your totals.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for clearing that up. That takes another bite out of what we thought we might save. Still think we'll give TIW a try. Thanks again
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:24 PM   #8
2ndStarr
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I wouldn't ever consider the dining plan as a money saving tool.

We used it once, really just to have the food 'paid for' before we arrived. When all was said and done we didn't even get that from it because we ordered wine, appetizers, and food for our 2 yo (who eats full meals but cannot be on the plan) and paid gratuity.

My real beef with the dining plan (pun intended!) is that you pay a flat rate and if you don't eat every penny of that, you don't get it back. We calculate the amount we would pay for the dining plan and put that exact amount on a gift card. That way we can see exactly how much we wouldn't have gotten back had we done the plan. Then we get to spend the difference!
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:16 PM   #9
princessjennie
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That's kind of our plan to have gift cards for what we'd normally spend in the DDP. Since there are nine of us going who like to eat together we thought TIW might be a better option since it covers gratuity. Like many others, we have not been able to consume the amount of food that comes with DDP. I agree that neither is a savings tool but we really enjoy the different restaurants.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:15 AM   #10
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I definitely agree that the dining plans used to be a better deal economically -- but we still get the deluxe plan.

In addition to what we feel is the benefit of having the trip paid for in advance, I admit that having the plan allows me to enjoy my meals in a way that I don't when we're paying OOP. I get kind of frazzled about trying to save money/trying to cut back ("really? are we that hungry? do we really need lunch or would some snacks do it?") and it's really, really hard for me to look at a menu and order what I really want instead of ordering something that's the less expensive options, skip appetizer and dessert, etc.

So while I don't, on the other hand, always order the MOST expensive thing just to get "value" out of the plan, I do enjoy meals more and love not feeling any pressure to go cheap on myself. We do tend to do signature meals for most dinners, and then TS for lunch or breakfast.

Finally, I also really love the special freedom the plan allows me to just say "sure!" when DS asks for popcorn, or ice cream, etc. We usually end up in the resort gift shop using up snack credits our last day, but in the meantime it's great to be on vacation and say "yes!" to special treats without a second thought.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:32 AM   #11
thepoohguy
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Originally Posted by 2ndStarr View Post
We calculate the amount we would pay for the dining plan and put that exact amount on a gift card. That way we can see exactly how much we wouldn't have gotten back had we done the plan. Then we get to spend the difference!
WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!!
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
MomTo3PrincessesInNJ
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We did the DxDP in November and have decided it's not for us. We used it to the max -- tons of character meals and a visit to CRT -- but we literally felt like we were constantly eating. And we are BIG eaters! When we checked out we had 2 qs meals and 17 (!!!!) snack credits left. It was just TOO MUCH FOOD!

I just ran the numbers for the DDP for our next trip and paying out of pocket leaves me ahead about $300 -- including the purchase of resort mugs for all of us, simply because we will eat differently off of the plan. We are still going to do all the character meals and buffets/AYCE places but our other meals will be different. And we have proven in the past that we don't use snack credits.

I did like having it all paid for up front, so maybe I can talk H into doing the gift card thing
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:31 PM   #13
DisneyATlast
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Originally Posted by MomTo3PrincessesInNJ View Post
We did the DxDP in November and have decided it's not for us. We used it to the max -- tons of character meals and a visit to CRT -- but we literally felt like we were constantly eating. And we are BIG eaters! When we checked out we had 2 qs meals and 17 (!!!!) snack credits left. It was just TOO MUCH FOOD!

I just ran the numbers for the DDP for our next trip and paying out of pocket leaves me ahead about $300 -- including the purchase of resort mugs for all of us, simply because we will eat differently off of the plan. We are still going to do all the character meals and buffets/AYCE places but our other meals will be different. And we have proven in the past that we don't use snack credits.

I did like having it all paid for up front, so maybe I can talk H into doing the gift card thing
Question....I saw that the deluxe dining plan includes an appetizer, entree, drink, and dessert.

So, does that mean EACH PERSON can order an appetizer? Or one appetizer for the family?

I don't see how anyone would need 4 appetizers plus 4 entrees, but I'm curious just incase my 9 year old isn't satisfied with what's on the kid menu or if my husband wants something to take back to the room for later then I would take advantage of that!

I know a lot of people say it's too much food, and it probably is, but taking the worry out of where to eat/what to buy will be worth it for me at least. I think about going to an expensive restaurant and spending nearly 200 dollars for one meal and figure for a 6-7 day stay and 3 worry free meals a day...it will save us money and time, I'm sure.

We like to eat! But more than we like to eat...we like the entire dining experience. I plan on taking advantage of all the character dining experiences which takes the frustration out of waiting in lines for an autograph. Plus, my kids will just love restaurants like Rainforest Cafe...and I will love taking them since cost won't be an issue!
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DisneyATlast View Post
Question....I saw that the deluxe dining plan includes an appetizer, entree, drink, and dessert.

So, does that mean EACH PERSON can order an appetizer? Or one appetizer for the family?

I don't see how anyone would need 4 appetizers plus 4 entrees, but I'm curious just incase my 9 year old isn't satisfied with what's on the kid menu or if my husband wants something to take back to the room for later then I would take advantage of that!

I know a lot of people say it's too much food, and it probably is, but taking the worry out of where to eat/what to buy will be worth it for me at least. I think about going to an expensive restaurant and spending nearly 200 dollars for one meal and figure for a 6-7 day stay and 3 worry free meals a day...it will save us money and time, I'm sure.

We like to eat! But more than we like to eat...we like the entire dining experience. I plan on taking advantage of all the character dining experiences which takes the frustration out of waiting in lines for an autograph. Plus, my kids will just love restaurants like Rainforest Cafe...and I will love taking them since cost won't be an issue!
With the Deluxe Dining Plan everyone gets an appetizer, entree, drink and desert. I found that dining plan to be a good one because we always wind up taking food back to our room as well. We mainly use the Deluxe Dining Plan because of the character meals also.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:46 AM   #15
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When I do the deluxe I usually save 100-200 on my trip as opposed to what I would pay oop. Granted I gain 10 pounds lol, but when I get home and before I leave I work it off plus a few extra
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