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Old 02-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #31
Earning My Ears
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Also giving it up...

I'm sad to say that we are also giving up the dining plan for our trip in September. We had never been able to do the dining plan before because we always stayed at the Shades of Green. Well last trip (Sept. 2009), I was able to exchange into a DVC unit at the Beach Club and we were so excited to try the dining plan. We very rarely ate at the Disney restaurants because they were so expensive in the past and we had a blast eating our hearts out and made for a new way of doing Disney.

This trip it was no question we were doing the dining plan...until I started reading disboards. Thread after thread about the lack of value. Then the accountant in me started to come out and I decided to figure the price. I already knew where we wanted to eat and it included Le Cellier for 2 credits. We were also going to pay OOP for Kona breakfast.

I looked at the menus and picked what I wanted for both TS & QS, including cokes with QS and water with TS (which is what we usually drink). I made sure I was getting one dessert a day (which is plenty for this girl who just lost 30 lbs and is hoping to lose another 45 by Disney), either with my meal or a snack, and factored in the cost of a refillable mug.

After doing that, I figured we could eat for cheaper or close to the same price as the DDP, but get two additional TS meals that we wanted. So basically, I am swapping out all those desserts at dinner (which I would never order) and drinking water for two extra meals. This is for three adults.

I also like that this will give us flexibility in case we want to split meals or skip a meal which will just increase the savings. I will miss the pre-paid aspect, but will enjoy the flexibility.

Oh, I also figured the exact price for all the meals in the dining plan and the snacks if I only got what was on the DP and it was within $1.00 of the price of the dining plan.

Here are the places we are planning on eating and that I used for the comparison.
Teppan Edo
Le Cellier
Chef Mickey (breakfast)
Kona (breakfast)
Rainforest Cafe
Tony's Town Square
Chef de France
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:28 PM   #32
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Our trip in April will be our last on DDP. We are starting to plan our next family trip for Dec 2014 as my niece is now a disney adult and the plan is just not worth it where she is concerned. She would rather eat a kids pizza or chicken nuggets over anything on the adult menu so the plan for her is just a complete waste of money. Our last family trip we had free dining, which was great, so unless its free dining time when we go next, it will be OOP from now on.

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Old 02-20-2013, 12:31 PM   #33
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We didn't use the DP for our last minute trip last summer and it worked out great. I ended up ordering an appetizer and a salad for myself a lot as that what appealed to me and I would not have had that option. We are not using the DDP for our upcoming trip either - 3 adults and 1 child - we calculated the numbers and even with a few character meals, it is cheaper to go OOP and we are planning on 1-2 TS/day.

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:48 PM   #34
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Dining plan works best when it is "free" otherwise we find that our OOP costs and DDP cost are about equal except with OOP we retain our flexibility and choice along with not having all that money tied up in food. Pricing out the dining plan for 3 adults and 2 children comes to 800.00 for QS and 1100. For DDP. We are eating at Akershus (b)
Cp (b)
Prime time (L)
BOG (d)

We don't eat dessert with every meal and often a snack is the dessert. We prefer breakfast buffets and the boys would rather split a adult entree......
So OOP is best for our family.

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09 ASMu 1st Visit! Grandma came too! Free dining 2010 POR 2nd Visit! Grandma is along for the ride! Free dining! 03/05-09/2012 POLY here we come!! We love Disney and Grandma does too! No dining plan and we loved it! DoubleTree DTD: 3/10-3/15/13 The whole gang! Best Trip yet! First Cruise: 1/6-1/10/14 Disney Magic. 2nd Cruise: 1/9-1/15/15 Disney Wonder.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:15 AM   #35
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I don't have time to read through the whole thread right now, but I am interested in looking into this again. We did the free dining in 2005 and 2008. 2005 was definitely worth it with appetizers and tips included! 2008 was still fun, but the quality of food seemed to go down and I hated the automatic tip for large parties.

If I remember from the last time I did cost comparisons, it really depended how many people you had per room and where you ate. When I chose some it came out close in favor of the plan. The other deciding factor was how many character buffets we did. If you do a lot of those isn't the dining plan always cheaper? (make sure you look at my signature before you answer...)
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:37 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by bless7ings View Post
I don't have time to read through the whole thread right now, but I am interested in looking into this again. We did the free dining in 2005 and 2008. 2005 was definitely worth it with appetizers and tips included! 2008 was still fun, but the quality of food seemed to go down and I hated the automatic tip for large parties.

If I remember from the last time I did cost comparisons, it really depended how many people you had per room and where you ate. When I chose some it came out close in favor of the plan. The other deciding factor was how many character buffets we did. If you do a lot of those isn't the dining plan always cheaper? (make sure you look at my signature before you answer...)
Even with all those "blessings" in your signature, it still depends. The three under 10 and your 10 yr old will probably be your deciding factor. If you do mostly buffets/family style, the cost of the plan for your under 10s is right at or under the cost of that one meal, so their QS and snack are free.

Your 10 yr old will be counted as an adult, so you have to balance paying adult prices for the DDP with her eating habits. However, if you still do mostly buffets/family style and pay OOP, you will still have to pay adult price for her at these places.

If these buffets are mostly breakfast, you need to do the math because your adult people will start losing money with this scenario.

Does everyone want their own dessert at EVERY meal? Will you really want all those QS desserts and drinks?

However, a lot of people like the DDP just for the convenience and peace of mind it brings to their vacation. That in itself may be enough for you with all your "blessings."
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:25 AM   #37
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We have stayed offsite and therefore paid oop.
Only stayed onsite with free dining-first time ddp-didnt actually enjoy the constraints of choosing so far in advance,and having to be away from rides for so long.
The following year,we only booked a couple of adrs,and enjoyed it much more.
Last year was free qsdp- we thoroughly enjoyed this plan.

However,if we were paying,oop would definitely work out cheaper for us.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:36 PM   #38
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We're definitely going out of pocket this year. We did the dining plan a couple of years ago and it was just too much food.

Two adults:
One Appetizer (Split)
One Entree (Split)
And if there is enough room remaining...
One Dessert (Split)

This is how we usually do it at home since portions are typically so large so trying to squeeze in even more on vacation doesn't make sense physically or financially!

We also bring drinks and snacks to the park so pre-paying for a snack you must use or lose doesn't make sense. If I want a special snack I'll just buy it. We also found that we threw away a lot of food from the CS meals so splitting one of those makes a lot of sense too. And the thing is we're not splitting to save money it really is just because there is too much food in most instances. So that's less money spent in addition to less waste. Win/Win in our situation.

Last edited by glamdring269; 02-25-2013 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:13 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by abinormal View Post
I was playing with the calculator from See Ya Real Soon and it's pretty interesting. I'm not sure which way I would go to be honest. It pretty much comes out a wash for me based on what kinds of things I put in.

It'll be tricky for me to decide because when we go it will be the first time since 2000 for both me and my husband. And I've never actually eaten anywhere at WDW besides a few random CS places and snack kiosks. So we'll have no opinion on any place, and there's a lot we'd like to try.

We drink a lot of pop and like to get desserts. Apps we only get sometimes but some on the menus sound really yummy. Some I'd rather have instead of an entree. I don't know what kind of character meals we'd do, but I'm sure there would be at least one or two.

It's a way down the road but strangely enough this is fun for me.
That spreadsheet IS really awesome! Maybe they'll let me post the link?http://seeyareelsoon.wix.com/seeyare...alculator/cxc0
I downloaded it a few weeks ago, and it's definitely accurate, as it got me within a few dollars of my own calculations. It would definitely save some time for anyone who knows basically where they're going to eat, but doesn't know exactly what they'll eat when they get there or doesn't want to take the time to look at every menu.

DH LOVES the dining plan. He's an eater, and he's all about the convenience of it. However, it doesn't make sense for us, especially since DH pretty much needs 3 full meals a day. This leads us to purchasing extra meals that aren't included, unless we go with the Deluxe plan, which makes even less sense.

According to my calculations for our upcoming trip in April, the Regular Dining Plan would cost us around $350 more than paying out-of-pocket. I agree that if it looked as if it was going to be around $100 or so, I would probably give in to DH, but $350 is too much to ignore.
The Quick Service Dining plan would be about $200 more (if it still included 2 snacks a day, I suppose it could be a contender, but we like several TS meals)

For $350 less, we can get sodas, snacks, and desserts sometimes. The reality is that we'll probably order water and split desserts. I also don't see us all getting a snack every day, since we'll have 3 full meals, but I do have a few budgeted in for each of us.

We can split or skip meals altogether if it suits us.

I also have added to our OOP budget, some additional food for our 2 year old. While he'll easily eat his fill at the two buffet-type places we're eating, we may need to order him a little extra at the al a carte places and at counter service places. There's also the possibility that he might not eat, when we sit down for meals (he's usually pretty good about it but the excitement could overwhelm him) and it will be easier to just buy him something later, instead of trying to take something away and figure out a way to store it safely.

Another inclusion is resort mug that come with the dining plans. I don't really understand them, but we're not big soda or coffee drinkers. If we were on the dining plan, we wouldn't need them at all, because our soda needs would be covered by the drinks that were already included.
We decided to get the mugs on our last trip, because we figured it would be easy to get our money's worth, since we weren't on the dining plan. We did, but just barely. In general, I found the meal that we ate at our resort tended to be breakfast, and since they don't have juice or milk in the soda fountain machines, it was basically a wash. We did use them for hot chocolate a few times, and for some soda during other meals, but we likely would have spent around the same amount of money without them, and we wouldn't have had to deal with the mugs in the parks after they were useless.

It's entirely possible that the tables will turn next year, as DS will be 3, and we'll have to start paying for him at buffets, so my dining plan calculation years are definitely not over. I expect I'll have to test both options for every trip to Disney we take in the future.

There's definitely not a straight forward answer as everyone is different.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:05 PM   #40
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I am missing something....where is the button to download? I am logged in...it says Hello......then underneath that says Logout.

Where is the download button?

Found it under Dining Planning Calculator drop down menu at top!

Looks great! Thanks for sharing!!
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dd10*dd8 * ds6 *dd4 * ds2

Last edited by bless7ings; 02-26-2013 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:08 PM   #41
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It was tricky. I can't remember where exactly it is (on my mobile now, dl'ed it on my laptop). They must have redid the site after making the video because they point down and it's definitely not where they're pointing! >D

I want to say the download link is somewhere in the upper right of the screen. I can post again later when I get a chance to look on my laptop.
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