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Old 03-11-2013, 10:44 PM   #16
kungaloosh22
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I like to not have to worry if my son orders steak instead of the cheaper chicken, so to speak.
There's a flip side to this though. A lot of people seem to worry if their party isn't ordering the most expensive things.

I've seen soooo many posts where people worry, "What should I order to maximize my dining plan?" or "You HAVE TO order the most expensive thing to make sure you get your money's worth." At this point, you're not necessarily ordering what (and how much) you really feel like eating.

My advice, if you're going to look up the menus to see if it's worth it, try hard to not get caught up in that. Try to think about what and how much you'd really want to eat at any given meal. If you love steak and want to eat that at every meal, plus always have room for dessert, it might be a good plan for you. If you're a lighter eater or a salad and chicken fan, maybe not so much?
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:33 AM   #17
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Dining Plan!

I have never bought a dining plan. It seems to be cheaper for us not to. But we have used it when Disney offered it free. We up graded from Quick Service to Dining one year because I had two reservations all ready made that paid me to do so. But last fall we just kept the Quick Service. I enjoyed the dining because we did eat somehere nice every day. We ate places we hadn't before. But we were surprised how well we ate on the quick service. We had fish at the Columbia House in MK, Ribs at Flame Tree Barbque in AK, Pork chops & chicken at Seasons in Epcot & two meals a day was enough on either plan! When we purchased a meal(dinner) at the hotel we would get a pastry or muffin for breakfast in place of our desert, bottled milk or juice for our drink and use our cups for a refill for our meal. Then we had our breakfast for the next morning! You learn little tricks like that when using the plan. The negative side to using the dining plan was arranging your days around your reservations. I found on the quick service plan we ate when we were hungry & it didn't matter where we were at! So I think if I were ever to buy it I would buy the Quick Service and make one or two reservations and pay out of pocket , unless it figured up I was spending more! But I think thats what would work for us! I also wanted to add one reason I wouldn't want to buy it is by the end of the week my family was tired of eating in Disney. I had to insist to (older children) that they please finish using the dining plan instead of going out to eat!( Applebees or Outback or where ever) LOL! So I would be afraid to buy it in case they wouldn't use it all.

Last edited by Southern Bell; 03-12-2013 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:51 AM   #18
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It's very much a "how do you like to eat" question. If you normally expect three meals a day, have desserts at lunch or dinner, and want/expect those meals to be all Disney every day, then the DDP could be a good fit for you. If you depart from that appreciably, say you eat lighter breakfasts and maybe only one other "sizable" meal the rest of the day while in the parks, paying OOP may be a better plan.

All I can offer is for my family, OOP works best. We're planning light breakfasts in room all but two days, and the heat generally keeps us from getting hungrier for two full meals later in the day, so we plan on a late lunch or early supper, and we normally don't do that many desserts. Add that up, and OOP is a fairly decisive winner for us.

All that is to say do some planning, add it up, YMMV, and have a good time
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:16 AM   #19
Maisey13
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We went back and forth on this same issue for weeks before deciding to add a DDP. As you can see from the wide range of responses everyone has a different opinion of what works for their family.

This is our first trip to Disney and we finally came to the decision that the DDP is about 1) enjoying our dining experience on vacation (dessert!) and 2) convenience. We are doing three character meals and plus the BOMA buffet at our hotel (AK). In the "real world" we would never pay these prices for our child to eat out, but we are at WDW and we view it as paying for the character interaction.

My husband is a number cruncher and determined that for us it made sense on this trip because of the number of character meals and special events we are celebrating. However, on future trips, we will preload a gift card and just pay as we go.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:19 AM   #20
Southern Bell
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We usually go to Disney in the summer. We drink alot of water all day long. We don't want as much to eat either because of the heat. So you are right it just depends on your family and how they do. Sometimes they didn't want the big meal I had reserved for them to eat that evening! LOL! The year we had the dining plan though we did alot of character meals! We had our daughter & family! It did pay us to upgrade just because of the character meals she wanted to do! My grandson had a blast and we did, too! Just watching him was alot of fun & worth it! Last Fall it was just me and my husband a & we just kept the quick dining.

Last edited by Southern Bell; 03-12-2013 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:26 AM   #21
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We have found that since we have 2 children under 10 and we like to do a lot of character meals and buffets, that it saves us money.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maisey13 View Post
We went back and forth on this same issue for weeks before deciding to add a DDP. As you can see from the wide range of responses everyone has a different opinion of what works for their family.

This is our first trip to Disney and we finally came to the decision that the DDP is about 1) enjoying our dining experience on vacation (dessert!) and 2) convenience. We are doing three character meals and plus the BOMA buffet at our hotel (AK). In the "real world" we would never pay these prices for our child to eat out, but we are at WDW and we view it as paying for the character interaction.

My husband is a number cruncher and determined that for us it made sense on this trip because of the number of character meals and special events we are celebrating. However, on future trips, we will preload a gift card and just pay as we go.
That was us on our first trip staying on-site. I will say, even though I can't see us getting it again, it was nice to give it a try and we tried out restaurants that we wouldn't have gone to without it. Mostly, it just didn't fit with our eating habits though.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:42 PM   #23
Minnie222
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We used it and we loved it. We want to enjoy the rides and the parks and not having to worry about the food. With DDP, we are sure we will be properly fed. Our kids love character dining. It's fun and saves us a lot of time in meet and greet.

If we were paying at every meal, we probably wouldn't do character dining and all the buffets, and end up eating pizzas and burgers the whole week. We did't want our trip to be like that.

Downside to it is you need to allow a good 2 hours for table service meal. Also, waiting half an hour to get to a table (even with reservation) is not something very exciting.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:02 AM   #24
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Haven't been to Disney yet, but I went through the menus at allears.net and made guesses about what we would probably order. Just thinking about our preferences, and not about the cheapest items, it still worked out to be about $20 cheaper per day to pay out of pocket.

- We usually drink ice water instead of soda.
- We wouldn't spend money on CS desserts - they look unappealing.
- We'd rather get ice cream in mid-afternoon than try to cram in dessert after a big TS meal.
- There are places we'd go if we had free dining, but wouldn't spend our own money for. (Chef Mickey's, Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic package.)
- There are places where I think our kids would rather split an adult meal than have a ultra-processed kids' meal - like rotisserie chicken vs. chicken nuggets.

We're planning some expensive meals (Cape May Clambake, Crystal Palace, California Grill), and it still wasn't even close.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:15 AM   #25
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We are using DDP for the 3rd time in June. It works best for us because:

1. All meals... snacks... and desserts are all paid for up front.

2. We have a teenage boy and a preteen boy who eat a LOT!

3. Cupcakes are snack credits in the parks

4. My husband and teenage son tend to order steak in every restaurant which is normally the most expensive item on the menu.

5. We always book DDP... if its free thats even better!!
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:36 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VACamm View Post
We are using DDP for the 3rd time in June. It works best for us because:

1. All meals... snacks... and desserts are all paid for up front.

2. We have a teenage boy and a preteen boy who eat a LOT!

3. Cupcakes are snack credits in the parks

4. My husband and teenage son tend to order steak in every restaurant which is normally.the most expensive item on the menu.

5. We always book DDP... if its free thats even better!!
Yes these are our reasons for the DP as well. I have an almost 13 yr old boy who CAN EAT! we love desserts with our meals (we DONT do apps, never have). And i love the fact that the meals are paid upfront! Bonus! Plus we love the snack credits.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:53 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by goofyintoronto
Yes these are our reasons for the DP as well. I have an almost 13 yr old boy who CAN EAT! we love desserts with our meals (we DONT do apps, never have). And i love the fact that the meals are paid upfront! Bonus! Plus we love the snack credits.
Exactly! We dont do appetizers either ... because most table service restaurants offer breads to begin with.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:10 AM   #28
danceintherain
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The Dining Plan calculator is on a Disney Vlog called Seeyareelsoon
http://seeyareelsoon.wix.com/seeyare...alculator/cxc0

I found the results to be very close to my own calculations, so I can definitely see how helpful it would be for someone who doesn't want to look up all the menus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kungaloosh22 View Post
My advice, if you're going to look up the menus to see if it's worth it, try hard to not get caught up in that. Try to think about what and how much you'd really want to eat at any given meal. If you love steak and want to eat that at every meal, plus always have room for dessert, it might be a good plan for you. If you're a lighter eater or a salad and chicken fan, maybe not so much?
I constantly see people on here saying that they wouldn't do certain meals if they weren't on the dining plan, and I honestly don't see how that's relevant (maybe back when Le Cellier was only one credit...). The bottom line is that we spend LESS MONEY without the Dining Plan. I can plan in ALL the meals we want, we can order what we want, when we want it, and my calculations still come out at least $200 cheaper. I expect to spend a certain amount of money, so it's irrelevant to me whether the money is spent now vs. later. Also, if something in my finances changes, I can still do my Disney trip, and make cuts in the dining department if I pay out of pocket. That's not so possible with the dining plan. I like the flexibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OklahomaTourist View Post
It's very much a "how do you like to eat" question. If you normally expect three meals a day, have desserts at lunch or dinner, and want/expect those meals to be all Disney every day, then the DDP could be a good fit for you. If you depart from that appreciably, say you eat lighter breakfasts and maybe only one other "sizable" meal the rest of the day while in the parks, paying OOP may be a better plan.

All I can offer is for my family, OOP works best. We're planning light breakfasts in room all but two days, and the heat generally keeps us from getting hungrier for two full meals later in the day, so we plan on a late lunch or early supper, and we normally don't do that many desserts. Add that up, and OOP is a fairly decisive winner for us.

All that is to say do some planning, add it up, YMMV, and have a good time
Your logic is a bit off here. The Regular Dining Plan does not provide 3 meals a day - it provides 2 meals and a snack. My husband needs 3 full meals a day. If he just has a snack for one meal, he gets hungry later. For this reason, we tend to add in extra meals on top of what the dining plan provides, which cuts into any savings it may provide. For our trip in April, I have 2 CS and 1 TS planned every day. None of the dining plans accommodate this, and my calculations have us spending over $200 less by paying out of pocket (3 adults and 1 toddler). If for some reason we don't consume one of the meals I have planned, the money stays in our pocket.
It also includes any extra food we may end up purchasing for our 2 year old.

No, we won't get desserts and sodas with every meal, but we wouldn't want them with every meal anyways.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:11 AM   #29
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That calculator at seeyarealsoon is awesome convinced to do AP with Tim card instead dining.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:03 AM   #30
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Especially now that the DP does NOT include tip, we don't see value in it. We make out much better using the Tables In Wonderland card for our family. We visit at least 2x a year so we can get 3 trips off of one membership.

I just like the flexibility of eating when/where we want. We eat a lot of counter service and a few big meals through the week. We don't usually get dessert or we just get 1 to share as we enjoy eating snacks a few hours later in the park. Also, if its hot, we just aren't that hungry and I don't want to feel like I need to order all this food to "maximize" the dining plan. Usually the lighter items that we tend to eat are the cheaper items and we would feel guilty ordering those on the dining plan. And the gratuities really add up!!!

So for our family, it just isn't worth it. We make out much better using Tables in Wonderland and paying OOP.
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