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Old 03-11-2013, 06:27 PM   #1
Turtletyson
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Dining Plan worth it?

How do you figure out whether it's worth it to do the Disney Dining Plan?

I'm assuming you look up the menus at the places you would probably eat, add up what you would probably spend, then compare the total price?



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Old 03-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
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Yes, exactly right. Look up the menus here on the DIS or at allears.net.
Figure out what you would order, price it out and compare it to the cost of the DDP. The DDP doesn't include appetizers and does include deserts. Is that how you would eat.
For us, the DDP ends up in small savings, but it does not for all families.
You have to do the investigation and math for your group.
Good Luck
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
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Yep, that's basically it. There will be a lot if people who will say it's not worth it, others who can't live without it. I personally like it only because I don't have to worry about how much money I'm spending on food. For me, it makes it worth it. And besides, shouldn't you always eat dessert on vacation?
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:46 PM   #4
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Yup that's exactly what I did. It ended up being about $250 more for us to get the dining plan so we are skipping it. I usually like to have my desserts spread out through the day and not necessarily with my meals so that was part of what made it more but we also aren't doing many character meals this trip which can make a difference. Even if we were though I think at best we would break even but not really save anything.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:52 PM   #5
evoli
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What matters to me is as long as I enjoy it, it's all worth it.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:54 PM   #6
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everyone will have a different opinion but for my family we love it... I love not having to worry about it and enjoy the convenience
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:54 PM   #7
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There was another thread where there was a link to a site that had some kind of dining plan calculator but for the life of me, I can't remember where I saw that. If I remember, I'll post it or maybe someone else can chime in on it. Researching the menus really helps, but it's a lot of reading! It really depends on how you like to eat, whether desserts play a big role in your meals and whether you like the "all-inclusive" feeling of the vacation. There is no right answer, most of us probably figure it out after a few trips of trial and error.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:55 PM   #8
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Keep in mind too that when you're running the numbers, you're likely going to pay more in gratuities while on the plan. To maximize value of the plan, users typically have to purchase the most expensive items on the menu -- therefore the price of tips will go up.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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You might really benefit from checking allears for menu prices and thinking about your family's eating habits.

For us, not worth it and didn't enjoy it.
Too much time sitting at TS meals when we wanted to be doing other things. The savings was very little and we probably spent more since we got more TS meals and more expensive tips. Didn't like having dessert right after our meals. We would rather have desserts an hour or two later or just order 2 desserts for the 4 of us to share.

We felt like we were tied to all our ADRs since we wanted to get the most from the dining plan.

The only advantage for us was knowing how much we'd be spending on food and we tried a couple of restaurants that we probably otherwise wouldn't have.

We do enjoy just having 2 or 3 ADRs for a trip(4-5 days) and doing the rest CS. It saves $ over the dining plan and we feel like we have more freedom. We share meals when we want, order appetizers when we want(without feeling like we're adding to our overall cost), go for ice cream when we want, cancel an ADR if we don't feel like it, etc. We're not worried about not using all our credits in order to get our money's worth. If you don't use all the credits, you pretty much wipe out any savings you might have had.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #10
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I like the convience factor of it. The past 2 times we went, we got free dining. This time we rented points to stay at BWV and I keep adding up where we are eating in hopes that the DDP will be worth it. The DDP just has too much food. We won't be eating a lot of counter service meals and when we do we won't want a soft drink and a dessert. Our plan this time is to eat breakfast in our studio, we aren't big breakfast eaters so it makes sense to have cereal and stuff in the mornings. Then we'll have one big meal either at lunch (usually a later lunch) or dinner (around 5) and just have sandwiches in our room or split a counter service meal if we get hungry. So as much as I want to do the DDP for my upcoming trip it just isn't worth it even though we'll be eating at a lot of character meals and buffets. So instead of doing the DDP I'm going to buy gift cards to use to pay for our meals. That way I will still have paid for our meals in advanace, in my mind anyway!
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixmnrs View Post
There was another thread where there was a link to a site that had some kind of dining plan calculator but for the life of me, I can't remember where I saw that. If I remember, I'll post it or maybe someone else can chime in on it. Researching the menus really helps, but it's a lot of reading! It really depends on how you like to eat, whether desserts play a big role in your meals and whether you like the "all-inclusive" feeling of the vacation. There is no right answer, most of us probably figure it out after a few trips of trial and error.
That thread is over on the Dining Plan sub-forum....check it out!
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennifer View Post
Yep, that's basically it. There will be a lot if people who will say it's not worth it, others who can't live without it. I personally like it only because I don't have to worry about how much money I'm spending on food. For me, it makes it worth it. And besides, shouldn't you always eat dessert on vacation?
This. My first time doing a dining plan was on my last trip- I went with my brother's family and they wanted it, so I chose it as well. I loved it. It was great not having to worry about setting a ton of money aside for meals and to be able to choose whatever I wanted on the menu without worrying about cost. I do think I got my money's worth then as well.

My husband and I are going to Disney next year, and we're doing the deluxe plan since we love TS. He is also in love with the idea of paying for everything beforehand. I even brought up the fact that I wasn't sure how economical the plan would be, but he doesn't care. He'd rather have the peace of mind than save a few bucks. We're doing a bunch of signature meals in addition to regular TS, so we should at least come close, and again, I don't have to stress about what I should or shouldn't order due to cost.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:12 PM   #13
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I like to not have to worry if my son orders steak instead of the cheaper chicken, so to speak. It's already paid for and I don't have to worry about cost. We wouldn't get desserts if we weren't on the dining plan because they are at least $8 a piece, which is nuts by the way. Some of the desserts there are incredible, so I don't want to miss out on them. It's really just peace of mind.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:15 PM   #14
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We personally found once our kids were an adult price (10 and over) that the plan was not worth it. We still do all the TS meals we want, but do not spend near the cost of the dining plan. We still will buy desserts but maybe only two and split them since we are usually full. There are lots of time that we prefer water to drink too just from the heat, but while on the plan that seemed like a waste. We set a food budget (by looking at menu prices and guessing costs of entrees) and buy a gift card in that amount. We usually over budget and have extra money left over for other items in the park. I would rather have extra money to spend on what ever I wanted instead of wasting dining credits on over priced snacks in the resort gift shop before boarding ME (which is what happened to us several times while our kids were younger and the DDP was more affordable).
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:29 PM   #15
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As others said think about what you would eat and price it out. I don't eat dessert with each meal or even everyday so that was something I knew I wouldn't spend money out of pocket on. Additionally I don't drink soda or coffee so the reusable mugs aren't worth it. My dad, sister and I got it one year and had 8 QS meals left over so we knew it wasn't for us.
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