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Old 05-05-2013, 05:17 PM   #16
princessanj
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Originally Posted by MinnieLovesMickey12 View Post

We have never used a room only discount. And YES the dining plan is actually 100% free. I booked my vacation paying rack rate for 9 nights in a family suite. Booked and paid for. Then the free dining promo came out and I added it to our already booked and paid for reservation. BOOM. FREE DINING IS FREE. It saved us $275 a day not having to pay for the dining plan.

If you save 20% off a value room that would have saved us about $40 a night. Taking the free dining with 5 Disney adults saved us $275 a night.

Just because you pay full price rack rate for the room doesn't mean the dining isn't free. That is just a silly way to look at things. If you go into JCPenneys and pay full price for a pair of jeans to get a tank top free, just because you didn't get a discount on the jeans doesn't mean the tank top wasn't free.

Usually ppl who don't like the dining plan are the ones who will come into these threads and say THE DINING PLAN ISN'T REALLY FREE. Yes it is.

If you have 5 Disney adults in a room there will never be ANY DISCOUNT that is a better discount than free dining. Even if you are in a $400 a night room and get a 35% off room discount the free dining for 5 adults will still be double the discount the room only discount is.

Even if there are only 2 of us and we stay in a mod ($180 a night) a 25% room only discount would save us a little over $40 a night. The free dining would save us $110 a night. So no matter how you look at it, unless you are just 2 ppl and you are staying in a $400 a night room and get 30% or better room discount, the free dining will always save you more. Period.
Agree totally! DH and I will never go without the dining plan, even for just the convenience of prepaying. If we were paying out of pocket I wouldn't get to eat whatever I wanted because I would try to be frugal. It's not for everyone, but we had free dining the past two trips (and I also totally agree that it is free!) and we are even paying for it this year because we love it!
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:01 AM   #17
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I think people see (or don't see) value in the DDP for multiple reasons. We always get free dining (here in the UK it's usually available to us) so in a sense, we always get good value. We do tend to gravitate toward the more expensive choices though to maximize the plan.

I recently priced it all out based on our receipts for previous stays for a friend of ours who is staying at a value resort. (In the UK, we don't get free dining at values at all, we only get QSDP with Mods and regular DP with Deluxe) The price they would have to pay for the dining plan (UK Prices) would be recovered easily even without seeking out higher priced choices.

The problem is, some people wouldn't actually buy all the items they do on when on the DP if they were paying out of pocket. So for some people, they can eat for much less than the DP costs.

For example, my receipt for lunch at Starring Rolls on our last trip was $21.36, which is a good value on the surface. However, if I was paying out of pocket, I wouldn't have bought the chips, I wouldn't have bought a large drink and I would probably have shared the cup cake with someone else. Take all of that into consideration, it would have been cheaper OOP.

For me the value is in pre-paying and not having to worry about a food budget. I feel having saved our receipts that I do get WAY more than the DP would actually cost me if I paid for it, but I don't know that it really saves me money overall because if I paid OOP, I wouldn't buy half the stuff I get when on the DP.

That said, if you do select the most expensive items, you will find that your receipts total much more than you pay for the DP.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:53 AM   #18
dadofgoofy
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Me too

I have tracked the cost of our meals on the dining plan for a couple of years now. Most times we're really close to breaking even, UNTIL you throw the snack credits in. Once those are added (especially if you use them for more expensive snack items like Dole Whips instead of bottles water), we always make out on the goood side. (We also use several snack credits at Goofy's at DTD to have when we get home to extend the magic).

For us though, the real value of the dining plan is having our food pre-paid, and not having to look at the prices on the menu. If I were paying OOP, I would never eat at Monsiuer Paul or CRT. but, with the dining plan, I would and do.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRomance View Post
I think people see (or don't see) value in the DDP for multiple reasons. We always get free dining (here in the UK it's usually available to us) so in a sense, we always get good value. We do tend to gravitate toward the more expensive choices though to maximize the plan.

I recently priced it all out based on our receipts for previous stays for a friend of ours who is staying at a value resort. (In the UK, we don't get free dining at values at all, we only get QSDP with Mods and regular DP with Deluxe) The price they would have to pay for the dining plan (UK Prices) would be recovered easily even without seeking out higher priced choices.

The problem is, some people wouldn't actually buy all the items they do on when on the DP if they were paying out of pocket. So for some people, they can eat for much less than the DP costs.
This is absolutely true, on both ends. There are lots of devout followers of the DDP(s) on this board, and there are lots of ardent detractors. Neither is truly right or wrong, except with how it applies to their own trip requirements.

Now, the math is getting considerably harder, since the plan prices are rising faster than the food prices, thus creating smaller windows of savings (and making it more difficult to reach the savings threshold.) If you're still looking to order from the top half at the menu from the upper half (or so) of the price range (per credit), then chances are you'll come out at least breaking even.

Of course, for me, it's never about the "High Score." It's about balancing the increased cost by using a plan (because you can ALWAYS eat cheaper than any of the dining plans) vs the experiences and value gained by said plan. If I go in knowing that I'm spending more to be on this plan, but at the same time, knowing that I'm getting closer to my ideal dining wants and the ideal is cheaper with the plan than without, then I know that it's going to work.

Basically, if the difference between the increased cost in the plan ($x) and the value that I'd be getting from said plan ($y) makes sense ($y - $x), then it should work for that trip, otherwise, I'd be better off with another plan, or OOP.

For example, in 2012 my math worked out so that I estimated about a $450 increase in cost by using the DxDDP ($x), in turn, I'd be getting roughly $700 worth of value ($y), so the difference of $350 was worth it to me.

For 2013, it's working out just the opposite. For an estimated ~$500 increase in cost, I'd be getting ~$505 worth of value. So that $5 difference, which could easily be lost by a skipped dessert, much less a skipped meal, made it not worth it to me. Since the plan number was already padded with a few meals and entitlements that I was only picking because I was on the plan, the subjective weight of the prepayment (peace of mind since I'm horrible at saving money) and the added experiences didn't balance out in favor of the plans this year. (Note: DDP was worse, since I'm only doing a few QS in here, I'd not even break even).

So, really, it's all about the math and figuring out what's right for you. Not getting hung up on the "High Score" mentality of "I must save the absolute most I can, even if it doesn't fit my trip!" is very important (and often lost in discussion.)

Now I'm just rambling because I don't feel like working...
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:43 PM   #20
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I hope this makes sense, but as I first planned our vacation, I would have saved about $150 to do a RO discount. I budgeted $600 for food (H and I both consider ourselves foodies). I took the $150 from our food budget to pay for the "free" qsdp that we got from paying rack rate for our room. That left us $450 left to pay for any OOP meals we wanted.

H wanted to eat at Ohana, Chef Mickey and 50s PTC. We looked at the menus and figured that (approximately) our total OOP cost for those three meals would have been *approximately* $250. To Upgrade to the DDP, it was going to be *approx* $300. It made sense for us to pay the extra $50 and get the extra TS meals.

So if you figure it up, my "free" dining actually cost us $150 (paying full rack rate)+ $300 (to upgrade from QSDP) = $450. That is still $150 less than our $600 budgeted amount, covering tips and still leaving *some* money for extra OOP at the food and wine festival.

You really are kind of lying to yourself if you think that the FD is really Free, but when you move the money from your food budget to cover the difference, you will still likely come out ahead. However, instead of feeling like you're denying yourself something ("That steak looks good, but that takes up over half my budgeted money today!") you have the "convenience" of having it pre-paid.

All of that being said, paying for the full DDP OOP (in our case) was not justified as I know we could have eaten what we wanted for less than the price of the DDP (We allowed $100 a day and the DDP would have been a little over $140/day).

ALL of that being said, we are making it our goal to try new and unusual foods on the menu (vs always going for the most expensive), something we wouldn't otherwise risk our money on. (For what sense that makes). I do foresee a lot of steaks in our future though.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:03 PM   #21
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I just did a rough draft to decide if ddp was worth it for me. I am going first week dec so I don't have any discounts yet. With 1 adult 3 kids it seems cheaper for me. We are going to CRT, Boma, chef mickey, ohana and hopefully BOG. Even without counter service factored in it is cheaper for me to do the dining plan. I was hoping oop would be, but I guess it's the 3 kids / 1 adult that makes it less this time.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:14 PM   #22
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Totally AGREE!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by princessanj View Post
Agree totally! DH and I will never go without the dining plan, even for just the convenience of prepaying. If we were paying out of pocket I wouldn't get to eat whatever I wanted because I would try to be frugal. It's not for everyone, but we had free dining the past two trips (and I also totally agree that it is free!) and we are even paying for it this year because we love it!
I LOVE the DDP!!! I TOO will pay if I don't get the Free Dining! AND we also saved close to $300 a night once we got our FREE Dining pin code on a reservation we had already made! SUPER excited about our Fall trip with Free Dining!!
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:15 PM   #23
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The times I have gone and focused on the biggest bang for the buck it wasn't as fun or enjoyable. Yes, it's fun to have the most expensive steak on the menu but after a day or two of steak you may just want a salad ... ya know!

I like it for the pre-paid aspect and the aspect that I don't have to budget for food ... the kids can get dessert and a snack in the park without counting pennies during our trip.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:16 AM   #24
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I agree that if your making your ADRs all for the most bang you may not enjoy it as much, expensive doesn't mean better or that you'll like it. Sure make an ADR or two where you want to try some new things where they might be a bit pricey but make most of your ADRs based on you & your family's taste or I fear you will be disappointed!

We ate at Calli Grill & tho we loved the sushi ( payed OOP for that) our entree that we used two TS credits for we're not that good, steak was chewy, potatos cold & dry, green beans could have been cooked just a bit more.

Narcossee we were so excited about havi g lobster on DDP but it was very chewy in fact I could really only eat the claws & the pasta that came with it.

My favorite meals were unexpected ones. Nine Dragons, LTT lunch, SCi Fi, Capts Grill, Just simple but really good food!

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Old 05-13-2013, 06:44 AM   #25
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I have always gotten the dining plan whenever I go even when I have gone as a solo traveler. I just like the peace of mind that I don't have to drag along a lot of money, use credit cards or charge to my room the cost of any of my meals while I am on vacation. I am a terrible saver and like to shop (would probably spend the money I had budgeted for meals....) so prepaying for my meals thru the dining plan is good for me. If I come out ahead, break even or if I don't, Just knowing it has been paid for in advance makes for a less stressful vacation for me
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:06 PM   #26
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We got the best deal in 2009. 7 people in 2 rooms at pop, rack rate but lowest rack rate at $82/night per room. We had 7 ppl total and had free dining and this was the regular DDP not the QS you get now. The dining plan was definitely worth more than we paid for the rooms.

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Old 05-14-2013, 09:45 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCLbrideSept2009 View Post
We got the best deal in 2009. 7 people in 2 rooms at pop, rack rate but lowest rack rate at $82/night per room. We had 7 ppl total and had free dining and this was the regular DDP not the QS you get now. The dining plan was definitely worth more than we paid for the rooms.

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Old 05-15-2013, 07:33 AM   #28
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FD normally wouldn't work for me, because I mostly go solo. Room discount works best. Also, when I go by myself, normally I do a couple of apps and a dessert, so it would not pay for me.

However, when I do take people, they like the ability of paying up front and not having to worry about anything but apps, tips, or drinks. I always book the most expensive places I can that take 1 TS credit, so we can be sure to have dinner every day.

Even with the dining plan going up last year, I still think you can at least break even. The nice part is knowing if you are traveling with someone on a shoestring, they can feel part of the experience and not have to worry about it.

However, I did something similar with FD one year; we were two rooms; five adults and two children. Boy, did we save some serious money that year. It made it possible for another couple and their two children to travel with us; I had already paid for my room and the other couple already paid for their room. We got connecting rooms as requested. And it was this couple's first vacation ever together.

You cannot put a price on things like that.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:59 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiveisaparty View Post
I just did a rough draft to decide if ddp was worth it for me. I am going first week dec so I don't have any discounts yet. With 1 adult 3 kids it seems cheaper for me. We are going to CRT, Boma, chef mickey, ohana and hopefully BOG. Even without counter service factored in it is cheaper for me to do the dining plan. I was hoping oop would be, but I guess it's the 3 kids / 1 adult that makes it less this time.
If you have kids under 10....that's when it the savings start to accumulate. The more you have, the better the plans math works out.

When we were 2 adults and 3 under 10...the DDP worked out very well for us, because we could not buy a CS, TS, and snack, per day, for less than the cost of the kids plan. We basically broke even on the adult side, but saved a decent amount on the kids.

Now, we are 2 adults, 1 Disney adult (my oldest is 10), and 2 kids. It's no longer a good deal for us...because my 10 year old can not/does not eat like an adult. She simply can't consume enough food to justify paying upwards of $50 per day for her meals.

We did our December trip OFF the DDP. By going OOP, we ended up saving roughly $275 over what the DDP would have cost us...and threw in an extra TS meal, to boot. That's because in some places my oldest ordered off the kids menu and in MOST cases we were able to share an appetizer OR desert at dinner with the whole table of "adults". Basically, at most non-buffet TS we were paying for 2 or 3 adult entrees, 2 or 3 kids meals, and ONE app/desert.

Full disclosure: We are DVC members so we do not (unless we want to book a room AND buy Disney priced tickets) have free dining available to us. Likewise, we typically are in a 1BR and stock our fridge..so refillable mugs have no use for us, either.

It's different for every traveling party. Everyone's answer to the question "Does this work for me" is going to be slightly different. And it's probably going to change, over time, especially if you have young kids.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:11 PM   #30
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Back-- Update!! I have 2 kids under 10. When all was said and done saved just over $200. ONlLY ordered what I WANTED to eat. My DH is an eater, likes steak and ribs. Did not "stress" and have an unenjoyable vacation either. Just ate what we wanted and focused on eating more than a salad or sandwich. Wasn't a contest by any means, just curious what we spent vs. what we spent if you KWIM. I agree-- just with SNACKS we completely came out ahead- focusing on the $5 snacks instead of the $1 and $2 snacks really added up. YUMMY Goofy's Candy Co Krispie treats to name just one huge, yummy and higher priced snack credit.
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