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Old 04-26-2013, 08:05 PM   #1
kreckl
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Stay on points or get free dining??

We are coming in Sept- already booked the flight! Now I'm trying to decide if we should stay all 8 nights on points, or pay/stay at a moderate for a few to help with dining expenses.
Does anybody do that- or have any thoughts? My head is spinning with all of the possibilities and price break-downs.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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one more thing- we are not big fans of the sofa beds, and a hotel would give us 2 beds....
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:06 PM   #3
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It depends on how many people are in your party, what the dining plan would otherwise cost you, what the rate for the resort would be and what you plan to do with the points you don't use for your upcoming vacation. Remember free dining is rack rate so it may not be as good a deal as it seems.

So first figure out what it would cost to just pay for the dining plan and see what amount above that you are really paying for the room (and would you have even wanted the dining plan if it wasn't free? it is a lot of food, a lot of time in table service restaurants - which doesn't work for me with 2 kids who don't sit in restaurants, plus tip money and other food costs as for us we still buy extra stuff that is not on the plan).

If you do want to stay at a moderate though to get the 2 beds, then it may work for you even if it is not the savings that it initially seemed. For ex, I happen to love Port Orleans French Quarter though we have not stayed there since we joned dvc in 2009 (we visit and have dinner every year - yes we love the food court). I always thought that I would stay there instead of using points, but then I always get something good on points.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:17 PM   #4
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It's all in the numbers and what you enjoy doing. We eat more and more in our room or off-site now. Many of the Disney restaurants don't excite us anymore. High prices, average service, food quality and quantity.

The price for the DDP(s) have increased to a point where they aren't worth it to us anymore.

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Old 04-26-2013, 11:00 PM   #5
kreckl
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We have two adults, and a ten year old. We like the dining plan- last trip didnt do it, but loaded some gift card with hundreds for meals, and kept having it shrink
We like a character meal, going to the Hoop...
In Sept, a moderate resort for 220-250 with dining seems good. It would cost us $150+ a day for it.
Staying on points, we could get our park tickets cheaper, but would have sofa bed all week and since we'll only get a studio will be eating out for almost all meals.
I've changed my mind a hundred times!
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:18 PM   #6
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Don't know where you are staying on points but hopefully you know that OKW does have 2 queen size beds in their studios.

Then there is TIW for your meals (assuming you are a DVC member and not renting points).
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreckl View Post
We are coming in Sept- already booked the flight! Now I'm trying to decide if we should stay all 8 nights on points, or pay/stay at a moderate for a few to help with dining expenses.
Does anybody do that- or have any thoughts? My head is spinning with all of the possibilities and price break-downs.
Thanks in advance!
You must remember that "free dining" isn't really "free". The term is quite misleading and appeals most to people who don't normally "do Disney". It comes with the price tag associated with paying full price for a regular resort hotel room. How much will that resort room cost per night over and above how much you would actually spend per day on meals?! In your example the room with "free" dining added will cost you roughly $240 / day on average but would you normally spend $240 for the day on meals? I know we would not. We always use studios and eat our breakfasts in. We do mostly CS meals and over the course of a week will do 4-5 TS meals. With the TIW card it works out to be an expense but only as big of one as we allow it to be.

The math is simple but this is like trying to rationalize going to the store to buy one pair of new shoes because you NEED a new pair. But ultimately you end up buying 3 pairs of shoes instead because the sale sign reads 20% off if you buy 3 pairs. So rather than paying $50 for one pair at full price like you originally intended you spend $120 for 3 pairs because although you spent $70 over your budget it saved you $30. My DH never buys that rationale.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreckl View Post
We are coming in Sept- already booked the flight! Now I'm trying to decide if we should stay all 8 nights on points, or pay/stay at a moderate for a few to help with dining expenses.
Does anybody do that- or have any thoughts? My head is spinning with all of the possibilities and price break-downs.
Thanks in advance!
Not what you want to hear, I'm sure, but the answer is "It Depends", LOL.

If you are asking what is the least expensive option, you have to do the math according to how your family values your points and how you plans to eat at this particular trip. As you know, there are also non-economic considerations such as the convenience factor and the bed arrangements.

You'll get lots of opinions, some of them passionate, but in the end, it really does depend on you!
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:07 AM   #9
nabi
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Does anyone have the website that calculates which dining option works best for your family? You input the restaurants into a spreadsheet and it calculates which rate is best- DDP, TIW, or cash. I lost it when the computer crashed (but I can get into all Disney websites now.. go figure!)

Found it... this may help you figure: http://seeyareelsoon.wix.com/seeyare...alculator/cxc0

Last edited by nabi; 04-27-2013 at 10:03 AM. Reason: add website
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anal Annie View Post
You must remember that "free dining" isn't really "free". The term is quite misleading and appeals most to people who don't normally "do Disney". It comes with the price tag associated with paying full price for a regular resort hotel room.
I always use quotes when I reference "free" dining. I think it has to be one of Disney's biggest marketing scams...errrr campaigns. Of course, it is successful, so they are not going to end it any time soon.

I have spoken to so many guests who feel the excess food is just a waste. I would rather stay on points, use the TiW card and order the food I want. I have no interest in thinking about the food that me or my family cannot possibly eat, and making sure we use all our credits. Who needs that stress on vacation

Whatever you decide, have a great vacation, I know you will!!
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:26 AM   #11
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We did the dining plan once (not free dining, paid for it) and we found it was a chore to keep track and figure out how to use up all the credits.

We just don't eat that many meals a day at home (and we definitely don't have a dessert every time!)

I would take our DVC room and use TiW or pay OOP for meals for our family because of our eating habits.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinne View Post
I always use quotes when I reference "free" dining. I think it has to be one of Disney's biggest marketing scams...errrr campaigns. Of course, it is successful, so they are not going to end it any time soon.

I have spoken to so many guests who feel the excess food is just a waste. I would rather stay on points, use the TiW card and order the food I want. I have no interest in thinking about the food that me or my family cannot possibly eat, and making sure we use all our credits. Who needs that stress on vacation

Whatever you decide, have a great vacation, I know you will!!
I know several people (families) that have gone on "once in a lifetime" trips to Disney and who have done "free dining" and they loved it. But I think mostly because because they felt like it was an all inclusive vaca and they didn't have a tab to pay at the end of the trip. Since they essentially pre-paid for their meals with the cost of their rooms they didn't have to stop & think about what each meal cost. I think the whole "free dining" thing is a mental attitude boost. But if they had gone without it and paid out-of-pocket for their normal eating habits I'm sure they would have found that they would have spent less in the end. I think it's a total rip-off for the tween kids who are now considered "Disney adults" but who still eat like kids with their mac & cheese and burgers and nuggets. But some people "eat it up".
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Sadly, no countdown tickers at the moment.

Come join me for my 2nd ever trip report now in progress for DisneyLAND and Aulani and Maui 2014. http://www.disboards.com/showthread....7#post52179607

My first ever trip report - Disneyland Paris and our DCL Med cruise: http://thewhitehouseblog.weebly.com/ (ALMOST but not quite finished)

August 2014 - 3 n @ VGC & DL followed by 7 n @ Aulani follwed by 3 n on Maui / Jan 2014 - 5 n @ AKV Jambo House / Aug 2013 - 9 nights @ SSR / Aug 2012 - 9 n @ Boardwalk Villas and HRH / Mar-Apr 2012 6 n @ Bay Lake / August 2011 Disneyland Paris and DCL MED cruise / August 2010 Disney's DVC resort at Hilton Head Island, SC / March 2010 Kidani Village at AKV / August '09 BCV & Vero Beach / May '09 SSR / July '08 AKV & B2B Cruises on The Wonder/ January '08 VWL / August '07 OKW / July '06 Offsite - Waikiki, Kona & Ka'anapali, Hawaii / July '05 Disneyland & Disney Magic West Coast Cruise to the Mexican Riviera / Summer '04 CSR / May '03 Offsite - St. John, USVI / Summer '02 AKL & O.C., MD


















[/url]IMG]http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/uploads/21406/ssrgroup.jpg[/IMG] [url=http://www.myvacationcountdown.com/]


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Old 04-27-2013, 09:41 AM   #13
DebbieB
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One thing to keep a mind is the tip is not included with free dining. So it's not a totally prepaid deal. With Disney's inflated food prices, it's going to add up.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #14
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I buy yearly AP's, have the TIW card, detest the DDP and really enjoy our villa stays! Therefore "Free"" dining is not something I give any thought or consideration to! But for you maybe it makes sense.....?
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:40 PM   #15
DMKEDM
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That calculator is rather amazing...

I just ran it for our upcoming 6-night trip (haven't made any ADRs yet, but entered a "representative" set of meals (3 per day) based on a dozen or more recent trips)...

TIW was best, but only by around $50--I'm surprised...total cost for our representative eating was around $1100 ($1052 OOP and $1002 w/TIW)...all the dining plans were at least $150 higher...

Very surprised!
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