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Old 05-27-2013, 01:24 PM   #31
MrEVILdrPorkchop2u
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Like everyone else has says, you will need to do the math. For us, we make out better with the dining plan. We eat at sit down places everyday. We like to eat steak and seafood on a regular basis. We don't get the most expensive items to get our monies worth, we get them because these are our favorite choices. For many people it isn't cost effective. Crunch your numbers.
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:07 PM   #32
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If you'd like the convenience of having "pre-paid" for your meals, decide on the amount you would like to budget for meals and put that on a Pre-paid Visa card or Disney Gift card. They're accepted everywhere and that way you won't get a bill after you get home and you won't have to carry cash.

We haven't actually done this yet, but my dh puts all our meals and snacks on his AMEX, so we can keep track of what we've spent. For our family of 4, all considered adults in Disney's eyes, there is no way the DDP would ever save us money.
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:45 PM   #33
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I may be repeating because I haven't read the replies, but you have to do the math. There are a couple of dining plan calculators out there, links are saved on my laptop and I'm on my iPad or I'd post. You need to go though the menus, decide where you want to eat, and what you want to eat (cost) and compare it to the cost of the dining plan.

When I do it, I pick based solely on want and not on cost, because that is how it would work on the dining plan. We eat TS several times, which automatically rules out QS. We eat too much and do signature restaurants which makes basic plan not worth it, but we do not eat enough to make the deluxe plan worth it. We don't always eat dessert, and like the occasional appetizer and adult beverage. Our OOP costs are less than basic dining costs, and gives us a bit more.

It gets even more confusing when you have free dining and need to throw in the differences between a room discount v. Paying rack rate and getting a discount on tickets from an authorized reseller v. Purchasing at a higher cost from Disney. Or, if your willing to stay offsite, or want to rent DVC points, or have an AP and want a TIW card. For me, it's always about total bottom line rather than individual components.

And remember, Disney wouldn't be offering the dining plan (even for free), if it didn't make them money. If you truly need that ore-paid feeling, put your budget on a gift card. Bonus, you won't be tracking credits AND still paying for tips out of pocket, which is another thing to consider. The more bang for your buck you get from the dining plan, the more money you are paying out of pocket in tips.

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Old 05-27-2013, 02:56 PM   #34
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I went the first week of May and this was my first time without the free dining plan (usually go in Sept). I priced out what the Quick Service dining would be on my 7 day 7 night trip to see when I got home if the dining plan was worth it.

I did mostly QS with three TS and I only spent $20 more than if I had gotten the QS plan.

I find that I ate more when I had the QS plan than when paying out of pocket because I felt that I had to get a drink and a dessert to get the most out of the plan (even though it was free).

I don't drink pop (got a bottle of water once in a while) and only got dessert once at the QS on my trip in May.

For me, I like the flexibility of paying out of pocket and eating at a few TS and getting dessert (or treats) where I want to, not locked down to what the QS has to offer.

That being said, I wouldn't say no to free dining if it was offered when I go.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:13 PM   #35
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For my family it will pay for itself or come really close depending on which counter service we go to and what is ordered off the menus at cs/ts. Hard to plan it out to the penny. I have gotten it where I was ahead a couple hundred to where I lost a hundred. Sounds like a lot but when you are talking about a 5k trip its not bad.

Looking at going to the world next year and will have me(DH), DW, DD15, DS9, DD9 since I have 2 kids under 10 it pencils out. My oldest was still eating kids meals/portions till 12 or so and I see the youngest doing the same.

Also this will be the second trip to the world for us, first was when the oldest was 5. That trip was 4 days and pre DIS so it was planned but not like this one will be.

As for ADR's we plan on doing a lot of character meals as that's part of the magic. We normally don't do lots of dessert but this is a once in a lifetime vacation so lets splurge a bit.

In the end even if I lose $100 on this I will take that as a convenience fee. Knowing everything is paid for before leave home is worth it to me.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:25 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by ironpig70 View Post

Looking at going to the world next year and will have me(DH), DW, DD15, DS9, DD9 since I have 2 kids under 10 it pencils out. My oldest was still eating kids meals/portions till 12 or so and I see the youngest doing the same.
When our two kids were under 10, it really was a great deal for us. But once they became Disney Adults, there was no way it would ever save us money.

One flaw we were able to use to our advantage was that counter service credits were not divided between kid and adult credits. We ordered all adult counter service meals. The four of us could eat on 2-3 meals. Over the course of several days, that added up to an extra meal for our family.

I have no idea if the credits are still counted that way, but something to look into.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:37 PM   #37
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In my case is not only about being cost effective. I spread my payments throughout the year, making small payments each month. By the time we're reaching the home stretch and thinking about how much money we'll really need, it's nice not to be concerned about spending money to eat. So yes, for me it's worth it.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:49 PM   #38
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When our two kids were under 10, it really was a great deal for us. But once they became Disney Adults, there was no way it would ever save us money.
I think this is where they lose a lot of families. Once they hit 10, any small benefit from the program gets taken up with the waste of ordering and paying full freight on such a young child.

Last edited by mom2rtk; 05-28-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:51 PM   #39
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This thread made me curious as I have recently booked our Sep13 Package with free Dining. I went online and did 3 possibilities

The below is for 5 nights POR in a Royal room with pool view. We are 2 adults and 2 Kids.

1. FD package ( what we did) is 2473
2. Package with new offer of 25% Fall Room only is 2142
3. Package with Fall offer plus paying for DP ( 1QS and 1 TS) is 2870


Now We could save Money and only do the room. but the difference of 331 is less that what we would pay OOP.. We have BOMA, OHana, CM, Akerhus booked. That alone brings us up to that.


Where I would though consider payiing OOP is if there was no FD and we got the room only. Here the differnce is 728 Dollars. Here it might make sense to crunch some real numbers to see if OOP is better, especially with Kids.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #40
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I feel that I'm gonna be repeating what a lot of people have said, but yes, it really depends on what you're looking to do, how many people you're feeding, what age they are and so on.

I work in the travel industry so we're mostly taught to swear by the dining plan - I mean, any job that has a sales aspect tends to have the motto of 'upsale, upsale, upsale' (Even though I work in a call center and don't make commission )

When I went last November, we had the free dining plan, so we took it. We didn't really stop to think about it, because I mean, it was free. I was also convinced at that point that the DDP was perfection and *had* to be purchased (what work trainings will do to you..)

Now that we're planning to go again for 7 nights in May, which is a time of year for which the free dining plan basically does not appear, we calculated everything through the menu info on allears and wdwinfo. We're going as a group - 10 of us, all adults. We budgeted for 2 meals a day, one QS and one TS, like the DDP offers. From what I calculated, we established a food budget of 375$ per person. That can cover the two meals, one or two snacks a day, some drinks (a lot of us drink mostly water, so to be fair we didn't include much of a drinks budget) *and* in most case, tipping (which for many meals will be a mandatory 18% since of our group size), which is not included in the DDP.

Between doing room only plus that food budget, and a package with the dining plan, it's less expensive to pay for food OOP for us. To be fair, we are also hoping for a room discount, which from what I can see from the past few years seems to happen for May travel dates

We did also look into splitting some meals - something else you don't worry about when you're on the dining plan. A lot of food was wasted last time we went. This time around, we'll be splitting some things, so hopefully there won't be as much waste Mind you, that's us though - the guys we're bringing along might feel differently

All in all, it comes down to the numbers. If you want to do a lot of character meals, or some signature dining, the DDP might easily pay for itself that way. And then, if you love planning and lists and such like I do, adding it all up will just be another fun part of your trip planning
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:48 PM   #41
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We are not doing the dining plan this year unless it is free. We find there is too much food as the portions are large and we can split some meals. And I don't want lunch dessert...would rather have ice cream later if I want it. So if we get FD we will take it but if we get a room discount that might owrk better. Wish they would get the deals out soon!!!!
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:08 PM   #42
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I would sit down and look at the menus and go over prices. It does still work for some people but fFor us, the DDP isnt worth it anymore. We generally eat at more TS restaurants than the DDP would allow for the week, so we would find ourselves paying OOP for 3-4 meals, while having a bunch of CS meal credits left over. We tried the Deluxe DDP one year and that was way too much food, since we generally only eat 2 meals a day and then grab a snack or 2. Even price wise, youre not really gaining much value anymore. We priced it out last time and even if we both got a steak for dinner at Les Chefs de France, plus dessert we would be spending about $40 for the TS meal, a CS meal generally runs about $12-15, plus a snack for $4-5 ,and the DDP is around $55 per adult, per day, so youre really not saving much.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:17 PM   #43
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I would never PAY for the QSDP or DDP. If it is free it is a great deal. But we can always eat cheaper out of pocket.

I can buy 3 CS meals for the cost of the QSDP where you only get 2 CS meals.

I can pay OOP for a TS meal a CS meal and a snack and still come out cheaper than what the DDP cost.

I think the biggest rip off is the deluxe dining plan because you can eat WAY cheaper than $100 a day per person even if you eat 3 TS meals a day. Unless you are eating expensive buffets for every meal then you might break even.

But if all 5 of us are going getting the dining plan for free saves us a ton of money because we are 5 Disney adults. There is no room discount out there that can save us as much as getting the free dining plan. Even when it is only QSDP and we pay to upgrade to DDP.

If you have a spouse who gets upset by the high food prices and it might ruin your trip to have to deal with a grumpy pants every day at meal time, it may be worth it to pre-pay for the dining plan just so all the foods seems free.
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:41 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousefan73 View Post
This thread made me curious as I have recently booked our Sep13 Package with free Dining. I went online and did 3 possibilities

The below is for 5 nights POR in a Royal room with pool view. We are 2 adults and 2 Kids.

1. FD package ( what we did) is 2473
2. Package with new offer of 25% Fall Room only is 2142
3. Package with Fall offer plus paying for DP ( 1QS and 1 TS) is 2870


Now We could save Money and only do the room. but the difference of 331 is less that what we would pay OOP.. We have BOMA, OHana, CM, Akerhus booked. That alone brings us up to that.


Where I would though consider payiing OOP is if there was no FD and we got the room only. Here the differnce is 728 Dollars. Here it might make sense to crunch some real numbers to see if OOP is better, especially with Kids.
This is what I came up with too. The FD package came out to much better bargain for us 3 adults 1 child than the fall offer plus paying oop for the dp or oop for food. I'm the type of person who really stresses about money in the moment. Putting a $2400 trip to Disney on the credit card no problem, but shelling out $18 for a plate of pasta would make me have an anxiety attack. When we went to DisneySea I didn't eat or drink all day because I was SO stressed over the price of everything. The next time we want to go to Disney if FD isn't being offered we'll stay off site and eat cheap cheap cheap instead.
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:51 PM   #45
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We do not do the dining plan because we would lose money with it.

Even though we did a few pricey meals such as Boma and Tusker House dinners on our last trip, we also ate at other restaurants such as Rose & Crown and Whispering Canyon. I am a vegetarian so my entree is pretty much always the cheapest thing on the menu so although I could break even on my buffet days, we would lose money when eating at a regular TS. My CS meal is also almost always the cheapest meal as well. DH is not a steak person either and usually orders something with chicken that is not the priciest.

Also we don't order dessert at every meal and we don't buy drinks, we drink water that you get for free from the CS places and add Crystal Light sticks to it.

Sometimes I also enjoyed having a cup of soup or chili and side of fries instead of a traditional meal and paying OOP allowed me to do that. We also ate around Epcot one day and could not have done that the same with the dining plan.

You have to see what types of things you would like to order and see if it is worth it to you.
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