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Old 09-21-2013, 10:28 AM   #76
JenSop
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Hey folks, I'm just back from 4 days in Disney WITHOUT the DDP. (Was staying as a convention guest...)

I am reminded again that I will ALWAYS do the DDP. My CS lunch at Tangeriene Cafe was $23 alone. (Yes, I like the combo platter - and the baklava!) That's just me. Holy cow! And I love Dole Whip floats - had to pay OOP for all of them! My TS lunch at Chefs de France was over $30 - and normally for TS dinners, I order entrees that are more than that for sure.

I'm going back in two months and will have the DDP - it's my boyfriend's first trip, and that man can eat like crazy. I already know we will save decently with the dining plan! And I will love the convenience of pre-paying for it.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:27 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by JenSop View Post
Hey folks, I'm just back from 4 days in Disney WITHOUT the DDP. (Was staying as a convention guest...)

I am reminded again that I will ALWAYS do the DDP. My CS lunch at Tangeriene Cafe was $23 alone. (Yes, I like the combo platter - and the baklava!) That's just me. Holy cow! And I love Dole Whip floats - had to pay OOP for all of them! My TS lunch at Chefs de France was over $30 - and normally for TS dinners, I order entrees that are more than that for sure.

I'm going back in two months and will have the DDP - it's my boyfriend's first trip, and that man can eat like crazy. I already know we will save decently with the dining plan! And I will love the convenience of pre-paying for it.
Tangeriene Cafe has always been one of the most CS restaurants on property and it appeared that you ordered the most expensive item on the menu (a combo platter for $16, a baklava for $2.50 and a large drink for $2.50 -- that's the only way for your bill to come up to $23). Chefs de France is also one of the more expensive TS restaurants. Even so, you would have barely paid for the DDP on that day: $30 (Chefs lunch) + $23 (Tangerine dinner) + $4 (Dole Whip snack) = $57. The DDP would have been $55.59. That's a whole $1.50 in your pocket .

It is very true that you can maximize the DDP if you eat at the more expensive places and order the most expensive items. If you are willing to seek out the best "bang for your buck" you will probably not lose money on the DDP, but I think it takes a lot of effort for two adults with no kids.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:15 PM   #78
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Tangeriene Cafe has always been one of the most CS restaurants on property and it appeared that you ordered the most expensive item on the menu (a combo platter for $16, a baklava for $2.50 and a large drink for $2.50 -- that's the only way for your bill to come up to $23). Chefs de France is also one of the more expensive TS restaurants. Even so, you would have barely paid for the DDP on that day: $30 (Chefs lunch) + $23 (Tangerine dinner) + $4 (Dole Whip snack) = $57. The DDP would have been $55.59. That's a whole $1.50 in your pocket .

It is very true that you can maximize the DDP if you eat at the more expensive places and order the most expensive items. If you are willing to seek out the best "bang for your buck" you will probably not lose money on the DDP, but I think it takes a lot of effort for two adults with no kids.
Actually she SAVED $1.66 as the DDP price is now $58.66
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:09 PM   #79
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Actually she SAVED $1.66 as the DDP price is now $58.66
Not for her dates.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:09 PM   #80
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I think Frommer's is wrong. The dining plans are probably not for everyone as everyone has different dining needs/expectations. But in certain instances, if you're someone that pays attention to detail, they can save you money.

I actually put together a pretty detailed spread sheet to compare the different dining plans to paying OOP for our November 2014 trip. And when I say detailed I mean I went through every menu for every QS and TS restaurant we might want to eat at and computed average costs for app/entree/dessert to plug into the sheet.

Our meal breakdown is:
Breakfasts: AoA each morning (I have two diabetics traveling and we will be eating breakfast at our hotel every morning to ensure they can take their insulin/meds on time)
Lunches: BoG, AoA, Flame Tree, AoA, Via Napoli, Pecos Bills
Dinners: Marrakesh, Columbia Harbor, HoopDeDoo, Boma, AoA, Garden Grill

Total OOP for 4 adults (including tax but not gratuity because I pay that regardless) = $1989

Total covered by QS Plan= $920
OOP expense w/ QS plan = $1069
Cost of QS Plan: $962
Covered by QS - Cost of QS = -$42

Total covered by Standard TS Plan= $1619
OOP expense w/ TS plan = $370
Cost of TS Plan: $1408
Covered by TS - Cost of TS = $211

So we are out $42 if we use the QS plan and conversely we save $211 by using the standard dining plan and paying attention to how we use our credits. In reality because I used averages and not specific numbers (especially for the snacks which really fluctuate in price) we will probably end up saving even more than that.

Depending upon how a family eats, and how much in advance you plan (and doesn't dining take a little planning regardless- just to get ADRs?) you can utilize the dining plans to successfully save you money.

Just my two pennies...
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:17 PM   #81
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A lot of truth in that article. We did DDP last trip and kept meticulous records. It was much more expensive than OOP. I also get sick of all the ADR planning involved. Not even close to being worth all the hassle any more.

ETA: we have used DDP 6 times to date. Probably won't do it again.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:41 PM   #82
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Not for her dates.
$58.66 is the current price and she said she was just back.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:47 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by CynJ View Post
I think Frommer's is wrong. The dining plans are probably not for everyone as everyone has different dining needs/expectations. But in certain instances, if you're someone that pays attention to detail, they can save you money.

I actually put together a pretty detailed spread sheet to compare the different dining plans to paying OOP for our November 2014 trip. And when I say detailed I mean I went through every menu for every QS and TS restaurant we might want to eat at and computed average costs for app/entree/dessert to plug into the sheet.
But did you include an appetizer in your TS calculations? Because the dining plan doesn't include those anymore.

And the other thing that a lot of people don't consider is that when you don't have the dining plan you probably eat a lot different than with it. In other words, if we don't have the plan, we don't each order dessert with every meal. At most we might order two to share among the four of us. Also, I tend to be a lighter eater and might only order an appetizer as my meal instead of a full entree. So if you take those things off the bill, along with tax and tips on those items, it really changes what I would spend OOP. For us, I don't think we'd pay for it, but it's definitely a great deal when you get free dining!
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:19 PM   #84
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But did you include an appetizer in your TS calculations? Because the dining plan doesn't include those anymore.
Oh, great error catch! I forgot to change that when I copied the sheet Excel (the Deluxe plan does cover an appetizer for table service)

Luckily for us it only affects two of the restaurants.

So it brings our savings down from $210 to $135. Which stinks but still saves me $135 which will pay for my PhotoPass+ preorder.

I agree with you that some folks will eat differently. For my plan we picked out all our restaurants first (and worked around a couple of mandatory "rest days" we have to take for medical reasons) then went and explored whether the dining plan would work for us.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:24 PM   #85
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DDP has never worked for us. I do the math every trip. I liked the idea so I really wanted it to work. It simply isn't a good deal for us - not ever. We are always better off with the RO discount and TIW card. We don't have children staying in the room with us and we stay in deluxe. There is usually one or, at most two, adults per room.

The only way that I see DP's working is if you stay value or mod with a family of 4 or 5 with kids 9 or younger and eat character meals. THEN, you can save with DP.

There is no such thing as FREE dining. It is a different type of discount that keeps all your vacation $$$ inside WDW. You have to pay rack rate for the room. Enough said.
I agree with this. I think the author of the article nailed it for the most part. Maybe he misrepresents the number of snack items you can (can't) buy, but he also fails to mention that "free" dining comes at the expense of rack rate on the resort rooms. We don't eat a ton (my 15yo daughter and I usually share a Disney-sized meal), so the RO discount always saves us more money than free dining. Especially if we're staying deluxe.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:32 PM   #86
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$58.66 is the current price and she said she was just back.
According to Mousesavers the cost of the DDP from 8/4/13 - 12/12/13 is $55.59. I guess they could be wrong.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #87
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I will go on record too. I agree 100%
As do I.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:05 PM   #88
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We've added up the receipts from all our meals each trip and so far each time have come out ahead with the plan.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:23 PM   #89
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My 10 year old eats like a bird. He is allergic to all fruit. He can barely finish a kid's meal at most WDW restaurants. No chance of me paying $55+ for him to eat each day.

Secondly, one year we were all wiped out by a horrendous winter bug. No one ate for days. There were 8 of us that were on the DDP. You can never get your money refunded.

Thirdly, the last two trips we have taken in hot weather (May/Sept) we have had very small appetites. We just wanted to drink cold beverages, eat fruit, salad and dole whips.

We have found that TIW works much better for us (or even no discount at all works better) than DDP. This way, people with little or no appetite on any given day, for any variety of reasons are not charged. Also, I still have the liberty to order a kids meal for my child with a small appetite (unless we go somewhere where we are charged per head).

This past trip we stayed one night in a resort hotel and got the deluxe DDP for that night. That was fun, I'll admit (we've decided that one day on the DDP would be our limit...and at the time we had a nine year old)! Then we moved over to OKW and used TIW the rest of the week. That was a more natural, relaxed way to eat.
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:27 PM   #90
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According to Mousesavers the cost of the DDP from 8/4/13 - 12/12/13 is $55.59. I guess they could be wrong.
That is incorrect. If you go on to Disney's site and plan a trip, the price for adult DDP comes out to $58.66 (just did one for this October to be sure). The price went up back in July and was effective almost immediately. This is the first time Disney has done a price increase in the middle of the year for DDP, but they did it.
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