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Old 10-15-2013, 02:26 PM   #31
Tormania
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The "value" of the DDP differs for every family, however I believe the most vocal folks that say it's not worth it are thinking back to the days when you got $50 worth of food for probably $25-30 in cost of the DDP. Now the "average" amount of savings is more like spending $45-48 and getting $50 worth of food. There is still some small savings to be achieved, but compared to what folks got via the DDP 5+ years ago, it's night and day. Obviously this varies on your party and food choices.

We will be doing the DDP for the first time this Dec and it's me, my wife, and our 3½ yr old son. I ran the numbers for all of our meals, best guesses on what we would order (rather than maximum savings) and I think we come out about $50-75 ahead with the DDP, which will cost us about $900. Would we eat as much paying OOP compared to the DDP? Maybe not, but we are also on vacation and to be honest we won't be able to try a fraction of all the places and items we'd like to try so we will use the full value of the DDP. Our son is a bit young to fully enjoy all of his food, but his plan is the most cost effective of them all so that's ok.

All you can do is either do extensive cost analysis and see if one is better than the other for YOUR dining plans, or just pick OOP or DDP and enjoy that option and don't fret over whether the other option would have saved you money. In the grand scheme of things and taking into account the total cost of WDW vacation, the DDP delimma is becoming a non-issue anymore as the actual savings to be had is so small as to almost be irrelavant.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:46 PM   #32
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Many of the detractors (especially the more vocal ones) think that since it doesn't work for them, it doesn't work for anyone.

Many of the supporters (especially the more vocal ones) think that since it works for them, it works for everyone.

The truth, as mentioned, lies in between.

For starters, you absolutely can eat cheaper at Disney than what the plans provide. There is no question about that. You can even eat Disney food for less. The question, and the key thing is how you want to dine (and plan) for your own family's trip. The plans are absolutely not one-size-fits-all, nor are they one-size-fits-none.

There are a few advantages of the plans (ignoring savings vs cost):
1) Prepayment can be a psychological balm to some who would typically order less than they want due to price.

2) It makes budgeting and dealing with the check much easier for mixed parties (e.g. 2 friends who go rather than a single family unit).

3) It provides a structure to set up for meals

Of course, some of these advantages are also disadvantages when seen by a different person:
1) The prepayment structure makes you feel that you have to order more than you'd want just to make the cost

2) Since credits are based across the room and not per person, your friend may burn through more credits than they should

3) There is too much structure in the meals

Until the raw cost of the plans go above and beyond what anyone could buy piecemeal or if they somehow drop to be cheaper than buying anything piecemeal, they'll continue to be a good value for some and a not-so-good value for others.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:51 PM   #33
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worked great for us- but we got it for free. if I had to pay for it I'm not sure how worth it it would be. mainly because we wouldn't get deserts at lunch and dinner or appetizers at dinner normally.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:04 PM   #34
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I know it's a viable option for people who like to eat the way the food plan provides for some savings but it's not for us. We don't always want dessert. We don't want to keep track of credits. We don't want to make ADRs to ensure we use all of our credits. We don't really care for the counter service meals. And I most definitely don't want to prepay Disney for my food.

I did cost comparison of our OOP expense to the cost of the dining plan from a 4 night trip we made last year. In total we spent $390 on food, drinks (soft drinks & alcohol), tax and tips for 3CS & 5TS meals. The meal plan at the time would have cost $412 + $45 for tips for a total of $457. We would have had to swap one of our TS meals for a less expensive CS meal plus the bar bill and appetizers/salads. We saved over $200 in just 4 nights/5 days. The best part was that we ate what, where, & when we wanted.

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Old 10-17-2013, 10:51 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fivesacharm View Post
Maybe it's just me, but it seems that a majority of people on the boards seem to think that the DDP is just not worth the money. This interests me because (though we've been the the World many times) my family did the dinning plan for the first time on our last trip and we definitely felt like we saved money! We loved paying for everything in advance and having the freedom of eating what we wanted wherever we wanted without worrying about a budgeted amount per person.

We will always do the DDP in the future!

Just interested I other people always think they save money and those who don't like it, why?
I agree!! For me it is the piece of mind and carefree feeling it gives me. We added up our reciepts at the end of our last trip and saved over $120. It does'nt hurt that we have done it a few times and know where to get the best bang for our buck. The best value last time were the $6+ starbuck drinks DS got with a snack credit! I couldnt believe you could get any size with a snack credit. I am sure they will change that soon! LOL
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Old 10-18-2013, 05:56 AM   #36
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One of the issues is I think there are many of us that feel that the DDP ruined Disney dining.

Once they released the DDP it took them a while to figure out how to maximize profit with it - and they sure did.
They started to standardize food across restaurants and removed much of the creativity that existed for a few years just before the DDP and even the first year of the DDP.

Just one very small example of this is something as simple as the Pretzels in Germany - they used to make them in the restaurant - now they are the same pretzel you get throughout the parks - made in a central kitchen and taste like cardboard compared to the fresh buttery pretzels they used to have.

They also removed many items because people would order them just because they were the most expensive thing on the menu. Then they would send it back because they did not like it and that was a loss for the restaurant - so just easier to take it off the menu.
Heck - look back at all the complaining about unique items on the BOG dinner menu a few month ago.

I don't see myself ever getting the DDP again - especially if it was not "free" - but I know it is a great deal for many people. And even though this board is split 50/50 on this - I'm sure in the general population that goes to Disney it is split more like 90/10 in favor so I have no hope of seeing it go back to what it was.
This.
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:53 AM   #37
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We've used the dining plan every time but have decided against it for next time. We just don't eat that many desserts. It seems crazy to say it, but I guess because all of the food is so high calorie there compared to regular life that my teenage son can't even eat two desserts and a snack everyday along with the meals.

The one plus to the dining plan as compared to OOP is the tax. Don't forget to add tax to the food cost when figuring out ahead of time whether OOP is better for you than the dining plan.

Free dining for us is not so free. This last time as a party of 12 plus infant, we spent about $1,000 in tips during our vacation (and most of our TS was buffets). Though we will still have tips if we do out of pocket, we will likely do less buffets and probably a few less TS meals.

It has become a nuisance to always be tied down by an ADR, especially with having to cancel a ADR the day before or be charged $10 a person (or $130 for us). It poured for about 4 days of our trip and there were times that we did not want to hang around in the pouring rain waiting for our ADR, and a couple of days the kids were sick. My son had a 104 fever for two days and my daughter was under the weather a bit. Everyone else had to go to dinner and I ended up spending a lot of time alone in the room with the kids.

Sometimes I would prefer to just get an appetizer or share a meal and that works better OOP than on the plan.
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Old 10-18-2013, 05:45 PM   #38
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I'd rather not get it, but I'm crunching numbers and if it were free the dining plan would save us a decent amount of money.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:04 PM   #39
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Every family must evaluate what works for them. DDP works well for my family, we tried once without it and I kept trying to get my family (including my wonderful husband) to stop and eat because the 2 little ones needed to eat. DH kept looking at prices and didn't want to eat at all and only wanted to to feed the 6 kids and us from only 3 QS meals when I finally could get him to stop. Fast forward and the past 2 trips have been with the DDP and once I say we have an ADR somewhere, they will all stop and eat and since it has already been paid for DH doesn't care what the kids order. He is better paying once upon the addition of the DDP than he is paying for every meal.
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:27 PM   #40
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Recently DF and I stayed at WDW for 6 nights. With a QS Dining plan, it would have cost us $450.96 for food for the two of us which seemed a bit ridiculous, even if it is Disney. We spent $410 including eating at The Wave, Kona Cafe and Sci-Fi Theatre,ESPN Zone, a TON of food at F&W and one night at Applebee's. So we saved $40.96 by NOT going with the dining plan and we ate four TS meals and one off property. We also spent way more on F$W than we would have at a normal QS. So the dining plan does not save us money AT ALL. It does seem to depend on kids, but we don't have any so it doesn't work for us.
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Old 10-20-2013, 05:16 AM   #41
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For us right now, it works awesome! We hate carrying cash and cards in the parks so having our room key (or magic band in the case of next year's trip) is extremely helpful.

Now, I will also admit that whether it's worth it depends on how it's used and what restaurants you decide to eat at. When we went in may, we ended up spending about $200 more for the plan then for the food. HOWEVER, with that being said, when I went Sept. 2012 we came out about $100 ahead. In Sept 2014 we're trying the DxDP and we'll see how that works for us (mind you we're going solely for the purpose of eating rather then heavily touring the parks) so we shall see how that goes.

As others have said, the plan isn't for everyone, it depends on where you want to eat, how much you want to eat etc. It works different for every one, but for us the convienience is wonderful
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:16 PM   #42
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Quite simply, none of the plans fit with the way my family or I eat. Nothing about the plan allows me to eat whatever I want whenever I want it. I do not ever order dessert with a counterservice meal. I do not order dessert with every TS meal. Sometimes I prefer two aps over an entree, sometimes I want ice cream only for lunch! Overall the dining plans cost more than I pay oop where I truely have whatever I want whenever I want it.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:02 PM   #43
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The plan is bad news and Disney preys upon the uneducated with it (particularly free dining). Nobody will come out ahead with it. The cost models always factor in nonsense that wouldn't apply to 99% of the people - desserts at CS places for example. And gratuities never factor in; you're going to pay a lot more in tips while on the plan because to maximize the value of it the majority of folks will purchase the most expensive menu items.
If you want to do it for the convenience, dump that money on a gift card before you leave for vaca and use that for your food.
I still can never understand why people say this - The plan is bad news and Disney preys upon the uneducated with it (particularly free dining). Nobody will come out ahead with it.

Staying on-site for 5 days with 4 "adults" (Me, DH, DS13, DD10) and one child (DS7), at POR, with free dining. 20% Room only discount at $261/night is $208.80. 30% is $313.20. Without free dining, the bare minimum I would allocate to meals per day is $150, or $750/five days, for the 5 of us. DDP cost, not being free, is almost $1000. I totally see where paying for the plan is not a deal.

But it is FREE, even taking into consideration what the room discount would be, AND we can get snacks and desserts that I would be the bad guy with and say no (don't be the mom...it's never any fun being the one saying NO! all the time! LOL)

SO, can someone tell me HOW "free" dining is not the better deal for a family of 5???!!!
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Old 10-21-2013, 01:36 AM   #44
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It just depends how, what, and how much you like to eat. Reasons we don't use DDP:

1. COST.
The cheapest dining plan for my family (one adult, two teens) would be $114/day. At Disney, we average $100/day on everything--food, souvenirs, extras. So the DDP is not saving us any money. A room discount is worth more for us.

2. THE FOOD ITSELF.
At home we rarely eat out, and eat quite healthy, so eating "Disney food" (as my kids call it) for too many days makes us feel ill. When we eat sweets it's as a snack, not something that directly follows a full meal. We are also water drinkers by choice. My ds drinks 100% water, my dd about 85%, and me about 95%. So the non-water beverages with every meal would be total overkill for us. On long trips we order groceries to our villa so we have some "regular" stuff to eat.

3. THE AMOUNT OF FOOD.
My dd and I can share a meal and appetizer from a typical CS or TS restaurant and be full for half the day. Maybe if we ate like my 17 year old son we would come out ahead, but we don't.

4. THE NEED TO MAKE SO MANY ADRs.
During a one week trip we will have 1-2 ADRs, during a two week trip 3 or 4. We don't like being tied down by ADRs plus there's a limited number of Disney restaurants we love enough to sit down for at least an hour for.
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Old 10-21-2013, 01:09 PM   #45
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We are 2 adults and 2 kids and the DDP works for us because we want to do most of the TS as character meals. Comparing the price of those meals to OOP the DDP saves us money.
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