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Old 11-04-2013, 03:33 PM   #1
married2mm
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do many people pay for dining plan?

On our initial visits to wdw,we weren't even aware of dining plans-
we were offsite our first few visits anyhow.

Therefore,all dining onsite was oop.

Since then,we've had free ddp and free qsdp-but I can't imagine we spend anywhere near what the "free dining" is supposedly equivalent to in dollars.

Therefore,when is it worthwhile for folks to pay for plans?
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:42 PM   #2
jmrothermel
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I personally am paying for our dining plan this time. I downloaded the spreadsheet, entered everywhere we were eating (a few high cost restaurants) and then entered how much it would be with the dining plan added on and without. Im a Disney Travel Agent, so I get my commission off the cost of the package - and it made more sense financially to do the dining plan for us. Plug the #'s in the spreadsheet and see which way works out better for you!
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:44 PM   #3
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There are people for whom it is worthwhile monetarily to pay for a dining plan. Totally depends on who is in your party, where you're going to eat and what you're going to order.

There are also plenty who buy the plan because they like having it, not because they are anticipating that it will save them a lot of money.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:11 PM   #4
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"Worthwhile" is completely, 100%, totally, indubitably subjective and depends on many, many variables.

Without writing a book, as Nala said, for some it is, for others it isn't. Finding which method works best for you and the upcoming trip is what's important.

As a note, I've done DDP free twice now, free DDP + DxDDP upgrade once, and Room Discount + Paid DxDDP twice, each was due to shifting priorities, differences in discount rates, and the idea of being able to take care of paying for food ahead of time (it works for me due to my tastes and my poor saving habits.)

Next trip, I'm really going to have to think about it, but I'm likely take a break from WDW for a few trips anyway, so we'll see how things change in the meantime.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:24 PM   #5
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My dh has a bit of an issue with "paying" for food next year when we're offsite.

I told him,he can still eat whatever he wants,wherever he wants-and we have dollars on a gift card-
but he definitely prefers paid for in advance-whichever way it's done.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:39 PM   #6
hhill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrothermel View Post
I personally am paying for our dining plan this time. I downloaded the spreadsheet, entered everywhere we were eating (a few high cost restaurants) and then entered how much it would be with the dining plan added on and without. Im a Disney Travel Agent, so I get my commission off the cost of the package - and it made more sense financially to do the dining plan for us. Plug the #'s in the spreadsheet and see which way works out better for you!
Where can I find this spreadsheet ? Thanks.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:50 PM   #7
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I too would like the spreadsheet!
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:54 PM   #8
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http://seeyareelsoon.wix.com/seeyare...alculator/cxc0
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:17 PM   #9
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Agree - it is totally subjective!

One thing I think it's important to consider if you're thinking about paying for it is whether or not you really need or want all of those sit-down meals. Any dining plan above the QS one kind of "forces" you to eat out every night (which even though it is a vacation isn't always necessary). I find that between tips and alcoholic beverages they add up quickly and even if they're under a "free dining plan" you end up paying an arm and a leg anyways!

Most recently we decided that we would choose a few full service places to eat instead of paying for the whole plan and double checked our choice with a similar spreadsheet.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
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Because we want character meals every morning and a table service dinner it does save us a little bit to pay for the deluxe plan. You really do have crunch your numbers. Our family is major foodies and we like to eat well on vacation. Our 5 year old is used to eating in nice places so the deluxe plans works well for us.
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:19 PM   #11
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My family LOVES the dining plan! We had it free twice (we travel in September). We bought annual passes, and have 3 trips planned for 2014 and cannot get free dining anymore as passholders. We feel that the character meals and dining experiences helped to make our trip really enjoyable, and we were not willing to cut back on them. Therefore, the regular dining plan is a good deal for us (we did the math based on where we will be eating).
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:51 PM   #12
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We are paying for the DDP on on our next trip. I used the spreadsheet mentioned above, found a few others online and did my own math and each time I saw we were coming up with a savings of $200-$250 by using it! It's definitely not a one size fits all kind of thing, you really have to do you homework to see if it'll work for you.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #13
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We make our annual trip to WDW every year during Christmas week. Although that week is not for the timid, it has been a family tradition for years...we have 5 daughters; 2 sons in law; and now 2 grandchildren. The DDP is worth every penny! Not just because you absolutely must have an advanced dining reservations for that time of year, but because we are a large family that truly enjoys the incredible restaurants that are in the parks and resorts. When you're traveling with older children.....young adults.....there is nothing better than having a wonderful leisurely meal at the end of a hectic day in the park. If you're a large group like us, it's a great money saver. We look forward each evening to our planed "fine dining" experience. There's a lot to be said for knowing your meal is pre paid. And in case you already didn't know.....the best restaurants are located in the resorts!
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:46 AM   #14
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I've only been there on the DDP as an adult and I really enjoy a few things about it:

1) I like pre-paying for as much as I can on vacation. It helps me budget better upfront and set aside more spending money later on.
2) I like meeting the characters but don't like standing in lines for that. We do at least one character meal a day
3) I like saving my snack credits and buying candy and stuff like that as small gifts for people. This year we're going at Christmas so I'll get a few things specifically to add to our stockings.
4) I like food! I like having the option of having a light meal OR the most expensive item without thinking about price.
5) I don't want to bother with bringing snacks and food into my hotel room or the parks that day. Traveling with just my Keys to the Kingdom card (soon my magic band!) and an ID is part of what I enjoy about being at Disney.

I've done the math this year since the price went up a lot since our last visit in 2011 and we're only saving about $15 this time with my estimates. But for me it's less about value and more about experience.

I will say that I distinctly remember a dining plan in like 2007 where you got two quick service and one table service meals a day. I'd do that again if they offered it since if we don't have a character breakfast we usually eat in the resort food court.
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:43 PM   #15
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We've done the DxDP on our last 3 trips (and paid for it) I don't think it saved us any money, but DH felt like it was worth it for the stress-factor. And he generally insists on 3 TS meals per day, so we never "wasted" any credits.

I've convinced him to try OOP for our trip in March, with DD being an adult now I'm pretty sure we'll come out way ahead, even eating the same way.

Having kids is usually what makes it worth paying for the plan, the kids' plan is actually a good deal. But as the ratio of adults to kids goes up, your chances of saving money with it go down. Then it's just a matter of preference - some think having the DDP makes it more stressful, others (like us) feel like it eliminates stress. But even the lack of stress isn't priceless
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