Average savings from disney dining plan

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by lkool, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. summermac

    summermac DIS Veteran

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    IMO most of the quick service dessert options suck anyway. It's the same thing over & over & over. So again, DDP fails my family here. We often share a QS meal and use the savings to get a dessert that we'll actually enjoy (read: isn't a crappy cookie/cake/brownie) later.
     
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  3. KaLyn

    KaLyn DIS Veteran

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    Sorry, I suppose you and I just interpret things differently.

    And for the record, I could consider myself controlling since I refuse to use a TA for vacation planning because I want to be in control! But that's another thread...
     
  4. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala <font color=red>1937, what a year that was<br><fon Moderator

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    Please don't attack this poster for using the world "control." They were not stating that people who do not use DDP are controlling. In fact, when you choose a dining plan you are handing some of the control over to Disney regarding where you will eat and what you will order. If you want two appetizers and no dessert for dinner you do not want a dining plan.

    And there are plenty of guests who are like me, who prefer to order what they want and do not set any cost limits. Going without DDP does not automatically mean that you have to set spending limits.
     
  5. KaLyn

    KaLyn DIS Veteran

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    Thank you, that's how I read it too.
     
  6. Donna M

    Donna M DIS Veteran

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    It's quite evident that some people will save and love the DP while others find OOP saves them money and the plan doesn't work for them.

    If someone is considering whether to purchase the plan or not he/she really needs to do some independent homework. Getting other's ideas can help, but as we have read there are so many opinions out there and all our families are unique.

    Allears.com has menus that one can check and find out if what you plan to order will add up to the target for each credit on the plan. Will the mug be worth it for you? Do you want to make ADR's for each night? Will you be eating at buffets? How important is the convenience? There are so many things to consider when deciding what will work for your situation.

    I'd like to see a simple poll, yes/no on whether they like the plan or not. I wish I knew how to make one.:confused3

    For us, the DP would cost us more than paying OOP.
     
  7. Lyndsey

    Lyndsey Mouseketeer

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    I love the dining plan!! It makes things so much easier for us. We typically go during Easter so room only discounts don't exist, but free dining on stay play and dine at kids prices always is around. We check in on the last day it's offered and it's with us the whole week. This year we check in on April 12, we have 4 Disney adults for dining paying the kids price of 18 dollars a day. That is a huge savings for us!! My kids like the plan b/c normally I say no snacks in the park but now they know they get 1 a day. Plus lunch for us is normally at the food court since we are swimming so the dessert they get will usually be ice cream later in the day. Since u don't need to get ur dessert at the same time you get your lunch. I take a yogurt parfait as my dessert then I have breakfast the next day..I guess it's all personal preference. A few years ago if free dining was not my offer I would never have gotten the dining plan. Plus never having to put a price limit on my big eaters dinner is awesome!
     
  8. momtosam

    momtosam Oh, Schmootsie-poo!

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    Didn't get to read everything -- sorry if I'm repeating. For me a big consideration is my children. My son, age 8, counts as a child so he has to order from the children's menu, but sometimes that isn't enough for him. Also, last time we visited both kids got pretty sick of the children's menus as it is a lot of the same old, same old wherever you go.
     
  9. 3pletprincesses

    3pletprincesses DIS Veteran

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    I have to admit, I haven't read everything. For us as a family of 6 with a baby and 3 kids on the dining plan under the age of 9 we see a saving with both the regular and deluxe dining. with the regular, we see a few hundred $$ as we use every credit and on the deluxe we save even more as we do signature for dinner and character breakfast or lunch every day.

    What I like the most is to not have to worry about what we order and the cost associated with that particular plate. We always go on a budge where we know our meals are planned and already paid for and only bring X amount for tips and souvenirs that fits into our budget. I would be scared to bust my limited budget if we were to pay OOP.
     
  10. Sheaboys

    Sheaboys DIS Veteran

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    For our family, the dining plan works well for us. We go in August. We are a family of 7, two adults, 3 Disney adults, and 2 kids. All 3 of my Disney adults eat like adults, they are 15, 13 and 12. My kids are all boys, not that it matters. The room discounts in August, even with 2 rooms at a moderate do not out weigh what Free dining brings us. We have to eat no matter what. I have done research on menu's, what we would eat, where, etc. The 2 youngest usually can share a counter service, either with a bigger brother, or each other, this leave a few extra counter service meals for breakfast for others during the week. DH is a breakfast eater where as myself and the kids are not. So we almost never pay for breakfast.
    The Table Service meals we eat at are: Garden Grill, Crystal Palace, Teppan Edo, Coral Reef, Liberty Tree Tavern, etc., so often it is a set price. We would have to pay the 18% gratuity anyway, because of our party size.
    If we did not go during Free dining, would I pay for the dining plan, most likely for the reasons above, where we eat, how we eat, what they eat. Now do we eat dessert at a quick service, not at that time, but we take it, eat it later in the day for snacking. Would we normally eat a dessert after a table service if paying out of pocket maybe not, maybe we would depends on the day. If we did pay out of pocket, we would scale back our table service meals for sure and I know we all would get sick of eating counter service meals very quick. We enjoy going into a restaurant, being served, sitting down, relaxing around the table, recapping our day, what we will do next, get out of the sun into an air conditioned restaurant etc.

    Each family is different, there is no wrong answer. The only right answer there is, is what works for your family.
     
  11. StirlingSilver83

    StirlingSilver83 DIS Veteran

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    This is our first time using the DP, we bought the Deluxe though bc my son has ADHD and it gives him a nice break in between walking and line waiting to sit down and have a nice meal. Most of them are buffet style that I booked so we can eat as much or as little as we want (which I like). We decided to get the DP, bc the last time we went to disney we made ADRs for Chef Mickeys and the Crystal Palace and Chef Mickey for the 3 of us was easily $100 for a buffet! and Crystal Palace was like $80. My family loves to eat...and we love going to different restaurants that we can't go to at our home. I believe we paid about $800 or $900 for the Deluxe dining plan and to just do some quick math if all the places are between $80-$100 per meal thats close to $300/ Day on food and we are staying 8 nights so it really saves us some money. Plus I like the convenience of not worrying about paying for any food when we are on vacation bc its already paid for. And I also like that fact that we can eat right inside the park and not worry about having to leave the park to eat some place cheaper. Besides I love Character dining and so does my son. With the Deluxe Dining Plan I was able to book all of the character dining that WDW has to offer! Super excited!
     
  12. brockash

    brockash DIS Veteran

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    In my opinion it's very hard to save money paying full price for the dining plan- honestly for us, it actually costs more than if we were just to eat whatever we wanted (and we splurge on vacation) while we're at Disney. If you had a lot of Disney considered kids and do more expensive meals/buffets then it could give you some savings, but I think the average group would be much better off financially, getting 10% off the food they want.
     
  13. tinkerpea

    tinkerpea Registered

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    I totally disagree, we have had the ddp free 3 times and paid for it twice, we eat exactly the same way as the plan intends when paying oop!

    We actually do want dessert with our QS options at lunch or dinner, we got to Seasons in Epcot and they do great dessert, we also love the peach cobbler dessert at harbour house, our children's always get the dole whip as dessert at the Poly or the gelato at cosmic rays and would still want it of paying oop!

    We also would buy just as many snack items since our kids favourite thing to do is to grab an item for the journey back to the resort each night,
    Or to get a sundae to eat while watching wishes, and dh and I really enjoy the choc strawberrys or the sour apple slush at cosmic rays,

    We also do 4/5 buffet or character meals each trip at least 3 signatures and any other TS meals our kids always pick the ribs or steak and fries!
    As do we,
    I will always eat dessert at a TS and all the DDP does is stop me feeling guilty for only wanting to buy dessert to try a few bites of it! Something I always do when paying oop!

    So you see we SAVE as we would eat like the plan intends anyways!!
    Not to forget that for the 3 years the plan did not include the refill mug, we bought one each anyways for the boys and one between dh and myself, as we use it when by the pool and get great use from it.
    So we automatically save there.
     
  14. tinkerpea

    tinkerpea Registered

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    Well getting free dining then, lol since I'm staying at SSR with a 35% off room discount AND free DDP!
    We have 6 disney adults too this trip so were saving a ton of money :)
     
  15. tinkerpea

    tinkerpea Registered

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    No attack for using the word control, but every reason she gave for the oop aspect was very insulting!
     
  16. crabbygal902

    crabbygal902 after a lapu lapu, I'm not so crabby anymore

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    We have been to the World with and without the dining plan. We prefer to have the dining plan when we visit, and this is why:

    We are still paying child prices for DS8. His plan's price per day is more than covered with just one table service buffet or family-style meal each day. His CS meal and his snack are just bonus savings. He likes all kinds of foods and wants to have what the rest of us are eating instead of the usual kid's chicken nuggets and mac & cheese. He is the youngest by 5 years and does not like to be reminded of it. :rolleyes:

    I stick to my formula: at least $39 per TS, $17 per CS, and $4 per snack. I consider the refillable mug a lovely parting gift since there is no possible way my deplorable math skills will allow me to figure its worth. ;) Is this formula confining? Well, depends how you view it. I enjoy the planning and these boundaries give me some direction in the myriad of choices available.

    I do my homework beforehand and search out the more expensive locations and menu items. Yes, that means lots of character buffets and family-style restaurants, but that is okay with us. On vacation at Disney, we like those places anyway.

    We like to have our food pre-paid. On our last trip, we paid OOP and my DH just about fell over when he noticed just how high the prices were. It put a damper on our first TS meal.

    I don't know that we will continue the DDP when DS8 ages out and becomes a Disney adult. :rotfl: Disney adult at age 10. :confused3 It will certainly not be as good a deal as it is now for us. Perhaps we will create our own dining plan and use a prepaid Visa.
     
  17. fuzzylogicllc

    fuzzylogicllc www.infinitrader.net

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    DDP is generally not going to save you money. Think about it... Disney is not mass marketing this for millions of dollars to make less profit!

    The goal is to get ppl to commit to spending money from home while they're eager and dreaming about going, but before they get to the parks and are hit w the sticker shock of being there. Thus, Disney is pushing ppl to buy this now. Before you're there. They know people are all eager to buy everything until you get there and are slammed w just how much everything costs and you start pulling back...

    Here is a sample of what we would actually spend. Keep in mind we tend to buy more expensive entrees, so we are "ideal" DDP candidates:

    [​IMG]

    What you can see here is clear:

    Table Service

    Menu service restaurants are "worth" about $100/meal to us. That's around $24, $20, $18 for 3 adult entrees, $9, $9 for two child entrees, and an adult drink and dessert that we'll share (hey it's free refills).

    Buffet service restaurants are "worth" about $150/meal to us. Relatively clear cut pricing.

    Specialty shows are worth about $170 per point ($340 but 2 points) to us. The best "value" to use on a DDP.

    Counter Service:

    I'm figuring $12/adult and $6/child. That seems pretty fair. Adult entrees are $9, we'd buy 3 of them ($27) and a soda ($3) plus tax ($3) is $33, or $11 per person. So I'm rounding up and calling that $12 cuz some entrees are $10'ish tho most are $9'ish.

    Kid entrees are pretty much across the board $5.50-$6 and include drink.

    Dining Plan

    Now for us, the DDP would run $1282. (3/2 for 6 nts) AMAZINGLY (not scripted to end up this way) my calculations indicate we'll spend about $1285.

    But where it all falls apart and the value of the DDP disappears is that in many cases I'm going to want to break from that mold. I will quite often prefer a beer to a soda and not order a soda at all... or save our money on a dessert and get something elsewhere. This makes a-la-carte menu restaurants VERY BAD for ordering on the DDP.

    Even if I was to deliberately pick all "expensive" places like swapping in two buffet's for the two menu-service restaurants, all that does is bump my cost by about $50x2... or $100. Is it a value then? Well... maybe. At that point you're up about $100. But, what this doesn't factor is that all Disney goods can be purchased w gift cards - which can be gotten at Target for 10% off. So by using a $100 gift card at each meal, I can save $100 easily, and just bring a gift card in my wallet each day - no biggie!

    Then I get all the benefit of prepaying that ppl seem to like about not having a mondo-charge to pay at the end of your stay. By using $100 or $150 in gift cards, I end up w some small change charges to the room, which we'd end up with ANYWAYS even if using the DDP since gratuities are never included.

    To get to where I'm breaking even, I've already had to micro manage this and plan ahead which meals of mine would be the most expensive.. I left Y&Y and Sci-Fi off the list cuz they are even a worse value to consider.

    In summary... yes... if you really want to micro manage and pick your restaurants specifically to "rack up enough charges to make the DDP worth it" then the DDP can break even or even get you a few bucks ahead... but you are spending more money, then chasing that expenditure with trying to find more expensive things to buy!

    Likewise if you have at least 1 point per day of buffet- or specialty- dining already planned, then this will get you a little discount.

    The premise of this post was "Does it work that way ON AVERAGE". And on average, no, the average person will do better just paying for what he wants. Rational spending will kick in, and less will be spent than when one is at home dreaming and perfectly willing to buy anything since you're excited to go.

    It's really hard to separate the excitement of buying the DDP from the reality of... unless you're willing to spend a lot and then find places that will be worth what you spent, it's not really a good value.

    (Free dining aside - of course if you get it free then it's worth it)

    As an analogy... if I said to you... Ok, give me $200... then go out to eat and have a good time w your sig other. On me. Wherever you want to go, up to $200 at one place. Where are you going to go? You will go somewhere that uses most of the $200! You will order some bottle of wine that you wouldn't otherwise.

    On the other hand... if I say... Cough up $200 and go spend that on a night out having dinner and fun... you might spend $100 of that on dinner, $30 on a movie, $20 on ice cream, and come home w $50 in your pocket.

    Disney wants you to spend the $200 up front. Then find things to consume with it. That is the whole premise of the dining plan. It's why every other theme park is copying them now and offering pre-purchase food options.
     
  18. schrammalot

    schrammalot Mouseketeer

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    We saved about 23% last time we went on regular dining plan. Of course, we also went during F&W and used all of our snacks on that, and booked the most expensive restaurants that were one point. ;) We did Yachtsman for two and that was our "special" night, and we still wound up on top.
     
  19. fuzzylogicllc

    fuzzylogicllc www.infinitrader.net

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    If the DDP was not available, would you still have picked the same absolute most expensive restaurants?
     
  20. tinkerpea

    tinkerpea Registered

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    I can not answer for that poster but I can answer for myself.., YES we would still pick all the expensive restaurants as that's how we like to eat, including when we are at home!

    I did already post saying how the ddp works perfectly for our family and saved us a ton of money.

    The reason being, I do not eat pasta and rarely eat a chicken dish,
    I eat mainly steak and seafood, I also will always have a dessert to finish my meal, I just won't scoff it all lol, I like to have a few bites of something I fancy and do this oop as well!

    So using the plan allows me to do this and not worry about wether its a waste of money,

    We also always have dessert with QS meal as our boys love gelato, sunshine seasons does great QS desserts so we often go there or to the poly where we can have dole whip as dessert!
    If you shop around you will find there are many fantastic QS desserts to be had.
     
  21. crabbygal902

    crabbygal902 after a lapu lapu, I'm not so crabby anymore

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    That is great! It works well for us, too. Just because it doesn't work for some doesn't mean it is bad for all.
     

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