considering NOT doing DDP for first time ever. Regret it?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by JJsmama, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. JJsmama

    JJsmama WDW addict

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Messages:
    2,331
    Well, I am back to the drawing board (I mean WDW website) planning our next trip. It will be me, DS 14, DS 12, DS 4. I keep automatically adding the DDP to our ressie quote because we have always used it, but for the first time, I am asking myself 'WHY?'

    For one thing, we just don't eat that much food in each meal. It is not our habit to have soda + entree + dessert all in one sitting. My sons usually have water with meals or they are too full from soda to eat. Also, in general I think they would prefer choosing a dessert a little later instead of still at the lunch and dinner table. I think they would rather choose something from one of the bakeries or ice cream carts than the menu choices. let's face it: most QS desserts aren't good anyway.

    We would have QS most breakfasts and lunches and TS at night.

    Has anyone changed to NO DDP and regretted it?
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. canopynut66

    canopynut66 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,295
    yes we did but was to much OOP compared to small room discount so went ahead this trip and took FD again
     
  4. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Messages:
    4,571
    Your family sounds like ours and we no longer do the DDP. Once you take the soda/drink and dessert out of the equation, the DDP no longer make much sense.

    Your QS entree will be around $10 (yes prices are going up, but most entrees are stil under the $10 mark). Then let's give you $5 for your snack each day. With the $55 price point on the DDP, that still leaves you $40 for your TS meal. Some buffets will be that much, but not many a la carte places will. So averaging over the course of the week, with that $40 you can probably pay for your QS breakfasts AND your TS dinners.

    The one person who will not save money OOP is your youngest. Disney kids still make out like bandits on the DDP. However, with 3 adults and only 1 kid, you should still do better OOP.
     
  5. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    4,395
    With the big increases in kid prices over the last 2 years, I don't even think that's automatically true now.
    With adult meals, a buffet is similar in price to an ala carte restaurant.
    But for kids, the character buffets are much more expensive than ala carte.

    With pricing as it stands, kids still save big on character meals, but not much at ala carte restaurants.
    Peak pricing, is now $18 per kid. Kids QS is about $6 in most locations. A kid's TS in most locations, is $9-$11 (including the beverage and dessert in most locations). While there are some more expensive examples (including at Epcot), for most CS/TS combinations Throw in a snack.... At best, with the child's plan, the child is saving $2-$4. Percentage-wise, that's still a 10-20% savings.. but at $2-$4, I wouldn't say it is "making out like bandits"

    On the other hand, if the kid's TS credit is used for a character dinner, that increases the "value" by about $10... So in that case, the kid is saving big.

    We just did a trip where we skipped doing any dining plan. We ate very well -- lots of TS, lots of signature -- All for less than the price of the basic dining plan. We didn't do any character meals. We often drank water (not always). We generally shared/skipped dessert. We sometimes shared entrees (DW and DD sometimes shared, sometimes DS and DD shared). But we always had more than enough food. Even with 2 "kids" -- we saved spent much less than we would have spent on the dining plan.
     
  6. hulagirl87

    hulagirl87 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,907
    I'm having this same dilemma too! We are booked with the dining plan for our January trip and am now wondering if it is worth it. It is our first trip with DD and she will be under 3 so that is not my concern as she will be free (thank goodness! world's pickiest eater! :laughing:) but I am thinking it might be too much money and I'm trying to have this trip not cost us too much. I want to do a few of the character breakfasts as they are buffets and I think there will be something that DD will eat but those tend to be on the more expensive side. I don't know, but OP I'm with you on this. We have always done it before and don't know if I would regret not having it. :confused3
     
  7. Glittercat

    Glittercat Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    139
    I would personally rather go without the DDP (unless we could swing deluxe and try a bunch of specialty places and character dining lol) but my husband likes the certainty of it, so we're doing it for this trip. We're going to be saving all receipts and keeping notes so we know what we would actually be spending. If we find the savings are significant with the plan I'll never argue over it again. If we save very little then next time we're putting the DDP money on a pre-paid credit card and using that. On the DDP we often skip desserts until the evening meal- I'm joining the long list of people who would love salads or appetizers to choose from instead of dessert! Most CM's understand and are quite gracious about a polite refusal to see the dessert list at noon. :)
     
  8. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Messages:
    4,571
    Actually the character BREAKFASTs (other than CRT and Akershus) are in the $25-30 range for adults. That means you have $25-30 to spend on your QS and snack to just break even with the DDP. Even with a $5 snack, that would be difficult to do.

    When you pay that $25 OOP, it seems like a lot, but when you put it into a DDP equation, you're losing money.
     
  9. JJsmama

    JJsmama WDW addict

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Messages:
    2,331
    I agree. Doing lots of character meals makes the DDP more of a value. My boys are out growing Character meals and we always end up leaving feeling stressed instead of satisfied. And rarely has the food ever been good. I do like the non buffet ones like garden grill and LILO and Stitch though.

    I was actually wondering if the reason that character meals prices have gone up so much is to make it look like more of a deal to get the DDP... People don't care because they are just using a credit instead of eating higher quality food at one of the nicer TS restaurants. of course, some people love the all you can eat mentality of a buffet and the buffets are good for those folks too.
     
  10. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 1999
    Messages:
    4,468
    It will take a little time, but go to a website offering Disney menus with pricing and see what happens with your choices. You'll need to make some assumptions on what everyone will eat, but it will be good for this guesstimate to compare being on the DDP or not. It's the only way to be sure. Be fair and add the cost of the resort refillable mugs and snack credits to the equation with OOP; unless, you don't want them.

    There are some places that are a decent value without the dining plan like Biergarten at Epcot's Germany. Out of pocket may be a bigger savings if you can get your boys to share a bigger meal together. If you don't need a table service restaurant everyday there can be more savings that way, too by doing more quick service meals. We often carry some food items in our luggage if we are flying like nuts and breakfast bars. This helps on keeping the costs down and these items don't take up too much room. If you drink tap water, then getting a beverage with every meal becomes less valuable from the dining plan.

    If you go out of pocket I would consider doing your table service meal for late lunch for your dinner; the prices are cheaper for lunch. If you want to eat a bigger TS meal early for lunch, then skip breakfast that day. You can get many meals on the lunch menus that are the same as a dinner one for a lot less.

    We are actually staying offsite for the first time in many years for a November trip this year. I could get free dining for the time we are there and I'm still going offsite. We are driving down; so, we have a car to go anywhere for meals. We are planning to use restaurant.com meal certificates away from Disney. With the certificates we can get appetizers and we are not forced to get a dessert. Our meals out will more or less be half price with the certificates. We will eat a few meals at the parks; we have a Candlelight Processional dinner package OOP at the Biergarten (cheapest place especially for lunch; we are doing the early show), we are doing the Fantasmic package OOP, and I have to try Be Our Guest in MK for QS. We get a big, hot breakfast at our resort and some evenings there they will offer hot snack options with drinks. We can do our own meals at the resort we are staying at; we have a kitchen. I need to do this to convince myself whether we should stay on site or off. We have a resort shuttle service to Disney; although, I think we will use our car and pay the Disney parking fee. I'll be crunching the numbers and comparing the costs for future Disney trips. I was a diehard on staying on Disney property, but I'm beginning to feel differently. We have taken some road trips over the last few years to other vacation destinations and I'm fine with our resorts and such. I don't see it being any too different doing the same thing in Orlando for Disney. To be fair I see myself doing one trip on site and one off and alternating that way.

    If you decide on the dining plan then just maximize your meals. Try the more expensive places and get the more expensive meals; so, the dining plan will be a better value. You can take dessert as a carry out, but then you need to carry it for a later snack.
     
  11. momto3pirates

    momto3pirates DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Messages:
    594
    [

    If you decide on the dining plan then just maximize your meals. Try the more expensive places and get the more expensive meals; so, the dining plan will be a better value. You can take dessert as a carry out, but then you need to carry it for a later snack.[/QUOTE]

    I have crunched and crunched the numbers and the only way the DDP makes sense is if we all pick the most expensive items on the menu and eat at expensive places. I don't want to vacation like that. I want to eat what I want, not worry about if I'm making the most out of my prepaid food. Sometimes my DS9 and I will share. Sometimes I just want an appetizer. This trip we have several TS meals planned and I still cannot get the numbers to work in favor of DDP. Most of the time when we eat a big TS meal, we just snack the rest of the day.
     
  12. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,911
    I am the opposite of you. I did free dining in 2007 and I really didn't care for it.

    For my trips in 2009, 2010, and 2011 I didn't miss it at all.

    We were just at Disney a couple weeks ago and used free dining with the QS plan. Again, I just didn't care for it. For kids it stinks because they don't want carrots, grapes or a prepackaged cookie when they see the cupcakes and everything else mom and dad can eat. Plus I also don't like having dessert right after my CS meal. Plus on vacation, we prefer to snack eat a lot as opposed to full meals. It stinks because food prices will give you sticker shock as you are paying for food BUT I think a good room discount is better than the dining plan.
     
  13. SillyFamily

    SillyFamily Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    244
    I have to say we're the exact opposite. We love the dining aspect of disney. After a few hours of rides and lines, we love to sit down and relax and eat a meal. I love trying new dishes that i wouldnt make at home, and finding food that my Dsis will eat. We have been upgrading from the DDP to the DxDP for our last 2 trips and we are doing it again in Jan. It gives us the freedom to eat what we want. I have no problem ordering an app and only taking a few bites, and I just about always have desert packed to go. We have no need to rush and see all the rides. Its all about relaxing and having fun.
     
  14. nooneshome

    nooneshome but us dis shutins-send help or APs

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Messages:
    2,390
    One time we paid for our DP and we have gotten FD three times. I would never pay for any DP again. For our family it isn't worth it. We aren't big eaters and in order for it to make it worth it you need to eat a lot of food we just would never eat. We like the freedom of CS and only make one or two ADRs.
     
  15. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    17,112
    We did our first non-DDP trip this past May, because we were there for a special event and didn't have the option of purchasing the plan. I will probably never go back to using the DDP unless it is free.

    Cost-wise we only saved a little bit compared to what the DDP would have cost for our family but I think we ate better and I enjoyed the flexibility. We shared meals, snacked more, skipped dessert in favor of a stop at the candy shop or bakery later, and didn't order a single kids' meal all week. We also had tea at the Grand Floridian and sundaes at Ghiradellis, neither of which are on the plan, and we ate at more sitdown restaurants and fewer counter service venues than the plan would have covered. I love Disney dining and for years we did the deluxe dining plan, but between the price increases and two of our kids aging up a level (older DD from child to adult, younger DD from infant to child) it just doesn't work for us any more.

    Now, ask me this again after I try a non-DDP trip with DH and we'll see if I regret it then... I'm going to try the approach of putting the DxDDP cost on a gift card to cover meals, make the most of my TiW card, and I hope that will have the same "ignore the prices" effect that the plan has had. Otherwise I worry that he's going to be so focused on the costs that he won't enjoy nice dinners the way we have on past trips.
     
  16. JJsmama

    JJsmama WDW addict

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Messages:
    2,331
    Yes, that is a concern.

    Sounds like you ate like I expect we would. The kids meals are not good for my kids who are used to eating whole foods. I cannot serve my son processed mac and cheese every day for a week just because he is young. :confused3 And we prefer to go to the bakery, candy store later over eating dessert after the meal too.

    If we luck out and get FD, of course, I will do it, because it is still a lot cheaper than the RO discount for us, but otherwise, I think I will skip it.
     
  17. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    17,112
    My kids are about the same ages as yours (14, 11, and 4) and without the dining plan it works well to have the 11yo, who loves adult foods but is in no way ready for adult-sized portions, share with the 4yo. Disney restaurants are great about that, and many times will split the entree in the kitchen rather than leaving it for you to do at the table. On our last (free) DDP trip we left about half of DD4's kids' TS credits unused, which I don't mind when we're getting the plan for free but it tips the scales quite a bit when paying for the plan, particularly with the very narrow savings margins in the 2013 pricing.
     
  18. Jenio

    Jenio DVC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    60
    We did not use the dp the first time we went, tried it the 2nd time, and went without it this last May. We spent more money without it. Having said that I went with my hubby, ds 11, and ds 8. My boys are pigs. They like the whole meal. My hubby does not want to go on vacation without dessert. I too enjoy my food. Vacations are for enjoyment in my opinion. This coming April we will be using the dp. It's paid up front and I know we don't have to watch what we eat until we come home. Then it's back to all natural! :thumbsup2
     

Share This Page