Considering Out Of Pocket For The First Time

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by jhaig, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    May 22, 2009
    You're probably not forgetting anything, but without desserts, they may wonder why you want to go OOP. What is the price point for the snacks you are including for OOP? Are you allowing any desserts at TS to share? Did you include drinks in your OOP?

    Don't get me wrong. My family does way better OOP than DDP, but that is because we PREFER to drink water with our meals and we PREFER to order one dessert with TS to share instead of all four of us getting two desserts per day.

    You need to take into account how your party WANTS to eat while on vacation. If everyone wants their own dessert and wants to get high dollar snacks, then you might be better off with DDP.
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  3. serene56

    serene56 DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2004
    in my oop for dining- i did not factor in any dessert with a meal. I did put in one snack at 5.00 so if we wanted a dessert instead of the snack its there.

    i put in milkshakes where available. I did put in soda. i added the 6.50% taxes.
  4. DisneyBliss7

    DisneyBliss7 ''Wish upon a star''

    Jul 11, 2011
    We have the DDP as part of our package as of right now but if FD doesn't come available I'm considering paying OOP....We are a family of 7 and my kids don't eat huge meals. I'll have to look at the menus where we plan to eat and see how much cheaper it would be. We do plan on eating at 3 character meals though.
  5. AlohaAnnie

    AlohaAnnie DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2006
    We are also not doing the DDP our next trip.

    We have always had the DDP for all of our trips.

    We are getting TiW, we are annual passholders, and we are DVC. So we will have discounts but we do have to pay TiW fee.

    We will be there for 14 days. I have done all the maths and found that we can eat the way we want and still come out even with the DDP. My math also includes Tips, eating where and what we want, cost of TiW, and tax, everything.

    By paying OOP, I can also decide if I want a CS meal or a pretzel and Ice Cream for lunch. Hey, I am on vacation. DDP made it feel like I had to get a CS meal or lose money at the end of my vacation when I didn't want to eat a full meal because I was stuffed.

    I am excited to eat the way I want on vacation for a change.

    I personally felt the DDP restricted our family a bit. There were several times I want an appetizer instead of a dessert and I was not able to get that off the DDP unless I ordered it separately and paid for it. Why would I do that when I have already paid for the DDP? Also, I felt there were too many desserts on the DDP.

    Also, our children have both reached DDP adult ages. Too expensive in my opinion.

  6. OklahomaTourist

    OklahomaTourist Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2008
    Here's another OOP'er here. Have been to WDW four times, fifth coming up this summer, and done the math on DDP every time....and it always comes out a loser for us by several orders of magnitude.

    Caveat that we drive down, and hence have our own vehicle for off-Disney driving, and visit some local places, and we plan to eat light breakfasts in room almost every day before hitting the parks, so planning on four specific OOP Disney meals for our crew works out much better for us than DDP. And we never feel "compelled" to eat the extra dessert or extra meal just to use up the credits.

    Obviously depends on the travelers and how they plan to eat, but OOP has always worked best for us by far. YMMV :)
  7. patsal

    patsal <font color=FF3399>I've discovered I don't need to

    Jul 10, 2001
    No matter what I do with three adults I cannot make any of hte DDP's work for my family. I gasped when I ran the numbers for the DXDDP for four of our 14 $1188 that is nearly my whole food budget from last year. Plus for 4 nights I would be literally going from dining to dining to use them all up. QS not even a breakeven for us, regular DDP still costs more than I would spend and does not fit the way we eat.
    It isn't like I am skimpy or care what we spend I just can't justify paying more for the frustration that comes with eating within the confines of a plan and knowing that there are no savings to be had for us.

    We will be eating at
    The Plaza
    BOG (a lunch and a dinner)
    Chefs de France
    Sci Fi
    Via Napoli
    WGP Upstairs
    Mama Melroses
    Raglan Road
    I have four nights open and will check what is available when we are ready to eat.
    Each day there will be at least 1CS as well, and I never limit what anyone has for snacks or meals.
    Last year including groceries I spent $1685 total for 14 nights in food, alcohol, snacks, meals.
    DXDDP would have cost $4158 and not included alcohol or groceries
    DDP would have been $2334.78 and not included apps, alcohol or groceries
    QS DP would have been $1578.36 and not included TS, alcohol or groceries
  8. catne

    catne DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2008
    OOP + TIW works very, very well for us.

    After numerous trips with either paid-for DDP or free DDP, and a few with Deluxe DDP we reached the point that we just could not stand all that wasted food. (And yes, as PPs have indicated...we know you don't have to eat everything on your plate/plan...but it's hard not to order the dessert when you know you already paid for it.) We all too often found ourselves wishing you could order apps instead of dessert (or one app & one dessert to split) Sometimes we wanted counter service instead of counter service when all we had left was table service credits (and didn't want to waste a table service $ credits on counter service.)

    We went OOP with Tables in Wonderland about 4 trips ago (we have out of town guests often through the winter, and do lots of 2-5 days trips to Orlando)

    Have to say we LOVE the flexibility...and love getting discounts on the whole bill, including the adult beverages. It is wonderful to order whatever we want including nothing-but-appetizers & wine...or splitting a dessert for the whole table when we want a bite of sweet but not 4 desserts.

    We actually spend about the same on food overall...BUT we get more adult beverages paying OOP...we don't order sodas just because they're covered...and we rarely leave any food on the table because now we're ordering exactly what we want...and we never feel like we're stuffing ourselves just to justify the money we already spent on a dining plan.
  9. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 1999
    Deleted post
  10. grelca

    grelca Earning My Ears

    Feb 13, 2013
    When my mom and I went last year, we had the deluxe dining plan and I actually made a spreadsheet to see what (if any) we were saving.

    We did actually save a lot of money. However, we would not have gotten a lot of what we got (appetizers + desserts + soft drinks) if we hadn't had the dining plan.

    So I also decided to check what we would've spent with the normal dining plan if we'd gotten the same things (minus appetizers - at the time both were 2 snacks a day) and paid OOP for whatever our cheapest meal of the day was (except in cases where we had more than one TS in a day but whatever I worked it out). We would've saved money using that, too.

    So then I put in another comparison to see what we'd have spent OOP on just the entrees and "snacks" (which we both almost exclusively used for bottles of water). And the regular dining plan would've been cheaper for us than OOP based on what we would've ordered without it.

    So for us, the dining plan seems like a good option. Maybe we just like the expensive options, I don't know :P

    But we probably won't go for the deluxe again. We really did waste so much food.
  11. abinormal

    abinormal Mouseketeer

    Jan 23, 2013
    I was playing with the calculator from See Ya Real Soon and it's pretty interesting. I'm not sure which way I would go to be honest. It pretty much comes out a wash for me based on what kinds of things I put in.

    It'll be tricky for me to decide because when we go it will be the first time since 2000 for both me and my husband. And I've never actually eaten anywhere at WDW besides a few random CS places and snack kiosks. So we'll have no opinion on any place, and there's a lot we'd like to try.

    We drink a lot of pop and like to get desserts. Apps we only get sometimes but some on the menus sound really yummy. Some I'd rather have instead of an entree. I don't know what kind of character meals we'd do, but I'm sure there would be at least one or two.

    It's a way down the road but strangely enough this is fun for me.
  12. kool_kat

    kool_kat Earning My Ears

    Aug 16, 2008
    I'm sad to say that we are also giving up the dining plan for our trip in September. We had never been able to do the dining plan before because we always stayed at the Shades of Green. Well last trip (Sept. 2009), I was able to exchange into a DVC unit at the Beach Club and we were so excited to try the dining plan. We very rarely ate at the Disney restaurants because they were so expensive in the past and we had a blast eating our hearts out and made for a new way of doing Disney.

    This trip it was no question we were doing the dining plan...until I started reading disboards. Thread after thread about the lack of value. Then the accountant in me started to come out and I decided to figure the price. I already knew where we wanted to eat and it included Le Cellier for 2 credits. We were also going to pay OOP for Kona breakfast.

    I looked at the menus and picked what I wanted for both TS & QS, including cokes with QS and water with TS (which is what we usually drink). I made sure I was getting one dessert a day (which is plenty for this girl who just lost 30 lbs and is hoping to lose another 45 by Disney), either with my meal or a snack, and factored in the cost of a refillable mug.

    After doing that, I figured we could eat for cheaper or close to the same price as the DDP, but get two additional TS meals that we wanted. So basically, I am swapping out all those desserts at dinner (which I would never order) and drinking water for two extra meals. This is for three adults.

    I also like that this will give us flexibility in case we want to split meals or skip a meal which will just increase the savings. I will miss the pre-paid aspect, but will enjoy the flexibility.

    Oh, I also figured the exact price for all the meals in the dining plan and the snacks if I only got what was on the DP and it was within $1.00 of the price of the dining plan.

    Here are the places we are planning on eating and that I used for the comparison.
    Teppan Edo
    Le Cellier
    Chef Mickey (breakfast)
    Kona (breakfast)
    Rainforest Cafe
    Tony's Town Square
    Chef de France
  13. chrisc88

    chrisc88 Mouseketeer

    Aug 31, 2010
    Our trip in April will be our last on DDP. We are starting to plan our next family trip for Dec 2014 as my niece is now a disney adult and the plan is just not worth it where she is concerned. She would rather eat a kids pizza or chicken nuggets over anything on the adult menu so the plan for her is just a complete waste of money. Our last family trip we had free dining, which was great, so unless its free dining time when we go next, it will be OOP from now on.

    Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
  14. njmom76

    njmom76 Mouseketeer

    Jan 24, 2011
    We didn't use the DP for our last minute trip last summer and it worked out great. I ended up ordering an appetizer and a salad for myself a lot as that what appealed to me and I would not have had that option. We are not using the DDP for our upcoming trip either - 3 adults and 1 child - we calculated the numbers and even with a few character meals, it is cheaper to go OOP and we are planning on 1-2 TS/day.
  15. 4HppyCamprs

    4HppyCamprs DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2009
    Dining plan works best when it is "free" otherwise we find that our OOP costs and DDP cost are about equal except with OOP we retain our flexibility and choice along with not having all that money tied up in food. Pricing out the dining plan for 3 adults and 2 children comes to 800.00 for QS and 1100. For DDP. We are eating at Akershus (b)
    Cp (b)
    Prime time (L)
    BOG (d)

    We don't eat dessert with every meal and often a snack is the dessert. We prefer breakfast buffets and the boys would rather split a adult entree......
    So OOP is best for our family.

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
  16. bless7ings

    bless7ings DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2007
    I don't have time to read through the whole thread right now, but I am interested in looking into this again. We did the free dining in 2005 and 2008. 2005 was definitely worth it with appetizers and tips included! 2008 was still fun, but the quality of food seemed to go down and I hated the automatic tip for large parties.

    If I remember from the last time I did cost comparisons, it really depended how many people you had per room and where you ate. When I chose some it came out close in favor of the plan. The other deciding factor was how many character buffets we did. If you do a lot of those isn't the dining plan always cheaper? (make sure you look at my signature before you answer...)
  17. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    May 22, 2009
    Even with all those "blessings" in your signature, it still depends. The three under 10 and your 10 yr old will probably be your deciding factor. If you do mostly buffets/family style, the cost of the plan for your under 10s is right at or under the cost of that one meal, so their QS and snack are free.

    Your 10 yr old will be counted as an adult, so you have to balance paying adult prices for the DDP with her eating habits. However, if you still do mostly buffets/family style and pay OOP, you will still have to pay adult price for her at these places.

    If these buffets are mostly breakfast, you need to do the math because your adult people will start losing money with this scenario.

    Does everyone want their own dessert at EVERY meal? Will you really want all those QS desserts and drinks?

    However, a lot of people like the DDP just for the convenience and peace of mind it brings to their vacation. That in itself may be enough for you with all your "blessings."
  18. married2mm

    married2mm DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2011
    We have stayed offsite and therefore paid oop.
    Only stayed onsite with free dining-first time ddp-didnt actually enjoy the constraints of choosing so far in advance,and having to be away from rides for so long.
    The following year,we only booked a couple of adrs,and enjoyed it much more.
    Last year was free qsdp- we thoroughly enjoyed this plan.

    However,if we were paying,oop would definitely work out cheaper for us.:)
  19. glamdring269

    glamdring269 Mouseketeer

    Feb 7, 2013
    We're definitely going out of pocket this year. We did the dining plan a couple of years ago and it was just too much food.

    Two adults:
    One Appetizer (Split)
    One Entree (Split)
    And if there is enough room remaining...
    One Dessert (Split)

    This is how we usually do it at home since portions are typically so large so trying to squeeze in even more on vacation doesn't make sense physically or financially!

    We also bring drinks and snacks to the park so pre-paying for a snack you must use or lose doesn't make sense. If I want a special snack I'll just buy it. We also found that we threw away a lot of food from the CS meals so splitting one of those makes a lot of sense too. And the thing is we're not splitting to save money it really is just because there is too much food in most instances. So that's less money spent in addition to less waste. Win/Win in our situation.
  20. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    That spreadsheet IS really awesome! Maybe they'll let me post the link?!dining-plan-calculator/cxc0
    I downloaded it a few weeks ago, and it's definitely accurate, as it got me within a few dollars of my own calculations. It would definitely save some time for anyone who knows basically where they're going to eat, but doesn't know exactly what they'll eat when they get there or doesn't want to take the time to look at every menu.

    DH LOVES the dining plan. He's an eater, and he's all about the convenience of it. However, it doesn't make sense for us, especially since DH pretty much needs 3 full meals a day. This leads us to purchasing extra meals that aren't included, unless we go with the Deluxe plan, which makes even less sense.

    According to my calculations for our upcoming trip in April, the Regular Dining Plan would cost us around $350 more than paying out-of-pocket. I agree that if it looked as if it was going to be around $100 or so, I would probably give in to DH, but $350 is too much to ignore.
    The Quick Service Dining plan would be about $200 more (if it still included 2 snacks a day, I suppose it could be a contender, but we like several TS meals)

    For $350 less, we can get sodas, snacks, and desserts sometimes. The reality is that we'll probably order water and split desserts. I also don't see us all getting a snack every day, since we'll have 3 full meals, but I do have a few budgeted in for each of us.

    We can split or skip meals altogether if it suits us.

    I also have added to our OOP budget, some additional food for our 2 year old. While he'll easily eat his fill at the two buffet-type places we're eating, we may need to order him a little extra at the al a carte places and at counter service places. There's also the possibility that he might not eat, when we sit down for meals (he's usually pretty good about it but the excitement could overwhelm him) and it will be easier to just buy him something later, instead of trying to take something away and figure out a way to store it safely.

    Another inclusion is resort mug that come with the dining plans. I don't really understand them, but we're not big soda or coffee drinkers. If we were on the dining plan, we wouldn't need them at all, because our soda needs would be covered by the drinks that were already included.
    We decided to get the mugs on our last trip, because we figured it would be easy to get our money's worth, since we weren't on the dining plan. We did, but just barely. In general, I found the meal that we ate at our resort tended to be breakfast, and since they don't have juice or milk in the soda fountain machines, it was basically a wash. We did use them for hot chocolate a few times, and for some soda during other meals, but we likely would have spent around the same amount of money without them, and we wouldn't have had to deal with the mugs in the parks after they were useless.

    It's entirely possible that the tables will turn next year, as DS will be 3, and we'll have to start paying for him at buffets, so my dining plan calculation years are definitely not over. I expect I'll have to test both options for every trip to Disney we take in the future.

    There's definitely not a straight forward answer as everyone is different.
  21. bless7ings

    bless7ings DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2007
    I am missing something....where is the button to download? I am logged says Hello......then underneath that says Logout.

    Where is the download button?

    Found it under Dining Planning Calculator drop down menu at top!

    Looks great! Thanks for sharing!!

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