Deluxe Dining Plan

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by constancefamily, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Spunky946

    Spunky946 DIS Veteran

    Aug 9, 2011
    We are doing the deluxe dining plan for our upcoming trip in Jan of 2013 and we can't wait. We are doing breakfast or lunch and a dinner show or a signature restaurant. We were going to do the regular plan, but there were too many restaurants we wanted to try or eat it.

    For us it's not trying to get as much value out of the plan and to see how much we saved, rather treating it as all inclusive. You want an app and desert? Great. Have an extra snack. Let's stop for an extra meal. For us it will be really nice to be able to go and not worry about having to buy extra money.
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  3. melissarose

    melissarose DIS Veteran

    Sep 29, 2012
    That's how I feel as well. I knew with the regular dining plan we'd still be spending a lot of money because we eat 3 meals a day. This way we can eat pretty much anything we want pretty much whenever. It makes it feel all inclusive, which is something you can't really get at disney! I like not having to worry about the money aspect. (We have tip money prepared and ready to go).
  4. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

    Feb 11, 2009
    I don't know that it's meant to be the best value around, though. It's advertised that it can save you up to a certain percentage (which isn't that big), not that it's a guaranteed savings. Many people, including myself, get the dining plan for convenience as you said, and convenience comes at a cost in the service industry (i.e: preferred rooms). If you're not willing to pay for convenience, that's fine, but it's hard to judge the value of it for most people when everyone's idea of what they would pay for the convenience will vary greatly.

    Before we got into Disney, we frequently vacationed at all inclusive resorts. The all inclusive vacation industry is successful because people love the convenience. You pay one price before you even get there, and you don't bring out your wallet again (except for tours) until you leave. No one has to think, calculate, worry about what they order, the cost, etc. The dining plan is the closest thing to an all inclusive vacation you can get at Disney. With all the other things to worry about in Disney vacation planning, it's nice to be able to take out the element of budgeting for food, which is why we do it. We know the cost when we book about 10-12 months ahead of time and it's paid for before we even arrive. I don't split hairs over whether I will save $100 doing it out of pocket or not. I don't care. I pay for the convenience and I'm fine with it, and that's why it IS good value for us (and many others!).
  5. PoohsFan1

    PoohsFan1 DIS Veteran

    Feb 19, 2007
    We love the DxDP and don't go to Disney without purchasing it. Since my kids are huge into the character meals, we always do a character breakfast, then have either a QS lunch or we like to snack (always pay OOP for it), then for dinner we like to eat at the Signature restaurants. Sometimes we switch it up and have a light breakfast in the morning which we always pay OOP for and then have a 1 credit lunch somewhere and then either a 1 or 2 credit dinner. We love the appetizers and desserts (the kids and I are big into the desserts) therefore the DxDP really worth it for our kids are 9 and 11 and are somewhat adventurous eaters....they always find something that they like on the menus.
  6. Dizzytime

    Dizzytime DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2008
    I do get the gist of your question, constancefamily, and it is certainly a fair one.
    I guess the bottom line is where is your money spent, what your preferences are in terms of food and drinks, and if possible can you spend money more wisely with the attitude that your still not least in in terms of getting what you want in dining experiences. Right?...and sorry for the rambling description...hah!

    No answer is the same for everyone, but after a lot of consideration (things like love TS, we don't eat desert, maybe enjoy an occasional appetizer, but we will often have wine or beer, etc), we've found the Tables in Wonderland card to be the most comfortable fit for what we want. Maybe something to consider for you?

    Hey, I hope you have a magical stay at Disney World!
  7. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    We do plan on doing the deluxe dining plan next Fall and we are going to use it for 3 TS meals a day. We won't do many 2 TS meals. Just 3 sep 1 TS meals through out the day. Breakfast , lunch and dinner.

    We may do Hoop Dee Doo one night for a 2 credit dinner r we may do the Luau one night for the 2 ts dinner show but other than that we will use every ts credit as a 1 ts credit meal.

    We may use a few CS credits for a quick service breakfast at the resort.

    But I will be more than happy to find 3 ts ADR's for every day of our trip to use up the credits.

    We ate at a lot of places we liked this last trip and still have a alot more we want to try our next trip.
  8. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

    Feb 11, 2009
    Even though I'm an advocate for DxDP, I do think 3 TS meals each day every day is a lot. We couldn't handle 2 TS meals and 1 QS meal. My only advice would be to space them farther out than you might think you need to, especially with the cancellation policies now. I'm talking 8am breakfast, 2pm lunch, 9pm dinner. We would do 12pm lunch and 7pm dinner and were still stuffed by dinner, so we would cancel last minute, but with the current ADR cancellation policy at many popular restaurants, you no longer have that option.
  9. CraigInPA

    CraigInPA Since June 1974

    Jun 11, 2012
    The point of DxDP is two or three table service meals per day. If you are going to have a single TS and a QS, you shouldn't bother with DxDP because it will not yield a savings. Likewise, you should like seafood or steaks, because, if you're going to have an entree that is a salad, you're just wasting your money.

    For those who are accustomed to eating fine food in sit down restaurants, and abhor quick service food, the DxDP makes sense. I, personally, don't have a problem making and keeping track of ADR's. Having been to WDW 20 times for 7-10 day vacations, I have my favorite places and rides, and don't feel the need to "do everything". I can plan a sit down meal without the guilt of "burning park hours". My sit down meal is just like any other "park experience", albeit usually without waiting 10-90 minutes in line first.

    My wife and I keep meticulous track of every receipt, if only to compare them to the tips put on to the KTTW card. The last time we went, a year ago in December, we were averaging $35 per person for lunch, and $75 per person for dinner. At that time, the DxDP was about $80 per person. $110-80=$30 savings. 30/110=28%. There were some days we had savings over 35%, and some days in the low 20% range. But, on average, over 10 days, we saved 28%.

    For the forthcoming February 2013 trip, we're at $100/day per person for DxDP. Looking at the latest pricing from recent menus, we expect to spend $40 for lunch and $85 for dinner. That's $125-100=$25. 25/120=21%

    In your other post, you also questioned the math of the TIW card. A 10 day pass is $300, not $400. The AP is $611. That's a difference of $311. Using a 20% savings on meals, you'd have to spend $1555 to recoup the difference, plus you'd need to spend $625 to recoup the cost of the TIW card. That's $2175 you'd need to spend on food just to break even. Using my daily spend figures above, you'd start saving after 8.7 days for 2 adults. If you had a 10 day trip, your total savings would be $65 on $2500 of food, or less than 1%. If you had a group of 4 adults, you'd start saving after 4.35 days. With the same 10 day trip, you'd save $565 on $5000 worth of food, or 11.3%. Both of these are typically less than you'd save using DxDP. You stated other benefits of the card, like 10% merchandise discount, and room savings. I don't really buy a lot of merchandise, but the room savings discounts I do use. But, I can get those with the Disney Visa card, or general public discounts. I don't need to buy an AP to get it. If I was a Florida resident, and could use the AP often enough to make it worthwhile, I'd consider the TIW card. But, as I'm not in Florida and stay at Disney resorts, I'm likely to save more using DxDP than your proposed alternative.
  10. bruhl1j

    bruhl1j Earning My Ears

    Dec 13, 2012
    The wife and I did the Deluxe plan last trip. We ate breakfast in the room or grabbed a pastry at the resort. Youget a refillable mug so most we spent on breakfast was about $5. For lunch, we would use one credit/meal at a TS place, then use 2 credits at a fine signature place. It is plenty of food but we would go for quality items over quantity. Sometimes we would share a dessert. We walked everywhere to help burn up all the energy.

    Here are my opinions on the trip.
    1. Fine dining is scattered so we traveled a good bit. No kids with us. The good side was visiting different resorts. All have beautiful lobbies and decor.
    2. TS places were just as good as many of the other spots we tried. Wife loved the scallops at Olivia's. I liked California Grill and view of fireworks.
    3. With kids, deluxe dining is more food than needed. IMO go with a smaller plan and eat breakfast in the room or resort most days.
    4. Overall, it is a good value but be prepared to eat. You can substitute if you like. DW had sushi that was an appitizer for her meal.
    5. Snacks - you can carry your own water but the snacks let you get a soft drink or water when needed.

    I would purchase again but only for a shorter trip. I am a big guy and love to eat but way too much food.
  11. MagicalMawMaw

    MagicalMawMaw DIS Veteran

    Sep 30, 2009
    We love the deluxe dining plan.

    We just returned from a trip last week & on 2 of the days we had 3 meals, while on the other days we had lunch & supper. We also arrived in time to eat at Fultons on our check in date & dined at LeCellier on our check out date.

    I kept up with all our receipts for the meals & snacks & the mugs for the two of us.

    The total came to $1559.37 + tips
    We saved $533.13 with the plan

    This was with ordering what we wanted, not the most expensive thing on the menu.
  12. autumnpalm

    autumnpalm DIS Veteran

    Feb 5, 2008
    We have used the deluxe dining plan in the past and enjoyed it, but prefer to pay OOP. This is because:

    1. None of us are dessert eaters.
    2. We usually order water with meals.

    Also, sometimes I like to eat more snack and just order an appetizer or two as an entree, sometimes we split meals... the DxDP just doesn't make sense for us, especially when we realize we are paying $$$ for a tip on a higher bill when we didn't even want all that food to start with!

    Also, we like the freedom of being able to eat at our favourite CS places (sometimes you gotta have plastic cheese!) and not worry about "wasting" our credits.

    The convenience of DxDP is nice but we will calculate the cost of the plan, put it on gift cards before we leave and then use that to pay for all of our food. Whatever balance is left on the cards goes to pay off the room balance!:thumbsup2
  13. letthewookiewin

    letthewookiewin <font color=blue>"That's 'cause droids don't pull

    Feb 23, 2006
    For our family, it depends on who you ask. I prefer to do TSs, and we do several 2 credit meals a trip. We had the DlxDDP on our trip this last June. The DSs and I loved it!! It was too much food. We usually didn't finish all of our food, and at dinner always took desserts to go. We don't get up early on vacation, so our dinner ADR was always late. This kept us from having to tote desserts around a park. My DH hated the DlxDDP. He felt like we were always headed to a meal, waiting to be seated, or eating.
  14. PrincessMe

    PrincessMe Mouseketeer

    Oct 2, 2012
    Love this idea! We weren't willing to use the DxDP again because it didn't work with our eating style. I wasn't so much worried about saving money although I figured I we would come out far ahead without a plan as we usually share or skip appetizers, desserts, and extras. But I did want to preserve the magic of ordering with no regard to cost. This was hard because I balked at a lot of the prices. Budget still far in the black but I just won't pay $x for y. Really like the idea of having all that money on the gift card ready for grey goose slushies and dark chocolate caramels and whatever else I might want.
  15. SteveandAli511

    SteveandAli511 Earning My Ears

    Jul 12, 2012
    We did the DxDDP in October and while we enjoyed being able to try a few signature restaurants and saving a good chunk of money (had free dining and upgraded) it was a ton of food, and I eat like a tank. We did find ourselves being hampered a bit by having to make our ADR and planning around them, but I'm glad we were able to try it once.

    We'd definitely go during FD again but not upgrade. We'll be doing the exact opposite in May as we'll be staying offsite and only have one ADR planned (Ohana on our first night, a tradition) and are excited to be winging the rest of it. We're looking forward to being able to eat when we're hungry and even if a lot of our favorites are booked we'll be able to try new TS's that we wouldn't have thought about before!
  16. bdklein

    bdklein DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2005
    Sure hope you don't lose your gift cards. Doesn't seem smart to me.
  17. AlohaAnnie

    AlohaAnnie DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2006
    Nope, I would get an Annual Pass and Get the TIW card. More freedom! You can still make ADR's and eat the way you want.

  18. LaniesMom

    LaniesMom Mouseketeer

    Jul 9, 2009
    I simply wouldn't do it because I don't like to become a slave to my ADR's, and I feel like that's what would happen if we did the DxDP.

    With the ages of our girls & how we like to tour the parks, the DxDP does not make sense for our family.

    If money were truly no concern, I'd do the AP-TIW thing.
  19. MolonLabe

    MolonLabe DTOM

    Feb 14, 2012
    We've done DDxP the last two trips as an upgrade from regular dining.

    On paper we have come out WAY ahead every time. For example, 1.5 years ago we paid 1,800 (Pop and base tickets) for 6 days with DDxP for 4 of us. I tallied up the receipts when we got home and they totaled just over $1,700 in food and snacks.

    Again that's on paper. We wouldn't have spent all that otherwise. I was ordering desert at most meals and eating one or two bites. We came home with about 20 bagged snacks to use up snack credits.

    Our trip last month was 7 days/six nights at Contemporary with DDxP for 5 (3 adults and 2 children). It was about 6k.

    I haven't totaled the results but I tipped about $500 (all charged to the room to keep track) so I'm guessing, without snacks we racked up about 3,000 in TS meals. I've been way to busy to try and do receipts.

    This trip we did 2 TS meals per day, one 1 credit and one 2 credit.

    Again, I was having one or two bites of desert at each meal. My wife and DD15 took many deserts back to the room each night. Most of which we threw out at the end of the trip.

    Next trip, unless we lie about the girls age, one DD will be 10 and we;d have to do a adult plan for her which is INSANE for a 10 year old. All of our DD's eat healthy and enjoy real food. Most nights the younger DD's ate steak or fish.

    *Tips* consider that when you decide to go DDxP. I didn't think about it on our Pop trip. We went Pop because of finances at the time and not wanting to go into debt for our vacation***. I completely over looked how fast tips add up.

    This trip, I knew what was coming and wasn't phased by tipping 17-20% per meal.

    ***As much as we loved doing CR and the Theme Park view this trip we had just as much fun doing Pop. There really is no bad Disney vacation package :woohoo:

    So, bottom line? Next time we'll probably do OOP and do one nice TS per day and play everything else by ear and try and score a 35% deluxe discount instead of a FD and then upgrading.

    I do think everyone should do a DDxP once, so they can hit all the bets places and figure out their favorites and do foods/places they might not normally do.

    For example we did The Wave and it was one of the best meals we had that week. Had it not been for DDxP, we wouldn't have.
  20. aml3679

    aml3679 Kita's Mom

    Jun 24, 2000
    We are also using gift cards and I think it is smart. We save all year by buying a gift card every week and then use them to pay for our extra expenses. Of course you keep track of them like you would any form of payment. Each person does what works for them. I don't want to use a credit card or have a balance when we are finished with our vacation.
  21. dana278

    dana278 Mouseketeer

    May 19, 2012
    I'm tentatively planning a trip in September (haven't been to Disney World since I was a teenager so this is all new to me!) and I'm really torn between dining plans. The basic plan doesn't seem like it's enough and the Deluxe seems like it is too much. I would love a plan that included 2 counter service and 1 table service meal a day.

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