Dining Dilemma

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by pinkpenny58, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. GeorgiaHoo

    GeorgiaHoo DIS Veteran

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    Keep in mind that regular dining plan is a lot of food -- a quick service meal with a (often not good) dessert could be a burger, substantial order of fries, drink and a brownie. Then for table service you could have steak, vegetable, drink and cheesecake (plus many places bring out bread). Alternatively, you could go to one of several all-you-can-eat buffets, including the character meals, 'Ohana, etc. If you eat all character meals or higher priced buffets for your table service meal you'll probably save money. If you don't you probably won't unless you order the highest priced foods. It is nice to have food prepaid. And keep in mind your snack credit could be something fairly substantial for breakfast.

    I think the price though is closer to $55 a person. There's a good post at easywdw.com discussing if the dining plan is "worth it."
     
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  3. pmaurer74

    pmaurer74 DIS Veteran

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    The dining plan works well for us but we do a lot of character meals. For me I found that basically the snacks end up being "free". I do not use my dining credits on meals in the $18-20 range but pay OOP for those if I want to go there. The character meals I go to are around $35-49 a person. Do not forget the refillable mug in there as well which is convenient. We like having it prepaid as well.
     
  4. anorman

    anorman DIS Veteran

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    Since WDW restaurants ask for an 18% tip and your kids are "disney" adults, you'll likely be looking at a $40-50 tip for each table service meal.
     
  5. CaoilinnsMom

    CaoilinnsMom Mouseketeer

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    I have spent a little time thinking about this myself. I am interested to see what the bouceback offer for my May trip is, if it is free dining I just might try it. I don't think it would be much better than a room only discount, since I have annual passes, but I'd like to try it sometime. My daughter is little and between us we don't each much food, we can share a counter service meal and both be full. It might be nice to commit to trying it once though.
     
  6. squirrel4569

    squirrel4569 DIS Veteran

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    This is a great summary and as other posters have said, it's fairly specific to your situation. If you and your family are picky eaters it's likely not a good plan. If you guys are foodies and like to eat a lot then it's probably a good deal.

    We did DxDP in 2010 and did Mickey's BBQ, CRT twice, Crystal Palace, 1900 Park Fare, Chef Mickey's and most of the other character meals. We had gotten FD on that trip so we paid the upgrade from QSDP to DxDP and saved a ton of money. Even if we had paid full price for it we still would've saved a ton.

    We did DDP in 2012 and had breakfast in our room most mornings (we brought cereal and milk from home) and hit up character meals and some of the higher end CS places. We still save quite a bit vs OOP but not nearly as much as the previous trip.

    We are doing DDP on this upcoming trip and using the spreadsheet it looks like we're going to save a bit again. We had planned on doing QSDP originally but that would've pretty much been a break even. The convenience of having it pre-paid was nice for that, but otherwise there wasn't much saving.

    The pre-paid aspect is very nice. You get to the trip and it's all paid in advance so you don't have your trip following you home on a credit card and you also don't have that voice in the back of your head saying "you should skip the dessert and save that money or spend it on something else."

    Good luck whatever you decide!
     
  7. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

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    This was us. We had the DDp and paid OOP every day for breakfast, used our CS credit for lunch then used our TS credit for dinner every night. The cost of almost every meal we had (5 Disney adults) was right around $200 give or take 2 or 3 dollars. That was a $40 tip EVERY NIGHT we were there for 9 nights. You have to keep that in mind when adding up what the plan actually ends up costing you.

    Now you will have to pay that tip whether or not you have the DDP but if you didn't have the DDP you could eat more CS and save paying tips all together.

    We would never pay out of pocket for the dining plan. We can always eat cheaper paying OOP because we don't normally eat desserts or snacks.

    The 2 times we have had the dining plan (QSDP once and DDP once) we got the dining free and just paid to upgrade from QSDP to DDP at $20 per person per day. So the only cost to us for the dining plan was $100 a day plus tips. So we came out ahead financially. The food for the day including dining plan upgrade, breakfast OOP and tip added up to about $190 a day for food. And that is with FREE DINING.

    Most buffets do not cost anywhere near $60. They average about $18 breakfast and $35 dinner. Even the all you can eat Crab legs buffet at Cape May is only $35. CRT cost a lot but it will also cost you TWO dining credits not one.

    We are 3 meal a day kind of family so the only plan that would actually cover all 3 meals a day for us would be the deluxe dining plan. And there is no way I would pay $100 a day for food per person. I can eat 3 table service meals a day on my own for around $60-$65 plus tip. But we would not eat 3 TS meals a day. We would eat 2 CS and 1 TS so we would automatically lose a huge amount of value from the DlxDp. If you are staying in a mod and getting Free DDp and pay to upgrade from DDP to DlxDp it is only $45 a day to upgrade...THEN it is worth the money to have the deluxe dining plan because you only actually paid $45 per person per day for 3 TS meals. If I did that I would eat 1 CS breakfast and TS lunch and dinner. We aren't interested in any of the signatures.

    SO my long answer is NO the dining plan is not worth the money.

    If you have kids under the age of 10 and eat a lot of character breakfasts it can work in your favor.

    You can even eat cheaper having 3 CS meals a day than what the QSDP gives you for 2 meals a day. The plan is $37 a day for QSDP and I can eat 3 CS meals a day easily for under $30. closer to $25 actually. So even the QSDP is not a good value for us unless it is free.

    But it appears Disney has decided to severely cut back or completely eliminate free dining.
     
  8. mckelvey72

    mckelvey72 Mouseketeer

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    Our first trip it would have been 200 more to be on the dining plan. For this trip since we have more character meals plus a 2 credit meal...it evens out.

    But even with it evening out and maybe a slight savings here are the reasons i won't get the dining plan:

    1. On our first trip we never ate dessert and sometimes did have appetizers
    2. On our first trip we shared a pizza at Via Napoli..had we been on the dining plan I would have ordered each of us one and threw away alot!
    3. On lunch I just ate the salad that came with hubby's lunch so I spent nothing. Salad was enough as I just wasn't hungry.
    4. My 11 year old (now 13) still eats off the kids menu. She will eat a grilled cheese, hot dog, pasta, pizza or chicken nuggets
    4. I like the flexiblity of not having to make sure we use all of our credits. If I was on the dining plan I would worry about it all week and if we decided we just wanted to skip a meal I would be freaking out on using up the credits. Plus we have a car so if we decided to take a ride for something different, we can eat offsite if we are not on the dining plan.

    I know what ADRs are CC held so we will make sure we get to those...but if I had say WCC reserved for dinner and we didn't feel like it...then we have the flexibility to just cancel it and do what we want.

    As everyone has said...it is up to how you eat as a family and if you can get your money's worth.

    Good luck in deciding but if you are already questioning whether it is going to save you money or not...you are probably better off not getting it. My kids and I sometimes share meals alot cause we are not big eaters.
     
  9. MHSweb79

    MHSweb79 DIS Veteran

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    ITA that the TS plan is a lot of food. People think you have to starve until lunch, but it's pretty easy to work breakfast into the plan. First, did you know a side of scrambled eggs can be a snack credit? Also, you can order a breakfast platter at your resort and split it. At POFQ there's a platter that includes a biscuit and a Mickey waffle. We ask for 2 waffles instead, and believe me, it's plenty for the two of us.

    As others have mentioned, you get dessert with each CS and TS meal. You can get something fruity or a muffin and ask them to box it up. Bingo- breakfast!

    The dining plan really doesn't save you money any more. It used to include appetizers and tips and cost much less- THAT was a bargain! Now you will have to work hard to save anything. And if you are sick of desserts by Day 3 (like we get) then you really are throwing money away on the plan.

    I am glad that we've had the dining plan several times. We got to try restaurants that we just would not have gone into, given the cost. So it was great in that way and now we know which restaurants are really worth the price for us (Teppan Edo, Biergarten come to mind) and focus our few TS meals on those we know we love.

    Most people on the regular dining plan end up with extra snack credits at the end of the week - this should tell you something...

    Edited to add: Don't forget that even "free dining" is not free- you have to pay rack rate for your room. The first time my AAA travel agent added Free Dining to our plan I had to go over there and give here a check for $250 MORE, since we lost our room discount. It turned out to be half-price dining, since there were only 2 of us in the room.
     
  10. BlueStarryHat

    BlueStarryHat <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/smilies/mag

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    We like the DP because it's convenient for us as food lovers, and since I have the cost of meals budgeted into my package price, I like the fact that I can "pay off" meals before we go.

    What we do is eat our breakfast at the food court in our hotel, then use a snack credit for lunch (an ice cream cone or something), and then have an early TS dinner, around 5 pm. It works for us, as you get so much food at dinner we're usually not hungry for the rest of the night.

    I would follow others' advice and do the spreadsheets and calculations, though. What's good for one may not be good for another.
     
  11. bdklein

    bdklein DIS Veteran

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    Eveything? It's not all you can eat. Alcoholic drink? An extra snack? And what about tips?
     
  12. GaBelle

    GaBelle DIS Veteran

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    I've already been corrected once earlier in this thread. I've already acknowledged my error.
    And no it doesn't include souvenirs, either.
    But thank so kindly for pointing out my poor choice of words once again, friend.
     
  13. Cyrano

    Cyrano Moderator Moderator

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    Moving to the Dining board :thumbsup2
     
  14. NC Disney Fan

    NC Disney Fan Live long Disney Lover and visitor

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    Just wanted you to know they opend Free dining to Disney Card Holders today for 9/2 - 9/25th. Are your travel date flexible? What normally happens now is that free dining will be opened up to everyone very soon. I've heard it rumored that it will be May 9th. If you could shift just a week, it will save you huge amounts of money!! Good luck.
     
  15. Eureka

    Eureka DIS Veteran

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    Our kids are similar ages, 10 and 12. This is the first trip we are going out of pocket rather than deluxe dining. Mostly because we know our younger DS won't be able to make a dent in an adult meal...and even with his eating us out of house and home, I am not sure the older one would be able to eat it all either. Combine that with 4 apps and 4 desserts and it's a lot. It made a lot more financial sense when we had 2 Disney children and even when one of them was a Disney adult. I also can't eat so much anymore (GERD problems) so ordering only what I really want will be great for me.

    That said, it sure was nice to go to a lot of signatures when we did the deluxe plan. This trip we are only doing one signature, but I still think economically we will come out ahead.
     
  16. NC Disney Fan

    NC Disney Fan Live long Disney Lover and visitor

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    Hey, when are you going? They just opened up free dining in Septmeber. Check it out if you can travel then! We have gone on free dining for years and love it!
     
  17. smiths02

    smiths02 DIS Veteran

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    You are all charged the adult dining price. Even by Disney's own advertising, the savings that you can realize on DDP for "adults" is pretty minimal...and this factoring in that you order the most expensive entrees, always want a drink with your meal, always want 4 desserts with your meal, etc.

    I am guessing that you would be better off just putting the money in a bank account or on a gift card or whatever method you prefer, and eating how you would like to eat.
     
  18. bdklein

    bdklein DIS Veteran

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    Wasn't my intention.
     
  19. amryn21

    amryn21 Mouseketeer

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    Can you use ts credits as cs credits? Not planning too but just curious as we may possibly be getting the DXDP plan this trip.
     
  20. Eureka

    Eureka DIS Veteran

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    Unfortunately, we can't go in Sept...the kids start school August 26, we are going right before they go back.
     
  21. luckypup

    luckypup Mouseketeer

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    Agreed!! We do deluxe, but for all the same reasons.
     

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