Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by fireman17, Sep 29, 2012.
That's exactly what I meant...
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. Well said.
We've only done it once, but we loved it ... and we're eagerly anticipating using it again next year. We ate at a lot of places we never would have tried before, did character meals for the first time ever, etc.
Before, my DH would worry about money constantly before, obsessing about how much we had left, what we could order, etc. He doesn't do that with the dining plan. And I can't wait to take my parents on the dining plan someday, because if anything, my dad is much worse! My mom says she'd love to see him just relax about it.
Eating anywhere but at home is, imo, very expensive for a family of 7. A disser friend of mine who is a whiz with spreadsheets thinks the dining plan comes out about even with OOP unless, like us, you are light eaters and prefer an appie to an entre and then the dining plan is more expensive. If your wife is frugal then she should look at going for the free dining promotion. For me it doesn't make sense because I can get an AP room only discount which saves me a lot of money as I go solo or with one other person. But the free dining special is MADE for big families - especially those with teenagers. Then the regular dining plan is great - you get great healthy food which i find difficult on QS - and save a bundle!
we have done the free ddp before, this is our 3rd attempt and i have to agree with the above esp CM... we have 3 children (disney adults) who after long days in parks and pools, and 14 days on the ddp couldnt eat anything else, we spent $200 (plus tip) for all three to eat cheese cubes and apple slices... dh and i had jacket potatoes and salad... we could have eaten that off site for what- $20?? BUT we saw the characters and had our pictures taken on a very special last night in wdw....
for all, esp people coming from a distance, this is an expensive holiday, for us too telling the kids to go fetch a ice cream/cake/smoothie/pretzel/drink makes a huge difference to the quality of our holiday. we have yet to use all the food, and often bring home SC treats for family but one day we ll brak even until then i ll continue to enjoy the fact that everything is prepaid and THAT works for me!!!!!!
This is how we look at it. When my DGD was younger it was worth every penny we spent to see her face when she met her "friends", chatted with royalty and kissed Pluto. The food was just a perk.
I guess that the buffet prices are reasonable for people with young kids if you look at the chance for them to spend some time with characters. It's a different matter for those of us with older kids or no kids though. Even though there are of course exceptions.
We avoid the buffets now (except Boma - love it) and have been trying less visited restaurants. It has been fun and these tend to cost less than the hot places.
trying to figure out whether it's a good deal or not forget that tax and tip and not included. Those are paid out of pocket. Is it killing dining? I think it has had a negative inpact for certain. They keep raising prices to make the dining plan look like a better and better deal. That means everyone not on the dining plan has to pay more.
We started using tables in wonderland about 12 years ago and it works so much better for us. We have been on the all inclusive plans and felt like every day was planned around food and not fun. Three huge meals a day is just to much to handle and ad snacks onto that...whew...I would weigh 400 pounds!
It doesn't matter how much money we have saved up to spend, it doesn't matter that he knows how much it will be... I quite frankly prefer not to deal with my husbands mood once he pays $50+ for lunch on day one of the trip. The dining plan allows us to eat what we want when we want and not have to share. We used the dining plan in '09 and what a difference. It was amazing. Is it the best value, no... we absolutely could do it cheaper... much cheaper. But I think the peace it brings to my husband is worth it because that makes our vacation that much more pleasant.
But to address the original question. DDP ruining Disney? No. Ruining how many ppl remember dining at disney. Probably. I have been going to Disney since 1979 since we lived locally. Before the Disney Dining Plan, you used to be able to decide that day where you wanted to eat. There was a board listing restaurant availability and a phone in Epcot that would link you with the dining reservations center. When EPCOT first opened, I remembered the restaurants were pretty packed and you had to make reservations on the earlier side. In the early 90's, however, when were would go monthly, we had no problem walking up to the restaurant and being walked in at sat down immediately. We did a couple meals where we were the only people in the restaurant the entire time. Prices then were still on the very high side meaning we paid well over $100 for 4 people in China once. While it sounded nice, to be able to walk up to the restaurant of your choice and just be able to eat, I was actually concerned about the health of disney as a company.
While I can concede that the menu's are a lot less specialized than they once were, I prefer seeing them packed and people enjoying the experience. I thought we were only going to do quick dining this time but my sister is wanting to join us for dinner at Ohana and a friend requested we join them at 1900 Park Fare. The prices for those two table service meals were more than the upgrade to regular dining so we did. I am looking forward to a relaxed and fun vacation without anyone being sour about food (the price, not being able to have something, ect.)
I think the complaints about the dining plan are overblown. Menus are streamlined, yes, but so are bar menus and merchandise offerings which suggests to me that is a consequence of corporate philosophy rather than of the plan.
The most valid complaint I see about the dining plan is that it has made ADRs unfortunately essential and increasingly rigid, but even that is a mixed bag. I'd rather have to make ADRs at whichever of the hundred or so restaurants I want to dine at than see the variety of restaurants decline in an effort to "right size" dining capacity to customer demand in a purely OOP environment. And make no mistake... The same management approach that came up with "Disney parks" merchandise so they don't even need to have separate items for the CA and FL parks isn't going to sit back and accept running dozens of restaurants at a fraction of their capacity like in the "good old days" before the current DDPs.
I don't think QSDP or DDP is that great a deal. We're only getting DDP because we have young kids and it IS worth it for the under 9 crowd when they are basically eating lunch and getting a snack a day free. We break even as adults probably. Now DxDDP I definitely got my money's worth.
I often read that the Dining Plan has caused WDW to "dumb down" the menus at many of the table service restaurants. Could anyone explain to me what this means or give me some examples? Were there more unique or unusual meals/foods served in most of the restaurants before the Dining Plan became ubiquitous? Thanks, guys!
The dining plan is not the cause of war, famine or Disney crumbling into a legendary lost kingdom.
A "dining" type plan has been around for a very long time. We used to purchse the"Gold' plan which included dining and recreation...similar to the Platinum plan. It wasn't being given away "free" so no one had anything to say about it.
Since they use Free Dining as way to draw people in ...now everyone knows about it and uses it at the reason for the decline of Disney. They're not losing money by offering free dining. If you don't get free dining, you usually get a percent off offer. It's just like any business! You go to a clothing store and one week it may be a bogo offer with the first item at full price. The next week ...maybe they'll offer 40% off all items. No one is complaining about that.
I don't think it has anything to do with the dining plan. I think it has to do with the management of Disney. Management decided remove resort specific mdse. ( which has nothing to do with the dining plan) . Management decided to order plain napkins ( again..nothing to do with dining plan). Management decided to have the same specialty type drinks at every bar and restaurant in wdw. It's cost cutting measures by disney management so they can order larger quantities of the same items to receive a bulk discount.
Now..in saying all that. I see a change in the near future. Resort specific mdse is coming back...so I'm hoping it's a step in the right direction!!
The dining plan is not a value by any means! Chances are you would save much more money by paying OOP. We went in August for 8 days we kept track of all our food expenses we spent $771 the dining plan would have cost us over $1100 we ate at all the TS we wanted to including flying fish. Dining plan def not worth the price unless it's free!
For me the "free" DDP is what makes the holiday affordable, and to a great extent enjoyable. I've read the posts about it not really bring free but for those of us travelling from the UK, the flights are THE most expensive part of the holiday, so not having to budget much for food (last year was tips only) makes the whole thing worthwhile.
We enjoy (most of) the restaurants so much that our 2013 trip is based on them rather than the park rides.
Clearly it is working for Disney or they wouldn't keep offering it.
However, it has had a negative effect on the dining experience and that is a shame.
On our last trip, we spoke to several chefs and restaurant managers that all thoughtit had negatively impacted food and service.
It will be worth it for us. It depends on the size of your family and their ages.
I am not going during a Free Dining promotion so that is not a factor.
I guess we are a family of 4. 2 adults 2 kids one of which is 10 so have to pay adult prices! When the plan first came out in 05 it was def worth it only 37.99 for adult 10 for kid included app entree and dessert and it also included tip. Now at 55 a day for adult and 18 for kids I def don't think it's worth it!! You should run the numbers chances are you will save money!
I agree. We had always bought the dining plan since the gold key card. It is now too pricey for us for 6 adults and 1 child. We are DVC members, and on our next visit, we will use annual passes and buy the Tables In Wonderland Card. We will use the card for one meal a day, and the rest of the time eat in our 2 BR at SSR. I can say, I think the dining plan would be better if they offered a salad or a sour OR a dessert. Most people I know would rather not have the dessert!!
We used the TIW card last time def worth it
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