Dining plan value for money

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by davrosuk, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. davrosuk

    davrosuk Earning My Ears

    Oct 4, 2007

    i will be going in Sept with two kids, wondering if we should go for the dinig plan?

    ANy suggestions?

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  3. Pikezh638

    Pikezh638 DIS Veteran

    Jul 31, 2011
    I would, but I like how hassle free it is, you may spend more, but I would go with it.
  4. JZCubed

    JZCubed DIS Veteran

    Mar 7, 2010
    Two things to consider:

    1.) Are you two kids old enough to be charged as adults?

    2.) If charged as kids, are you OK with the kids menu options?

    Also, before taking general yes/no advice from folks on DisBoards, there are plenty of threads outlining the pros & cons of Disney Dining Plan.
  5. BearcatsFan

    BearcatsFan <font color=green>we finally had a minute to breat

    Dec 30, 2011
    That depends on many things - your eating style, if your kids are "Disney adults", if you prefer appetizers over entrees, if you will primarily do QS over TS ... on and on.

    Only you can decide if it's worth it and if it has value to YOU. I suggest you go over to Allears and check out the menus. Price out what you think you would eat ... then compare that to the price of the dining plan. Don't forget - if you plan to eat at TS restaurants that tips are not included in the cost of the meal and should be budgeted for and added in separately when you're figuring up the cost.

    If what you're looking for is convenience, you could always get some WDW gift cards and use those to pay for your meals rather than pay for a dining plan that may not work for you financially.

    HTH :goodvibes
  6. lovin'fl

    lovin'fl DIS Veteran

    Jun 7, 2011
    If your kids are under 10 then maybe it's a value...if they are 10 or older than you are paying all adult prices and I don't believe it's a value anymore. Once upon a time the DP was about $37/adult and $10/kid (under10) and it included appys, main course, drink, dessert and tips for the TS meal (you wouldn't have to leave a dime when finished your meal...unless you wanted to tip a little extra). That was really convenient and a value too. That was in 2006. DH and I were just discussing this. We think Disney should have either cranked up the cost of the DP OR taken away the appys and tips, but not both. Even now I might consider the DP if it were $60 or so pp if it included appys and tips, so I wouldn't have to think about or mess with paying at a TS meal.

    The Disboards have menus too_On the dark blue bar above put mouse over dining and you'll get a drop down. Click Dining Plan and somewhere on that page is 2013 list of restaurants that take dining plan. Click the restaurant to see the menu and reviews.
  7. Peachkins

    Peachkins DIS Veteran

    Nov 4, 2012
    Honestly, I'm not sure it's much of a value anymore. As some previous posters have said, whether or not you get your money's worth is going to depend on you and your kids' eating habits.

    While I feel like I made out well value-wise using the dining plan, the main reason I like it is because my food is basically paid for before I go on the trip. Means I have to bring less spending money, and I don't have to stress about how much things cost- I can just pick whatever I want off the menu. Since I'm a huge fan of steaks and seafood, this made me happy. :cloud9:
  8. Ro Z

    Ro Z DIS Veteran

    May 22, 2010
    We usually feel like we come out pretty even with the DDP. But that said we probably would order differantly if we were not on the plan. So tips might be less! Now it is something like $50+ a day each. You can easily spend less than that OOP. Ordering the way you want not trying to get the most bang for your buck!! We use it during F&W because snacks can add up. But otherwise we don't think it is worth it. Room discounts, in our case AP discounts. Are a better deal.
  9. minnie mum

    minnie mum Unapologetic Disney Fan(atic)

    Mar 8, 2011
    Which dining plan? QSDP, DDP, DxDP?

    How old are the kids- would they be required to have the adult plan?

    If they are young enough to have the kids plan, will they eat the food that is on the kids menus? If they are old enough to be on the adult plan, will they eat the food that's on the adult menus/

    How do you normally eat? Can your family fulfill their eating requirements completely within your chosen dining plan? Too much food? Not enough? Will you still have to supplement with OOP food (either brought with you or paid for on site)?

    It's different for every family. You have to do the Disney math to see if it will save you any money. I don't think convenience is any excuse for throwing more money at Disney than you already are. Look at the menus of the places you would likely eat at. Do up a couple of days worth of menus- looking at what you would likely order, and then figure out whether or not one of the DDPs would work.

    It hasn't worked for us for some time . We save money by paying OOP, eating wherever we want and what we want, not what the DDP tells us we can using credits.
  10. yooperfan

    yooperfan Hi HO, hi ho, it's off to work we go

    Jul 4, 2000
    We weren't going to this year, but DH had 3 table services he wanted, so the dining plan really didn't run that much more for the whole week than the three meals would have cost us out of pocket. Of course that was with the Disney visa ackage that was offered at a reduced rate.
  11. Unca_Scrooge

    Unca_Scrooge I'm not an Uncle but I am a Scrooge.

    Aug 17, 2007
    Keep an eye out for free dining in September, totally worth it at that price.
  12. MrRomance

    MrRomance Planning and Plotting

    Sep 19, 2011
    The decision on whether the dining plan is "worth it" is very much a personal one for your party. I know that sounds very unhelpful, but for many reasons, the dining plan is a must for some people and a rip off for others. OP's have pointed out some of the variables so I won't rehash them but you really will need to look your needs and desires and crunch the numbers to work out if it is something that will work for you.

    From our perspective we always go with free dining. We are big supporters of the dining plan but mainly because we don't pay for it (OK, that's not strictly true, we do pay for it but it's rolled in to the cost of the holiday through higher room rates!) If I were paying extra for it, it wouldn't be such a clear cut decision and I'd sit down and do the numbers.

    The biggest "benefit" of the dining plan is not the "value for money". Can you save money on the dining plan vs. paying OOP? Absolutely, but that will depend on how much you (your whole party) eat and what types of food you prefer. The main benefit is undoubtedly convenience! Having the dining plan means you don't have to budget for meals, you don't need extra spends to pay for your food, you can eat what you want, when you want (within the plan you have) and it's all on your KTTW card so you don't have to carry as much cash.

    We calculated the amount of money our food would have cost if we were not on the DDP and even if we had paid for it, we would have come out $500 ahead. (2 adults 1 child) However, some of the items we got during our stay we probably wouldn't have ordered if they were not "what you get with your credit".

    For example, my daughter and I usually share a counter service meal for lunch. At Starring Rolls, we had the ham wedge sandwich, a bag of chips, a cup cake and a large drink (between us). I wouldn't necessarily have bought the chips if I were paying OOP. So I think there is something of a "false economy" involved because you feel obligated to have everything you're "allowed" to for your credit but don't always want it and wouldn't always have bought it if you paid OOP.

    My advice would be make a "list" of where you definitely want to eat. Character meals, signatures etc. Add up how much those will cost OOP. Then estimate how much a counter service meal will cost you. Would you share with your kids? How many would you have to buy. Get a rough idea of the cost OOP and then compare it to the DDP cost. :thumbsup2
  13. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

    Jun 2, 2003
    Need more info. Dining plan is not much of a value anymore but many folks like it because it's prepaid. Me? Gift cards do pretty much the same thing.

    As previous poster mentioned go over to allears.net they have complete menus with prices.

    My reasons for not using it.
    1) it cost us more. next year the basic plan will be ~52 per person without the tip. No way would my family of 4 eat ~210.00 bucks each day pre tip.

    2) We rarely do desserts. In fact many times if we are going to do a dessert we prefer to get one at the bakeries. even factoring in the cost of an after dinner bakery treat, I only average around ~170 bucks/day. for my family of 4

    3) not tied down to adr's.
    4) Ironiclly a lot of people say they love how the don't have to worry about what they order when on the ddp. I was the exact opposite. I stressed way more on the dining plan. Every meal instead of simply ordering what I wanted, I was alway taking into account the cost of my credits. There were some days when all I really wanted was an appertizer or maybe a salad but nooo, had to get that steak because god forbid I didn't get my money's worth. :goodvibes

    When I'm not on the plan no more worrying about if we change our minds and don't eat a ts credits will be lost, no more running around the resort store trying to use up those extra snack credits (I swear I see this EVERY DAY, some mom is telling the kids to just pick any thing just to burn up the credits). We eat way more naturally.

    Think how you guys eat , then price it out and then make a decision.

    Even free dining does not save me money as you have to pay rack rates for your room. Since I stay deluxe only I always come out cheaper with a pin code or AP rates.
  14. BearcatsFan

    BearcatsFan <font color=green>we finally had a minute to breat

    Dec 30, 2011
    Not always. When you get the FD promo, you are paying "rack rate", full price for your room. Depending on where you are staying and how many are in your party, a room discount might actually save you more money than FD does.
  15. rznhal

    rznhal DIS Veteran

    Mar 13, 2009
    Our family of four (me, DH, DD7 DS 2) are not using the DDP for the first time. For our 7 night stay with tax, the DDP would have been $896. That doesn't include tips, which would've been $150 more. We are budgeting $750, which includes:

    Groceries from the Gift shop
    2 refillable mugs
    1 pizza delivery
    5 Counter Service meals for our family
    4 Table Service meals for our family
    2 Signature meals for our family
    outback at MCO
    bowling at splitsville (had to throw that in to reward our thriftiness! haha)

    Our style:

    1. We almost always share 1 meal and 1 appetizer, and our kids share a kids meal.
    2. We eat breakfast in the room (throwing granola bars and fruit snacks in our suitcase, buying some english muffins at the gift shop).
    3. We don't always order dessert (never at CS locations. Their desserts aren't very good IMHO)
    4. We are taking advantage of coupons and reward clubs (landry's reward is $25, and we have a coupon for a free sandwich at Earl of Sandwich).

    Happy planning!
  16. lovin'fl

    lovin'fl DIS Veteran

    Jun 7, 2011
    2013 regular dining plan costs (one snack, one CS and one TS(entre, drink, dessert)/day plus mug)
    Plus Dining $55.59(adult) $17.16(under 10) $56.94 (peak season) $18.16 (peak season under 10)
  17. Crystal824

    Crystal824 DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2008
    I really liked the dining plan at first. It seemed to save some money and it was nice that it was prepaid. The cost keeps increasing while the benfits of the dining plan are decreasing. I don't think it is really a good value anymore.

    We also buy the Disney Giftcards at Target (we get a 5% or 10% discount on them - 5%with our Target Redcard - 10% if we have pharmacy rewards). We pick where we are going to eat and estimate the cost - get the gift cards. It works out nicely for us. We don't feel like we have to eat dessert all the time. We can get an app instead of a entire meal, etc.

    On our last trip, we figured out where we wanted to eat and then tried to predict what we might get. We totaled that against the price of the dining plan. It was like $300 less even figuring snacks and cs meals. Of course, we never get dessert at cs places. Even at TS places, we usually split one dessert so...that is probably less food than the DP.
  18. davrosuk

    davrosuk Earning My Ears

    Oct 4, 2007
    i understand disney have doen the free dining plan i think ill wait it out for a few more months before booking hotels to see whats on offer. Thanks for your answers A LOT of information there!
  19. Mcert01

    Mcert01 Mouseketeer

    Mar 1, 2003
    You have unknowingly swatted a hornets nest with a stick by bringing this up. :rotfl: People tend to get emotional about this topic for some reason. :confused3

    Everyone has their own opinion, and it works differently for everyone. We have used it on some trips and didn't on others. The folks saying it all depends on your circumstances and desires are absolutely right.

    If you are going to do character meals, and table service then it is probably worth it. If you plan to eat primarily counter service then probably not.

    Convenience and peace of mind that you can order whatever you want are also factors, but only you can decide if they have value for you. For us, they really do. Walking into Kouzzina and ordering the whole fish is allot easier if you are on the plan than not.

    For us, the key is whether or not we are staying in our RV at Fort Wilderness or a hotel. If at FW we will eat some meals at the RV, so the dining plan doesn't make sense. If we are at a hotel, then we get the basic dining plan and it works out pretty well.

    So, break out a spreadsheet, go to Allears.net as someone suggested, and see what makes the most sense for you and your family.

    Good Luck!!!
  20. GeorgiaHoo

    GeorgiaHoo DIS Veteran

    Nov 7, 2005
    There are a lot of table service meals you can eat and still lose money on the dining plan. For example, you can easily spend less than $20 per person at Plaza Restaurant. Depending on where you want to eat, you'll need to make reservations well in advance of your trip and then you'll need to get to the restaurant.

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