Dining Plan worth it?

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by Turtletyson, Mar 11, 2013.

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  1. Reese D

    Reese D Mouseketeer

    Jan 11, 2013
    We have found that since we have 2 children under 10 and we like to do a lot of character meals and buffets, that it saves us money.
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  3. dminnie

    dminnie DIS Veteran

    Jan 3, 2013
    That was us on our first trip staying on-site. I will say, even though I can't see us getting it again, it was nice to give it a try and we tried out restaurants that we wouldn't have gone to without it. Mostly, it just didn't fit with our eating habits though.
  4. Minnie222

    Minnie222 Mouseketeer

    Feb 6, 2013
    We used it and we loved it. We want to enjoy the rides and the parks and not having to worry about the food. With DDP, we are sure we will be properly fed. Our kids love character dining. It's fun and saves us a lot of time in meet and greet.

    If we were paying at every meal, we probably wouldn't do character dining and all the buffets, and end up eating pizzas and burgers the whole week. We did't want our trip to be like that.

    Downside to it is you need to allow a good 2 hours for table service meal. Also, waiting half an hour to get to a table (even with reservation) is not something very exciting.
  5. Rivka

    Rivka Earning My Ears

    Dec 31, 2012
    Haven't been to Disney yet, but I went through the menus at allears.net and made guesses about what we would probably order. Just thinking about our preferences, and not about the cheapest items, it still worked out to be about $20 cheaper per day to pay out of pocket.

    - We usually drink ice water instead of soda.
    - We wouldn't spend money on CS desserts - they look unappealing.
    - We'd rather get ice cream in mid-afternoon than try to cram in dessert after a big TS meal.
    - There are places we'd go if we had free dining, but wouldn't spend our own money for. (Chef Mickey's, Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic package.)
    - There are places where I think our kids would rather split an adult meal than have a ultra-processed kids' meal - like rotisserie chicken vs. chicken nuggets.

    We're planning some expensive meals (Cape May Clambake, Crystal Palace, California Grill), and it still wasn't even close.
  6. VACamm

    VACamm DIS Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    We are using DDP for the 3rd time in June. It works best for us because:

    1. All meals... snacks... and desserts are all paid for up front.

    2. We have a teenage boy and a preteen boy who eat a LOT!

    3. Cupcakes are snack credits in the parks :)

    4. My husband and teenage son tend to order steak in every restaurant which is normally the most expensive item on the menu.

    5. We always book DDP... if its free thats even better!!
  7. goofyintoronto

    goofyintoronto I really wanted to like it, but I didnt.

    Mar 29, 2011
    Yes these are our reasons for the DP as well. I have an almost 13 yr old boy who CAN EAT! we love desserts with our meals (we DONT do apps, never have). And i love the fact that the meals are paid upfront! Bonus! Plus we love the snack credits.
  8. VACamm

    VACamm DIS Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    Exactly! We dont do appetizers either ... because most table service restaurants offer breads to begin with. :)
  9. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    The Dining Plan calculator is on a Disney Vlog called Seeyareelsoon

    I found the results to be very close to my own calculations, so I can definitely see how helpful it would be for someone who doesn't want to look up all the menus.

    I constantly see people on here saying that they wouldn't do certain meals if they weren't on the dining plan, and I honestly don't see how that's relevant (maybe back when Le Cellier was only one credit...). The bottom line is that we spend LESS MONEY without the Dining Plan. I can plan in ALL the meals we want, we can order what we want, when we want it, and my calculations still come out at least $200 cheaper. I expect to spend a certain amount of money, so it's irrelevant to me whether the money is spent now vs. later. Also, if something in my finances changes, I can still do my Disney trip, and make cuts in the dining department if I pay out of pocket. That's not so possible with the dining plan. I like the flexibility.

    Your logic is a bit off here. The Regular Dining Plan does not provide 3 meals a day - it provides 2 meals and a snack. My husband needs 3 full meals a day. If he just has a snack for one meal, he gets hungry later. For this reason, we tend to add in extra meals on top of what the dining plan provides, which cuts into any savings it may provide. For our trip in April, I have 2 CS and 1 TS planned every day. None of the dining plans accommodate this, and my calculations have us spending over $200 less by paying out of pocket (3 adults and 1 toddler). If for some reason we don't consume one of the meals I have planned, the money stays in our pocket.
    It also includes any extra food we may end up purchasing for our 2 year old.

    No, we won't get desserts and sodas with every meal, but we wouldn't want them with every meal anyways.
  10. mulberrybush

    mulberrybush Mouseketeer

    Jan 16, 2013
    That calculator at seeyarealsoon is awesome convinced to do AP with Tim card instead dining.
  11. puffkin

    puffkin DVC Owner- SSR & AKV

    Apr 30, 2001
    Especially now that the DP does NOT include tip, we don't see value in it. We make out much better using the Tables In Wonderland card for our family. We visit at least 2x a year so we can get 3 trips off of one membership.

    I just like the flexibility of eating when/where we want. We eat a lot of counter service and a few big meals through the week. We don't usually get dessert or we just get 1 to share as we enjoy eating snacks a few hours later in the park. Also, if its hot, we just aren't that hungry and I don't want to feel like I need to order all this food to "maximize" the dining plan. Usually the lighter items that we tend to eat are the cheaper items and we would feel guilty ordering those on the dining plan. And the gratuities really add up!!!

    So for our family, it just isn't worth it. We make out much better using Tables in Wonderland and paying OOP.
  12. Disfan454

    Disfan454 Earning My Ears

    Jan 28, 2012
    Can you somone tell me what a TS is as related to meals? I see it often.
  13. Turtletyson

    Turtletyson Mouseketeer

    Feb 4, 2007
    TS is "table service" (sit down meal), as opposed to QS ("quick service" - order at a counter).
  14. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

    Mar 30, 2011
    We went back and forth, but decided we wanted it for our Disneymoon for a few reasons.

    1) We could save some money paying out of pocket, but then we wouldn't be able to eat in Signature restaurants and order the more expensive meals. Normally that isn't a priority, but it was this time. We're eating less meals this time at a TS because we're doing some signature meals. We hated having to stick to a schedule for meals, so this helps with that, and the food will be better.

    2) My fiance eats a lot. For Christmas, my stepmother gave him a platter and serving utensils as a fork and knife as a joke because he eats so much. It made sense for him to have a lot of food (especially with so much walking!) If it were just me, or me and my mother, I wouldn't want the dining plan because it's too much food (I would rather share meals), but with him it makes sense.

    3) We really like the idea of just going without having to think about paying for our meals. We decided we would pay a little bit more for that convenience.
  15. VACamm

    VACamm DIS Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    We always get the DDP... it works for us and we like having our meals paid off in advance :)
  16. Jonathan Swift

    Jonathan Swift I'm being sarcastic...or am I?

    Apr 11, 2013
    danceintherain: I don't believe the people who claim the DDP saves them money actually tried to figure it out in a systematic way. I think they just look at the prices for steak and assume it does. I thought I needed the plan because I have three expensive restaurants reserved for my trip. The double point deduction actually makes these places WORSE to use on the plan! (You're wasting points by using your plan on a 2 point restaurant vs. two 1 point restaurants if the combined bills of the 1 point places are more than the 2 point one, and they usually are.)

    I also think part of the logical fallacies going on in people's heads is the idea that they need the plan so they can pay for everything up front. There's a card game called "Let It Ride" where the players have to put up three bets and then have the option to take some away as the game progresses. You'd think it would be no different if the rules were put one bet down and add more bets as the game goes on, but it's not. There's something about the human brain that resists changing the initial bet. Similarly, even though it's cheaper to pay OOP, people want to give all the money up front because it forces them to buy meals they wouldn't have if they had to face the bill each time. This is crazy, because these people are willfully trying to trick themselves to spend beyond their wishes. This benefits Disney rather the customer but instead of balking at it, they see it as a feature of the "service." OOP purchases are done with your room key and list of payments is provided at the end of the trip, so I don't get the "sticker shock" claim. I honestly don't have an explanation about the cognitive dissonance about how the DDP is supposed to be easier. I don't understand how having to track your meals to use up points makes things easier.

    If anyone has an itinerary that is cheaper with one of the dining plans, please post it. It would be interesting to see an example where the plan works and works to be significantly cheaper than OOP.
  17. martinezmom3

    martinezmom3 Mouseketeer

    Feb 5, 2013
    Look through menus and decide what type of trip you'd like to have. We're a family of five, and all but one of us are gastronomes for sure. We're doing the DxDP and while it's quite expensive (2 adults, 1 Disney adult, and 2 children) we are a family that loves to dine together and love to challenge or palates. It's just something we've always loved to do together, so for that reason it works for us. Part of our excitement about vacation is dining. The idea of three apps to share and three desserts to share, is exciting, and for me (an obsessive planner) making ADR's is a blast. Check out the menus and just decide what works best for what you want to spend. :)

    Also, we did use the DDP before and felt this time we'd like more food because it's a longer trip. We may not use it every trip, but thus far, it's just what we prefer. It's just like the vacation itself,,,not something that's a necessity, but just something we enjoy and are thankful to be able to do it.
  18. tinkerbella16

    tinkerbella16 DIS Veteran

    May 4, 2012
    We love the DDP, but then again we have never paid for it since we travel during free dining. Not sure if they will release it this fall so I booked our trip with the Regular Plan anyway and will pay out of pocket. I do think it is worth it.. I like the idea of having everything paid for in advance whether I am paying for it or Disney is. We may not eat that much in "the real world" but dining in disney is part of the experience for us. We can go to restaurants that we may not go to if we didn't have it. We can do character meals without worrying about costs. We love Hoop Dee Doo so that is nice being able to just use our credits for it. Everyone feels differently about DDP so you will get a lot of mixed reviews.
  19. kris4360

    kris4360 DIS Veteran

    Oct 11, 2012
    I feel the exact same! I also went ahead and booked for this fall also.
  20. figment5

    figment5 Earning My Ears

    Mar 3, 2013
    Here is our itinerary, the DDP will cost us 1114.42:
    TS Me DH DD10 DD8
    BOG 37 30 37 11 115
    Garden Grill 37.27 37.27 37.27 18.1 129.91
    Cape May Café 38.33 38.33 38.33 18.1 133.09
    Tusker House 29.81 29.81 29.81 17.03 106.46
    Whispering Canyon 36 36 36 11 119
    Ohana's 36.2 36.2 36.2 18.1 126.7

    BOG 18 17 18 8.5 61.5
    Casey's Corner 13 14 13 13 53
    POP Breakfast 11 11 9 5 36
    Flame Tree BBQ 18 17 17 6 58
    Yorkshire Fish Shop 13.8 13.8 13.8 13.8 55.2
    Fairfax Fare 22 17 17 6 62
    The total is based on the lowest prices of all the buffets so it is possible they could be more expensive in June, also I did not include tax on the non-buffet meals or snacks. If you take into account only $3 per snack which is low end for us we would add $72 for snacks and probably about $30 in taxes for a grand total of $1157.86. And this is based on exactly what we would order with or without the dining plan, where we would eat with or without it and the fact that we enjoy dessert on vacation. So for us it saves about $43 getting the dining plan. However, alot of people do not eat desserts, drink water instead of soda, and share meals so like everyone seems to agree it is a personal choice based on your typical eating habits.
  21. Sheaboys

    Sheaboys DIS Veteran

    Jan 27, 2005
    We do the dining plan. We have 5 boys, 3 were over 10 (14, 12 and 10) when we went in August.
    We did get it for free. We had 2 rooms at Caribbean Beach, with the room discount, on 2 rooms, it still was not even remotely close to the FREE Dining discount. I knew we were eating a TS meal a day, for supper. We like the down time, so either way we would be paying for tax and tip on those. I knew we would be eating CS meals, maybe sharing, splitting between breakfast and lunch, and we eat snacks. Did we eat every single dessert? No, but still the dining plan was well worth it for FREE and would be for a cost, for our family. My older boys eat like adults, so no on the fence about kids meals or not liking the adult menu etc.

    I think families with less kiddo's do better with room discounts.
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