Frommer's says not to get the Disney Dining Plan

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by BeentoallDParks, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    24,248
    The only reason I don't like using gift cards is then you have to keep track of every meal, and every treat that you buy. Or you have to keep calling to check your card balance. I even tried using gift cards to pay for tips the last time I was on the dining plan, and it confused a couple of my waiters.

    I guess I am lucky but I ran the numbers for my trip coming up in December, and the free dining came out the better deal, even when compared to a room only discount. But that is not always the case and it really does pay to run the numbers each and every time.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. NHTikiBeckie

    NHTikiBeckie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,811
    We just charge meals to the room and have the front desk apply the cards because it was easier.
     
  4. goofyintoronto

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

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    10,103
    We usually get free dining....except for this past trip (Aug.25-30) since there was no free dining. So we paid OOP for our meals for that trip, first time for that length of time. I have to say, if I can help it, I will never pay OOP again. I'd much rather do the DP. We must eat like beasts because the DP does save us money!!! The bonus is the peace of mind that meals are paid for. We do eat one TS for each day....we tend to order the most exp entree...and we do have dessert with our meals (we dont like apps). So there you go, for us, it makes sense.
     
  5. ElizabethB

    ElizabethB <font color=teal>I have a raw meat fetish. Who kne

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    4,315
    DDP doesn't work for us and I think it's very expensive. We do at least 2 and often 3 table service meals a day. We rarely, if ever, have a quick service meal and we don't eat many snacks. Moreover, we like to take a couple of our vacation days and head over to Universal. And, dh and I often split entrees or we just order a variety of appetizers and then move on to dessert. I guess the deluxe plan might work somewhat better for us, except we would likely waste credits on the days we spend at Universal.

    Overall, we have found TIW to work better for us. As for free dining, we stay at deluxe resorts and the AP discount of 35% off is a considerably better value for us than free dining.
     
  6. Dis703

    Dis703 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,374
    I agree with most of it. We did the calculations and its definitely a more expensive way to eat for us. It also can be a waste. We had it free once and it let us splurge a bit and eat places we normally wouldn't. But I ended up sick and we canceled a meal and then we scrambled to use all of our meals and snacks and couldn't. It was annoying but since it was free dining it wasn't a huge deal. If we'd paid for it though I would have been pretty upset.
     
  7. PEC

    PEC DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    765
    I agree and disagree with his assessment. If you are not doing Character Meals and other high end Table Service then yes it is not worth it. If you are doing Character meals then the situation changes and I would go with the Dining Plan. Went with the family of five and we ended up saving about 50-70 dollars total with the Dining plan. That included two character meals, a couple of other little higher table service and counter service at BOG. We had one child under 9 that contributed most of the savings. Which leads to my second point. If you have children under 9 and you intend on several charcter meals then yes definitely get the Dining Plan.
    Now my family is thinking of going with just myself wife and twins over 9. We would avoid the Character meals so getting the DDP is not worth it. I don't even see the QSDP being worth it. Part of the savings with QS is you get a dessert with the me, but my experience with most QS desserts are you can keep them. Not really great options and most are things I would never get without the Dining Plan. Exception would be at BOG. As for as unused credits, as pointed out by some this is misleading. Arriving at about noon or later on Day one we were able to save a QS for the day we left in the morning. Sure we didn't have a Breakfast but for my family a poptart or other quick lite breakfast was good. Plus the free mug solved the morning Coffee. That adds up after a few days. Plus we would get a drink when we arrived back from the parks. Once again not factored in the cost. Also if leaving Disney for a day you could always use a QS at your Disney hotel and save a TS in the evening to use another day or come back to Disney for a late TS and save the snack for a day at the park.
    Bottomline if you just want to do rides and no CMs or other higher end TS then I agree with his assessment. Otherwise I think he missed the point a little and based it completely on how he vacations.
    PS My advise would be play around in Disney site on booking a vacation with and without the plan then see what the menu costs are where you want to eat and see which one works better for you. I think you will find sometimes go with the plan other times don't go with the plan.
     
  8. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Messages:
    4,633
    Your assessment about the DDP WITH children is still true. If you have Disney kids, you will probably save money with the DDP.

    HOWEVER, the idea that if you do a lot of character meals, you need the dining plan is really false. Come January, the character DINNERS will all be $40.46 or less (except Akershus and Chef Mickey). The value of a TS credit is $38 (assuming you get a $4 snack and $17 QS). So, if you book only character DINNERS, you're "saving" a whopping $2.46, and that's only if you maximize your other allotments. If you do character breakfasts, you LOSE about $12 since all of those are right around the $26 price point. So, even with character meals, you HAVE to do the math!
     
  9. Haley

    Haley DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,429
    I think his article has a lot of wrong information - like basically saying a package is never a good deal and that you have to get tickets you won't use etc.

    I don't think the ddp is the best thing for everyone but it works for some people - depends on where you are eating.

    The author also left out that the ddp is convenient - some people like having their meals pre paid and loaded on a wristband and ordering whatever they want vs. arriving at a restuarant and looking at the menu and thinking oh crap this lunch is costing me how much?!? And getting the pasta instead of a steak to save $$. kwim?
     
  10. PEC

    PEC DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    765
    Actually I did some numbers on when we are planning on going to Disney next year (no I will not be using the Dining Plan but for a different reason) but just working the numbers the price for the Dining Plan was a little over 46 dollars a day instead of the roughly 56 dollars a day. Disney may have hit reality that it was charging too much for meals across the board.
     
  11. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Messages:
    4,633
    Would love to know your particulars.

    I just ran the same thing....2 adults, 4 nights, same resort, three different dates....every single one still had DDP at $58.66. I changed the resort thinking maybe they were doing something creative...still $58.66.
     
  12. NHTikiBeckie

    NHTikiBeckie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,811
    Ditto...I was confused by that post.
     
  13. esox17

    esox17 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Messages:
    27
    For my reservation this year, running it with and without free dining PIN was a difference of $1000 (2a, 2c, 1i). So while I could probably feed everyone for under $1000 for 8 days, I would find myself scrutinizing every dining location and menu choice. As it stands planned now, we will be using every last meal credit (using 2 credit meals where our arrival and departure times would 'waste' them according to the article), including almost all 'unique' experiences that we normally wouldn't do. We will have way more than enough food and snacks...and no money thoughts looking at menus. But then again, this is coming from someone who laughs at the thought of paying full price for anything...I have had the deluxe plan before, and would consider paying for it if it was far enough in advance to totally book it out as a restaurant-centric vacation, since my kids enjoy eating with Cinderella, at the top of the Contemporary, etc. just as much as (or more than) riding attractions for the nth time.
     
  14. PEC

    PEC DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    765
    I ran the numbers for 27-31 July (5 Days). The ages I ran were 2 adults and 2 children age 13 (twins). The cost I came up with was 938.56. That would be 234.64 per person and with 5 days that comes up to 46.93. Now this past year mine was 58.66 for the adults (over 9 treated as adults).

    Now I think the price does change based on when you go (ie peak season more than others). I did it for the Campgrounds (pop-up). If somebody else wants to run the numebers I am fine with it. That is just what I got.
     
  15. bdklein

    bdklein DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,863
    With DDP you can't order whatever you want. Locked in to entree/dessert/non-alocoholic drink (and sometimes restricted on what you can order from each of the 3 categories).
     
  16. mom2AidanAndEli

    mom2AidanAndEli DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,781
    The dates you listed are only 4 nights, so the total should be divided by 4, not 5. Then it comes out to the $58.66 which I think is the published price.
     
  17. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 1999
    Messages:
    31,499
    I agree with the article (except for the minor errors already noted). I think there is a "sweet spot" where the DDP makes sense and that's a family with younger children (under 10) who would plan on a lot of character meals. While there are many folks like that here on the DIS, I don't think that you will find many families like that who use Frommer's as a guide. Frommer's needs to focus their advice on the majority of their readers, not just a subset of readers.
     
  18. PEC

    PEC DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    765
    Yep my math was wrong. Went by days intead of nights. Another reason that the DDP is ok but unless going to CM like Akershus it is not worth it. I believe bean counters have it wrong at Disney. Think about this site how many more would do it if just an avg of about 10 dollars less a day. Many would stay on site to eat.
     
  19. 2Pirates2Princesses

    2Pirates2Princesses DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,300

    This is a great idea :thumbsup2 If we stay onsite for our next trip and aren't getting the free dining promotion then we will definitely pay for our meals this way since we used Disney gift cards to pay for most of our meals on our most recent trip. I don't think my family can justify paying for the DDP - the cost is outrageous now, especially since two of my four kids are considered Disney "adults" :crazy2:; and I definitely wouldn't pay all that money for the QSDP when you come out even paying OOP, especially now that you only get one snack per day with the QSDP instead of two! However, if a family plans on doing a lot of buffets or character meals, then I can see how getting the DDP would make sense for a lot of folks. I know a lot of people aren't fans of free dining, but free dining works for my family because since we are pretty much limited to the value resorts budget wise (due to needing two rooms or a family suite), a room only discount wouldn't really save us that much. So in the case of that particular promotion we would get the dining plan.
     
  20. blueferral

    blueferral Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Me the DW, DS 5 and DS 7 are headed to the Mouse's House next week. We will be there 4 days 3 nights. I did the math based on where we have reservations and what we usually order. Between the way over priced "all you can drink" rfip mugs and the under 10 boys we come out ahead about 70 bucks. This is paying for the plan, we are staying on DVC points.

    For those of you that say never, I say do the math. If you travel during the holiday season the food costs more, you might save some money. If you cook in the room, go off property, hate to do sit downs then don't buy it. To each their own.
     
  21. Babsy

    Babsy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    Messages:
    1,646
    DDP has never worked for us. I do the math every trip. I liked the idea so I really wanted it to work. It simply isn't a good deal for us - not ever. We are always better off with the RO discount and TIW card. We don't have children staying in the room with us and we stay in deluxe. There is usually one or, at most two, adults per room.

    The only way that I see DP's working is if you stay value or mod with a family of 4 or 5 with kids 9 or younger and eat character meals. THEN, you can save with DP.

    There is no such thing as FREE dining. It is a different type of discount that keeps all your vacation $$$ inside WDW. You have to pay rack rate for the room. Enough said.
     

Share This Page