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Frommer's says not to get the Disney Dining Plan

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

  1. mom2AidanAndEli

    mom2AidanAndEli Mouseketeer

    We don't quite fit your profile here and the "free" dining definitely works for us! We're a family of four, all Disney "adults" (kids are 11 and 13 now). We usually stay value, although stayed moderate last trip. And the free dining is a huge savings for us!

    A RO discount is nothing compared to the free dining in our case. For example, we stayed at POFQ. Rack rate is approximately $200 a night. I know RO discounts run anywhere from 5% (ridiculous!) to, if you're very, very lucky 30% (hard to find!). Let's use an average of 20%. So that will save me $40 per night at POFQ. If you have a way to feed a family of four at Disney for $40 a day, I'd love to hear it!

    We fly in, so don't rent a car and rely on Disney transport. No eating off site for us. We could do a grocery order and have it delivered. But eating PBJ sandwiches in the room kind of takes something away from the vacation experience for us. We could stick with counter service, but actually enjoy sitting down to a nice meal every day. When those nice meals for our family of four are averaging $100 to $175 and we're only having to pay the tip, that's a huge savings!

    I know it doesn't work for everyone, but for this family it's huge! Would I pay for it? Probably not. But everyone who says free dining isn't a good deal, I'd love to hear the rationale for our family. I'm a bargain hunter extraordinaire and I can't see how this is not a good deal for us--unless I'm back to PBJ in the room.
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  3. Minniesgal

    Minniesgal Mouseketeer

    We didn't like the DDP because we felt it wasn't convenient. We paid a lot of money up front but we were still paying servers a lot of money with every meal by the time you pay for alcohol appetizers and tip it comes to more than $50 per meal for our party of 5. Far easier to keep our upfront money and put the meals on the room key. We found we had significant change out of what we would have paid DDP and we eat what and where we wanted. With DDP I found myself ordering the steak when I wanted the pasta so it still impacts your freedom of choice.
  4. Minniesgal

    Minniesgal Mouseketeer

    I think what you say is really key especially for Dvcers. If you have soda in the room as we do and say breakfast tea and coffee in the room it really erodes the benefit of the DDP. I think it only has a chance of working if you want that all inclusive eat every meal out type of holiday which many DVCers don't. To me DDP makes more sense when staying in a hotel room and to those with DVC who see a two bedroom only as a larger hotel room. Those who stay DvC for the condo experience probably are bad candidates for DDP.
  5. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Of course "free" dining is a better discount for 4 Disney "adults" at a moderate resort. I don't think Babsy was saying it wasn't. She said that for TWO Disney adults in a DELUXE it isn't.

    I believe that her comment here:
    is the same as mine above. The DDP "sweet spot" is a family of 4 with two kids under 10 that goes to lots of character meals. Your family doesn't fit that description and you said that if you didn't get the DDP for "free" you probably wouldn't pay for the DDP yourself :wave2:.
  6. txwdwmom

    txwdwmom Member

    It's still a great value for us, too! I totally disagree with the article.
  7. txwdwmom

    txwdwmom Member

    Yes, it was a very one sided article.
  8. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala <font color=red>1937, what a year that was<br><fon Moderator

    I don't find DDP convenient at all. So yes, there are people who don't think it is convenient. It is not a one size fits all, nor is it "doesn't fit anybody." The blog writer apparently thinks it doesnt' fit his readers (unless it's free).
  9. ArwenMarie

    ArwenMarie DIS Veteran

    I agree with this. Some folks like having their food pre-paid and not thinking about it while they are on vacation. And not having to pay the bill when they get home! Like the cruise/all-inclusive mentality. It's definitely not always just about the money. There is value in that for some.
  10. luvmy3

    luvmy3 <font color=green>When I drink I find its easier t

    The DDP is definitely not a good value for us and I would never pay for it. I even gave up FD and for me its not all about the money. I don't find it convenient to have to set up dinner reservations 6 months out and work my park plans around them. If I wanted my meals pre-paid I'd just set aside money on a GC and use that. For our recent trip I budgeted a little less than what the DDP would have cost us, and I still ended up spending way less. We never once worried about the cost of meals, we eat what we want and where we wanted at the time (TS restaurants included) and our total spent included appetizers, alcoholic beverages and tips. All of those would have been an additional cost on top of the DDP so there is no way we would have come out ahead using it.
    I can see where for some families its beneficial, but definitely not for us.
  11. Minniesgal

    Minniesgal Mouseketeer

    I would agree with you 100 percent if the DDP were all inclusive. Coming from the UK having everything prepaid takes stress away. But I don't find the DDP does that.
  12. luvmy3

    luvmy3 <font color=green>When I drink I find its easier t

    I don't get that either, you still have to pay for xtras (appetizers, alcohol, tips and snacks over your 1 credit).
  13. ArwenMarie

    ArwenMarie DIS Veteran

    True, not 100%, but a large majority of your food bill is paid for.
  14. Minniesgal

    Minniesgal Mouseketeer

    Yes but my point is it is not small change you are still having to pay it is reasonable sums enough for me personally to invalidate the convenience argument.
  15. ArwenMarie

    ArwenMarie DIS Veteran

    It's still a large portion of your food bill that is prepaid. Some people like that about it. :confused3
  16. gorkt

    gorkt Member

    I agree with most of that article. Even when the DDP was a good value and included tip and appetizer, I still never ate enough to justify it. I like quick room breakfasts, one CS meal and one TS meal, but DH and I usually split appetizers and meals. Now my dd is 11 and is tiny and there is no way she would ever eat enough to justify $50+ a day.
  17. JenSop

    JenSop Mouseketeer

    Hey folks, I'm just back from 4 days in Disney WITHOUT the DDP. (Was staying as a convention guest...)

    I am reminded again that I will ALWAYS do the DDP. My CS lunch at Tangeriene Cafe was $23 alone. (Yes, I like the combo platter - and the baklava!) That's just me. Holy cow! And I love Dole Whip floats - had to pay OOP for all of them! My TS lunch at Chefs de France was over $30 - and normally for TS dinners, I order entrees that are more than that for sure.

    I'm going back in two months and will have the DDP - it's my boyfriend's first trip, and that man can eat like crazy. I already know we will save decently with the dining plan! And I will love the convenience of pre-paying for it.
  18. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Tangeriene Cafe has always been one of the most CS restaurants on property and it appeared that you ordered the most expensive item on the menu (a combo platter for $16, a baklava for $2.50 and a large drink for $2.50 -- that's the only way for your bill to come up to $23). Chefs de France is also one of the more expensive TS restaurants. Even so, you would have barely paid for the DDP on that day: $30 (Chefs lunch) + $23 (Tangerine dinner) + $4 (Dole Whip snack) = $57. The DDP would have been $55.59. That's a whole $1.50 in your pocket :rotfl:.

    It is very true that you can maximize the DDP if you eat at the more expensive places and order the most expensive items. If you are willing to seek out the best "bang for your buck" you will probably not lose money on the DDP, but I think it takes a lot of effort for two adults with no kids.
  19. sharonabe

    sharonabe Mouseketeer

    Actually she SAVED $1.66 as the DDP price is now $58.66
  20. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Not for her dates.
  21. CynJ

    CynJ Caffeinated Insomniac

    I think Frommer's is wrong. The dining plans are probably not for everyone as everyone has different dining needs/expectations. But in certain instances, if you're someone that pays attention to detail, they can save you money.

    I actually put together a pretty detailed spread sheet to compare the different dining plans to paying OOP for our November 2014 trip. And when I say detailed I mean I went through every menu for every QS and TS restaurant we might want to eat at and computed average costs for app/entree/dessert to plug into the sheet.

    Our meal breakdown is:
    Breakfasts: AoA each morning (I have two diabetics traveling and we will be eating breakfast at our hotel every morning to ensure they can take their insulin/meds on time)
    Lunches: BoG, AoA, Flame Tree, AoA, Via Napoli, Pecos Bills
    Dinners: Marrakesh, Columbia Harbor, HoopDeDoo, Boma, AoA, Garden Grill

    Total OOP for 4 adults (including tax but not gratuity because I pay that regardless) = $1989

    Total covered by QS Plan= $920
    OOP expense w/ QS plan = $1069
    Cost of QS Plan: $962
    Covered by QS - Cost of QS = -$42

    Total covered by Standard TS Plan= $1619
    OOP expense w/ TS plan = $370
    Cost of TS Plan: $1408
    Covered by TS - Cost of TS = $211

    So we are out $42 if we use the QS plan and conversely we save $211 by using the standard dining plan and paying attention to how we use our credits. In reality because I used averages and not specific numbers (especially for the snacks which really fluctuate in price) we will probably end up saving even more than that.

    Depending upon how a family eats, and how much in advance you plan (and doesn't dining take a little planning regardless- just to get ADRs?) you can utilize the dining plans to successfully save you money.

    Just my two pennies...

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