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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. TDC Nala

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

    Jun 22, 2001
    I agree that at this point most of the Disney veterans get it because they like it, not because they are concerned about whether or not it will save them money. Although the dining plan started off as a huge moneysaver (and was marketed as such) in 2005, it has evolved into something that many guests are willing to pay a bit extra for. And some might even be able to save some money.

    I also have seen a few counter services (Morocco and Wolfgang Puck Express are among them) where entrees can run up to $15, but most WDW counter service restaurants are in the $8-11 range for entrees. If you are going to get a $15 entree and dessert for every meal, the quick service plan is for you. If you like the less expensive ones, it may not be as good a deal.
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  3. JenSop

    JenSop DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2007
    This is where personal preference comes into play. I should mention that I avoid burgers like the plague in Disney. (There are so many more interesting options. I can eat hamburgers at home.)

    The two CS meals that I ate that were "pricier":

    -lamb and chicken shawarma combo platter at Tangerience Cafe. (SO SO good!)

    -short ribs platter at Pecos Bill. (I wanted Columbia Harbour House, but it wasn't open for MNSSHP.)

    I'm pretty sure both of those were $14.99. THen I had to buy Coke. (I drink lots of Coke everyday. Just choosing water is not an option. Again, that's my own personal preference, but something that I have to take into consideration when going on ANY kind of trip. I'm essentially addicted to Coca-Cola.)

    I go to Disney once or twice a year. I don't really eat out back at home. Disney is where I let myself go and eat whatever I want. So that means getting the expensive dishes, treating myself to dessert, having lots of Dole Whips and other goodies.

    That's why when it comes to DDP, I always tell people that it works for some, but not for others. For me, it's always a yes!
  4. OklahomaTourist

    OklahomaTourist Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2008
    Agree completely. We've been to WDW several times, done the math each time, and its been a big-time money loser for us. Although we spent most of our vacations at the parks/on property, we didn't want to feel compelled to eat at Disney restaurants or to have larger meals than we really wanted or needed.

    We ate light breakfasts in-room, had either a nice lunch or a nice supper somewhere, and never made more than a couple of ADR's for a week's stay. And we wanted the option of visiting local Orlando haunts as well. As a result, DDP was always a big loser for us, so we always declined it. As is many things Disney these days, they are as much about keeping people in the parks as they are anything else, and that's the overarching architecture behind DDP now. We've noticed a fairly precipitous drop in overall restaurant quality at WDW in the last few visits, and that's dropped the value of the DDP even more in our eyes.

    I think Frommer's article really hits the nail on the head. Ridiculous to spend that much for food if you know going in you won't really eat that much, or (conversely) if you fell compelled to eat because you spent that much, that doesn't even pass the sniff test.

    If you stay on property and plan to eat three meals a day nearly every day on property, I guess it might be worth it, but for us, it never worked out. We just couldn't get into spending that much time eating.
  5. luvmy3

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

    Feb 24, 2008
    Our family of 5 averaged $50 to $60 for all our CS meals, and that was including drinks.
  6. JenSop

    JenSop DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2007
    Like I said, it's all personal preference. I'm sure other regular DIsney-goers, have their "MUST GET" items on each trip. For me, one of those is the shawarma combo platter in Morocco. Other "must gets" are Dole Whip Float (preferably several on a trip), Gran Marnier slushies, and Lapu Lapu's at Poly.

    (No the alcohol obviously isn't on the DDP, but just using it to make my point of certain must-do's each time I go.)

    just remember, everyone is different! :-)
  7. Cafeen

    Cafeen DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2009
    And this is precisely why general blanket statements for (nearly) anything never work with Disney trips.

    There are a multitude of ways to tour WDW, from mad-dash, rope-drop, 14hr park day commandos to the sit by the pool for the day and maybe visit a park for a ride or two, plus everything in between. A flat statement saying "DDP is bad" is patently false, since it's only bad for those situations where it doesn't fit. Much the same is said for "DDP rocks!" as there are many cases where it does not rock.

    This is pretty much why I don't bother with the debate, as both sides are right and both sides are wrong :p.

    As far as the article... my problem with it is that he's doing a huge disservice to his readers, and from reading the first comment, he knows it. He knows that there are cases where it works, he just chooses to ignore those as it takes away from his "edgy" anti-Disney slant. His role as an author for a travel guide company is to guide his patrons into making the correct decision for their trips, but in this aspect, he's failing miserably (and the cynic inside me tells me, intentionally, to dive up hits to drive up ad revenue and exposure...after all, WE are all sitting here for over a week discussing it, aren't we?). Overall, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and making me hesitate before I use their service for any (non-Disney) travel plans.
  8. JenSop

    JenSop DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2007

    Well put!
  9. dbramer

    dbramer Mouseketeer

    Oct 3, 2013
    I have a family of four, children 10 and 5 when we travel next. When going to WDW, I need to have as much taken care of before I go. We always get the DxDP because we love the flexibility it provides. We are there for the total experience and we don't want to have to worry about a food budget while we are there. We tend to do a lot of character meals (even shooting for Cindrella's Royal Table for my five-year old daughter this year). I am not out to save every penny I can on a trip like this. We do not get to WDW nearly enough (5 years since our last visit) so we splurge a bit. It's not for everyone, for sure, but for us, it is a great fit.
  10. tony67

    tony67 <font color=red>I always get odd looks when I put

    May 22, 2003
    I think the bottom line is Disney has optimized the plan so that they make a profit on it overall no matter what. It is a public company - and they have more than tripled the stock in the last 4 years - so they are doing something right.

    Taking away the second snack on the QSDP is proof of that to me - it was the only thing that made it worthwhile for me - and only during F&W

    I also feel the food has been standardized making the plan profitable for Disney as well.
    Restaurants have also had to keep in mind the money they get from the DDP for a meal - especially the independent ones - so a lot of the creativity is gone. In addition the prices of the meals OOP has gone up so the restaurant can subsidize the DDP IMO.

    No doubt it is great for some folks - family of four with free DDP for example - it is a deal I won't argue that at all.

    Adding it to the package when you have a Disney Visa is also nice - you don't have to pay for it for six months -I did like that and it was why I always got the QSDP during F&W even if it was break-even overall.

    Not so much of a deal for others - two people are typically better off taking the room discount instead of free DDP in my opinion.

    I also don't like feeling like I must get dessert if I am on the plan just so I can break even - oh and then don't forget you have to tip on those inflated(IMO) prices.

    I've gone from loving the DDP in the first few years to avoiding it like the plague.

    In the end we are stuck with it - it is not going anywhere - and no doubt many are happy with that - but I have got to the point of asking myself why am I even going to the F&W this year - as far as I am concerned the DDP has ruined the dining experience in Disney for me.
  11. Sydneykatesmama

    Sydneykatesmama Earning My Ears

    Oct 11, 2013
    How can I figure out if the DDP would be beneficial for our trip in May (2 adults, 1 child) ? We're thinking either AofA or POR for the resort. My daughter is 3 and we would like to do a couple character dinners.

    Most likely our trip will be early-mid May, so I'm not sure if there will be a free dining option during that time.

    Also I see the term "rack rate" used frequently. Does this mean the published rate for the room at this time ?
  12. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    May 22, 2009
    If you'll search through this forum, you'll find a spreadsheet/tool that will help you decide. You'll need to know the restaurants you think you'll want to eat at to use it.

    The only free dining that came out this year was in September. Mid-May did not have any kind of discount this year that I remember.

    "Rack rate" is the published price for the room. allearsnet.com has those on every resort if you want to find it easily.
  13. Minniesgal

    Minniesgal DIS Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    You need to be careful with the spreadsheet tool that is floating about it is not always accurate. Way better to do the calculations yourself. I used the spreadsheet tool once when we did the dining plan to check it out. I had recorded everything and knew that although we hated the plan because we found we ate way too much and didn't like not being able to cancel a meal out because it was already paid ewe had saved about 27 percent however the tools told us we would not save.

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