Is the dining plan worth it???

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by krowe333, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. krowe333

    krowe333 Earning My Ears

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    Hello, I am new to this board. We went to WDW in 2005 and we are wanting to return in March 2012. We have 2 daughters, one is 6 and one is 10.
    We did not use the dining plan last time and was wanting to know if it is highly recommended.
    Also, I was wondering if 4 nights would be okay or try and make it 5 nights?
    With the dining thing....counter service is good for us...we are always on the go...and we dont have to eat out at a fancy sit down restaurant. We did want to do the Princess bfast at Epcot Norway and then eat again at the rainforest cafe outside the Animal Kingdom...so besides that we can cute back by making sandwhiches, etc.
    Any and all help requested.
    Thanks!:)
     
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  3. J'aime Paris

    J'aime Paris Living happily ever after

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    Does your 10 year old eat like an adult? Because at Disney, children over 9 are considered adults and must pay higher prices. The dining plan for an adult is much more expensive than for a child.
    If you get free dining, then this doesn't apply.

    My family does not do the dining plan.
     
  4. imthatgirl

    imthatgirl DIS Veteran

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    For years it was the only way I would go to WDW. Now, I won't buy it. It's gotten too expensive to be worth it for me.

    I suggest going to Allears.net and pricing out what it would cost for you to eat there and then compare it to the cost of the dining plan. Honestly I have done this many times and sometimes it does seem worth it to get the regular dining, I have yet to see anyone save money on the counterservice plan.
     
  5. puffkin

    puffkin DVC Owner- SSR & AKV

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    We don't find it to be worth it. It used to be a good value, but now I don't think it is unless you are going during free dining. Especially in your case with your one child being considered an adult.
     
  6. PrincessTiffany

    PrincessTiffany Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fast

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    Love the Basic/Plus dining - we have used it at least 7 times - don't want to ever go back without it!!! It's not as big a savings as it used to be, but it would still save us about $250.00 vs. paying out-of-pocket. I do want to say though, we do now try to revolve all of our annual trips around free dining promos. It saves us about $1,200.00 and we love it :-)

    I, personally, think the Disney Dining Plan has been one of the best things WDW has come out with in years and the Free Dining promotion would have to be considered a stroke of marketing genius on Disney's part. Free Dining now fills the resorts and parks during timeframes when they were previously almost empty. I will concede that there may be slightly less items on the menus (due to DDP in general, not free dining), but overall still quality items and plenty of choices. As for value, that can be subjective too. If your family plans to eat at least 1 Table Service/Character meal per day then the Basic DDP is going to save you money. Now when you get into Free Dining, it can come down to numbers too. If you are staying at a value or a moderate level resort then Free Dining is almost always going to be the best discount you will get at WDW. If you are staying at a Deluxe resort and have a 40% off room discount then that is going to be a better discount than free dining. If you are staying deluxe and can only get a 30% or less discount, then free dining is probably going to save you more money. If you are a family that eats all or most of your meals in your room or are bringing a picnic lunch in your backpack, then no, the DDP is not for you. I think, again personally, that the Deluxe dining plan is generally a huge waste of time and money. Unless you are an adult couple doing mostly 2 credit meals and dinner shows, it's certainly not worth it. I find the Quick Service Plan to just be a wash, the only upside I see is just the fact of having everything pre-paid. Is the DDP as big a savings as it was in 2005 when they released it? No. But, is it still a good value? Yes, I think so.
     
  7. dizneechic

    dizneechic DIS Veteran

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    We don't do the DP either, my kids don't tend to like "kids" meals which on the DP your restricted to (unless one of your children is a Disney adult). We tend to buy adult meals and share them amongst the kids, it gives us a much broader selection of foods and often saves us money because we're buying only what we need vs what they feel we should be having.

    We are also Annual Pass holders so purchase the Tables in Wonderland card. it doesn't help for QS meals, but if you do a lot of TS it's definitely worth looking into.
     
  8. cvjw

    cvjw DIS Veteran

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    I have to disagree about the deluxe dining plan. We just recently purchased it for 4 nights, and totally got our money's worth. It cost us $320 per night for our family, and we easily got double that in food. It is 3 table service credits per day, to use as you wish. We had the most fun eating at great restaurants, and ordering an appetizer, entree and dessert for everyone in our family. My boys were in heaven. Our cheapest bill for a TS dinner was over $200, with some being closer to $400. You can easily get your money's worth ++++.

    To the OP's point about the regular dining plan. We love using the Disney dining plan. We are DVC, so we pay to add the dining plan to our reservations. I like the fact that my 15 and 11 year old boys can order what ever they want off the menu. If they want the $40 steak, they can have it. If we were paying OOP, I would cringe at them ordering that steak. You have to balance out the cost of the dining plan for your family, and then look at the menus of the restaurants that you are interested in dining at to make sure that you will get your money's worth. Some restaurants are alot cheaper than others, and are better payed for OOP, than with the dining plan. Unless you get free dining, then I guess it doesn't matter.
     
  9. PrincessTiffany

    PrincessTiffany Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fast

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    We made the mistake of doing the Deluxe plan one time - NEVER again. My husband and kids were revolting by the third day. We found 3 sit down/table service meals is just too many and wastes way too much precious park time. One sit-down meal per day seems to be perfect for us. I have a Disney Planning service and this has also been a consenus from many people I have planned trips for, most that have chosen the Deluxe plan have come back and said that it was too much food and took too much time away from the parks - not everyone, but the majority said they would just do the basic/plus DDP.
     
  10. 4forMe

    4forMe DIS Veteran

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    I agree with this post. The one time we did the dining plan, I thought it was not a good value, especially if you have kids that eat like birds (two of mine don't eat much). We found it was actually too much food. Who needs a dessert/snack with every meal? I know for some families it's wonderful, but it wasn't for ours.
     
  11. Jenny3

    Jenny3 DIS Veteran

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    We will be getting the dining plan when we go in December. My 2 y/o will be free, so he can share meals with my 8 y/o (who is very picky) I have heard it is a LOT of food, but one suggestion I heard was to take the included snacks back to your room for early morning or late night munchies.

    We also have 3 Character meals booked and I don't think I would have been able to afford that without the plan.

    For us, it was another item I could pay for ahead of time and less cash I had to bring. I also like the freedom of being able to order whatever we wanted off the menus and not be so budget conscious while on vacation. We haven't had a family vacation in years and I really want to enjoy everything!
     
  12. Belle0101

    Belle0101 Nothing to see here.

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    I think the idea of it being a good value or not is really subjective. Every family is different.

    You best bet is to do as a PP mentioned, venture over to Allears, http://allears.net/din/dining.htm and check out the menus. It really doesn't take all that long.

    Day 1 you plan on being in MK, for example, of the restaurants there where would eat and what would you order. The cost is $xx.xx. Then so on. You'll get a rough idea of what your dining will cost, it doesn't have to be perfect. Compare that to the actual cost of the Dining Plan and see where you come out.

    We aren't big eaters at all on vacation. It doesn't matter where we go, we just don't any of us eat much at all. So for us, the DP is not a good value. Again though, that's subjective.

    Hope that helps some!:goodvibes
     
  13. dhardawa

    dhardawa DIS Veteran

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    If it is free, it is a good deal. I looked into the quick service plan for our trip in November and at $35 per person/per day I just can't see it. The average quick service meal runs about $10. There are two snacks that can't cost more than $4 each so now I'm up to $28. I would have to work to break even and I certainly don't want to do that.
     
  14. jelly2406

    jelly2406 Earning My Ears

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    I think its totally worth it. We are going in sept and we have the deluxe dining. Its only costing for 3 of us, 300.00 a day and that is including the deluxe dining, upgraded room, all our park tickets for everyday with park hopper. I did the math to see how much cheaper it would be to down grade to the cheaper dining plan and i was only paying like $300.00 more total (not per day). we can sit down and eat whatever we want when we want and we have a ton of character meals and dinner shows. So worth it. We love eating out so this is great. We would spend WAY more without the plan.

    On our last trip we did the 1 quick service and i table service so we had buy our breakfast which was annoying. And we were limited to what places we ate at which i didnt like at all.
     
  15. PrincessTiffany

    PrincessTiffany Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fast

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    Also wanted to mention that neither of the Rain Forest Cafes nor T-Rex are included in the Disney Dining Plan. They are owned by Landry's corp and have never participated in the DDP.
     
  16. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

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    If the only two sit-downs you want are the ones you mentioned, then you'll be better off without any dining plan. Rainforest Cafe is not on the DDP, so you would have to pay OOP for that anyway.

    As for the QSDP (quick-service/counter-service), it is 2 meals a day, one snack, and a refillable mug that is only good at your resort. For three of you it will be $35.00/day and I don't remember how much it is for a child. If you want drinks and desserts with ALL your meals, you'll do okay. If you're water drinkers and dessert twice a day (plus another snack) seems like too much, you'll do better without it.
     
  17. cvjw

    cvjw DIS Veteran

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    To each their own. We loved the DDP, and have already added it again for our next trip in Dec/Jan. We are DVC, and are in the parks 3-4 weeks per year. We don't have to worry about wasting precious park time - we have plenty of that. We aren't Disney commandos anymore - we love to slow down and enjoy great meals - it is part of what makes Disney great for our family.
     
  18. Disneyliscious

    Disneyliscious DIS Veteran

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    I have checked it and re-checked it. The DDP has NEVER been a deal for us and we always pay less by doing out-of-pocket. When using the menu's at allears.net and adding up the cost of what we'll eat, its far less than the cost of the DDP.

    Remember, NOTHING is free. You are paying for it somewhere.
     
  19. pamelaz

    pamelaz Meowza

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    I've looked into this question alot in the past few weeks. For our trip in August, we decided not to get it. When looking at the menu's and figuring out what we would order, compared to the daily price - for us it's just not worth it.
     
  20. BBG-BLT

    BBG-BLT Bunch of Booth-Genthe's

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    It really depends on the 10 year old. If she eats like an adult and likes good unique food then I think it might be worth it. For us it's our last year on the plan. When my twins turn 10 we'll be headed back to the rooms for most meals. Just too expensive to do the DDP.:eek:
     
  21. amylynne01

    amylynne01 DIS Veteran

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    We didn't do it in January because it didn't make sense financially. DH and I are going back for a long weekend in December, and we decided to do the Basic DDP (1 TS, 1 CS, and 1 snack). The cost of it ($45.99 per night) is about the same as a $30 TS meal, a $10 CS meal, and $4 snack, but we can get any TS meal we want. We probably won't do it when we go back in 2013 - planning on staying at BLT and will eat breakfast in room and pack a lunch).
     

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