Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by MikeandReneePlus5, Aug 13, 2013.
Tell be about it.....
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I'm not sure I would say saving money on the dining plan is a rarity. It all depends on where your family likes to eat. If you like to eat at a lot of character meals the dining plan will usually save you money.
I know just what you mean! For example, at Kona Café I think the duck was $22 or something and they had a steak for $30+. I felt like duck and that's what I got, but on the DDP I always felt a little like "gee maybe I should order that steak so I get my money's worth". LOL.
Likewise that night 2 of us wound up sharing a cheese platter and 2 or 3 sushi rolls for dinner. I have no idea how that would have played out on the DDP...apps don't count for sure. But that's what they wanted and we were free to not even give a thought to how the credits would sort out.
I feel confident in saying it's a rarity. That's why Disney pushes it, it's a money maker for them. As for character meals, I think CRT is the worst use of the DDP but I suppose Chef Mickey's and Crystal Palace are good uses. But, as you say, if your family all orders expensive entrees (and that's what they really want) at every meal then yes it can work.
We had nights we ordered steak and nights we didn't. We just ordered what we wanted.
But yes, I agree with you that if you get the most expensive item on the menu at all your TS then the DDP can be a good value.
But look at the two examples in this thread...I saved $575 paying OOP.
The other poster saved $131 using the DDP and it seems as if they maximized their use. Just a couple less steaks here and there or one different restaurant perhaps that savings evaporates, whereas as we could have added an 8th TS OOP at, say, Le Cellier and still come out ahead.
Point being; it's much easier to come out ahead paying OOP.
I totally agree with this! While on DDP, I sought out the most expensive entree to make the plan "worth it" to me. Had we gone OOP, I probably would have ordered chicken or pasta (and in some cases, I would prefer chicken or pasta). That being said, we're doing OOP for our next trip and I fully plan in getting a steak at least once during our trip and DH is looking forward to steak at every TS meal. It is vacation after all.
And Disney is not stupid. They are making money regardless of the discounts they give. I think FD is also a great marketing tactic since they are hooking you on the plan itself. I'd be willing to be that people would come back another time and pay for it!
We haven't been yet so I have no real life data yet, but when initially researching and planning, before I heard of FD or that excel dining chart that can be downloaded, I went through the menus at allears.net and picked out what I thought my family would be likely to eat and then added all that up and compared it to the cost of the DDP. We came out ahead by a few hundred dollars paying OOP.
When FD was released, I decided to switch to that, even though we won't be making perfect, maximum use of it. I do plan to save all my receipts and do the math on it when we get back home to see how much we really saved vs how much we would've paid OOP for it all.
I do see how the DDP can seem like a really good idea. It's already paid for so when you're actually sitting in the restaurant, your meal feels 'free' and you don't feel like you have to budget. Whereas paying OOP, you have to keep an eye on that to avoid shorting yourself at the end of your trip. I used part of my tax refund and purchased several disney gift cards, thinking that would make it seem like I wasn't spending 'real' money once we were there.
I am anxious to see how the actual receipts turn out!
The RO 30%discount at Deluxe resort (Poly) wins over FD for 2 adults for 6 nites however if you add additional people savings is minimal if any!
We have paid for the DDP before we got it free, and after having it paid and free we would never go back with out it!
My reasons are.
1.we actually eat the most expensive items by choice! I can't eat pasta so my main choices for dinners are normally steak and veg,
2. I really enjoy dessert but eat little amounts, I want to be able to have the dessert and not feel like I had to either way it all or not get it at all because its wasting money.
3. We have 3 boys aged 8,8,10 when they was you her they Loves the character dining, we have a son with autism and so he hates queuing but lives the characters so even though they are older now " oldest will be 11 next trip" he still wants to do the buffets they set us back around $200 each time!
We would just never do this OOP as many times as we do in the 3 wk trips if we had to pay OOP! Even more so as we do dinner time buffets! Like chef mickey.
4. Buying ice cream and drinks for everyone would give us no change out of $50 a day ( we have tried it ) but with the plan our boys will share a slush or a ice cream Sunday and cookie sandwich between them as they are so big! Which leaves them with a nice lot of snack credits to be able to go mad in the sweet shops at the end of the trip.its one of their favourite things to do, get as many things as they can lol
5. We always share Qs meals which means we have never brought breakfast or lunch as between us we have enough credits not to have to spend even a $ on food!
So I know that DDP doesn't work for everyone but we love it, due to our son being in the adult plan me and him share at a lot of TS places and we always upgrade the twins who are 8 and they share too, this means that we do 3 or 4 signature meals without losing out on meals and having to make them up OOP,
Or we can do a character meal plus a TS on some days, ( it's a lot of food but we do t force ourselves to stuff it in) lol we just enjoy eating out as a family.
We save money every time! I remember the 1st year when we knew nothing about the plan, we couldn't believe how much everything was costing us, and at that point our twins was 1 and our other son was 3 so not even eating that much lol!
The next trip we brought the plan, and really loved it, I kept all my receipts and due to the amount of character meals the money we saved was insane!! We would have tried to have done all those meals if not in the plan but would have had no money for anything else lol!
I added a few reasons for why we love it in another post, I think if you use it how it's meant to be used it can save you a ton, it has saved us every time we have used it, we wouldn't go without it now, I guess it's the way we like to eat, plus we make our Qs credits work for both the other meals not covered by the TS credit!
So we have never spent a $ on any drink food or candy item on the last 4 3wk holidays.
That's the honest truth. And yet the boys have ice-cream candy and slushes every day.
For the past several years we have gotten the DDP and liked the idea of knowing our meals were paid for up front. But last year we just felt it was too much food for us to consume in a day and that we weren't really eating what we wanted to. We love appetizers and since they aren't included in the DDP we ended up either paying OOP or skipping them. So this year we decided to skip the DDP. We were very happy ordering a few appetizers and splitting a meal and skipping dessert at the restaurant and getting something later in another place (Ghiardelli's, Dole Whip, Kringla Bakery). We ate plenty of food, had some nice wine and sangria and when we figured it all out we saved $271.00. For us, the flexibility of ordering what we wanted and not worrying about what was included in the plan just made dining more enjoyable.
Everyone has to do what's best for them and we think paying OOP makes more sense for us!
We are going this year with my family (hubby+son) and my parents and my uncle.
My dad insisted that we get the dining plan that way everyone can order what they want without feeling guilty about ordering the most expensive thing. He knows my uncle would, for a fact, order the cheapest thing on the menu if we were paying OOP. My husband also has the uncanny ability to be able to pick and order the most expensive thing on any menu without even knowing prices beforehand lol.
Of course the only pin offer I have so far for our march 2014 is the stay/play/dine so it works out well anyways lol.
We fall in the "rarity" category I guess. With 2 small kids who love characters, are picky eaters at times, and don't like to sit still very long waiting for food, we do almost all character meals/buffets. Just works better for our family.
I make adr's and then do the math every year, and still come out ahead with the dining plan. We do a military room discount, but then add the dining plan on.
I totally understand why it doesn't work for everyone, but for anyone doing all/mostly meals with a set price, its a pretty good deal!
I take back my "rarity" statement
Clearly there are many examples where it works.
It's all about the math and knowing what your family habits are.
The key is to be an informed consumer...there really is no right or wrong way to do it.
11/29 thru 12/6. We are going down to visit DD who lives in Kissimmee. DH is not a WDW fan so the original plan was to stay off-site at the Marriott Grande Vista. Cost - $1750.00 for 7 nights and 2 3-day WDW passes (DD has AP). Then WDW Guest Services called and offered Free DDP for our trip. Cost now $2190.00 for 7 nights (only 6 on DDP) and 3 2-day passes.
So for the additional $440.00 we will get approx 5+ full days of food paid for 3 adults and DD will have a 2 day ticket to apply toward her AP renewal next year, a value of around $185. Couldn't feed 3 adults for 5+ days for $255.00. And we won't have to rent a car. DME from/to the airport, access to DTD and Boardwalk on WDW transp and DD's car will cover us. I've chosen TS meals that give us a variety (ie Italian, Meat & potatoes, Irish pub, Thanksgiving meal, chicken & ribs) and have something for everyone.
We've used Free DDP since its inception. I keep my receipts and have always come out ahead. As is the general consensus here, works for some, not for others.
I've built a spreadsheet to try to do an accurate estimate of our costs on the DDP and OOP for our upcoming trip. Have it broken out into Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snack for all three of us (2 adults, 1 child) for 7 nights. Taking into account tax/gratutity as well. Still haven't estimated all of our CS meals yet, but do have some averages already calculated. For us it looks like the DDP will provide some savings if we were to order exactly the same thing if we go OOP. But we're talking less that $100 savings.
Doing several character meals as well.
But obviously any realized savings varies for different folks. I know that years ago the plan was MUCH better than it is now.
I have about 6-7 weeks to finalize my estimates and make the decision to pay for the DDP early or pay OOP there. If the savings was much bigger one way or the other it would be an easier decision to make compared to the "convienence" of one or the other.
And we were the exact opposite.
When I'm on the ddp I end of stressing over the cost of the meal and I make sure I order t he most expensive thing even if I only want a salad because God forbid I didn't maximize my credits.
That's why I never understand the "not think about what you order" line of thinking.
The two times I did the ddp that's all I did was over whether or not I got the most out of my credits.
Was anyone around when they first introduced the ddp? Do you remember all the post we had that asked "where can I get the most expensive meal in the park" or some variation of that. Remember when people would advise you never to use your ts credits for breakfast because it was not the best use of credits?
I find people obsess way more about food on the ddp than off.
now that my kids are all disney adults and the plan is way over 50 bucks per person, it's a no brainer. It's no longer the cheaper option, we simple would not eat 220 dollars worth of meal every day.
I like op did the same breakdown 2 summers ago. haven't gone back and since I always stay deluxe it's not even a deal with free dining.
I agree with this, even though I'm a huge fan of free dining and am using it for 10 days in November!
My uncle and I go almost every year and share a room, and meet my brother's family there (they live near Ft. Lauderdale.) The timing is based on my niece's birthday at the beginning of November, so the time we are already going happens to coincide well with Free Dining promos, and my uncle strongly prefers to stay on property, so we aren't picking our hotel based on getting free food. For us, it truly is FREE, IMO, so any money it saves is a gain for us. We both think the counter service meals are too big for one person, so we generally share everything. Even with getting three counter meals a day to share, we end up with one extra per day. We're both snackers, so we normally use all our snacks and pay OOP for a few at the end. It was great when you could convert counter service to three snacks, but those days are apparently over. We did use a couple of our extra meals last year to get "continental breakfasts" the night before our VERY early bus to the airport and save them for the next day. We still had meals left over, but we feel like it works out really well for us by using it the way we want and not worrying too much about what we pay OOP.
But Eliza61, the quote in your signature made my day and brought peals of laughter to the office. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for brightening our day!!!
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