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To DDP or not to DDP...

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by kbliss, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. kbliss

    kbliss Earning My Ears

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    I have been reading this forum for quite some time now, and I bet the popular opinion of the ddp vs oop is split down the middle. That being said...

    I have a question. If the ddp didn't save us significant $$, then wouldn't it be better to eat oop...to have the flexibility to eat what we want, when we want?? After looking at online menu's I think I'd eat mostly appetizers/salads, while DH would eat mostly salads/chicken entrees. I've figured that with 5 of us...3 adults & 2 kids...the ddp would be about $1400 for 1/4-1/11 2014. So, if a pin comes out, should I go s/p/d or oop for dining and take r/o discount???

    This is our first trip as a family and I'm trying to get the BEST deal!
    I appreciate your input!!
     
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  3. Zeppelin

    Zeppelin DIS Veteran

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    we used free DP in '11 and '12 and it was nice....did not get free DP last month and paid OOP....in the end I saved money paying OOP and got more meals with tips included...three of us, me/wife/10YO daughter (considered an adult this year)

    imo you optimize the DDP by doing a lot of character meals....our breakfast tab for the Wave and Rainforest Cafe' for example hovered around $53 per breakfast....the last morning we did Crystal Palace buffet and the tab was $86...
     
  4. Zeppelin

    Zeppelin DIS Veteran

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    also- though not exact the calculator here, which i found on these forums, lead me to pay OOP and it was the right choice:

    http://seeyareelsoon.wix.com/seeyareelsoon

    granted the savings between the discount on the rooms and projects difference in OOP would have to be more than $1400 as per your example..
     
  5. Cafeen

    Cafeen DIS Veteran

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    When the outcome is close, it ends up being more subjective as to what makes your trip easier.

    Are you the type that tends to look at menu prices and order less than you'd want? If so, then DDP may be better. If you're the type of person who feels that you must live up to the certain amount, then OOP will likely be better.

    As far as which discount to take, find the one that saves you the most overall. This depends on room level as well as eating habits. Figure out a rough estimate of your food costs and add that the the room only discount, then calculate the SPD cost and add any extras you may have.

    With your description, my gut tells me unless you're staying at a normal room in a value resort (which is unlikely given your party number), the room only will be the way to go. You're not really looking like you'd want to stick to the plan all that much, and when you do, you'd probably pick off of the lighter end of the menu anyway, both of which would degrade the value you'd get from the plan, which degrades the overall value of the SPD discount.

    Why the normal value room matters is that the rack-rate is a bit lower, but also the discount is a bit lower, which may make it so that even pulling off the dining plan for many meals, you may end up saving more on the meals you do utilize "properly".

    I know, I know. I'm such a big help :p. But, in reality, it comes down to both the math and the subjective quality of the prepaid "feature" of the plans.

    (As a special note, I'm a large proponent of finding what works best for your situation, whether it means a plan or not! I prefer the plans personally, but that's because I order from the higher end of the menus and have spent years working them out to come out ahead (and I'm not good at saving the lump sum of money ahead of time).)
     
  6. FiggieFan

    FiggieFan DIS Veteran

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    We went with the dining plan for Jan 2011 and Feb 2012 and ended up getting free dining discounts. For Feb 2013 and rumored Jan/Feb 2014, there will not be free dining offered - these usually cover the same time-frame you will be there. Last year it was a Play/Stay/Dine offer which saves you more on adults than kids.
    Based on that and the fact that you reviewed the menus and are leaning more towards salads and apps, you would probably be better paying OOP, but that is just my opinion. It is also a lot of food and we have found that we sometimes need to split entrees in order to get a dessert.
    Also, keep in mind that the discounts are also available based on the rooms allocated by the general manager of each hotel so it depends on where you are staying and what discount is offered for a specific time. For example, I usually stay at POFQ and they usually don't have room only discounts, but for the recent fall discounts that came out, they offered room only discounts and no dining discounts.
    I have been debating the same thing for our Dec 2014 trip because it is very hard to predict what discounts, if any, will be released. :wizard:
     
  7. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

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    You really need to run the numbers and see what works out best.

    For my next trip the cost with Free Dining is $1744.20 If I had the room only discount instead it would be $1694.20. Now I don't know about you, but I can't feed 2 adults for 5 days at WDW for $50. So the dining plan is the way to go! But it can vary each time. You need to do the math for your trip and see what works out best.
     
  8. LJSquishy

    LJSquishy DIS Veteran

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    If you think you'd like to order an appetizer for your entree, and your husband will want chicken dishes, you are definitely better off paying OOP. The DDP is designed to only save you money if you eat the most expensive entrees at the most expensive restaurants (and dessert also). If you know you won't want dessert at both lunch & dinner, the DDP is not likely to be a good value for you.

    We had DDP during our last trip (free dining, Feb 2012) and we were so sick of eating all of the time. That's what it felt like. We turned down all CS desserts, didn't want sodas during lunch (sometimes we'd share one soda & get bottled water for our other beverage), and only ate a couple of TS desserts. We used our snack credit each morning to buy breakfast (yogurt parfait). I had a list of yummy snacks/treats to try in each of the parks, but I was just too stuffed the entire trip. The entire week we spent there, the only snack items I tried were a Dole Whip and a Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake. And we split those.

    Just for fun I did a sample menu of what we would be ordering on our next trip which isn't until Oct 2014, but I realized we will save a LOT of money paying OOP for the items we actually want. We will share a couple of TS meals that we enjoyed last time because they are gigantic, we can skip meals if we want, or add in extra food if we get hungry. We can share a CS soda instead of each having one, share a dessert if we MUST have one (like the fried wontons at Yak & Yeti!), and I can order a kid's meal at a CS location if I'm not very hungry. We will probably save between $200-$300 paying OOP than paying for DDP. Now, if we enjoyed eating desserts at lunch & dinner, both got drinks every time, and always wanted to order steak when on the menu, DDP might make more sense. But sometimes I just want a salad...or like you said, an appetizer as my entree.
     
  9. bdklein

    bdklein DIS Veteran

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    No Dining Plan (unless free, and that's debatable if it will give you the best deal vs a room discount).

    So move onto something else to worry about!! Like where to eat.
     
  10. kbliss

    kbliss Earning My Ears

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    I can't figure out HOW to run the numbers. We're staying at port orleans riverside 7 nights 3 adults 2 kids....can someone help me figure cost??
     
  11. lovedworld

    lovedworld Mouseketeer

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    I think it all depends on how many people are in your party and where you are staying. We have free dining in November with 8 people in our party. We are staying at POR for 10 nights. If we would have taken the RO discount the most we would have saved would have been about 35 to 40 dollars a night, that is only at the most $400.00. Four hundred dollars would probably pay for two or maybe three of our meals. We have free dining for 10 days!! As you can see free dining is a fantastic deal for us, so free dining is definitly free in most cases. That being said I don't know that I would ever pay for the dining plan though, If I don't get it for free I would definilty go OOP.
     
  12. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

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    Go to the Disney web site, and plug in your vacation. If there are discounts happening there is a small link near the bottom left on the screen you need to click on. I usually plug in the same trip 3 times--once without any discount, once with room only, and once with the free dining plan. Make sure you keep the ticket and room options the same for each time so that you get a true comparison.
     
  13. TDC Nala

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

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    Chances are it will not save you "significant" money. It might save you some, depending on how you use it. If you are traveling in the first part of next year, it isn't certain, but it looks like the free dining offer will not be available to you.

    Currently the type of party it works best for is a party with children under 10 who wish to do a lot of character meals, buffets or all you can eat family style restaurants.

    It does not work well for guests who:

    Don't like to eat table service;
    Don't order the most expensive meals and don't attend fixed price restaurants;
    Prefer breakfast to lunch or dinner;
    Tend to share meals;
    Prefer appetizers to desserts;
    Don't get an entree or a dessert at every meal. (If you prefer eat appetizers and salads and your husband would order chicken, you might not want DDP unless you're planning on a lot of fixed price meals. What is everyone else going to order?)

    There is also a value to be placed (for many) on the psychological effects of having the dining plan, which result from the feeling that you have your meals paid for ahead of time, you can order anything on the menu, and you don't have to look at prices.
     
  14. pooch

    pooch Still feeling special!!

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    my comments with the fact that free dining is the ONLY way I get DH to WDW so I take it whenever I can get it as his discount of choice, the ONLY choice.

    But I do like DDP. We typically split a CS for breakfast (the bounty platter). He gets juice & I get coffee in my mug. We split a CS lunch also splitting the soda or taking a water bottle. We usually ask for the packaged fruit (grapes - apple slices) & munch on it later. Then we both get our own TS dinner.

    Is it the best discount for us? I don't run numbers a lot and we don't work at maximizing the plan. We use it as we like & order what we want.

    This trip, we were staying off site for $1740.00 with 3 day passes included. With free DDP, we are staying at POFQ garden view with 2 day passes (promised him we would not spend too much time at the parks, we're really visiting DD) for $2190.00 and DD is on the ressie. I couldn't feed the 3 of us for 7 days for $450.00 and it negates DD having to pick us up at the airport or having to rent a car. AND GETS DH TO STAY ON PROPERTY!!!!

    I think DH will like relaxing at POFQ & easy access to POR and DTD on the days DD has to work. Can we go NOW????
     
  15. kbliss

    kbliss Earning My Ears

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    Thanks so much for all the input!! I've decided that we are going to dine oop...for $ savings PLUS flexibility. Now I'm hoping for a magical discount at Riverside!!!:)
     
  16. softballmom3

    softballmom3 DIS Veteran

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    I used this to determine whether we would get the DDP this past trip and decided not to use the DDP (we used it in '11 and liked it but it was "free.")
    I saved all receipts of all food we purchased and am happy to say we saved about $400 NOT using it and ate everywhere and got everything we wanted to eat :). I was so surprised that I ran the figures again and still came up with the same price. So....unless I go during a free dining time I won't be using it again.
     
  17. travelgirl06

    travelgirl06 DIS Veteran

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    Of course we'll take it if its free, but the way we like to eat it doesn't male sense to pay for DDP. We just got back from five nights at the BW and our total room bill was less than we would have paid for DDP. The numbers aren't perfect as we were with others part of the week and taking turns paying, but considering we averaged more than one TS a day, put tips on our room, bought snacks as-desired, and added several meals for DD (who is 2, so these would have been OOP on DDP). This being said, we order somewhat unconventionally - frequently ordering an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert and splitting everything. We also limit soda and desserts in general (we're not opposed, but we don't need them every meal). And we prefer a la carte to buffet/character meals, which I think is where you realize a lot of savings.

    Fr the trip we just got back from we had an option of free dining, but for us and the way we like to eat getting a good price on the room made more sense.
     

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