$43.66 for a 10 year old to eat at Chrystal Palace!!!

KellyNY

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
I have to think you must never have considered the actual math.

We had free dining for our trip in late 2010.

We stayed at Pop, so our room for the seven nights (before taxes) cost $685. With the 25% offered discount, we would have saved $171.25.

The quick service free dining for two adults and two children was worth a total for seven days/nights of $587.72. (For the math challenged, that saved us more than $400 more than a room rate discount would have. Even if you assume you would never spend quite as much on food without the plan, it saved us significantly more than a room discount would have.)

On the dining plan, we were able to eat every single meal, have every single drink and snack, and still have credits left over for a bunch of extra "free" fudge and other treats to bring home. Unlike a room discount, it also added an element of fun to our vacation, because my kids knew they could each pick two special treats a day. They enjoyed figuring out which fun stuff they wanted to try.

I think those who poo poo the Disney dining plan must stay at deluxe resorts. Those are the only resorts where a room discount might be a better deal than the dining plan. Even then, it doesn't add anything to the vacation.
It all depends. If you have 4 people in value resort, FD infact works better, but for 2 people it would be different, for higher category it would be different, for deluxes it does not make any sence at all.

It also depends on how you eat, we have 3 adults and we do not eat that much food, infact we share and not because we try to safe but because it is just too much for us. We also do not spend money on soda and do not eat that many snacks. I do not want pay extra to bring snacks home, I prefer to keep my money in a first place.

Another down side of DP, free or not, I do not like to be locked in selection, I do not care for deserts but love to have appetizers.

We also do not like that we would have to make ADRs for each and every TS meal, we still eat TS meals but when we feel like it and we always have alternatives if place is busy.

Also do not forget to include tips in your calculations, it adds up dramatically and something people do not always consider when calculating discounts.

So, it is not that obvious which discount is better.
 

rentayenta

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
That is a ridiculous price. :scared1: I can't stand feeling like I have to stuff myself to get my money's worth. The DDP is the biggest rip off IMHO. :goodvibes
 

blondietink

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
I have to think you must never have considered the actual math.

We had free dining for our trip in late 2010.

We stayed at Pop, so our room for the seven nights (before taxes) cost $685. With the 25% offered discount, we would have saved $171.25.

The quick service free dining for two adults and two children was worth a total for seven days/nights of $587.72. (For the math challenged, that saved us more than $400 more than a room rate discount would have. Even if you assume you would never spend quite as much on food without the plan, it saved us significantly more than a room discount would have.)

On the dining plan, we were able to eat every single meal, have every single drink and snack, and still have credits left over for a bunch of extra "free" fudge and other treats to bring home. Unlike a room discount, it also added an element of fun to our vacation, because my kids knew they could each pick two special treats a day. They enjoyed figuring out which fun stuff they wanted to try.

I think those who poo poo the Disney dining plan must stay at deluxe resorts. Those are the only resorts where a room discount might be a better deal than the dining plan. Even then, it doesn't add anything to the vacation.
I agree. We are 4 adults and if we go during the free dining promotion, we will stay at a value resort (love POP). Even when you figure the extra charge at the resort for the 2 extra adults, it is way cheaper than the dining plan. And that is way cheaper than one table service meal for the 4 of us, especially at a place like Akershus for dinner. We also are DVC members, and combine a stay with FD at the value and move over to a DVC accommodation after, using the leftover credits we have to load up on snacks to keep in our refrigerator for the rest of our stay. When we don't stay during the FD promotion, we just stay at the DVC resort and cook in our villa for the most part. Like I said before, we cancelled our ADR's for our December visit due to the cost for the 4 of us. Cancelling just the Crystal Palace ADR gave us enough money to lay in groceries that lastest us the entire week in our villa. Now, some people have enough money and don't care about the cost of meals at WDW, but we are on a budget and that is how we can go to WDW.
 

eliza61

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
I have to think you must never have considered the actual math.

We had free dining for our trip in late 2010.

We stayed at Pop, so our room for the seven nights (before taxes) cost $685. With the 25% offered discount, we would have saved $171.25.

The quick service free dining for two adults and two children was worth a total for seven days/nights of $587.72. (For the math challenged, that saved us more than $400 more than a room rate discount would have. Even if you assume you would never spend quite as much on food without the plan, it saved us significantly more than a room discount would have.)

On the dining plan, we were able to eat every single meal, have every single drink and snack, and still have credits left over for a bunch of extra "free" fudge and other treats to bring home. Unlike a room discount, it also added an element of fun to our vacation, because my kids knew they could each pick two special treats a day. They enjoyed figuring out which fun stuff they wanted to try.

I think those who poo poo the Disney dining plan must stay at deluxe resorts. Those are the only resorts where a room discount might be a bietter deal than the dining plan. Even then, it doesn't add anything to the vacaton.
Its not that I poo poo it but sorry I rarely spend 210 bucks on food at disney, which is what the ddp plan would run me next year.
I think this "kids not get treats" is more psychological then actually doing the math. since the ddp does not save us 1 dime and rarely do we tell our kids no due to price since I save way more than ever needed when I go to the world.

Now I will admit we don't do character meals. not because they are cost prohibitive but because they serve crappy food and the how much enjoyment do you get out of vacation when you look forward to a meal and it's lousy.
Which is why I never agree with the ridiculous "you don't go there for the meal, you go for the experience". No sorry when I eat, I eat to enjoy my food. LOL. I've too enjoy the look on my kids face when they see a character but do I have to have a lousy meal to get that look? I mean really is Cinderella also doing the cooking? She's married to a Prince, they can't hire a decent chef?

Last year, our two most expensive meals were
1) chefs de France. We got the 3 course prix fix menu for 40 bucks per person. It included appertizers, main course AND dessert. Total for 4 people was 187.00 with drinks. and we had 2 snacks that day for I think 19 bucks.
2)Tutto Italia dinner: appertizer for two was 30 bucks. 4 entrees at 33, 27, 26, 23 and some drinks 174 including tax. This was the only day we actually went over 200 bucks for the day.

So I'm not poo pooing it, but it absolutely makes no financial sense at all. At most I break even 2 days out of 7. Last year my total food bill $1132.79. This was with us eating very normally. some days we had lunch for our TS and skipped dinner, some days we had both dinner and a counter service, some days we had a snack after dinner. That's $324 dollars less than what the ddp would cost me.


But you are right I only do deluxe so the greater savings from a value is not available to me.
 

okeydokey

Frosty the Snowman scared me as a child.
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
The only thing about free dining, is that it only saves you what you would actually be paying for dining out of pocket. If the dining plan would cost my family of four $200 a day, i am not saving $200 a day with free dining, because my family would never pay that much for a days worth of food in the park.

We could never eat that much food in a day, nor would we want to. We often share meals or eat a late lunch and then a heavy snack for dinner.
 

mom2rtk

Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Its not that I poo poo it but sorry I rarely spend 210 bucks on food at disney, which is what the ddp plan would run me next year.
I think this "kids not get treats" is more psychological then actually doing the math. since the ddp does not save us 1 dime and rarely do we tell our kids no due to price since I save way more than ever needed when I go to the world.

Now I will admit we don't do character meals. not because they are cost prohibitive but because they serve crappy food and the how much enjoyment do you get out of vacation when you look forward to a meal and it's lousy.
Which is why I never agree with the ridiculous "you don't go there for the meal, you go for the experience". No sorry when I eat, I eat to enjoy my food. LOL. I've too enjoy the look on my kids face when they see a character but do I have to have a lousy meal to get that look? I mean really is Cinderella also doing the cooking? She's married to a Prince, they can't hire a decent chef?

Last year, our two most expensive meals were
1) chefs de France. We got the 3 course prix fix menu for 40 bucks per person. It included appertizers, main course AND dessert. Total for 4 people was 187.00 with drinks. and we had 2 snacks that day for I think 19 bucks.
2)Tutto Italia dinner: appertizer for two was 30 bucks. 4 entrees at 33, 27, 26, 23 and some drinks 174 including tax. This was the only day we actually went over 200 bucks for the day.

So I'm not poo pooing it, but it absolutely makes no financial sense at all. At most I break even 2 days out of 7. Last year my total food bill $1132.79. This was with us eating very normally. some days we had lunch for our TS and skipped dinner, some days we had both dinner and a counter service, some days we had a snack after dinner. That's $324 dollars less than what the ddp would cost me.


But you are right I only do deluxe so the greater savings from a value is not available to me.
I'm sure it could be less expensive if this is your eating style. If you are prone to skipping meals here and there the dining plan will never pay off.
 

robinb

DIS veteran
Joined
Aug 29, 1999
We also would NEVER eat $150 worth of food at WDW per day. But I think that "free dining" is a different animal. A good rule of thumb to see if the "free dining" discount is better than a room-only discount is to determine if you would eat more than the value of the room discount (including tax since you're saving 12% on the part you're not paying).

So, the question isn't "Will I eat $150 worth of food?" it's "Will I eat the room discount worth of food?". For example, a Moderate during "Regular" season is $180 so the current AP discount is 35% (39% with 12% tax - .35*1.12) so I would ask "Will my family eat $70 worth of food?". The Polynesian is $465 per night and the discount would be $181, so if you have a family of 4 "adults" it *might* be worthwhile to go with the "free dining" instead if your family maximizes the DDP.
 
  • Planogirl

    I feel the nerd in me stirring
    Joined
    Aug 11, 2000
    I can see that if you have enough people and the dining is actually free that it could save you some money. However in our case it never saves a thing. We are usually just two people (at most three) plus we don't eat enough throughout the day. In my case, I might eat one big meal and then snack the rest of the day.

    Another problem is that I'm leery of going back to a budget resort. We disliked the Allstars but in fairness haven't tried Pop Century.
     

    Doug7856

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 29, 2003
    I'm glad to know I'm not the only Disney fan who thinks TS and especially character meals are not worth the price. As a family of five, we stay off-site, where we get three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a family room, and kitchen for $100/night, so no "free" dining plan. We split counter service meals between our picky eaters (paid for in part by VISA rewards), pack snacks, and consider Mickey bars and Dole whips to be great vacation splurges. My daughters had a wonderful interaction with Pooh at HS, complete with hugs and kisses, after a five minute wait. We also met Mickey and Minnie, princesses, and fairies, with brief waits and no extra cost. I have no problem with anyone who enjoys the meals AND can afford them, but I don't want anyone to think they're a necessary part of enjoying Disney for everyone.
    You make a great point!

    During our past trip we had wonderful character interactions at the regular character greetings. In fact, our breakfast at Chef Mickey's was quite a balancing act trying to get food, not miss the characters and eat all at the same time.
     

    LSUDis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2005
    We also would NEVER eat $150 worth of food at WDW per day. But I think that "free dining" is a different animal. A good rule of thumb to see if the "free dining" discount is better than a room-only discount is to determine if you would eat more than the value of the room discount (including tax since you're saving 12% on the part you're not paying).

    So, the question isn't "Will I eat $150 worth of food?" it's "Will I eat the room discount worth of food?". For example, a Moderate during "Regular" season is $180 so the current AP discount is 35% (39% with 12% tax - .35*1.12) so I would ask "Will my family eat $70 worth of food?". The Polynesian is $465 per night and the discount would be $181, so if you have a family of 4 "adults" it *might* be worthwhile to go with the "free dining" instead if your family maximizes the DDP.

    This is a really great explanation of how to think through the different discounts. Now, if we are actually offered a choice anytime soon, that would be great!
     

    jaci-h

    If you feel psycho dad needs a frozen coke over hi
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2010
    I guess I'm spoiled:confused3

    We save until we have enough to stay on property and eat on the disney dining plan. I feel like its allowed us to be able to eat we're we want and only worry about a tip when the time comes because we prepaid.
     
  • rt2dz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2004
    My kids need some new furniture--all of them need something. So we went furniture shopping today. I was sitting there telling my 8 year old that yes, it is a cool desk, but it isn't made well and another store has a very similar desk that is not only made to last, but is $100 cheaper. I was trying to explain to him that you need to balance quality with cost to determine value. It's not that I couldn't *afford*to buy that desk, it's that I didn't see it as a good use of funds. That you don't spend money, just to spend money. You should put thought and effort into where you money goes because no matter what it is always limited. Over spending on one thing, means spending less on another.

    I view anything at Disney the same way. If I over spend for a meal, I have to give something else up. And, quite frankly, I don't view Disney's dining as great. I think the food is mediocre. It's good for a theme park, but not for a true meal. I think it is over priced. And I have rarely had "great" service. Most of the time it is acceptable, but not fantastic. I've had horrible, horrible, horrible service every time we go to Crystal Palace. I wouldn't eat there now if it were free! Maybe it was just luck of the draw, but it's happened multiple times.

    Disney is starting to get out-of-control on their pricing. We decided to stay offsite for out Thanksgiving trip, and our 4-bedroom, 3-bath HOUSE with a game room and heated pool cost me less than HALF of what our cheapest options at Disney would have cost us (we're a family of 6). And it only took us 5-10 minutes to drive to the theme parks. Not only did our trip not suffer (we've stayed onsite every other trip), we actually enjoyed it MORE. Who knew? Dining is being cut by us also. We did not eat many meals offsite (80% was onsite), but we found the offsite meals to be waayyy cheaper, have better food, more relaxing, and better service.

    As far as the dining plans, including free dining, goes, I've never found it to be a deal. I compare full bottom lines (not meal to meal). Discount on a room, discount on tickets, getting a Tables in Wonderland card, and paying out of pocket for dining is literally 12% less (more if staying offsite) than the dining plan. Free dining costs us more too. The deal of dining depends on:
    • Eating style
    • Would you have purchased that (appetizer, dessert, snack, refillable mug, etc) if you weren't on the dining plan/free dining? It's only a discount if you would have purchased it anyhow. Take cost out of that equation.
    • Who your dining party is made up of (adults, children, under 3, etc)
    • What your resort room would be (if free): value, deluxe, multiple rooms for large families
    I'm sure there is more than I'm thinking of right now.
     

    wahoostampingirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 16, 2006
    Our twins were "adults" on our trip this summer. My ds10 picked Chef Mickey's for dinner and our total after tax and tip was almost $200. We've eaten at Chef Mickey's before, but something about paying for 4 adult buffet meals really irked me.

    For our upcoming trip, I've already been preparing the kids that we won't be eating a table service meal every day (we always have in the past) and our only buffet will be Boma, because we haven't been there is a few years and it's waaaaaay better than Chef Mickey's.

    We stay in a condo, so we sometimes eat meals there. On our trip in August, I spent $150 at the grocery store to stock up on food for 11 days. My dh and I were laughing that 11 days of breakfasts, snacks and a few dinners was less than one meal at Chef Mickey's.
     

    joshsmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2003
    Our twins were "adults" on our trip this summer. My ds10 picked Chef Mickey's for dinner and our total after tax and tip was almost $200. We've eaten at Chef Mickey's before, but something about paying for 4 adult buffet meals really irked me.

    For our upcoming trip, I've already been preparing the kids that we won't be eating a table service meal every day (we always have in the past) and our only buffet will be Boma, because we haven't been there is a few years and it's waaaaaay better than Chef Mickey's.

    We stay in a condo, so we sometimes eat meals there. On our trip in August, I spent $150 at the grocery store to stock up on food for 11 days. My dh and I were laughing that 11 days of breakfasts, snacks and a few dinners was less than one meal at Chef Mickey's.
    THIS is a SERIOUS reality check for me!!! WOW!! I said before I have "accepted" the prices at Disney, but when you put it that way, it REALLY hits home!!!
     

    PrincessTiffany

    Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fast
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2007
    We are planning a 3rd of July visit to Magic Kingdom. I know the crowds are going to be monstrous, but we (like everyone else there) want to see the 4th of July fireworks. Knowing from past experience that it would be nice to have a dinner break and an hour of air conditioning, I thought we'd try Crystal Palace. After making the reservation I checked the prices and was shocked to see the sticker price for 10 year old children is $43.66 including tax, NOT gratuity or the seasonal price increase.

    My 10 year old will eat two chicken legs and dessert. No way I'll pay upwards of $60 for that!

    I'm think character dinning is over for us.

    I cancelled the reservation and we're eating at the Plaza Restaurant. Still air conditioned, I think LOL.
    The character dining and eating at our favorite Disney restaurants is part of the WDW vacations for us and we do Crystal Palace every trip. For this reason, we now rotate all of our annual trips around free dining promos. As long as Disney has free dining promos we will go to Disney every year. If they did away with free dining we would still go to WDW, but less frequently.
     

    PrincessTiffany

    Is there anything better than Free Dining and Fast
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2007
    I have to think paying rack rates at the resorts :scared1: has to be pretty painful in order to get the "free" dining.
    Free Dining is just another discount. We are a family of 6 and we usually stay for 8 nights in 2 connecting rooms at a value resort and we are always going to do at least 1 table service/character meal per day.

    A 40% room discount (which you can't hardly even get on a value anymore) save us about $630.00

    A 4/3 discount saves us about $750.00, and this is not a offer that happens during numerous weeks annually.

    A free dining discount saves us around $1,200.00.

    It's not hard to do the math here and see what is the better deal for us.
     

    eliza61

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2003
    I guess I'm spoiled:confused3

    We save until we have enough to stay on property and eat on the disney dining plan. I feel like its allowed us to be able to eat we're we want and only worry about a tip when the time comes because we prepaid.
    I always advise people to look at how the ddp fits with their family life style. for me it's not solely about money. first I too stay on site and eat where I want. I do it cheaper without the ddp and with less stress. My prepaying in a savings account is just as simple as buying the ddp except oop fits my life better.
    For example we never eat desserts and always get an appetizer so that right there makes the ddp a waste.

    So it's really not about whether your spoiled or not. :confused3

    Everyone really has to look at how it would work for them.
     

    bcrook

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2008
    But if CP is $43 by itself, by the time you add a counter service meal that comes with a drink and dessert, plus a snack, plus the refill mug, it is going to be less expensive to do the DDP as long as you plan to eat a full serve meal every day.

    But I would NEVER pay $55 a day x 4 for my family of four to get the DDP. It has to be "free" (for us a good deal since we have four "adults" and don't stay deluxe) or we pay OOP and find way better deals by eating at non buffets, splitting some meals and not doing the buffets.
    I get your post. I would never prepay for the meals either. But, the only reason that the DDP works under your scenario is if the buffet prices are jacked up to prices so high that the DDP makes sense. Which is exactly what happened. Disney raises all the character and buffet meals to crazy prices so DDP makes sense. They also raised the price of DDP. I am spending two full weeks next summer, we are budgeting $2000.00 for food and will do just fine with it. The DDP for the two weeks would cost me $3000.00.
     

    bcrook

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2008
    Free Dining is just another discount. We are a family of 6 and we usually stay for 8 nights in 2 connecting rooms at a value resort and we are always going to do at least 1 table service/character meal per day.

    A 40% room discount (which you can't hardly even get on a value anymore) save us about $630.00

    A 4/3 discount saves us about $750.00, and this is not a offer that happens during numerous weeks annually.

    A free dining discount saves us around $1,200.00.

    It's not hard to do the math here and see what is the better deal for us.
    I don't understand where your 1200.00 savings comes in? I can see it if you are only eating at character meals and buffets, but you wouldn't save near that much if you eat OOP at places like rose and crown, Olivia's, plaza, liberty tree tavern for lunch, sci if diner etc for some of the meals.

    Do value resorts offer free dining that include table service?
     

    SmallWorld71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2007
    Free Dining is just another discount. We are a family of 6 and we usually stay for 8 nights in 2 connecting rooms at a value resort and we are always going to do at least 1 table service/character meal per day.

    A 40% room discount (which you can't hardly even get on a value anymore) save us about $630.00

    A 4/3 discount saves us about $750.00, and this is not a offer that happens during numerous weeks annually.

    A free dining discount saves us around $1,200.00.

    It's not hard to do the math here and see what is the better deal for us.
    I'm way too tired to check your math, but free dining has always been our best discount as well. But, we love character meals and our kids love to eat!

    Our first trip to Crystal Palace was when the kids were 4,8, and 12. I think the 8 year old ate his weight in shrimp and salmon, the 12 year old ate us all under the table and even the four year old had quite a meal. While my pocketbook loves the idea of junior pricing, my experience has show me that pre-teens and teens can eat more than most grown adults. And, while I know that not every kid does this, there are enough of them that I think it would be very foolish of Disney not to charge adult prices for these kids. (Although I do think the prices for everyone are getting out of hand.)
    I will say that the population that I think often eats the least is the elderly. If anyone should get a discount, it should be my 81 year old grandmother, not my 12 year old son who is going through a growth spurt and can eat like a horse and still stay skinny.

    OP - The Plaza sounds like a good choice for you and your family.:)
     


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