Advantages of NOT doing Disney Dining

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by Tigger031266, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. Tigger031266

    Tigger031266 DIS Veteran

    Nov 29, 2004
    We have wavered back and forth on Disney Dinning and had trips with it and without it. Lately, we determined that we are much happier without Disney Dining because of several advantages:

    - BIG BUFFET'S v NICE SIT DOWN RESTAURANTS - On Disney dinning, we tend to push for big buffets (Cape May, Chief Mickey's) where we feel we get our sit down money's worth. We tend to skip places like Kouzzina, captains, Olivia’s and ESPN for breakfast because it is NOT comparable to those big buffets. Kouzzina and ESPN just don't feel like I am getting the value for sit downs. But we love it when we eat there without Disney dining.

    - SIT DOWN BREAKFAST - We tend to not be able to have any sit down Breakfast because its not worth using sit-downs for breakfast compared to dinner.

    - CROWDED RESTAURANTS - The restaurants perceived to be the best values (again Chief Mickeys, Norway, Crystal Palace) are usually packed. Disney Dining tends to force more people to those restaurants. Places like Kouzzina, Flying Fish, California Grill (2 sit downs) seem to be easier to get into.

    - TINY MEALS - We love to grab tiny meals based on appetizers (wings, cheese plates, pizza)... the little bars around Disney. All of which are not ok on the Dining plan. We feel guilty when going to them on the dining plan.

    - MEALS IN ROOMS - DVC is all about big kitchens. It just seem like a good thing to use these kitchens. Disney dinning makes it tougher.

    - OFF SITE - There are some great restaurants within 10 minutes of Disney. Very reasonable prices.

    - RESERVATIONS TAKING UP VACATION TIME - Many times, we are forced into reservation times that either delay or rush our vacation times. It takes up valuable vacation time. Example: 9AM chief mickey reservations, can take up the whole morning. Any particular day, we maybe up earlier or later, going to breakfast when we like is more efficient and a better use of vacation time.

    - OTHER DISCOUNT PLANS - There are a bunch of nice discount programs that DVCers can't take advantage of on the plan.

    - OUR KIDS SOMETIMES EAT LIKE BIRDS - Nothing is more frustrating to showing up to an expensive sit-down and having our 9 year old saying "I am not hungry". or just plain eating like a bird.

    We usually spend about the same amount of money either way but the added flexibility actually makes our vacations better. I also admit that there is a bit of a sting not being on the plan and paying cash for a restaurant like Cape May (about $150)

    Does anyone else feel like this? I expect about 15 replies saying something like: "to each his own"....that’s pretty obvious. I am interested in
  2. MinnieGi

    MinnieGi DVC/BWV & HHI

    Nov 3, 2001
    It depends on our trip, but we usually do NOT do dining for many of the reasons you listed. Our number one reason is that those reservations take up valuable fun time!!! Our kids after a few days of sit-down meals do not want to take up more time with eating when they could be doing: swimming, golfing, park time, etc...

    We leave in four days are again are not doing the plan. We only have three sit-down meals planned for a 8 day trip and that is perfect for us. We use cs, and easy meals in our villa so we can eat and get back out there to the action.
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  4. photobob

    photobob DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2003
    We don't use DDP for several reasons many you mentioned. The main thing for me is that it just doesn't fit our normal eating/ordering patterns. We usually have a light or snack type bfast in the room, a moderately priced TS meal in the parks for lunch and usually a sandwich or other brought from home quick meal in the room for supper.

    If you do have a QS and a TS meal everyday it is a good deal, but we don't so it isn't for us. We don't usually dine at the more expensive restaurants and don't usually order the most expensive entrees nor do we usually have dessert at every meal, so it just isn't set up for us.
  5. Degli

    Degli DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2003
    We just don't eat that much food. Don't like being on the clock also.
  6. disneynutz

    disneynutz DIS Veteran DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Dec 11, 2006
    The novelty and value of the DDP for repeat Guests is wearing off. Now we need to wait for their next big deal.

    :earsboy: Bill
  7. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

    Aug 26, 1999
    I used to like the DDP, but I got upset with the lack of flexibility. One time I was in a resturaunt where a person on the plan wanted an appetizer and dessert instead of a main course and dessert, because she wasn't overly hungry. The server insisted that since she was on the DDP, she MUST get a main course, no appetizer. She even called over the manager, who reiterated the policy. Back when appetizer was included, I wanted two appetizers, no main course, soup and side salad. No can do, I was told! And occasionally I get a kid's CS meal, which I couldn't do on the DDP. I just really wanted to be able to get whatever I wanted to eat, and not have to take what I didn't want.
  8. cvjw

    cvjw DIS Veteran

    Dec 22, 2005
    Our family of 4 has done the disney dining plan for years. We decided to try something new on our most recent Disney trip. We purchased the Tables in wonderland card. It changed the way we ate at Disney. We went to our favorite TS restaurants, and ordered appetizers, salads and entrees to share. We didn't have to get one for each member of our family. It was the perfect amount of food, it costs less than paying for the DDP, and we didn't throw away tons of extra food. With TIW, we found that we can eat at some of the "lesser $" TS - ones that we never ate at on the DDP, because the entrees were so inexpensive. It has opened up new places to eat for us. We eat what we want at the restaurants, and then can have snacks later in the day - we aren't too full from the huge DDP TS meals. I'm not sure we will ever buy the DDP again.
  9. queendisney

    queendisney DIS Veteran

    May 31, 2010
    We also have done Disney with and without the dining plan. We like the DP but only the Quick Service one. We are park hoppers and hate to have a restriction of a reservation to keep! We are not in any shape or form people who plan a vacation as to what we are going to do on day one, two, three etc because we just know that we won't keep to the plan. So the qsdp is perfect for us so we can just grab and go where ever we are that day. Yes we like to do some nice meals and have never had a problem getting a table (ok so we may have to wait for it a while). What we don't do is plan to go on vacation because its on offer, if it is all well and good if its not, so be it! :)
  10. Muhlenberg

    Muhlenberg <font color=blue>Clues! We want clues! <br><font c

    Sep 13, 2006
    It doesn't really sound like DDP fits your style of eating.

    We've used the DDP in the past, and it was too much food. We'd end up using the snack credits on water. We still eat a CS for lunch and TS for dinner, but TIW works better for us. Then we're not tied to the appetizer/main course requirement.

    BEASLYBOO 2017, watch out!

    Oct 5, 2007
    I totally agree, I know that for some it works out great but not for how we eat on vacation. Spontaneity is a big part of our vacation fun, the DDP and ADR's don't fit into that plan!

    1. TIW Card, great because though we are not big drinkers, we do enjoy a glass of wine and/or a cocktail more so on vacation!

    2. I simply don't know in the morning how, when, where and what I want to eat. Sometimes at Epcot, MK Etc. I graze around, but then I have to consider OMG I have to save room for dinner, without the DDP I just blow dinner. Then we're free to head to the Swan/Dolphin for a cocktail and bit of sushi, or to the Blue Zoo for Tuna Tartare, or just return to the villa for microwave popcorn, salsa & chips, whatever. Every once in while I plan a dinner and then plan my day around it, but it's not the norm.

    3. We very seldom eat dessert, and that incl. the kids. We often share a multitude of appetizers. The DDP is not accomodating!

    4. I despise buffets. Boma is the only one I will consider and at the price charged it's once in a great while.

    5. If I'm going to outlay huge sums of money to eat, then I'm going to Todd Englishs' Blue Zoo, etc. where I feel that the cuisine is still the most important part of the restaurant! Furthermore, Orlando has many wonderful restaurants who offer great cuisine, yes they charge as much as Disney but the quality and the diversity is there! I'd rather eat a sandwich at Chick-Fil-A than a hamburger at Pecos Bill with a stale bun. I've been to Disney 50 times, I enjoy time away from the parks, I know my way around and I like the savings and I'm still enjoying being on vacation.

    6. I love my villa kitchen, our family and friends enjoy the resorts, the parks are no longer the biggest attraction, so sharing a meal that I have lovingly cooked is greatly appreciated by all. Most of all we like the relaxing time together in a nice setting!

    7. Thankfully done with the Character stuff, kids have outgrown it.

    8. We are not big breakfast eaters, never have been. Disney coffe is crap, I bring my favorite blend! I can't ride if I'm full, it's not pretty!

    I did the DDP once and I just can't vacation regimented by where and what time I have to eat. We came home with un-used credits, too much planning. Our vacation is not driven by food and so free dining has no appeal either!

    Great thread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)
  12. Dizny Dad

    Dizny Dad DiznyDi Fan

    Apr 10, 2009
  13. stocker1042

    stocker1042 Internet message boards have changed the world.

    Jun 19, 2011
    The wife and I never do the DDP. We are 43 and 37, and don't do it for the multitude of reasons you posted. We eat breakfast in the room, a nice CS lunch somewhere for around $30 for both of us, and then spend the rest of the day snacking...or once in a while, sporting the $100 or so for a nice TS dinner.

    If you drink, like we do when on vacation, the DDP does not work well. It also does not fit F+W festival well at all.
  14. dvcforme1993

    dvcforme1993 Earning My Ears

    Oct 31, 2011
    doesn't fit my eating schedule. also, i do not need to gain five pounds in a week at disney. during my september 2011 trip, i noted how many overweight and obsese people were at disney. i have been trying to lose 10-15 pounds (some success, down about six since sept). i'm sure the dining plan has not helped folks with their weight. i don't hear this discussed much though.
  15. marynvince

    marynvince DIS Veteran

    Oct 3, 2007
    The DDP forces you to eat more than you would because you don't want to lose what you've prepaid for.

    It's like becoming a DVC member if you really prefer to stay at the all-star resort.
  16. tjkraz

    tjkraz <img src="

    Feb 4, 2002
    How about 1) keeping more dollars in your wallet and 2) not gaining 5 pounds while on vacation.

    Seriously, who needs two desserts per day for a week straight?!?!
  17. TiggerFan3590

    TiggerFan3590 Mouseketeer

    May 27, 2010
    We did the DDP for the first time on our last trip.... It was fun to try something different and we did go to some restaurants that we had never tried before.... However, all of the planning and reservations did limit our ability to enjoy the day and evening.... having to be somewhere at a specific time put a bit of a damper on my vacationing style.... I know that the plan works for most families, but for ours, it was too much food and too much planning..... But that is the beauty of WDW, something for everyone.....
  18. MrsNick

    MrsNick <font color=darkorchid>sometimes out of desperatio

    Aug 4, 2005
    Agree that no DDP is more flexible. That's the primary reason I don't think we will have it on our upcoming trip. I've been kicking it back and forth, but I think we will pay for our meals OOP.
    I considered TIW, but on our trip, TIW is blocked out for 2 days of our weeklong trip and isn't accepted for the Candlelight Processional dinner package we have on another day of our trip. So, in essence the TIW card won't work for close to half our trip.
    Based on that, I think no DDP and no TIW. We'll wing it.
  19. ssawka

    ssawka DIS Veteran

    Oct 30, 2007
    The problem with the TIW card is that you have to have an annual pass to buy it. We go to WDW once a year, so for us it is not worth getting an AP. We are much better off buying a 10 day MYW NE pass.

    We have mixed emotions about DDP. For us, it does fit the way that we eat. We are not the comando type tourists. We will always have one TS a day, although I wouldn't mind cooking in the villa once in a while.

    Like, OP said, we are not big fans of buffets, but there are a lot of other options for the DDP. We always find ala carte, or family style places to eat. Contray to OP, I really don't think the buffets are the best bang for your buck with DDP. The buffets tend to have cheap starchy food. I think using the plan for a steak or a seafood entree is a much better deal.

    We almost never rent a car, so eating off-site is not really an option for us. Besides, I'm not sure that we would want to. DD(10) has celiac disease and needs to have gluten-free meals. Nobody handles food allergies better than Disney!

    That being said, there are some things I really do not care for with DDP. For one thing, on our most recent trip, we had 6 people on the DDP. On our last day, we had 16 snack credits and 5 QS credits to use. We did use them, but we brought most of the snacks home with us. We used to use the snacks for breakfast, but now that we are DVC members, we bring cereal down with us to eat in the room. I also don't feel that I need desert at lunch. Dinner yes, but not lunch.


    Just wanted to add that saying that the DDP is less flexible is not really true. It is not having the DDP or not that causes a lot of planning. It is having a TS or not. For us, a TS meal every day, whether at a restaurant or in the villa is a must. We need that "time out" from what we are doing every day!
  20. Rest&Relax

    Rest&Relax Ears at Rest

    Sep 15, 2010
    We have been members since 93 and we have never done the DDP. :scared1: I have looked at the numbers many of times and over the years it was never worth it. We do the TIW card and it just works much better for us. We have enjoyed eating at different restaurants when we want to without overeating and enjoy Disney more without all the planned ADR's in between.
  21. Tigger031266

    Tigger031266 DIS Veteran

    Nov 29, 2004
    So glad I am not alone. DDP popular restaurants are just unpleasant. The have downgraded the plans so much by dropping appetizers and not including gratuity.

    Hopefully, less DVc people will take the plans and Disney will give us better deals.

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