Anyone else completely priced out of the buffets at Disney now?

Tramp&TheLady

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 11, 2007
With the increased price of snacks and water as well, the dining plan has never been a better value. I expect Disney has seen a decrease in DDP users outside of the free dining period, and is trying to nudge people back to the plan.

I never thought breakfast buffets are a good value, and you are always rushed by not wanting to miss park opening or prime touring hours. For lunch and dinner, I do feel the quality and variety at most of the character buffets at Disney (except Chef Mickey... shudder) is really quite good, and still a good price when you think of what you are paying for the character interactions. Much better value than dessert parties anyway in my view.
totally disagree. IMO it has not been a good value in many years. it ceased being a good value when they removed the dessert and appetizer and removed the tip being included in the price. just because they jack up the prices on everything to be way way way higher than what they should be it doesn't make the DDP a better value.
 

cmwade77

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 1, 2005
Meh I appreciate your math work. But, we have young kids. We eat breakfast offsite or in our room before we go to the parks. We then eat a large late lunch / early dinner offsite since the kids don't last all day long anyways then go back in the evening for fireworks.
Still takes time, money and transportation costs to go offsite, in your room is a different story of course.
 
  • cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    totally disagree. IMO it has not been a good value in many years. it ceased being a good value when they removed the dessert and appetizer and removed the tip being included in the price. just because they jack up the prices on everything to be way way way higher than what they should be it doesn't make the DDP a better value.
    It does if you value your time in the parks and would eat in the parks no matter the cost.

    But let's be a bit realistic about this, $75 (including tax for adults) gets you 1 Table Service Meal, 1 Counter Service Meal and 2 Snacks. Now many of the snack choices these days can be meals in an of themselves, so let's take a realistic look at what this can get you:
    1 Table Service meal that includes: Drink, Entree and Dessert - Eating offsite, the Drink could run as much as $50 since alcohol is included, but let's use a reasonable $4 for a soda and yes, that is what most restaurants around here charge now. Entree for the same portion size and quality as most places, around $25, the dessert will run around $10. So for the meal you are looking at about $39 + Tax for a total of about $42 with tax.

    Counter Service: Drink - $4, Entree - $10 - Total: $15 with tax

    Snacks: These will vary, but let's take something like the Mac and Cheese things served at Animal Kingdom, around $8 each, for a total of $17 with tax

    Grand Total Cost from Offsite for a similar amount and quality of food: $74
    NOTE: All prices are based on food of similar quality and quantity to what you would find at Disney and are based on Southern California prices outside the theme parks. If you drink alcohol you would come out way ahead on the dining plan these days.


    And don't forget the refillable mug that comes with the dining plan, really not seeing a huge price difference between offsite and in the parks on the dining plan unless you are choosing lower quality or to eat less.
     
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    Tramp&TheLady

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 11, 2007
    Keep in mind that when you are in the dining plan (and using it correctly) you will eat every meal and every snack. My family (and I would wager we aren’t alone) when we aren’t on the dining plan will not eat like that. We eat much less. We always end up with a bunch of leftover snack credits at the end when we do use the dining plan. That has always been my proof that it is too much food anyways. We did like the quick service plan until they raised it to be entirely overpriced. I agree the mugs are nice. But you can only use them at the resorts.
     

    pwdebbie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2007
    Sadly, everything is overpriced for us, from rooms to tickets to food. And yet people will still come. I can't imagine what it will be like by 2022 with all the new resorts opening (including the one announced today). The parks will be Christmas-Day-crowded every day. So, I guess in the long run, it is good that we can no longer afford to visit.
     

    cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    Keep in mind that when you are in the dining plan (and using it correctly) you will eat every meal and every snack. My family (and I would wager we aren’t alone) when we aren’t on the dining plan will not eat like that. We eat much less. We always end up with a bunch of leftover snack credits at the end when we do use the dining plan. That has always been my proof that it is too much food anyways. We did like the quick service plan until they raised it to be entirely overpriced. I agree the mugs are nice. But you can only use them at the resorts.
    Not quite true on the mugs, we bring them into the parks and fill them with cups of water, an additional refill from table service meals, etc.

    As for snacks, there is never a reason to have left over snacks as there are many prepackaged items you can use snack credits for and take home with you. And while it is true we wouldn't necessarily eat like that when not at the parks, you tend to be a lot more active when in the parks and thus your body needs more fuel, not saying it is a bad thing, just a reality that the more you do the more you are going to need to take in.
     
  • cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    Sadly, everything is overpriced for us, from rooms to tickets to food. And yet people will still come. I can't imagine what it will be like by 2022 with all the new resorts opening (including the one announced today). The parks will be Christmas-Day-crowded every day. So, I guess in the long run, it is good that we can no longer afford to visit.
    Honestly, they are going to have to build more parks before that happens.

    But, what resort was announced today? The last one I saw was a few days ago where River Country used to be.

    That being said, there are plenty of ways around these things, buy into DVC (do the minimum number of points you can direct through Disney so you can get benefits, then buy additional points resale unless you want to use them for cruises, etc.), then buy majorly discounted APs.

    Food, well there is the dining plan, discounts for DVC/AP/Visa Card Holders/etc. and you can by discounted Disney Gift Cards from places like Sam's Club, BJ's, etc. to pay for it. Seriously, I was able to knock $300 off the dining plan price for two people for 14 nights this way. Brings the regular dining plan price down to about $64 a night and that doesn't factor in the rewards I got from the credit card I used, but it does factor in cash back I got.

    People love to complain that prices are getting too high, but Disney has to raise prices considering everyone has been insisting they need to pay their cast members more. That money has to come from somewhere, so I am a bit more realistic about it. I don't like it, but I understand it and so I find whatever methods I can to lower my costs.
     

    disneyseniors

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2014
    Our last buffet was about a year ago. Our tradition is to eat at LTT on arrival day. However, there were no reservations available at that time, so we opted for Crystal Palace. We ate there in the 80's when it was $3.95 for the buffet!!!! Yea, I know, that'll never happen again!
    We always used the dp before, so we never checked the prices of the CP lunch buffet.
    The food was mainly cold chicken nuggets, macaroni, and a few other things. Not much variety or originality to choose from. The quality of the food has gone way down, IMO, but the desserts were good:)
    At the end of the meal, our lunch buffet cost over $80.00 for 2 adults!!!! That was the end of our buffets at WDW. Poor quality at CP and big price increase made us go to OOP and mostly QS meals. Much cheaper, healthier because you don't eat as much (usually), and easier to get in and out so you have more park time!
     
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    Praying Colonel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2004
    Many years ago our family of 4 ate at Narcoosees. This was when the DDP included app & 18% tip. I looked at what our meal would've cost if we'd paid OOP, and it would've been $363.00 in 2008 dollars. With tip, upwards of $430.00. There's no way we would've paid that for 1 meal, but for 2 DDP credits--sure, let's splurge.

    I think that's what's going on with these prices. It creates a false economy in an attempt to funnel people into the DDP--where prices are also increasing, you just don't notice as much.
     

    MickleSt

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2018
    Well, we were thinking of doing Tusker House at lunch. We are an older couple, no kids. But I'm still a kid at heart and thought it might be fun. Plus a reserved seat for Rivers Of Light. But looking at about $100 for the two of us? Naw. And we're going in early February, so we doubt Animal Kingdom will be quite so crowded that we would miss much of ROL without the reserved seat. It's way too high. I wouldn't mind trying the food at TH, but not at that price.
     
  • 4evryoung

    4evryoung
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2005
    But let's be a bit realistic about this
    Yes, Lets be realistic. Many of the families buying the dining plan do not have children who are of an age to drink an adult beverage. So anyone over 10, but under the adult drinking age, is giving Disney free money for each meal.

    An adult at Disney who does drink alcohol might be eating a counter service meal at Backlot Express, for example, that costs around $19 +, but an 11 year old eating 6 nuggets & fries and drinking a soda would be costing $12.48 out of pocket. The margins on childrens' dining plan credits compared to adults are massive as once they reach 11 they are charged the full hit for a Dining credit.

    This does not even take into account the table service credits for buffets where the margins must be massive because there is no way that 11, 12, 13 year olds are eating $55 worth or food or drinking alcohol.
     

    rg35

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2012
    We're not priced out, but I am going to take a hard look at where we choose to dine next year due to two factors
    1) It will be the first trip that our kids are "Disney adults"
    2) The increasing prices of buffets (and on site dining in general)
     

    mort1331

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 15, 2012
    So I guess this is comparing US pricing to what you can get in the US. Being from Canada, a lot of our buffets here are $40 per head. So the way I look at it we are on vacation, the buffet pricing while in US$ is not that much more then what a buffet here is. The selection is better at Disney for us, the kids eat the same, so having a multiple of selections is the way for us to try out things we would not have before.
    I justify it by saying we go to dinner here once or twice a month. At Disney we are just wrapping that up in our one week there. We each get to choose a favorite, then we look to try one restaurant that we have not done before. Learned to love Raglan Road, and 50s prime time. Youngest loves the PB&J shake.
    As a pp said, time is money, so is peace and happiness. So for us something that is a few dollars more is one less thing to worry about.
     

    mort1331

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 15, 2012
    Yes, Lets be realistic. Many of the families buying the dining plan do not have children who are of an age to drink an adult beverage. So anyone over 10, but under the adult drinking age, is giving Disney free money for each meal.

    An adult at Disney who does drink alcohol might be eating a counter service meal at Backlot Express, for example, that costs around $19 +, but an 11 year old eating 6 nuggets & fries and drinking a soda would be costing $12.48 out of pocket. The margins on childrens' dining plan credits compared to adults are massive as once they reach 11 they are charged the full hit for a Dining credit.

    This does not even take into account the table service credits for buffets where the margins must be massive because there is no way that 11, 12, 13 year olds are eating $55 worth or food or drinking alcohol.
    Correct so if your smart, all QS do not have an age associated with them. So we buy all adult credits and split, then we can get the same for breaky too.
     

    cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    Yes, Lets be realistic. Many of the families buying the dining plan do not have children who are of an age to drink an adult beverage. So anyone over 10, but under the adult drinking age, is giving Disney free money for each meal.

    An adult at Disney who does drink alcohol might be eating a counter service meal at Backlot Express, for example, that costs around $19 +, but an 11 year old eating 6 nuggets & fries and drinking a soda would be costing $12.48 out of pocket. The margins on childrens' dining plan credits compared to adults are massive as once they reach 11 they are charged the full hit for a Dining credit.

    This does not even take into account the table service credits for buffets where the margins must be massive because there is no way that 11, 12, 13 year olds are eating $55 worth or food or drinking alcohol.
    Notice the prices I posted were without drinking alcohol, the difference between dining 0lan and off-site is $1 a day.
     

    TwoMisfits

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2002
    It does if you value your time in the parks and would eat in the parks no matter the cost.

    But let's be a bit realistic about this, $75 (including tax for adults) gets you 1 Table Service Meal, 1 Counter Service Meal and 2 Snacks. Now many of the snack choices these days can be meals in an of themselves, so let's take a realistic look at what this can get you:
    1 Table Service meal that includes: Drink, Entree and Dessert - Eating offsite, the Drink could run as much as $50 since alcohol is included, but let's use a reasonable $4 for a soda and yes, that is what most restaurants around here charge now. Entree for the same portion size and quality as most places, around $25, the dessert will run around $10. So for the meal you are looking at about $39 + Tax for a total of about $42 with tax.

    Counter Service: Drink - $4, Entree - $10 - Total: $15 with tax

    Snacks: These will vary, but let's take something like the Mac and Cheese things served at Animal Kingdom, around $8 each, for a total of $17 with tax

    Grand Total Cost from Offsite for a similar amount and quality of food: $74
    NOTE: All prices are based on food of similar quality and quantity to what you would find at Disney and are based on Southern California prices outside the theme parks. If you drink alcohol you would come out way ahead on the dining plan these days.


    And don't forget the refillable mug that comes with the dining plan, really not seeing a huge price difference between offsite and in the parks on the dining plan unless you are choosing lower quality or to eat less.
    Yes, but OP and other posters have pointed out - EVERYTHING has gotten overpriced b/c of DDP and a push for Disney to monetize any way possible...a different version of your post...

    1 CS
    1 TS
    2 snacks (aka breakfast)

    $75 + TIP ($10 on a $50 TS meal) = $85/day per adult.

    What could I, the non DDP buyer, do for $85/day without actually taking much time/energy away from my touring? I think the answer, especially in "low hour" periods, which now seem to be the norm with early morning events and late events limiting the parks to 9-7 or 9-8, quite a dang lot! I could fit an evening Ruth's Chris 3 course dinner - entree and side/app/dessert ($45.95+tax/tip for $60) in with a Disney lunch CS ($15) and an offsite fast food breakfast ($5)...and STILL have $5 left, eating out every meal with little time wasted in the parks...I picked that restaurant at random, but many, many high end (ala better than Disney 2 credit) meals can be found and fit in that Disney DDP "value"...especially for folks who don't need alcohol every meal...
     

    snappy

    Survivor
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2002
    Twomisfits, you hit upon the crux of this, the meals at even the 2 credit Disney restaurants are of less quality than elsewhere. I am from New Orleans so I may be a bit spoiled but there are only a couple TS restaurants that I would even bother with. I am not a foodie but I am not interested in wasting my money and calories at most Disney TS restaurants.
     

    ice cube

    DIS Veteran
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2009
    Priced out? No
    Unwilling to pay the insane prices? Yes
    Totally agree never priced out but definitely unwilling when it doesn't make sense...

    I feel like the strategy is to raise the prices to push the dining plans. People who want to do the buffets and character meals are not going to want to spend $60 a person and will purchase the plan instead.
    I have been saying this for years....example: this is how they justify asking $4.79 for a small bottle of OJ...to force the ones who don't want the dining plan (me) to do it. I beat them by stopping by the store before I check in....:rotfl2:
     

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