Best way to get $$'s worth on DlxDDP

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by HeidiLowe, May 22, 2010.

  1. HeidiLowe

    HeidiLowe Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2010
    I have been obsessing about this lately with my sample ADR's. I've even checked out menus on allears, figured out what we would probably all eat, do that for all the meals of the day, and see if it comes in over or under the set price for the DDP.

    It seems on the days that we use one credit for breakfast and two credits at a signature restaurant for dinner we come in a little over, like $30 over the price of the plan.

    But if we do three-one credit meals a day, then we come in WAY over, like $70 over the price of the plan. The problem with that is, is that I don't want to be stuck with three sit down meals each day, two is more than enough.

    So how do you get the most of your money on the DDP? Maybe the deluxe is just too much food for us? We have two boys, 3 & 5, so I don't know how much or how little they will eat. Finally, I love sit down meals, this is what I'm looking forward to the most out of all things Disney, so mostly CS isn't an option for us.

    Thanks for your advice!! Heidi.
  2. Cafeen

    Cafeen DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2009
    The question is, do you want to just maximize the value, or do you want to eat reasonably? So long as you're coming in over, then you are saving money (over the same locations and orders, just paying oop). If you're concerned about the current timing, then take a look at dropping down to DDP and running those numbers (and altering the plans to fit). Of course, this means more CS dining, which you're not particularly interested in (though, there are some great CS locations).

    You also should figure in snacks in there, as they can be another 5-6$ per person per night that you're saving (and that's a "average" figure). Tax is another spot of saving, since paying OOP you have to pay the tax and on the plan it's "included" (I'm sure it's built into the cost somewhere). With a family of 4, this could really add up ($6.50 for every 100$ spent, and a 100$ meal for 4 is not particularly difficult to do at the Disney TS restaurants).

    To truly maximize the value, you would skip the signature and do 3 TS meals a day (except arrival and departure, a 1/2 split would work there), utilizing all pieces of the plan (App, Entree, Dessert, Drink). You'd also avoid the lower price restaurants (e.g. The Plaza, LTT Lunch, Sci-Fi Lunch, etc), and you'd pick the pricier options on the menu. Of course, this tends to not be how people want to do it (myself included), and I'm sure that Disney recognizes this and counts on it (saves them on the bottom line).

    So long as: A) your dining itinerary works for you and your family and B) you're coming in over the cost of the plan, then it will be a savings. In other words, don't sweat over an extra 40$ of savings, if that itinerary wouldn't work for you :).
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  4. HeidiLowe

    HeidiLowe Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2010
    Thank you for such an in depth reply!

    I don't necessarily want to maximize, just want to make sure that we don't let credits go unused because we're so full from the last meal. Also, I'm worried that it's just going to be too much food.

    Also, I'm worried about getting the basic plan and then paying OOP for a few meals and having any savings fly out the window. I think that's my biggest concern.

    Thanks again!
  5. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala 1937, what a year that was

    Jun 22, 2001
    This is actually the way to get the most money out of the plan:

    Use all three of your credits that you receive per night on 1-credit table service restaurants. Pick the most expensive restaurants, and order the most expensive items on the menu.

    Not everyone wants to do that (with three courses included it is a lot of food), so the best way to use all your credits and not leave any over is: Plan all your meals using the available resources, based on the types of food and restaurants you know your family likes to eat. Do not worry about ordering things you are entitled to if you do not want them (you CAN skip dessert if you wish). Do not worry too much about how much the restaurant would cost OOP or if you are maximizing the credit value. I would also assume that when you purchased DxDP you did so for the convenience of prepayment and not just the savings.

    Remember that you can use deluxe credits for CS meals, and that there are restaurants that cost 2 credits per person. Although these are not the absolute best value, it's better than leaving credits unused, because if you leave them unused then Mickey gets the money you have already spent and you didn't even order any food with it.
  6. Kate716

    Kate716 Mouseketeer

    Apr 20, 2002
    Hi Heidi,

    We upgraded to the Deluxe plan for our upcoming trip (4 days!!!) and one of the big reasons is because we were overspent on our TS credits with the regular dining plan, had settled for a few "ok" ADRs vs booking what we really wanted (to keep from going over our credits even more), knew we would want some appetizers at dinner, and also knew we would be buying the resort mugs for this trip. I also knew that we would second guess anything paid OOP and say "no" to frivolous snacks the kids wanted because we'd be thinking of the extra costs and that just isn't my definition of a relaxing family vacation. I want everyone to have fun, enjoy the family time together, and order what they want (within reason) regardless of the $$. After all, this is our hard-earned 1 time per year vacation! By the time all those factors were added in, the difference in the upgrade cost really wasn't that much and gave us so much more in options.

    We will be staying for 6 nights on the DxDP and have the following plan:

    Arrival day - CS lunch, Signature dinner
    Day 2- TS lunch, Signature dinner
    Day 3- CS lunch, Signature dinner
    Day 4- TS breakfast, Signature dinner
    Day 5- TS/CS lunch, Signature dinner
    Day 6- TS breakfast, TS dinner
    Day 7- TS breakfast before leaving for the airport :(

    By eating CS, we won't be "maximizing" our value, but that's ok with me. Snacks will be used for whatever we want as fill-ins. We like taking the time for a nice meal so TS dinners were required. A nice TS lunch here and there is an added bonus.

    On the food side- if we don't want an appetizer at lunch, we won't order it. If we feel like we're too full for dessert at lunch or dinner, we just won't order it. Just because you have the option doesn't mean you have to use it, but I like that if we want both app and dessert, we can order them both.

    It's a big decision and in the end you will do what you think is best for your family! Enjoy and have a great time!
  7. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

    Jun 11, 2005
    I calculated on another thread recently that with judicious planning, one can 'get one's money's worth' with the Deluxe Dining Plan eating either a very expensive CS late breakfast/early lunch, or any TS late breakfast/early lunch, then having dinner at a Signature restaurant (except Brown Derby if you're me) or dinner show.

    To get 'every cent possible', you should plan on eating at either Tutto Italia or Le Cellier every day for lunch, ordering the most expensive items on each menu - I think, offhand, Tutto Italia has a $7 appetizer, a $28 entree, a $14 dessert, and $4.50 iced tea, grand total $53.50 before tax; tax is $3.47, total $56.97.
    Go to Narcoossee's for dinner every night. They have two $15 appetizers; pick Buttermilk Fried Shrimp. The Steamed Whole Maine Lobster at $59 is covered by dining plan credits, too. For dessert, might as well go with the Cheese Plate at $12, and soft drinks are probably $2.50. That's $88.50, with tax of $5.75, total $94.25. Add in two snacks at $3.99 + $.26 tax each.

    That's $159.72, and it doesn't even include that night's share of the mug ;)
  8. itradehilton

    itradehilton Mouseketeer

    Sep 7, 2009
    We just made the decision to change to the DxDP since we like appetizers and this plan allows us to eat at signature places, which we prefer while on vacation. Will we get the most bang for our buck, no but we would have spent more OOP if we did the DDP. For us it was not about how much we saved but what we would enjoy and IMO that is what my vacations are all about.
  9. HeidiLowe

    HeidiLowe Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2010
    Yeah, you are all right. I don't want to stress about money for meals the whole vacation, and I like what the deluxe all includes. Plus it will be paid for all in advance. I just didn't want to LOSE money, but with my ADR's I have planned I don't think that would be possible. Thanks for all the great advice, I really appreciate it!!
  10. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Jul 14, 2009
    We do all table service for lunch and dinner... because there are some fun places to eat... and DS has an egg allergy that is easier to work with when table service dining - the chef comes to our table and basically makes him whatever he wants. We also do a few character breakfasts.

    With that many table services, it doesn't matter what we order... it is cheaper.... unless compared to doing all counter service for which there's no tipping.

    Plus, deluxe -- you have to count the value of appetizers and the refillable mugs and more snacks.
  11. mousketexan

    mousketexan Earning My Ears

    Feb 10, 2010
    The way we're coming out ahead is that, even though we are staying 4 nights (with 4-night DxDP), we are going to be there for 5 days (coming in at noon the first day and leaving at 6pm on the day of checkout. So that's a couple of extra meals we need to account for. Also, we're doing two 2-credit meals (CRT and Cali Grill). I did the math and we'll be saving over $100, not including the snack credits, from what we would pay if we were going out-of-pocket.

    I'm like you -- not a big fan of CS. I prefer sit-down meals for the variety of foods (usually healthier options) and the break from the action. But we are doing CS for a couple of the meals because they fall in-between larger meals. I don't plan to eat everything on my plate at every meal (in fact, I hope I don't!). But I do plan to order what I want and not worry about how much it's costing since it's already been paid for anyway.

    My strategy was to create my ideal dining plan based on the restaurants we wanted to hit, parks we would be visiting and the ADR's I was able to get. Then I did the math to see how it would be most affordable, and DxDP was it.
  12. Lewisc

    Lewisc <a href="

    May 23, 2000
    Getting the most $$$ out of the DlxDDP means 3 one credit meals per day. Use your snack credits for breakfast. Have a TS lunch, early dinner and late dinner. Of couse you'll be spending a lot of our vacation in restaurants and you'll gain a lot of weight.

    It looks like you'll be saving at least $30/day if you eat the way you want to eat. There really isn't a prize to the guest who gets the most $$$ out of the plan. Are you saving at least 20%? Then the plan is probably worth it.
  13. MrsLS

    MrsLS DIS Veteran

    Jan 10, 2005
    I wouldnt worry about getting the most value. As long as you get more than you paid for the plan, then it is worth it. does it really matter how much you save, don't just order or get stuff just because, if you do at least 2 TS a day plus snacks (drink, ice cream or something to bring home), you will come out ahead.
    Also the prices on allears, especially for the buffets, are not correct. For 1900, CP & Cape May we (2 adults) with tax came out to $53 for breakfast. Include that on days that we did a signature (depending on the restaurant anywhere from $125-160) & say 2 bottles of water ($5), we came out ahead every day. Some days we did a TS lunch and a regular dinner but most days is was 1 signature & either TS lunch (5 of them) or a character breakfast (3 times) and we saved over $550 for the whole 8 night trip for 2 adults. The plan was $144 a night.

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