Can someone tell me if dining plan works for my situation?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by barefootMom, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. barefootMom

    barefootMom Mouseketeer

    Apr 8, 2005
    I just booked a week in April and will be staying at the Boardwalk Inn. I have never done the dining plan before and am wondering if I tell you our situation if any of you experts can give me your gut feeling on whether it is "worth it" for us or not. It is myself and hubby, daughters 11 (eats like an adult and so I have no problem paying adult for her) and 8 (fine with kids menu). We definitely are the types to eat one counter service and 1 table service a day and might do 1 or 2 buffets. We would never order dessert at lunch but might normally at a nice dinner. Can we take the lunch desserts to go or will they melt in April if we stick them in a backpack for a later snack? We do tend to eat the more expensive entrees when we go out.

    Is that enough info for anyone to tell me if they think it might work for my family? I know that the only TRUE way is for me to go find all the menus and pick out exactly what we might eat at each place to really compare costs but was hoping someone might know so much about this topic that they could give me their "gut" thoughts with that info.? Also, is there an easy link to find the "best way to maximize the value"? thank you!!
  2. deserrai

    deserrai DIS Veteran

    Feb 3, 2012
    I have priced out the dining plan many times and have found it would either be about the same price or would cost a little more than if we paid OOP. Therefore, I have never used the dining plan. Now, if you can actually eat all the food you receive on the dining plan, it may be worth it. If we were to order dessert at every meal it would be cheaper to go with the dining plan, but we are always too full after a meal. Also, if we eat a TS meal we usually only end up eating two meals that day and a snack. That is why it is usually cheaper for us to just pay OOP. At three meals a day, it usually works out about the same, but we buy additional drinks and snacks so it would actually cost more. I hope that makes sense and helps.
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  4. patsal

    patsal <font color=FF3399>I've discovered I don't need to

    Jul 10, 2001
    If you are doing buffets or AYCE family style than it is worth it especially if you have these for dinner. Many to go desserts are ok to travel with and should not "melt down" in April. If not for the character meals and 1 child under ten my opinion would be to skip the paln and pay oop.
  5. figment_jii

    figment_jii DIS Veteran

    Apr 22, 2006
    Whether the DDP is practical for your family depends on your eating plans. If you plan to do a lot of character meals (primarily at dinner) and/or dinners, then it might be worthwhile. I would plan for sit down dinners (generally entrees are more expensive at dinner than at lunch) and CS lunches. I generally assume a CS meal is about $17.50 and a snack is $4, which leaves about $34.50 for the TS portion of the DDP. So, if you want to make the most of the DDP, you'll need to order the most expensive items on the menu. There are some places where getting to $34.50 (with tax) is easy, while other places are nearly impossible.

    You can take many of the desserts to go, if you are full. Ask your server and they can help you identify which ones travel well. I would rule out anything with cream and anything that will melt. Note that most TS places do not have "to go" utensils, so you'll need to stop at a CS location to get forks/spoons to eat the left overs with.
  6. barefootMom

    barefootMom Mouseketeer

    Apr 8, 2005
    thanks all,
    I was hoping that it would make sense as I DO like the idea of it being pre-paid. However, I fear that if it is not going to save me money at all then I probably shouldn't do it...ugh
  7. KigerKat

    KigerKat DIS Veteran

    Mar 24, 2008
    You also have to keep in mind that while your meals may be pre-paid, the gratuities are not. So, if you are doing a true comparison of DDP vs. OOP, you have to factor 15-20% gratuity on all of your TS meals.
  8. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    There's a vlog that recently created a comprehensive spreadsheet that allows you to input certain information, and it will tell you around how much it would cost to eat with various different options.

    You have to sign up for free in order to download the spreadsheet.

    I always price out every meal before our trips, but I was curious about their spreadsheet, so I input our plans.
    You put in all your restaurant choices, how often you think you'd order dessert, appetizers, snacks, and/or drinks, and what the cost of your ordering habits is (low, average, high).

    I found the results to be very close to what I've figured out on my own, so I definitely can recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to go through the menus and pick things specifically.

    It confirmed that since we tend to not order all the entitlements on the dining plan (sodas, desserts etc) but order items not included (extra meals, snacks etc) we will do better paying out of pocket.

    From first glance, it looks as if you'd do fine on the dining plan, but people vary so much that it's difficult to tell.
  9. ItsNotMuchofaTail

    ItsNotMuchofaTail but I'm sort of attached to it

    May 30, 2012
    I would tend to think it would work for your family. I like a TS every day, a CS and a snack work out for me and my DD (A Disney child until 2 weeks ago). If finding that losing a few dollars either way will make or break your enjoyment of the trip, I would do a careful analysis and decide based on what you would eat. For me, thats too much aggravation. I truly believe the DDP saved me money in the past, and if I found out it was a wash, I would still enjoy the whole pre-paid, order whatever I want attitdue of the DDP. I have said this before, but my bill at Akershus alone cost more than my DDP for the day, so I certainly think I did ok. I would make myself order cheaper things if I were paying OOP, so the DDP is a luxury that enhances my trip, and I wouldn't analyze it to the penny to see if its financially the best decision of my life, KWIM?
  10. 6disneykids

    6disneykids Mouseketeer

    Jun 29, 2012
    You asked a question that will give you a so many varied answers. Answers will range from something close to "worst idea on the planet" to "absolutely add the plan" and everything in between.

    I struggled with the same isses whether or not to do DDP this year, and I agonized over how I could get the best deal. My wonderful husband (the voice of reason in our family:love:) told me to stop obsessing, get the DDP because if we did every thing OOP, or with gift cards. both of us would be miserable because we would both be obsessing over the cost of everything to the point at which we would only be drinking water, and splitting 3 CS meals between the 8 :rotfl2:

    I think if you are not phased by prices if you pay as you go, then OOP, could be an option, however if you obsess over trying to get the best value, then pay once get the dining plan.
  11. OklahomaTourist

    OklahomaTourist Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2008
    I'm a card-carrying OOP'er. :)

    Think about how you normally eat versus how you might feel compelled to eat if you bought the DDP. If you consider the extra goodies/meals part of the trip, then maybe assigning that as purely a "cost" isn't right for your family. If the extra food becomes a problem, like "gee, what do we do with these Mickey-shaped cake pops for our dessert," then maybe that DDP is pushing you in a direction you wouldn't ordinarily go.

    For my family, we've been to WDW four times, and we've done OOP each time (and are doing it again this summer). We do not eat every meal on property; we have light breakfasts in room almost every day, and rarely have two full meals the rest of the day (just too hot for that much food). For us, we've identified four places where we really want to eat on our next trip, added up those costs, and compared that to the DDP - and it isn't close. DDP is *way* too expensive for us.

    Would never suggest my option on this is the "best" or "only" way, but for our family, OOP has been really the only practical choice. We greatly enjoy the Disney meals we do purchase, and don't worry about the "uneaten" meals we didn't really want.

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