DDP really save up to 25%?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by heather6699, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. heather6699

    heather6699 Earning My Ears

    Jan 14, 2007
    I am sure this has been discussed and I am just not finding...has anyone done the research to see if the dining plan (specifically the quick meal dining plan) saves money? I just talked to Disney and they said it can save me "UP TO 25%". I know it can depend on where I eat but typically do you all really find this a savings?

  2. tndisneyfan

    tndisneyfan DIS Veteran

    Mar 8, 2005
    To me the QSDP is more like a break even deal. You may save some, but not a great amount. I definitely wouldn't think 25%. A lot of it depneds on where you eat and what you order VS what you would normally order if you didn't have the QSDP.
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  4. Nadjalu

    Nadjalu DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2009
    To be honest you have to do the math yourself to see if it saves YOU that much.

    We do the DDP (reg plan) and we save an average of $20-40 a day for DH and I. DH tallies up the receipts for each trip.
    We eat like we would normally and that has been our results.

    As you said, alot depends on where you eat, what you would eat and drink. As stuff like extra water, sodas are extra.

    So what you can do is go thru the menus and pick out a tenative plan, add up what you would spend and then see if any of the plans save you money.
    That is the best and only way to know if it works for you and your family.

    Have a good vacation!
  5. catne

    catne DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2008
    it will only save you money if that's the way you want to eat anyway (like on the regular "plus dining"...one table service, one counter service & one snack per day. Does that match your preference? And would you order an entree, dessert and drink for these meals? Would you be wanting desserts at every meal? If you don't want dessert, and would rather order the occasional appetizer instead...or if you plan to split all meals the dining plans probably won't work for you.)

    But if the dining plans do match up with your preferences, then yes you can save 25% or more. We routinely save between 25 & 30% on our dining plan meals...average around 28% most trips. Because we DO like to eat that way on vacation, and we tend to do the more expensive table service restaurants & counter service places...and we tend to order high-end entrees, too (because we like STEAK, lol.) We generally save closer to 30% when we do the Deluxe dining plan.

    Now if you prefer a hotdog for your counter service meals, and usually choose the less expensive entrees like salads or pasta...or if you choose to eat at a lot of buffets for table service, then no, you probably won't save 25%. You'll probably break even, though.
  6. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala 1937, what a year that was

    Jun 22, 2001
    I am sure it can if you plan for it. Maybe even exceeding that if you eat at the most expensive places, at the most expensive times, and order the most expensive items. It's up to each individual party how much they want to plan to get the greatest savings.

    In general, if you don't usually order the way the dining plan requires that you order, it's possible to save nothing at all on the plan. Some see this as a way to splurge and order dessert with every meal when they wouldn't normally do this, and some see it as being forced to get the dessert when they didn't want it just to get their value out of the plan. Depends on the outlook if it will be a good thing for your party or not.

    If you leave WDW with a bunch of unused credits in your account it's also possible to lose money on the plan.
  7. Momto2PrncChrmgs

    Momto2PrncChrmgs DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2008
    2 years ago I did the math-picked where we'd eat (we like one sit down meal/day), figured what we'd probably order, plus drinks and we came about pretty close to even. NOW, with the dining plan, I can order filet mignon (which I LOVE but won't usually splurge for), the kids or I can get a smoothie to drink at some places, we can get dessert if we want it, and it's basically "free" because we've already came out even or ahead. Add in the fact that it's already paid for and I don't have to stress and count every penny, think about splitting meals to save some money, etc...:thumbsup2
  8. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    It will save you around 25% in terms of cost of plan, versus the cost of items you are receiving, if you choose to get everything you are entitled to, and choose expensive options.

    But, you may not want all those things. For example, I find virtually zero value in the refillable mugs. I don't spend a lot of time at the resort food court, and my regular meals come with beverages. And I can always get a couple cans of soda pretty cheaply. So a big part of that so-called 25% savings, is the refillable mugs which are considered an approximate $15 value, each. For a family of 4, that's $60 "worth" of refillable mugs.
    So if you were really going to drink more than $60 worth of soda at your resort food court, then you are getting savings. But if you're like my family, then it is a worthless extra.

    The savings also is dependent on your ordering desserts with every meal, and using all your snack credits. If you wouldn't otherwise order so many desserts, you really aren't getting the value.

    And finally, it is dependent on getting somewhat more expensive items. On the QS plan, the discrepancies aren't that huge --- the $13.50 chicken/rib combo at Cosmic Rays, versus a $7.50 turkey leg. (On the TS plan, you could be looking at $12 options versus $35 options)

    So, if you really want those refillable mugs, really want all those desserts, and maximize your value for QS options, your savings could exceeed 25%.

    For big dessert/soda people, who really enjoy eating "in line with the plan" -- You can definitely get savings.

    For others, I think you are looking at a minimal savings on the QS plan. A small savings on the DDP. And a significant savings on the DxDP -- If you happened to want lots of TS meals.
  9. Macgyver91

    Macgyver91 Mouseketeer

    Feb 12, 2009
    We have used the DDP every visit and my reasons are similar to the above post. Convenience!! I like knowing that I have my meals prepaid and can start paying for them WAY in advance. We also eat at resteraunts that we normally wouldn't got to because they are not in our "regular" budget. The kids and hubby like the fact that all come with the dessert automatically...LOL

    This visit we have thought of going with just the QS...anyone have any thoughts on changing?
  10. Momto2PrncChrmgs

    Momto2PrncChrmgs DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2008
    I thought about it, but we still wanted at least 2 TS meals-Biergarten and a character breakfast. The cost to upgrade to DDP (we got free QS dining) was about $150 for our family for the week. The cost of those two meals not incl tax was going to be about $175, so it was worth it for us to upgrade and get MORE TS meals (which we love but could've done without if it was a significant savings).
  11. umieesa

    umieesa Mouseketeer

    Jan 26, 2010
    As many people have said it really depends on your eating habits. We don't drink soda, but are dessert people and even without factoring in the cost of dessert we still come out ahead with the DDP.

    We definitely enjoy the break and sitting down to a TS meal everyday. And even though I'm sure I'd order things I probably wouldn't if I wasn't on the plan, I definitely enjoy those more expensive meals anyway! I definitely can't imagine eating only QS meals everyday for every meal, and it's not very practical to ALWAYS go to WPE. Yes, there's Sunshine seasons and cosmic ray's, but I can't imagine eating those same meals EVERYDAY...but again, whatever suits your family!

    I would say that we save at least 30%, so for us it's definitely worth it (especially with these crazy high price increases)!
  12. lblume91

    lblume91 It's magic wrapped up in pixie dust!

    Sep 25, 2009
    My tightwad DH, who is always looking for a bargain, insists on saving all our receipts. When we get home, we add them all up & then compare them to the cost of the DDP. We have always come out several hundred dollars ahead by having the DDP. However, if we were paying out of pocket, we wouldn't get desserts, would order water at table service meals instead of soft drinks, and would look for the best bargain. To us, the biggest perk to the DDP is that everything is prepaid. It's so nice not to have to budget for your meals out of your spending money. I set aside tip money for the TS places before we leave. The DDP is just very convenient. It's nice to tell the kids they can order whatever they want, pick out whatever snacks, etc (as long as they're on the plan). That's what vacation is all about to us: treating ourselves to things we wouldn't do at home. :)
  13. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    The same things you just stated, are my problems with the plan, primarily with the DDP.

    For my family -- we will generally always order what we want, regardless of price. (Ok... we did go to 1 restaurant that featured a $1,000 hamburger-- we passed on that). If we want dessert, we order it. We don't pass on dessert to save $5-$10 dollars. We don't pass on the steak because it is $8 more than the fish.
    But typically, we don't order many desserts because we don't want them. And sometimes we get the expensive menu items, and sometimes we get the cheap menu items.

    And as you said -- You have the freedom to tell your kids they can have any snack they want, as long as it is on the plan -- But what happens when things are not on the plan? Then you must choose between "wasting" the plan, and going OOP, or not getting what you really want.

    What if I'm at my TS meal, and I just want soup and salad as my meal? That's not allowed, even though it would be cheaper than ordering most of the entrees.

    I like the DxDP as there are enough inclusions to give some flexibility. But to me, the DDP is very rigid, and not especially cheap. So unless you really plan to eat a very specific way, the DDP does not give greater freedom -- it is actually restricting. (If I want to save money, then I virtually must order dessert... I must not order cheaper entrees, I must not even consider getting an appetizer as my main course which may not even be permitted, I may only consider snacks that are on the plan, etc, etc)
  14. caroline1851

    caroline1851 DIS Veteran

    Jul 16, 2007
    We saved a substantial amount of money.

    Cost for 2 adults/2 kids = $106/day.

    Our typical day:
    Breakfast CS $42 (pepper market w/ the extra bottle of water in the plan that i would've had to buy in the park)
    Snack 4 fruit cups = $16
    Dinner TS $90

    $148 it would cost us if we paid oop.

    That's a savings of appx. $42/day.

    Now, could we eat cheaper? sure! But...I enjoy eating TS each day.

    I've found over the last 2 trips though that i've spent an additional maybe $100 on extra food using the ddp. I don't stuff myself at meals and odn't order dessert everytime, so therefore tend to get hungry more.
  15. akadada

    akadada Doin' It All for My Baby.

    Nov 13, 2010
    I'm a skeptic about "good deals" like this so I did a super detailed analysis and then posted that analysis here and got great feedback. The conclusion: Ditto to everyone here.

    The only thing I'll add is that DDxP seems the best bang for your buck over the other plans just due to the fact you're getting higher cost food more often. You have to want to eat a lot.

    If not, or if you're going to eat like you would without the plan, then I calculate it could be a negative (i.e. if you would normally share meals and don't do a lot of TS) to a large benefit (you go all out and order the most expensive meals everywhere). Most likely at least a break-even though and if you had any doubt, I still think it's worth it, even if you don't get 25%.
  16. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2007
    As others have said, savings depends on how you use it.

    My spreadsheet of our dining plans for March show a 29% savings comparing DxDDP plan costs to menu costs (with 4 adult and 2 child credits unplanned and assigned an average CS value), but in reality we're just getting that much more for our money because without the plan we'd cut out a couple ADRs, not necessarily order appetizers or desserts, and not bring snacks home to share.

    When I run the numbers purely on how we'd eat OOP it is within 2% of the plan cost and includes much less, so for us the DxDDP isn't so much a savings as a no-additional-cost way to make the trip a little more luxurious and relaxing.
  17. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    I think that's an excellent summary of the real effect for most people. Obviously, for some people-- they will legitimately see a fairly significant savings. But for many others, you're getting certain 'extras' that you might not ordinarily have gotten.

    In terms of percentiles though, the DxDP offers the biggest savings and the most flexibility --- If you want lots of TS meals. As long as you plan on using the bulk of your credits, and plan on averaging 2 TS credits per day... the DxDP will almost certainly give you some savings.

    On the other hand, with the DDP, any "waste" of credits can erase your savings pretty quickly.
  18. almburr

    almburr DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2006
    When we get back from our trip (12th-17th) I will do the math and see if I saves us money. But I have the feeling that it will. We used the free dining promotion, stayed at a value and upgraded QDDP to DXDP for $300. I did a rough calculation of the menues at the table service and snacks and Counter meals will be eating at the TS alone would cost $820,QS meals $570 and snacks $135 that total is $1525 . We like Apps and desserts and trying diffrent things we wouldnt be able get them if we didnt use the plan.
  19. NMW

    NMW DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2004
    They absolutely save you money if you would normally eat like that, no question about it.

    We did the basic plan when it came out and it was the only plan available. We did CS for lunch and TS for dinner. However, since we like a character/resort breakfast every morning, we paid OOP for those every day of our trip. We also got sick of CS lunches every day and paid OOp for TS lunches. We also wanted to eat at a signature or 2 so we paid OOP for dinner at 2 places. When the deluxe plan came out, we looked at what we spent OOP over above the cost of the basic plan and it was apparent that the deluxe plan would have saved us about 35 to even 40% if we had it. It's a much better fit for our family as well.

    So, yes, I firmly believe we save money having the deluxe dining plan over the basic or no plan at all. We saved all our receipts and there was just no question it's a money saver for us.

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