Dining Plan not worth it?

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by traceyw, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. traceyw

    traceyw Mouseketeer

    Sep 10, 2009
    We are going to WDW for 10 nights at the end of August. We've been there every year for the last 7 years, but we have never gone in August (always gone October-January), so it will be our first trip in extreme heat. We are staying at the Beach Club so we can enjoy the pool. I've made dining reservations, and some of them are in the afternoon since I think we will need the break from the heat. The dining plan will add $145 per day for myself, DH, and my two DD's (7 and 9). That was more than I expected and now I'm not sure it's worth it. Thoughts?
  2. isaboo

    isaboo Mouseketeer

    May 13, 2013
    We're going in August as well and we're not doing DDP this time. I'm only interested in table service and snacks, but not as many table service as in the DxDP. Also my oldest is now a Disney Adult, and there's no way she'll eat that much. We'll be sharing lots of meals. We're getting Disney gift cards from Target and that's how we will pay. :hyper:
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  4. figment_jii

    figment_jii DIS Veteran

    Apr 22, 2006
    Worth really depends on the person. You'll find folks here who love the DDP and those who hate it.

    Some folks love it because of the convenience of knowing that things have been pre-paid for and not having to worry about the cost at the meal (so they can go ahead and order the most expensive thing without feeling guilty).

    Others hate it because they feel it's restricting and limiting and hard to make it economically worth while.

    For your family, are you likely to eat at a TS meal everyday? Do you typically order expensive entrees or go to character buffets?

    My general rule of thumb (for the 2013 DDP prices) is that a QS meal is about $17.50, a snack is about $4.00, so the TS meal needs to come to about $34.50 to break even. If you think your TS meal bill is likely to be more than $34.50 (with tax) per adult, then it might not be a bad thing to get the DDP. If you likely to have less expensive TS meals, then it might not be economically worthwhile.
  5. donnaf516

    donnaf516 DIS Veteran

    Jan 29, 2010
    You really need to look at the menus for the restaurants you're going to and do the math. It works out for our family, but might not for yours. Do the Disney Math :)
  6. herb102211

    herb102211 DIS Veteran

    Mar 4, 2011
    We used to do the dining plan but find that it’s not really valuable anymore. We tried the DxDP once and its just way too much food in one day. The regular DP doesn’t offer enough TS credits a day (we usually eat 2 TS meals a day) so we end up just paying OOP now.
  7. saskdw

    saskdw DIS Veteran

    Feb 7, 2011
    With the latest round of price increases its hard to justify paying for the DDP. It's still a great promo as FD to fill rooms, but not so much if you pay for it.
  8. rwdavis2

    rwdavis2 DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    It's dicey if the plan is worth it. The Podcasts here seem to indicate that the regular dining plan is probably not worth it. I agree unless you book a lot of character meals or buffets. The quick service DP is definitely not worth it.

    We got the regular DP last January and because we always eat breakfast in the rooms we found that the plan provided too much food through the day with a snack, QS meal/dessert, and TS meal/dessert per day. We just don't eat that much food. I would never pay full price for it.

    As a PP said, look at the menus where you want to eat and do the math for yourself.
  9. GaBelle

    GaBelle DIS Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    You've made your ADRs, so look at the menus and (best you can) guess what each person may order. You guys more than likely have favorite CS spots and can determine what each person will order. Then add it up.
  10. Belleandtinker

    Belleandtinker DIS Veteran

    Dec 27, 2006
    Everyone has to do the math for themselves. When we did the math, we broke about even. For us, we don't want to keep track of what to eat, who eats what, etc. We just want to eat and pay.

    We are snacking family - which we bring our own too.

    Good luck with the calculator.
  11. amyj1024

    amyj1024 Mouseketeer

    Mar 29, 2008
    We are here now, and not doing the DDP, we have done it in the past. there are 4 of us, 2 adults/2 'kids' (6 & 10) so my daughter would have been charged adult price. We have been keeping track, after I predicted that it would be cheaper for us to pay oop... we leave tomorrow and are at about 400 less than it would cost for us to do DDP.
    That said, we are not dessert eaters and didn't do snacks every day, we had some snacks in our hotel and stuff but not more than twice at the parks... We also did not order the most expensive thing on the menu. My total also includes my husband getting about 2 beers with most table service meals.
    We ate at:
    Shutters, Big River Brewery, Le Chefs in France, Le Cellier, Whispering Canyon, Crystal Palace for our table service and a bunch of counter service. My dd ordered off the kid menu about half of the time and adult the other half.
    I think after this I would never do Dining again. I'm shocked at how much we saved. There is a website where you can download an excel file that will help you do the math for this..I can't remember what it is right now, but I can check when I get home!
  12. mickeysbestfriend

    mickeysbestfriend DIS Veteran

    Dec 3, 2005
    the DDP is set up and don't do Signatures and always order desert you might break even at best but you have to order the most expensive things on the menu and keep in mind that the plan does NOT include tax or tip. That can add 25% to your bill.

    We prefer something in our room for breakfast or Trails End Buffet.

    We NEVER eat desert with a meal and always order water to keep hydrated.

    We do our big meal at lunch where at most places it is cheaper then in the evening if we get hungry we have an ice cream or head to DTD for EOS!

    Good luck with figuring it out...there are lots of good less expensive dining options like the Plaza, Flame Tree BBQ, CHH, etc.
  13. jhryb

    jhryb DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2007
    If I did the math I would probably say that we save approx 15%-20% when we purchase the dining plan. My family would never consider going without the dining plan because to us it is part of the Magic. We can order the most expensive items on the menu, we can grab a snack during the day, we can have a nice counter service lunch .... and everything is pre-paid .... love it.
  14. wdwfan22

    wdwfan22 Totally Obsessed Disney Nut!

    Mar 26, 2008
    We have always done the dining plan, as my family is big eaters and likes to order the most expensive thing on the menu, likes deserts, and likes to have it prepaid so we don't feel guily ordering the most expensive thing.

    But with this latest increase this week, I have made a spreadsheet and guessed which meal we would eat at each place, and can't seem to see how it might save us more than a few dollars, if anything at all. I think they have lost us as DDP users. And with that benefit gone, I am also now looking at staying off property. I hope they come to their senses soon, as see they are pricing a lot of mid income families out of options.

    I know Disney has to make money, but they make plenty, and I just don't think (without starting the how would I know what Walt would have wanted responses) Walt would have wanted this. He wanted a place for people to come enjoy time together as a family. Not gouge them for every nickle and dime.
  15. wdwfan22

    wdwfan22 Totally Obsessed Disney Nut!

    Mar 26, 2008
    It certainly used to. But you said "if i did the math". Have you done it lately with this new price increase? It certainly surprised me!!!:(
  16. jstouder

    jstouder Mouseketeer

    Apr 6, 2007
    We will be there in August and we aren't doing the dining plan. For us way too much food in the heat. We prefer to eat lighter.
  17. TwinkleKS

    TwinkleKS Mouseketeer

    Feb 18, 2013
    We do it #1 for convenience.

    And we eat mainly character meals / buffets so doing that we end up okay when we go back and do the math on it.
  18. Hunclemarco

    Hunclemarco DIS Veteran

    May 30, 2008
    I'm thinking that we'll either choose the TiW card, or eat off property for the most part, and choose a few favorites at disney.

    It's becoming less expensive renting a car and going out to eat.
  19. sharonabe

    sharonabe DIS Veteran

    May 22, 2009
    And you must have Disney kids. For adults, even the character meals are no longer a guarantee of saving any money on the DDP. Except for Chef Mickey and Akershus, they are all under $40 even at dinner and under $30 for breakfast. So, you still have to "spend" $19 on your QS and snack to break even when doing a character dinner and you'd have to "spend" $29 if doing a breakfast.

    But if you have kids, their character buffet is usually right at the cost of the DDP for the day, so their QS and snack are free which would be a savings and the adults break even or save a buck or two.
  20. fabulousfive

    fabulousfive DIS Veteran

    May 9, 2013
    I did the math by looking at every menu and what we would order. At pretty much every place our sit down meal is the same price as the entire day on the dining plan. So we are getting our snacks, beverages, & QS for free! I know a PP said this was true for kids & we do have three on the kid plan. But this was the case for us too. We love the dining plan & feel it really adds to the experience of our trip. We wouldn't eat at all the restaurants if not for the plan and those dining experiences are now such a big part of our vacation.
  21. honeybunches

    honeybunches That sounds like a cat poster, but it's true

    May 12, 2010
    This exactly. My husband told me to just get the dining plan, but i couldn't do it without justifying it to myself. I did the spreadsheet comparison and by the 3rd day we had already exceeded half the cost of the dining plan for 7 days.

    In real life, i cook at home most days. if we do eat we usually order water, never dessert. But in Disneyworld if my kids want the sundae, I want to tell them YES and not worry about the cost. I'm so frugal in normal life that vacation for me is a vacation from that mindset, too. Plus as I started to look through our ADRs to see which one I might eliminate, I realized that we wanted all of them. I allow myself this one week not to worry about it.

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