Disney Dining Plan -- Are you really saving that much?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by Greg24, May 7, 2009.

  1. Greg24

    Greg24 Earning My Ears

    May 4, 2009
    I just recently got back from Disney and found some flaws with the Dining Plan. Don't get me wrong, I liked the plan and it was very convienient, but I found that you don't really save a ton of money. You order food that you would have never ordered in the first place, such as a dessert for lunch (which I and most other people would never order without the dining plan). This really leads you to believe that you saved hundreds of dollars, but when you really look at it, it isn't that big of a savings. Does anyone else feel this way?

    Also, the childrens servings are incredibly small. They are fit for 5 and under, definitly not 10 and under.

    Just some thoughts I have, although I did find it very convenient, but hey, saving money is saving money, no matter how much it is :)
  2. MKCP5

    MKCP5 DIS Veteran

    Apr 20, 2005
    Well, when you get it for free it certainly is a savings! :)
  3. Avatar


    to hide this advert.
  4. Greg24

    Greg24 Earning My Ears

    May 4, 2009
    I understand that, but people make it sound like you save a ton of money, when in reality, you just get things for free that you would have never ordered without the dining plan. With that said, I would still take the dining plan over regular room charge.
  5. DLW8

    DLW8 DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2008
    I have heard more people say it is the convenience they like rather than a huge savings.

    I like that I can order what i want and not worry about the price....and we often chose lunch desserts that we could take with us for later (cookie/brownie, etc). I
  6. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

    Aug 7, 2008
    Originally for our trip in December, I wasn't even considering the DDP. I looked at the menus, figured out what we would order (mostly DM and I splitting meals and DH eating his own with the occassional dessert thrown in) and figured it out to be $400 per person for food for a 7 day trip (including tips, drinks, snacks, etc.)

    Just recently, I decided to calculate what it would cost to get the DDP, as well as any additional food costs and found that it would save about $35 per person. While I realize this isn't much savings in terms of dollars---it will allow each of us to order our own meal, our own desserts, etc. without having to worry about sharing.

    Typically I wouldn't order dessert at lunch, but with the DDP I will be able to and still save at least a little bit of money, so I think we may add it to our trip this year.
  7. wishtdream

    wishtdream DIS Veteran

    Apr 10, 2007
    While we would not ordinarily get cake for lunch at home, we often order a fruit cup for dessert at lunch when at Disney (unless the cake looks really good , like at sunshine seasons). We use it to help fill our kids up or ourselves after the kids eat all our lunch. We have a child who eats more than your typical Disney kids CS and a toddler who can eat a typical kids meal but is free if she eats off our plate. Last year my 6yr old ate my rib platter at flame tree bbq. That left me with..Frozen MM lemonade.. yum. If the dining plan was not free for our trip we would happily pay for it. All those snack credits make it so easy to say yes to that Giant lollipop you just know is going to end up in the trash. Saying yes to our kids makes Us happy and it makes them happy. Now that is value for your dollar.
  8. nan214

    nan214 Mouseketeer

    Apr 2, 2009
    This is my first time doing the DDP. I have always been very skeptical of the DDP, but I dont know anyone who has complained about it. In fact everyone raves about it. Honestly, when making my ARD's I have been trying to make sure Im getting the most for my money. Im booking dinners/lunch vs. breakfast ARDs for the most part. But thats me, Im a little nuts with this stuff:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:
  9. ancestry

    ancestry Trees Without Roots Fall Over

    Jan 27, 2009
    For us, part of the vacation that we enjoy is eating out and eating things we wouldn't "normally" order. We enjoy being able to order appetizers and desserts (we have the DxDP). So could we eat cheaper -- probably but we don't want to. Considering we do order appetizers and desserts and that we do want to eat three meals a day we do save money on the DxDP -- several hundred dollars worth.
  10. La2kw

    La2kw DIS Veteran

    May 31, 2003
    That's exactly why we have never done the DDP. It would cost us more to use the plan than not to, and some of our favorite restaurants are not on the plan.
  11. allboyzz

    allboyzz Mouseketeer

    Apr 18, 2009

    For me it is about covenience. I'm going next month and I know exactly how much I'm going to be out of. The kids know exactly how many meals/snacks they have to use whatever way they want. I will give them a little spending money but that is it.
  12. starstruck93

    starstruck93 DIS Veteran

    Mar 25, 2009
    I would have to agree with this. DH asked me what was the "Free Dining" thing. He's in the National Guard so we get 40% off the room W/ Dining plan... I told him it would be alot more than what we were paying. However, even if he was'nt in the guard, a room at regular price is insane IMO.;)

  13. ReneeA

    ReneeA DIS Veteran

    Feb 9, 2000
    It is about convenience mostly, but we also do save money. We normally stay at the moderates and usually go during free dining, so it's a no-brainer for us. We have, however, paid for it during times when free dining isn't offered.

    I have added up exactly how much we would spend on food using the menus posted on the web compared to what we spent on the DDP. What I have found is that we would spend more, yet eat less TS meals (and I would tend to order something like a salad and no dessert to keep the cost down) and spend more money.

    Yes, the children's meals are very small. They aren't enough for my big-for-his-age 7 year old. However, DH and I don't eat all of our meals because they are very large IMO. So we all share, not much goes to waste, we save some money, I get a TS meal everyday, and everybody's happy. You really can't beat it.:thumbsup2
  14. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

    Dec 10, 2004
    I like steak and the higher end 1 credit restaurants. It is not unusual that the cost of my table service meals cover the cost of the plan (or at least very close to it).

    So anything spent on counter service and snacks is savings. So if I save $15 a day x 3 people = $45 a day savings X 7 nights = $315 savings in a week. That's a big savings as far as I'm concerned.
  15. Dani C

    Dani C DIS Veteran

    Nov 18, 2008
    We have gone both with and without the dining plan (when we paid, not just when free). I can say that we actually spent less money without getting the plan, but we didn't have the fun of trying so many new things.

    Honestly, I would never spend thirty dollars on a meal that I had no clue whether or not I would like it. On the plan I go ahead and try it. If I hated it, I could always get something else later. Also, even at table service restaurants we still share our meals. We don't order one meal and split it though, we each order one and let everyone have an opportunity try all of them.

    If it is free, it is great. If not, you have to determine what works for your family and your budget. There are many ways to spend less money on dining while at Disney, but if the budget allows it enjoy the opportunity to expand your culinary palate and take the time to get a taste of the atmosphere at the different dining venues.
  16. kevgraub

    kevgraub DIS Veteran

    Mar 4, 2009
    I sat down and figured up what we would likely eat while we are at Disney (we would probably do 1 CS and 1 TS meal every day anyway) and compared that to the DDP. For us, the DDP is saving us probably about $30 for the entire week.

    I kind of fall into the camp of doing it for the convenience. It was not going to cost us any more to do the DDP than paying OOP, so I liked the idea of having the costs paid up ahead of time and being able to sit down and order whatever I want on the menu without worrying about the cost of the item.

    For us, the cost was essentially a wash.
  17. Smiling Cheshire Cat

    Smiling Cheshire Cat DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2009
    I think you really only save a lot if you research. Our last trip we, DS and I went and we ate what and where he wanted since it was his birthday trip and we only saved about $40. Next trip we are eating more dinners and I hope to save about $200. So if you are worried about saving money research the menus and use your credits at more expensive places or meals.

    I love food and love trying new places and the DDP gives me the freedom to do this without worrying about the cost.
  18. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

    Dec 18, 2008
    There are so many different ways to look at "value" that one could easily say that they saved a great deal on the dining plan or that they spent significantly more money on the plan than out of pocket. Possibly even both statements at the same time.

    Truth be told, if I had gone without a dining plan, I would have spent a lot less money. First and foremost, I would have stayed off-site in a timeshare exchange rather than at a Disney resort hotel. We would have eaten breakfasts and maybe some dinners at our resort and probably only have done counter service in the parks.

    So on that score, staying on-site and going with deluxe dining was much, much more expensive.

    On the other hand, it also makes it a completely different vacation. We were able to try all sorts of restaurants we never would have before, we didn't have to worry about which menu items to order (as in... do I really want to pay an extra $10 for the xxx?), and we had the convenience of having it all (minus tips) pre-paid. We did feel we got good value for what we paid for the plan.

    So... how does one truly compare value? If it's on what we actually ordered, we saved around 25-30%. If it's on what we would have ordered with the same dining plans if paying OOP, we saved around 5-10%. If it's on what we would have ordered on a more budget-conscious vacation, we paid much, much more (I never ran the numbers).
  19. Steve_WDW_TRIP

    Steve_WDW_TRIP Earning My Ears

    Sep 7, 2006
    The savings for a family of 4 is about $300 a week, but you do find yourself ordering stuff you would not normaly order. It has its pros and cons.
  20. lvstitch

    lvstitch Yankees Rule

    Nov 8, 2005
    I have worked this plan out every way possible and in the end we will save about $80 for two adults. However, we will be able to experience more table restaurants this trip, so for us it's worth it.
  21. bjscheel

    bjscheel (Avatar art by my daughter)

    Jan 27, 2005
    I never thought we would do dining plan, until we got it free for our November trip. Now I think I would do it again, even if we had to pay. We normally carry cash on the trips and it was nice not to have to carry much. No, we would not normally order all those desserts, or two drinks with breakfast, but we sure appreciated those extra juices we stuck in our bag after breakfast, and didn't have trouble eating the desserts at some point. It saved on buying drinks and snacks later. I never did the in-depth comparison, but I think I'm sold on the convenience, like everyone else. We do a lot of character meals too, so we probably wouldn't save a lot paying OOP.

    Free dining was so great, we had a new 10 year old and she loved being able to order the adult meals. If we had not been on the plan I would have been trying to push QS kids meals on her. She is a steak, potatoes and veggies girl, while her younger sister is extremely happy with nuggets/fries/uncrustables/grapes.

Share This Page