Disney Dining Plan

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Budzooka, Feb 11, 2018 at 3:54 AM.

  1. Budzooka

    Budzooka Mouseketeer

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    I'm curious to hear other's budget conscious thoughts about the Disney Dining Plan. It can vary as to whether it is financially advantageous depending on where you dine and what you order. But, I just think it is too much food. We just don't need two meals and two snacks per day. We typically eat breakfast in the room, share platters at QS lunch (maybe buy 3 meals for the 4 of us to eat from), and then have a nice TS dinner, with maybe one mid-afternoon snack (and might even share that).

    I wish there was a way to split up the DDP and only buy for part of the trip or for part of our family, but that's not the way it works. It seems to be extremely popular, but I don't know if that is just because of the convenience or the way it is highly advertised so people think it must be a good deal. And to be fair, I think it can be a good deal if you will use all the credits.

    Are you a fan or do you just eat on your own?
     
  2. powellrj

    powellrj DIS Veteran

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    Run the numbers for your family. We are not fans since they changed from the original plan that included tips. I don’t think it’s meant to be a money saver, I think it’s more the convenience. If you are looking for convenience, think about using gift cards.
     
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  4. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    I think that the dining plans are worth it for some families, and not so much for others, and I do believe that ther eis way more to consider than just finances. My family enjoys meal time, and we consider the meals part of our vacation experience. For us, timing and planning meals in advance of the trip makes the actual vacation less stressful. For others, these ADR's looming all week would be worse than having to chew glass and die. Family dynamics are more important than some believe, so advising if teh plans are "worth it" or not can be a challenge.


    Okay, now you know if you are going to plan TS meals in advance. If you are, how will your family choose to order, and where will you eat? I know my family, and I can almost see in advance what they will order, so costing the plan vs the meals is easy for me. If my DH joins us, at least one romm needs a DxDDP because that man insists that I wanted to starve him the last time! Now on teh DxDDP he can order all the aps he wants, and have his hot breakfast, lunch and dinner, and still feel it is all inclusive. ( I have never lost money on any plan, no worries that it is just convenience for us)

    I always suggest folks book their meals before making any decisions. Know where you plan to dine, and take a guess how your family will choose to eat. Then cost it out, add tax if you are not using a DDP becuase that adds up. If you are behind, do nto book a plan. If you at least break even, consider the plan..
     
  5. bigbabyblues

    bigbabyblues DIS Veteran

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    The last time the dining plan saved us money was in 2005 when it included tips and we got it for free, and both of our kids were "kids". It just doesn't fit the way we like to eat, and we not ones to order the most expensive thing to get the most benefit from the plan, nor will we skip something we want (like an appetizer) just because it isn't included in the plan.
     
  6. THSRock82

    THSRock82 Earning My Ears

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    A family needs to research the dinning plans to determine if it is right for them. I have and have not purchased the dinning plans is the past. We are going with summer and are not going to purchase the dinning plan. We ran the number for us this time based on who is going and it will cost about $200 more based on our reservations than if we do not. One thing I can tell you is that if you do not use all your snacks each day you will end up numerous the last night. Then you will be trying to use all them with all the other hundreds of families in your same boat.
     
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  7. WDWFan0813

    WDWFan0813 Mouseketeer

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    We prefer to eat on our own, but on our next trip are planning a split stay. For that, we will do 2 nights at Pop and have the dining plan for that. We are planning our dining so that we eat at the restaurants which are more advantageous on the dining plan, plus we will get our refillable mugs for the entire trip. The remainder of our trip we will eat on our own. Saves us some money and still allows to eat the way we want without feeling like we need to overeat to get our value.

    The dining plan is a definitely a YMMV item, and something people should think carefully about before just going with.
     
  8. WDW_fan_in_TX

    WDW_fan_in_TX Mouseketeer

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    We've decided against it on our last few trips. Sure, it sucks because you have to pay OOP every time instead of paying everything up front. But we split at a lot of places, don't hardly ever order deserts and don't really do snacks. So not really a good fit for us. To help offset the cost of paying OOP for every meal, we buy disney gift cards every time we get paid. May be $25, may be $50. But every time we buy one. It's like paying up front for meals in a way. Then we just get there, order what we want where we want. We're even doing a character meal this time.
     
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  9. rockinmom

    rockinmom Earning My Ears

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    We have used it every trip. In 2006, the first trip, it was great and we definitely maximized it. At that time, we were a family of 4 and we literally split up the meals so every single meal was covered and we did not pay a penny oop for food. Our 2008 trip, we used it again, this time with a family of 5, it was still ok but the savings were minimal, we came out less than $100 ahead. The third trip in 2011, we went with 6, this time we used QSDP because it was free. We did pay oop for 2 TS meals and we honestly missed the TS options but it worked as we had 3 teens with us that trip and they could go off on their own and their meals were paid for. We only saved money because it was free dining but even then I am not sure how much as the room was rack rate. Never did the disney math. This trip is just me and my son. I do not plan to use the ddp. He isn't old enough to drink and I wont drink so it does not seem worth it. I think it makes sense for some but as time has went on, it really hasnt made sense for my family.
     
  10. MimiOfTwo

    MimiOfTwo Mouseketeer

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    Just in case you aren’t aware, your refillable mugs will stop working at midnight of your first check out. They will not work for your second reservation.
     
  11. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    In 2010, the QSDP was $31.99 per adult and $9.99 per child, ttp://exploringwdw.com/disney-world-dining/ddp-history/ so let's go with those slightly lower numbers, and assume your sixth person was under three. Five times $31.99 is $159.95. Without knowing where you stayed, this is 30% of $457. If you stayed in a Deluxe and the rack rate was $420 or less, you came out ahead.
     
  12. richkaryn

    richkaryn I work to pay for my Disney addiction.

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    We used to like the dining plan because we love to eat while at WDW, and we liked having our meals "prepaid". However, since my son just turned 10 a few months ago, I will not be using the dining plan for a long while. He is an adventurous eater, but I still don't see him eating enough to justify the cost of the adult rate for the dining plan.
     
  13. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

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    It depends on the trip. If its just adults and we're not doing any character dining, we just pay OOP. In fact, on our last trip it was just DH and I and we had a car. We ended up eating most of our meals off property. If we have young children going and are doing a character meal every day, I'll buy the dining plan. I think we pretty much broke even the last time we did it, and it was convenient to have all the meals prepaid.
     
  14. WDWFan0813

    WDWFan0813 Mouseketeer

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    Is this based on personal experience, because I have seen several posts on here as well as discussed with a co-worker that the mugs are valid for 14-days.
     
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  15. MimiOfTwo

    MimiOfTwo Mouseketeer

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    No not personal experience. I’ve always been told everything ends at midnight on check out day. Perhaps it will work for you.
     
  16. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    The dining credits expire at midnight, but Disney has allowed the mugs to carry over from one part of a split stay to the next regardless of how they're paid for. There were reports when the RFID thing first started of having to go back and have the valid-to date extended, because the initial activation was for the length of the active reservation and needed to be overridden to extend it to the second part, but it has been a while since I've even heard that. From what I understand now, the default activation is 14 days and you only need to bother with an override for very long stays.
     
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  17. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    I'm not a fan of the basic dining plan. It is too much food in some ways, not enough in others, not a good fit for the way we eat on vacation, and not enough potential for savings to be worth adjusting our habits for. We either go with the deluxe plan, which includes appetizers and can be used for signature restaurants without losing money, or we pay out of pocket. Dining tends to be an area where we splurge when traveling and we don't like feeling like we "have to" eat QS or limit ourselves to one-credit TS restaurants to comply with the terms of the basic dining plan.

    I think a big part of the reason the plan is still so popular is because it is generally offered free or at a discount for about half the year - free from Aug to Dec (with blackout dates) and discounted from Jan to Mar (again, with blackouts). So a lot of the buzz you see about the plan is from people who didn't pay the full price for it and for whom getting it free is better than the room discounts that are offered at those times of year.
     
  18. mamamelody2

    mamamelody2 DIS Veteran

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    We have had free dining 3 times and loved it.
    However, there is no way I would ever pay for it. It's just not worth it for our family.

    We pack granola bars/muffins/etc for breakfast in the room. We can easily split meals also. When we went in 2016, we often got 3 meals for the 5 of us and it was plenty. That's for 2 adults, 2 teens, and a 10 year old. We came home with 45 bags of Goofy candy because we had lots of meals and snacks left over.

    This year, DH and I are taking our 2 boys. They will be 15 and 12. It would be over $200 per day for the QSDP. We can eat for WAY less than that. We have done lots of character meals during our family trips, and the boys are not into them at this age, so no need for that. We do not need TS meals. QS is fine for us. We love the flexibility of eating where/when we want to. We're going in Aug/Sept, though, so we definitely are hoping for free dining. We are 4 Disney adults staying in a value room, so that is by far the best discount if offered.
     
  19. Jimsig

    Jimsig DIS Veteran

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    That makes sense from what I saw this last trip. We were due to check out on the 29th, but when I would fill my mug the Coke machine at Fort Wilderness said it expired quite a few days after our check out day.
     
  20. crazycatstacy

    crazycatstacy Mouseketeer

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    We have gone three times and had deluxe dining all three times. First time it was me, husband, and 17 year old daughter. Second time was husband and I and third time was husband and I and our 7 year old nephew. We love Deluxe dining. No idea if we get our monies worth or not- we for sure did NOT the last trip because a picky 7 year old dictated a lot of our food choices, but we love that it is all prepaid and we don't have to worry. We order what we want when we want and don't even think about if we are getting the most of the plan or not. We enjoy the time eating and the variety we can get. I also enjoy the extra credits that allow me to bring snacks home.
     
  21. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

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    Nope, not a fan. I did it twice when it was an included perk,and it was kind of fun. But we wasted food,esp qs food. And ts food? well, there was just so....much. How we tend to eat is similiar to OP, breakfast in room, lunch can be shared, a snack can be shared (mostly) somewhere more substantial for dinner. with the ddp we each got for lunch a HUGE meal (waste the fries for sure) a HUGE soda(toss most of it away) and a somewhat icky dessert which we also tossed.(with guilt,all plastic bubble containered and all) for dinner, we felt obligated to max our value and order a big (meaty) meal, the big dessert,and the big drink that came with it. and not finish it all. Honestly by the end of the week what started as a novelty ended with complaints about all the waste. Now, we don't drink soda anymore, at most an unsweet iced tea, we can easily share some fries if wanted,and we never order extra desserts or drinks,the food is more than enough. and we snack here and there as we see stuff.
     

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