Free dining survey

dragonfly57005

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 13, 2010
My family hated “free dining”. I have a type 1 diabetic kid and one with 8 food allergies. And kids with small appetites. It didn’t really work well. We’d rather have the flexibility found elsewhere.
 

disneyseniors

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2014
There has never been a room discount at a value or a moderate that would be better than free dining for a family of 3 ages 11 and older. The room discount would have to be $156 per night. A 30% room discount on a $200 a night moderate only saves $60 and saves even less at a value.
I think in your case it would definitely be cheaper. I bet you are booking a lot of character meals for the kids? these are not cheap!
If I had kids I would definitely use it.
It all depends on your family dynamic.
My daughter and SIL took their 3 kids to Disney a while ago. The 2 boys were hungry teenagers who could not be filled up. They were hungry when they got up from the table. LOL So, for them,the dining plan worked to help with the cost of feeding these always starving teenagers. They had to buy additional food daily plus the DP to fill them up !
For me and my husband, we find it is not worth it. We don't eat a lot, share meals or skip them at times.
It's an individual thing, and no one person can say it is "right or wrong", IMO.
 

TheMaxRebo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
It's an individual thing, and no one person can say it is "right or wrong", IMO.
I 100% agree with this!

And I do think when you see the DIS team or people her say to run the numbers or to think about how your family eats, etc it isn’t to say that the dining plan is terrible or that free didning won’t save you money or anything, it is just to remind people to not just jump at it and think OMG this is the greatest thing ever and I can’t imagine not going without free dining, etc - there are cases when it is great and cases where May be other options are better

More ham one way to skin a cat, er mouse
 
  • DisKaren

    PoohRules
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2017
    I planned a somewhat last minute road trip with my oldest daughter for the week of 4/14 on our DVC and looked into the Quick-Service Plan. And no way could I eat 2-TS meals a day for a week on the other plan! I really couldn't make it work for us -even considering snack credits at F&G booths it seemed like we would breakeven or maybe a little better. But at the cost of committing to Counter Service for the week ...and there are a couple Table Services places we're interested in. Beyond that, I don't want to eat just because I paid for it ..a lot of times, I eat just one meal a day with quick breakfast in the room and a couple (healthier, or not) snacks throughout the day. I think it would be hard for me to spend $40, never mind $50, on QS Meals/Snacks in a day.
    There isn't a 2 TS meals /day plan. There are 3 dining plans: Quick service, which is 2 QS credits and 2 snack credits per night; the regular dining plan, which is 1 QS credit, 1 TS credit, and 2 snacks per night; and the deluxe plan, which is 3 TS credits and 2 snacks per night.
     

    disneysteve

    DIS meet junkie
    Joined
    Sep 29, 2002
    There isn't a 2 TS meals /day plan.

    the deluxe plan, which is 3 TS credits and 2 snacks per night.
    Wouldn't 3 TS credits/night be one 1-credit TS meal and one 2-credit TS meal? Or is there another way you could do that? I don't know much about the dining plan.

    ETA: I believe you can use a TS credit at a CS location but that's kind of a waste.
     
    Last edited:

    tguz

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2018
    I think in your case it would definitely be cheaper. I bet you are booking a lot of character meals for the kids? these are not cheap!
    If I had kids I would definitely use it.
    It all depends on your family dynamic.
    My daughter and SIL took their 3 kids to Disney a while ago. The 2 boys were hungry teenagers who could not be filled up. They were hungry when they got up from the table. LOL So, for them,the dining plan worked to help with the cost of feeding these always starving teenagers. They had to buy additional food daily plus the DP to fill them up !
    For me and my husband, we find it is not worth it. We don't eat a lot, share meals or skip them at times.
    It's an individual thing, and no one person can say it is "right or wrong", IMO.
    I guess if it needs spelled out, if each person will be buying 2 meals per day and you have a party of 3 all above 11, the money saving way to go would be to take the free dining over the 25% roome discount at a value or moderate. If a family of 3 buys the cheapest thing at every single meal, that is 6 meals at an average of $11.99 which is $71.94. I didn't realize there was this much meal skipping and sharing going on at Disney ( I really don't think there is, I think people want their point of view to work, rather than agree the free dining is the way to go). I also don't think it is realistic to think every single meal bought is the cheapest on the menu. So, if every purchased meal isn't the cheapest, the free dining point of view is made stronger. I will concede that if you eat kids meals, skip a lot of meals, share most of your meals, don't buy any snacks, don't drink soft drinks at the resort, the room discount may be better but that sounds like a lousy time IMO. My last comment is that if you have a party of 3 over 11 and you like the counter service meals and were going to purchase the QS dining plan and you eat like a normal family, free dining all the way.
     

    disneysteve

    DIS meet junkie
    Joined
    Sep 29, 2002
    were going to purchase the QS dining plan
    I think this is really the key to your posts. IF you are deciding between room only and QS plan or free dining, free dining probably wins. If, however, you are deciding between free dining and room only and pay as you go, that's where you really need to run the numbers because it is often cheaper to not have the dining plan.

    We almost always share sides at QS. For example, we don't get 3 orders of fries. We get 1 order and share them. We typically drink water but will occasionally get a soda but we get 1 soda that we share. The QS plan would just be too much food so a lot would go to waste or we'd overeat because we had already paid for it and wanted to get our money's worth. And we are 3 adults as our daughter is 23.
     
  • mcd2745

    These Mickey pretzels are making me thirsty!
    Joined
    Jul 11, 2010
    There isn't a 2 TS meals /day plan.
    I wish they had a 2 TS credits per night plan. We like a TS breakfast & dinner. We never have an actual lunch, just snacks in between. So 2 TS credits and 2 snack credits would be the ideal plan for us. Or, it would be nice if they came up with a plan that you could customize.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    I guess if it needs spelled out, if each person will be buying 2 meals per day and you have a party of 3 all above 11, the money saving way to go would be to take the free dining over the 25% roome discount at a value or moderate. If a family of 3 buys the cheapest thing at every single meal, that is 6 meals at an average of $11.99 which is $71.94. I didn't realize there was this much meal skipping and sharing going on at Disney ( I really don't think there is, I think people want their point of view to work, rather than agree the free dining is the way to go). I also don't think it is realistic to think every single meal bought is the cheapest on the menu. So, if every purchased meal isn't the cheapest, the free dining point of view is made stronger. I will concede that if you eat kids meals, skip a lot of meals, share most of your meals, don't buy any snacks, don't drink soft drinks at the resort, the room discount may be better but that sounds like a lousy time IMO. My last comment is that if you have a party of 3 over 11 and you like the counter service meals and were going to purchase the QS dining plan and you eat like a normal family, free dining all the way.

    There are other discounts to take into account - we usually have one person get an AP so we get AP discounts but also can get at Tables in Wonderland card, so the table service we do eat we get 20% off including on alcohol

    And isn't just sharing, it just not wanting to eat as presented on the plan. Sometimes I just want two appetizers instead of an entree, that sort of thing. We also never really get snacks - or maybe like just a couple over the course of our trip - just doesn't appeal to us and find prices to be crazy over priced.

    To us, the one time we did the dining plan we felt we had to alter how we eat too much and just wasn't fun to be honest. Rather just save 10-20% on things and order just what we want and go from there

    But for those that is works for, it's a great option
     
  • dkrauss

    Goofy Fan from Jersey
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2013
    I wish the counter service restaurants would have dedicated lines only for dining plan guests so that I could stop getting stuck behind people who need the whole plan explained to them while I'm waiting to order.

    I'm not really against the dining plan. I'm just very budget-minded and like to point out to all the people who are considering doing the dining plan, especially "free" dining, that there is a cost for that. It is almost always cheaper to pay as you go. And with "free" dining, it's important to compare the options and see if a room discount would actually save you more than "free" dining. People hear "free" and they just jump in without taking the time to figure out how much that "free" thing is going to cost them.

    I recently made a hotel reservation (not at Disney). The fine print said there is a $20/day resort fee that includes FREE Wi-Fi, FREE local calls, and FREE in-room coffee. How exactly are those things free if I'm paying $20/day for them?
    Now that mobile ordering allows you to use the Dining Plan...........the problem is resolved....right? With regards to your resort fee comment.........nothing is free o_O

    Doug :goofy:
     

    dkrauss

    Goofy Fan from Jersey
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2013
    I’ve compared costs with free dining and without free dining and for a value and moderate it’s better to take the free dining. No doubt about it if have a party of 3 all over the age of 11......
    I've seen this in practice have a friend who saved more than $700 going with Free Dining at PoP Century. The message is you have to do the math. :D For our August trip.......my wife and I were able to get free dining (amazingly easy too). We'll probably break even.....maybe :-). For us the dining plan is about convenience.

    Doug :goofy:
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    Well that's just plain wrong.
    I mean, we get a few that are unique to there .... but also just bring granola bars and stuff with us rather than pay Disney prices for whatever is around when we/the kids get hungry

    I also recognize I am cheap when it comes to these things as I bring my lunch to work rather than pay the prices at the partially subsidized cafeteria - most due to costs as it is more than I think it should cost
     

    DisKaren

    PoohRules
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2017
    Wouldn't 3 TS credits/night be one 1-credit TS meal and one 2-credit TS meal?
    Yes, you could definitely do that on the deluxe plan. GAN's post seemed to imply (to me) that there were only 2 plans when talking about the QS plan and then mentioned how "the other plan" had 2 TS meals, so I was just stating that there were 3 options.
     

    GAN

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2005
    There isn't a 2 TS meals /day plan. There are 3 dining plans: Quick service, which is 2 QS credits and 2 snack credits per night; the regular dining plan, which is 1 QS credit, 1 TS credit, and 2 snacks per night; and the deluxe plan, which is 3 TS credits and 2 snacks per night.
    That’s correct. I meant to say 2-meals(period), but had TS on my mind I guess! Thanks
     

    rotlex

    Is it summer yet?
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2007
    Can somebody explain to me how "free dining" isn't free? I just want to know if I am missing something? We booked free dining at Pop for this Summer. After I did that and the promotion was over, I looked at the same trip but with the room discount and no food and it would be quite a bit more expensive if we took the room discount and paid for all food out of pocket. We always do the park hopper anyway. If we took the room discount and added the QS meal plan, it would be quite a bit more than the "free dining" that we did book. What factor am I missing? Thanks.
    I always argue this with friends that travel to Disney as often as we do. Free dining always wins for us. We usually stay mod, and even if there was a 30% room discount, that saves what? Maybe $70 on a $225 a night room? (And mods don't normally get 30% off rack rate).

    Jeez, one counter service meal for a family of 4 is more than that. Add in the snacks, two meals, etc., you are saving a boat load more with the free food.
     

    tguz

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2018
    I've seen this in practice have a friend who saved more than $700 going with Free Dining at PoP Century. The message is you have to do the math. :D For our August trip.......my wife and I were able to get free dining (amazingly easy too). We'll probably break even.....maybe :-). For us the dining plan is about convenience.

    Doug :goofy:
    I agree 100% about convenience, we love that. For a party of two, free dining can be on the border of a money saver or not. In that situation, really doing the math is important and asking yourselves...."would we like to have two snacks per person per day?" If yes, typically that is another $20 per day you have to figure in. We are a party of 3 that does not share meals as my 11 year old eats a full meal, I eat a full meal, and we both finish what my girlfriend doesn't finish.
     

    tguz

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2018
    I always argue this with friends that travel to Disney as often as we do. Free dining always wins for us. We usually stay mod, and even if there was a 30% room discount, that saves what? Maybe $70 on a $225 a night room? (And mods don't normally get 30% off rack rate).

    Jeez, one counter service meal for a family of 4 is more than that. Add in the snacks, two meals, etc., you are saving a boat load more with the free food.
    THANK YOU!! My thoughts exactly but others seem to skip tons of meals, buy 2 meals to feed 4 people, don't buy any snacks, and drink only water. Our thought is, we are on vacation, let's eat what we want to eat, we are ok with possibly a week of eating more than normal.
     

    disneyseniors

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2014
    I guess if it needs spelled out, if each person will be buying 2 meals per day and you have a party of 3 all above 11, the money saving way to go would be to take the free dining over the 25% roome discount at a value or moderate. If a family of 3 buys the cheapest thing at every single meal, that is 6 meals at an average of $11.99 which is $71.94. I didn't realize there was this much meal skipping and sharing going on at Disney ( I really don't think there is, I think people want their point of view to work, rather than agree the free dining is the way to go). I also don't think it is realistic to think every single meal bought is the cheapest on the menu. So, if every purchased meal isn't the cheapest, the free dining point of view is made stronger. I will concede that if you eat kids meals, skip a lot of meals, share most of your meals, don't buy any snacks, don't drink soft drinks at the resort, the room discount may be better but that sounds like a lousy time IMO. My last comment is that if you have a party of 3 over 11 and you like the counter service meals and were going to purchase the QS dining plan and you eat like a normal family, free dining all the way.
    Why are you making a big deal out of my observations. Just forget it, I guess. This is just an expression of an opinion and personal experience, not a mandate, which I hoped would give you another perspective on it. have a magical day!
     

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