How do YOU do your DDP planning?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by Scuttle, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Scuttle

    Scuttle Mouseketeer

    Sep 7, 2007
    We will be trying out the DDP for a portion of our upcoming stay (we are DVC paying OOP for it and have a split resie, and thought that we would give it a try) and I was curious how do you plan for it?

    I have already made the ADRs for the TS meals, but how do you plan for your snack credits and CS meals? Do you plan out each and every day and each and every credit, or just wing it? Create a spreadsheet allotting for each one each day? Cram in all the extras on the way to the airport?

    I have been reading so much about the plan, but I am getting overwhelmed because we are kind of the "wing it" type. I feel like if I can't recall what we can get where, we are all going to get upset and then end up spending too much OOP trying to keep everyone happy. Like do I need to print out and carry with me all the different snack options at each location as a reference?

    This will be our "test" to see if the DDP is for us, and to see if we would use it for our next trips. I am also trying to convince a skeptic that maybe this is a good idea.

    So how do you plan for your DDP??? I need expert help, cuz I am drowning in information overload!! :confused3
  2. pixiedust9

    pixiedust9 Mouseketeer

    Oct 2, 2009
    I love the dining plan, its one less cost, minus tip. I have to worry about while at Disney. The only thing my family plans for is our TS. After that has been decided, QS is put in somwhere depending on when we will eat our TS meal. We use the snacks whenever, but always seem to have extra. The parks have been good about having the dining plan sign where you can get snacks. These can be anything from water, ice cream, to popcorn. Sometimes before we head to our room at night, we stop in grab some fruit before bed, if we are not out to late. I wouldn't stress to much about it, the first time we used it we had so many snacks left we were buying before we left for the airport...Disney has gotten much better labeling what can be used where. If in doubt, ask a CM. Have a great vacation!!!
  3. Avatar


    to hide this advert.
  4. rubato

    rubato DIS Veteran

    Jan 15, 2008
    My plan for CS is just that I will be eating at one of them each day, for the most part. We only have 3 of us, so it's pretty easy to be go with the flow people about it. I do bring a list of CS places that have good options, so that, when we are hungry, we aren't stuck with a burger. I also add snack ideas to that list since my hubby doesn't like sweet snacks. And, I need to know where to get a good cappuccino.;)
  5. Nadjalu

    Nadjalu DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2009
    We love the DDP and get it everytime, whether it is free or not.

    I plan our dinner ADRs only, for the snacks and the CS meals (which are you get your best use of a CS this way) we wing it.

    I know where the CS places are in the parks (not DHS as we don't spend alot of time there), so when it is time for lunch we pick which CS we would like.
    If there is discussion before lunch as to where we would like to eat, we time the park to end up around that area at "our" mealtime.
    (our mealtime means an hour before most people consider mealtime. We avoid big crowds this way).

    It all pretty much works out. I never understand why people have credits left over...what they don't eat lunch and breakfast??? LOL

    Basically we know each person has a lunch credit and a snack credit to spend each day. Choose what you want and when you want, when you use it that is it, if they want something else it has to come out OOP for that day.

    It really isn't overwhelming, people make it seem that way.

    Enjoy your trip!
  6. Scuttle

    Scuttle Mouseketeer

    Sep 7, 2007
    Thank you for your suggestions!! I do find this very overwhelming, but everything at Disney has that small element of overwhelming to me too! LOL

    I found the Confirmed 2010 Snack Credit list - suppose most of that will stay the same for Jan/Feb 2011, so I can just print that one out?!

    I need to find the same type thing for CS meals!

    I am still trying to decide if I should pack breakfast to do in the room, and then use snack credit truly for a snack credit! Also trying to figure out the water thing....

    There's always something!!!

    Thanks again!
  7. mykidsand_i

    mykidsand_i DIS Veteran

    Sep 7, 2008
    we just make sure to know wher NOT to go for Counter service meals, because there are a few crummy ones in my opinion as far as using a counter service meal goes on the DDP.

    ALSO, we kind of know what we're wanting to use our snack credits for...the dole whips, the big cinnamon rolls or a muffin for breakfast...the school bread, the french pastries...

    We do not plan out each stop. We discuss it as we're planning for our vacation there like "we'll stay away from XXXXX place, because the kids meal options stink there." OR, the counter service meal offers MUCH MORE some places than it does at others!!! We like to get great deals!

    There are many places online that offer a full restaurant list as well as prices, we like to go through that before we leave. At least for a mental note.

    Don't let it stress you out, because it's really no big deal! As long as you're having fun and you're pleased with how you're doing things. Some people over-plan, because that's what works for them. Others don't plan much (besides table service) and that's the way they like it. Do it how it works for you.

    I think that knowledge is power when it comes to planning a disney trip. Just 'knowing' where you DON'T want to go is a good thing...after that, it's up to you!
  8. su_A_ve

    su_A_ve DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2008
    We tend to make our ADRs for dinner. We also tend to wake up late, so we have a light breakfast (typically in our rooms) and get do CS for lunch.

    We use credits for snacks (mickey ear ice cream bars) or if not we get some pastries for next morning when we get back to the hotel.

    Sometimes, we get snacks at the hotel store. For example, we might get a quart of milk for 1 snack credit, and that can be good for a couple of days for the kids.

    Also, sometimes you might be able to get a water bottle instead of a dessert when doing CS. We usually split them up as they are too much.
  9. sophie832

    sophie832 Former Premier AP-holder

    Jul 22, 2010
    We just got back from using the DDP for the first time, and since we kind of planned which parks we were going to go to on which days, I had a list of the CS places I wanted to do in each park. We didn't always stick to the plan of which park we'd be in, but we did eat at most of the CS places I planned on, so that worked out.

    As far as snacks, we just tried to do the 2-per-day to make sure we used our credits, but when that didn't work, we bought about 6 bags of candy on our last day.

    I think the TS planning is the hardest part, but for the rest you can just have some goals and hope to meet them.
  10. Eastern

    Eastern DIS Veteran

    Dec 30, 2006
    I put everything on a big index card and I planned every meal, although CS was more flexible. I also booked a TS each day even though we ate at one 2TS restaurant during our stay. I figured we could either drop the extra one if we weren't hungry that day or pay OOP. It also covered me in case we missed an early TS meal due to unforseen circumstances.
  11. disney*mom*82

    disney*mom*82 DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2009
    Sounds like some good advice. We have done the DDP 6 times now, what I always do is first book all ADR's, sounds like you have done that. I do not plan our CS, although it is nice to know what to expect ahead of time, especially since 2 of us are vegetarians. So, Ill go to Disneys website, and print the places that accept DDP, it will list both TS and QS. I then can go and look at and see their menu and have a good idea of the places that would work best for us. The good thing about QSis that you can take them to other places, so if I want a veggie burger and the kids want pizza, I can get my veggie burger to the QS they want and eat it there. I also print out the snack list from disboards and at one point will start to go through them (usually during our 16 hour road trip) and highlight snacks that each person would like to try.
    We never have a problem using up att TS and QS credits, its just the snacks that you forget about. WE always say, everyone try to eat one snack a day, well that lasts the first day or two, then when we get ready to leave we have 10-15 snacks left. Which I figure is no big deal, we just take some snacks and drinks for the ride. I much rather have some left in the end than have to pay OOP for extra snacks.
    As for breakfast, there is 2 of us that prefer breakfast and2 that prefer lunch, some days we will go just before breakfast is over and the 2 that want breakfast order it and the other 3 wait til lunch is served. We NEVER pay OOP for any food, there will be more than enough. The only person I pack snacks for is DD3, sometimes she isnt quite on a schedule like shes use to and isnt hungry when its time to eat or wants a snack when we arent quite ready to get one. I usually just pack her some fruit or crackers.
  12. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken misses the Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace!

    Aug 2, 2009
    We try to maximize our TS credits with character dining (that's what you do with a 5 year old). What we will do is let our first round of ADRs guide us toward a park choice for that day and then fill in the holes. We try to avoid park hopping if the only reason is a meal choice-I'm sure as DD5 gets older that will change but right now we are not late night park people so not hopping is a pretty big savings. We also have a few CS choices that we don't deviate from (Flame Tree BBQ in AK being one of those) which simplifies the process of laying out the days.
    For our upcoming trip we lucked into a CRT Breakfast ressie which we have prepaid for OOP and will not use TS credits for-since it is a 2 credit meal it actually works out better for us, leaving credits for other selections. We also
    will sometimes pay OOP for a cheaper TS meal-breakfast @ Kona Cafe is a stop we make every trip but it really is not a good use of TS credits that could potentially cover a much pricier meal so that's a cash meal for us.
    As far as snacks what we try to do is use the snack credits as they come up, never paying for a snack until all of the credits are gone. There are many stories about people leaving snack credits on the table and scrambling to buy bags of chips on check-out morning.
    We also keep checking availability even after we think we have everything we want-sometimes you can tweak something by 45 minutes in either direction and it will make the day go a lot more smoothly. You can also end up catching a cancellation for a restaurant that had no availability on prior searches.
    Unfortunately there is no more winging it when eating at WDW whether or not you are on the DDP unless you are traveling at the lowest crowd levels but even then there are a few restaurants that you simply won't get into-if I ever get into O'Hana it had better be amazing!
  13. MyTwoPrincesses

    MyTwoPrincesses DIS Veteran

    Sep 1, 2009
    I am by no means an expert - this is our second DDP trip that I am planning. Basically, I plan park day and restaurants around the park day. I only plan TS meals. I have a chart with each day, park open and close times, the main attractions I plan to hit, which ones must have FP, etc. I also have a column called Breakfast, another called lunch, and another with dinner. I enter in all TS meals under the appropriate column with the time and reservation number. If I have no reservation, I list the CS restaurants I may want to try as well as some notable snacks. I also include a menu item I might want to try. At mealtimes with no ADR, I choose from my CS list. So, I would like to try Flame Tree BBQ or Yak and Yeti for CS lunch in AK. Depending on where I am that day, I will eat at one of those places. I don't necessarily preselct the CS location, but I have it in my head when touring. So, if I'm in futureworld, I'll probably be eating at Cosmic Rays but if I'm in Frontierland, I'll be going to Pecos Bills or heading to Liberty Square for some Columbia Harbour house.

    I also don't try to maximize credits. We order what we want. The only time I pay attention to cost is when choosing which restaurant to pay OOP, if any, due to extra ADRs. One good tip is that you can use your dessert from your CS meal to get a bottle of water for later in the day. At least you could in Nov 09 - hopefully you still can. You also can use your snack credits for water. It's not the BEST use of a snack credit, but most people end up with extra, so it doesn't make sense to me to worry about maximizing their value. If we were to run out, then we'd just pay OOP for a few snacks/water bottles on our last day. But from our experience, that is unlikely to happen.

    EDIT: We don't park hop. I plan all ADRs in and around the park we will be in for the day. Thus, we only do restaurants at Monorail Resorts on MK day, Boardwalk is for DHS day, Sanaa is for AK day, etc.
  14. MyTwoPrincesses

    MyTwoPrincesses DIS Veteran

    Sep 1, 2009
    ^^ These are good tips. We did all of those things and it worked out well. You really don't need all of the desserts they give you on DDP, but if you plan well it works out.

    Another tip is to save your CS dessert for breakfast. We aren't huge breakfast eaters (at home, we only eat big breakfasts once a week), so we are perfectly happy with a piece of cake or some fruit from the previous day's CS lunch.

    Lastly, the bakeries in the park are great uses of snack credits. We ate breakfast at the Main Street Bakery, for example, and used snack credits - Coffees for DH and me, 1 OJ for the kids to share, plus two giant cinammon rolls, which easily fed all four of us.
  15. missmun52

    missmun52 DIS Veteran

    Apr 5, 2006
    We make a spread sheet with all our info for each day on it.
    We have the date down the side, and at the top a column for Park/Special event (ex- pirate cruise, barber app. ect), Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, conformation #, & Parade/fireworks/EMH.

    We choose our park according to touring plans; that enables us to know where we will be eating. Then we fill in all reservations we make- BK, Lunch or dinner.

    I leave all CS lunch out so we have some type of flexibility but I have a general idea of the places I know we like and ones we want to try. Same goes for dinner if we dont have an ADR.

    We do fill in Breakfast CS but we will be eating in room for BK alot.

    I take the spread sheet with us and we are good to go.
  16. StuckInKS

    StuckInKS DIS Veteran

    May 30, 2009
    If we buy a plan, it will be the DxDDP and we will use all of our credits towards TS meals.

    For our snacks, I plan on printing out the sticky that lists all of the snacks that our allowed on the DP, so that we know exactly where we want to go. I usually want something specific, like a slushy, so this will be a nice thing to have. I will make the list easier to use by deleting snacks that I know we won't want.

    We have spent most of our last two trips at MK and Epcot (out of 15 total days, 2 were spent at DHS and none at AK,) so we pretty much already know where the snacks are that we want. But it will come in handy for DHS and AK.
  17. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2007
    I start with the park hours and decide where I want to be each day, then make my ADRs accordingly. Because we rely on Disney transportation and don't get hoppers, it is important for meals to be convenient to our park plans, so that's an obvious place for us to start.

    We use the DxDDP now, but on the basic plan the way I handled CS was only semi-planning. I never scheduled CS breaks or even tried to guess at when we'd feel like stopping for a bite, but I did make note of one or two options that looked the most appealing for where ever we planned to be for the day.

    Snacks we don't really plan at all. I have a pocket-sized version of the snack credit sticky that I update and print before each trip, and we use that as a cheat sheet to where to find the good stuff when we're in the mood for a little something. And we do have a couple-few must-do snacks that are almost automatic now - hitting Aloha Isle after the Jungle Cruise, grabbing a Kaki Gori on our way around the World Showcase, stopping by the Confectionery on our last MK day to use up any leftover snack credits.
  18. vellamint

    vellamint DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2000
    What a great idea - a pocket size version of the snack sticky. I hate using snack credits on soda etc.... I'm going to attempt to make one of these myself....
  19. Rantybaby

    Rantybaby Mouseketeer

    Jul 22, 2006
    For MK, Epcot & AK, I look at the menus on to get an idea of what I want. Also, I allow 2 CS meals @ my resort. My 2nd trip on DDP is 1/23 to 1/29. I'm going to check EOS to see what the rave is all about.
  20. kileybeth

    kileybeth DIS Veteran

    Oct 6, 2001
    We will also be there 1/23-1/29 Hoping for low"er" attendance then has recently been reported this month!

    Same advice really for OP, plan out your TS around which aprk you want to be in, wing your lunch or dinner CS meal (but do know where the good stuff is) and snacks are so very personal I think! We never seem to have extra at all so it is confusing to me when people do. When family of six is traveling and we all want an afternoon drink or popcorn or a slushi or a candy bar??? They seem to go fast.

    Earl of Sandwhich is an absolute must for me. First place I hit every single trip and it doesn't matter for what, it is just all so very yummy! I'll even eat the PB&J it is so good! hahaha.

    PS I booked this trip late and had no real trouble gettin g the kids the character buffets they wanted for TS meals, hopefully that is a good sign for attendance!

    ETA: this is our 5th time using DDP, can't imagine going without it now.
  21. Kelrykengab

    Kelrykengab DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
    For us the DDP has been a work in progress. ;) We have used it on 3 trips now and get "better" at using it every time. We have considered not using it, but every time we do the math, we come out way ahead with the plan even though we would not be normally ordering desserts everywhere and sometimes even have CS meals left.
    Anyway, we plan one TS per day as it sounds like you did. Then I research the CS that are considered good by Dis members and write down 1 or 2 for each park and if we happen to be near one of them on my list when we get hungry for our CS meal than we go there. That is as much planning as I can handle for the CS meals. As far as snacks, we really wasted them the first trip not realizing how many yummy things are included in this, but now we use them quite a bit at the resort, and for pastries and soft pretzels and drinks and never have any of these left. We still struggle with the CS meals though. We are going to be trying the DxDDP this next trip and doing 1-2 TS meals per day, some Signatures and maybe the Luau so we will see how we feel about this plan. We are excited about the appetizers because it has been our experience that the appetizers are usually way better than the main courses. Good luck!

Share This Page