Keep/Drop DxDP for my family

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by havoc315, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    If the rumors are true about the room only discounts coming for January and February, then I'll be switching from free dining to the room discount, and saving at least another $300.

    So I had been on free dining, with the upgrade to DxDP. As I've said before, with 2012 pricing, I wasn't sure whether I'd be willing to pay full price for the DxDP. So now I had to make the decision, and do the math.

    Some background...
    We are staying 6 nights at the Poly. DS7 and DD5 are not big eaters. They can be picky and usually prefer the stereotypical kids fare. (though my DD loves loves loves vegetables).
    DW has dramatically changed her dietary habits, and now eats very lightly. At most, she will have 1-2 desserts the entire trip. Many of her meals will be just an appetizer salad. (I suspect her entire meal at Chefs De France will be under $10. Her entire meal at California Grill will be under $25).
    I eat fairly moderately. I order mid-priced entrees, I'll usually get an appetizer, and I'll occasionally get dessert, but certainly not every meal.

    Out of 18 credits, for the adults, we have 17 credits committed to TS ADRs. For the kids, we have 15 credits expended at TS ADR. (They are doing a kids club 1 night instead of a signature meal). I suspect we will use all the left over credits for sharing some CS breakfasts.

    Our ADR list:
    Les Cellier lunch
    Crystal Palace lunch
    California Grill dinner
    Chefs De France lunch
    Narcoose's dinner
    Prime Time Cafe lunch
    Artist's Point dinner
    Yak & Yeti lunch
    Spirit of Aloha dinner
    Tony's Town Square lunch
    Cinderella's Table, dinner
    Ohana breakfast

    So I did the spreadsheet.....
    My conclusions:
    Even just using 15 out of 18 credits, the kids saved more than I would have expected. Assuming $25 in snacks/breakfasts, the savings came out to about $67 per kid (plus or minus $10), for a percentage savings of 32%.
    For DW-- Several of the meals obviously have fixed prices. She would order a couple of expensive entrees, such as the lobster at Narcoose's, but some of her meals will be ridiculously cheap. So she ended up losing $67 on the plan (the exact mirror image of each kid). Give or take $20 or so.
    For my eating habits, I calculated a savings of about $62, give or take $20. Or a percentage of 11% savings on the DxDP.

    In total, it still looks like the DxDP will save us $100-$150 or so.... Somewhere between 7% and 12% savings in total.

    So I'm not quite decided yet, but I think I'm leaning towards keeping the plan with those savings. But it's awfully close.
  2. LJSquishy

    LJSquishy DIS Veteran

    Sep 12, 2011
    It sounds like you have calculated your estimated dining habits carefully, such as your wife only ordering 1-2 desserts the entire trip, etc. I would absolutely keep the dining plan if you are coming out ahead, even if just a little bit. Your wife may decide to let loose and order a couple of more expensive/larger meals due to being extra hungry from walking so much, or maybe she will want to try lots of different desserts to spoil herself a little. On the dining plan, she would at least have the option to order anything she wants, even if she knows she will not finish the entire entree or dessert.

    I think it would be wise to keep it, so your family has the freedom to order whatever they want.
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  4. Mom of 2 Wife of 1

    Mom of 2 Wife of 1 Far from the World, Never far from Disney

    Aug 19, 2008
    Haven't you already made up your mind about this?
  5. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    I kind of agree with this thinking to some extent, but my DW feels the opposite way. Ordering 1-2 desserts would be cutting loose, and she doesn't want a waiter encouraging her to order different desserts because it's "included."
    We all have the option to order anything we want, whether or not we are on the dining plan. DW and 1 of our traveling companions are actually a bit concerned that they might not be allowed to order what they want--
    For example, they may want a side of grilled asparagus as their entire meal at Les Cellier. (While not the most cost effective use of a credit, it's still more cost effective than not using the credit at all). So it's not clear whether Les Cellier would allow ordering of the asparagus side on any of the dining plans.

    But being that overall, I am seeing a fair savings on the DxDP-- of around 10%, it does look worthwhile, even if there is a bit of credit "waste."
  6. vwlizard

    vwlizard Mouseketeer

    Feb 22, 2011
    ALso calculate what will happen if you decide to change plans one night. What if everyone is really tired and wants to just have a meal by the pool? We ended up changing and cancelling some of our reservations that I would have felt compelled to keep had we been on the dining plan.
  7. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    Considering that the math is pretty close, that's a very valid point.
  8. Cafeen

    Cafeen DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2009
    TBH, with your plans and your math already done, I think sticking to your plan is a better decision.

    The credit waste on DxDDP is a much smaller issue than other plans (as you well know), so it makes it a bit easier to be flexible. With 1/3 of your meals (not credits, but meals... though it may be credits as well, I didn't count that :p) being fixed price as well, that reduces the impact of entitlement skipping as well (e.g. skipping a dessert), since you can't reduce the cost by ordering less in the first place.

    Now, the dining plan restrictions can get funky, although I do think all your plans are for Disney owned restaurants, which do tend to be a bit more flexible. With that said, I wouldn't count on being able to get a side as a meal. Appetizer should be just fine*, but a side item that is not normally covered may take some convincing.

    *Note: Havoc is on DxDDP where apps are covered, so getting one and skipping the entree should be fine. Unlike DDP where getting an app in place of an entree is typically not allowed.

    I'd take a quick run through where you think this may occur and see how the numbers change if these items are not covered (unless, that's what you did in the first place :p). If you still come out enough ahead, then it should be fine. If not, then you'll want to weigh the possibility of this happening vs the potential savings if it does not.

    I will warn that my rose-colored glasses of DxDDP in 2010 made the portions a bit smaller than they actually were this year though. I left several courses half eaten and skipped dessert twice! (And had 4/27 Dx credits left over at the end)
  9. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    Yes, if we had less fixed price meals, then it would be a no brainer to drop a meal plan. And as it appears we are "returning" our free dining, changing a couple reservations is an option. Though we picked the fixed price meals for the shows/experiences, not for the food.
    Comes down to this -- I'll almost always get an appetizer and mid-priced entree... but I will probably only get desserts at 3-4 of the regular TS meals. (probably the signature restaurants).
    My DW will skip desserts, probably everywhere. She will likely only order 1 course per meal. At many of those restaurants, it will be a "cheap" course -- I honestly expect her entire tab at California Grill to be $25ish. But she will get lobster at Narcoose's, she will probably get a $40+ entree at Artist's Point. She *might* get a steak at Les Cellier. In that sense, it's as if... out of her 18 credits, she is using 11 or 12 of them, and throwing out the other 6-7.

    Additionally, 1 family traveling with us, is not on the dining plan. Though I know she can't basically give them her food, I suspect she may "share" her desserts or other parts of her meal with them. So at least they aren't a total waste.

    Think I'm leaning towards keeping the plan... assuming the RO discounts materialize this week, as expected.

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