Latest Disney Dining Show podcast

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by JasonMak2000, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. JasonMak2000

    JasonMak2000 Earning My Ears

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    After listening to 2 shows about the ddp, I am realizing how much there is to talk about with this somewhat polarizing trip option/add-on. There are a lot of topics and sub-topics to address on this subject that probably warrants a little more preparation and structure for this discussion. Obviously there is the financial outlay and how to potentially maximize each plan. There are the emotional and psychological pros and cons. But what about sharing meals, the fact that credits are all pooled together and active day of arrival, credits are based on the number of nights not the number of days, meal plan on split stays, why buffets may be a good or bad option, the addition of specialty drinks this year etc. I am very glad Jackie brought up the point about gratuity. I think that is something that is often not pointed out or thought of by the family that is considering the ddp for the first time. I typically budget $25-50 for tip for each table service reservation. Even with that there are different ways you can pay that gratuity too.
    I know you can find all this info on the boards but I would love a more thorough discussion of this topic by the dis crew. Just my opinion.
     
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  2. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    I agree and am glad they at least did a 2nd show and glad they brought Jackie into the mix ... the challenge is that I feel it is so personal to an individual or an individual family that it is hard to cover every aspect or angle

    I think it comes down to how much you value having your meals pre-paid and if that "frees" you to be more comfortable ordering everything on the menu ... OR does it make things more restrictive to you as you feel you *have* to order the most expensive thing or you *have* to eat a full meal b/c you paid for it but you really just want an appetizer, etc.

    I too am glad Jackie brought up the aspect of still having to pay gratuities - I think so often it gets phrased as "you have everything pre-paid and don't have to pay anything at the time you eat!!!' - but that is not exactly correct
     
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  4. Tonyz

    Tonyz How do ya do? Pretty good, sure as you're born!

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    Great episode I was just suprised that none of them knew that moderates don’t get the regular dining plan during free dining... they get the quick service one now.
     
  5. rotlex

    rotlex Is it summer yet?

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    I wondered how they did not know this as well. Good discussion overall, but one thing I would also love discussed further is free dining. No matter how I wrap my head around it, I cannot understand how so many people, including the podcast crew, mention how a room discount might be a better deal, or how free dining isn't always "free".

    I'll use Pete's example as an example. He mentioned on the Podcast about a room discount form say $200 down to $140 and how you may be doing better taking that and buying the dining plan. How? If you are a party of one maybe. If you are two, or more commonly 4, there is no way taking that discount and buying the dining plan is going to save you money. Flip that into free dining, and it's even worse. A family of 4, such as mine, even getting counter service free still trumps any room discount I've ever seen.

    Lets say I'm staying moderate and getting a 30% discount. (which would be a lot for a mod). At $200 per night, I'll pay $140, so saving $60. The dining plan, even counter service, would cost me roughly $200 per night for a family of 4 with kids over 9. I'd say paying rack rate for the room at $200 per night and getting free food is saving me a lot more than that $60. Heck, on our last trip in August we had the free counter service plan at Coronado. On a 13 night stay, our receipts for counter service and snacks added up to over $2500!

    I think my biggest gripe with the dining plan is the fact they removed the tip from the standard plan years ago. Getting even free dining and having to put out $40 or more per sit down meal in tips can be rough.

    Anyway, didn't mean to ramble on that, or throw so many thoughts into one post, but I'd really like to hear more discussion around the dining plans.
     
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  6. GreatLakes

    GreatLakes DIS Veteran

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    If you set up the DDP as a set of linear equations you will not find a scenario (at least I haven't yet) that makes it a good deal. The only "positive" I have ever heard is paying in advance but that never has made sense to me. I would trade an unknown lower cost to a higher known cost every day. If you need you can pre-load a gift card with your dining budget and then you have the advantage of the DDP without the disadvantage off the higher cost.

    It may have started out as a positive but simple math has shown it isn't any longer.
     
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  7. YesterDark

    YesterDark Mouseketeer

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    I love this topic and it was the topic of my first article I had publish on the DIS a few weeks ago. You are mostly correct with your math in my opinion and I actually showed some numbers in the article I wrote (link in my signature). You have to take in to account a few things. The room discount, just on a dollar value, is always going to be less than a free dining plan. It's that simple.

    However, the dining plan from a cost stand point alone, without a deal, is almost hardly worth the money from a pure dollar point of view unless you are doing character dining or spending $40-$60 a person on every sit down credit. Granted, this is completely ignoring the convenience of having everything pre-paid and not having any kind of menu-guilt with your selection. I value these things highly, some people do not. That's the personal part of this.

    Regarding tips, I don't mind that they aren't included. I typically tip 20% no matter what unless I get a truly terrible experience. My last trip was 5 nights I think? I brought $200 for tips and I had more than enough.

    I have to stop here or else I'm going to end up writing more about it.
     
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  8. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    I definitely depends on the # of people in the room - and so I think the vast majority of the time, if you are interested in free dining/value it, then getting free dining will be worth more than any room discount. I will say they have the travel agency and have run the numbers for tons of people and I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren't lying and that there have been occasions were - perhaps with only 2 people in a room and was a big discount off a deluxe room or something (I mean, rack rate at the Grand Floridian in September is over $600/night - and over $1,000 if you want theme park views)

    Totally agree with you about the dining plan previously being a better deal/structure ... the one time we did it was years ago and tip was including, appetizers were included, etc. - it still didn't work the best for how we like to eat, but at least it truly was "everything is covered you can just leave the table without paying a cent"
     
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  9. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    The one "pro" for the dining plan I see a lot is that it enables the person - or, even more likely, the persons spouse - to not worry about the price of the item they are picking. So see things like "my husband freaked at the price of the steak on the menu and refused to get it ... but when we have the dining plan I tell him it is already paid for and then he has no issue ordering it and he enjoys the meal more and thus we all have a better vacation" ... so I think it comes down to if you find having it pre-paid/lumped in with your package, etc. as "freeing" you to have an easier and more care free vacation, then there is value in that
     
  10. JasonMak2000

    JasonMak2000 Earning My Ears

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    Great discussion! One other argument I have heard against free dining vs. other discounts factors in the length of stay and ticket requirements. Since the free dining offer requires a minimum length of stay (not sure what it was this year) and park hopper tickets, if you otherwise wouldn't have stayed as long or purchased park hoppers, then in some sense you are paying more for free dining. Obviously this comes down to your own personal travel plans etc. But I agree, for a lot of people free dining is still a very good bargain.
     
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  11. quandrea

    quandrea DIS Veteran

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    I only like the dining plan for a split stay and we always go Deluxe. I spread the credits over two full days. We end up getting excellent value over those two days—essentially paying one night’s food for two full days of meals. I use the snacks for breakfast.

    I’d never buy the plan for more than a night or two. Just can’t eat like that for any longer and can’t justify the cost.

    It’s fun in small doses though!
     
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  12. Daniel MacQueen

    Daniel MacQueen PandaMac

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    Got to say I'm surprised with the tipping aspect, I would have thought that Disney of all places would have joined the rest of the real world, abandon the archaic tipping system and pay their servers a real wage.
    How can they call it free dining or say that your meal costs are paid upfront when the customer has to pay the servers wages on top?

    Just pay your staff a decent wage and let a tip be an actual reflection of gratitude for good service.
     
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  13. rotlex

    rotlex Is it summer yet?

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    This is a another HUGE factor now. We have been going down for the past 10 years on free dining bounce backs. We really like to eat, so it has always been a fantastic deal. Hell, we have had trips where if paying out of pocket or dining bill would be well over 3K. Even we are now starting to question it though. Main points:

    - Tips used to be included - they no longer are (Of course we don't mind tipping for good service, but it can really add up if doing say 12 nights of sit down meals)!
    - Mods used to get the standard dining plan, now you have to stay deluxe for that
    - You now have to buy minimum 4 day ticket
    - You now have to buy a hopper and water park pass

    That last one, being forced to buy the hopper and water park pass is starting to kill the free a bit. A few years back they made you buy the water park and more option, which frankly we enjoy, and was only like $100 extra. The new concept of having to buy a hopper, which we never use, AND the water park option is increasing ticket prices by over $400 for us. They keep charging more, and giving less.
     
  14. Spencer Wright

    Spencer Wright Constantly craving a zebra dome...

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    I essentially visit WDW annually with about 8-10 day stays with my mother and sister.

    The amount of food I think now is a solid amount, and is not too much. Generally I am hungry by dinner, and eat all of my dinner, and maybe not all (but most) of dessert. I think WDW generally does an excellent job with portion control. Not sure what the general view point on that is...

    I do tend to lean toward more expensive dishes, however do not feel any 'pressure' to order more expensive items. Although my WDW diet is pretty heavy on the steak and scallops!!

    For my family it is rather luxurious to simply scan your band on go on your way (gratuity excepted).

    The snacks are not generally used too well by our family in terms of how much value we get. Mine are almost all used for water, and we use a large amount for candy at that store in Disney Springs (as souvenirs). But the great thing about the DDP is that we have that option.

    Its probably not as good a deal as it used to be; but what is anymore???

    I am glad they are incorporating more about traveling with families with children, as I know nothing about children or what is involved when traveling with them!!
     
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  15. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    That just goes along with how things are in all of the United States - they are following that custom and what people who live here are used to. It would shock me to eat at a table service location in WDW and be informed that no tipping is expected.

    I suppose they could just say an 18% tip is included in the cost of the dining plan - they do that when using the Tables in Wonderland card, they add 18% on to the bill for a tip automatically, so could do the same when using the Dining plan and then just increase the cost of the dining plan by 18% or whatever
     
  16. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    I too am glad they added in a bit, at least thinking about what this means for those traveling with children

    And as someone whose oldest is currently 9 years old, meaning next year she will be considered an adult by Disney, that definitely factors in to things. The price difference between park tickets for adults and kids isn't *that* much - but the variance on the dining plan (for example) is HUGE!
     
  17. Spencer Wright

    Spencer Wright Constantly craving a zebra dome...

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    I agree with what they said on the show; that there should be some sort of 'mid-tier' for dining; in terms of ages. Thinking of a 10 year old with a full lamb shank in front of them is so absurd!!
     
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  18. YesterDark

    YesterDark Mouseketeer

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    Last time I did it, I didn't have to buy hoppers. It really depends on the deal though, so you have to look at everything and be smart.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  19. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    yeah, I am sure determining what the right cut-off is would be hard - as each kid is different

    Maybe even if they had like they do at some fast food places a "kids meal" menu and a "big kids meal" menu which are similar, but larger portions and you can pick which one to order from (with different corresponding prices)

    I do get that a 4 year old is different than a 15 year old, but that variance from 9 to 10 seems really stark
     
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  20. YesterDark

    YesterDark Mouseketeer

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    Having three young kids (5/3/8mo) I haven't started to think about the 10+ year old range yet. But I can see where the cost because incredibly hard to swallow when you're paying full adult prices for a 10 year old. I suppose character meals are the only way to avoid that then?
     
  21. MikeTaylor

    MikeTaylor Freelance contributor to wdwinfo.com!

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    The dining plan is harder to justify. With the style of eating that Disney is trying to promote now with food trucks at Disney Springs and booths during the Food & Wine Festival (and Flower & Garden) of high-priced, small-portioned, specialty foods that guests must try, they're branching out to appease palates of all kinds while making a huge profit on this trend.
     
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