Latest Disney Dining Show podcast

YesterDark

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 4, 2017
In my opinion, the Disney Dining Plan is simply not a discount on food. It is a convenient prepaid meal plan that if you don't maximize your use of the meal plan, you lose money. Disney understands this and offers this plan because they benefit from the plan. Furthermore, Disney is smart to offer a "free" dining plan in the place of other discounts (i.e. tickets, rooms, etc), because Disney understands that many guests will not fully utilize the DDP, which means Disney cost for the "free" meals are reduced as compared to a definite discounts. Also, Disney understands that some less crowded restaurants will now be utilized more, because guests need to use their DDP credits but cannot get into the more popular restaurants.

In my opinion, several posters have indicated that the DDP provides flexibility and piece of mind when ordering food. In my opinion, DDP provides less flexibility, because you have to make reservations, eat more and eat expensive food to maximize your utilization of the plan. Also, DDP credits includes an entree, desert, and beverage. Often times, when I go to a restaurant, we will just order appetizers and drinks (more than one beer). I very rarely eat dessert. I often drink water with my meal. The meal plan then forces me to order based on what is included with the DDP credit, unless I am willing to pay extra for appetizers and drinks or skip a prepaid dessert.

In my opinion, the only benefit that make sense for DDP is prepaid convenience.

I've posted before and I will again. It makes more sense to get Tables of Wonderland, because it is a real food discount on any menu item, no matter how much or how little food you eat.
I've commented on most of your points up thread already, but I do want to point out that your points of the "DDP provides less flexibility, because you have to make reservations" is a challenge most planners like me enjoy the most. :)
 

DisneyKingpin

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 11, 2014
Also the "trick" part is pretty offensive. There is a reason people like doing all-inclusive vacations, the stress of prepaying for your entertainment and food is a plus to many people.
Nope, sorry, it’s still throwing money out the window. I have a lot of Disney stock, though, so by all means, keep that reckless cash flowing my way.
 

B. Shoe

I'm Gonna Stand Out, 'Til You Notice Me!
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
I appreciated listening to this episode and thought there were a lot of great points made regarding the DDP. My DD10's eating habits are all over the board. Some days, she eats like an NFL offensive lineman. Other days, she eats like a mouse. Breakfasts are usually light meals for us, at best. But as Jackie said, we'll want to have *something* before venturing out.

I've ran multiple scenarios of eating plans for us during our trip and can't come up with anything realistic that adds up to the cost of the DDP. Maybe I'll be eating crow when we return (all puns intended), but we're going to wing it OOP and see where the chips fall when we return. If I was on an adults-only getaway, I can definitely see some merit in the DDP. For this trip, at least, it doesn't add up for us.::MickeyMo
 
  • YesterDark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2017
    Nope, sorry, it’s still throwing money out the window. I have a lot of Disney stock, though, so by all means, keep that reckless cash flowing my way.
    I guess you never stay at Deluxe resorts or eat at the nicer restaurants. Shame, you're missing a lot by never spending money for a better experience.
     

    YesterDark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2017
    I appreciated listening to this episode and thought there were a lot of great points made regarding the DDP. My DD10's eating habits are all over the board. Some days, she eats like an NFL offensive lineman. Other days, she eats like a mouse. Breakfasts are usually light meals for us, at best. But as Jackie said, we'll want to have *something* before venturing out.

    I've ran multiple scenarios of eating plans for us during our trip and can't come up with anything realistic that adds up to the cost of the DDP. Maybe I'll be eating crow when we return (all puns intended), but we're going to wing it OOP and see where the chips fall when we return. If I was on an adults-only getaway, I can definitely see some merit in the DDP. For this trip, at least, it doesn't add up for us.::MickeyMo
    You're almost guaranteed to save money if you're not doing some kind of character meal every day.
     

    pigletgirl

    Mama to my Minnie Mouse lovin' girl!
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2006
    For our family, the only thing the dining plan does is make our vacation feel "all inclusive". Most of the food is prepaid for. That's it!
     

    mcd2745

    These Mickey pretzels are making me thirsty!
    Joined
    Jul 11, 2010
    For our family, the only thing the dining plan does is make our vacation feel "all inclusive". Most of the food is prepaid for. That's it!

    Agreed for the most part. I don't think there is any significant cost savings, if any. I've never done a real comprehensive analysis where I kept all the receipts from our meals (and snacks) and compare what the OOP cost would have been to the cost of the DDP. However, I've done some "rough estimates" in my head, and generally we've been in the same general ballpark. The difference - either way - was very insignificant. We do tend to do a number of character buffets each visit which cetainly helps us get there. So, the convenience/prepaid/"all-inclusive" factor is usually what makes it worth it to me. That sticker shock when you are paying OOP and get the check at the end of dinner at Chef Mickey's can be rough.
     
  • JasonMak2000

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 17, 2017
    For us the ddp is just a luxury I am willing to splurge on. We have done disney on the cheap before (bringing our own food to the park etc) and still had some wonderful Disney experiences. Now, Disney dining is like an attraction unto itself. We have our tried and true reservations we always try to get and then we like to try something new each trip as well. We look at the ddp the way some people look at club level or premium parking. Dollar for dollar it's not usually going to come out ahead but our trips are just better when we have it.
     

    Monykalyn

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2014
    I have never purchased the dining plan, and have run the numbers (with spreadsheets) after coming home (well full disclosure-haven't gotten to it yet with last 2 trips). But from previous experience we would have lost money on the DDP every. single. time. Usually several hundred dollars worth. My husband isn't one to go into a restaurant and deny himself something if he wants it-even if it is the most expensive thing. Kids order what they want-sometimes it is 2 apps! We average one character dining per trip.
    Thinking of a 10 year old with a full lamb shank in front of them is so absurd!!
    Weeeelllll one thing from all the discussion is that my kids are not typical. My 10 year olds would have loved the lamb shank (and made a decent dent in it too!). I don't think we had a single meal of "typical" kids foods in the last year of trips (I have receipts). We do signature dining at least once per trip as well and they love trying new things. My son is a total sushi snob now LOL.

    Often times, when I go to a restaurant, we will just order appetizers and drinks (more than one beer). I very rarely eat dessert. I often drink water with my meal. The meal plan then forces me to order based on what is included with the DDP credit, unless I am willing to pay extra for appetizers and drinks or skip a prepaid dessert.
    THIS-I prefer smaller meals/snacks and having a cocktail or two, kids will order a couple desserts to split between them. We may or may not get snacks (did get a Pluto popcorn bucket at Thanksgiving trip because I wanted it and we ended up using it quite a bit!). We will often split entrees too, as so many are very large portions. Or like at Sautu'li canteen-will order the kids bowl as it is smaller!

    For us the ddp is just a luxury I am willing to splurge on
    Nothing wrong at all with splurging and enjoying the luxury!!

    I wonder if "free" dining will still be "worth it" if you drive and now have to pay resort parking fee on top of having to get ever-increasing ticket requirements (from 2 day base to what? 4 day hopper+option?)...
     

    Monykalyn

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2014
    Should have added: Got a survey from Disney on the Dining plan. Wonder if they are thinking of switching it up again??
     

    Disney Bubble Lover

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 11, 2018
    I love the podcast and was happy they expanded on the dining plan discussion to incorporate traveling with children. We've taken two trips to WDW in 2016 and 2018 with our family of four (including two children) and purchased the regular dining plan for both visits. We had several character meals as well as a dining package or two planned and, in many cases, the cost for that one table service meal was close to or greater than the daily cost of the child dining plan. Based on our itinerary, the math worked out in our favor for both trips and the dining plan was a no-brainer.

    As we start to consider a return trip in 2020 our oldest will be 10 and considered a Disney adult which changes the math considerably. I have to agree that there should definitely be a separate category for older children. The $50 jump from age 9 to 10 is outrageous and it seems a bit ridiculous to charge an older child the same price as an adult who is able to have two alcoholic drinks included in the plan each day.
     
  • jimmymc

    Professional Adventurer!
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2016
    Personally, I feel like the ddp is just more pressure to eat and doesn't make sense financially. I'll usually make a stop at a grocery store or throw some snacks in my checked luggage to avoid paying insane prices on things like granola bars and chips. At restaurants, it's just less stressful buying what I want to eat. I can put it on the credit card and worry about it after my trip.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    Personally, I feel like the ddp is just more pressure to eat and doesn't make sense financially. I'll usually make a stop at a grocery store or throw some snacks in my checked luggage to avoid paying insane prices on things like granola bars and chips. At restaurants, it's just less stressful buying what I want to eat. I can put it on the credit card and worry about it after my trip.
    I am similar in that it made me feel like I *had* to order everything I was allowed to per the plan and also that I *had* to order the most expensive items to get the most value .... I think if you have an attitude about this like we do it makes the DDP feel more limiting and, to me, takes away from a vacation feel

    However, others are able to look at it as "I am able to eat up to that much, but I don't have to, and I can pick whatever I want on the menu" - and if you have that view then it can be *more* freeing and add to the vacation view. Just for the later group you are ok with perhaps not being most cost effective - but that extra cost is worth it to you for that luxury/all inclusive/"all I care to eat" feeling

    and neither is wrong - just personalities impact things
     

    JasonMak2000

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 17, 2017
    I am similar in that it made me feel like I *had* to order everything I was allowed to per the plan and also that I *had* to order the most expensive items to get the most value .... I think if you have an attitude about this like we do it makes the DDP feel more limiting and, to me, takes away from a vacation feel

    However, others are able to look at it as "I am able to eat up to that much, but I don't have to, and I can pick whatever I want on the menu" - and if you have that view then it can be *more* freeing and add to the vacation view. Just for the later group you are ok with perhaps not being most cost effective - but that extra cost is worth it to you for that luxury/all inclusive/"all I care to eat" feeling

    and neither is wrong - just personalities impact things
    I think this sums up the 2 prevailing view points of the ddp really well
     

    Disney Bubble Lover

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 11, 2018
    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
    I wish they'd just do an "under 21" price tier that was $15-20 less than the adult plan to account for the alcohol. Instead of developing new menus just include adult portions of the existing kids menu options. Yes, the older kids would have access to some of the more expensive items on the adult menu but they also cannot have the alcohol that is included in the adult pricing and I'm guessing a larger percentage of 10 year olds would opt for chicken tenders or a cheeseburger over a lamb shank (no judgement, if you're child is an adventurous eater or has a more refined palette I think that's awesome).

    I realize this plan isn't perfect either as there are adults who do not drink and have other circumstances that do not allow them to maximize the value of the dining plans. Our family enjoyed that the pre-paid dining plan helped keep us in the "bubble" so we wish there were a few more dining plan option available.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    I wish they'd just do an "under 21" price tier that was $15-20 less than the adult plan to account for the alcohol. Instead of developing new menus just include adult portions of the existing kids menu options. Yes, the older kids would have access to some of the more expensive items on the adult menu but they also cannot have the alcohol that is included in the adult pricing and I'm guessing a larger percentage of 10 year olds would opt for chicken tenders or a cheeseburger over a lamb shank (no judgement, if you're child is an adventurous eater or has a more refined palette I think that's awesome).

    I realize this plan isn't perfect either as there are adults who do not drink and have other circumstances that do not allow them to maximize the value of the dining plans. Our family enjoyed that the pre-paid dining plan helped keep us in the "bubble" so we wish there were a few more dining plan option available.
    I think your last point is the part that would prevent doing an "under 21 - no alcohol" pricing as it isn't fair to those over 21 that don't drink, can't drink for religious reasons, etc. ... side issue that comes from now including alcohol in the package
     

    GreatLakes

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2015
    I think your last point is the part that would prevent doing an "under 21 - no alcohol" pricing as it isn't fair to those over 21 that don't drink, can't drink for religious reasons, etc. ... side issue that comes from now including alcohol in the package
    I'm surprised they don't make all adult DDP exclude alcohol and then let you buy an alcohol add-on. It would suck more money out of people that want to waste, er plan, their money.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    I'm surprised they don't make all adult DDP exclude alcohol and then let you buy an alcohol add-on. It would suck more money out of people that want to waste, er plan, their money.
    well, it was only this year that they added alcohol - it had always been not included

    They added it in to make it seem like a better "deal" - and then, of course, as further reason for why restaurants in Magic Kingdom need to offer alcohol
     

    YesterDark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2017
    I'd rather them let you build your dining plan yourself and give you a charge at the end.

    Base Plan per night of occupancy:
    Quick Service Credit (1) ($X)
    Snack Credit (1) ($Y)

    Table Service Option
    Table Service Credit (1) ($Z)

    Full Table Service Option
    New Full Table Service Credit (1) ($D)
    - Includes App, Meal, Desert

    Signature Service Option
    Table Service Credit (2) ($A)

    Adult Beverage Option
    Adult Beverage Credit (1) ($B)

    Snack Option
    Snack Credit (1) ($C)

    You get the idea. You can buy the base plan and add on to it to cater to your style of eating. You can run deals to promote different credits etc. Hell you could create two other base plans based on JUST stacks or JUST drinking credits for food and wine festivals etc.

    Not sure why they don't do this already. Especially with the alcohol. You make so much margin on alcohol that if you can guarantee profit.

    I would be interested in the Full Table Service Option or the Signature Service Option. That would be in between standard and Deluxe.
     

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