Newbie to this board! Have a few questions for DDP vets!

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by Dani784, May 29, 2013.

  1. Dani784

    Dani784 Mouseketeer

    May 28, 2013
    Hi all. Let me first introduce myself. I'm Dani. I've been to WDW three times, once with my parents when I was four, once on a school trip in 7th grade, and once on senior trip in high school. My husband and four children (ages 7,5,3, and 1) have never been.

    We're planning a ten day trip to WDW for early next May. We are also paying for my father to go along with us. (Pay back for paying for me to go so many times as a kid!) We'll be staying at AoA with my dad at Pop.

    So our park tix and resorts are all figured out well in advance. But we're having issues deciding on dining. First we thought with 7 people (yes, I know my then-2-yr-old won't be on the dining plan but boy does he eat!) that the deluxe plan would work best. We've mapped out so many character meals and other table service restaurants we just don't want to miss that it seemed anything less would be too little.

    Now that I have mapped out our meals for the week and a half, I've crunched numbers and realized the standard DDP will be fine for us. Yes, we may pay OOP for extra snacks and such but that's ok.

    My questions are these:
    If we go OOP, we'll likely put the same amount of a dining plan on a Disney Gift card ahead of time so our meals are still "prepaid" to avoid the sticker shock and then the let down when we decide to save money by eating elsewhere. If we do this, I've read that you still get all meals charged to your KTTW card so at the end of our stay, could we pay our meal portion with this prepaid gift card? Or could we pay with it at the restaurants?

    Also, how much can you load on a prepaid gift card at a time? Is there a maximum limit?

    Are the gift cards accepted everywhere??

    So sorry for all the questions but I'm a virgin planner so I have no idea what to expect. Thanks in advance for all your help!
  2. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala 1937, what a year that was

    Jun 22, 2001
    Moving this over to the main restaurant board as it is not a question about the dining plan.

    Technically, it's not about restaurants either, but about gift cards. We do have lots of posters who use gift cards though.
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  4. davedmaine

    davedmaine DIS Veteran

    Mar 30, 2011
    Don't do deluxe with all those kids. On that plan you basically go from one ADR to the next and your park time will be cut in half. If you want to save money don't do the dining plan at all (in any form).
  5. jrtoastyman

    jrtoastyman Purveyor of Fine Latex Products

    May 22, 2011
    You could do it either way. Personally, I'd probably prefer to just charge it all to the room and then pay for it using your gift cards all at the end of the trip, but it's really a matter of personal preference. For me, carrying around a bunch of gift cards and having to keep track of how much was on each one would be a bit awkward.
  6. Cafeen

    Cafeen DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2009
    1) You can do either. I typically recommend using the KTTW card then paying the room charge with the gift cards for security and ease of use reasons. If you lose a Gift Card, it may be more difficult to replace and if someone else uses it, it may be more difficult to dispute said charges. Using the KTTW card would allow you to keep track of the charges easily (just pop to the front desk and ask for a print out) and can be replaced very easily if lost. If using several gift cards (since I don't know the limits), it's also much easier to pay the room bill with them than to try and keep track how much is on each. However, the choice is yours and whichever you prefer will work out just as well.

    2) I will defer to people who know a thing or three about the gift cards :)

    3) Pretty much. Restaurants at the Swan & Dolphin as well as a few at Downtown Disney will not accept them. There may also be some small snack carts around the world that do not have the scanners set up for them. Neither of these would take the KTTW cards either, so the net result is roughly the same.

    As far as dining plans go, I'd suggest not getting DxDDP for a "first" time (it's a whole different ballgame when you are the adult, so it's like a first time again!) visitor. It's a lot of time spent traveling and sitting in restaurants (think up to ~2hrs per meal between travel and dining). The same reasons shy away from it for several little ones too.

    For DDP, you're going to want to do the math on it and see if your plans make sense with it. We won't know the costs of the plans until August (most likely), so it's tough to judge the financial aspect of it, but if you're doing several character meals and/or you're getting soft-drinks and dessert with every meal, it may work out. Otherwise, it'll be best to plan for your out of :).
  7. chimilady

    chimilady DIS Veteran

    Dec 31, 2011
    I think you're smart not to do deluxe because that is a lot of time away from the parks. Doing the one TS per day seems great for our crew.

    As for whether or not the dining plan is worth it, it depends on where you'll eat. Obviously it will be a better value if you're using your TS for dinner or a Character meal than OOP. If you plan eating at cheaper TS restaurants, eating OOP may be better for you.

    I buy Disney gift cards at Target and use my Target red card to get the additional % off and keep them that way. Others buy at the Disneystore and load up however much you want. If you are staying on property, you can always charge it back to your room, you don't have to carry around a gift card. However, if it makes you feel better, then absolutely do it.
  8. Dani784

    Dani784 Mouseketeer

    May 28, 2013
    Thanks so much for all the responses! (Sorry I posted in the wrong board.)

    I think due to more research, talking with the hubs, and all of your wonderful advice, we are going to put the price of the deluxe dining plan for all 7 of us on a gift card (or cards, depending on amount restrictions) ahead of time. We plan to have our room and tix paid for by this fall, Dec. at the latest so it shouldn't be any trouble to put close to $3K on a card(s) for dining.

    The way we see it, the dining plan is pretty restrictive. We may not want to always eat a traditional meal at either CS or TS places. Sometimes, a ton of snack items would suffice. (I read a plan about going from pavilion to pavilion in World Showcase and getting an item from each country and then sharing it with each other for one outstanding "meal"! I so want to try it!)

    When we go to theme parks, we usually just have a quick breakfast (we're in the midwest, just a few hours from several theme parks so our drives aren't horrific!) and then we eat one biggish meal while there and that's it. We may snack a bit later on in the night or eat a light snack on the way home but we don't want to bog ourselves down with heavy foods when in the heat and riding rides.

    So I think having the freedom to choose a Dole whip and a cookie for lunch is awesome! (Hey, it's vacation, I can eat desserts for lunch!)

    Another perk is any money we save by eating snacks instead of sit down meals can go to either souvenirs, extra tips for those really awesome CM servers, or babysitters so mom and dad can have a night out alone.

    At first we had considered the premium plan just to get unlimited access to the kid's activity centers until we factored in the cost of a in room sitter for our youngest who won't be old enough for Kid's Clubs. That seemed excessive. My dad has offered to sit the kids a night or two for us as well in return for us paying for his entire trip, including food.

    So I think we've pretty much got it worked out now. Thank you all so much for your help! Now to get to saving $$$$ so we can get this show on the road! I can't wait! 11 months and 2 days left!!!

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