Ordering Most Expensive Items while on DDP- Anyone Ever Try This?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by Abharmagic, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Abharmagic

    Abharmagic DIS Veteran

    Apr 1, 2008
    MY DH is an eater. LOVES food, all kinds- especially steaks, ribs, expensive foods- lol. Anyhow, he has a goal to order the most expensive (that appeals to him) thing on the menu at every CS and TS restaurant while on our trip. We are keeping his receipts and going to see what he spent in relation to the price of the DDP.

    He is doing it mostly for fun, but also b/c he loves food and is excited to not have to worry about budgeting too much while on vacation as it's already paid for.

    Anyone ever try this-- what were your results-- did you see any savings or still pretty much break even. He won't be disappointed if he doesn't as that's really not his main goal-- just more of an interesting side activity (for lack of a better word) to keep track of while at the World.
  2. bdklein

    bdklein DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2005
    It's probably one of the few ways to actually save money for those who use the Dining Plan.
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  4. 3pletprincesses

    3pletprincesses DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 2010
    I did it the first time we were on the Deluxe plan and saved a bit but we mostly did a character meal in the morning and had signature meals for dinner and the signature tend to be very expensive. I don't remember how much I saved as it was a few years ago but I can say it was a fair amount of money LOL Considering that the Portehouse at the Yachtman is $52 and it's only the entrée and once you add the app at $11(the cheapest0 and a dessert at $9. It gives you a total of $72 and the deluxe plan is around $100 I think this year. Factor in drink which would be around $2-3 and a character meal which is let's say $25(the cheapest I found) , that brings me over $100 and you still haven't touched your snacks yet. Let's say that Yachtman is not the most expensive place. I would say Narcoosse's would be way ahead if you take the surf and turf is $72 just for the entrée.

    If it saves lots depends on the plan and it depends on the place where you are eating. that being said, I did it only at a few place as some higher price items did not sound that great that day and I didn't feel like eating meat all time LOL

    That being said, we now use the plan all the time simply because we do lots of character meals and signatures and we always come out ahead as we have 4 kids but we rarely order the higher price item unless we really want it.
  5. bluejasmine

    bluejasmine DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2005
    We always do DDP and I always save all my receipts make sure the cost is written on all of them and at the end of trip I add it up and see what I save and we saved EVERY trip!

    This was going to Ohana, Cape May, Le Cellier, Cali Grill and many more. DH and DS19 are big steak, ribs kind guys and they ordered it at every meal! Im more of a pasta, chicken kinda gal but I did get steak once or twice..
  6. amccu18007

    amccu18007 DIS Veteran

    Dec 22, 2008
    We too, priced out one of our trips for fun and we came out ahead. Add to that my DH doesn't stress when out 14yo orders the most expensive thing on the menu every.single.time. and the dining plan is a win-win for our family.
  7. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    Last October when we were on the DDP (5 Disney adults) the guys in our party ate Steaks every night. They picked the most expensive thing on the menu every night. We had one CS every day and one TS every day and even ordering the most expensive thing on the menu we still only broke even on food costs. If you factor in the cost of the refillable mugs (that we don't use) then you save a little.

    DDP for 5 adults is $275 a day ($55 per person) and our dinner ticket was $200 every night and out CS was about $60 a day. Add in 5 $4 snacks and we saved a total of $5 a day.

    But considering the DDP was FREE for us we saved $275 a day!! I would never pay for the DDP.
  8. OThopeful35

    OThopeful35 DIS Veteran

    Jul 20, 2010
    I agree with this. The recent price increases to the DDP makes it very hard to get ahead even if you buy the most expensive item.
  9. evabraniff

    evabraniff Mouseketeer

    Apr 18, 2013
    We are all big steak eaters... And good steaks seem to be costly. Lol so we ALWAYS come out ahead with the DDP
  10. vacation_junkie

    vacation_junkie Have Suitcase...will Travel :)

    Sep 13, 2009
    We did this for fun last trip too and we would have saved $101 paying out of pocket. Our average meal was between $98-$138 (3 adult meal plans) and we ordered the most expensive thing on the menu.
  11. collins316

    collins316 Mouseketeer

    Nov 10, 2000
    I have done that, and we "saved"
    I use the quotation marks becaue that is not what we would have eaten if we were on our own.
    If we do the dining plan again, I may track what we eat, vs. what we would have ordered if no dining plan, to see if there is still a savings. I dont think there will be.
    And also, since you are paying tip on what the bill would be, tip is larger when you oeder the more expensive items. Just something else to factor in for your tracking game.
  12. North of Mouse

    North of Mouse DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Do you not ever get a % off room rate? Do you *always* pay rack rate? That's the *only* way you could say the DDP was free and you saved $275 a day.

    Most of the time there are discounts on rooms. If so, you would have to subtract the discount amount from the DDP amount to get the *true* savings. I, personally, would never pay rack rate. The DDP is not free.
  13. tarheelmjfan

    tarheelmjfan <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=blue>

    May 10, 2001
    I was going to say the same thing. To accurately calculate what you saved you would have to figure out the difference in the amount of gratuity you paid vs. what you realistically would have paid if you weren't trying to max out your bill, then subtract that from your total saved. It appears a lot of people fail to consider this, when pricing out the plan. (I'm not saying the OP did.) OTOH, if you're just doing the calculation for fun & want to feel good about your decision, you could forget that little tidbit. ;) It wouldn't be accurate, but it's your vacation & your rules. :p Having kids 9 & under + eating at a lot of character meals is the most obvious way to see a savings with DDP. Otherwise, you really need to be creative to save anything.
  14. bdklein

    bdklein DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2005
    I wonder how many groups go to WDW on the DDP thinking they are going to order the most expensive items on the menu but then order pasta or chicken. Or think they want dessert twice a day and either only take a bite or two or just don't even order it after a while. And get annoyed if someone in their group deviates from the plane. Or never use the mugs, or use them just because they have it. Bet a lot
  15. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    We have never used a room only discount. And YES the dining plan is actually 100% free. I booked my vacation paying rack rate for 9 nights in a family suite. Booked and paid for. Then the free dining promo came out and I added it to our already booked and paid for reservation. BOOM. FREE DINING IS FREE. It saved us $275 a day not having to pay for the dining plan.

    If you save 20% off a value room that would have saved us about $40 a night. Taking the free dining with 5 Disney adults saved us $275 a night.

    Just because you pay full price rack rate for the room doesn't mean the dining isn't free. That is just a silly way to look at things. If you go into JCPenneys and pay full price for a pair of jeans to get a tank top free, just because you didn't get a discount on the jeans doesn't mean the tank top wasn't free.

    Usually ppl who don't like the dining plan are the ones who will come into these threads and say THE DINING PLAN ISN'T REALLY FREE. Yes it is.

    If you have 5 Disney adults in a room there will never be ANY DISCOUNT that is a better discount than free dining. Even if you are in a $400 a night room and get a 35% off room discount the free dining for 5 adults will still be double the discount the room only discount is.

    Even if there are only 2 of us and we stay in a mod ($180 a night) a 25% room only discount would save us a little over $40 a night. The free dining would save us $110 a night. So no matter how you look at it, unless you are just 2 ppl and you are staying in a $400 a night room and get 30% or better room discount, the free dining will always save you more. Period.
  16. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 1999
    You have to be savy, but this definitely works to your advantage on the regular dining plan (1TS and 1 CS).

    To make the most of it you have to choose the most expensive places to eat, too. All TS is not exactly equal. Using 1TS for a Fantasmic package is an excellent deal; because, you get the preferred seating at the show and at MaMa Melrose you get an appetizer included; because, it's a package deal. On CS there are some combo meals like ribs and chicken at Cosmic Rays in MK, for example, that is really value on the plan.

    We have done this quite often and I'm pleased with the value. In regards to the tip needing to be bigger, you still leave a tip anyways. You just add a little more for the more expensive meal.

    I will say we are free dining oriented and we only paid once in about a dozen trips for the DP.
  17. princessanj

    princessanj Mouseketeer

    Jan 4, 2012
    Agree totally! DH and I will never go without the dining plan, even for just the convenience of prepaying. If we were paying out of pocket I wouldn't get to eat whatever I wanted because I would try to be frugal. It's not for everyone, but we had free dining the past two trips (and I also totally agree that it is free!) and we are even paying for it this year because we love it!
  18. MrRomance

    MrRomance Planning and Plotting

    Sep 19, 2011
    I think people see (or don't see) value in the DDP for multiple reasons. We always get free dining (here in the UK it's usually available to us) so in a sense, we always get good value. We do tend to gravitate toward the more expensive choices though to maximize the plan.

    I recently priced it all out based on our receipts for previous stays for a friend of ours who is staying at a value resort. (In the UK, we don't get free dining at values at all, we only get QSDP with Mods and regular DP with Deluxe) The price they would have to pay for the dining plan (UK Prices) would be recovered easily even without seeking out higher priced choices.

    The problem is, some people wouldn't actually buy all the items they do on when on the DP if they were paying out of pocket. So for some people, they can eat for much less than the DP costs.

    For example, my receipt for lunch at Starring Rolls on our last trip was $21.36, which is a good value on the surface. However, if I was paying out of pocket, I wouldn't have bought the chips, I wouldn't have bought a large drink and I would probably have shared the cup cake with someone else. Take all of that into consideration, it would have been cheaper OOP.

    For me the value is in pre-paying and not having to worry about a food budget. I feel having saved our receipts that I do get WAY more than the DP would actually cost me if I paid for it, but I don't know that it really saves me money overall because if I paid OOP, I wouldn't buy half the stuff I get when on the DP.

    That said, if you do select the most expensive items, you will find that your receipts total much more than you pay for the DP.
  19. dadofgoofy

    dadofgoofy Mouseketeer

    Mar 8, 2013
    I have tracked the cost of our meals on the dining plan for a couple of years now. Most times we're really close to breaking even, UNTIL you throw the snack credits in. Once those are added (especially if you use them for more expensive snack items like Dole Whips instead of bottles water), we always make out on the goood side. (We also use several snack credits at Goofy's at DTD to have when we get home to extend the magic).

    For us though, the real value of the dining plan is having our food pre-paid, and not having to look at the prices on the menu. If I were paying OOP, I would never eat at Monsiuer Paul or CRT. but, with the dining plan, I would and do.
  20. Cafeen

    Cafeen DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2009
    This is absolutely true, on both ends. There are lots of devout followers of the DDP(s) on this board, and there are lots of ardent detractors. Neither is truly right or wrong, except with how it applies to their own trip requirements.

    Now, the math is getting considerably harder, since the plan prices are rising faster than the food prices, thus creating smaller windows of savings (and making it more difficult to reach the savings threshold.) If you're still looking to order from the top half at the menu from the upper half (or so) of the price range (per credit), then chances are you'll come out at least breaking even.

    Of course, for me, it's never about the "High Score." It's about balancing the increased cost by using a plan (because you can ALWAYS eat cheaper than any of the dining plans) vs the experiences and value gained by said plan. If I go in knowing that I'm spending more to be on this plan, but at the same time, knowing that I'm getting closer to my ideal dining wants and the ideal is cheaper with the plan than without, then I know that it's going to work.

    Basically, if the difference between the increased cost in the plan ($x) and the value that I'd be getting from said plan ($y) makes sense ($y - $x), then it should work for that trip, otherwise, I'd be better off with another plan, or OOP.

    For example, in 2012 my math worked out so that I estimated about a $450 increase in cost by using the DxDDP ($x), in turn, I'd be getting roughly $700 worth of value ($y), so the difference of $350 was worth it to me.

    For 2013, it's working out just the opposite. For an estimated ~$500 increase in cost, I'd be getting ~$505 worth of value. So that $5 difference, which could easily be lost by a skipped dessert, much less a skipped meal, made it not worth it to me. Since the plan number was already padded with a few meals and entitlements that I was only picking because I was on the plan, the subjective weight of the prepayment (peace of mind since I'm horrible at saving money) and the added experiences didn't balance out in favor of the plans this year. (Note: DDP was worse, since I'm only doing a few QS in here, I'd not even break even).

    So, really, it's all about the math and figuring out what's right for you. Not getting hung up on the "High Score" mentality of "I must save the absolute most I can, even if it doesn't fit my trip!" is very important (and often lost in discussion.)

    Now I'm just rambling because I don't feel like working...
  21. Disney2013Girl

    Disney2013Girl Mouseketeer

    Apr 17, 2013
    I hope this makes sense, but as I first planned our vacation, I would have saved about $150 to do a RO discount. I budgeted $600 for food (H and I both consider ourselves foodies). I took the $150 from our food budget to pay for the "free" qsdp that we got from paying rack rate for our room. That left us $450 left to pay for any OOP meals we wanted.

    H wanted to eat at Ohana, Chef Mickey and 50s PTC. We looked at the menus and figured that (approximately) our total OOP cost for those three meals would have been *approximately* $250. To Upgrade to the DDP, it was going to be *approx* $300. It made sense for us to pay the extra $50 and get the extra TS meals.

    So if you figure it up, my "free" dining actually cost us $150 (paying full rack rate)+ $300 (to upgrade from QSDP) = $450. That is still $150 less than our $600 budgeted amount, covering tips and still leaving *some* money for extra OOP at the food and wine festival.

    You really are kind of lying to yourself if you think that the FD is really Free, but when you move the money from your food budget to cover the difference, you will still likely come out ahead. However, instead of feeling like you're denying yourself something ("That steak looks good, but that takes up over half my budgeted money today!") you have the "convenience" of having it pre-paid.

    All of that being said, paying for the full DDP OOP (in our case) was not justified as I know we could have eaten what we wanted for less than the price of the DDP (We allowed $100 a day and the DDP would have been a little over $140/day).

    ALL of that being said, we are making it our goal to try new and unusual foods on the menu (vs always going for the most expensive), something we wouldn't otherwise risk our money on. (For what sense that makes). I do foresee a lot of steaks in our future though.

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