Why Do You Pay For The Dining Plan?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by jaylensmom, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. jaylensmom

    jaylensmom Mouseketeer

    Feb 25, 2009
    Could someone explain to me why you would purchase a dining plan? I'm in the beginning stages of my research and I'm just curious why you would purchase a dining plan vs just purchasing your meals independently? I hope that makes sense. Thanks!
  2. Jaybird6

    Jaybird6 Mouseketeer

    Jun 24, 2011
    I'm looking at getting the DDP for our next vacation since DH usually gets a steak (most often the most expensive item on the menu) at each restaurant we go to. This will actually save us money, especially for a longer trip.

    During our vacation in August we paid out of pocket, and some meals were over $50 for the two of us. And that was just dinner.

    Now, if you are not a big eater, or if you don't usually order the expensive items on the menu, it is probably not worth it.
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  4. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2010
    Actually, if dinner for 2 costs $50, then you are better off skipping the plan. The break even point, is about $30 per person in 2011.

    To op, the 2 most frequently cited reasons for getting the plan-

    1- convenience of pre-payment.

    2- the potential to save money. You are not guaranteed to save money, but depending on your eating habits, you could save a fair amount.
  5. vinotinto

    vinotinto Just Keep Swimming

    Sep 20, 2009
    We just purchased the DxDP (deluxe dining plan) for the third time. We like the Signature restaurants and enjoy trying different things on the menu (not just the entrees but apps too). The cost of a Signature 3-course dinner (roughly $65-$70 pp) is almost the cost of the DxDP per day (roughly $80), and then we get an extra credit for a TS breakfast or lunch and 2 snacks. Since dining is an important part of all of our vacations (not just WDW), we've opted to purchase the DxDP. For kids, the cost of the DxDP is not much more than the cost of one character meal, so there's savings there as well.

    Also, our kids are fairly young. It's nice to have set meal times for them that roughly resemble when we eat at home. It's also nice to sit down and be served, instead of standing in a line and getting a table, etc., with the kids. Many TS restaurants provide better eating choices than the CS restaurants and we often share our meals with them as well, so it's nice to have the apps included.
  6. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

    Jan 18, 2009
    It was purely a numbers game for us. I went through all the menus of where we'd be eating and priced out what the meals would cost. The regular dining plan would have cost us more than paying OOP. But the DxDP actually saved us quite a bit of money.

    The best way for you to figure it out is to price out the meals you think you want and see which is the better deal for you!

    Good luck. :goodvibes
  7. usd2bmd

    usd2bmd DIS Veteran

    May 21, 2007
    We purchase the Dining plan so that we don't have to worry about budgeting for meals. This allows us to pay for our meals before we go on vacation. But having the dining plan gives us the ability to have a sit down meal during the day and not worry about the cost. For us it works because we like having sit down meal while we are there. It really is an individual decision and I agree that you should check out some websites to look at resataurants you may want to eat at to determine if you would benefit from the Dining plan.
  8. yesiamcrazy

    yesiamcrazy Mouseketeer

    Apr 22, 2011
    We buy the dining plan because it's convenient, we like that it's prepaid, and it allows us to go places and order things we normally wouldn't if we were looking at all the prices.
  9. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2007
    There are a couple of reasons we buy the DxDDP on our trips.

    First and foremost is the all inclusive feeling. As a family that seldom eats out, living in the low-cost rural midwest, Disney dining is an exercise in sticker shock. It doesn't matter how generous the dining budget is on paper, DH & I will always have a hard time paying $30 for chicken or $25 for a sushi appetizer. The DxDDP lets us eat the way we want on vacation - lots of sit down meals featuring a variety of foods and dining styles we don't have in our small town - without any need to look at prices.

    Second but still important as an incentive to tie up the money in advance is the savings factor. The DxDDP still has quite a bit of potential for savings, particularly for the way we use it (almost no counter service meals).
  10. MagicalMawMaw

    MagicalMawMaw DIS Veteran

    Sep 30, 2009
    We love the dining plan & are going our second time with deluxe dining.


    First we got "free" dining & then we upgraded to deluxe because we love having all our food paid for in advance.

    Without it all paid in advance we wouldn't eat at as many restaurants.

    We would pick restaurants by price & not eat at any signatures.

    We wouldn't order desserts at each meal...& I love desserts!

    We would rarely order an appitizer.

    We'd order by price & not by want we want...like hmmm...I really want a steak...but the burger is way cheaper so I'll get it.

    I also like having the extra snacks which we use as gifts to bring back.

    We come out way ahead on price as we do enjoy a great steak...but the reason we really love the dining plan is the freedom to dine as we wish where we wish...all prepaid.
  11. Oathkeeper13

    Oathkeeper13 Mouseketeer

    Oct 2, 2011
    There are a few reasons why I am a huge fan of the Disney Dining plan.

    1. It is nice having dining budgeted out before you leave. You don't have to worry about searching around for reasonably priced food in the park, or spending more then you planned.

    2. As the dining plan has become so popular Disney restaurants are more crowded then ever. People start booking reservations far in advance, making it difficult to get seating in a restaurant. Of course you can make reservations even if you are not on the plan, and restaurants still accept (although it usually involves a long wait) walk-ins. I find it somewhat intimidating to make these choices unless I have a set budget.

    3. Most importantly (for me anyway) the food. On the Deluxe plan (which is the only one I go with) you get 3 meals, 2 snacks, and a refillable resort mug. Each meal (aside from breakfast) has an appetizer, entree, dessert, and a non-alcoholic drink for each meal. Ordinarily I never order so much food, and I almost never allow myself to get the most expensive entree. Yet I love the decadence of being able to do so on vacation. I usually combine my meal points so that I can go to one Signature dining event a night and enjoy gourmet food that I almost never get to eat. You can also use two meal points for character dining which allows you much faster access and often more time spent with each character then you get in the parks, or a dinner show.

    When you are given so much food at each meal you can easily use your snack points to cover a small breakfast or lunch. If you really want to be thrifty about it you can use leftovers from large meals to use for smaller meals the next day, and save some of your snack points to take home as gifts. Last time I checked 1 snack credit was still good for the giant lolly pops, mickey shaped rice crispy treats with chocolate dipped ears, and a few other Disney themed candy items.

    I think it just makes the vacation that much more enjoyable being able to order anything you want without worrying about the cost.
  12. mrsxsparrow

    mrsxsparrow DIS Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    I took a friend with me the time I got the dining plan. It was our first trip to WDW but we've been going to Disneyland together for years. Since I was taking her, my treat, I didn't want her to worry about how much the food was costing. We also were eating at a lot of sit down restaurants, including a few Signatures.

    So, I got the dining plan (deluxe) so we didn't have to worry, and so we could both order whatever we wanted without thinking about cost. It was purely a convenience for us.
  13. daraddg

    daraddg DIS Veteran

    Sep 12, 2010
    dont think I would do it full price but during free dining we upgraded to Dxddp and when I tryed to plan out tips based on what we were most likely going to order and worked out the numbers we are saving alot of money doing the plan,we would never do all those resturants OOP and it will give my 10 yr old a chance to experiment I would never pay oop for her to get a $40 steak but she can on the plan
  14. umieesa

    umieesa Mouseketeer

    Jan 26, 2010
    Like others have said..my main reasons are:

    Convenience--less stressful, everything is prepaid and the kids can pretty much get whatever they ask for (instead of me saying "PUT THAT BACK--I'M NOT PAYING ?$$ FOR THAT!)

    Savings--Okay, this is a personal thing, but for us and the foods we like the dining plan is a great savings. We like getting the DDP (don't know if I'd pay full price for it next year though with the increase, plus we don't use the resort mugs) but as it is now we like having a nice sit down meal for dinner. When some of the entrees or buffets can be $30+ it can be a big savings.

    If you are not the type to eat dessert at every meal, don't mind fast food for every meal, and don't mind bringing in your own bottled waters then you might be able to save money without it, but everything quickly adds up and food is a big part of our disney vacation, so to us it's worth it.

    I always questioned the value of the Quick Service Dining plan, but since the price has remained the same (minus a snack credit) I may consider it next time. If you use it well I see how you can get value out of it. For example, if you have a car you could go to DTD and eat at WPE and have a "sit-down" meal for only a quick service credit and the food is pricier than most QS places and really good. Although we didn't have the QSDP, we used many of our counter service credits here, just because we really love to eat at WPE. But, this did make the plan even more of a value to us. :thumbsup2
  15. 4orm

    4orm <font color=deeppink>Disney bride dreaming of buyi

    Dec 10, 2003
    We did the plan in 2004 but would not now. We prefer to eat smaller meals, often opting for a couple appetizers between us rather than entrees. We don't eat dessert all the time, only drink water (other than the husband's occasional beer) and like table service restaurants. If it works for your family that's great, but for us we'd be wasting lots of food and having to pay out of pocket for many of the things we'd like to eat that aren't included. I rather not be tied down.
  16. DisneyLoverUSA

    DisneyLoverUSA DIS Veteran

    Aug 3, 2011
    We didn't pay for it we got it free. If we had not of gotten it free we wouldn't have paid for it because we don't usually eat dessert every meal so that is a waste and counter service meals run around $12 per person. I can eat 3 of those a day for what the QSDP costs per person. It doesn't really save you money unless you plan on using the entitlements for all they are worth and you eat a lot of desserts. If you get the DDP free and upgrade to Deluxe then it will save you a lot of money for sure. But that's the only way I figured to save any money. For us eating OOp would have been cheaper. The dining plan for the 5 of us would be around $200 a day. Eating breakfast in our room we can eat out of pocket for around $120 a day for lunch & dinner, saving about $80 a day over what we would have paid for the QSDP. We wouldn't eat 2 snacks a day either if we weren't on the QSDP and we probably wouldn't buy the resort refillable mug either. But we will use it since it is free with the QSDP.
  17. 333disneymom

    333disneymom DIS Veteran

    Mar 26, 2011
    If you have children 9 and under, the savings could really add up. One character meal can run you about $18-20 for dinner. The cost of the DDP for children 9 and under this year was $11.99 or $12.99, depending on the season. So, your one sit down brings you out ahead of the game. If you went with the deluxe plan, your cost this year for a child under 9 would be $21.99, so if you did even one dinner character meal at about $18-20 and you bought one snack, you would already be ahead. Plus, you could potentially do two more sit downs or one signature restaurant and get an additional snack for basically no additional cost. The adult prices are a little more complicated. You could check menus online to see what you would normally order and see how it compares; but if you have children under 9, even if the adult meals break even, you are still making out with the children's costs. Have fun with your research.
  18. LynneyPooh

    LynneyPooh Mouseketeer

    Feb 14, 2011
    1) Conveince. I like that everything is prepaid except tips. Its easier to pay tips during vacation than the entire meal.

    2) Flexibility. We go DDxP now. This allows DH and DD their large breakfasts every morning and myself a TS every evening. DH likes the apps, I like the desserts, DD9 likes it all!

    3) Enjoyabilty factor. If we did not use the plan, and paid as we went, I'd end up choosing cheap resturants, or the cheapest entree. By nature I can be a cheapskate, especaily when traveling because I worry about the "just in case" factor. By using the plan, everyone gets what they really want, and I forget about the prices; because well, it's already paid for. :cloud9:

    4) Savings. This summer if we ate OOP the way we ate on the plan, we would have spent $400+ more on food than we actually did. Now if I had not been on the plan would we have eaten the way we did? No, because DH would have skipped his apps and I would have skipped my desserts. DD would have been begging for dessert every time and NOT gotten it, to save money. How did I know it was worth it before I left? I printed out the menus for the places we wanted to eat at, and did a guess of what I thought we''d likely order and ran the numbers. This showed me on entrees and character buffets alone I saved money. When we got home I ran actual prices, and saw my savings.:woohoo:

    5) Better food choices. By using the plan, we ate in better resturants, thus giving DD9 better choices than mac and cheese, nuggets, or meaty pasta. While she loves "kids food", I don't let her eat that way as often as she would during a week vacation @ WDW. However, when presented with better choices, she usually will choose fish, grilled chicken, steak and even sushi! (I guess she's does that because wherever/whatever we eat, she eats! I don't fix seperate meals for her at home, or take a mickey d's into what my friends call "adult" resturants.):cutie:

    6) Memories. By using the plan, we tried new resturants. This gave us new experiences, and new favorites. We didn't stick to the tried and true because if we didn't like it, it was okay we had extra snack credits for later on when hunger hit. (BTW we liked every where we tried this summer. Some better than others, but really no bad meal).

    IMHO the DDxP is the way to go if it fits your budget. :thumbsup2
    Personally I'd never do the quick service plan, because that is my least favorite type of meal. :snooty: We've done the reg. DDP prior to this summer (in Jan was the last time) and I ended up frustrated trying to get DH a good breakfast, while preserving the TS for a good resturant. The counter services got old by the 3rd day. Even DH, who likes sandwhich type meals said enough of that by the time we went home. In addition, we spent more money OOP on the regular plan.
  19. aubriee

    aubriee <font color=brown><marquee>Chocolate always makes

    Dec 3, 2004
    I've always been a big fan of the DDP or DxDDP just for the convenience factor and the feeling of having everything prepaid. I go to WDW several times year and have used the DDP or DxDDP every single trip (until my recent Sept 10th-18th trip).

    I refuse to skimp on vacation and will eat at pretty much the same restaurants regardless if I'm on a DDP or not. I noticed that on my trip last May, there were several times I wanted a couple of appetizers instead of an entree. With the DDP I could not do that. There were also alot of times I really didn't want dessert, but felt like I needed to order it, because it was already paid for. We are also not big fans of most CS restaurants, nor do we usually snack down there, yet the basic DDP is one TS, one CS, and one snack/day, so we were always having to pay for a TS meal or two OOP, then had CS and snacks left over to use up that last day. I decided that for my Sept trip I'd get the TiW card to get 20% off my meals and then bought several Disney gift cards which I used to pay for meal, gratutities, souvineers, etc. I found I really liked using the TiW card in conjunction with Disney gift cards. Everything was still prepaid, I got a guaranteed 20% off my meals and didn't have to worry if I was getting the value out of a DDP, plus I was able to eat at restaurants that don't even accept the DDP and still got 20% off. I didn't worry about skipping an ADR, (then having to find a way to use the credit), if I didn't feel like going and in fact did so several times. I loved the flexibility. It was the best of both worlds. Even though I've always been a big proponent of the DDPs, I doubt if I'll ever use them again.
  20. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

    Jan 23, 2011
    1. DxDP always saves us money
    2. Allows us to order whatever we want (except alcohol, which I never drink anyway)
    3. Easier to pre-budget the trip (only adding in tips)
    4. We love table service meals
    5. It is nice to get dessert at every non-breakfast meal on vacation (would not order if not on plan most likely)
    6. You can book certain meals at the 180 day mark without paying up front, like CRT, MBYBBQ, HDD, etc. You pay at 45 days when you buy the plan instead.
    7. Lots of snacks to take home
    8. I would never buy the refillable mug if it was not in the DxDP (will not buy the QSplan), but I like collecting them.
    9. We always stay on site, so adding it is no big deal
    10. We eat at places we otherwise would not without the plan. There is no way I would eat two or three table service meals a day without the plan. Knowing that I can do that for $78.99 or whatever price it inflates to next year, makes me feel better about it.
  21. kimberlym322

    kimberlym322 Mouseketeer

    Jul 29, 2011
    We do it for a number of reasons. We do the reg DDP, by the way. They are the following:

    1. First is that the last 3 and our up coming trip it has been FREE. My favorit 4 letter word!!! :lmao:

    2. It is prepaid-all we have to come up with is tips or app if we get them.

    3. We get to eat anywhere we want. If we were paying OOP we would most likely be doing QS for most meals.

    4. Price-Free is best, but the year (2006) we did pay for the DDP it was a little of a shock, but then when you look at what it is per person per day it is not that bad...its just shell shock when they say DDP it 1500.00 or what ever it is. The next year (2007) we got free DDP, we priced it out for for 4 people (2 adults, 1-13 year old then, 1-12 year old then (2007)) and if we would have paid OOP for TS, QS, and snack each day we would have paid over 2,000.00 OOP, but even if we would have paid for DDP ($1,500.00 in 2007) we would have saved over $500.00.

    We would pay for it either way...free or not. We are use to paying 200.00 for one meal because of where we live anyway so paying that is not bad at Disney for us. But because we can save with the DDP that is why we get it. There have been times that we have not used all the QS but for us money wise it is a better deal. I foresee that this year we are not going during the F&WF so the snack credits will be used to bring things home with us.

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