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View Full Version : Dining plan good idea or not?



wishonastar
13-07-2009, 10:50 PM
I still cant decide :(

The dining plan with 1 quick, 1 counter, 1 table, has anyone actually done it????? It sounds like a good idea to prepay and they claim it'll save 30% off the cost of disney meals if we were to just pay but looking at the disney menus I'm not sure it really will.

How do the credits actually work in practice and do you get treated more poorly than people paying cash for their meals?

Are there limits on what we could choose ?

I see there's no alcohol either so if we want a glass or two how do we go about that?

Tink
13-07-2009, 11:05 PM
You'll pay out of pocket for alcohol and appetizers. I think (stress on think) that some of the signature restaurants limit your choices, at least that is what I thought I'd read once upon a time.

I am not a fan of the DP. Some people are, and I guess if it's free it'd be silly to say no to free food, but if you are purchasing it, I'm not convinced that it's a good deal.

Keep in mind that we had a TERRIBLE experience with the DDP so I'm pretty biased against it.

When you use the DDP you are given a receipt that you need to check carefully after each use to be certain that you have the correct number of credits remaining. There have been instances of too many credits used for a given meal.

I personally think the DDP has done major damage to the quality of food and service at WDW. :( I know when we are asked if were are on the DDP and we say no, we get big smiles and generally, excellent service. :yes:

*Bambi-Belle*
14-07-2009, 01:16 AM
We paid for it back in 2007 but back then you got an appetizer a main course and pudding, also the tip was included. It was fine we didn't have any problems although there was soooo much food. We had 4 counter service meals and 17 snacks left at the end of our holiday. We also felt like we were permanently eating or thinking about eating lol.


However now that our youngest is 10 it wouldn't be cost effective for us as he lives on bread, fruit pasta and cereal when he's in Florida. With the occasional Mac & Cheese or steak. He likes his food plain and as he would be paying an adult DDP price but eating next to nothing I don't think we would pay for the DDP again


but...... We have been offered it free for next August so will obviously take it. We will also be more sensible about where and how much we eat.


We didn't use it at Christmas and I much preferred not using it to using it. I can't really pin point why. I think if it is prepaid then you often order what you think is the best value or a pudding even though you really don't need it. It's almost like well I've paid for it so I better eat it lol


Oooh! I think I've rambled on a bit here.:unsure::biggrin: Sorry

Tink
14-07-2009, 02:00 AM
Nothing to be sorry for! Very good advice and insight into the DDP. I've heard that time and time again, that folks order and eat what they think they should for a good value instead of ordering what they want. Thanks for sharing! :hug2:

Mari
14-07-2009, 06:56 PM
Wow! Great points I hadnt considered!!

For us, this trip its free, so we are definetly taking it...

but.. I think we would still take it even if we had to pay for it... especially for character meals (buffet ones) and for breakfast at the resort's foodcourt..
I like the idea of having MOST paid for, and it really does make a difference paying 10-15usd a day on whatever extra you want to paying 50-70usd a day on all your meals..

premier travel
14-07-2009, 07:35 PM
You can use it against character meals etc and when it is free it is a great deal. Considering we discount the disney hotels anyway people are then getting an even cheaper deal.

Everyone I have spoken to have been really pleased with it all considering the price to eat in the parks now!

Tinkfan
15-07-2009, 02:47 AM
I think it's all about how you eat as a family, I couldn't eat counter service more than once a day,even then we usually don't go the burger, hot dog route. We pay oop for breakfast, we usually have somethiing small, yougurt, fruit a bagle ect. If we have something more we split it. Counter service lunch and sit-down for dinner. We would do this with or without the DDP. We have consistently saved at least $300 -$350. per trip. We look at the menus before we go, pick our places and do our ADR's. We eat as much as we normally do, which means we never clean our plates or try to eat more because it's paid for! But I admitt I like the fact that I can order steak without thinking of the price on occasion! And we don't have to carry all that cash with us.

Firestarter
15-07-2009, 09:45 AM
Hi we have the DDP ( free ) this year because we are staying in a Disney Villa,otherwise it would cost us about $800 for a week (family of 4 adults 1 child ).We spent ages working out where we can eat book ADR's and have character meals.:yes:
Will see how it goes,and if it is worth doing again.:thumbsup:

Tink
15-07-2009, 11:35 AM
Yep, free puts a whole different spin on things. Doesn't matter if you use all your points or not, and you feel freer to choose what you actually want instead of worrying about "getting your money's worth."

DisneyFreak
15-07-2009, 12:28 PM
We used it and thought it wasn't bad. It does save money but it takes a lot of planning to make sure you make the right restaurant choices if you want to get the best savings.

Mari
15-07-2009, 06:51 PM
One more thing.... if you are not from the US, you dont have to worry about the exchange rate, since you already paid for it!

Tinkfan
26-07-2009, 01:37 PM
We must be odd! I never really thought of ordering from the menu based on what was more expensive, just what we wanted to eat! Even the buffets right now are well over $25.00 per adult. It seems to me you would break out even at least unless you only eat once a day. DS would expire from that thought though, he is a true grazer!!:yes:

keith
26-07-2009, 02:05 PM
I'm just weird then :lol: I'm not at all sure about the dining plan although we have done it on occasions. Even free I'm not sure it's always the best deal which I know sounds weird!

I guess it depends on how you choose to do the meals. First thing which counts against the plan for us is we like to go offsite as much as we can with not having our own transport. So we'll be offsite for maybe 7 out of 14 days. On those days we wouldn't use the plan so the credits mount up.

We go to mainly the premium restaurants, so each one is 2 credits per head even though the cost of the meal isn't that much more than say le cellier which is only one credit.

We get bored of counter service burgers really fast :lol: so we end up with a TON of counter service credits left at the end.

We use the snack credits for water and things but without the plan we'd buy a load of cheap water from walmart so snack credits not worth much to us.

We LOVED gratuities being covered by the plan but they no longer are! so we end up having to pay those out of pocket anyway which is a pain.

We prefer a starter and a main to desserts, but the plan is now main + dessert :/ vs three courses which it used to be!

For the two of us, the DDP ends up as about $1120 for 14 nights. With the table in wonderland card 20% discount on everything INCLUDING alcohol, $1120 is quite a bit available for wherever/whatever we want.

For the times where the dining plan is "free", we have to pay rack rates on the hotel. Well with AP or even AAA/other special discounts, we can often save more than $1120!

Now I know all of that doesn't always apply but generally speaking it just doesn't seem "WOW" to us

Slowhand
26-07-2009, 03:12 PM
I personally think the DDP has done major damage to the quality of food and service at WDW. :( I know when we are asked if were are on the DDP and we say no, we get big smiles and generally, excellent service. :yes:

Couldn`t agree more Tink. :thumbsup:
Apart from things like this making it very hard for "non DDP" guests to get the ADR`s they want [or for making it essential to even make an ADR in the first place :furious:], many of the servers I know wish that it had never been instigated.

BevW
26-07-2009, 03:32 PM
This is all good to know. This will be our first time using the DDP, so there are pros and cons. I'm going to be making the reservations, and we want to try NEW places....no DGK's with us this time. I've always wanted to try Morocco, Rick wants to try EVERYTHING! :lol:

BevW
26-07-2009, 03:55 PM
I just downloaded the list of restaurants and the do's and don'ts of the dining plan. Doesn't sound TOO complicated....but then we're talking about me here. :lol:

hurster97
27-07-2009, 07:24 PM
I have done the dining plan on several occasions with varied results. Most recently I visited in February for my birthday, and used the dining plan to its full advantage. With anything Disney, there are pros and cons.

First of all, it is a money saver. It's also is a great way to "encourage" you to try new places that otherwise you would pass over opting for "something quick" to hold you over until... Choices are abundant but locations do take some preplanning.

I recommend you saving your dining plan for outside the parks. Experience the other resorts! The park food, generally is mediocre at best with a few exceptions (World Showcase). The only problem with doing this is planning transportation time. I generally stay on property and use the DTS so I have to budget time to get to and from one resort to another, using the nearest park, TTC or Downtown Disney as a transfer hub. If you're familiar with the DTS, this is pretty easy to do. After a day there, you should know what busses go where the quickest.

Get friendly with your server from the start! Let them know you are on the DDP, and ARE aware that gratuity is NOT included. You will receive much better service. I get to know my servers and take excellent care of them. They will do the same for you and you can even learn valuable inside information to get even more out of your vacation. This plan is very popular, and unfortunately there are those families that feel they have to take full advantage without the courtesy of gratuity. A happy cast member this does NOT make.

I travel alone, and getting "in" to most restaurants was very easy without priority seating. If you are a family of 4 or more, take full advantage of the online or phone reservation system. You will most likely not be able to walk in to your favorite restaurants without making prior arrangements. (Le Cellier, Mama Melrose's). You can always cancel without penalty with the exception of dinner shows and the like.

For my next trip in Sept. I booked early, made all dining, tour and special event arrangements in advance. The plan was supposed to be "free" with a booking by a certain date, but the same hotel and shorter length of stay was actually more than it was 7 months ago with no difference in season guest traffic. They're generating attendance, can you blame them? I wanted to see if the preplanning for a single traveller made any difference. I'll keep you posted. Bon Appetit!

Tinkfan
27-07-2009, 08:59 PM
I'm just weird then :lol: I'm not at all sure about the dining plan although we have done it on occasions. Even free I'm not sure it's always the best deal which I know sounds weird!

I guess it depends on how you choose to do the meals. First thing which counts against the plan for us is we like to go offsite as much as we can with not having our own transport. So we'll be offsite for maybe 7 out of 14 days. On those days we wouldn't use the plan so the credits mount up.

We go to mainly the premium restaurants, so each one is 2 credits per head even though the cost of the meal isn't that much more than say le cellier which is only one credit.

We get bored of counter service burgers really fast :lol: so we end up with a TON of counter service credits left at the end.

We use the snack credits for water and things but without the plan we'd buy a load of cheap water from walmart so snack credits not worth much to us.

We LOVED gratuities being covered by the plan but they no longer are! so we end up having to pay those out of pocket anyway which is a pain.

We prefer a starter and a main to desserts, but the plan is now main + dessert :/ vs three courses which it used to be!

For the two of us, the DDP ends up as about $1120 for 14 nights. With the table in wonderland card 20% discount on everything INCLUDING alcohol, $1120 is quite a bit available for wherever/whatever we want.

For the times where the dining plan is "free", we have to pay rack rates on the hotel. Well with AP or even AAA/other special discounts, we can often save more than $1120!

Now I know all of that doesn't always apply but generally speaking it just doesn't seem "WOW" to us


Isn't the dining plan $40.99 per day? If it was free you could use the credits for 7 - 2 credit meals and then eat the rest of the time off site! See we rarely go off site, if we did we might have to reconsider as well:yes:

keith
27-07-2009, 09:02 PM
Isn't the dining plan $40.99 per day? If it was free you could use the credits for 7 - 2 credit meals and then eat the rest of the time off site! See we rarely go off site, if we did we might have to reconsider as well:yes:

about $40 per night per person yep

yeah but you see we save more than the plan is worth either in terms of cost of the meals we'd buy OR in terms of how much to actually buy the plan, by using things like the annual pass discount on the rooms

Johnie
28-07-2009, 12:14 AM
We've done the dining plan many times since it's inception and every time but once has been free.

I don't complain about free. Ever.

I don't know how I feel about paying for it though. We did it once. That was fine since it was a short weekend and they were test driving it for AP holders.

I DO know that some of the restaurants I just will NOT go to if I have to pay OOP for. Tutto Italiano is one. It is expensive. There were 2 of us for LUNCH and it was $86 before tip. Umm no, not paying that.

I also know that the dining plan has been a huge success. People generally love it since it's prepaid and they don't need to worry about money. They just need to pay the tip. The only thing I really don't like is that I have to make my ADR's so far in advance.