Do you think that dining plans are worth it
For us, no. Neither of us eats dessert and we eat mostly Signature meals at night.
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It depends on what kind of eater you are. If you, like John, like to mostly eat at 2 credit places, or if you like to grab something here and there but not have a large meal then no, the dining plan really won't work for you.
We typically have breakfast in the room, a counter service lunch, and then a large sit down meal at dinner. So for us the dining plan fits in perfectly. We get to eat whatever we want and not worry about spending all our money on food, or how much something is and on our last trip we saved a substantial amount of money It works for us!
For us we found it worth every penny. We had the mid range dining plan- normally we had a counter service breakfast (filling us up nicely) a snack at lunch (still pretty full from breakfast) and then a table service dinner. By booking the restaurants a few months in advance we were able to eat at all the restaurants we wanted to.
We had bought a resort mug each at the beginning of the holiday so at breakfast we filled that with coffee, and then our two drinks EACH (e.g. orange juice, apple juice, water etc) we either left in the fridge in our room, our took with us to the parks, meaning we rarely bought a drink while in the parks. There were still 7 bottles left over at the end which we just left to room-service.
Even stuffing our faces every day we were still left with 5 snacks at the end of the holiday which we traded for sweets etc to bring home.
The other thing we did was keep a running total of how much we would have spent had we purchased the meals we ate using cash. Comparing how much we spent on the dining plans to the actual price, we saved in the region of £300.
Hope that helps?
For the 4 of us as the kids are now adults it worked out brilliantly, only paying the tip each night and not having to budget for lunch was brilliant. However I found that it dictated our plans. I didn't have a bad table service meal but was a little disappointed in the quality of the counter service this time. If I was going to stay somewhere and it included free dining plan then great, I would not let it be a decider though.
It works for us! I like the pre-pay factor, I don't mind pre- planning and it saves us money. We would eat at a sit down every evening regardless. If we want to go to a 2 credit meal we just eat counter service one or two nights to make up. Wolfgang Puck has really good food as well as Sunshine Seasons in Epcot.
I agree that it might dictate your plans, since you will have ot leave to make it on time for an ADR or maybe decide which park to go to depending on where you are dining... then again, inour case it "forced" us to go to restaurants we wouldnt have considered because they were out of the way.. like Cape Mae and Sanaa, and they were both WONDERFUL experiences :)
We also got to go to more character meals, since they were "prepaid" and Tatiana loved meeting characters and we didnt have to get inline for hours on end under the Sun :)