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dining plan good or not?

Discussion in 'Restaurants, Dining, Dining Plans' started by mgmrach, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. mgmrach
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    mgmrach Imagineer

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    Im looking at the dining plan for next year and trying to see if it would save us money.

    it looks like it should but then when I try and work it out Im not sure we'd spend as much over the whole holiday as the dining plan would cost

    anyone any idea on this?
     
  2. Taja
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    Taja Earning my ears

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    You'll get mixed reviews on this, Rachel.

    If you are likely to want a TS meal and at least one counter service meal and snack each day, the standard DDP can be a good value. The average TS meal (entree, standard beverage & dessert) usually averages about $30 per person, CS around $8 to $12 for entree, beverage & dessert and a snack about $3. That's an average of $43 before taxes and gratuities. Taxes are included in the DDP, gratuities are not.

    Remember, two TS credits can be combined for a signature TS meal, which would eliminate a TS meal one day.

    Personal opinion: it felt as though our entire holiday was planned around food when we tried the DDP (during free dining in 2006). We enjoyed trying different dining venues, but felt very tied to our ADRs. It also isn't a good dining format for me--I graze throughout the day rather than eating larger meals. It's what works best for my body, although I certainly enjoy an occasional dinner out! :)

    Whether you select the DDP or not, you'll still have to make ADRs for most dining venues well in advance. You'll be tied to your ADRs either way!
     
  3. Figment
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    Figment Imagineer

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    Personally, we love it when it's free...giving us a chance to try places we'd never book otherwise...but I would never, ever pay for it. When we visited Disney pre-DDP, we would book a couple of sit down dinners and then eat all of our other meals at CS places and with a bit a fore-knowledge, you can scope out the places that have more than just your average burger and fries. We always felt we had plenty to eat this way, and we didn't feel as tied down as to what we had to do each day.

    However, if you are the type that really wants to experience those sit down restaurants every day regardless, then yes, it can be a decent savings.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  4. Taja
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    Taja Earning my ears

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    After my previous posts, some other things popped into my mind. It was a bit slow this morning! :rolleyes:

    The DDP must be purchased for every person for every night on your room reservation age 3 and up. Ages 3 through 9 at the time of check-in are considered children for the DDP, ages 10 and up are adult. That can be a factor, depending on dining habits/preferences.

    When purchasing the DDP, most room-only discounts are not available. I believe Disney permitted AP and DVC discounts this year, but who knows what the rules will be next year. Lack of the room-only discount can offset any potential savings.

    If you're planning significant time off site, you still have to pay for the DDP for those days if you're registered at your WDW resort. That can be useful for the two TS credit venues (dinner shows and signature restaurants), but may not be.

    If you are visitng WDW during peak or holiday times when they add a premium to character and some other dining venues, the DDP could be advantageous. The premium is included in the DDP cost.

    Overall, the DDP generally is a prepayment of meals. It can work to your advantage if you plan your ADRs carefully and are interested in the more expensive TS restaurants (remember, some require 2 TS credits and you may lose value on those) and maximize the value with the most expensive dishes available.

    You really need know your holiday style and price on site meals to determine if the DDP is a good value for you and your family.
     
  5. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    I recall Ricardo telling me that he once looked after a party of 8 at the YSH who were on the DDP and thought that all tips were included. As such they left him a $5 tip as a "bonus"!!!
    Please bear this in mind folks.
    Although tipping is alien to us Brits, "over there" its a way of life and the server`s livelihood depends on it.
     
  6. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    Well tipping WAS included on the DDP prior to 2008. I suppose people could be ignorant about that the fact that it has changed.

    We have used the DDP when it's been offered free. It's certainly a nice money savings that way. I don't necessarily think it is saving any money when you pay for it. I suppose you could come out ahead. It's a nice if you like to pay for things ahead of time though. Personally, it is too much food for us.
     
  7. BigThunder
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    BigThunder a cool thingy

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    i still cannot imagine getting my food at WDW for FREE!! I mean, how awesome is that??? Maybe one of these days i'll luck into going when they are offering that. I've done the math & for us I don't think it's worth it. We are normally very happy with CS meals. Plus we always stay in a DVC villa with a kitchen & sometimes we just want a lunch or dinner in the room & we always have breakfast in the room. Some people think it's absolutely worth it tho. I personally am not sold yet tho i think this coming trip it may have saved us a little if we bought it because we have more reservations at the nicer places than we normally do & we arent' done yet.
     
  8. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    Free is always awesome :p015:
     
  9. BigThunder
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    BigThunder a cool thingy

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    Seriously, i think the first time i went into a nice WDW restaurant, ate & left with no less money in my pocket i might pee my pants just a bit ;) imagine all the extra money for shopping!!! Oh i really, really, really hope i luck into one of these someday.
     
  10. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    It's typically been offered during the height of hurricane season (aug-sept). This year, they are offering some dates in oct, nov and dec as well. I suspect Disney is being hit hard by the economy.
     
  11. BigThunder
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    BigThunder a cool thingy

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    I know & i'm so bummed because normally oct, nov, or dec is when we go! I was shocked when i heard they were offering it for dec! but jan, when i'm going & when it's supposed to be deserted in the parks, nothing. go figure, just my luck :rolleyes008:
     
  12. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    With the removal of the automatic tip from the Free DDP I believe that it is incumbent upon Disney to make it VERY CLEAR that the tip is NOT included.
     
  13. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Remember, when DDP is free it's contingent upon paying full rate at the resorts, so you have to weigh that cost against any potential savings.

    Personally, only having used it once, I hate the DDP. :shrug: I also really dislike what it's done to dining at WDW. Service is off, food prep is off and spontaneous dining at full service restaurants is a thing of the past.
     
  14. Shellyamc
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    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

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    Well the last time Dh and I used it was 2005, and it seems like there have been many changes to the DDP since then. Having said that we didn't have kids at the time and we loved it. When I figured the cost of the DP against what the actual cost of food would have been we saved around $800. We tried all the places we would never eat without the DP due to the cost. Now with us taking little ones next time who only eat chicken strips and pb&j I don't know if it would be worth it, but we loved it last time we used it :p015:
     
  15. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    I couldn`t agree more Tink. In addition to which, I have noticed a huge decline in folks non-conforming to dress codes in the signature restaurants [as I mentioned in my t/r from AP].
    Ok there`s no need for gents to wear collar and ties, but it doesn`t take too much effort to change out of your park attire before dining does it?
    Many of the CM`s we spoke to, from bussers up to restaurant managers on our recent trip absolutely hate the DDP.
     
  16. BigThunder
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    BigThunder a cool thingy

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    So what about DVC members? Are we not allowed to even buy the dining plan then?
     
  17. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    You can buy the dining plan, yes. Let them know when you book your points and they'll talk you through it.
     

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