1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Welcome both old friends and new to the all new Walt Disney Secrets :-D Please take a moment to say hi

Help - is the Dining Plan good value?

Discussion in 'Restaurants, Dining, Dining Plans' started by Deb, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Deb
    Offline

    Deb Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Without getting too excited, we may be about to book two weeks in the Port Orleans Riverside from the 14th January (I am staying calm, I am staying calm....:anxious: )

    Anyway, it being ages since we have been, and never when the Dining Plan is on offer, we are trying to fathom out whether it is worth it, and instead of continuing to suffer brainfreeze I thought I would ask you as that's what we're all here for! I think it has to be booked at the same time as booking the whole package...I guess I have picked that up right?

    DDP price is currently £27 (about $44 ) for 1 counter service, 1 Table service and 1 snack. Having read Johnie's excellent stickie on here I know what they mean by it, but is it worth it to us? I am struggling to find a comprehensive list of eating places - I thought DTD was included but can't seem to find them? We will be going out to Universal and shopping (yay!!!) for around 4 - 5 days I guess, but we were thinking those days we could use one of our credits for breakfast before we go out (instead of for lunch). We also may well get a taxi a night or two and eat dinner out of Disney property, but if we are using double credits on a few nights then we won't be using anything there. If we can get ADRs we hope to eat at at least a couple of the 2-credit places, more if we can get them booked so if we fancy a evening of just a light counter service meal we can pay for that on top and it will be relatively cheap. Anyway, if all of that make sense to you...would you say it is worth the money? That's if we do decide to go.....:unsure: Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated :yes:
     
  2. BigThunder
    Offline

    BigThunder a cool thingy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Messages:
    709
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    I've yet to do the dining plan because when I sat down & figured what I think we would normally spend by checking menus online vs. what the dining plan costs I'm not convinced it's such a great deal. But I think most everyone I've ever talked to swears it is. I do know in the beginning they offered a bit more on the dining plan & if I understand correctly it was a better deal then than it is now.
    You may just go through on this site or whatever one offers up menus & just sort of add up the cost of what it would be at where you think you will eat each day (yes a pain in the tush I know but it's the only way I can think of) & then see what the two amounts equal to see what's best for your family specifically.
     
  3. Dawn
    Offline

    Dawn carpe diem-ing Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    14,307
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    In the red...
    I think that personally I would find it very binding - you'd be planning your whole days around "we have to be at this restaurant by this time". :shrug:
     
  4. Deb
    Offline

    Deb Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Thanks Big Thunder. I just kinda did that a bit, cross referencing some of the restaurants we were likely to eat in...there are just the two of us so maore grown-up places are int there. It seemed to vary as to whether it was good value or not (I know only we would know!)...amd I couldn't work out whether things like Casey's in MK was included.

    Also, I had read that not all things on the menu were included, and I can't seem to find any info on that. I think for easiness we are veering towards not getting it.
     
  5. BigThunder
    Offline

    BigThunder a cool thingy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Messages:
    709
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    I absolutely feel this way as well. Trust me, I love eating & I particularly love eating at WDW but I also felt that our days would have to be planned around where & what time we were eating. I feel there is more freedom to eat when & where we want without it. But let me also add, since the dining plan came about, I find some places are harder just to walk up & still get in without reservations because everyone with the DP are now booking up the restaurants. This hasn't happened a tremendous amount of times but it has happened to us.
     
  6. Deb
    Offline

    Deb Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Dawn, that is my main concern, and the thing that has kept us away from Disney for so long. I hate the lack of spontaneity. I think I was wondering whether being "captive" on site would mean I'd have to book eating places anyway for the table service meals, whether on DDP or not) as everywhere seems to be prebooked for ADRs in advance and we would have to book if we wanted to be sure of eating anything?
     
  7. Deb
    Offline

    Deb Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Snap! Exactly what I was wondering and worrying about :unsure:
     
  8. BigThunder
    Offline

    BigThunder a cool thingy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Messages:
    709
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Deb & Dawn, I think I have found some kindred spirits, lol! I also like the spontaneity of taking things as I come, eating when we are hungry, etc. That really bugs me about the DP. We don't even always plan out what park we are going to on what day, we just take it day by day & do what we like. When you have to make advanced reservations for every stinking meal it ruins that! But I do think due to the dining plan you almost have to do that anyway to insure you get into the more popular places which stinks :(
     
  9. Deb
    Offline

    Deb Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Yep :( And that's why I was wondering whether, if we had to book and do that anyway we would be better value on the DP...but on the other hand we are partly thinking we may be happier just having a couple of counter services a day of we can't get our preferred by just walking up or booking on the day. I have never planned which park I'm going to, and especially in January when the weather will be unpredictable.
     
  10. BigThunder
    Offline

    BigThunder a cool thingy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Messages:
    709
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Well, I hate to make you think everywhere will be booked up, especially in January as it's not usually crowded. But my suggestion would be if there are certain places you REALLY want to eat, then go ahead & make reservations for those.

    My family is basically happy with counter service food with the few character meals/sit-down meals thrown in. As much as I love eating, taking too much time to do it only takes away from what I'm really there for which is the rides!! lol :D
     
  11. keith
    Online

    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    19,513
    Likes Received:
    433
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I'm not a huge dining plan fan myself.

    Some people in the office swear by it, one said to me she wouldnt think of disney now without the dining plan, so it works for some folks eh?

    I think she likes knowing that everything's paid for up front. In terms of having to make reservations, sadly nowadays, we've founde we have to make ADRs for everything we want months in advance to be sure of getting them anyway.

    However for us, its value seems limited. We never used all the counter service credits so they were wasted. We used 2*credits for the nicer restaurants which ended up meaning to be honest, with 4 credits spent between us, we could've paid for the meal out of pocket anyway!

    We prefer the Tables in Wonderland card which gives 20% off everything including alcohol :yes:

    Even when the dining plan is included "free" we've sometimes ignored it because having to pay rack rate for the rooms has outweighed the benefit of the plan!

    No qualms with those who love the plan, each to their own, but I just don't think it's the slam dunk absolute bargain which people tend to suggest
     
  12. uscwest
    Offline

    uscwest Senior Cast Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    7,632
    Likes Received:
    208
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Woodbridge, VA
    While I feel the "Free" Dining plan may be the culprit for clogging the restaurants I'm not sure that it really matters during non-free times whether you are on the DDP or not. If you know for sure that you really want to eat at a particular restaurant an ADR is a MUST.
     
  13. BigThunder
    Offline

    BigThunder a cool thingy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Messages:
    709
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    We did the Tables in Wonderland last time & it was fabulous &, for us, a much better option. Will absolutely do it again instead of the DP our next trip (plus it's good for a year!). But isn't it just for AP holders or am I mistaken???

    Also agree with the last statement Keith, just do not think it's the smokin' deal that some think or that perhaps it used to be.
     
  14. Dawn
    Offline

    Dawn carpe diem-ing Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    14,307
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    In the red...
    We always rent a car and get offsite to eat a lot.
     
  15. keith
    Online

    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    19,513
    Likes Received:
    433
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    yep AP and florida residents however only one person in the party needs to have an AP & TIW card. Often once you work out how much a length of stay pass would cost + dining discounts, it works out better value :yes:

    It used to be a MUCH better deal for sure when starter was included and gratuity paid for you.

    I Remember one trip where servers would insist on the best steak in the house, the lobster "not on the menu" added to the main course and so on :) great for us, server got higher gratuities paid by the plan etc.

    Unsurprisingly perhaps not only did they take the tips off, removed the starter but they also took the more expensive items off the menu.

    So yeah, nowhere near the deal it once was. Nice to wander round without money and just the card knowing it's all prepaid but not as good.
     
  16. Deb
    Offline

    Deb Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    We rent a car too, but when on our hols we like a to have wine with our meals, so then we'd be relying on taxis instead, and it would boost the price again :sigh: One of the things about atying at POR is we could go to DTD at night and at least have bar snacks and a drink if we had no ressies anywhere.

    Keith, I didn't know about the TIW thing...I will go and price up the AP against it. If it includes alcohol it may well be worth it for us as we would always have it with our main meal. Thank you :thumbsup:
     
  17. Britchick
    Online

    Britchick Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,016
    Likes Received:
    422
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Female
    i will be gladly using it when we go for free (fingers crossed) as we have 4 adults to feed and it's bloomin expensive. However i wouldn't do it in your case Deb
     
  18. Disneybumble
    Offline

    Disneybumble The Secret is in the Sauce.

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    3,110
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Deb,we have it on our trip. But it was free and it's the 2 of us,so only us to please. I to hate being tied down to set times. But we have made a couple of breakfast reservations, YSH one evening And LTT in MK when we know we will be there and one at Le Cellier when we know we will be at Epcot. We have still have a TS credit at the moment because we don't want to be tied down. And like you we love a glass of wine etc and for me to Bus around to all the different hotels etc would be to time consuming.
     
  19. Deb
    Offline

    Deb Serious Forum Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    If it were free we'd most definitely use it of course, even if we didn't use it all up. It wa one of the negatives of going when we are...definitely no free dining, and it kind of feels like you're losing out on something you should be getting as the free dining is such a money saver!

    Well, as you know we DID book :tralala: and decided against paying for the DP at £27 a day each. We didn't want to feel like we HAD to use the credits, and thought there may be days we may just grab stuff and go and not even have a sit down meal, or just go to a bar for cocktails/wine and have bar snacks. I also didn't want to feel like if I couldn't get a reservation for a meal I had to waste time finding somewhere to go just to use the credits up. We'll be off site for at least 4 days too (even though we'll probably be back on Disney property for the evening) which will obviously mean lunch and maybe breakfast elsewhere.

    We looked into the cost of AP to offset against 20% of food and drink, but found that if we booked Ultimate 14 day tickets at the times of booking the holiday (£240 each) we received a Disney gift card for $550 as part of a current special offer, so that will go towards our food....if we had bought the DP as well we may have had too much money to try to break even on!

    I now have to decide which handful of restaurants we definitely want to eat in and try to APR, but like you Siobhan I'm only sticking to a very small amount so we have as much leeway as possible on what we do each day.
     
  20. BigThunder
    Offline

    BigThunder a cool thingy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Messages:
    709
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Good job Deb. It's always a relief when a decision is made :)

    I've gone in January the last couple years & it's really not crowded so hopefully you won't have trouble just walking in to places & getting seated. I just still remember our visit when we wanted to do Sci Fi with no ADR & the park was dead that day & we could not get in for lunch as it was booked up. That's when I REALLY started hating the DP, lol ;) But as I said, that hasn't happened a lot just at the really popular places.

    Have fun planning!
     

Share This Page