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Old 01-31-2013, 10:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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frustrated with the dining plan

On our previous trip (2 years ago) I was a BIG fan of the dining plan. We did the deluxe plan and it saved us A LOT of money. All three of my kids were under the age of 10. We used quite a few credits for counter service and still came out WAY ahead. Now I am looking at prices for our trip next year and it is frustrating. First, the cost of the deluxe plan went up almost 30 dollars pp from last year. There is absolutely no way I can justify spending almost 100 dollars a day for food for an eleven year old. So, the deluxe plan is out for us. Next, I look at the regular plan. I did the math and at best, we would be breaking even, especially since there would be some additional out of pocket meals with the basic plan (my kids are 3 meals a day people). Having the kid that turns 10 really throws any value of the dining plan away and that is frustrating. I really think they need a junior plan for kids 10-12. We like to do the character buffets so he will be paying an adult price for those as well even though he doesn't eat like an adult. At the counter service and a la carte ts restaurants we will have more flexibility because he can order of the kids menu if we pay oop. But it is really making me question even doing character meals when we will have to pay 40 dollars for him to eat one plate of mac and cheese and maybe a cookie. That just seems wrong to me. Sorry for the rant!!!!!!! So I am wondering if we should do the dining plan and pay a few extra oop meals and break even (especially if we are doing buffets), or if I should do oop the whole time, or do oop and just do counter service and avoid the buffets since there is no way he will eat 40 dollars worth of food? Decisions, decisions.....................
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm in the same situation for DS10. I figured out we would save money by paying OOP even with the character meals because at other sit downs we can share meals or he can order just an appetizer or side. I am with you on the jr. Plan idea.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I understadn the frustration but, with that said, I like having it all paid for before we arrive. My DD is 14 and eats like an adult would. She is foodie and will try just about anything once.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think your buffet days may be over for a while. Be glad that you've done them and enjoyed them, but with your children getting older it really doesn't make much sense anymore, does it?

If I were you, I'd try this trip without a dining plan. Plan a few TS restaurants for lunches (cheaper in some cases) and mostly concentrate on trying interesting CS places.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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In all my calculations (based upon our touring style and the way we eat while at Disney), I've only found the DDP to "break-even" with what we'd buy if we paid out-of-pocket for the exact same types of meals.

However, we don't tend to do a table service every day, we rarely each get a dessert (nor do we get a dessert with every meal), and we can happily make do with several snacks a day and things we bring in from our room rather than get a counter service meal.

The one time I really like the DDP is if I'm traveling with friends. The joy of having it all paid for in advance, and not having to split the check is a big relief.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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On our last trip in November, we decided that we are done with the meal plan for the time being. Our two kiddos are still under 10 but given the higher cost for the plan and the lessened options at the restaurants we realized we were wasting money on the plan. It used to include more, cost less and offer more flexibility (such as switching a table meal for 3 counter meals).
IF we do the dining plan again in this current state of things, we MIGHT do a quick service plan only.
Disney needs to hear from their loyal WDW goers that the current plan and pricing isn't flying with us anymore.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I really never considered the DDP, in any incarnation, to be a way to save money. No, to me it was and still is about having things pre-paid, and about not having to decide who pays for which meal(s). Perhaps that perspective comes from the trip DGF and I took in 2001; foodwise, we were on a shoestring budget, and if we spent too much on souvenirs we would have wound up going hungry later in our trip. NOT a happy state to be in! So knowing that I've got X meals pre-paid no matter what, is a really huge comfort-of-mind thing, for me.

For our trip next year, we're doing the QS plan, mainly so noone has to count pennies for lunch or whatnot. We'll make one ADR per day (on average), that will be a TS meal, and we'll pay OOP; Tables in Wonderland will save us money (or more accurately, make the listed price be "including gratuity", ha).

But if we were going to do at least 2 TS per day, we'd've gone with the Deluxe again. (Honestly, if the Basic did 1TS and 2QS, we'd go with that.)
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When we went in 2011, I was going back and fourth - DDP or No DDP - because according to Disney, Abby was an adult. After sitting down and doing multiple spreadsheets, I finally said no to the DDP and paid for everything OOP. Abby loves the character meals so despite the cost, we still did them (and will do them again this year OOP). I figured for those meals, it was the price I had to pay for her to see the characters (she doesn't like the in park M&G) and I made up for the "extra" expense of the TS meals by sharing CS meals, getting kids meals on occasion, etc. In hindsight, while we loved the convenience of the DDP it was just way too much food for us. In 2011, it was apparant very quickly how little we could actually get away with. We didn't buy any desserts at CS meals, we didn't look for snacks to buy to use up credits, and more often than not, we ended up splitting CS meals (sometimes a single sandwich with an extra side of fries was enough for all 3 of us). Very rarely did we go hungry - and if we had a "hungry" day, then we would buy a snack or another CS meal to split.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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As they've raised the cost and taken away things like the second snack on the QSDP, it really requires you to do some fancy calculating to see if you will save anything. We rarely eat more than one TS meal per trip, which we pay for OOP. We don't like being tied down to reservations, and we tend to graze. Once we tried the QSDP, my husband was hooked. He used to get so upset to see a bill for $40 for lunch for the three of us. Now: out of sight, out of mind. He just orders and enjoys whatever appeals to him without worrying about the cost.

We often make use of the desserts from meals for snacking. Yogurt parfaits (my husband's favorite), muffins, huge cookies, fruit, etc. all can be carried back to the room or taken with you to the park to eat later. Same with the beverages; when we eat at our resort food court (always at least once per day), we select bottled beverages to drink later, and use our refillable mugs for the meal. We also sometimes use the snack credits for actual meals (we also like 3-4 small meals per day, which suits my husband's diabetes better than a couple of large ones). Soup, muffins, bagels, biscuits and gravy (yes!), those yogurt parfaits, fruit, etc. can be had for a single snack credit. One of my favorite snack finds was an Odwalla Mango smoothie on the fruit cart in Harambe in AK. It was a nice, refreshing small meal.

So the QSDP works for us as having most meals paid for, and no fussing about ordering the cheapest thing or getting what you really want (loved that salmon salad at ABC Commissary!), but it's not really going to be a big moneysaver for most folks.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm in the same situation for DS10. I figured out we would save money by paying OOP even with the character meals because at other sit downs we can share meals or he can order just an appetizer or side. I am with you on the jr. Plan idea.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by llgmommy2 View Post
I understadn the frustration but, with that said, I like having it all paid for before we arrive.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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We've never done the Deluxe but we have done the other two. I do like the convenience of having the plan and my kids enjoying not having to worry if they can get this or get that.

I just booked a trip this week and of course we are discussing the dining plan heavily. For my family the quick service will be $1,400. I'm not sure if we would be better off not getting it and just make sure the kids know they can charge to the room.. Even the quick service plan was a lot of food for us last time. We had 8 snack credits left the morning we flew home and used them at the gift store. We also had 3 meals left over that we used but pretty much wasted. We'll see what shakes out but I agree the more it gets changed the more I have to "think" about it instead of just diving in!

Best of luck!
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The DDP is not a bad deal for kids under 10. When they hit 10 its not anymore. I always wondered how Disney decided a kid 10 years old is an adult.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It seems like the new Disney mantra is "Give them less, charge them more." I don't think any of the plans are worth it any more
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We used the dining plan for every trip until they removed the appetizers & the tip. We just don't see the value anymore.
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