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Old 04-18-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
jpcommons
 
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Free dining with annual pass question

If rumors are true, we may be going to WDW during time with free dining. We currently have active annual passes. I have read that in order to take advantage of free dining offer, we would most likely need to purchase tickets to get the deal. I have a few question about the tickets.

Letís say the minimum ticket purchase requirement is 4 days but our reservation is for 14 days. Would we need to purchase 14 days of tickets to qualify for free dining for the length of our stay or could we purchase the minimum 4 day tickets and still get free dining for the length of the stay?

Second, if we do purchase the minimum required tickets, can we hold on to those tickets for a later date and maybe apply them to our next annual pass purchase in a few years? How would I make sure that these new tickets arenít inadvertently added to our magic band and used at the same time we already have active annual passes?

If we can do the second question above, how does this work with the new expiring tickets if we donít redeem them before they expire? Do we get the value we paid applied to the upgraded passes - any bridging costs that used to happen before they added expiration or does the value of those passes become essentially $0 after the expiration date?

In the end, even if it is offered when we are going, I know we may not be able to get the offer before it is gone. I appreciate any help you can provide.
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Old 04-19-2018, 08:24 AM   #2
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You only have to buy the 4 day ticket if that is what they offer says.

What you say here...is correct....only the amount they were worth at purchase will be used toward your new tickets if they've expired.
Do we get the value we paid applied to the upgraded passes - any bridging costs that used to happen before they added expiration or does the value of those passes become essentially $0 after the expiration date?

Personally, I wouldn't do it. Just use an AP discount on the room to save some money now and pay for your food. I just don't see how the meal plan is a very good way to go these days.
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Old 04-19-2018, 10:39 AM   #3
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Maybe my math is bad or I just don't understand. My AP discount for 2 weeks was between 600-700 total. But if they offer quick service at the values the cost of the plan per day is 179.22 (52.49 X 3 + 21.75). That is for 3 adults and 1 child by Disney standards. 1 adult is only 10. So, multiply that by the 14 days of the stay. 179.22 X 14 = 2509.08. That is almost the cost of the rack rate for the hotel. Would we spend 179.22 per day on food, no. But I could see us spending over $100/day. So, lets say my AP discount is $700. That would make the hotel room $1800. But then we are going to spend $1400 out of pocket for food. That makes the total $3200. But, with the free dining plan, we would only be spending 2509.08 total. I am sure something is wrong with my calculations. Please correct me if I am wrong. Also, I don't count the pass cost into the equation because I would just turn it in at a later date for an annual pass and get what I paid for it at that time. If we were going to be staying deluxe, the AP discount might be the better option.

ETA: Thanks for the feedback. I have always felt the AP would be better discount if I had the option. Now I am not so sure in this case.

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Old 04-19-2018, 12:12 PM   #4
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The thing is, you need to figure out if what the meal plan offers is what you would eat. Do you plan on one TS and one CS a day? Is a drink, entree and dessert what you'd want at a TS and an entree and drink want at the CS places? You'd have to add in the cost of tips and anything other than what is included as well.

The free dining might save you money, but are you getting what you want? If you didn't have 'restrictions' on a CS, TS, and two snacks a day, what would your family eat and how would you eat?

For example-
We don't eat a TS every day. It takes a lot of touring time to eat at a TS and we often find we aren't hungry enough for a big meal in the hot weather. We like to try various things around the World in Epcot, sharing CS meals to try new things. We drink water at meals, so the drink would be a waste most times. We might prefer a glass of beer in place of the soda/tea and that's not included, so it would be cost on top.

The meal plan doesn't work for us, but it could very well work for you.

Paying full price for a room to get a set of 'free' meals that's not ideally what we want just doesn't make as much sense to me as using an AP or other room discount and just eating the way we want. And especially so for you since you'll have to buy four four day base tickets which will be another $1300 or so on top of the actual cost that won't even get used since you already have APs.
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Old 04-19-2018, 02:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpcommons View Post
Maybe my math is bad or I just don't understand. My AP discount for 2 weeks was between 600-700 total. But if they offer quick service at the values the cost of the plan per day is 179.22 (52.49 X 3 + 21.75). That is for 3 adults and 1 child by Disney standards. 1 adult is only 10. So, multiply that by the 14 days of the stay. 179.22 X 14 = 2509.08. That is almost the cost of the rack rate for the hotel. Would we spend 179.22 per day on food, no. But I could see us spending over $100/day. So, lets say my AP discount is $700. That would make the hotel room $1800. But then we are going to spend $1400 out of pocket for food. That makes the total $3200. But, with the free dining plan, we would only be spending 2509.08 total. I am sure something is wrong with my calculations. Please correct me if I am wrong. Also, I don't count the pass cost into the equation because I would just turn it in at a later date for an annual pass and get what I paid for it at that time. If we were going to be staying deluxe, the AP discount might be the better option.

ETA: Thanks for the feedback. I have always felt the AP would be better discount if I had the option. Now I am not so sure in this case.
I'm very confused. In one sentence you say the dining plan is $2509 but then you say a few sentences later with the free dining plan you'll only spend 2509 total. And what about the 4 day passes you have to buy for everyone (assuming it is a 4 day ticket you have to buy). Where is that figured in? Even if you don't use the tickets this year they will still have to be paid for this year. What are your eating habits too? Do you typically only eat QS meals? If so, then the plan could work but if you eat TS meals, those will all have to be paid OOP or you'll have to pay the difference between the DDP and the QSDP to get the credits for them and that cost will have to be factored in too.

In past trips I've done the whole free versus paid, dining plan versus not and there are so many things you have to remember to add in. You may want to make yourself a spreadsheet and list absolutely everything for your comparisons so you're not forgetting anything.
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:30 PM   #6
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I'm very confused. In one sentence you say the dining plan is $2509 but then you say a few sentences later with the free dining plan you'll only spend 2509 total. And what about the 4 day passes you have to buy for everyone (assuming it is a 4 day ticket you have to buy). Where is that figured in? Even if you don't use the tickets this year they will still have to be paid for this year. What are your eating habits too? Do you typically only eat QS meals? If so, then the plan could work but if you eat TS meals, those will all have to be paid OOP or you'll have to pay the difference between the DDP and the QSDP to get the credits for them and that cost will have to be factored in too.

In past trips I've done the whole free versus paid, dining plan versus not and there are so many things you have to remember to add in. You may want to make yourself a spreadsheet and list absolutely everything for your comparisons so you're not forgetting anything.
The 2509 dining plan cost was almost exactly what my hotel reservation cost was for 14 days. the hotel was 2500 +/- 10 dollars (before discounts). So if I were to get the "free" quick service dinning plan, it would only cost $2509 total. Granted, we do lose the 6-700 dollar discount.

The price of the ticket is not included in my calculations, which I stated in my original post, because I will just save those tickets and use them when I upgrade to an annual pass in the future. So that is money I would have spent one way or another.

We are mainly quickservice folks and enjoy the mobile ordering app.

I still have to play around with numbers but we will easily spend $100 on quick service meals per day between all of us which would add 1400 onto our discounted room.

The one item I did not take into consideration is the parking fee. I have made our reservation ahead of the parking fee add on. I then modified my reservation to a bounceback offer. I was told by a castmember that bounceback offers can not be modified. So, maybe I would need to book a new reservation in order to qualify. This could add on close to an additional $200 in parking fees.

I am still not sold on the idea of free dining. Just trying to see if it is possible to save the tickets and if I missed anything.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:14 PM   #7
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Something to remember with free dining you are paying rack rate for a room which is always the most expensive rate a hotel can quote you. It's typically what you would get if you walked into a hotel or booked a day of reservation with them. Your only actual savings with free dining is not much at all.
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