Are dining plans really worth it? What other positives come from getting a dining plan?

nkereina

Last chance to lose your keys.
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
This post was asking about benefits aside from the money and that was the perspective I was giving. I even said that I wasn’t sure that it was actually going to save money, but I can say from that point of view we are likely doing Cape May, Ohana, Tuskegee House, and Garden Grille so whether GG or my 3 yo will eat much, you still have to pay the same. We actually do share some QS meals so that we sharesome for breakfast and some for lunch and we will have boys (21, 14, and 11) who will be more than happy to help use any unused snacks. But back to the original point, my parents are paying and an additional benefit is that if the families split up, if the 23 & 21 yo head somewhere different, they can still get snacks and lunch without my parents having to be there or reimburse them. It’s worth any extra right there so that they can go back and nap or sit down somewhere without having to worry about it. If someone has older kids it would be the same deal. Everyone can head in different directions and still be taken care of.
I understand, no need to explain. Like I said, I wasn't trying to pick on your post and have no issue with how people want to use the dining plan. But I know from my own experience, many people read this forum when weighing the pros and cons of the plan and I just thought it was worthwhile to mention the financial implications when people may not eat how the plan is designed. I don't disagree with the benefits you've outlined, but its still worth noting it comes at a cost.
 


cakebaker

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2013
It never is for us and if it was for most, Disney would do away with it. We stay at Deluxes or DVC using an AP discount. We aren't interested in refillable mugs anymore- got a million and we bring our own water, don't drink sugary sodas and can't stand Disney coffee. We don't like to eat a lot on vacation- mostly snacking and qs with maybe 1 sit down dining each trip- if that. The AP discount usually saves us much more than any dining plan. I tend to intensely like the dining plan . I think it's responsible for the decline in offerings and the quality of sit down dining- one of the reasons we don't do them anymore. For the most part, they're horrid and overpriced to make the dining plan look more attractive.
 

LovesTimone

Christmas Day 2017
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
This is a debate that goes on and on...

I think depending on how you vacation is the main key...

Some folks are commando visitors, some folks are Rope Drop to the last firework in the sky kinda visitors, then there are the over planners, and stay on time schedulers..Then you have your go with the flow, where ever the wind might take you... the afternoon break takers, and pool time relaxers, and got have a my nap-nappers... and everything in between...

Here are the questions that I ask myself when planning... not just at Disney but anywhere we travel...

Who's going?... I plan completely different if it just DH and I... Versus... When DD and her family come along... or we are meeting up with friends

Are we celebrating anything? special dinners, birthday celebration with a character meal...

Whats the purpose of the trip? and how long is the trip? Weekend Anniversary getaway... or a whole week family vacation and some birthdays thrown in... is a big difference...

Cost, and budgeting....

How do you normally eat on a day to day regular week schedule - dietary restriction or allergies - how do you normally eating on vacation...

Plus the weather will effect what and how you eat... with the heat and humidity here in Florida eating really heavy and all that walking... kinda weighs you down...

For us we have used DDXDP and the Reg DDP... and it was the way to go... Everything paid off in advance, and no worrying about what everyone orders...

You should try it out and see if it works for you... this is really the only way you are going to know if its right for you and your family...
 

Chef Dion

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
For my wife and I, the DDP is totally worth the price tag, both monetarily and mentally. On our honeymoon and one subsequent visit we had the standard plan and fell in love with the peace of mind that it offered in not having to watch every nickle and dime in our food costs, it was already paid for, and we factored into our budget as we paid off our resrvation over time. Not to mention that those table credits are super versatile, and some "snacks" are veirtual meals themselves.

Needless to say that with each trip we've found more ways to maximize the value, and had so many good experiences that we now opt for the Deluxe DDP for our trips. At @ about $200/day, they places, and food we eat are well worth it. We spend that much at a 2 point tabel for and still have anothet table service credit for our second meal for the day (usually a $100 tab). We usually use our snack credits for breakfast (those Gaston Cinnamon buns are pretty filling, and if at POR, begniets are a great value for breakfast. When you can basically recoupe the cost of one days points in one sitting and still get more food that day, big wim in my book.

On our last trip we had a couple of extra TS credits hanging out there, so we invited my parents, who live in the Winter Springs area, to have dinner with us at Toledo (a real treat for them). This really speaks to the versatility of the plan, let alone the amount of food available through it.

All that being said, I can see some instances where a family with younger children, can lose money if they opt for a Standard DDP, or now DDP+. If kids are picky eaters, and don't necessarily choose the most expensive item, or just opt for chicken tenders at every meal, you'd be lucky to break even in some cases. In those cases I recommend getting the QS option and mom and dad (or whichever, variation of couple) have their own date night out of pocket, at least once during the vacation (cuz it aint always about the kids).

It will be interesting on our anniversary trip this August, now than we have to budget for our food out of pocket, since Disney pulled the plug on our Delux DDP for the trip. We had some long awaited reservations we were looking forward to, not to mention review for my Chef's review thread. But it did open up anoter option that wasn't accepting the DDP, Takumi-Tei. Not looking forward to that credit card statment September.
 





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