I don't think I'll be doing the Dining Plan next visit

mi*vida*loca

Collect memories, not things
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Didn't do the DDP the last two trips and saved a lot of money. We ate way more than what the DDP would have allowed credit wise and still paid less.

I would only do it again if we got free dining. With 4 Disney adults it can save us way more than a discount. But that's the only way.
 

KMarston

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
When we traveled with two teenagers the dining plan was absolutely worth it. The other plus for me personally I’d that by the third day, my penny pincher husband is wigging out and visualizing $$$$$ just floating out of his account. It makes my non Disney loving DH not so much fun to be with. And we eat out a lot at home at nice restaurants.

Kids are all grown and gone so now we take our DGS yearly. We do character meals every day and some 2 credit meals as well. I could absolutely not make the dining plan work in our favor. I kept receipts and tallied it and we came out about $500 ahead.

Sometimes it’s a lifesaver though! DD, DGS 2 years old, MIL and I went and I wouldn’t have considered the DP. The closer we got the more I worried that my MIL, raised in and orphanage by nuns, would not even order food because of the prices. She would have complained the entire time! Talking to my DH about it and he said, “get the DP! I was like, “You’re nuts! None of us eat much at all!” He said, “yes but in for a penny in for a pound, you will be miserable if she’s complaining the entire time!” On the way down I explained how it worked and that it was “included in our package “! That tiny Italian woman had ice cream and dessert three times a day! She ate til she popped and ordered the most expensive thing on the menu! So while the DP cost me much more than we spent, it absolutely made the vacation for all of us!
 
  • Beer Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2014
    We pretty much do a very light or no breakfast, QS lunch and TS dinner each day, usually at least one character meal. You’d think DDP would work for us but like others have calculated it’s off by $200-300. Mostly because eating absolutely everything we want we still don’t eat as much as DDP includes.

    If you’re doing multiple character meals it starts to make sense value-wise.
     
  • loves to dive

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2011
    We stopped using the dining plan years ago, the last time we used it you got three full meals on it. We don't eat the way the plan is designed. While we do eat TS almost every day, sometimes I just eat a couple of appetizers instead of a meal. If I eat QS, 95% of the time it's a child's meal and sometimes that is too much for me. There are days we just like to munch all day and not eat a full meal. We rarely, if ever, make ADRs any further in advance than the afternoon of and we enjoy refreshing adult beverages. It just doesn't work for us.
     

    Anthony1971

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2005
    We used it a long long time ago when tips were included than it was a good deal even not using all the credits....
    for the first time since we are getting the CS for one night because we are doing a split... the one night did not come true we are DVC...
    Anyway even with the mugs I think we could have done better as now we need to go to DS twice to make it worth while as the resort food is just way to cheap and we are not going to a park the first day....
    Just can not see how it would work for us.... Happy for those who can make it work.
     

    Nebraska_Disney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 15, 2009
    I personally don't want to eat all my meals at their properties. We hardly ever eat there. There's so many restaurants nearby for better meals and cheaper.
    Yes, if you are staying off-site. If not, you are spending a lot of travel time and eating time that I'd rather be spending in the parks. I can live with the prices as my whole point of going to WDW is to enjoy the parks and eating on property helps that to happen !
     

    auntfrannie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 30, 2001
    I haven't used the dining plan for several years. Quite often we just want to share appetizers rather than everyone having a full meal. I also get the TiW so I save on alcohol as well. Paying OOP just works better for me.
     
  • hrslvr142

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2002
    We are doing quick service this time but only because there are four adults and a two year old in two separate rooms and we will share meals/snacks especially at Food & Wine..possibly some adult beverages will be in with meals as well:) Should have made that clearer, sharing two dining plans between us and will fill in whatever else. We will see if this works:)
     

    adamak

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2000
    We haven't done DP for years, but last year I did. IMO, the only way this will work, for us, is -
    1. Split stay. Have DP on the first stay. That way I got the mug for the rest of the trip (DH is huge soda drinker).
    2. DP works best for < 3 days. Used DP for character meals or big dinner in those days. I love having a nice sit down dinner on arrival night.
    3. Use snack credits in Epcot festivals.
    4. Alcohol maximize the value. If your party don't drink or have more kids than adults, you'll really have to work the plan to get even.

    We had leftover TS credits on the last day. We ended up ordering food that we can pack (BBQ chicken or something) and had enough for the next lunch.
     

    MickeyMouseCD524

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2010
    We did the dining plan once and decided it wasn't cost effective at all for us. Last trip we got a Tables in Wonderland card, which basically covers the tips, and it worked out so much better!
     

    KellyHonos

    DisneyDivaxo
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2018
    Wow, thank you all so much for all the feedback! I apologize for the delay, I hadn't logged in in a few days.

    Based off 90% of the responses on here, I think I will in fact skip the dining plan next visit. I'm such a creature of habit, that it took 3 trips in my adulthood to realize that it really wasn't worth it. We always got the dining plan while growing up that it just felt natural to get it. But when I took my sister in 2016 and 2018 on my own dime and realized we weren't really utilizing it well, it made me reconsider it for our next visit.

    In the responses where people said it worked for them, it sounds like they were doing a lot of character dining, which my sister and I don't really care to do much of. We enjoy tusker house and crystal palace, but we're really not there for the character meet and greets, though they are an added bonus. We like buffets because we both have extremely different palates, so buffets offer a variety of items and doesn't inhibit either of us from eating a full meal. Also, with our differing palates, sharing meals on QS is difficult. We went into our last 2 trips with that plan and it never worked out due to her and I being on different pages appetite-wise. That's why a lot of meals ended up being paid for OOP, even while on the plan.

    A little off topic side tangent, I came to this conclusion while I was thinking about how I could do Disney different for my next visit. Every time I've been, I'm the person thats up at 6 AM and at the park's entrance right at open and by 2pm I'm worn out and ready for bed. I was re-thinking this strategy by possibly sleeping in a bit and utilizing the extra magic hours that are offered in the evenings versus mornings. As mentioned before, I'm a creature of habit and since that's the way I did disney back when I used to go with my grandma, dad, cousins, uncle and aunt, I thought that was the right way. That's what triggered me to question whether or not the dining plan is actually useful to me.

    I also hear about people ordering some groceries and water ahead of time that way they can have some easy food items on hand to rely on while in the room or that they can pack with them while they're in the park. I may do that for fruit and granola bars and possibly oatmeal, etc. Just quick things that can tide us over til the next meal.

    As for the person who asked if I knew there was a designated thread for this topic, no I didn't know. I didn't realize posting a money related topic would be considered so inappropriate to post in the BUDGET board, LOL. Apologies :)

    thank you all again!
     

    clutter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2001
    Some folks like the pre-paid aspect of the dining plan. If this appeals to you, figure out how much you think you'll spend on meals and then buy some Disney gift cards in advance. Pay for your meals with them, or charge meals to the room and then stop at the front desk each night to pay the balance. Not quite the same, but you'll be pre-paid!
    I did that last summer, and it worked out great! It forced me to be 'generous' with myself and not order based on cost. I ended up with about $90 left on the card, which came in useful a couple months later when I was at Disney for a conference. An almost free 1-day ticket!

    I also think that soft drinks make a difference between OOP and DDP. We generally drink water, not soda or iced tea. We also don't tend to do desserts at meals. We ended up ordering more appetizers and less entrees that trip. And a lot more adult beverages (I had two newly-minted 21 year olds with me). We also discovered a preference for going to a lounge and having a drink and a small plate, rather than going to a CS for a meal. I felt like we ate (and drank) really well on that trip!!!
     
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    Kestryl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    We spent around $700 on food (including snacks and pop we brought) for our 8 day/7 night trip. (Only the two of us.) This included three character meals and two other table dining experiences.

    The quick service plan would have cost us $735- but this wouldn’t have covered our table service and character meals. The standard would have been just over $1050.

    We just don’t eat enough to justify the DDP cost. We were also able to bring our own pop, and we didn’t drink a lot of alcohol, so that just made the gap widen.
     

    Nebraska_Disney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 15, 2009
    My last trip in 2017, I went to Sam's club prior to the trip. I was able to buy 2-$500 gift cards at $484 each and earned 2% back on my Credit Card too. My wife carried a card and I carried the other. Our family of 4 disney adults ate/drank/snacked for an 8 day/7 night trip and at the end, we had funds left over that we spent on souvenirs. We mostly at QS (it was July and hot, reducing appetites) but did have Ohanna as a family and my wife and daughter went to Garden Grille while my son and I went to Cape May for dinner. All in all, we never went w/out, had 2 TS meals, and ended up spending way less then what the DDP would have cost us. Unless you have multiple kids under 10 and do a lot of character meals, the DDP is hard to break even on. With the new additions of alcohol the last couple of years, you can get closer to breaking even, but you would have to be a regular drinker and want to drink. In the heat, I am more for a water/soda than alcohol, but that is just me.
     

    poober25

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2002
    DH and I went for 2 weeks last fall for our 25th anniversary trip. First week also included our DD for her senior trip. We always stay off site and we were getting APs. I told DH I really wanted to pretend we had a dining plan this trip and budget the money for. So, we budgeted $150/day for the 2, plus, I think $50 a day for the week DD was there. With that, we purchased TIW, paid for some of our daughter's friend's meals, did a tour at EPCOT, dined wherever we wanted (including Shula's on our anniversary, the Luau, and a few other pricey meals). We also bought several souvenirs (we don't typically buy any) and I think we bought a couple of t-shirts and custom buttons pre-trip out of that money. I didn't worry about our budget at all, AND we still had money left over, which we put toward our Jan. trip. We did carry snacks and drinks into the park with us, as we always do and we don't drink alcohol. We would have spent way more money with a dining plan, or not done all those extras.
     


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