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

KellyHonos

DisneyDivaxo
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
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.
The general consensus seems to be that going the no dining plan route is more cost efficient (if you don't need all that food and won't be doing character meals) but also takes a certain amount of budgeting to make sure you have enough to afford meals for x amount of days.
 

patman66

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
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 !
Yeah but staying off site allows you to stay for so much longer. my family of 5 stays off site mins away from the all stars and spends 7 days in Disney rather than the 4 days for the same costs.
 

jbehr12

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
I can't believe I'm saying this, but....

As someone who has ALWAYS gotten the dining plan, I think the next time I go to WDW (hoping for 2021), I'll be paying OOP.

I always enjoyed the convenience of not having to "pay" every time I ate, but once I realized my sister and I were pretty much ripping ourselves off, I got to thinking, "do we actually utilize this?" The answer for us is no.

My sister is vegetarian and typically vegetarian meals are on the cheaper side of things, especially when comparing it to the surf and turf or steak. I don't even eat beef or pork, so I typically ordered fish or chicken meals. Again, not commonly more expensive than the beef or pork dishes.

We also found ourselves paying for meals out of pocket ANYWAYS because we were both breakfast eaters so we typically used our quick service credits for our breakfast but then would end up paying for quick service meals at lunch. All in all, I think I realized paying OOP is the way to go. I also think we can save some money by ordering some groceries ahead of time.

Looking for feed back and/or personal experience in this. Paying OOP is uncharted territory for me.
Since I’ve been going on my own as an adult I’ve never done the dining plan. Doing it locks you into the most expensive options which don’t always appeal to everyone. Sometimes you want something a little lighter or different than what the restaurant you are at charges the most for. If you are doing the dining plan you don’t have any real freedom or you end up wayyyyy overpaying. You’ll save money with out of pocket.
 
  • Magical2017

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2016
    The general consensus seems to be that going the no dining plan route is more cost efficient (if you don't need all that food and won't be doing character meals) but also takes a certain amount of budgeting to make sure you have enough to afford meals for x amount of days.
    I agree. We just budget what the DDP costs and order what we want, when we want and pay cash, or charge to our room and pay it off as soon as we get home. We have always come out ahead, including tips and any alcohol. Our kids are 10 and 13 and we only do one character meal. Last summer we were hot an not all that hungry, except ODS. We did the DDP once during the "free" dining and it was too much food for us.
     

    KellyHonos

    DisneyDivaxo
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2018
    Yeah but staying off site allows you to stay for so much longer. my family of 5 stays off site mins away from the all stars and spends 7 days in Disney rather than the 4 days for the same costs.
    Staying longer sounds heavenly but i'm one of those people who loves being immersed in the disney bubble. I also enjoy not havin to worry about a car and parking.
     

    Disney Frenhines

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 28, 2013
    I did it in March as they had an offer where you got free breakfast, so it brought the cost of the QSDP down to a reasonable amount. However, I hadn't had it in 6 or 7 years and looked into how to get the best use of it. My advice is not to take any advice, especially the one about getting more bang for your buck with snacks.
    If I didn't fancy that expensive snack instead of getting the cheaper one for $3 I would think about all that hot air spouted about going for the more expensive snack to get your money's worth and not have any snack, silly I know, but, I was indoctrinated into that 'more expensive is better' nonsense and ended up with 15 snack credits on my second to last day. I wasted so many of those on things to take home. Meanwhile, not one of those experts tell you that BOG breakfast is an awesome use of a QS credit (lunch is too) Breakfast is a $28 entree plus a beverage, have a mimosa and you have a QS credit value of $38
    I just booked again for September 2020 and the offer of free breakfast is on again, as my AP will have expired I thought hard about doing that offer and paying for a reduced priced QSDP. I decided to do it again, but, I will have what I want instead of trying to buy the best bang for your buck snack, after all, breakfast at BOG is virtually the single day cost of the QSDP alone.
    However, I'm going next month without the DDP and I will keep a tab on all I eat and if it works out better doing it OOP I will cancel the QSDP and just take the breakfast credits as I'm told I can use them for any meal.
     

    patman66

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2019
    Staying longer sounds heavenly but i'm one of those people who loves being immersed in the disney bubble. I also enjoy not havin to worry about a car and parking.
    To each thier own as far as Disney goes. I love the car, we park hop and the cooler is in the trunk and we have a nice break and have sandwiches and salads and save $75 a day on not having lunch. We have a late sit down supper outside the park on the way home and that saves us another $75. Breakfast is another meal that works out better for us, we eat in "shifts" as some of us move a lot faster than others. I can't relax in a hotel room like I can in a house and never mind paying $8.00 for a beer at night.

    To me staying in disney is great for families with little kids, getting the mickey wake up call is great and if you can afford a monorail resort, it is easy to get to your room. If you only have 4 or 5 days because of business commitments . But if you have both weekends surrounding a week. Don an 8 day pass for $75 more than a
    Staying longer sounds heavenly but i'm one of those people who loves being immersed in the disney bubble. I also enjoy not havin to worry about a car and parking.

    To each thier own as far as Disney goes. I love the car, we park hop and the cooler is in the trunk and we have a nice break and have sandwiches and salads and save $75 a day on not having lunch. We have a late sit down supper outside the park on the way home and that saves us another $75. Breakfast is another meal that works out better for us, we eat in "shifts" as some of us move a lot faster than others. I can't relax in a hotel room like I can in a house and never mind paying $8.00 for a beer at night.

    To me staying in disney is great for families with little kids, getting the mickey wake up call is great and if you can afford a monorail resort, it is easy to get to your room. And If you only have 4 or 5 days because of business commitments and you don't mind sharing a room and a bathroom with kids .

    But if you have both weekends surrounding a week staying off site for 8 nights and having 8 days of admissions and the peace and serenity of having your own bedroom room and bathroom can provide you can stayoffsite and get twice as much disney and for me I pay for the parks and not the artwork on the walls of my room.
     
  • caylene44

    Aspiring Disney Travel Planner
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2015
    I think it depends on the group. My BF convinced me to do it this trip because he doesn't want to have to think about the prices or how much money we need to save up beforehand. Being the little type A+ I am, I went through each of the menus and calculated what I think we will spend. We should come out $100 ahead, but we've already decided that we're fine losing up to a couple hundred dollars. I plan on saving every single receipt and creating a spreadsheet after, I'll post my findings on my TR 🤣

    We're DINKs and we really like to wine & dine. The DDP cost roughly $1,237.02 for our 7 days or $176.72 per day. We went to Disneyland in April and probably spent about $500 over 2 park days for meals and snacks (more if you consider that we paid for the World of Color Dessert Party :rolleyes1). Knowing we like to order steak and alcohol, I think we will get the value out of it. We're probably the exception though, I think most adults don't find value in DDP.
     

    Dakota731

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2014
    “That tiny Italian woman had ice cream and dessert three times a day”

    I loved your story! It reminded me of when my kids were little and we splurged and got the dining plan. I told them each meal to get the most expensive thing on the menu and order dessert. They were so thrilled since I was a frugal stay at home mom who always told them whenever we went out for dinner “order something cheap and no soft drinks or dessert”. So this vacation seemed so extravagant and exciting for them and they still remember being able to order steak AND dessert every night!
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    We got the dining plan once when the kids were young and it was worth it. When they got old enough to not want to go to character meals then it was cheaper to pay OOP.
    It depends on how you eat though, we are pretty light eaters so it just doesn't make financial sense for our family.
     

    tinkerbelletreasure

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2010
    We are planning the opposite and things of doing the dining plan for the first time this year, and here’s my reasoning:
    Normally, I go with all 3 of my kids. Only one of them still qualifies as a kid for meals and tickets. So I’ve never considered dining plan before because I can’t justify paying that much for meals they will just eat a few bites of. I’ve always kept a spreadsheet with expected meals that we’d order and figure in tax and gratuity, and I’m usually really close. And it’s also usually significantly less than the dining plan. But this trip is just DH and my oldest daughter. And what I’ve decided is going to make this worth it is that all 3 of us would be most likely to eat steak and the higher priced meals if money is no object. We generally tend to go with slightly cheaper options or share when we are paying out of pocket. We also almost exclusively drink water with our meals. However, DH and I would love to be able to have a glass of wine or something without paying as much for a single glass as we’d pay for a whole bottle at home. Paying OOP we never get appetizers, and splurge on one or two desserts on the trip. We usually do 1 snack a day. So having the dining plan is going g to significantly change the way we eat at Disney World, but we are “foodie” type of people so for us, that’s an experience worth paying a little extra for.
    I really think the dining plan is more expensive for most people, unless they plan to get the maximum benefit of it. I see people all the time who don’t use up thier meal and snack credits and spent a lot of their credits on gift shop snacks for the trip home, and the dining plan is probably not right for those people. But when I run the numbers of what we would order that’s included in the dining plan, for this trip, we’d save money and have a much different Disney experience.
     
  • DisLiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    In my opinion (coming from a member of a vegetarian family), no vegetarian should ever pay for the dining plan unless they are doing a large number of character meals, and even then they should do the math first.

    My family will never pay for the dining plan as it is now. Because besides being vegetarian, we don't drink alcoholic beverages with every meal and we don't have dessert with every meal. And doing the math, even the quick service plan (which is just an entree and drink) still costs us more money. At home, we might have drinks with our meal once a week. And dessert happens once every other month---tops. What we do order, however, are appetizers and extra side dishes. So if we get the dining plan, we pay for what we don't want, and then we have to pay extra OOP for what we do want. It's just lose-lose for us unless it's free dining. (And even free dining costs us money, because we buy those things not included, but we save some money on the meal, depending on what other discounts we give up to have the free dining.)

    Typically for every trip we plan, I work out what we would actually save with free dining ahead of time, that way I'm a step ahead on the math if free dining is announced.
     

    imbatman

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2017
    I think it depends on the group. My BF convinced me to do it this trip because he doesn't want to have to think about the prices or how much money we need to save up beforehand. Being the little type A+ I am, I went through each of the menus and calculated what I think we will spend. We should come out $100 ahead, but we've already decided that we're fine losing up to a couple hundred dollars. I plan on saving every single receipt and creating a spreadsheet after, I'll post my findings on my TR 🤣
    Funny. I'm Type A also and I found it easier to use the DDP. Kind of like a "pay it and forget it." I've always been the one who looks at the price of a meal before ordering. DH is the opposite and orders what he wants to eat. It makes me a bit bonkers...but I've learned to let go of those $10. We'd like to try a trip paying OOP next time and I'll have to force myself to roll with the prices and eat what I want to eat. Knowing me, I'll still bring snacks and my filtered water bottle because I just fathom spending THAT much money on water and snacks. :rotfl2:
     

    disneyseniors

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2014
    I'm in the no DP group. We used to do the free dining plan every trip. Then we found that we were eating way too much just to be sure to "get our money's worth" out of the plan. We never order dessert with dinner. I got tired of going to reservations made so far in advance. PLans can change. It's life.
    So, I convinced my husband, who reluctantly agreed, to go without the DP 3 years ago. We both absolutely love the freedom to eat when and where we want. We made one or two adr's at our favorite restaurants, but that's it! We found that we ate less, were more happy, spent less, and didn't gain extra weight without the plan. We won't go back now. I think Disney is working towards discontinuing the plan anyway. They have changed things about it now. We went when it was first started as a way to get guests into the parks in the fall. They don't need that now.
    As far as the convenience of paying with a tap, we do exactly that with our magic bands. You just have to have your credit card linked to your magic band. Easy peasy. Just tap and go. We save money to pay for the bill when we get home.
     

    caylene44

    Aspiring Disney Travel Planner
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2015
    Funny. I'm Type A also and I found it easier to use the DDP. Kind of like a "pay it and forget it." I've always been the one who looks at the price of a meal before ordering. DH is the opposite and orders what he wants to eat. It makes me a bit bonkers...but I've learned to let go of those $10. We'd like to try a trip paying OOP next time and I'll have to force myself to roll with the prices and eat what I want to eat. Knowing me, I'll still bring snacks and my filtered water bottle because I just fathom spending THAT much money on water and snacks. :rotfl2:
    I think our next trip will be OOP as well! I thought this trip was going to be an amazing "value" for us doing DDP because my BF usually orders whatever he wants (which is usually steak and an alcoholic drink at every meal). However, he's been very health conscious lately so now he's planning on ordering salads and only drinking water and I'm like "the ONE trip you want to order cheaper meals?!" 😒
     

    AnakinsDad

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2018
    I've went back and forth about the Dining Plan for our next trip, but it's such an easy piece of mind to not have to worry about budgetting for meals.
     

    mrodgers

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 29, 2009
    We went in 2010. Back then the dining plan for us was something like $650. I added up my receipts just for dinner alone (even skipping one meal as we ate pizza at the resort which was 2 credits vs. 4) and dinner only was over $1000. It was definitely worth it back then.

    I've since played around and looked up cost (haven't been to Disney since then) and it has increased so much it doesn't come close to paying for the food any more. We also only ate what we wanted, not ate what we didn't want just because it was more expensive.
     


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