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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss Dining Plan Worthwhile??? in the Ask The Experts forums; Opinions from those who have used the dining plan please. Is it worth it?? When we go we take all our breakfast supplies (buying milk there)and eat in the room. ...
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    LAroy's Avatar
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    Question Dining Plan Worthwhile???

    Opinions from those who have used the dining plan please. Is it worth it??

    When we go we take all our breakfast supplies (buying milk there)and eat in the room. So breakfast is eliminated.

    We also have plenty of snacks for the day that we take along.

    Lunch is usually lite and eaten on the quick.

    The only meal we really do is supper and that is really no big affair. We usually only go to one nice place to eat during any of our stays.

    I don't see where the meal plan is right for us. A mom, A dad, and a very lite 13 Y.O. picky eater.

    Disney site price quotes (Iknow they are high) are 2692.39 with the meal plan and 1756.63 without the meal plan( value resort and base tickets), a difference of 935.76. Thats alot more than we have ever spent for food on a 7 day stay. In fact that's airfare for the three of us to and from MCO.

    But then others who we know have gone said it was a good deal, although they had extra meals and snacks at the end that they admitted they wasted or used up just to get rid of them.

    Experts Help Please!!!!!

    LAroy

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    In your case I would say that it probably isn't worth it.

    When my family (DW, DD6, DD4 and myself) and I went in Oct we did the dining plan and made out like bandits. I kept track of my receipts and I we got $543.12 worth of food for the ~$300.00 cost of the dining plan. Taht is a savings of about $243!!!! But we ate every meal in the park and one meal in the hotel.

    What the dining plan allows you to do is eat at places you normally wouldn't. We ate at CRT, Hollywood and Vine and Kona Cafe. These are meals that normally would have been a quick service meal for us.

    On the last day we still had 7 "snacks" left so we went to the Confectionary and got snacks for the ride home.

    We plan on doing the Dining Plan again on our next trip.
    Last edited by ToddBreakey; 01-20-2007 at 08:08 AM.
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    Mr. iwbm and I love the dining plan for several reasons.

    1. It forced us to take time out for a sit down meal. The time to relax is greatly appreciated, especially in view of our advanced age.

    2. We were able to try new dishes and new restaurants we normally wouldn't have tried.

    3. We weren't forced to stay on budget because it was paid for up front.

    4. We got $617 worth of food for $300.
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    We also enjoyed the dining plan. We went to many more character meals than we would have without it. Since we went during the summer, we used many of our snack credits to get bottles of water. It was much less painful that way than spending the $2 or so per bottle.

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    JMSuperHeroTeam is offline Maura Colleen the Makeup Queen
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    We loved the dining plan!!! It made for a much more luxurious vacation for us, since we didn not have to worry an ounce about paying for food. Our first meal using the dining plan we would have spent close to $100 on food, and that was just the first day!! We used our snack credits for breakfast at the resort... a bagel or a croissant or whatever. I could not recommend the dining plan more.

    My other advice to you is to call Disney instead of using the website. I'm very good at finding deals and utilizing all the best websites to get a good Disney deal, but sometimes Disney offers new promotions and doesn't advertise them a lot! My mom called to book our huge trip in May, and the Disney agent was able to save us over $800 by using a new promotion. We got 40% off of the dining plan! So give them a call.

    Happy planning!

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    The last two trip I have used the dining plan and have been very happy with it.

    The next trip we are taking all of the children. It will be our younger two's first trip and I want it to be special and take in some good meals. Like iwannabeminnie said, it will force us to calm down and sit and eat. That will be good with them. Also, the way my two older ones eat, it will be cheaper to have this available! They can help me finish my meal and be full! That doesn't happen often.

    For the price and for my family, it is well worth it. We would spend twice as much as what the plan costs. I can't wait!


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    For my family (the wife and I and our 6 year old and 4 year old) and the way we eat on vacation, the dining plan is a very BAD deal.

    We get a grocery delivery for breakfast things, to eat in the room. This isn't for cost savings, more for convenience.

    We've been to WDW twice in the past 18 months, each time for a week. Each time, we did one "special"/expensive meal (Hoop Dee Doo Revue, Cinderella's Royal Table breakfast) and one character meal (both dinner). We didn't limit ourselves to this because of cost, but again, as a matter of convenience and our preferences.

    FOR US, I can't imagine having one table-service meal per day. We just don't like waiting around for service during vacation. We're not in a rush exactly, but we like to move at our own pace. More importantly, we don't want to run our vacation on a schedule -- the idea of having to be somewhere for an ADR at a certain time makes our skin crawl and makes us not feel like we are on vacation, but rather like we are back in real life with schedules and deadlines and responsibilities. We don't have to rush and get things done (or give them up) in order to fit into a schedule.

    We enjoy counter-service meals, and when you look at the menus you can see that counter-service is certainly NOT just burgers and chicken fingers.

    If you like the idea of a table-service meal once every day, the dining plan is an exceptional value, a real no-brainer in terms of it being worth the money. But for my family the way we like to vacation, it's a bad deal.
    -- Eric

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    LAroy's Avatar
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    Thanks so much. I am glad so many find it worthwhile and certainly see why.

    But I am more in tune with Cleve rocks and will probably opt not to do the dining plan.

    Please though keep the opinion coming. I want to hear them.

  9. #9
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    We do the dining plan, but we have a 6 year old and a soon to be 3 year old. The kids love to meet the characters so we do character meals alot. It's a different experience than meeting the characters for meet and greets. None of us are light eaters with the exception of my younger child. Since we eat a good bit it saves us money. We do breakfast in the room though because I like to hit the ground running as soon as we get to the parks.
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    vixen101485's Avatar
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    Just to clarify...You dont HAVE to do a sit down meal each day. You can do 2 counter service meals instead of 1 counter and 1 sit down. You CANNOT switch it the other way. (2 TS instead of..NO) EXP...you have 5 days and decide instead of having 5 of each TS and CS you do all CS(you cannot do it all TS) DOes that make sense? The only thing is that it doesnt save you as much of money that way because of the price difference.

    You also dont have to do the TS/CS/SNK thing each day.. EXP---Mon, SK/CS/CS Tues SK/SK/SK Wed TS/CS/TS Thurs SK/SK/SK/SK/SK (use them all in one day if you want) till you use them all up. Mind you this is an example depending on how many days you have booked for. 5 days = 5 TS/5 CS/ 5 SNK

    If you do decide to do a special meal (like Cindy's Dinner) you will be using up 2 of your sit down credits so that way will have 1 less TS . Besides the cost of 2 adults and one child for Cindy's is about $100+ and a character meal is about $75 so if you figure the cost you might as well pay for the plan which includes your tip and tax.
    If you are a light eater or picky eater then the dining plan is not for you. If you like to experience new types of food without having to worry about the budget then it is well worth it.
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    We love the dining plan.
    Just one of our dinners for 2 people was 187.00. we saved all of our rec. and when we got home added them up. the cost of food was over 1450 and we paid right at 1100 for the plan.
    We ate alot of things we wouldn't usually order, but we said we may as well try it anyway. We had 3 people on the plan, so we always had 3 appetizers, 3 entrees and 3 desserts. We tasted each others offerings and it was great to try all the different things.
    We are going again in May for 2 weeks and we are doing the dining plan again!

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    CleveRocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vixen101485 View Post
    Just to clarify...You dont HAVE to do a sit down meal each day. You can do 2 counter service meals instead of 1 counter and 1 sit down. You CANNOT switch it the other way. (2 TS instead of..NO) EXP...you have 5 days and decide instead of having 5 of each TS and CS you do all CS(you cannot do it all TS) DOes that make sense? The only thing is that it doesnt save you as much of money that way because of the price difference.

    You also dont have to do the TS/CS/SNK thing each day.. EXP---Mon, SK/CS/CS Tues SK/SK/SK Wed TS/CS/TS Thurs SK/SK/SK/SK/SK (use them all in one day if you want) till you use them all up. Mind you this is an example depending on how many days you have booked for. 5 days = 5 TS/5 CS/ 5 SNK

    If you do decide to do a special meal (like Cindy's Dinner) you will be using up 2 of your sit down credits so that way will have 1 less TS . Besides the cost of 2 adults and one child for Cindy's is about $100+ and a character meal is about $75 so if you figure the cost you might as well pay for the plan which includes your tip and tax.
    If you are a light eater or picky eater then the dining plan is not for you. If you like to experience new types of food without having to worry about the budget then it is well worth it.
    Has this been your actual experience or is this just what you heard?

    I ask this because I e-mailed WDW Guest Relations and asked the question about using TS credits for CS meals. I thought for sure I'd be told, "No problem," but I was surprised that the answer was an unequivocal "No."

    Now, I've also had the experience of being misinformed by CMs. That's why I asked if what you describe is something you've actually done yourself and not just heard about.

    The other point from my experience, however, was that eating just the way we wanted to eat, we still spent less money out-of-pocket (including the CRT breakfast that I pre-paid for) that we would have by purchasing the dining plan. I checked it out using my bill print-out. In other words, even if we could have used TS credits towards our preferred CS meals, we still would have spent more money buying the Dining Plan than buying all our food a la carte.
    -- Eric

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    calling dining now. We went in 05 so things may have changed since then. Give me a few minutes to find out. We were told to let the restaurant know that we were using a TS for a CS.

    edit 8.46 on hold

    I also have been told different things by different CM's so you kinda gotta go with the majority. Also each eatery may do things differently so I did find out you have to ask and ask and ask sometimes. still on hold

    being transferred to CRO now as they are the ones who handle it

    good lord...I will have to try later...I am so not holding anymore..I need to find out anyway.
    Last edited by vixen101485; 01-21-2007 at 09:03 PM.
    It's a Disney thing. If you understood, your only question would be "can I go?"



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    Allrighty then...after 3 calls here is what I learned.

    Call#1 to dining directly---"we dont handle the DDP you have to talk to CRO for that" too long a wait to transfer
    Call #2 to CRO and press dining information---"not this year" Kinda abrupt and I dont think she really understood what I was asking. Strange answer in itself. I think she thot I was talking about the free dining. Just the impression I got.
    Call # 3 to CRO again went thru the whole menu to general questions (please press 4) Very nice gentleman named Elton ***HI ELTON! Very nice and very informative. Yes you can use a TS credit for CS--let the restaurant know you want it done that way. Figured while I have him on the line find out prices for us for this year. Kill 2 birds,etc etc.

    I will ask someone else whose # I have directly and works at CRO as soon as I can just to verify.

    As for using them that way and making it worthwhile, personally I wouldn't do it for the fact that why would you want to use a credit worth about 25$ a person and only use it for a meal worth about 10$. But there are ways around that, go in a sit down restaurant order your meal and have them put it in a doggie bag right away, take it outside and find a table.
    It's a Disney thing. If you understood, your only question would be "can I go?"



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    CleveRocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vixen101485 View Post
    As for using them that way and making it worthwhile, personally I wouldn't do it for the fact that why would you want to use a credit worth about 25$ a person and only use it for a meal worth about 10$. But there are ways around that, go in a sit down restaurant order your meal and have them put it in a doggie bag right away, take it outside and find a table.
    Thanks for all your leg-work and research!

    The plan you suggest above wouldn't really satisfy my situation. The main "delays," if you will, at a table-service restaurant are waiting for a table (even with an ADR), waiting for a server to greet you at your table, waiting to order, and then waiting for the food to be prepared. With all of that waiting done, it makes little sense to take the food out in doggie bags and then have to find a place to sit and eat. I can't understand how that would save any time whatsoever. In addition, since we'd be entitled to dessert (as well as free drink refills?) we'd be giving up the opportunity to have any sort of cold or frozen dessert, as that wouldn't stand up to time in the Florida heat.

    But thanks for trying!
    -- Eric

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