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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss I need an expert opinion on the dining plan in the Ask The Experts forums; Seems like a lot of dining plan questions lately......well heres another. Girlfriend and I going in August, just the two of us, I've never used the dining plan but she ...
  1. #1
    dcbush12's Avatar
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    I need an expert opinion on the dining plan

    Seems like a lot of dining plan questions lately......well heres another. Girlfriend and I going in August, just the two of us, I've never used the dining plan but she wants to take a look at it. Does anyone who has used it for a whole week have an opinion on its pros and cons? i would greatly appreciate some help
    I'm the only one!!!!



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  2. #2
    mritty's Avatar
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    Pros:
    * potentially money-saving
    * pay for all your food at once, before your trip, so you never think about how much money you're spending while you're there
    * convenience - no need to carry cash or credit card, just swipe your room card

    Cons:
    * in order to actually save money using it, you need to have already been planning on having a table service meal each day, including entré, drink, and dessert
    * to eat in table-service restaurants, you need to make reservations, which takes spontaneity out of your trip
    * there have been some reports of servers giving substandard service to those on the plan
    * if you can't book all your table service meals, or just can't make the reservations, or don't use all your counter-service or snack credits, you cannot get any of the plan refunded
    * you can only buy it as part of a Magic Your Way package, including tickets and rack-rate room reservations. That meansno AAA discounts (unless you book directly through AAA) and no Annual Pass discount.
    * Appetizer is not included, and you will get a bill for any appetizers your order on the table service meals
    * Tips are not included, and you will get a bill for the gratuity for your table service meals.

    My personal opinion - if and ONLY IF you will be eating at least one table service meal EVERY DAY anyway, and if and ONLY IF you do not have an annual pass, go ahead and book the dining plan. Go to your local AAA office and book through them to get a discount on your package. I personally did not encounter any substandard waitstaff service the one time I used the plan.

    If you would not otherwise do a table service meal every day, the plan is not of financial value to you - you're better off paying for each meal alá carte.
    If you have an Annual Pass, you will be wasting money both on buying tickets you don't need and on paying rack-rate for your room reservation.


    Keep in mind what I believe to be the biggest misconception about the DDP - it is a means of paying for your food only. It does not in any way affect your need to make reservations or give you any guaranteed ability to get any given table service restaurant. You still have to book your reservations well in advance, and there is no guarantee that the restaurants you want to eat at will be available when you go to make your reservations.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by mritty; 02-09-2008 at 06:43 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    craig15 is offline C-Ticket Holder
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    I definitely agree with mritty. This is only worthwhile if you would have been eating a sit-down meal every day. I paid for it once and will never do it again. We don't like losing the spontenaity that you have when you don't have an ADR each day. We will still take it for free, though...and use as many 2-point meals as we can.
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  4. #4
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    I used it in Oct and I willl always use again.
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    PrincessAriel, since you are (so far) the only proponent of the DDP on this thread, perhaps you could give us your point of view? Why did you use it last time, why will you use it again? What do you believe are the pros? Any that I didn't list? Do you disagree with the cons I listed, or do you think the pros outweigh them?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    I used it for our family of 6 during Thanksgiving. It did take time from our trip but was a great value in order to feed all of my children enough that we didnt' have to stop for a bunch of snacks during the day. I ended up getting a dozen rice krispie treats with our snack credits the last night and we took them home. The kids loved getting to eat them while watching a Disney movie later. The average meal took 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours but we found it was great to sit and look around and talk about the rides we had been on. It saved the kids feet a bit. We did have a few counter service credits that I wish we had used but we never went hungry during that trip.

    I would use it again...will use it in December or January when I get to go with my son.


  7. #7
    princessariel's Avatar
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    Well, I liked that I didn't have to carry anything but my room key.
    My friends and I are big eaters...we like to try lots of things. We almost always get an appetizer, meal, and desert. This totally saved us money. I think once our "bill" was almost $200!! The DP more than paid for it's self that day alone.
    I liked not having to worry about money once we got to WDW as I knew my meals were taken care of. The only $$ I had to monitor was my spending money.

    We like to eat at table service. I LOATHE having to find spots at counter service places. The job of someone finding the table, holding it, and trying not to make eye contact with the people who are trying to take your table while you peacefully try to finish you last bites of your desert is not fun to me.

    We never once had a rude server at our TS meals. We actually had some amazing servers! I never once felt like we were being rushed and I like taking that break to sit down at a TS during the day or at night.

    We used every last meal and all our snacks.

    I know the next time we go we will have to pay the tip our selves and if we want an appetizer purchase that. All in all I think it's still a great deal and it works great for us. I honestly think we will even invest in the deluxe dining plan.
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  8. #8
    mritty's Avatar
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    Cool. Thanks for your opinions. Like I said, if you enjoy doing a table service every day, the DDP may indeed be for you.

    Quick note though - you don't need anything more than your room card regardless of DDP - you can use your room card to charge purchases, including restaurants, back to your room and have it go on your hotel bill.

  9. #9
    princessariel's Avatar
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    I know I can charge anything to my room. That's the advantage to me....I paid before hand so I don't have to worry about what to order because I'm trying to eat under X ammount each day.

    This way I'm not shocked with a HUGE bill at the end of my trip.
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  10. #10
    Disney05's Avatar
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    * Tips are not included, and you will get a bill for the gratuity for your table service meals.

    You get a separate bill for the tip? Even if you are on the dining plan? Is it a set amount? I've use the dining plan in the past and liked it. But we're not sure now for our next trip.
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  11. #11
    gwarn1 is offline A-Ticket holder
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    I found the part where you said servers give bad service to people on the plan. We just got back from our trip yesterday and I was disgusted by the service, even got snapped at by a waitress at Ohana. Any Dennys would of offered way better sevice. my question is Why? are people on the plan notorios for not tipping? or is it some other reason
    Quote Originally Posted by mritty View Post
    Pros:
    * potentially money-saving
    * pay for all your food at once, before your trip, so you never think about how much money you're spending while you're there
    * convenience - no need to carry cash or credit card, just swipe your room card

    Cons:
    * in order to actually save money using it, you need to have already been planning on having a table service meal each day, including entré, drink, and dessert
    * to eat in table-service restaurants, you need to make reservations, which takes spontaneity out of your trip
    * there have been some reports of servers giving substandard service to those on the plan
    * if you can't book all your table service meals, or just can't make the reservations, or don't use all your counter-service or snack credits, you cannot get any of the plan refunded
    * you can only buy it as part of a Magic Your Way package, including tickets and rack-rate room reservations. That meansno AAA discounts (unless you book directly through AAA) and no Annual Pass discount.
    * Appetizer is not included, and you will get a bill for any appetizers your order on the table service meals
    * Tips are not included, and you will get a bill for the gratuity for your table service meals.

    My personal opinion - if and ONLY IF you will be eating at least one table service meal EVERY DAY anyway, and if and ONLY IF you do not have an annual pass, go ahead and book the dining plan. Go to your local AAA office and book through them to get a discount on your package. I personally did not encounter any substandard waitstaff service the one time I used the plan.

    If you would not otherwise do a table service meal every day, the plan is not of financial value to you - you're better off paying for each meal alá carte.
    If you have an Annual Pass, you will be wasting money both on buying tickets you don't need and on paying rack-rate for your room reservation.


    Keep in mind what I believe to be the biggest misconception about the DDP - it is a means of paying for your food only. It does not in any way affect your need to make reservations or give you any guaranteed ability to get any given table service restaurant. You still have to book your reservations well in advance, and there is no guarantee that the restaurants you want to eat at will be available when you go to make your reservations.

    Hope this helps!

  12. #12
    mritty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disney05 View Post
    * Tips are not included, and you will get a bill for the gratuity for your table service meals.

    You get a separate bill for the tip? Even if you are on the dining plan? Is it a set amount? I've use the dining plan in the past and liked it. But we're not sure now for our next trip.
    It changed for 2008. Before, the tip was included in the plan. Now it's not. Now when you get your bill, and you have the server swipe your card to deduct the appropriate amount of credits, the receipt you get back will have a slot to write down the tip, just like any other receipt. No, it is not a fixed amount.

    I honestly don't know how they're doing it if by some chance someone's room card (necessary for the credits) isn't set up to also charge back to the hotel.

  13. #13
    WoL Fan's Avatar
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    I've used the Dining Plan the last 3 times and really enjoyed it. I would have to say that sometimes the amount of food was a bit daunting, but that was before the 08 changes (when appetizers were included). A couple times my brother and I had to change our plans after dining. As a 'cousin" at Prime Time reminded some of his charges - "Remember - No Tower for an hour"

    I will suggest that you try to use your table meal for either lunch or a very early dinner. We had no problem getting our ADRs at all (Prime Time, Marakesh, Nine Dragons, Ohana, Kona Cafe)

  14. #14
    angharad's Avatar
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    I don't care for the regular Dining Plan, but I do really like the newer Deluxe Plan. It's more expensive, but far more flexible (3 meals per day, any combination of counter or table that you want). It's probably more expensive than paying out-of-pocket, but it was nice to have pre-paid and to know that I didn't have to worry about meals.

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