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Vacation Planning Tips & Tricks Discuss Free Dining - Is it worth it?? in the Vacation Planning forums; Originally Posted by grumpy of ohio We've looked into it a couple of times, though it's not free. We find that it's not worth it, doesn't fit our touring style ...
  1. #16
    dusten's Avatar
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    Re: Free Dining - Is it worth it??

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy of ohio View Post
    We've looked into it a couple of times, though it's not free. We find that it's not worth it, doesn't fit our touring style and we're totally against schedules. we also feel TS restaurants are mediocre at best and not worth the time or money. Disney meals are huge so the wife and I split most meals, we also don't eat alot in the Florida sun and humidity. We don't like to change our eating habits just because we're in WDW either and end up with some stomach disorder.

    We do an in route grocery stop and get items for making sandwiches and enjoy our afternoon pool break picnics, breakfast can easily be a food court shared meal and dinner can be any CS we prefer over a TS. We don't know when we'll be hungry, what we want to eat or where so how do you preplan and make ADR's 90 days out? Some days we hardly eat at all but just munch. So for us, total waste, and when we vacation, clocks don't rule our vacation, we go and do as we please with no commitments, if we're enjoying the resort pool, we'll stay there. Our stays are of the 9-12 night varieties so there's plenty of time to see and do alot without a minute by minute itinerary, whether at the parks or for dining. We like flexibility and the dining plan curbs this. We eat what we want and like but food does not rule our vacations and to us Disney is not about the food, it's the relaxation, parks and amenities. To each their own but for us, the dining plan is a waste of time and money.
    I agree, we don't like leaving the room for breakfast. I eat as soon as I get up at 6:30am. We bring our own breakfast food and most of the time restaurants are not even open before 7am. Dining reservations are over-rated and sadly the food is the highlight of WDW for most adults.

    That said, there is a large variety of foods we enjoy for lunch and dinner at the Epcot world showcase. I still try to eat healthy on vacation because gaining 10 pounds on vacation does not make for good memories. Our last visit we got a 1-bedroom villa with full kitchen and got groceries delivered from offsite.

    We don't plan the details, but decide the day and park for morning and evening for each day. The resorts, tours and amenities are the hidden gems at WDW.

    I think the free dining plan is the ultimate in freedom since you can use those meals however you want, use a TS and CS for all CS meals or save up and use them for a gourmet TS meal. On the other hand, if it's free, sign up and if you don't use it, who cares, so what!?, etc.
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  2. #17
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    Re: Free Dining - Is it worth it??

    Quote Originally Posted by zippitydoodah View Post
    I don't get the question... I can see asking if the dining plan is worth it, but the FREE dining plan? If you don't use all your meals, so what? Its free... why not get it and then use what you can and then it's not like youre loosing anything if you don't use up all the meals.
    As we all know by now the FREE dining plan at Disney really isn't free, you pay for it by not using any discount codes for your room. it's offered at time (off-season) when noone would pay rack rates for rooms. That being said I did sign up for it mostly because i'm interested in seeing how well it works at Food and Wine Festival and I think I saved a couple dollars, we figured the savings was aobout the equivilent of one table service meal for 1 adult. I could have gotten a 35% savings off my room rate if I didn't go with the FREE dining. The key here is that Disney doesn't want you to go off property to eat, any meal plan essentially forces you to stay on property, which I usually do anyway. Now my only problem is how to spend my Disney Visa rewards, we usually spend them on food (now those are actually free meals, as long as you don't pay interest on your card) so now I hope I can apply them to the room. Also I think Disney should improve the plan by giving you a choice of either an appetizer or dessert, I believe they made the choice to offer just dessert because they know alot of people won't get it and that's more savings for them. Come Disney give us Freedom of Choice
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  3. #18
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    Re: Free Dining - Is it worth it??

    I don't choose the dining plan, but I do understand the purpose of it. The one thing I have noticed from standing behind a lot of DDPers is definitley educate yourself on what you are allowed to get and what counts as what(snack, counter service,etc)Many times I have had to wait extra time in line because the person in front of me could have gotten extra juices or was complaining cause a certain thing didn't count as a snack and it takes up a lot more time. The fact that you came on here is a good start cause there are so many people on here that can help. Hope you have a great trip

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  4. #19
    Lmerch44 is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Re: Free Dining - Is it worth it??

    My husband and I have been using the dining plan for years now..paid and free. We love it. There is something nice about sitting down once a day and enjoying a slow paced, relaxed meal in an air conditioned restaurant. We also like the idea of it being FREE!! We haven't paid a nickel for our food for the last 6 trips we've made. Flexibility is key when making reservations...dinner at lunch time, sit down breakfast, counter service for a supper. We've tried all kinds of foods and resturant experiences we never would have without the plan. For us, it is totally worth it.

  5. #20
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    Re: Free Dining - Is it worth it??

    I just wanted to comment on the comments regarding the servers pointing out the suggested gratuity......prior to 2008, the dining plan included the gratuity. So some servers may feel the need to point out that the gratuity is no longer included on the DP, as many individuals may not have been aware of the change.
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