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  • Author
    • mochridh

      Registered: December 2010
      Posts: 10
      Review Date: Tue November 18, 2014 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 5 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): You'll try more restos than usual
      Cons: Too much food, very little flexibility

       
      The first time we went to Disney World in 2008, the Dining Plan was different and we loved it.


      Back then, we had the choice between appetizer or dessert and as I am not a big dessert fan, the option was very appreciated. It also included a gratuity, but we always tipped more on top of it.


      We also noticed that the restos were waaay emptier than they now are.


      Since then, we've become incredibly disenchanted with the DDP and will give Tables in Wonderland a go in a few weeks (DVC members). Being that we would rather share an appetizer and I enjoy a glass of wine with my meal, our calculations (on a detailed spreadsheet based on our usual trends) show that we will not be spending more for TIW, may even save some $$, but will enjoy flexibility and not feel pressured into cramming in 48 snacks because we paid for them.


      If more people dumped DDP, they would likely revamp it to make it more attractive.
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      CinCin

      Registered: October 2010
      Location: Texas
      Posts: 54
      Review Date: Sat November 15, 2014 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 5 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): peace of mind for prepaid meals
      Cons: too pricey, limited options, rigid rules on use, comes with dessert

       
      This is a peace of mind deal only. You won't save any money and you will have a lot of food to eat, but still end up buying more as it does not include a third meal, appetizers or alcoholic beverages. This does not include tips either so you still have to tip your server at the sit down restaurants. I had free dining with my package, but I did pay to upgrade to the regular dining plan. While I enjoyed my meals, some of them were 2 credits and it would have been a better deal to pay for them OOP. (out of pocket). I am not one to order dessert at all when I dine out and rarely eat dessert at home unless it is a holiday or birthday so that part of the plan is a waste. The entrees were always plentiful enough that I didn't even finish them much less have spare room or appetite for a dessert. You also do not get a choice of appetizer or dessert, it's dessert only. On the plus side: I had some fantastic sit down meals that I otherwise might not have tried had I not been on the dining plan, and some great desserts that I definitely wouldn't have tried had they not come with the plan. This does not save any money but it does give you peace of mind and it is a nice option if it works for you. I feel mixed about recommending it, as it is helpful in a way and the POM is all it really offers, but is it worth it? I'm not sure, as I can do my own math and keep track myself of dining expenses. I just don't want to have to on vacation. Now with charge to the room on the magic band, you don't even feel the sting of handing over money. The better choice is to use your room charge/credit card to pay for everything and only pay for what you'll really eat. I put cash down on my room card and then used out of my pre-paid bank. I still had a table service credit remaining when I left and because my flight out was so early I could not use it on departure day. Although it was convenient, I would not pay for the plan again.
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      MM from Connecticut

      Registered: May 2012
      Posts: 16
      Review Date: Thu October 2, 2014 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 6 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Easy, and refillable mugs a plus
      Cons: Time Consuming

       
      Disney Dining Plan was free during our recent stay, and we received 1 counter service, 1 sit down and 1 snack per day. Several issues: meals came with dessert only. We would rather have a choice of salad/app OR dessert, instead of just dessert (not exactly health conscious of Disney). Another problem is the sit down dinner took way too long at many of the restaurants (we were at Mama Melrose for 2 hours), and we had to book reservations months in advance, and we were pretty much locked into the restaurant. Too much planning for lengthy, heavy meals that our kids didn't care about at all. It was convenient and easy, and the refillable mugs at the hotel were a nice bonus, but if we had to purchase them, it would have been $17/per person, not sure if it is worth it.
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      bellebookworm9

      Registered: May 2009
      Location: 1,194 Miles from Disney World
      Posts: 220
      Review Date: Sat August 23, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Good value when discounted
      Cons: Planning ahead of time to make sure you get money's worth

       
      I'm a Type A planner, and spend a lot of time perusing menus and figuring out what I'm going to eat to see if the meal plan is worth it. I have spread sheets to compare options. As I'm an AP holder, I compared purchasing Tables in Wonderland, or using the regular DDP, which was available to me for $48.99/night. Even at that rate, the DDP was still a better deal than TIW or completely out of pocket.


      I saved about $75 and didn't eat anymore than I normally would. Since it was so hot, I was happy to have snack credits for frozen lemonades and other cold treats. I enjoyed all you care to eat meals for dinner at Garden Grill, Boma, 1900 Park Fare, and Chef Mickey's, as well as a breakfast at Tusker House.


      While I do agree that the option of an appetizer or dessert would be nice, I think that if you are willing to do some planning ahead of time, the DDP can be a great deal.
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      esilvestre

      Registered: July 2009
      Posts: 5
      Review Date: Fri July 25, 2014 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 5 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Don't have to worry about food prices
      Cons: Added tips make the meal plan too expensive

       
      We have used the dining plan 4 times. At first, it was a great deal when appetizers and tips were included. Now the prices have gone up so much that at times the tip for the four of us was $40.00. We could eat out at home for the price of the tip. I have also noticed that the food quality is slipping. Some of the buffets don't have great food.


      By the end of 12 days, I could not see another dessert in front of me. I wish they would let you have an appetizer instead and include the tip. We spent over $300.00 in tips for 12 days. I also noticed that some of the menus said that buffets were $59.00 so we figured that the food plan was worth it, but the buffets were only $39.99. Most days, we either broke even or never spent what the meal plan cost us. No more meal plans for us. Also having so many reservations cuts into touring plans and we noticed that many restaurants had empty tables so we could have just walked up to the entrance and they would have seated us. Next time, we will not use the dining plan unless it is free.
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      EpcotMom

      Registered: July 2006
      Location: Taunton, Massachusetts
      Posts: 42
      Review Date: Tue July 22, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 8 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Easy, convenient
      Cons: Too many desserts!

       
      We love the convenience of the dining plan. We eat at places we wouldn't normally eat at. But who needs a dessert at lunch? And the options are often the same thing - carrot cake or chocolate cake, anyways. And for the table service I find it hard to believe that a small cup of soup or small salad would cost that much more for Disney to substitute for some of the more involved desserts.
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      FlamingoGirl

      Registered: July 2014
      Posts: 2
      Review Date: Sun July 20, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Easy to Use, Great Variety
      Cons: Wish there was some kind of a deal for campers at Ft Wilderness

       
      We thought the plan was an amazing deal. There was just my husband and I and we stayed in our travel trailer at Ft Wilderness. Even though we had the capability to cook for ourselves, we decided, it was our vacation and we saved for 6 years and we were going to enjoy it.
      We planned ahead. We sat down about 7 months out and looked at all the menus and made our choices for were to dine. We made our reservations at the 180 day mark. We even looked at the counter service meals and had an idea where and what we would like to try. We did our homework. It was so worth it. We had fantastic meals everyday.
      We were there for 12 nights, on day 11, the lady asked us if we knew we had 22 snacks still on our card. We did. We had eaten so much that we waited until the last day and bought snacks to put in the trailer for the rest of our trip. It made the Disney Magic last that much longer.
      The only thing I wish would change is that the camp ground does not have a special dining offer in Sept. We went in Sep and the hotels have free dining but there is nothing if you are camping. Even a 1/2 price deal would be great. (We camp because we have furkids that go everywhere with us.)
      We loved it and would recommend it to anyone vacationing at WDW!
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      Time2Talk

      Registered: June 2014
      Posts: 6
      Review Date: Sat June 14, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 7 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Prepaid
      Cons: Tips

       
      My group had the dining plan with one quick service, one table service, and one snack per day. After reviewing our trip, we decided that we will get a quick service only plan for our next visit. We will pay for two table service meals out of pocket for our next visit. A table service meal each night ended up being way too much food.


      The tips for a group of four really add up and you need to take this into consideration. Tips added about $10 for each person for a table service meal.
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      BabieO

      Registered: May 2012
      Posts: 15
      Review Date: Sun May 18, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Love it! A real bang for your buck
      Cons: none

       
      I highly recommend getting the dining plan. On average our dinner for three adults would have been $120 per night with out the dining plan. We use the quick service for breakfast in the am & sit down meal for dinner. We have tried restaurants I never would have tried with out the plan & all of my meals are prepaid before I arrive at the parks. On the last day of our trip we decided to see if we could change reservations 5 hours before dinner & were able to get into another restaurant with no issue, with the help of guest services
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      DisneyStrong86

      Registered: May 2014
      Posts: 8
      Review Date: Thu May 15, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 8 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Great Value
      Cons: Unable to Cancel same day reservations

       
      I really LOVE the Disney Dining but hate the recent change of being unable to cancel without penalty.
      I recently found out that it will cost you $10.00 per person! So if you have a family of 5 and want to cancel, you will be paying $50.00 for absolutely nothing.


      What happens if you have a kid who gets tired and cranky the last minute? You will have to waste $$ to skip the reservation to take care of your child for a nap etc.


      Despite the new 24 hour cancellation debacle, I would really recommend getting the dining plan. One of our restaurants bill came to $109.00 but all we had to pay for the meal was tip of $15.00
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      WDWDad1974

      Registered: May 2014
      Posts: 11
      Review Date: Tue May 13, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Convenience, value
      Cons: You must keep track!

       
      My family of 5 just got back from WDW. My kids are all 7 and under. We got the basic dining plan (1 table service, 1 quick service, 1 snack), and I think it was worth it, and even enhanced our experience.


      Here's the main value: I did not once hesitate to buy my kids any food because of the cost--in fact, because the plan incentivizes the purchase of costlier items, I actually encouraged my kids to get the fancy things they wanted. This was, for me (I do have a tendency to be a tightwad, and to worry about letting spending get out of control), well worth every penny. I did not have a single argument with my wife or kids about spending money on food. And that meant that an argument about food did not turn into an argument about souvenirs ("you got the Dole Whip, so you can't have the mouse ears!"). Maybe that's what your every day is like, but if you're like me, go for it.


      Some details: you really pack the value in on counter service. Some of the options (Cosmic Ray's at MK, Tangierine Cafe at Epcot) are just fantastic, and you can actually get more food than the average value of a counter service entitlement. Table service is a little less valuable for the food I think, but we used all of ours for character meals, which I think ended up balancing out--especially when we chose the buffet meals. And we had breakfast every morning on our snack entitlements--bagels, muffins, fruit, etc., at the resort.


      Some people complain that it is too much food, and I get that. My girls want chicken nuggets and hotdogs at each meal, and that does not always beat the bottom line. But if you're savvy, you can get a big meal to split among your light eaters and reserve your entitlement for a later time. When you factor in all the desserts, fruit, drinks, etc., that you can get and the carry with you for a later snack that come even with the chicken nugget meal, I think it balances out. And my girls tended to eat more than they even knew when they ordered because they were exerting themselves a lot more than usual.


      It is worth noting in this context that although table service restaurants require that kids order off of the kids menu, counter service restaurants do not! So the Mediterranean Slider Combo at Tangierine (highly recommended) comes with 3 pita sandwiches, any one of which will feed a kid (if they'll eat falafels, that is). This is a value that no one explained to me, but which I quickly realized represented real value, and which I wish I had known on day one. I would have done some version of the following each day: have the girls split a counter service breakfast, table service (character meal) for lunch, have the girls split a chicken breast nuggets and fish meal at the Columbia Harbour House. That would have saved us an additional six counter service meals that we could have used to feed adults later, and which would have allowed us to have two counter service meals on most days.


      OK, so there's the downside. To really maximize value, you have to know what you're going to eat. I found some good websites that laid out some of the most valuable eateries, so no matter where I was, I knew a $14.95 counter service meal could feed three people within a 100 yard radius. This is not rocket science, but it could be another source of argument if your kids are hungry and you're making calculations about dinner locations based on value.


      A couple of other things:
      *cast members are very knowledgeable and help explain the system to you.


      *you also get these nifty travel mugs. You can only fill them at your resort (or at park water fountains). They're RIFD-embedded, so you literally can't use them at other resorts. But if you're having breakfast at your resort using your snack entitlements, there's your drink--coffee, lemonade, etc. We carried them to the park (use a "mommy clip" to clip them to your stroller), and left them with the stroller for hours at a time. I was sure they'd get stolen, but they never were!
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      lw

      Registered: February 2007
      Posts: 14
      Review Date: Sun March 16, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 6 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Prepaid meals
      Cons: A lot of food; pay for tip over 6 people

       
      Prepaying for meals are an excellent option when dining at Disney.


      However, after 5 days so much dessert and so many less than stellar snack and quick serve choices you become so full!
      Perhaps, a Baggie of carrots or a garden salad instead of dessert or a bottle of water.


      We were very surprised with the additional gratuity added to each meal.
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      thetony45

      Registered: March 2011
      Posts: 67
      Review Date: Sat January 25, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 7 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Prepaid Meals
      Cons: Almost to much food, no appitizers, tip not included

       
      My recent trip I was given a free quick service dining plan so I paid a small up-charge to get the standard dining plan.


      The standard plan allows you 1 Table Service meal, 1 Counter Service meal, and 1 snack per night of your stay as well as a refillable mug you can use at any resort during your stay.


      After 5 sit down meals, 5 counter service meal, and 5 snacks I never felt so full in my life.


      All the food (with one notable exception. See my Chef Mickey's review for that) was very good but it got to be to much. I had to force myself to use all my counter service meals and snacks to keep them from going to waste and ended up bringing a lot of food home with me.


      The refillable mug is nice if you spend a lot of time at the resort, but I don't and you can't fill it at the parks. Also when you come home what are you gonna do with it? I have 4 of them just sitting around now.


      Also keep in mind appetizers and tips are NOT included and reservations are required for the table service meals so plan ahead.


      The dining plan is not for everyone, but something nice if you eat a lot.
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      kretzklan

      Registered: October 2010
      Posts: 22
      Review Date: Tue January 14, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Allows us to have great family time
      Cons: none

       
      We love the dining plan. It saves us a decent amount of money (we figured it up and saved about 20%)...plus we wouldn't normally splurge for some of the meals we get to choose and certainly not dessert! It's the best time of day when we sit down for a meal and have a chance to talk about the day! Even quick service meals are wonderful. It just really takes a lot off our minds - not constantly price watching...it's prepaid!
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      JerseyShoregirl13

      Registered: November 2012
      Location: NJ
      Posts: 17
      Review Date: Fri January 10, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 8 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Meals already paid for
      Cons: Tip not included & no appetizers

       
      I love that meals are already paid for. But have to make sure have money for tips; which I have been told should be 18% even for buffet meals. Also, I would rather have appetizers than dessert or even have the choice of either dessert or appetizer.
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