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  • Author
    • jhavalot

      Registered: March 2012
      Posts: 8
      Review Date: Fri March 2, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Options, value
      Cons: organizing

      I have done the DDP 7 out of 10 visits. I would recommend it to everyone. Plan ahead and make reservations and try a new restaurant every day. Quick serve meals for the kids are not limited to just the kids menu. Kids can order a quick meal from the adult meal or the kids menu. Now it even comes with a resort mug included. Get unlimited tea, coffee, soda, hot chocolate, Iced tea, etc.... I have saved on average about 18% every trip. I keep receipts and compare the cost to the meal plan. You just need to plan a little to save some money and you get to try new options in food.
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      Registered: September 2010
      Location: Michigan
      Posts: 20
      Review Date: Thu March 1, 2012 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 5 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Good if you plan to make reservations for a good sit down meal every day
      Cons: Not good if you have kids, not as good a value as it used to be

      If you love to eat at the great restaurants at Disney and have the time to do so the dining plan is still a good deal.

      If you have kids in your party (who likely do not eat much), don't like to be tied down with reservations during your vacation, or don't like to eat heavy meals all the time then this is not for you.

      The dining plan used to encompass a lot more (appetizer and tip) than it does now and also for less cash. It was a tremendous deal. Today though, not quite as good. No more appetizer, but you feel obligated to order a dessert at every meal since you're paying for it. Also, with so many people using the plan you invariably need reservations for wherever you're heading for dinner; which to me takes part of the 'vacation' part out of the vacation. This trip we opted not to get the plan any more and found that we spent less for the week than the plan would have cost while still enjoying some great meals on our own terms (especially Boma).

      I see a lot of reviewers mentioning they had the 'free' dining plan. It's actually a better deal in many cases to take the xx% off your room discount instead of the free dining plan.
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      Registered: February 2012
      Posts: 1
      Review Date: Fri February 24, 2012 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 8 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Convenience
      Cons: Not customizable to fit individual appetites

      I'm not saying I don't recommend the DP at ALL..I think its great depending on your family.

      But I wouldn't recommend this plan if you have a small family that doesn't eat much. ESPECIALLY not if you have children who eat like children but are considered "adults" in the DP and therefore, you're paying adult prices for adult size meals they won't even finish!

      Before you get the DDP, be sure to consider your family's eating habits because,though it may be savings for some, its overkill for others.
      My family is 1 adult (me) a 15 year old girl, and 12 year old boy. My daughter and I eat like birds.

      In 2006, we stayed at WDW for 9 days; we pretty much grazed all day-ate at a counter service MAYBE five times the whole time. Didn't do to sit down frankly because the kids were so busy with the attractions, and parks, we never really found the time.

      So making our reservations for this year (staying 8 days in March),and after reading so much hype about the dining plan, I considered trying it, though I wondered about the likely hood of us wanting to do a sit down table service EVERY day... When I added the Dining Plan (2 snack/1 table) it added almost 800 dollars to the package total!

      Like I said, my kids and I "ate on the go” at WDW; grabbing a turkey leg or churro here and there throughout the day, and stopping at the least crowded counter service restaurant for late lunch, then some “whatever’ snack at one of the kiosks or sweet shops. In nine days I didn’t spend anywhere NEAR $800 in food…in fact the thought of the three of us spending over $100 in food every day was laughable. On our last trip, I spend just over 800 bucks TOTAL—that was including food, snacks, and souvenirs…for a NINE day trip.

      So, given our small family size, and small appetites,the DP was definitely NOT economic for us.

      I then looked at the QS dinning plan because, quick- counter service and a few snacks was closer to our style. But the snacks are so limited- “A bag of popcorn”, "A piece of fruit" etc. Most of the snacks my kids would go for weren’t on the list (Like a candy apple or something from the main street Bakery). So that was a wash too.

      I did want to take them to at least two or three sit down restaurants (50’s diner , Rain forest, and T-Rex) this trip, just for the experience;I looked at their menus and prices-keeping in mind that the entrees portions are large and I would probably end up sharing with my daughter or just ordering appetizers to avoid wasting food; I did the math and discovered that eating the way we usually do-AND eating at 3 table service restaurants- and paying out of pocket, is STILL almost $400 cheaper than the dining plan.

      So, I’d say DDP is great for families that need to have an actual MEAL for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but if you have kids that just wanna be on the go the whole time and who don’t even finish a whole Counter service meal, you’re better off skipping it.
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      Registered: May 2010
      Location: New York
      Posts: 18
      Review Date: Fri February 17, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Terrific value and no stress about $$$
      Cons: None

      We stayed at WDW from February 4-11 and received the dining plan free with our stay. We've had it before but paid for it so we knew from the start we were getting an incredible value. I just can't say enough about the plan. Since we got it free we didn't feel the pressure to try to maximize our value by using the counter credits for lunch instead of breakfast which costs less. We've found in the past that using the counter credits for lunch which come with a dessert was much too much food and by dinner we were still full and couldn't really enjoy our table service meal as much as we wanted to. So this time, we used the counter credit for breakfast and then used the snack credit around 1pm or 2pm. By dinner we were good and hungry. We stayed at PO Riverside and I noticed you could use your snack credit for a bagel or cinnamon bun from the bakery for breakfast so you could get three meals out of it if you wanted. I like to have a character breakfast at least once so we always use our counter credit that day for dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney. They have wonderful food there and you order it at the counter and a server brings it to your table so it's slightly nicer than the average counter service meal. I don't think I would go to WDW without getting it. It's that good!
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      Registered: June 2006
      Location: Glen Burnie, MD
      Posts: 19
      Review Date: Wed February 8, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Great value
      Cons: Appetizer vs. Dessert

      We got the free dining plan during our stay from 1/28 - 2/4. We've gotten the dining plan every time we've gone to Disney in recent years - whether it was free or not. I think this is a great value (esp. when it does come free)! Its so nice not to have to worry about your meals or snacks. And its even better now with the addition of the refillable mug.

      You do need to do a bit more planning with the regular dining plan in terms of making sure to get the reservations you want. We normally build in some break days where we don't go into the parks, so we try to plan a breakfast and dinner table service meal for each of those days. This gives us a bit more flexibility in the parks by using counter service.

      I love how you can buy things like yogurt parfaits, muffins or fruit salad for the dessert for a counter service meal. We try to get things like that to have for breakfast the next day.

      We also try to maximize the snack option. We tend to pay for any snacks that are $2.50 or less (like bottled water) and save up our snack options for more expensive items. It seems like most items under $5 were available as a snack and the dining plan logo makes it easy to figure out what's included.

      The only downside is that I wish they gave you a choice between an appetizer OR dessert with the table service option.
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      Registered: October 2011
      Posts: 16
      Review Date: Mon February 6, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): It's free (sort of)!
      Cons: Would rather have an appetizer instead of dessert

      We received the free dining plan for our trip January 28th-February 3rd and we upgraded it to include a sit down each day. With a young child, we like to go to character meals and this is a very economical way to do so. We had four adults so for $100 per adult, we received 6 days of meals (1 quick service, 1 full service and 1 snack/day). Plus the free resort mugs. I would venture to say that we saved as a group $1000 on food by receiving the free dining plan and I never had to eat a hamburger or hot dog while I was there. Obviously some places are better than others but the choices were great and when we went to buffets, my son could eat for free. I planned the trip for my in-laws and they were very pleased with how much food they received without paying anything more than tips. If you can schedule your trip around free dining, do it, it will be a great savings. And if you don't want to be tied down to a schedule, you could stick with the two quick services meals a day and still eat pretty well. Just check out the quick service reviews and you can find the better places to eat without eating up all your time. I will say we ate more desserts than we would have liked. While they were good, we'd rather have appetizers at the non-buffet meals.
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      Registered: November 2011
      Posts: 6
      Review Date: Wed February 1, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Great value
      Cons: None

      A few years ago, my girlfriend and I went to Disney not on the dining plan. We ended up eating burgers, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets for 9 days. I said never again and tried the dining plan the next time we went down. We couldn't be happier or more pleased with this program. First, it's included in the cost of your trip so there's no more budgeting for meals. Second, we wouldn't be eating at half the places we did if it wasn't for the dining plan. Places like Le Cellier and Teppon Edo would've been out of our price range. I truly recommend the dining plan & wouldn't go to Disney any other way.
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      Registered: October 2010
      Location: Texas
      Posts: 41
      Review Date: Wed February 1, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): ease of use, variety of dining experiences, prepaid meals
      Cons: costs more htan out of pocket, includes dessert whether you want it or not

      For peace of mind that you have pre-paid meals and to be able to order anything you want without looking at cost is my favorite perk. I discovered that with this plan we tried restaurants we wouldn't normally have dined at if we had paid out of pocket per meal, and those experiences were all memorable and priceless now that our trip is over.

      We received the dining plan free with our booking, but I looked at the prices and for the experience we had using it, I would have gladly paid for it. We booked places we never would have otherwise, and I am glad we did. All the meals we really tasty and using the advance dining reservations worked out well for us.

      The only thing I didn't like was the tip was having to pay the tip in addition to this and the necessity for carrying cash for that or charging it to our room. (Still making it an additional charge).

      All in all, Disney comes out way ahead with this plan if you buy it, but with that comes the freedom that the meals are paid for, the desserts are wonderful, the dining is an experience in and unto itself and to be savored and considered part of the the whole Disney vacation experience, otherwise you won't get your money's worth on this one. Sit down meals are quite lengthy and our shortest (fastest in and out) meal was about an hour and the longest was nearly 2 hours. You also should consider travel time to and from dining when considering your reservations and whether or not this plan is for you. Using Disney transportation it takes about 1.5 hours each way from your resort to a transfer point(park or Downtown Disney) and then to another resort if you are going from resort to resort to dine.

      If you are considering a stay at a Disney resort and free dining is offered, definitely skip the value resort and the quick dining plan and go for the upgraded moderate or deluxe resort and the regular dining plan. The regular plan was well worth the cost difference! For just hubby and I who aren't big eaters, this plan wouldn't make economical sense, but with a couple of hungry teens or big eaters, this is perfect. I would consider getting this for future trips as it was easy to use, we were able to order pretty much whatever we wanted, desserts were really good and we wouldn't have otherwise tried them, we ate in and experienced things we wouldn't have normally done, and for all the happy memories we returned home with the meals and dining experience was priceless - making that a value in itself. I'd pay for this plan.
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      Registered: January 2012
      Location: MS Gulf Coast
      Posts: 4
      Review Date: Tue January 31, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 7 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Food for Adults
      Cons: Food for kids

      A nice option if you want to eat and eat a bunch. If you are going to eat with the characters, it will cost you a fortune. So, if you don't mind being on a schedule and you like the sit down option, it is great! We have gone 6 years in a row and have paid for or received the plan each time. If you want a lot of snacks during the day, this will not work for you. The kids menu options are very limited (8,4) and we found that my son (8) ate some of our plate each day. Just keep that in mind if you have a growing boy. I do find from the years of going that WDW needs a help desk area in the food courts of the value resorts. People are always lost and have very little idea about what they can get on the plan. It is not until they go to the check out that they learn that they have picked several wrong items. They then have to leave the line to change their picks, which then slows down the entire line. This happened several times to us 1-21-12 to 1-30-12).
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      Registered: January 2011
      Posts: 35
      Review Date: Mon January 30, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 6 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): You are always full
      Cons: Selection is too limited.

      This is my third time on the dining plan and it has opened up my eyes to restaurants on the WDW property that I would not have tried otherwise. I love the fact that it forces the kids to sit down and take a breather and actually put some food into their bellies. I find the choices to be repetetive and limited though. Especially the kids choices. I also don't like being forced to buy the adult dining plan for my ten year old daughter (who eats like a bird) and then having her order off the kids meal 70% of the time. You should be able to choose whether your child gets the kids or adult meal plan up until the age of at least 12 or 13. It bothers me to pay $50 a day and then have my daughter eat PB&J and Chicken Nuggets for two of her meals. Advantage Disney.

      Other wise I like the plan and will continue to get it in the future unless the price climbs so high that I don't think it is a good deal anymore. The price jumped signifigantly this year and I thought the value for the price wasn't as good with the increase. If the trend continues being a DVC member we might look at making more meals in our room or renting a car and eating off property.
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      Registered: January 2012
      Posts: 3
      Review Date: Mon January 30, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Value & convenience
      Cons: planning & execution

      When bundled with a room (and min 2 day ticket purchase) there is great value in the DDP. You will have to do a bit of planning in advance to take full advantage of it, but we had no problems whatsoever. We sought out the places we could split a single counter service into a meal for two. Also found the larger snacks that were enough for two (think chili-cheese fries.) And to anyone who doesn't use up all their snacks by the last day - here's a tip... get to one of the shops that sell fudge and load up (we went to the shop in the Contemporary and used our 5 remaining snack credits!) I read a lot of complaints about the dinner dessert... with the kids, we substituted a chocolate milk to go for dessert.
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      Registered: December 2009
      Location: Birmingham
      Posts: 37
      Review Date: Fri January 27, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): ease of use - good value

      We have used the dining plan on many trips now and really count it something that we look forward to. This time after our trip, I added up what we spend on the dining plan, in comparison to what we would have actually paid out of pocket for our meals and snacks and we clearly came out ahead using the dining plan, as opposed to paying out of pocket. We are two adults in our party.

      There are several things that are really great about the dining plan. One, you have already paid for it when you get to your vacation. It is so convenient to not be worrying about budgeting for your meals during your trip. Another benefit is that you get to try lots of different places and eat a lot of food. Granted, were we not on the dining plan, we would not likely be ordering dessert at every table service meal, but since you've already paid for the food, it is a great opportunity to try some fun and tasty desserts. Remember, you are on vacation, so enjoy it!

      Also, be smart about the choices you make. This is particularly in regard to your snacks. I urge you check out different things to use your snack credits on. To maximize your dollars - I wouldn't spend a lot of snack credits on things like sodas or popcorn....look around - there are tons of delightful treats that are more expensive, that you can use for your snack. Check out the caramel shop in Germany at EPCOT for example - many special, yummy desserts are available there. Also, the sweet shop at Sunset Blvd at Hollywood Studios has some great baked goods and snacks that are more special than that bottled drink. My favorite use of a snack credit and I recommend to anyone and everyone - THE DOLE WHIP!!! Get one. Get more than one. Get one everyday!! You can even get the dole whip float for a snack credit. You should do this!
      Look around for that dining plan sticker at the snack locations and maximize that snack money. You won't be sorry.

      All in all, I recommend the dining plan. I think it is a benefit and a value.
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      Registered: December 2009
      Location: Sparks, Nevada
      Posts: 28
      Review Date: Sun January 22, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Pre-Paid, Order What I Want, Save Money,Dessert with Every Meal!
      Cons: Dessert with Every Meal

      We love the Dining Plan and here's why. When I order, I order from the left side of the menu. I don't even look at the right side of the menu, the prices, because it doesn't matter. It's already paid for, and whether I get the $16 pasta or the $32 osso bucco, it costs the same, 1 dining point. If we were not on the dining plan, we would not have dessert with every meal, however, I would probably order wine more often along with an occasional appetizer. So, I don't think paying out of pocket would save us money. The dining plan does save us money. We love to try all the different Disney restaurants, and really look forward to that sit-down meal every evening. For us, the Dining Plan is a good deal.
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      Registered: December 2010
      Posts: 5
      Review Date: Wed January 18, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Convenient!
      Cons: Sometimes in experienced users create long lines at Quick Service areas

      No need to carry lots of money except for tips when having a table service meal. We've found each time we've used the Disney Dining plan, we've come out on top, getting at least one meal (for the whole party) per vacation for free. What made it a bigger bonus this time was the refillable mug- since we're vacation club members, we never had this amenity offered before. I came in handy, and we definitely used more than $13.99 (the normal cost of a mug) in beverages. Totally would recommend it!
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      The Rock-a-who

      Registered: January 2012
      Location: DFW, TX
      Posts: 1
      Review Date: Tue January 17, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Convenience for first-time, inexperienced visitors
      Cons: Consistency

      As a first-time WDW visitor with a family of 5 I LOVED the dining plan. It took the headache of trying to budget meals along with everything else.

      I love how we can go to a sit-down meal and only have to pay for the tip and alcohol we purchased instead of sticker shock of the final bill (a family of 5 adds up quickly)

      I can, however, see the dining plan being phased out for me as I go more and more often to take advantage of other dishes offered at the restaurants but not on the dining plan.

      Even with the 1 sit-down, 1 counter and 1 snack per family member, per day, on the last day we still had about 4-5 snacks left over and just got a buch at the hotel before leaving.

      Overall I love the ease and convenience of using the plan and will plan to use it again for our next trip.
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