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  • Author
    • hello12345

      Registered: June 2010
      Posts: 70
      Review Date: Mon June 11, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 6 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Lot of food, paid in advance
      Cons: Lot of food, not flexible

       
      I have done the dining plan 3 times since 2008 and one time without. Disney has increased the price of the plan over the last few years which has made it very hard to eat your money back. It is hard to eat almost $52 worth of food everyday even at Disney. The only way to do it is hit a big buffet every night that you have to reserve 6 months in advance. Who eats a dessert at lunch and dinner? Giving me a cupcake sized cake at lunch that Disney charges $3.69 for and that I would not have got in the first place is not a deal in my opinion.


      The dining plan is a smart choice for a Disney first-timer who wants to experience character buffets. I just see it as too much food now. I am also paying for stuff that I would not have ordered in the first place like that piece of cake at lunch.


      I might have came out $50 or less ahead even after eating at, Tusker House (lunch), Akershus (Breakfast), Cape May (Dinner), Liberty Tree Tavern (Dinner), T-Rex (Dinner), Biergarten (Dinner), and Garden Grill (Dinner). I had 14 snack credits to use on the final day because we were never hungry after eating big lunches and dinners. So I ended up getting more junk food to take home with me.


      I guess it is up to your personal eating habits if this plan makes sense. I think I will pass on it next time. Buying some Disney gift cards makes just as much sense if you don't like to use case or credit cards.
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      casino_bandit

      Registered: September 2010
      Posts: 19
      Review Date: Mon June 11, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Meals are prepaid, don't have to look at menu prices
      Cons: Dessert every meal can become a bit much

       
      We visited for 12 days in May, with 2 adults and a 9 year old child, giving us:


      24 adult table service meals
      12 child table service meals
      36 counter service meals
      36 snacks
      3 refillable mugs


      Notice that the table service is split between adult and child, and the counter service is not. This can be used to your advantage if your child wants the occasional adult meal, but it takes a bit of effort. On the card, it states that there are 2 adults and 1 child, so you could not just order 3 adult meals, but if you do it in two separate transactions, it can work. It may be a loophole, but it works. Sometimes he wanted something on the menu that wasn't listed on the kids menu. I believe we did this two times during our trip.


      The daily cost to us was around $118. 9 of the 12 table service meals were over $90 (4 over $100), with only one under $80, meaning the cost of the table service meal almost covered the cost of the plan for the day. Now we did not go looking for the most expensive meal to maximize the value, but chose what we wanted without looking at the prices. At the end of the trip, we ended up saving $349.63. We could have saved even more if we had bought more expensive snacks, but we probably used half of the snack credits on drinks. Some of the snack items now top out at $5 or more.


      Now of course the argument is did we really save that much? Would we order dessert every meal? Probably not, but even without the dessert added in, the value is definitely there.


      Another argument is that there aren't any choices for counter service, except burgers and fries. Well I am happy to report that I only had a burger one time, and that is because it is what I wanted. We had salads, tacos, pizza, brats, BBQ ribs, chicken, etc. There are plenty of choices if you look for them.


      We would purchase the DDP for every trip. We have thought about the DLX plan, but we feel that this plan is plenty of food.
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      abrmama

      Registered: June 2012
      Location: Indiana
      Posts: 18
      Review Date: Sun June 10, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Everything's paid for ahead of time; money savings
      Cons: How tipping is set up on receipts

       
      I really, really, really, strongly think that there's no point in going to Disney if you don't do the Disney meals! Everyone knows they're all overpriced, so there's no need to whine and if you go, just suck it up and go. Why not save money while doing it? And yes, I have run the numbers many many many times and come out hundreds of $ ahead with the DP every time.


      We do think it's super awkward that we had to write in the tip amount and give it to the servers before they ran our DP card. Kinda weird, especially if we gave less tip and they know it, then they have to bring back your bill for you to sign... But whatever.


      We thought we could save so much $ last time so we didn't get the dining plan. We spent about $200 MORE than we would have if we had had the dining plan! So this time we did it right - thank goodness!
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      K0720

      Registered: May 2012
      Posts: 4
      Review Date: Tue May 29, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros):
      Cons:

       
      I really like the convenience of the Dining Plan but have found that we do not need all of the food that comes with it. We do not need that many table service meals. I wish there was something in between that offered the option of choosing how many table service meals and how many counter service meals you wanted.
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      tgrupa

      Registered: May 2012
      Posts: 10
      Review Date: Sun May 20, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): cost savings
      Cons: none

       
      We were very happy with the plan once we got used to it. We used every last bit on the card. We wouldnt go without it if and when we go back to Disney. It saved us hundreads of dollars. high recommended.
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      BabieO

      Registered: May 2012
      Posts: 15
      Review Date: Sat May 19, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): everything
      Cons: I think there are changes coming

       
      Love love love it! Each meal we had at dinner would have cost us over $100 some closer to $200, but everything was paid for ahead of time. I wish you could pick either an appetizer or dessert though. I ate a years worth of dessert in 7 days.


      We were stopped to do surveys 4 times while at the parks & they kept asking where we were staying ( pop century) & if we used the dining plan. I have a feeling changes are coming. My husband is speculating that they will only let value resort people but the counter service plan, which would be ridiculous & really make me reevaluate how they treat the guests, but that is just his guess.
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      kkttmom

      Registered: November 2009
      Posts: 31
      Review Date: Fri May 18, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 5 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros):
      Cons: not enough food

       
      I always buy the deluxe meal plan hands down. However this our second trip in 5 months was my doughters sweet sixteen celebration. I brought 10 family members and friends to celebrate . Therefore, I decided to purchase the standard meal plan. Perhaps we are spoiled by the deluxe plan but honestly but there was simply not enough food.


      I paid for many meals in cash - California Grill, Boma because we ran out of table service points. We grew tired of quick service meals. I have always complained that we go home with extra points on the deluxe plan because there is so much food. Well after using the standard plan and not having enough food, I now take back my statement and would rather have too much food than not enough. I definetly spent more money buying extra meals than I would have just buying the deluxe plan. Although, I will book more 2 point meals so I wont have so many points left over.


      I will always buy the deluxe plan no questions with out hesatation.
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      slapps

      Registered: May 2012
      Posts: 30
      Review Date: Fri May 11, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 7 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Very convenient
      Cons: Maybe to much food

       
      We have used the dining plan about 5 times. We at first just loved it. I think the key is eating at the right time of day. On our last visit we made the mistake of eating early in the evening. (4pm) The problem we had was that we stayed at Old Key West and had our morning meal in our room. We would usually snack early afternoon and then we did not each lunch,we did not want to spoil our dinner. The dinner was usually at a nice sit down restaurant. The meals were so filling that we would not want our counter service that night. We ended up by trying to use our counters before we had left to go home and had way to much food. If we purchase the meal plan again we think we will do more Signature dining. (2 table services used at a more upscale eatery). We are returning over the Christmas holiday and will be once again be staying at Old Key West and Boardwalk. We have decided to not buy a meal plan and see how that works. Will let you know.
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      hliska03

      Registered: April 2012
      Location: PA
      Posts: 27
      Review Date: Wed May 2, 2012 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 4 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): convenient, easy to understand
      Cons: not likely to save you money

       
      This review is based on using a standard DDP versus paying cash for 2 adults who prefer mostly table service meals, but who prefer to eat a quick breakfast and do not want every single meal scheduled to allow for some flexibility in our schedule. The regular dining plan may be a good deal for you if each of the following circumstances applies:


      1. You can sustain yourself eating only two meals per day
      2. You actually want to eat the most expensive thing on each menu and you are willing to do the research to find the best deals
      3. You don't care about trying any of the many fabulous appetizers available at disney restaurants
      4. You can get it for "free"


      My husband and I used the free dining plan during our August 2010 vacation and paid cash/disney visa points for meals during our April 2012 vacation (no free dining offered while we were traveling).


      In 2010, we ate 7 table service meals (one signature experience) and 8 counter service meals on the plan. We also paid cash for 1 table service meal (using our Planet Hollywood $15 meal voucher) and for 7 counter service meals. (Because we were only able to get late lunch reservations, we could not use the snacks for breakfast. They simply did not provide enough fuel to get us through morning touring. Therefore, we purchased 7 additional counter service breakfasts.) Also, gratuities are not included on the plan, so intentionally eating the most expensive meals possible increases the gratuity that you pay. Our out of pocket cost for the week was $240 for gratuities and the extra counter service meals plus the odd extra snack and appetizer that we elected to try. We would have spent $680 on the food and snacks that we received "free" on the dining plan. Total cost in cash would have been $920 for 8 days ($115/day). You may say that the promotion saved us $920, but when you factor in the cost of upgrading our resort to a moderate to get a better free dining plan (values receive counter service only during free dining promo) and the fact that we would have made different choices had we been paying for our own meals, including foregoing most of the desserts that were "free" on the dining plan, this was actually a break even scenario, not a savings scenario. "Free" dining did allow us to have a nicer vacation for the same price that value vacation would have cost us, so it was a good value, but we did not actually save a significant amount of money.


      During our 9-day 2012 vacation, our total dining cost for 11 table service meals (incl. 2 character meals), daily breakfast at coronado's cafe rix, and 6 table service meals, and random snacks for $972 including gratuity ($108/day). We were able to choose more table service meals than counter service meals and we opted for more appetizers and fewer desserts.


      So, we found that for less money per day, we could eat food that we actually chose instead of trying to shoehorn our tastes into the dining plan in an effort to maximize what we were getting from the mouse. purchasing the dining plan outright in 2012 would have cost us $927 ($103/day) plus gratuities and our counter service breakfast add-on. Our meals in 2012 would have cost us $1167 ($130/day) if we had purchased the DDP and then purchased the same add-on counter service breakfasts and snacks plus gratuities.


      It is my opinion that a free dining promotion can save you a few dollars, but that it is not a good deal if you pay full price for the plan. Yes, food at WDW is expensive, but if you want to pre-pay your meals, budget roughly $100-120/day for 2 adults and purchase gift cards prior to your trip or become a disney visa card holder and use your points towards your meals. Using this strategy, our total out of pocket food expense charged to our room during our 9-day vacation was only $377 ($42/day).


      I have heard some criticism that the plan is difficult to use. We found those accusations to be completely unfounded. We found the plan to be very self explanatory and user-friendly. Some people seem to have some difficulty understanding how to use their snack credits, but all of the snack options are very clearly labeled with the DDP label at each kiosk or store.
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      stephylynn02

      Registered: April 2012
      Location: Ohio
      Posts: 14
      Review Date: Mon April 30, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 7 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Convienent
      Cons: Price, choices, confusing

       
      There were a lot of things I liked and didn't like about the dining plan. It was nice to just hand them your card and say pls use the DP. On the other hand some menus are confusing and you have to ask a lot of questions. You find yourself wanting to order what is most expensive to make sure you are getting the best deal. Its a lot of food too so make sure you want to eat!


      I think they really need to have a system set up to swap desserts for apps, or alcoholic drinks, or something like that. They should also allow you to use 2 quick service meals for 1 table credit etc. This would make the plan a lot more flexible as you do change your mind like we did.
      All and all, it is good and we would use it again.
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      kelhalmom

      Registered: October 2011
      Location: Daphne AL
      Posts: 14
      Review Date: Wed April 18, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): great!
      Cons: none

       
      We would not go with out a dining plan. I love not having to worry about what the meals will costs. For us the dining plan is totally worth it!
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      mcmouse

      Registered: December 2007
      Posts: 75
      Review Date: Sun April 15, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros):
      Cons:

       
      Who can argue with sooooo much food? We usually get the dining plan for every visit. This year it was free during our March visit. We saved over $800 not having to pay for it. There is more than enough food, in fact too much. The price continues to go up. We're wondering what they'll be charging next year when we go. That might determine whether or not we purchase it. It's great not having to worry about paying for your meals and how much they cost. The restaurants are all great. The cons are not being spontaneous as to where you eat every day, as advanced ressies are a must. The major con is the price if you are not getting the plan for free. It's a toss up. I guess it just depends on individual families' priorities. It works for us as we are a couple, but if I were feeding a whole family, I'd think twice.
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      ntonks

      Registered: May 2008
      Location: Wilkes Barre Pa.
      Posts: 32
      Review Date: Wed April 4, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): everything
      Cons: nothing

       
      I would not step foot into Disney if I didn't have the dining plan. On average, lunch for 4 in any of the parks was between $53 & $68 a day. The dinners were between $148 & $205 a day. For our family, there is no other way to go!
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      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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      oneSAHDdude

      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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