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  • Author
    • 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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      ennoidyam

      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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      WaltsOtherDiane

      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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      cchurch74

      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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      psubelle

      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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      JJK1120

      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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