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  1. #1

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    Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    I am debating on whether to go with the Free Dining Plan or hold out for a room rate discount for next summer's trip to WDW. I am traveling with only my wife for 3 nights (4 days) so the free dining plan doesn't seem as enticing.

    I already have a hold on a room at the Wilderness Lodge with a 15% discount on it. If they decide to increase the rack rate discounts for rooms only up to 30%, for the summer 2011 then I'll be about even price wise with the free dining plan savings.

    Which do you feel is a better option for 2 people traveling to WDW?

  2. #2

    • Calls WDW "Home".
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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    It all depends on if you and the wife are big eaters and enjoy that aspect of WDW. Were you looking at Quick Service or the regular plan? Be prepared to invest at least an hour at each meal you do sit-down. Are you willing to spend over 2 hours of your day in the park in a restaurant? We weren't.

    We did do Quick Service and we were honestly stuffed after each meal...plenty of food for us and the kids.
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  3. #3

    • Seasick
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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    For me, it's more about what kind of experience you want, as opposed to just which choice is the cheapest.

    If you don't care about sit-down meals, it's a no-brainer. Stick to quick service, and you'll spend less overall than if you did the free dining.

    On the other hand, free dining allows one to enjoy a lot of interesting meals you might pass on otherwise. Meals at WDW are pricey, naturally, and it can be a treat to have a nice meal each day of your trip. For some people, dining is a big part of a WDW trip. There are many varied and good restaurants. Dining at the Anaheim resort just doesn't compare.

    It all comes down to what type of vacation you want. For me, I'm willing to spend the time on dinng. WDW is about more than just running from attraction to attraction.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    Thanks for the advice. Yes, I'm thinking of doing a table service 3 of the 4 days we are there. Quick service for the other meals. Even if I don't get the free dining plan but the room discount instead, is the quick service plan worth the cost?

    I do enjoy the restaurants but I probably enjoy the attractions more. The purpose for a nice table service restaurant is to relax and not die of heat / sun exposure!

  5. #5

    • One Little Spark...
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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    Its a question only you can answer. When I go to Disney, the food is a huge part of the experience. I prefer free dining, specifically Table service because I can try food that I may not get normally. Quick service is blah to me because I can eat a cheeseburger, chicken sandwich or a salad at home any day of the week.....at a fast food joint....

  6. #6

    • One Little Spark...
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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by Yackerz View Post
    I do enjoy the restaurants but I probably enjoy the attractions more. The purpose for a nice table service restaurant is to relax and not die of heat / sun exposure!

    I STRONGLY disagree. a nice table service is part of the Disney World experience. And I love the attractions as well, dining doesn't take away from that at all. I was there two weeks ago, we experienced Every single open attraction at epcot and mk, and almost everything at DHS and AK (minus the shows) and we had a sit down meal every single day. We enjoyed the food, it wasn't just to "get out of the heat"

    But you may not be someone who is interested in food that is more "gourmet" If you are an applebees and McDonald's kind of family then maybe Disney dining isn't for you....

  7. #7

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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    I enjoy a good meal like the rest of you. However, there are a lot of places to enjoy memorable meals in WDW and outside of WDW. Some of the attractions of Disney are one of a kind. Thus, if I have to choose between meal time or attractions, I'll pick the attractions. I guess you could argue some of the meals they offer are one of a kind too. (however these special experiences come at a price) Attractions do not cost extra. If I could do both, I would, I just have limited time to see all the attractions and get some great meals. Plus, the budget doesn't allow for splurging on the likes of signature restaurants.

    Thus, one table service a day really is all I can have time for and maybe one signature a budget for.

    For table service I'm looking to go for Le Cellier at Epcot
    and some place at the Magic Kingdom (Which nothing seems a cut above the rest there! The Wave seems to be a possibility or the California grill. However doing both Le Cellier and the California Grill seem out of my price range)
    At DHS, I'm going to try to plan on the Prime Time Cafe since my wife loves the 50s.

    I'm leaning to paying out of cash for everything food wise and just getting the discount on the room.
    Last edited by Yackerz; 11-08-2010 at 05:57 PM.

  8. #8

    • One Little Spark...
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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    If you had the dining plan (free of otherwise) you'd only get one table service a day anyway (unless you upgrade to the deluxe)

    Like I said, we saw every single attraction except the very few that don't interest us, and enjoyed amazing meals every day.... The delicious meals (not a SINGLE complaint) only enhanced our trip (my 16th and his 1st) and honestly I wouldn't enjoy the trip as much if we didn't try new food

    We also saved HUNDREDS of dollars on food. We spent at least $80 at every table service meal (Le Cellier, CRT, Whispering Canyon, Prime Time, hoop dee doo, Ohana etc) and I think something like $30 at every counter service (Cheeseburger, fries a soda and a dessert) (I have the receipts we'll have to add them up for a grand total) Without free dining there is no way on earth we would have been able to pull that off. Basically....a minimum of $100 a day on food for the two of us, for 8 days is $800.....and thats low-balling our actual expenditures....

  9. #9

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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    Thanks for the math estimate there. So you had the normal dining plan 1 table service and 1 quick service and 1 snack credit per person per day.
    You came up with a rough estimate of $100 per day savings.

    For me this is the breakdown:

    Using your figures, if you save an estimated $100 per day for two people, then on a 4 day 3 night trip you will save $300. (since you only get the dining plan for each night you stay).

    If I get a 30% off the rack room rate at Wilderness Lodge of $260 that comes up to $78 savings per night. Times 3 = $234. However, I am getting tickets also cheaper by approximately $15 per ticket. (Thus a savings of $30. ) I'm up to $264 now. However, if the deluxe resorts are 40% discounted instead of 30% off the rack rates as is the current deal for the Wilderness Lodge (not on my dates of travel yet), my savings will be $312 for the rooms + $30 for the tickets = $332.

    Therefore, it depends on what type of rack rate discount I will be offered.
    Unfortunately, I already have tickets, and won't be eligible for the free meal plan unless I return the tickets and then buy 2 to make me eligible for the free meal plan. If I return my two existing tickets, I'll have to incur another 5% fee on the ticket price (around $30).
    I probably won't do that unless, I realize that I am not going to get at least a 30% discount on my rack room rate.

    It be nice if they give you the meal plan for free by just staying and not purchasing park tickets!

  10. #10

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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    tickets never expire until they are started to be used. So don't let 'ticket in hand...' bind you. Just save the tickets for a future trip unless you are locked into some 3rd party ticket thingie.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Room Discounts vs. Free Dining Plan

    Yes, I guess I can think of the Disney tickets as an "investment" so to speak as their prices will certainly go up in the future :-P!. Not sure if it will keep up with inflation though. We'll see what the rack rate discounts will be. If its at 30% then maybe ill jump on the free dining plan. If it's at 40% then, it's a wash.

    I don't see myself using the tickets, if I don't use them on this trip for at least 10 years. Unless, I sell them via ebay or something, which I know is technically illegal even if they are unsigned.

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