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  1. #1

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    Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    There's 6 of us going to the World next month. 4 adults, and two teenagers. We have ADRs for 4 breakfast buffets for all 6 of us, and we plan on snacking our way through the rest of each day, with the possibility of one, or maybe 2 counter service meals for all 6 of us.

    My questions are ...Will purchasing the Deluxe Dining Plan be better for our budget, or should we just purchase each meal individually? Is there an link to all the menu prices for Summer 2013?

    Thank y'all!
    Walt Disney World Off-Site January 2001, Off-Site July 2001, Off-Site January 2003, All-Star Movies January 2005, Animal Kingdom Lodge November 2007, Cabins at Fort Wilderness July 2010, Port Orleans Riverside August 2013.


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  2. #2

    • Minion
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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    as a general rule, the dining plan is never a good deal. it gives you peace of mind in the sense that everything is pre paid for but at the same time disney wouldn't create a program that didn't make them money if that makes sense to you. unless you like eating desert with every meal and not enjoying alcoholic beverages or appetizers you will be spending over your credits anyways.

  3. #3

    • Nerd.
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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    You can look at menus on allears.net

    Look at the menus at see what a typical day might look like cost wise. Compare and see if you end up in the red or black. Remember, the dining plan does not include gratuity. Unless you are planning to eat at some of the most expensive restaurants, ordering the most expensive item on the menu, than it really isn't worth it.

  4. #4

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Last time I used it, I ended up with leftover credits, due to change in plans. Only time ill ever use it again, is if im treating someone to a trip, and then its a way to include food with the trip, pre-paid.

  5. #5

    • Frustrated A/V Engineer
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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by goofy donald View Post
    ....unless you like eating desert with every meal ....
    I try to stay away from desert with every meal - way too much sand. I do enjoy a tasty dessert, though . . .









    <hee hee>

  6. #6

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    We like the dining plan as a matter of convenience and knowing what our food costs are up front, knowing we'll be spending a bit more for a few extras. Other than an occasional glass of wine with dinner, we don't drink so a bar bill doesn't come into play for us.
    Marie and Tony

  7. #7

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    • Chicago Gal
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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    I used the Dining Plan once years ago, and personally I don't like it. I'd much rather just pay for each of my meals. I also don't like buying a vacation package, which you must do in order to get the Dining Plan.

    Disney loves to part people from their money, before they even leave home for their vacation.

    I don't feel that I saved any money.

    I know people say it's a good deal when they offer the Plan for free, but you then also can not take advantage of any discounts on a room.

  8. #8

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaraann View Post
    Disney loves to part people from their money, before they even leave home for their vacation.

    I don't feel that I saved any money.

    I know people say it's a good deal when they offer the Plan for free, but you then also can not take advantage of any discounts on a room.
    There are those who see a clear benefit to the combined perception of fixed pricing and the intangible 'savings'. As far as dollars go? Roll the dice. Maybe you save, maybe you don't? Either way, yes, the house does always win.

  9. #9

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    We always go with the dinning plan now. When we didn't in the old days you were always worried about how much you are spending, do you have enough to cover it, whats the cheapest thing on the menu? Now I know what I'm spending right up front, I get to try things I NEVER would have forked money over for, and I get to relax and have fun. It suppose to be a vacation.... No worries!

  10. #10

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikelieman View Post
    There are those who see a clear benefit to the combined perception of fixed pricing and the intangible 'savings'. As far as dollars go? Roll the dice. Maybe you save, maybe you don't? Either way, yes, the house does always win.
    lol never thought of it that way but totally agree its a bet at the casino you have a low chance of winning on and if you do you're going to pay for it later.

  11. #11

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by maddogjoe View Post
    We always go with the dinning plan now. When we didn't in the old days you were always worried about how much you are spending, do you have enough to cover it, whats the cheapest thing on the menu? Now I know what I'm spending right up front, I get to try things I NEVER would have forked money over for, and I get to relax and have fun. It suppose to be a vacation.... No worries!
    and that is totally worthwhile, but you're still paying for that peace of mind. you could still go out and grab the most expensive thing on the menu and most likely make a net profit over the dining plan option.

  12. #12

    • Former Churro Jockey
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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Yeah, there's no easy answer to this question. Some people see value in it and some people don't. Cost wise, you'll probably be close to breaking even. However, I personally have learned that I prefer to pre-pay as much in advance as I possibly can, because for me, it helps me control my expenses. It also helps to have my credit cards as empty as possible because hotels and car rental companies hold extra money on top of the cost of the hotel room and car rental against your credit card while you have the car and are staying in the hotel, so if I stay 5 nights at the Boardwalk, then go over to Universal and stay 2 nights at the Portofino Bay, plus have a rental car the hotel time, there will be several hundred extra dollars that the two hotels and car rental companies have a hold on that I can't use during my vacation.
    Disneyland Cast Member
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  13. #13

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Assuming you're not APs? If you are, you should definitely consider Tables in Wonderland. This annual fee of $100 gets you a 20% food and beverage discount at many of the restaurants operated by Disney on their WDW park property. You cannot use the discount on holidays. We bought ours in conjunction with our five AP tickets this year. Actually, the TiW program lasts a few months longer than our AP tickets do. Including the July 4th blackout date, we ended up with $75 in discounted F&B on our last four day trip to the four parks. If we had been able to use it on the 4th, we certainly would have broken even on the card over four days.

    The beauty of TiW is that we'll have another ten days of planned trips, with only one being a blackout date, to recoup and pocket the difference. You can order whatever you want - just appetizers if that's what you want, or you can go all-out. 20%, across-the-board, booze included.

    Which leads me to what we've done the past four years... Dining Plan.

    With three "kids" under 14, we always chose the Standard Dining Plan, which is one tray service, one snack and one table service per room night. It will save you 20% if you order top-of-the-menu items and if you would normally order dessert and have one snack per day, per person. As your kids get older and become "adults" (10+ for Disney World F&B purposes), you will appreciate the no-hassle-factor that comes with your child being able to order whatever they want.

    Under 10 on the Dining Plan and they're held to the kids menu, which can be okay for kids who survive on chicken tenders and French fries. Our kids would look at what we were eating and complain about the kid's options.

    I recommended that my mother and husband skip the Dining Plan on their upcoming trip to WDW in February as I know that they will not take every meal in the parks. If you have any reservations about using every advantage the Plan gives you (e.g., mignon, not chicken alfredo; dessert every time; snacks and more snacks), I would skip it and pocket the savings.

    We spent $594 ($700 adjusted before TiW discounts) on F&B during our first 4 day, 4 night TiW trip, including off-campus frivolity the resort pool bar. Dining Plan for the same period would have easily been in the thousand-plus range, but we didn't eat like we would have on the Plan, either. Much more conservative.
    ~ Erik

  14. #14

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Olson View Post
    Assuming you're not APs? If you are, you should definitely consider Tables in Wonderland. This annual fee of $100 gets you a 20% food and beverage discount at many of the restaurants operated by Disney on their WDW park property. You cannot use the discount on holidays. We bought ours in conjunction with our five AP tickets this year. Actually, the TiW program lasts a few months longer than our AP tickets do. Including the July 4th blackout date, we ended up with $75 in discounted F&B on our last four day trip to the four parks. If we had been able to use it on the 4th, we certainly would have broken even on the card over four days.

    The beauty of TiW is that we'll have another ten days of planned trips, with only one being a blackout date, to recoup and pocket the difference. You can order whatever you want - just appetizers if that's what you want, or you can go all-out. 20%, across-the-board, booze included.

    Which leads me to what we've done the past four years... Dining Plan.

    With three "kids" under 14, we always chose the Standard Dining Plan, which is one tray service, one snack and one table service per room night. It will save you 20% if you order top-of-the-menu items and if you would normally order dessert and have one snack per day, per person. As your kids get older and become "adults" (10+ for Disney World F&B purposes), you will appreciate the no-hassle-factor that comes with your child being able to order whatever they want.

    Under 10 on the Dining Plan and they're held to the kids menu, which can be okay for kids who survive on chicken tenders and French fries. Our kids would look at what we were eating and complain about the kid's options.

    I recommended that my mother and husband skip the Dining Plan on their upcoming trip to WDW in February as I know that they will not take every meal in the parks. If you have any reservations about using every advantage the Plan gives you (e.g., mignon, not chicken alfredo; dessert every time; snacks and more snacks), I would skip it and pocket the savings.

    We spent $594 ($700 adjusted before TiW discounts) on F&B during our first 4 day, 4 night TiW trip, including off-campus frivolity the resort pool bar. Dining Plan for the same period would have easily been in the thousand-plus range, but we didn't eat like we would have on the Plan, either. Much more conservative.
    Definitely not APs as we all live in different part of the country and only go to WDW once every couple of years. Thanks for the input though!
    Walt Disney World Off-Site January 2001, Off-Site July 2001, Off-Site January 2003, All-Star Movies January 2005, Animal Kingdom Lodge November 2007, Cabins at Fort Wilderness July 2010, Port Orleans Riverside August 2013.


    Disneyland Paradise Pier October 2011, Grand Californian December 2012 .


    Disneyland Paris Disneyland Hotel June 2012 :wizard:





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  15. #15

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    Re: Dining Plan vs purchasing meals separately.

    The 2nd part of my post talked about how we've used the dining plan for the past four years.

    If you have kids under 10 and if the adults will order like kings (e.g., top-menu entrees, dessert at every meal, 1 snack per person per day), I think it's a no-brainer.
    ~ Erik

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