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  1. #1

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    Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Sorry if there's a place for this already -- please point me in any helpful direction -- we're starting to make plans for a huge blow-out trip on our first time to WDW (been to DL 100's of times) -- all the stops pulled out, we will be staying at deluxe resorts, club level -- and we're thinking about adding the dining plan -- does this literally mean you have prepaid for all your meals (except the odd soda/fruit or something), and can just waltz around to any restaurant for which you have a reservation? I understand this probably does not include liquor. But for those who have done it, was it worth prepaying? Did you use all of your options, or was it a waste of money at the end of the trip? Any candid anecdotes or tips would be greatly appreciated.

    NRBF

  2. #2

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Yes, yes and yes! I loved the plan. It is definetly worth it! All meals are prepaid. For us the machines weren't working correctly and they never charged us for half of our meals! I mean we had nearly 10 counter services and 15 table services left on the last day.
    You still need reservations for most restaurants(Priority Seating) it helps a lot! Make sure you go to Cinderella's Castle restaurant(reservations) they had the best food the entire trip!

    If you have any leftover snack options go ahead and use them up and take them on the plane ride home. have fun!!!!!





  3. #3

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kronos View Post
    Yes, yes and yes! I loved the plan. It is definetly worth it! All meals are prepaid. For us the machines weren't working correctly and they never charged us for half of our meals! I mean we had nearly 10 counter services and 15 table services left on the last day.
    You still need reservations for most restaurants(Priority Seating) it helps a lot! Make sure you go to Cinderella's Castle restaurant(reservations) they had the best food the entire trip!

    If you have any leftover snack options go ahead and use them up and take them on the plane ride home. have fun!!!!!

    FIGHT ON!!!!! My partner's an alumnus -- can't wait for the game! Are you out here (SoCal)?

    Thanks -- I actually found another thread too, but all the information is very helpful.

    NRBF

  4. #4

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by NapaRoseBarfly View Post
    Sorry if there's a place for this already -- please point me in any helpful direction -- we're starting to make plans for a huge blow-out trip on our first time to WDW (been to DL 100's of times) -- all the stops pulled out, we will be staying at deluxe resorts, club level -- and we're thinking about adding the dining plan -- does this literally mean you have prepaid for all your meals (except the odd soda/fruit or something), and can just waltz around to any restaurant for which you have a reservation? I understand this probably does not include liquor. But for those who have done it, was it worth prepaying? Did you use all of your options, or was it a waste of money at the end of the trip? Any candid anecdotes or tips would be greatly appreciated.

    NRBF
    We just got back from WDW. We used the dining plan, and it worked out very well for us.

    There are up's and downs to the plan though.

    For example it really pays if you plan to have one nice table service meal per day (or use two days worth for a nicer restaurant).

    You also get one Counter serve meal per day. and one snack per day. The counter serve meals are pretty*complete, and the snack is either a 20 oz soft drink a 20 oz bottle of water or a box of popcorn or the like, we even had the sweet pretzels at the Norway bakery as a "snack". What we always did when we wanted a snack or counter serve meal was to ask what were our choices.

    It is not a one size fits all, but for us it was a good value. We ate at 3 EPCOT pavalion restasurants (France, Morocco, and Canada) and we also ate at the CA Grill at the Contemporary (uses two coupons per person).

    We used all but one counter serve meal and felt pretty good about the results.

    Overall, we paid 387.50, we bought one meal for about $60 and I checked the value of the other meals and it came out to a little better than $500. So doing a little simple math, we spent about 447.50 had meals for about 560 (the $500 on the plan + the $60 spent) so we saved about $112.50.

    For us it was a good deal this time, but when planning a future trip we are looking at wheither or not we will be eating as many table serve meals. Oh yeah, also included in the table service meals are all taxes and an 18% gratuity to the servers.

    Can be a good value, for us, it was very convenient!

    IHTH

    CU@DL

    Andy

  5. #5

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    My only advice, based on what others have told me, is make your reservations as soon as you are able/eligible. Otherwise you'll end up eating dinner at 10 pm.
    A signature should go here.

  6. #6

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SusieP. View Post
    My only advice, based on what others have told me, is make your reservations as soon as you are able/eligible. Otherwise you'll end up eating dinner at 10 pm.

    Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention this. I second this, make your priority seatings ASAP. I didn't like this as it forced me to plan too far in advance, but this is one of the disadvantages of the popularity of the Dining Plan.

    CU@DL

    Andy

  7. #7

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by NapaRoseBarfly View Post
    Sorry if there's a place for this already -- please point me in any helpful direction -- we're starting to make plans for a huge blow-out trip on our first time to WDW (been to DL 100's of times) -- all the stops pulled out, we will be staying at deluxe resorts, club level -- and we're thinking about adding the dining plan -- does this literally mean you have prepaid for all your meals (except the odd soda/fruit or something), and can just waltz around to any restaurant for which you have a reservation? I understand this probably does not include liquor. But for those who have done it, was it worth prepaying? Did you use all of your options, or was it a waste of money at the end of the trip? Any candid anecdotes or tips would be greatly appreciated.

    NRBF

    How long are you going for? The reason is, if you are going for an extended amount of time (in the 8-9 day range) it may pay to look at an annual pass, at least for one member in your party. The AP may get you a discount on your room rate and, here comes the food part, as an AP holder you can get a Disney Dining Experence card for $60.

    This card gets you, AND YOUR PARTY. 20% off just about any table service restaruant - including alcohol - and it works in the resort food courts as well. Yes, its not 20% off for you, its for your entire party, up to 10 guests. The only kicker is the card is non-transferreable. So if you have it in your name, you have the be at the table to get the discount.

    I did this last year (my AP and DDE expire in Feb) and it more than paid for itself - The $60 I saved at Victoria & Alberts paid for the card in one meal.

    I like it because

    a) I am not a snacker. If I am going to eat the calories, I would rather sit down and eat food and a refreshing adult beverage than suck down a soda and a box of popcorn (Dole Whip not withstanding of course)

    b) I don't like rigidity. I know the plan is flexible, but the whole "you have this many meals and this many snacks" thing just irks me. I like the - "Here I paid $60 for this card, now give me 20% off" thing better.


    Here is a list of where you can get a discount. I also used it at Wolfgang Puck's Express in October and it worked just fine.

    Oh, looking at the list more - I think I also used it at the Ghiradelli ice cream shop in October. I am not sure about that one. I cant remember if it worked or not. (I do know I ate there though )

    All-Star Music Resort
    Intermission Food Court

    All-Star Sports Resort
    End Zone Food Court

    All-Star Movies Resort
    World Premiere Food Court


    Animal Kingdom Lodge
    Boma-Flavors of Africa
    Jiko-The Cooking Place
    Victoria Falls

    Beach Club Resort
    Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
    (excludes take-out shop)
    Cape May Cafe
    Martha's Vineyard Lounge
    Rip Tide Lounge

    BoardWalk
    Bellevue Lounge
    ESPN Club
    Flying Fish Cafe
    Spoodles

    Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge Golf Club
    Sand Trap Bar & Grill

    Caribbean Beach Resort
    Shutters at Old Port Royale

    Contemporary Resort
    California Grill
    California Grill Lounge
    Chef Mickey's Restaurant
    Concourse Steakhouse
    Outer Rim Lounge

    Coronado Springs Resort
    Maya Grill

    Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
    Crockett's Tavern
    Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue (9:30 p.m. show only, offered seasonally)
    Trail's End Restaurant

    Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    1900 Park Fare
    Cítricos
    Garden View Lounge
    Grand Floridian Cafe
    Mizner's Lounge
    Narcoossee's
    Victoria & Albert's (excluding Chef's Table)

    Old Key West Resort
    Olivia's Cafe

    Polynesian Resort
    'Ohana
    Kona Cafe
    Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (8 p.m. show only)
    Tambu Lounge

    Pop Century Resort
    Everything Pop Shopping and Dining
    Classic Concoctions

    Port Orleans Resort
    Riverside:
    Boatwright's Dining Hall
    River Roost
    French Quarter:
    Scat Cat's Club
    Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory

    Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
    Artist's Palette
    The Turf Club Bar and Grill

    Wilderness Lodge
    Artist Point
    Territory Lounge
    Whispering Canyon Cafe

    Yacht Club Resort
    Ale and Compass Lounge
    Crew's Cup Lounge
    Yacht Club Galley
    Yachtsman Steakhouse

    DOWNTOWN DISNEY Marketplace
    Cap'n Jack's Restaurant
    Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe - As of 4/1/06, will no longer accept Disney Dining Experience

    DOWNTOWN DISNEY West Side
    Planet Hollywood

    Epcot
    Biergarten Restaurant
    Bistro de Paris Restaurant
    Chefs de France Restaurant
    Coral Reef Restaurant
    L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante
    Le Cellier Steakhouse
    Nine Dragons Restaurant
    Restaurant Akershus
    Restaurant Marrakesh
    Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
    San Angel Inn Restaurante
    The Garden Grill Restaurant

    Disney-MGM Studios
    50's Prime Time Cafe
    Hollywood & Vine
    Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano
    Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
    The Hollywood Brown Derby
    Tune-In Lounge

    Magic Kingdom
    Cinderella's Royal Table
    Liberty Tree Tavern
    The Crystal Palace
    The Plaza Restaurant
    Tony's Town Square Restaurant

    Animal Kingdom
    Tusker House Restaurant
    Pizzafari
    Flame Tree Barbecue
    Restaurantosaurus

    Disney’s Wide World of Sports
    Official All-Star Cafe

    Disney's Vero Beach Resort
    The Green Cabin Room
    Shutters Restaurant
    Sonya's Fine Steaks & Chops (Sunday Brunch not included)

    Entertainment & Dancing:
    DOWNTOWN DISNEY Pleasure Island:
    Half price admission to Pleasure Island Clubs for members and guest;
    except for specially priced events


    Atlantic Dance Hall - Disney’s BoardWalk:
    Admission is free for members and guest

  8. #8

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    I just want to echo what everyone else posted. Our family participated in the plan a couple years ago when it was being tested, and loved it, so now we use it every year. MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR DINNER, ETC, NOW!! Otherwise you either wait for late night dining or don't get in your restuarant of choice at all. And if you can't get reservations for a particular spot (e.i. -- Cinderella's Castle in MK), then keep calling every day because someone might cancel and you can get that time. It worked for our family! Enjoy and have fun! You won't go hungry, that's for sure!!!


    May you be surrounded by your pals this holiday season!

  9. #9

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Saved roughly $100 using The Dining Plan in Feb. this year and will definitely do it again on our next trip there. Like others have said, book your reservations NOW!

    Have great trip!

  10. #10

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    I'm glad someone else posted on this. I'm hoping for an 07 or 08 WDW trip and was debating the Dining plan. From what I've seen it looks like it is well worth it.

    $ 35 a day for 2 meals and a snack at a Disney park ?

    Amazing deal

  11. #11

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Is it worth it for CMs? Because I get 20% off food anyway...

    Though granted, we leave tomorrow, so it might be a little late for such decisions.

  12. #12

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    i just got back today and the dining plan was so worth it. we spent more than 1,000 dollars on food and we saved so much with the plan. we also got to have appetizers, entrees, and desserts!! we never had that before

  13. #13

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    I'm glad to see there's positive testimony here--I've heard nothing but horror stories about the Dining Plan.

  14. #14

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SomethingWicked451 View Post
    I'm glad to see there's positive testimony here--I've heard nothing but horror stories about the Dining Plan.
    Hmmm... Horror stories. That's news to me, all I've heard is positive and some difficulties because of having to plan so far in advance, and I've also heard that because of the Dining Plan that the last minute reservations and wlak-in has been severly limited. To me, the last minute stuff is a problem, but I guess I'll just have toplan better, further out.

    What "horror stories" have you heard?

    Thanks,

    CU@DL

    Andy
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  15. #15

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    Re: Dining plan -- is it worth it?

    We only had positive experiences with it as well, but then I am a planner and I enjoyed planning out which meals we would eat and when we would eat them. We thought the dining plan was a great value and are only sad that DL's dining plan is nothing like WDW's. Of course, DL also doesn't have the amount and variety of dining options that WDW has either.

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