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  1. #16

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by nicolem View Post
    I know you are problay asked stuff this all the time,but we are coming Oct.13-21 and I have a couple questions.Right now I am planning on getting the DDP,but after reading some reviews last night on allears I'm now a little unsure.There will be 2 adults and our 8 year old daughter.My husband and I are a bit of foodies,so food does matter to us.IS the plan worth it for us?Also any suggestions on where we could try to maximize our value?
    Nicolem... Also, as far as maximizing your value on the DDP, I don't think you'll have much trouble doing that. I want to say that the cost per person per day on the plan was something like $40 or so, and you can EASILY tally up that kind of money for one person at just one table-service restaurant. I'm sure there's a site (maybe even MiceAge) that has the menus for the various restaurants with pricing. Just check it out! If you're "foodies" as you say, sounds like your dining will be an integral part of your visit, and if you plan that you'll use all the DDP credits, I really think you'll come out way ahead. The only variable now is how the DDP operates versus how it did when we visited in June. I think they've made some changes (gratuity may have been eliminated), so you'd have to evaluate things on your own.

    There's an article I'd suggest you read over on MousePlanet (don't hurt me MiceAge folks!) by Mike Scopa which kinda sold me on the idea of using the plan to begin with. Here's the link... http://www.mouseplanet.com/articles.php?art=ms060602ms. Between Mike's views and Kevin Yee's views, you should be able to make a choice that works for your group.

    Good luck to you!
    Last edited by tonyrr1; 02-04-2008 at 02:30 PM.
    -Tony

  2. #17

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by OFTEric View Post
    I personally would take Kevin Yee's and Denise's advice on this topic!
    I don't want people going just on what I say, but to work it out for themselves. I do believe it benefits very few people, especially this year. Taking the appetizer and gratuity off damages the value to it. If having a $50 meal, 4 people (2 adults, 2 juniors), that is nearly $40 in tips that is laid out this year (that wouldn't have been before). Plus up to $40 in appetizers not included. I think the food is overall too much, it's not a big deal to NOT have an appetizer.

    Also, if guests have a character breakfast, then a counter service meal and snack, it just doesn't work out. A character breakfast runs around $16.99 plus tax, so about $18.50. Tip not included this year. Then lets say, $15.00 for counter service. Then $4.00 snack. You are just making the threshold, and most snacks aren't $4.00, and most counter service isn't $15.00. And guests feel like they need to get desserts, and they leave credits behind (lots of credits get left, I've seen it in person). You may be scrambling trying to find food for the flight, etc.

    If someone wants (and planned) to eat at Le Cellier or Tutto Italia ever day, it's going to be worth doing. But I don't think it's a benefit to the average guest. (many whom aren't aware that they need to make dining arrangements ahead).

    If I was doing travel professionally still this year, I would NOT recommend the plan to the bulk of my clients (even though it is also commission-based).
    Last edited by nbodyhome; 02-04-2008 at 02:24 PM.
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  3. #18

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    I don't want people going just on what I say, but to work it out for themselves. I do believe it benefits very few people, especially this year. Taking the appetizer and gratuity off damages the value to it. If having a $50 meal, 4 people (2 adults, 2 juniors), that is nearly $40 in tips that is laid out this year (that wouldn't have been before). Plus up to $40 in appetizers not included. I think the food is overall too much, it's not a big deal to NOT have an appetizer.

    Also, if guests have a character breakfast, then a counter service meal and snack, it just doesn't work out. A character breakfast runs around $16.99 plus tax, so about $18.50. Tip not included this year. Then lets say, $15.00 for counter service. Then $4.00 snack. You are just making the threshold, and most snacks aren't $4.00, and most counter service isn't $15.00. And guests feel like they need to get desserts, and they leave credits behind (lots of credits get left, I've seen it in person). You may be scrambling trying to find food for the flight, etc.
    Denise... You make some great points... So it's true they dropped the gratuity from the plan then? What a shame; there goes a big chunk of the value inherent in the plan. That would definitely make me take a second look for sure if I were visiting this year.
    -Tony

  4. #19

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyrr1 View Post
    Denise... You make some great points... So it's true they dropped the gratuity from the plan then? What a shame; there goes a big chunk of the value inherent in the plan. That would definitely make me take a second look for sure if I were visiting this year.
    They did drop the gratuity, as well as the appetizer. The price only dropped by $1.00. The deluxe plan includes the appetizer, but not the tip. So that $69 price could go to near $100.00 daily (for 1 adult) once you include tips on meals. The wine add-on seems pricey too.

    I'm very big on value, and the dining plan was good for everyone last year. It was good for travel agents, it was good for wait staff, it was good for guests and I'm sure it was great for Disney. This year - wait staff won't make as much money, it's not as good a value for guests, which would have meant (if I was still a TA), that my commissions would have gone down because I would have talked more guests out of the plan. I was not a salesperson, and almost an anti-salesperson because I did talk guests out of plans I thought weren't in their best interest.

    For some, this can still be a good plan. But not for the average guest.
    Denise

    www.mousesteps.com




    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  5. #20

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    I disagree the DDP was good for everyone. It did save a bit of money (not much), and it was certainly good for Disney.

    But it was bad for patrons. They might have thought they were saving a couple pennies, but they had to make reservations months in advance, thus losing flexibility and spontaneity (and fun). And that's the ones who planned ahead. There were thousands who did not plan ahead, and got shafted because all the restaurants were full.

    On the whole, not a good plan for patrons.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  6. #21

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    I disagree the DDP was good for everyone. It did save a bit of money (not much), and it was certainly good for Disney.

    But it was bad for patrons. They might have thought they were saving a couple pennies, but they had to make reservations months in advance, thus losing flexibility and spontaneity (and fun). And that's the ones who planned ahead. There were thousands who did not plan ahead, and got shafted because all the restaurants were full.

    On the whole, not a good plan for patrons.
    Even during free dining (which I did again this year), I was able to walk-in and book last-minute reservations at many restaurants. I had booked a full slate of dining 6 months out, but really had no idea of my onsite plans to know where I'd be on any given day. So maybe 2/3 of my dining ended up being walk-up or same day reservations. Not Le Cellier, or Ohana, those are restaurants that need to be booked well in advance (barring a cancellation). But if I want to dine on property, I can always get something last-minute. I did 11 nights on free dine, and found plenty of restaurants available to dine at same day.

    The dining plan did not in itself take away spontaneity for locals. I remember 9 or 10 years ago, being able to make same-day Saturday reservations for Chef Mickeys (and having my choice of many times). Over the years, that has changed - well before the dining plan took hold. The dining plan HAS made it near-impossible for high-value restaurants like Coral Reef and Le Cellier to be booked less than 5 or 6 months out for dinner. For whatever reason, Ohana also has become very popular in the past couple of years (much moreso than before).

    It isn't the dining plan in itself that caused the problem. It's having a 6 month window to book in (which can be good or bad, I could argue either way), savvy internet guests who book as soon as the dining is available, and the parks are just busier than ever. You could have the dining plan available and only book 30 days out. Though that would be absolute bedlam at DRC, the change of 90 to 180 days made it easier, because CRT people aren't all calling at 180 days.

    There is no clear answer for everyone. It's good that the restaurants are more full, though I would like to see a small percentage saved for walk-ups. On the other hand, I've not had a lot of problem booking restaurants I'd like to dine at fairly last-minute. I know people complain about dumbed-down menus, but I heard those complaints as well before the dining plan was ever implemented. Overall, I think last years dining plan was positive. This year, I don't find a reason to recommend it.

    Of course, there are non-Disney options on property as well. Blue Zoo, Shulas, Fresh, all the other restaurants at the Swan and Dolphin. You have the House of Blues, a variety of restaurants at Downtown Disney (good and bad). Also, Big River Grille on the Boardwalk. There are many fine choices on property that aren't Disney branded (and not on the dining plan).

    I think Disney went over-the-top with plan prices this year. I'm also not sure what's up with the $40 bottle of wine package, even my favorite higher-priced wines (Rosa Regale) don't top out above $20. Well, maybe $25 or so on property.
    Last edited by nbodyhome; 02-04-2008 at 08:56 PM.
    Denise

    www.mousesteps.com




    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  7. #22

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    I disagree the DDP was good for everyone. It did save a bit of money (not much), and it was certainly good for Disney.

    But it was bad for patrons. They might have thought they were saving a couple pennies, but they had to make reservations months in advance, thus losing flexibility and spontaneity (and fun). And that's the ones who planned ahead. There were thousands who did not plan ahead, and got shafted because all the restaurants were full.

    On the whole, not a good plan for patrons.
    Kevin... You know, I don't think it's realistic to expect to spend an extended time in a resort setting (different from a theme park setting) like WDW and not have some things that you plan ahead of time. You say that folks lose flexibility, spontaneity, and fun... but I'm not so sure I can go there with you.

    Flexibility, spontaneity... Yes, but any time you make reservations in advance for something, you sacrifice those by definition. That doesn't make it a bad thing.

    Fun... Hmm... I can tell you that, from the crowds I saw in June, I was more than happy to have made reservations and feel confident that my family and I were going to be able to see the things we really wanted to see and eat at places that we'd all enjoy... Even if the plan didn't exist, I couldn't imagine going to WDW and not making any reservations for anything. There are just too many people to service at any given mealtime to not do that...
    -Tony

  8. #23

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyrr1 View Post
    Kevin... You know, I don't think it's realistic to expect to spend an extended time in a resort setting (different from a theme park setting) like WDW and not have some things that you plan ahead of time.
    I agree with that. There are restaurants in various cities you need to book ahead (like Altitude 95 or the Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower), it doesn't take away from fun. It just means that they are very popular and people want to know they've booked them. If I wanted to dine at the Napa Rose or Blue Bayou next month (I don't think I will), I'd book them in advance. I do research my trips - I don't plan them out in complete detail, but I book restaurants/tours ahead that I'm pretty sure I want to do. And being spontaneous, I often change my mind. But I like feeling secure that I've reserved something that I might enjoy.

    I'm very fortunate in that my favorite restaurant on property is Trails End. It's usually easy to book last-minute, and always a good restaurant to fall back on.
    Denise

    www.mousesteps.com




    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  9. #24

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyrr1 View Post
    I can tell you that, from the crowds I saw in June, I was more than happy to have made reservations and feel confident that my family and I were going to be able to see the things we really wanted to see and eat at places that we'd all enjoy... Even if the plan didn't exist, I couldn't imagine going to WDW and not making any reservations for anything. There are just too many people to service at any given mealtime to not do that...
    See, here's the problem: you were smart, Denise is smart, and everyone reading this thread is smart. Anyone online is smart. But WDW is populated by loads and loads of folks who aren't smart. My belief has always been that the parks ought to be visitor friendly for them, too, or else they won't return, and that's bad news for future investment, etc.

    I am never looking out for the local and frequent visitor... just the opposite.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  10. #25

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    See, here's the problem: you were smart, Denise is smart, and everyone reading this thread is smart. Anyone online is smart. But WDW is populated by loads and loads of folks who aren't smart. My belief has always been that the parks ought to be visitor friendly for them, too, or else they won't return, and that's bad news for future investment, etc.
    I wouldn't call visitors "not smart" (except for say, parents who stick their kids on bridge railings for photos). If today I decided to go to Tokyo/TDL/HK Disney, I'd put in a minimum of 50 hours research before I left. When I get off a plane, I don't want to be surprised. I want to know which metro I'm taking, where I'm staying, where I'll be going (Mt. Fuji, etc.), and if I want to eat at a nicer restaurant that might need reservations.

    I prefer to be educated about my destination. Most people are on the internet now, and a minimum few hours can give them enough info about Disney (when should they book dining, what type of ticket to buy, etc.). That will save them money, and it will save them time upon arrival. The more educated I am about my destination, the less time I have my nose in a guidebook (or just bumbling around) when I arrive.

    Guests will still come back - but they will be more informed on how to make their trip better the next time. The first time I went to Paris, I didn't know ANYTHING. I was going with friends, and didn't research. I was completely overwhelmed. The next time, I learned a little French, studied what I wanted to do, and had an awesome time.
    Denise

    www.mousesteps.com




    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  11. #26

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Have you worked for the Disney parks, though? You may be surprised by how many people do NOT plan.

    This is also apparent if you ever hang out in any of the Guest Relations lobbies. Or listen at restaurant podiums to other people coming up without reservations.

    And you know what? It's not their fault for not planning. For decades, Disney parks meant you COULD just show up and 'check your brain at the door'. That's what people paid to do. These days, that's less true. But Disney created this expectation, and so they are to blame for the disconnect now.

    Again, you are a smart one, as is anyone reading this thread. By definition, if you're here, you care and/or are planning. But there are loads of folks who don't, and I think the park should CATER to them, not turn them away.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  12. #27

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    The ones that don't plan, and get turned away at a restaurant, are less likely to be repeat visitors.


    May 11 - 16, 2015

  13. #28

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post

    And you know what? It's not their fault for not planning. For decades, Disney parks meant you COULD just show up and 'check your brain at the door'. That's what people paid to do. These days, that's less true. But Disney created this expectation, and so they are to blame for the disconnect now..
    I have not worked at the parks, but I have relatives (and friends) who do or have worked at the parks. I also probably spent part of up to 100 days in the parks last year, so I see a lot of what goes on.

    You have to understand, I don't understand the concept of "check your brain at the door". I have no idea what you mean by that. Back in the 70's, my parents always had to book our Polynesian stay a year in advance. We couldn't just show up. I expect they planned the luau well in advance, but there weren't many restaurants, only one Disney park, and there was no such thing as the internet.

    Over the years, there have been more restaurants and parks, resorts, etc. built. Things have changed, but the last few years have been hugely busy as well. There are 5 table service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. On a 40,000 people day, it doesn't take much to realize that only a fraction of those visitors will be able to eat at a sit-down restaurant, no matter when the bookings occur. If people can't get in one restaurant, they will go to the next (or fast food).

    Those who plan will get the best deals, and will have a wider choice of dining, hotels, etc. Those who don't, won't. That doesn't mean they won't have a good time. But if you are investing thousands of dollars into a trip, it's a good idea to invest the least cash you need to, research the options, and get a good return on your investment (as far as having a good time). Then again, my stepsister and her husband just visited (during Thanksgiving week) - spent a couple of days at the park, did zero research, and had a lot of fun.
    Last edited by nbodyhome; 02-05-2008 at 02:17 PM.
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    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  14. #29

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    Those who plan will get the best deals, and will have a wider choice of dining, hotels, etc. Those who don't, won't. That doesn't mean they won't have a good time. But if you are investing thousands of dollars into a trip, it's a good idea to invest the least cash you need to, research the options, and get a good return on your investment (as far as having a good time).
    I disagree about 'not having a good time.' Every single weekend I see people not having a good time because of stuff like this.

    On the other point, the money, your bias is there again. YOU think it's a good idea to research everything, but there are many families who think that paying thousands of dollars means they WON'T have to do research; they think they are paying for a good time already, and the 'plan' (whatever it is) is so expensive because the research isn't required.

    It comes down to this: should the parks be sympathetic or not when people show up without having planned every last minute of the vacation? They used to be sympathetic, now they are not.

    My argument is that they MUST be sympathetic, or else bad word of mouth spreads. It already has. Witness how many people dislike FastPass now (versus 1999, when I was the only voice on the planet pointing out the negatives) and witness how many people now think Dining Reservations are out of control (versus 2-3 years ago when I wrote about the increasing trend to 'scheduling' a whole vacation).

    When bad word of mouth spreads, Disney loses. Then we all lose, since they feel free to diminish the experience for all of us. Including those of us who plan things out.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  15. #30

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    You have to understand, I don't understand the concept of "check your brain at the door". I have no idea what you mean by that.
    It's a phrase they taught us at Orientation at Disneyland in 1987, and it's long been a part of the culture there (at least, back then it was). The mentality was, we are paid as Disney workers to do everything so the visitors could turn off their brains.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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