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  1. #31

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Thanks all for your advice.I'm sorry if I started something between Kevin and Denise.I have look at a lot of menus and prices and I think for us it will be a good value and have decided that even if we only break even I like the idea that my meals are alredy paid for before we get there and only really have to worry about Soviners.Kevin, I think with so many options out there for places to take your family,your are just plain silly not to do some research.Now I am a planner.Here it is early Feb and I don't go till Oct.Some people plan more than others but I think EVERYONE should do some!!Saying that its the parks fault that you didn't have fun is a cop out.

  2. #32

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by nicolem View Post
    Thanks all for your advice.I'm sorry if I started something between Kevin and Denise.I have look at a lot of menus and prices and I think for us it will be a good value and have decided that even if we only break even I like the idea that my meals are alredy paid for before we get there and only really have to worry about Soviners.Kevin, I think with so many options out there for places to take your family,your are just plain silly not to do some research.Now I am a planner.Here it is early Feb and I don't go till Oct.Some people plan more than others but I think EVERYONE should do some!!Saying that its the parks fault that you didn't have fun is a cop out.
    Hey - no problem. My DH has used the "putting aside the brains" phrase before, he was a driver in monorails for 6 years. But it was usually more about making sure that accidents didn't happen. Like, one time a family wasn't watching their child, and a monorail CM had to rescue the child seconds before the kid landed into the monorail trench. It wasn't meant as something that guests SHOULD do, but something to watch for - so nobody got hurt.

    I do think that the more effort one puts into a trip beforehand, the more they will get out of it during the trip. And it will save precious vacation time while on property. I am never in favor of NOT planning a vacation. You don't have to plan to the minutia - but I wouldn't just show up anywhere, not having any idea of what I was doing.

    But - two people can go to the MK, one says "it's crowded", and the other can say "it's not crowded at all". Some people look at things very differently, and I respect that not everyone has my viewpoint. I try very carefully to use IMHO a lot, because my opinions are just that. I would say that Kevin and I see things extremely differently, and the world would be boring if that wasn't the case. It's fine to agree to disagree.

    NicoleM - whatever your decision, I am sure you'll have a great time! Make sure to get every last bit of value on the plan. And bring lots of tip money!
    Last edited by nbodyhome; 02-05-2008 at 07:45 PM.
    Denise

    www.mousesteps.com




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

  3. #33

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Perhaps it is because we booked an off peak time (2/27 to 3/5) but I had no problem getting reservations for all 6 nights at exactly the restaurants we wanted. Since we opted not to get park hopper passes it was pretty easy to pick a restaurant for each night. We are taking advantage of the extra evening hours for days that we can and we know how many days we want at each park. I figured around 6:30 for dinners (got pretty close to that for most of the days) so we have time to get to the restaurant after an afternoon nap, but time to finish dinner before the evening festivities. I researched the restaurants and menus on allears.net and read reviews of our choices to double check.

    Since we are VERY indecisive on picking where to eat otherwise, this will make dinner much easier.

    And we picked some choices we wouldn't otherwise spend the money on. Sure, we would have spent less per day without the dining plan, but I think we will be eating much better than we would have other wise. When you tally up the cost of most of our meals, we will save quite a bit, even considering a tip. And we probably will not tip as hefty for the buffet dinners (no orders to take, food to bring, etc) The total cost per day for 3 adults and one child came to about $85. Not bad considering that dinner alone will use up at LEAST $60-$70 and lunches will run at LEAST $20-25 if not more like $35 for places like the Tangerine Cafe at Morocco at Epcot World Showcase.

    So here is our final list:

    Thursday, February 28, 2008 MagicKingdomPark
    Dinner at MagicKingdom at the Liberty Tree Character Dining 6:20
    $27.99 per adult all you can eat family style
    Lunch Columbia Harbor House (fish & chips of course!), El Pirata y El Perico, or Cosmic Ray's depending on what we feel like and where in the park we are.
    Snacks Dole Whip (of course!) or cinnamon rolls on Main Street,

    Friday, February 29, 2008 Epcot
    Dinner at Teppan Edo - Japan- World Showcase
    Should get our money's worth here too
    Lunch Cantina de San Angel (Mexico), or Tangierine Cafe (Morocco)
    Snacks at Epcot are great too! Crepes at Chefs de France, Kringla Bakeri (Norway)

    Saturday, March 1, 2008 Disney's AnimalKingdomPark
    Dinner at The Animal Kingdom Lodge at Boma 5:50
    All you can eat $25.99 Africna buffet
    Lunch Flame Tree BBQ

    Sunday, March 2, 2008 MagicKingdomPark
    Dinner at The Polynesian Resort at Ohana 6:35
    All you can eat family style $25.99

    Monday, March 3, 2008 Disney's Hollywood Studios
    Dinner at The BeachClubResort Cape May at Beach Club 6:05
    All you can eat clam bake and seafood buffet $25.99
    Lunch at ABC Commissary, or Toy Story Pizz Planet (Junkyard meal deal!) most likely

    Tuesday, March 4, 2008 Epcot
    Dinner at Epcot at Coral Reef 6:20
    Dinners $22-32 per main dish plush scrumptious desserts!

    Other snacks to maximize your money - waffle cone sundays, baked goods, smoothies, etc.

    I made linked those restaurants with the AllEars menus for each one.

    Sooooo bottom line - yes I think it is worth it. And now I won't have to waste time at the parks trying to find a good restaurant with a menu that is worth it. And ya know what? Just because we have PLANS and RESERVATIONS does NOT MEAN we can't change our mind spur of the moment! I mean really, who goes on vacation without getting SOME restaurant recommendations and an IDEA of where they are going to eat each day?
    Last edited by abarry90; 02-07-2008 at 09:50 AM.

  4. #34

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by abarry90 View Post
    [FONT=Arial][COLOR=black]Perhaps it is because we booked an off peak time (2/27 to 3/5) but I had no problem getting reservations for all 6 nights at exactly the restaurants we wanted. .
    That isn't really completely off-peak, but you did really well with your list!

    It depends also how many people are in the party. 4-tops tend to book up often more quickly than 2-tops. I was able to get a couple in at the last minute to some nice restaurants last year. The Coral Reef is generally the hardest one on the list you have, especially for a peak dinner time.

    I don't know if the changes to the DDP have made it less desirable this year, but the plan still seems to be very popular (even with online posters who know about what has changed). I wasn't expecting that.
    Denise

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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.

  5. #35

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Yeah - I almost reconsidered when I found out that they had dropped the appetizers and tips, but then looking at our choices, 4 of the 6 are all you can eat anyway, and with the buffets, the tip should be less since much of it is self serve.

    And I booked at just over a month out, certainly no where near 180 days. And since then I made changes as recently as last week with no problem.

  6. #36

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by abarry90 View Post
    Yeah - I almost reconsidered when I found out that they had dropped the appetizers and tips, but then looking at our choices, 4 of the 6 are all you can eat anyway, and with the buffets, the tip should be less since much of it is self serve.

    And I booked at just over a month out, certainly no where near 180 days. And since then I made changes as recently as last week with no problem.
    That is very surprising that you could make all of those at 1 month out. Liberty Tree I'm not surprised at, but Ohana I am (even if there is just 2 in your party). You really got great times on those. Ohana is especially very popular.

    The DDP did make it harder to book many restaurants last-minute, but it's not impossible to find decent restaurants at a moments notice (usually).

    I tip about the same percentage at buffets as I do at sit-downs, but the price is generally less as a whole (so the tip ends up being less).

    Congrats on getting all that dining, though! I like the Liberty Tree Tavern, Ohana, Boma, Teppan Edo - just a really a nice list of restaurants there. I have not done Cape May in years, that was one I used to visit a few times per year. The buffets have gone up so much in price, I just can't justify them often for local, casual dining anymore.

    I hope you have a fantastic trip (I think you will have some fantastic meals!)
    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. #37

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Ok - and now some further advice on a restaurant choice....

    When I was looking at menus again on AllEars, I saw two more that sparked my interest. The one restaurant on our list we still are wavering on is the Liberty Tree.

    The menu for Cinderella's Gala Feast (all you can eat) at the Grand Floridian looks REALLLYYY good. But I am not sure whether to sacrifice our one character dining with Mickey and Friends (Liberty Tree) in lieu of Cinderella. Our 4 year old (boy) likes Cinderella so it would probably still be fun for him.

    Then there is Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary. Not as many menu choices but still a bit more exciting menu than Liberty Tree. And you get Mickey and Friends.

    Any thoughts on which of those 3 choices we should settle on?

  8. #38

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    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.
    While I'm with you on most of this discussion, Denise, I still feel that the dining plan has hurt the situation in one very important way. There are many MANY people who are now enjoying sit down dining at Disney who previously were happy with fast food. This is what has choked the restaurants, and prompted Disney to do the 6 month out booking thing. And with all of these just plain folks now eating in exotic restaurants and complaining cuz there's no baked potato or cheeseburger on the menu, Disney is now simplifying and dumbing down the menus. It's very much hurt the quality of many of the formerly excellent restaurants.

    But I do agree with you about the need for at least a bit of research. I disagree with Kevin that Disney was ever about people being entitled to check their brains at the gate, although lots of people do just that. As the parks have become more complicated, the need for research has grown. And while there has always been and will always be a percentage of folks who don't do their homework, hopefully they can all learn how to do it right.

    I've always been a big fan of FastPass, as I know how to make it work for me. The information about how to use the system is freely available, so I don't feel sorry at all for those who can't figure it out. There will always be familes who stand in the middle of Main Street, huddled around a map, trying to find where the big golfball is. Disney has done an excellent job at keeping the public educated, but some of the responsibility has to remain with the public to take advantage of the information available.

  9. #39

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    And with all of these just plain folks now eating in exotic restaurants and complaining cuz there's no baked potato or cheeseburger on the menu, Disney is now simplifying and dumbing down the menus. It's very much hurt the quality of many of the formerly excellent restaurants.
    Dan, I completely agree with you on that. But even before the dining plan, there were complaints about the dumbing down/abbreviating of the menus. Some of my favorite restaurants have stayed very similar in offerings over the years, some haven't. (and I'm a plain folk! But I love Boma, and that is one restaurant which is popular and has never changed from it's origins.

    I definitely am not saying the DDP was perfect last year. And there are many who like to just "walk-in" to a restaurant, and that isn't as much an option anymore. But it was the first dining plan that I could actually recommend. When I worked at DRC, I tried to keep people from booking plans like the Silver/Gold, because it would have been hard to get value from them.

    As far as Fast Pass - I think of it just as I think of table service restaurants. Not everyone will be able to use it. If everyone knew about it, the same number of Fast Passes would still be available (and it would still frustrate guests, there wouldn't be enough to go around).

    There are guests who "check their brains at the door" in many ways at Disney. I've seen posts where guests think it's fine just to leave laptops out, and jewelry on the bed "because it's Disney". They may not lock their car doors, or pay attention when out and about. Walt Disney World is a HUGE, and you have to research your trip to get the most out of it, and take precautions just as you would at any other resort in the world. When Downtown Disney had issues last year, there were posters online ready to cancel their trips. People think that Disney is completely safe, and there are no child predators, and no stealing, etc. I do feel safer there than many other places. But you have to take proper precautions, just as you would elsewhere. And if you don't research, then you are going to waste valuable vacation time just milling about.
    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.

  10. #40

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    I ate at the Grand Floridian at Park Fare (Cinderella's Gala Feast), just this past December. The characters were Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremain, Anastasia, and Druzilla. That would be Cinderella's stepmother, and stepsisters. It is a buffet. The characters were a lot of fun.

    The Liberty Tree Tavern does not have Mickey, it is Minnie, Goofy, and Chip and Dale. At least those were the characters that we saw when we were there in December. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and the Thanksgiving like dinner that is served family style. The dessert was yummy.
    Last edited by Barbaraann; 02-07-2008 at 02:06 PM.


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  11. #41

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Well I would definately recommend DDP, we (2 adults) did it for 14 days last September and we are doing it again this September!

    We ate at -

    OHANA'S
    RAGLAN ROAD
    NACOOSSEE'S
    CORAL REEF
    NINE DRAGONS
    DONALDS BREAKFASTOSAURUS (character)
    BOMA
    SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC BREAKFAST AT 1900 PARK FARE (character)
    50'S PRIME TIME CAFE
    MAMA MELROSE'S RISTORANTE ITALIANO
    ROSE AND CROWN
    GOOFY'S LIBERATE YOUR APPETITE CHARACTER DINNER AT LIBERTY TREE TAVERN

    and we loved them all! We came in 2006 and didn't eat anywhere near as good food as this mostly fast food junk becasue we were on a budget. in 2007 we were also on a budget but got to eat a lot better food.

    Me and boyfriend are both normal people with normal jobs who save for a year to come over for two weeks, and we were delighted to get to eat at these great restaurants! Like I said we are normal but we appreciated the better menu's and never once complained about wanting a cheeseburger (that's outrageous!!) or anything if we had wanted one of those we would have eaten elsewhere. I think its sad that the likes of us (my boyfriends and I) are being tarred with the same brush as these idiots who have forced disney to dumb down the menu.

    I think DDP is a brilliant idea, ok I respect that some people want to just walk in and eat, but most people know now that thats unlikely becasue of DDP. BUT if normal, hardworking people get to eat at better restaurants and have beeter Disney experiences isn't it a good thing.

    Walking into a restaurant and being told there isnt a table for a a few hours (which can happen anywhere not just at DW) isn't going to ruin a holiday, but eating there having made previous reservation can make a holiday!

    All in all, I love Disney Dining Plan!!

  12. #42

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by JoseyDisney View Post
    I think its sad that the likes of us (my boyfriends and I) are being tarred with the same brush as these idiots who have forced disney to dumb down the menu.
    From my perspective, you and your boyfriend are not in the same league as those I complained about above. It was a marginal value for me last year, and I didn't enjoy the extra work required to manage and use all my points. And with the reduced value this year, it's a no brainer for me to skip it. But if the plan works for you, go for it and enjoy!

  13. #43

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    I used the Dining plan for the first time on my last vacation. I was traveling with a good friend, who had used it before. I can say, that I got my money's worth, because of the places that we ate.

    However, since I do not normally book a Disney vacation package, I really doubt that I will use it again. I wonder if the waiters and waitresses will get tipped less under the new plan. I am also surprised that they have done away with the appetiser, and not the dessert.


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  14. #44

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    It was a marginal value for me last year, and I didn't enjoy the extra work required to manage and use all my points. And with the reduced value this year, it's a no brainer for me to skip it.
    It was really hard for me to use mine. I have done the free dine plan - twice, and I enjoyed getting back to restaurants I'd not been to in a while. BUT, even though it was "free", I could have had a $25.00 room discount - plus, tax, so around $28.00. So I really needed to make up that $30, before it was worth having. Plus I do have the DDE, so many of the restaurants I dined at are ones I could have already had a discount on.

    So - I always was trying to use my credits for more expensive items, like steak. I can't eat steak every day! And normally I'll have a couple of kids meals - or a few snacks like cous cous during the day, not one big counter service with dessert. Now, the tips aren't included, so I'd really need to split a room with 2 other friends before it'd be worth it for me.
    Denise

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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.

  15. #45

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    Re: Disney Dining Plan

    Me and boyfriend are both normal people with normal jobs who save for a year to come over for two weeks, and we were delighted to get to eat at these great restaurants! Like I said we are normal but we appreciated the better menu's and never once complained about wanting a cheeseburger (that's outrageous!!) or anything if we had wanted one of those we would have eaten elsewhere. I think its sad that the likes of us (my boyfriends and I) are being tarred with the same brush as these idiots who have forced disney to dumb down the menu.
    Nobody should be tarring anyone with any brush. That people complain about the "rif raf" so to speak tells me much more about the persons doing the complaining than it does of any so-called dumbing down of a menu. And it does not speak well of them. These types truly enjoy the food less knowing that the general public has more access to the same places they do. The fact remains as you saw first hand when you went down there is you can still get a lot of wonderful things at Disney and over a two week vacation, you wouldn't have to order the same thing twice. And you can get a lot of unique things as well. Though there aren't 30 things on the menu at places, there certainly is enough variety between establishments to satisfy if one has their act together. So if you like the Dining plan, great. More power to you. I don't enjoy 'Ohana any less now that many more people have access to it. If someone wants to feel "exclusive" they need to pony up and pay for it at Victoria and Albert's or if that won't quite make the budget, one of the signature places.

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