To Dining Plan or not to Dining Plan that is the question

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Joined: 06/21/2012
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To Dining Plan or not to Dining Plan that is the question

I have been having trouble trying to figure out things dineing wise and could use some insight from thos more experienced.

I am trying to decide if the dining plan is worth it for us. We would be doing the Regular Dining Plan. Also we are going during the food and wine festival.

We are eating at:

Boma
Tusker House Breakfast
Cali Grill
Cinderella's Royal Table
Brown Derby (Fantasmic Package)
Chefs de France
Kona Cafe (lunch)

The regular dining plan will cost us: $825.00

Which brings me to my next question if free dining is released it would cost us $275.00 to upgrade the only issue is we are currently staying at AoA LM and those rooms are excluded. Is it worth it to switch hotels to get free dining?

Any insight would be helpful!

Thanks!

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Kristen K.'s picture
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I need some more information to form an opinion. First one being how many nights are you staying?

You have 11 Table Service Credits in your list. Depending on how many nights you're staying, it might actually be best to go with the Deluxe Dining Plan to cover all of those signature restaurants.

Next question is, are you guys big eaters? Would order an appetizer, entree and dessert at each of those signature meals?

We usually have a $150ish bill (for two people) at signature establishments, you have 4 on your list, that means that if it was me just those meals alone would cost me about $600.

Plus, with the Deluxe dining plan you get 2 snack credits a day per person, and those can be used at the F&W Festival to cover another meal easily.

If you go check out the menus on AllEars.net and take a guess at what you would order. That will give you an idea on if the dining plan will be of monetary value to you.

I hope I didn't confuse you too much

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Kristen K. wrote:
If you go check out the menus on AllEars.net and take a guess at what you would order. That will give you an idea on if the dining plan will be of monetary value to you.

THIS is very valuable advice! We did the same and realized that with the amount of food we eat and then budgeting in extra cash for cocktails, the dining plan would have us paying for more than we'd be using.

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Jess's picture
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Well i would say if you are willing to switch resorts to get the free dining then that's a great savings and do it. But something you might want to check is...Can you do the signature restaurants with free dining? I'm not sure as I've never ate at a Signature Restaurant or done the free dining

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for me it wasn't worth it only because I will never eat my money's worth. I basically just snack all day and eat a slightly larger dinner. I can't really eat full meals anymore without feeling sick ever since my first year of university when I would snack in class to keep my attention on my prof

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I agree with Kristen, we need more info. It does look to me like you are looking at the regular dinning plan. I think that with having 3 signature meals booked you would either want the deluxe dining plan or just skip the dinning plan and pay out of pocket. As far as getting the dining plan free, again with what you have booked I think not only will you be paying around $300 for the upgrade, but you will probably run out of meals and still have to pay for some out of pocket. (again based on the regular dining plan).

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me either! I don't do dining plan because I would never eat enough for my money's worth. I am a counter service girl pretty much, although I do love Teppan Edo....

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Joined: 06/21/2012
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Kristen K. wrote:
I need some more information to form an opinion. First one being how many nights are you staying?

You have 11 Table Service Credits in your list. Depending on how many nights you're staying, it might actually be best to go with the Deluxe Dining Plan to cover all of those signature restaurants.

Next question is, are you guys big eaters? Would order an appetizer, entree and dessert at each of those signature meals?

Thanks for the advice. We aren't huge eaters (trying to watch portion sizes) and I guess that's where my fustration stems from. We are more savory than dessert people and would end up paying out of pocket for appetizers and drinks. I have calculated our meals and we would be spending about $550.00 for our meals (dinner only). We are staying 9 nights so one of the signatures is out of pocket (probably California Grill because the appitizers and sushi really appeal to us). The draw of the dining plan is the snacks and using them at EPCOT, but I think all in all we would end up breaking even with the dining plan. We are also planning on sharing quick service meals so the 18 (9 each) would cover us for all of the trip.

Its a very close call for us I think and that's why I just needed other opions. I haven't been since 2007 when the dining plan still included appetizers and tip (much easier decision then) and my husband has never been so everything is new to him and he knows I will plan the best trip for him. laugh

Thanks again.

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Frogirl wrote:
Thanks for the advice. We aren't huge eaters (trying to watch portion sizes) and I guess that's where my fustration stems from.

I think then paying out of pocket will probably be best for you on this trip. While I'm a huge advocate for the DDP, it's not best for everyone on every trip. I think that with upgrading your hotel, and still having to pay out of pocket for some meals that it's not going to be worth it monetarily.

If you're looking for the controlled spending and ease of using the dining plan, I highly suggest putting your food money on a Disney Gift Card. That gives you the "controlled" allowance and ease of having the money in one spot apart from spending money, plus you can use that card for cocktails too! mickey

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For me, the crucial words in your original post are:

"...we are going during the food and wine festival."

I know some folks will spend one afternoon of F&W grazing and them make ADRs and counter-service plans for the rest of the week. I am not one of those people. I'll spend at least two FULL days eating nothing but what the F&W booths have to offer. I'll also park-hop over for a fest-grazing dinner at least once more, and probably two or three times. If I got the dining plan during F&W, I'd use up all my snack credits on Day 1 and having several quick-service and table-service meals that I would never get around to using.

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We use the snack credits for the F&W. We do make ADRs however we use the QS for breakfasts before heading out to the parks. Vacation is my time to throw the 5 small meals a day out the window. I generally plan a few character meals and 1 or 2 signature meals...I make the DDP work for me. I'm a Passholder so I buy the TiW card and that gives a discount on appetizers and alcoholic beverages.
Dee

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To deluxe or not to Deluxe is my question.
I am staying for 10 days. I have 13 table service on the ADR's already. After figuring everything out I have 3 out of pocket tables. Liberty tree, Ohana with stitch, and 50's prime time. We have 3 tables and 5 quick serves out of pocket and no snack credits because I am going to use those for breakfast every morning.
If I go deluxe I can save my save my snacks for snacks and not breakfast. Plus my breakfast will not have to be counter every day.

So 3 tables, 5 counters and snacks out of pocket or $640.00 to go up to deluxe?

P.S. mase what do you think of my avatar? From one stitch fan to another I mean.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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I really love the Deluxe Dining Plan. I feel like it gives us the opportunity to eat whatever we want, wherever we want and not really worry about it at all. I don't worry about using it most "efficiently" so much as I use it for the ease and peace of mind that it gives me. If you still wanted to use snack credits for breakfast you could add a signature restaurant or two into your schedule. We do that a lot when on the deluxe. I really to prefer to sit down and relax for a meal and I never quite get that feeling at a counter service place.