Do you use the disney dining plan?

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bali's picture
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Do you use the disney dining plan?

I don't have a lot of experience with it (did free dining when it was first offered a million years ago, and that's it), so I'm wondering if you use it, how you use it, if you find it to be a good deal, and if you feel constrained by it at all.

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Haven't tried it, because it's not flexible enough for me. I don't like being told what to eat at each meal. For instance, I'm not a big fan of dessert and certainly wouldn't eat it at every meal, but if you don't, you're wasting the money you invested in the dining plan. Sometimes, I'd rather have a meal of appetizers instead of an entree. Sorry, can't do that either. I'd rather just pay out of pocket to eat what I want to eat.

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SoloFriendly wrote:
Haven't tried it, because it's not flexible enough for me. I don't like being told what to eat at each meal. For instance, I'm not a big fan of dessert and certainly wouldn't eat it at every meal, but if you don't, you're wasting the money you invested in the dining plan. Sometimes, I'd rather have a meal of appetizers instead of an entree. Sorry, can't do that either. I'd rather just pay out of pocket to eat what I want to eat.

It's a balancing act between how much is wasted and how much of a discount you're getting. It never makes any sense for us because we eat table service 90% of the time. Plus I'm with you and I don't want to be doing calculus to figure out if I'm even profiting from using it.

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We did it last trip, are doing it this trip, and will probably do it on every trip that it stills makes sense for - which is as long as you can get 1 snack, 1 counter service, and 1 sit down.

We get a great deal out of it too, especially with where we eat. We want to do an extra sit down lunch, so we are paying to eat at Germany - which is the cheapest of everywhere we are going - for lunch out of pocket and using our counter service on a breakfast option.

Our other restaurants are Le Cellier, Morocco, O'hana, Boma, a French restaurant, and The Wave. At almost all of these places what we each get for dinner is equal to the price of the dining plan, so we basically get the counter service and the snack for free.

I know I will miss the appetizer at one place (Le Cellier's Cheddar Cheese Soup) but I will pay for that. It was too much food before and I like getting the dessert since it is something i normally wouldn't get.

I love the dining plan so much!

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caitiesus wrote:
We did it last trip, are doing it this trip, and will probably do it on every trip that it stills makes sense for - which is as long as you can get 1 snack, 1 counter service, and 1 sit down.

We get a great deal out of it too, especially with where we eat. We want to do an extra sit down lunch, so we are paying to eat at Germany - which is the cheapest of everywhere we are going - for lunch out of pocket and using our counter service on a breakfast option.

Our other restaurants are Le Cellier, Morocco, O'hana, Boma, a French restaurant, and The Wave. At almost all of these places what we each get for dinner is equal to the price of the dining plan, so we basically get the counter service and the snack for free.

I know I will miss the appetizer at one place (Le Cellier's Cheddar Cheese Soup) but I will pay for that. It was too much food before and I like getting the dessert since it is something i normally wouldn't get.

I love the dining plan so much!

can't miss the cheddar cheese soup! you picked a lot of the best "1 meal dinners." most of my favorite places take 2 which makes the plan less useful. do you usually use up all your meals (snacks and counter service I mean)?

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Thank you for all the great responses.

SF and Brad: I often feel constrained by those kinds of meal plans, which is why I was wondering what everyone else thought. I usually like to get an appetizer, so that would be tough for me to not "be allowed" to get that appetizer (or basically have to do the math on a napkin to determine if I'm still saving money if I pay for the appetizer).

Caitie: That's good feedback that the places you're eating table service pretty much cover the costs of the dining plan and that you still have the counter service and snack left over. I'm prefectly happy with counter service one meal per day (probably prefer it, actually!), and most of my favorite breakfast items fall into the "snack" option.

Like I said, though, I would miss my appetizer.

Here's a question: could I use Tables in Wonderland discount on my alcohol (as that's not included in the dining plan)? Anyone know?

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greebil wrote:
caitiesus wrote:

can't miss the cheddar cheese soup! you picked a lot of the best "1 meal dinners." most of my favorite places take 2 which makes the plan less useful. do you usually use up all your meals (snacks and counter service I mean)?

We used them all up last time, it takes a little planning, but isn't bad. This time we are doing a couple days that we are paying for another sit down and we will make up for that by doing a counter service breakfast. Snacks are REALLY easy to use up too.

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We added it up once and found we would run out of "Points" way too quickly. Thats because we eat eather 2 point meals, or a lot of small meals. Eather way we would burn em up.

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marzyar wrote:
We added it up once and found we would run out of "Points" way too quickly. Thats because we eat eather 2 point meals, or a lot of small meals. Eather way we would burn em up.


We tend to do a lot of 2-pointers, too, then fill in the extra space with noshing.

Disney should consider giving X number of points that you can use however you want for those of use weird eaters.

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Yeah a dining plan with 2 table services per day would work out much better for us. Caitiesus sounds very knowledgeable about using up snacks. Any suggestions?

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SpaceAce wrote:
marzyar wrote:
We added it up once and found we would run out of "Points" way too quickly. Thats because we eat eather 2 point meals, or a lot of small meals. Eather way we would burn em up.


We tend to do a lot of 2-pointers, too, then fill in the extra space with noshing.

Disney should consider giving X number of points that you can use however you want for those of use weird eaters.

I like that idea!

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I suspect that most of their motivation in giving you points the way they do is to get you to waste stuff. Most neophytes have trouble planning a WDW to begin with and using up all their points will probably be low on their priority list. I'm betting that the average visitor has a pretty high degree of waste.

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Brad wrote:
Yeah a dining plan with 2 table services per day would work out much better for us. Caitiesus sounds very knowledgeable about using up snacks. Any suggestions?

Dole Whip! I usually use one or two snacks on Dole Whips. Ice cream is usually good on a hot day. Also, the turkey legs at DHS count (at least they did two years ago).

There are a LOT of options for snacks, last time I went the Churros at Mexico were on there. I know popcorn is on there, most basic snacks.

Pop/soda counts as a snack, but I try not ot use it on that because it is on the cheaper end of the snacks and I try to bring water to the parks.

Anyone know any other great snacks?

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I'm a giant dork, but I've been known to get those fresh apples with caramel or yogurt parfaits. I think those are snacks.

A lot of the fun kiosk stuff in the World Showcase countries count as snacks too, Kaki Gori maybe, and stuff from the bakery in Norway?

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We use the meal plan every trip too- a long as my kids ae 9 andyounger we'lldo it b/c it works out- a character meal for them is more then the price of the dining plan for them for a day- it is a no brainer!

We often use our snack credits on fruit, yogurt, or cereal for breakfast (squeak out 3 meals that way Wink ) We also love the bakeries in France, on the Boardwalk, and on Main St USA! muchlove

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We did the free dining promo one year, I think it was the first year it was offered. It was ok, it was worth it because it was free, but like others have said, we do alot of 2 credit meals & often make a dinner of just appetizers. Plus we stay at the Swan/Dolphin & it's not offered there.

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Leota wrote:
We did the free dining promo one year, I think it was the first year it was offered. It was ok, it was worth it because it was free, but like others have said, we do alot of 2 credit meals & often make a dinner of just appetizers. Plus we stay at the Swan/Dolphin & it's not offered there.

Dolphin and Swan get Extra Magic Hour access though, right?

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Brad wrote:
Leota wrote:
We did the free dining promo one year, I think it was the first year it was offered. It was ok, it was worth it because it was free, but like others have said, we do alot of 2 credit meals & often make a dinner of just appetizers. Plus we stay at the Swan/Dolphin & it's not offered there.

Dolphin and Swan get Extra Magic Hour access though, right?



Yep. You get EMH, transpo, package delivery....everything except the dining plan & the ability to charge to your room (only get that at the Swolphoin stores/restaurants)

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Dawn wrote:
We often use our snack credits on fruit, yogurt, or cereal for breakfast (squeak out 3 meals that way Wink )


That makes a lot of sense. THen you don't have your snacks left over to tempt you with buying junk food!

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Leota wrote:
everything except the dining plan & the ability to charge to your room (only get that at the Swolphoin stores/restaurants)

Eek! That would be a deal breaker for me! I love going to the park with just my room key. I have heard good things about all the restaurants in those resorts though. Have you tried Il Mulino? (I think that's the name?)

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Hi,

I may have posted this in another thread, but I love the standard dining plan, even though it is a lot of food for one person. But I tend to eat whenever I'm hungry; and often to use the (snack) points, I have to try to eat when I'm NOT hungry, which is never a good thing.

Jim

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Hi Everyone!
Our trip is getting close so of course I am reading on here all the time lol. Anyway, we always get the delux dinning plan. We do usually do lot of 2 point meals for our evening meal. We also book breakfast every day. Although I have never really figured out if we save by using it, it seems to me like we must. We do not always want an appetizer or dessert but if we dont we tell the waitress or waiter to give it to someone who is not on the dinning plan. They are more than happy to do that. It makes us feel like we did not waste and gives us a little feeling of spreading some magic lol.

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scrappy wrote:
We do not always want an appetizer or dessert but if we dont we tell the waitress or waiter to give it to someone who is not on the dinning plan. They are more than happy to do that. It makes us feel like we did not waste and gives us a little feeling of spreading some magic lol.

That's a very magical thing for you to do. This is what makes Disney parks a magical place, due to people like you and the wonderful cast members.

I remember standing behind someone waiting for my Mickey Premium, and the lady 2 persons ahead of me was asking everyone behind her if she could buy us something, because she wants to use up her snack points before she left that day. We all took her up on it, of course, and thanked her very much. She walked away with a smile, and so did we.

I've done the regular Dining Plan only twice, not because I didn't like it, but because it was way too much food, and way too much advanced planning. Since we tend to go there for at least a week, planing for the whole week's worth of food is just too much of an effort. We might do the dining plan when we go on short trips in the future. That would be a more manageable thing to do.

Zz.

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scrappy wrote:
We do not always want an appetizer or dessert but if we dont we tell the waitress or waiter to give it to someone who is not on the dinning plan. They are more than happy to do that. It makes us feel like we did not waste and gives us a little feeling of spreading some magic lol.

Hi Scrappy -- it's so good to see you! I can't believe you guys are leaving so soon!

I've never even thought about that possibility of giving way appetizers/desserts. I had no idea they could split up your individual courses like that! What a great idea.

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12 Days to go scrappy! I see people give away their snack credits at the end of their trip quite a few times, but I've never seen someone give away an appetizer. How fun!

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Do you pick the appetizer for them or just tell them it's on you?

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Disney dining plan is really worthwhile. With the normal plan you can order any entry listed on the menu and any dessert and with the sumptuous plan, you can also order any starter. I always prefer to Disney dining plan. For more details about it, check out the following link:

http://everythingwdw.blogspot.com/2010/01/is-disney-dining-plan-worth-it.html

Best Regards,

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I love the DDP and will probably never go without it again. There is something satisfying about paying for your whole trip - including food- beforehand. I usually do the regular dining and pay OOP for brekfast or use my snack credit, grab a counter lunch and a sit down dinner. If I want a sit down lunch then I just use my counter credit for breakfast. I decide before I go what I will be doing each day and ho to use my credits. This way when I am paying OOP I make sure it's the least expencive table service restaurants.

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ChipnDaleFan wrote:
I love the DDP and will probably never go without it again. There is something satisfying about paying for your whole trip - including food- beforehand. I usually do the regular dining and pay OOP for brekfast or use my snack credit, grab a counter lunch and a sit down dinner. If I want a sit down lunch then I just use my counter credit for breakfast. I decide before I go what I will be doing each day and ho to use my credits. This way when I am paying OOP I make sure it's the least expencive table service restaurants.

That's a great point that paying for everything before you go is a really good feeling! Then there's nothing to worry about when you're there. cool Any suggestions for best value places to use your counter service credit?