The Magical Free DDP...

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The Magical Free DDP...

Well in 2012,for the first time, we fell lucky and got the Q/S free DDP...This was our 5th trip,all on site, and stayed at P.O.R.S..For two adults and a teenage son it was a massive saving..We still done a few ADRS..Anyway,last night I debated about going this year in October instead of 2015..I got a good price from Complete Orlando for my beloved Riverside..Great prices for flights from Manchester,but then the hammer blow..The 2014 free DDP is no longer available..The offer had to be booked by November of last year..How important is Free DDP yo yourselfs.?..I know that in America you get room discounts but here in the UK it's the free DDP..Just wondering if the offer wasn't on,would you stay outside the bubble.?

alicemouse's picture
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I would still stay on property assuming that it made "reasonable" financial sense to do so. For me, the room premium is worth the convenience and knowing that if something is wrong, Disney will fix it. For us, DDP in general is not something that we typically concern ourselves with and I don't want to stay off property ever again biggrin.

Because we now own DVC, we aren't eligible to get the plan free and I don't find it a cost effective way to do dining for us if I have to pay for it. My husband is a very simple eater--burger, pizza, mac & cheese, etc. I actually have to work pretty hard to find a combination that makes a paid DDP work out in our favor. We used free dining on our first onsite trip (and it did what it was supposed to do--it got us to try an onsite reservation and made our booking cost comparable to a cruise on land.) On the first trip when we had the DDP, I was actually miserably full at some points and I found that a lot of things that looked interesting to me and I wanted to try were not included. I prefer appetizers to dessert, so that's an extra cost. Most of the items that I wanted to try from the streets in the World Showcase (crepes, gelato) were not included. Plus, you are eating at a table service restaurant, so there's still gratuity.

We've found some inexpensive favorites where the quality of the food is good enough. Also, counter service is significantly faster than table service, so dumping most of our table service meals frees up our schedule to enjoy other aspects of our vacation. If every counter service was like Cosmic Ray's, I'd never eat counter service again, but fortunately, there is a wide variety. Our favorites are Earl of Sandwich (we ate here 3 times on our last trip), Casey's Corner, $31 pizza at Via Napoli that nets each of us two meals, Sunshine Seasons, Pinocchio's, Pecos Bills, Columbia Harbor House, Flame Tree BBQ, create your own pasta @ Riverside. We always keep snacks and water in our park bag, but we freely stop for any other snacks that interest us. We'll usually pick anywhere between 1 and 4 table service restaurants to try per trip just to mix it up, but I like not having to make so many ADR's and not having to decide what I'll be hungry for 6 months from now.

I'm not saying that I would never try DDP again, but based on the way that we eat on vacation, we'd be lucky to break even if I bought it and its not available free for us either. This year with our AP, we were lucky to be eligible for Tables in Wonderland, but even that, I had to figure out if we were going to do enough table service to make the card worth buying and it may end up very close in the end.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Joined: 09/01/2011
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Yes - I would still stay at a Disney Hotel even without free dining.

Allie's picture
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I would definitely still stay at Disney. We generally prefer apps over desserts and DH and I will often split meals at Disney, so if we had to buy the DDP we would never purchase it because it really doesn't save us anything and doesn't make sense with the way we eat. That being said, we're really hoping for free dining during our Sept trip with my sisters. When I calculated the costs, it would save us a couple hundred dollars more then a room discount would, even if we upgraded our hotel from POP to POFQ to take advantage of the regular DDP vs. QS. Plus we will then eat at a couple pricier restaurants vs. more QS if we pay out of pocket.

RobynPrincess's picture
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You can often get free DDP from the USA site when they offer it Wink at the min they have up to 40% off disney hotels for the uk market for bookings this year.

On a side note, we had an AWFUL time with complete Orlando. They screwed up our tickets so bad, they took money for 21 day tickets but only booked us 14 day with disney, then we had to spend hours at DTD guest services and a huge phone bill trying to sort it out. Also we added extra days with them (we booked hotel, tickets and DDP with them) and they CHARGED us to give them more money?!!! Never again after that.

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jw24's picture
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I'd stay in the bubble, free DDP or not. Most people would prefer a room discount over free DDP considering how some feel that the quality of the food has dropped while pricing has gone up. In 2014, the QS plan is almost $40 a day for 10 and up, almost $59 for the regular! And that only covers 2 meals a day! eek And all those snack credits along with the mandatory desert with entree, that can be too much. Some people don't want or don't need to have snacks and deserts every single day. It also doesn't help there are fewer restaurants to choose from to! I've seen the places for QS plan for 2014 and they dropped so many CS places in Epcot and for Downtown Disney, there are only two places to use the QS credits! (EOS is not included! yuck )

I mean, if you need all three meals, you're going to have to pay out of pocket for one meal every day anyway. If not, one meal a day, at some point, you'll have to out of pocket for your meals. But it all depends on you and your eating preferences. If you eat like a bird, I'd steer clear from the DDP because it's a lot of food. For me, as someone who is likely going to solo travel for life, well, it doesn't seem worth it for me. Let's say an entree at a CS place is about 10-12 dollars. Multiply that by three and it's about 30-36 dollars not including tax. A non-alcholic beverage will tack on another 3 bucks roughly so that's almost 13-15 dollars per meal. So in total, that's 39-45 dollars for three meals. Tack on 1 or 2 snacks, it's 40-50 dollars total. Compare that to 40 dollars on the plan and then another CS meal with a drink, that's about 53-55 dollars a day, with snacks and desert options. And that's just CS!

Long story short, if you're not sure if it makes sense, hypothesize the restaurants you would eat and what food items you would order and calculate the totals and then compare it to the plan. It's a lot of work and math but I'm sure you'd rather do math for part of your Disney vacation than anything else!

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I would wait until May 2015 and snag the free ddp for then .

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RobynPrincess's picture
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Just had a quick look at expedia as I've been searching for deals with Karen and they have been the cheapest, they have AKL cheaper than POR! PS116 per night Wink

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

SpamGoddess's picture
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Joined: 04/10/2013
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I'd stay onsite without the free DDP, but I'm also one where I'd much rather have a room discount (and buy my tickets through, say, Undercover Tourist but even then I wouldn't have to) than the free DDP anyway. I don't eat enough, or rather within their box enough, to justify the DDP at all.

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jw24, you may want to look again at the DDP, I don't think they dropped any places. You probably did what several others did and looked before they were all listed. It happens every years, people look to soon and then have a fit for no reason. Most places don't get listed until the last minute.

2014 Dining Plan

JMUDukz's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2012
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As an AP holder, and a runDisney addict, I'm usually SOL for free dining (I'd buy a day ticket to get free dining, but they never offer it over race weekends, so it really doesn't matter). I think staying in the Disney bubble is so important to the quality of my vacation, I'd do it free dining or not!!

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jw24's picture
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mrhub wrote:
jw24, you may want to look again at the DDP, I don't think they dropped any places. You probably did what several others did and looked before they were all listed. It happens every years, people look to soon and then have a fit for no reason. Most places don't get listed until the last minute.

2014 Dining Plan

I stand corrected. But even so, the pricing turns me away from the DDP.

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"All my life I wonder how it feels to pass a day, not above them but part of them.

And out there living in the sun, give me one day out there, all I ask is one to hold forever. Out there where they all live unaware, what I'd give, what I'd dare, just to live one day out there."