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WDW Trip Early January - Dining Plan Observations

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  • WDW Trip Early January - Dining Plan Observations

    We just got back from 9 nights at WDW, staying at the Beach Club in which we had opted to take advantage of the dining plan. Upon our arrival, we were upgraded to the Concierge Level, which offers food from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. Some things that we noticed about the dining plan:

    1. Yes, it is a great value if you use all of the meals and snacks. But remember you have to wait in line at counter service locations, and then wait again at table service locations. Just because you have Priority Seating (an absolute must!) does not mean they sit you immediately upon your arrival. As we went during value season, the parks were closing earlier, and we were torn between using our DP or enjoying the parks.

    2. There is no consistancy throughout the parks as far as what is included. At Mama Melroses, we were able to drink Perrier water as our non-alcoholic beverage, but not at Alfredo's. Some pastries such as those at Norway or France are able to be used as snacks or Dessert for quick service, while comparable items at the Beach Club quick service outlet, or Boardwalk Bakery were not available. In fact, it seems that each server/cashier, not the computer, determines what is included. This constant wondering what is available and what is not is taxing, and requires a long list of questions to each server/cashier as to what is included.

    3. As a general rule, it seemed that Disney employees did not like the DP. At the Boardwalk Bakery, the cashier mumbled under her breath to a co-worker, as we walked out, that she hates the DP. However, some employees at tableservice locations were much more savvy. There is an 18% gratuity added to the final bill, so it is to the servers advantage to maximize the check as much as possible. Some were quite good at this and some were not. This worked against us at California Grill. Our server took our order and was never to be seen again. Over 3 hours for a three course meal! Seems as if some know that they get the gratuity regardless of the service. All in all, I felt as if the Disney employees felt that the Dining Plan was a nuisance, and that we were really second class citizens, at least to those paying cash.

    4. The food at sit down restaurants is not that good. It is mass produced food, served hastily from steamtables. The only decent meal we had was at California Grill, but the service was so slow that it pretty much negated the food. Alfredo's in Italy was horrid! The Askerhaus was even worse! Morocco's restaurant was at least clean and beautiful, and the food was average. All would have cost our family of four over $100.00 each but for the dining plan. So, yes it is a good deal, but it was anything but extraordinary.

    5. I know a lot of you think I am crazy for bashing WDW food, so let me try to redeem myself. Each restaurant, quick service and concierge level dessert we ate was delicious. Fresh, moist and well thought out. Three cheers for WDW pastry chefs!

    6. Club or Concierge Level- This however, was a real bonus. Although we did not pay for it on this trip, we would opt for this service and drop the dining plan. The Concierge level offers food from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the offerings changing to suit the meal period. Wine and beer are served at 5 p.m. and cordials are served at 7 p.m. There are no rules regarding the taking of snacks/beverages with you to the park, to your room, or to the pool, as well as no limitations on the quantity of the items you take. Our kids preferred to eat here, rather than in the restaurants, and I must say I agreed. Do not do both the DP and club level!

    I say go to WDW to enjoy NEMO the musical, Expedition Everest, Mission Space. Walk world showcase and enjoy the fireworks. That is what Disney does best. Do not go thinking you are going to have wonderful dining experiences.

    And some other notes:

    WDW Marathon really packs the crowds. We would go the Tuesday after the Marathon next time as the crowds really dwindled.

    Beach Club Location is prime. We walked both to MGM and Epcot, and you can get to MK via Monorail through Epcot.

  • #2
    Re: WDW Trip Early January

    Thank you for the insightful trip report on the Dining Plan. You have excellent points.


    • #3
      Re: WDW Trip Early January

      Wow, that was not my experience with the dining plan at all. Yes, most of the food was not the best I have ever had, but all of it was at least decent and some of it was very good. We never once in eight days had bad service or felt that the cast members resented the dining plan. In fact, the only place that seemed to have a problem with it was Wolfgang Puck Express in DTD and that was mostly because we were splitting a meal. But other than the California Grill we ate at different restaurants than you did. Maybe the choice of restaurant had something to do with it? Dunno.

      I am sorry that your experience wasn't as good.


      • #4
        Re: WDW Trip Early January

        I am very sorry you had poor experiences with your dining. We eat out there all the time. We just took my family who were visiting over Christmas to O'Hana. Which is, by far, the best place to eat for the money.
        "What are we going to do tonight?"
        "The same thing we do every night Pinky, Try to take over the world."


        • #5
          Re: WDW Trip Early January

          Originally posted by bea&cyd View Post
          The Askerhaus was even worse!
          Are you talking about Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, the Princess Character Dining location in Norway?

          Aerinpegadrack and I had lunch there on tuesday and were absolutely delighted! Our waiter Knut was tremendously helpful and accomodating, especially to my vegetarian needs. He probably brought me every item he could find that fit my diet! I had 3 plates for my entree! And not to mention the amazing feast that was the appetizer buffet. We almost filled up on the breads and cheeses alone. Aerin said the shrimp filled eggs were good; unfortunately I couldn't try them.

          The Princesses all stopped by and said hi, but they seemed more interested in just taking a picture with us and then moving on to a table with children. I tried to start a conversation with Aurora (I told her she's the reason I got an F in Costuming class for making me deathly afraid of sewing machines - the modern version of spindles) and she seemed to want to derail my train of thought so she could move on unfortunately.

          All in all it was probably the best lunch we had all vacation and the price of the meal was worth it for the food alone; which says a lot considering the food at DCA's princess dining at Ariel's Grotto is amazingly questionable.

          Some highlights:

          I think my drink was mixed by the Evil Queen:

          Belle greeted us in very humble garb:

          I found my long lost twin!

          Julie Rei

          "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." - Anton Ego (Ratatouille)

          "I suppose you have no choice but to revolutionize the world." -Mikage Souji (Revolutionary Girl Utena)


          • #6
            Re: WDW Trip Early January

            OOOOO the drink glows!
            The earth is round.... or so i've found.


            • #7
              Re: WDW Trip Early January - Dining Plan Observations



              • #8
                Re: WDW Trip Early January - Dining Plan Observations

                Thanks for your report on the dining plan. I think each family has to individually decide whether the plans would fit their eating habits or not. Any chance you can share some pictures with us?


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