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Question for 1st time visitor

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  • Question for 1st time visitor

    Hello WDW people. I am finally going to WDW for the first time in November. I am going with my wife and three kids (18, 16 & 13). My question is regarding the meal plan. Is it worth it? I am staying on property and were thinking of shipping in some snacks via Amazon Pantry prior to our arrival. Just wanted to get the bast value for our money.

    thanks
    "Raiders Suck"
    -Walt Disney

  • #2
    I am not a fan of the dining plan, so I will provide the "con" argument, others can provide the "pro".

    It can save you money, but you have to use it to it's fullest, which takes some planning and discipline. You will need to be thinking about what makes best use of the plan instead of what you actually want to eat. I was recently talking to a friend who had a young relative who was a picky eater. They did the dining plan, went to a 2 credit restaurant for dinner, but the relative only wanted to eat mac-n-cheese, this is a total waste of the dining plan. I tend to be a pretty light eater so I may not get desert with dinner or I may already lean towards the cheaper items on the menu, so for me it isn't really worth it. If you Google "Is Dining Plan Worth it" you will find lots of sites that talk about this and some that will actually give you comparisons of what meals would cost with and without the plan.

    You even need to be careful of free dining since it usually offered at the same time as room discounts. In this case you can't get both, so sometimes the room discount will actually be worth more then the dining plan.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by danlb_2000 View Post
      I am not a fan of the dining plan, so I will provide the "con" argument, others can provide the "pro".

      It can save you money, but you have to use it to it's fullest, which takes some planning and discipline. You will need to be thinking about what makes best use of the plan instead of what you actually want to eat. I was recently talking to a friend who had a young relative who was a picky eater. They did the dining plan, went to a 2 credit restaurant for dinner, but the relative only wanted to eat mac-n-cheese, this is a total waste of the dining plan. I tend to be a pretty light eater so I may not get desert with dinner or I may already lean towards the cheaper items on the menu, so for me it isn't really worth it. If you Google "Is Dining Plan Worth it" you will find lots of sites that talk about this and some that will actually give you comparisons of what meals would cost with and without the plan.

      You even need to be careful of free dining since it usually offered at the same time as room discounts. In this case you can't get both, so sometimes the room discount will actually be worth more then the dining plan.
      That's a great help.....Thank you
      "Raiders Suck"
      -Walt Disney

      Comment


      • #4
        Daboltz, I've done a lot of research on the meal plans, too. The prior post sums up really well my takeaway from all my research. Seems like the only people who like the meal plans are those who really want their vacation to feel all-inclusive, or those who are traveling with a group where they don't want to haggle over bills or have people worry about what they are ordering. For simply saving money, the plans don't appear to win out so well.

        But...with three teenagers, if they're big eaters and very expensive to keep fed, it could minimize stress and you might just about break even.

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        • #5
          When the dining plan first came on the scene, it was worth the cost. Back then it included an entre, and desert and your tip. Over these many years, things have been taken away, and the cost has gone up. Never worth it to me, although I did use it once back in 2007, at the request of the friend I was vacationing with during the Christmas season.
          BarbaraAnn

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          • #6
            I never saw any value in it. I did wring some value out of Tables in Wonderland in years past (with AP discount) but you have to spend a lot to get your money out of it now. It might still be worth it though if you have enough people, are there long enough and/or eat enough large meals (and include valet and the other bits it includes). Otherwise you can probably do just as good or better yourself.

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            • #7
              You have to crunch numbers and see what would fit your eating habits. For my family of five,( two adults, a 17-year-old, a 13-year-old, and an 11-year-old) we found it better not to use it.
              http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
              http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...ip-report.html
              http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
              http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
              http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...something.html

              No matter where you go, there you are.

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              • #8
                Having food shipped to your room via Amazon or whatever is such a great idea. It was great to have some snacks, beers, and things like sunblock that we didn't have to pack.

                My only suggestion though would be to make sure you don't over buy. Last time we bought too much stuff and by the end of the week we wound up force feeding ourselves or throwing some stuff out.

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                • #9
                  Edit: Posted on wrong thread. Sorry.
                  Last edited by Pips; 02-14-2018, 04:58 PM. Reason: Edit: Oops...this is on the wrong thread. Sorry.

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                  • #10
                    We were considering it for our trip this year and I have since decided against it. Even with the inclusion of beer/cocktails (we are doing the ADULTS ONLY trip this time), it just doesn't make sense financially for the two of us. Those comparison videos on youtube are really what swayed me towards Amazon/GreenGrocer delivery. I suppose I might change my mind if Trader Sam's participated in the plan...but they do not. Full price Tiki drinks for me.
                    For those of you that are curious about my wedding:
                    http://www.rocknrollbride.com/2011/0...heather-tyler/




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                    • #11
                      I've seen some blogs that have done calculations as to the strict financial worth of the meal plan at different times. Most just figured the middle dining plan where it gives you a table service credit, a quick service credit, and two snack credits. The bottom line seemed to be with some careful choices it could save money but probably most people don't.

                      From what I've seen it is mostly using your table service for things like the meals that come with VIP parade and show seating, and character dining, without doing any that require 2 credits, and maximizing the value of the quick service and snack credits. No relatively inexpensive $3.19 seasonal fruit or $3.29 diet coke on snack credits. Grab yourself a $4.29 Victoria Sponge at the UK pavilion or a $5.99 Seasonal Cupcake at the Hollywood Studios ABC Commissary instead and just buy that soda with cash.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd say skip it unless you plan to eat table-service meals and/or buffets everyday. And I know that's easy to say before going, but it's a lot of food and eventually you may hit the wall.

                        From Touringplans.com:

                        In our survey of families who have purchased the standard dining plan, a little more than half (57%) would buy the plan again.

                        That being said, we think many families, if not most, should avoid the standard and deluxe dining plans and simply pay cash for their meals.

                        That conclusion is based on the following four factors, which are described in detail below:
                        • The economics of the plan generally require you to eat a either a sit-down dinner or character meal every day of your trip
                        • You'll pay adult prices for children ages 10 to 13, but most kids can be fed for a lot less
                        • The average family cannot get dinner reservations at the best restaurants during summer and holidays—there simply aren't enough tables to go around
                        • The potential savings are so small, on average, that missing a single dinner can mean the difference between saving and losing money
                        When The Dining Plan Makes Sense

                        Our blog readers are experts at figuring out when the dining plan makes economic sense. The most common scenarios they mention include:
                        • Dining at several character meal buffets per trip
                        • Splitting some sit-down meals between two people and using the saved credits at a Disney Signature restaurant
                        • Your group consists of adults willing to set aside ample time for dining at upscale restaurants
                        Remember, Disney is constantly tinkering with the plan, reducing benefits (like included appetizers) and working the math so that if you miss even one meal or credit, you lose money. Whatever you potentially stand to save (I've heard from $18-55 overall) probably isn't worth it. If you have a Disney Visa, you get 10% off at many places anyway.

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