Reviews of Disney Dining Plan
Reviewed by Ohana Review Date: 01/22/2013
Rating: (9) Recommended
Our only complaints are we wish you could get either an appetizer or dessert on the dining plan, and my 8 year old wishes she had more options. Other than that, it is a must for us. We get to eat at places we would never pay for or take the time to make reservations on our own.
Reviewed by disneyhorsefan Review Date: 01/22/2013
Rating: (6) Not Recommended
On previous trips, I have always been a huge fan of the dining plan. After my most recent trip, I'm not so sure.
I just came home from a 6 night stay at AoA with my sister. Both of us are in our early 20s and are fairly light eaters who occasionally like to indulge.
We had table service reservations for each day, and enjoyed being able to have that many, something we never would have done had we been paying out of pocket. Had I been paying out of pocket, I also would have most likely chosen some of the cheaper entrees rather than the ones I enjoyed on this trip.
That being said, since we are not HUGE eaters we split several counter service meals and snacks to avoid paying out of pocket for ANY food at all during our trip. While it was nice to not pay for any food there, we kept track of how much we "spent" and found it to be about $70 less than what the dining plan cost us. We actually enjoyed splitting the meals since we got so much food anyways, and didn't have to pay for breakfast (or whatever we would have been lacking a CS credit for). Between splitting meals and choosing smaller options that we wanted anyways, it would have been much cheaper to just pay out of pocket.
I enjoyed having the refillable mug simply to be able to drink free coffee every morning, lemonade or anything besides water at night, and to have something to fill up at water fountains in the parks. In addition, it is making a great souvenir now that I am home!
While I enjoyed the dining plan in the past, the price increase has made it not worthwhile for us.
Pros:Convinience, get to try restaurants we wouldn't want to pay for out of pocket
Cons:would have saved money paying out of pocket, too much food
Reviewed by PolynesianStitch Review Date: 01/28/2013
Rating: (10) Recommended
The dining plan works exceptionally well for us. We get to try a large variety of food, many new restaurants, and save some money. We really enjoy that we get to have desserts with our meals and don't need to worry about the cost. It fits our dining style very well as we prefer a substantial sit-down dinner and a light lunch. We found that snack credits could be used for a wide variety of items that were suitable for breakfast. Also we could sometimes split a quick service credit between two for lunch and then again at breakfast for some of the more generously sized entrees.
Reviewed by disneyhappy09 Review Date: 02/02/2013
Rating: (8) Recommended
This is the third time using the DDP. I'm not sure if I'd go this route again, maybe switch to quick servce. While I'm sure we did save money using the plan, on this trip the ADRs and timing just didn't work out as well for us. This will be the last trip my son will be on the kids plan which will be nice. At 9 years old the options for dinner just aren't that great, some worked (Be Our Guest and Tony's) others didn't (Yak & Yeti). I agree with everyone else, the option of choosing between appetizers and desserts would be nice. We still had that option the first time. Mugs at the resort were a nice addition but we really didn't use them a lot since you then had to carry them around with you all day if not returning to your room after breakfast. I think I'll be doing some calculating before purchasing the DDP again.
Reviewed by lizzie1974 Review Date: 02/11/2013
Rating: (6) Recommended
We've just returned from our 5th trip to Disney and it is the 1st time that we opted out of the Dining Plan.
We saved about $300 by not using the dining plan this time. Basically what we have found out (and it's no secret) is that the portions are too large for each person to get their own meal each time.
The table service restaurants don't mind at all if all you'd like to get is an appetizer and 1 entree to split. You can't do that on the dining plan. We never felt hunger or too full. It was just right.
The best time to utilize the dining plan is if you are basing your trip around the food. We did that a few years ago and were able to eat at Le Cellier, Coral Reef, Akershus, Rose and Crown, Crystal Palace, and several others. Out of pocket these would have been outrageous. It was worth it but the downside is that you must plan your whole day/trip around the table service. Minimum you dedicate 2 hours to each table meal between getting there and the meal itself.
If you prefer a more relaxed trip, skip the dining plan and you'll open up so many more options for yourself.
Pros:you can try places you've never eaten at before
Reviewed by momof3inMadisonAL Review Date: 02/16/2013
Rating: (2) Recommended
We got DDP for a week long vacation in Feb. We have had TiW over the past year but like the (perceived) convenience of having everything prepared and we were planning several TS. For breakfast we had Akershus, Tusker House. Lunch we had Mama Melrose Fantasmic package, Tony's. Dinner we had Ohana, WCC. It was not convenient. Being a party of 6, we were in 2 rooms at Pop so instead of having all the credits together, they were split. (my card had 3 kids with it but DH only had his credits.) When my DH card didn't work, they had to rebook everything and ended up giving us 7 credits too many. We didn't want to spend what wasn't ours but it made it difficult to remember whose card to charge meals on. When we ordered, we had to use multiple cards. It was a complete pain. Went to concierge at start of trip to see if they could be combined but were told, "no".
We didn't save any money. We had too much to eat. I hate that they got rid of the appetizer/salad but I get a dessert with every meal. The desserts are not always great and we didn't always eat them. I would rather have an option for salad or let kids get fruit for "dessert" (true at some places but not BOG).think we will stick to paying oop from now on.
Pros:Don't have to worry about price of meals
Cons:Limited choices, increased cost
Reviewed by SimplyGoofy Review Date: 02/16/2013
Rating: (9) Recommended
We got to take advantage of the free dining plan during our last trip, and it saved us a substantial amount of money.
The dining plan works very well for us. We spend over a week in Disney, so we treat the trip more like a marathon than a sprint. So, we like to take our time and enjoy table service meals. The character meal experiences are wonderful and save us from standing in line to meet characters in the parks. Also, we don't get burned out on all counter service meals which is probably how we'd handle it if we didn't have the DDP. We really enjoy that we get to have desserts with our meals, and we find it more enjoyable that we don't have to constantly be worrying about how much money we have with us to cover meals. The DDP is convenient for us that way.
We use snack credits for pastries and muffins for some of our breakfasts.
We have purchased the DDP three times now, and my husband swears we'll never do it any other way. 2 meals and 1 snack per day is plenty of food for us. Our family was never hungry!
Pros:Convenience, Try lots of different restaurants
Cons:Table service meals take time
Reviewed by jnscook Review Date: 03/11/2013
Rating: (10) Recommended
One thing that we must have at the end of a long day of running around the parks, standing in lines, and darting through crowds is a nice sit down meal. It is a highlight of our day and it is always nice to know that we got a discount on our food by purchasing the plan and that all I have to do is hand them my room key to hand over my "entitlements". Beware, if you have not done this plan before or recently...you do still have to pay tip. And the table service meals are pretty expensive...therefore tip runs you about $20 for 3 people at best. That is for Liberty Tree type of meals. There are plenty that would cost you a lot more. So, do your homework on AllEars.net by looking at the menus and ratings. Then make reservations. You can find a lot of really good food for your table service meals. You have to work a little bit to find quality food for your table service...but it can be done. My only other complaint...the refillable mugs are ridiculously small in capacity. Not usually even worth the time to stand in a line to get the small amount. My favorite table service : Liberty Tree Tavern, Rainforest Cafe. Decent food on the counter service: The Cantina in Mexico and the cafeteria style place right outside of Soarin.
Cons:counter service meals
Reviewed by MarLL55 Review Date: 03/20/2013
Rating: (10) Recommended
It is so nice to just take "tip" money and not to worry about a meal budget. This concept is easy and you dont have to worry about how much each meal is.
Pros:Just hand over you card
Reviewed by DisneyDad61 Review Date: 03/21/2013
Rating: (6) Recommended
When the dining plan was first introduced in 2005, we were huge fans! At that time, our family of 4 included an 8 year old and a 2 year old. My wife and I paid about $35 each per day and we paid about $10 a day for our 8 year old. Our 2 year old was free. With taxes included, we paid about $80 a day. It allowed us 1 table service (TS), 1 counter service(CS), and a snack each day. We were thrilled that we could dine at restaurants that we would not normally dine at because of the prices. We saved hundreds of dollars. Disney has obviously discovered they were not charging enough for the plan. 8 years later, the plan now costs about $58 a day. Now that both of our children are over 10, we all have to pay the adult price (interesting since you have to be at least 14 to be admitted to the parks as an adult). The Dining plan would now cost us about $230 a day bringing the total dining cost for a 6 night stay to about $1370. The $1370 cost is not your final total on the dining plan-donâ€™t forget it does not include tips which could easily total $150. You do each get a refillable mug, but when you already get drinks included with the your 2 meals a day, then they really expect you to drink a lot! It is also important to note that just because you purchase the dining plan, donâ€™t be misled to think that you will have no more food costs. There are a few more incidental snack and breakfast costs to consider. It is very likely that a 6 night stay would cost us around $1600 for food only. It is also important to note that each CS and TS meal comes with a dessert. Our family rarely orders a dessert with our meal.
The DDP is a fixed cost for convenience. It is for those who want to pay a premium and is also nice for less frequent visitors who are not familiar with all the restaurants and prices to know what they like and how much it will cost. When visiting the parks, you are captive, so Disney knows that it is inconvenient for you to dine off site.
We are planning a trip to WDW in June and have made only a couple of dining reservations and will dine at some of the CS restaurants. We will have the option of sharing meals and and not be â€œforcedâ€ to order a dessert at any restaurant. We plan to take breaks from the parks during lunch and go back to our room for sandwiches or something simple. We have calculated our dining costs to be around $600 to $700 which is still expensive for a week of vacation, but far less than $1600. I cannot see paying another $900 to $1000 for convenience.
The best advice I can give is look at the menus on this website to estimate your costs for each meal and then compare it to what you would actually pay if you were not on the plan. It is almost a sure bet that you will dine at different places if you are not on the DDP however, if you plan on dining at expensive TS meals anyway, the DDP may fit your needs.