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  1. #1
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    Default Eating on the Dining plan at DW? BTDT

    Did we just waste money by buying the dining plan for our trip to Disney? It was a last minute decision to go and now I have to try and get reservations for anything - anywhere. We have 2 DS's (4 and 6), should I try for early dinner reservations? Eat a big meal at lunch? Where have you had good meals that your DC enjoy? Help!

    Thanks
    Colleen

  2. #2
    bnme is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    The dinning plan is hard because of the need for ressies - and they can be hard to get. And with 2 kids it's hard to stick to a plan. We did it and it was OK - but honestly I wouldn't do it again anytime soon. But here are my tips:

    -If you do 1 or 2 character meals it will help you get your moneys worth. If you are not planning on going to a park the day you arrive or leave, this is a great chance to do one. I've done Chef Mickeys and the breakfast at the Polynesian and they are both good choices. Also Hollywood and Vib\ne for the Little Einstein breakfast.

    -Plan an early dinner, but check parade times first. We did Tony's at MK which may not be a top choice food-wise, but it was perfect timing to see the parade after.

    -We had an unplanned dinner at our resort one night (to make up for a table-service ressie we skipped). It was nice and relaxing to eat outside the park for a change and we had no problem being seated. We also did a sit-down breakfast on our last day to make up a table-service meal.

    -You may want to consider sharing some of the counter-service meals. It can be alot of food -even considering childrens meals. Then you can use the extra counter service meals for a breakfast.

    If you search you can find a bunch of older threads disscusing the meal plan.

    Have fun!
    Donna

    Mom to JT 1/03 and TJ 8/04

  3. #3
    JTsMom is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    We haven't gone yet, so this is just based on what I've read, but for some families it makes sense, and others it doesn't. We got the DDP b/c we want to do a lot of character meals and the Hoop De Doo Review, and the DDP saved us a lot of money that way. I also made our ressies months ago, so that made it an easier choice as well.

    My only concern is that we won't want to do all of the sit down meals we have credit for, so we split our hotel reservations and only did the dining plan for 6 of our 7 nights. I think we may not want to stop touring to sit down, kwim?

    If you normally do a lot of expensive sit downs, I can see doing it. If you don't, I think not doing the plan gives you more flexibility, and may even save more money if you don't normally eat tons of food. Yes, the DDP supposedly saves an average of 30% according to Disney, but that's comparing apples to apples. Without the plan, there is no way I'd be ordering dessert at lunch and dinner, nor would I eat a full meal every time- sometimes I'd probably just do a snack, or split something with DH.

    I actually did the math using the menus at allears.net to find prices for what we'd ordered with and without the plan, and we about broke even, BUT without the plan I would not do all of the pricey meals, and I'd probably order less expensive things. So for us, it was quality vs. money.
    Lori
    Mom to Jason 05/05
    and Zachary 05/10

  4. #4
    Momof3Labs is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    I don't know that we'll do it again for a while. Unless you get the reservations you want for sit-down meals, it isn't worth it. We just got back and I found it hard to get the few reservations that we wanted by calling a month or so in advance.

    Our biggest problem, though, is with the counter service meals. The kids' options are awful at most places - just awful. The chicken nuggets make the McDonald's nuggets look like gourmet food. My 2yo wouldn't even touch them, and that says a lot. You can get chicken breast tenders, but only on the adult menu (and when you are on the dining plan, you can only get kids meals with kids credits). There are usually only 2 kids' choices on each counter service menu. My 6yo was still starving after his first kids' meal; it just wasn't enough food for him (it was about the right amount for my 2yo). I prefer to order a meal off of the adult menu for them to split - they both enjoyed the pork chop at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot, for example. But I guess that this is okay if your kids aren't picky and aren't big eaters, or if you don't mind paying out of pocket for some of their meals.

    We also didn't enjoy having to be in a certain place at a certain time every single day to eat, and didn't need a huge meal like that every day. I know that I gained a few pounds on the meal plan from all the desserts that were included, that we would not have otherwise ordered!
    Single mom to

    DS ("twice exceptional") - September 2002
    DS - February 2006
    DD - July 2009
    DD - July 2009

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momof3Labs

    Our biggest problem, though, is with the counter service meals. The kids' options are awful at most places - just awful. The chicken nuggets make the McDonald's nuggets look like gourmet food. My 2yo wouldn't even touch them, and that says a lot. You can get chicken breast tenders, but only on the adult menu (and when you are on the dining plan, you can only get kids meals with kids credits). There are usually only 2 kids' choices on each counter service menu. My 6yo was still starving after his first kids' meal; it just wasn't enough food for him (it was about the right amount for my 2yo). I prefer to order a meal off of the adult menu for them to split - they both enjoyed the pork chop at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot, for example. But I guess that this is okay if your kids aren't picky and aren't big eaters, or if you don't mind paying out of pocket for some of their meals.

    !
    As I understand it (through several threads on disboards), there is no distinction between kid and adult counter service credits. People have said they were able to order adult meals for their kids at counter service locations and that the receipt never made a distinction between number of kids counter service credits and adult counter service credits remaining - it just grouped them as one.

    Now I read this before the counter service dining plan came into effect, so maybe that is changed.

  6. #6
    Momof3Labs is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainbows&Roses
    As I understand it (through several threads on disboards), there is no distinction between kid and adult counter service credits. People have said they were able to order adult meals for their kids at counter service locations and that the receipt never made a distinction between number of kids counter service credits and adult counter service credits remaining - it just grouped them as one.

    Now I read this before the counter service dining plan came into effect, so maybe that is changed.
    When we've used the dining plan (twice now), we've never been able to order more adult meals than we have adult credits. Our key says 2A, 1C so we can only order two adult meals at a time. Ordering an adult meal for the child would require going through the line again, and that's not always very practical and is sometimes a big waste of time (15mins or so on our recent trip to get through one line).

    So you may be able to do it, but plan on going through the line twice, at a minimum.
    Single mom to

    DS ("twice exceptional") - September 2002
    DS - February 2006
    DD - July 2009
    DD - July 2009

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momof3Labs
    When we've used the dining plan (twice now), we've never been able to order more adult meals than we have adult credits. Our key says 2A, 1C so we can only order two adult meals at a time. Ordering an adult meal for the child would require going through the line again, and that's not always very practical and is sometimes a big waste of time (15mins or so on our recent trip to get through one line).

    So you may be able to do it, but plan on going through the line twice, at a minimum.

    Okay, thanks for that info. In most locations, since I am a vegetarian and my DH loves meat, we will be waiting in 2 different counter service lines anyway.

    I forgot the new dining plan isn't in effect yet, so maybe they will take out this loophole in January.

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