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Old 03-22-2013, 09:52 AM   #1
JKeenz
Enduring the long wait until the next trip....
 
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Paying cash instead of DDP?

We are heading to WDW in early May and staying at Caribbean Beach. We have made several ADRs, but at this point we have not purchased the DDP, which we have always used in the past.

We are not huge eaters, but obviously know that the food costs can add up quick. Thing is, if given the choice, we are likely to eat dessert every night (and then feel lousy afterwards). We are thinking we will keep our receipts and figure what we spend on food, so that in the future we will know for sure if the DDP is truly worth it for us.

Has anyone else done this? Thoughts on whether we should add the DDP?
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:09 AM   #2
sjs314
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Our last 2 Trips we used the DxDP which we did for the convience, not to save money. Our March 2012 trip we just broke even and our Nov/Dec trip I did not even bother to add up what our meals came to since we ened up skipping a few TS Dinners, Kouzzina's and Le Cellier due to illness so I am sure we lost $

For our Fall trip we have decided to go back to paying OOP. I am in the process now of looking at menus of where we most likely will eat and estimating what the cost will be.

I plan on buying a gift card/s to pay for our meals. Right now I am thinking $500-750 should cover us for our 6 days.

The DDP would run for the 2 of us $555.90 and the DxDP $999.70, but we most likely will not be eating an App, Entree, & Dessert each time we sit down
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:23 AM   #3
wiigirl
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We always do the DDP but thats just because we crunched the numbers and it worked out best for our family. (We like to eat alot)
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
JKeenz
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Thank you for the input! I was also thinking of putting our food money on gift cards, so maybe we will try that for this trip and crunch the numbers afterwards for future reference!

<3 JULIA <3 May 2013  Caribbean Beach May 2012  Coronado Springs  With Mom for Mothers Day October 2011  Port Orleans French Quarter  Honeymoon! November 2010  Coronado Springs  Got Engaged! July 2008  Pop Century February 1987  Off-Property, February 1991  Off-Property, April 1993  Off-Property
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Expecting our little boy in July 2014
Hoping to take him on his first trip in November 2015... Mommy & Daddy can't wait to get back!

September 2013 - Disneyland - one day during our trip to SoCal
May 2013 – Caribbean Beach
May 2012 – Coronado Springs – With Mom for Mother’s Day
October 2011 – Port Orleans French Quarter – Honeymoon!
November 2010 – Coronado Springs – Got Engaged!
July 2008 – Pop Century
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:08 PM   #5
sharonabe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKeenz View Post
We are heading to WDW in early May and staying at Caribbean Beach. We have made several ADRs, but at this point we have not purchased the DDP, which we have always used in the past.

We are not huge eaters, but obviously know that the food costs can add up quick. Thing is, if given the choice, we are likely to eat dessert every night (and then feel lousy afterwards). We are thinking we will keep our receipts and figure what we spend on food, so that in the future we will know for sure if the DDP is truly worth it for us.

Has anyone else done this? Thoughts on whether we should add the DDP?
The difficulty you may find yourself with is still ordering exactly what you WANT to eat with no regard to the cost. Since this is an "experiment" for you, I urge you to do just that even if it means you spend more than the DDP. You also need to still eat at the restaurants you want with or without DDP.

My family is a family of 4 Disney adults. There's no way we can eat 4 desserts at every meal. We prefer to drink water with the occasional soda/coffee. We don't eat 4 snacks each day. I have one picky eater that we have to work around. I've perused the menus and know we can eat all 3 meals per day, with one TS per each day (including a buffet or two) for right around $50 per person per day including tax and tip. So even though we might not get all the desserts, snacks, and drinks the DDP provides, we get what we WANT to eat, have 3 meals per day instead of 2, and spend less than the DPP.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #6
stayhomemom77
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I'm another advocate for paying OOP. At present, our family can eat quite well at Disney with an average of $120 a day...when DD turns 10 this summer that will increase a little obviously but it's still a cheaper and more flexible option for our family even with the price increase.

I like smaller portions and appetizers and I rarely eat dessert. So the dining plan doesn't really make sense for me. Though we've done the DDP and the DxDD and enjoyed them...i think in future, we'll always avoid being locked in by dining plans.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:41 PM   #7
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Since I have only been once and paid OOP I was curious also.

A couple weeks ago somebody posted an awesome spread sheet the wold crunch the numbers for you. I did that and then I did a spread sheet of likely meals and it was was close either way. Many factors would sway it one way or the other like if we drank water at every meal or no desserts.

One of the things with my situation is we would be doing several of the character meals.

Also my family is 2 adults, a teen age girl and 2 kids.

The buffets about cover a days cost for the kids so that is a big factor.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:36 AM   #8
wendow
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We've only been once and I debated big time on whether to do the DDP or just pay OOP. After going through the menus and coming up with sample meals, I decided we would just pay OOP. Part of my reasoning was I didn't know which DDP to choose. We wanted to eat a TS about every third day for dinner, a QS almost everyday for lunch and a QS the days we didn't do a TS for dinner. And eat breakfast in our room. We are water drinkers and not really dessert eaters.

Had we done the meal plan, it would have cost our family $1367.55 for the QS plan. And we would have needed to pay OOP for the TS meals we did.

I kept every single receipt including food bought at our airport here in Denver and the airport in Orlando so I would have a total of what we spent. We ended up spending around $825 for the entire time (including airport food).

Now, a disclaimer, my 10yo dd ordered off the kid's menu for almost every meal. The only time we paid adult pricing for her was at a buffet. And my almost 4yo sometimes ate off my plate rather than getting a meal of his own. But that is flexibility we had as cash customers rather than being on the DDP and paying adult prices for a 10yo that would rather have chicken strips.

We also sometimes did buy a drink but mostly drank water. We did get a few desserts. We also ordered whatever we wanted and never tried to order less or share meals (other than with the little ones).

I prefer paying OOP even if I spent the same b/c I just prefer the flexibility but I know just as many prefer the DDP b/c it's convenient to have it all paid for so it's really a personal thing. I do think you can spend less if paying OOP for the average person.

Also, I paid for all our meals with gift cards I had bought at a discount but I didn't factor that savings in b/c I would have paid for the DDP with discounted gift cards too.

Hopefully, some of that makes sense and helps
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendow View Post
We've only been once and I debated big time on whether to do the DDP or just pay OOP. After going through the menus and coming up with sample meals, I decided we would just pay OOP. Part of my reasoning was I didn't know which DDP to choose. We wanted to eat a TS about every third day for dinner, a QS almost everyday for lunch and a QS the days we didn't do a TS for dinner. And eat breakfast in our room. We are water drinkers and not really dessert eaters.

Had we done the meal plan, it would have cost our family $1367.55 for the QS plan. And we would have needed to pay OOP for the TS meals we did.

I kept every single receipt including food bought at our airport here in Denver and the airport in Orlando so I would have a total of what we spent. We ended up spending around $825 for the entire time (including airport food).

Now, a disclaimer, my 10yo dd ordered off the kid's menu for almost every meal. The only time we paid adult pricing for her was at a buffet. And my almost 4yo sometimes ate off my plate rather than getting a meal of his own. But that is flexibility we had as cash customers rather than being on the DDP and paying adult prices for a 10yo that would rather have chicken strips.

We also sometimes did buy a drink but mostly drank water. We did get a few desserts. We also ordered whatever we wanted and never tried to order less or share meals (other than with the little ones).

I prefer paying OOP even if I spent the same b/c I just prefer the flexibility but I know just as many prefer the DDP b/c it's convenient to have it all paid for so it's really a personal thing. I do think you can spend less if paying OOP for the average person.

Also, I paid for all our meals with gift cards I had bought at a discount but I didn't factor that savings in b/c I would have paid for the DDP with discounted gift cards too.

Hopefully, some of that makes sense and helps
Could you let me know how you purchased discounted gift cards?
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:18 AM   #10
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It is very different depending on the family. DDP is convenient, but probably not a value for most people that get it. My recollection says that Disney has it setup so it seems like a decent value for children, but maybe not for adults. We tried it once and the convenience was great, but we found we were eating far more than we normally would and were wasting food.

On a normal trip, we tend to eat just one meal at a park or elsewhere on property per day. We normally snack the rest of the day, usually on snack items we've brought from home, and drink a large amount of water. Overall, DDP is a time waster, food waster, and money waster for us.

You can find calculators out on the web that will help you determine if it is worth your money.
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:51 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tekneek View Post
It is very different depending on the family. DDP is convenient, but probably not a value for most people that get it. My recollection says that Disney has it setup so it seems like a decent value for children, but maybe not for adults. We tried it once and the convenience was great, but we found we were eating far more than we normally would and were wasting food.

On a normal trip, we tend to eat just one meal at a park or elsewhere on property per day. We normally snack the rest of the day, usually on snack items we've brought from home, and drink a large amount of water. Overall, DDP is a time waster, food waster, and money waster for us.

You can find calculators out on the web that will help you determine if it is worth your money.
You brought up a very good point about wasting food. Rarely if ever do we order an App, Entree, and Dessert here at home but we did at Disney because we had the DxDp. What happens at Disney we basically sample the App and Dessert the the rest goes to waste. I suspect we will be saving $$$ paying OOP if we order just what we want to eat, I know many times just an App is sufficient and fills me up.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:32 AM   #12
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Could you let me know how you purchased discounted gift cards?
I buy all our gift cards for our Disney trip at either Target using my Redcard which gives 5% off stacked with a pharmacy rewards 5% off coupon. OR I buy them on the sale HEB runs a couple of times a year. That sale ends up being 15-17% off the cards. In case you aren't familiar, HEB is a chain of grocery stores in Texas.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:37 AM   #13
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After a combined total of three trips on the DDP between me and my sister we decided on our last trip to keep track of our dining spending to see if it met the value of the plan. Even with some pretty pricey table meals and using every credit on the plan we ended up being about $70 short of the DDP cost. As a PP said, it is definitely convenient to not have to pull out cash. However, I think we will definitely reconsider the plan for our upcoming trips. For our 2014 trip we plan on getting Disney gift cards and using that to save money while retaining the convenience part of the plan.

It sounds like the DDP might not be for you. It's a lot of food and not a super savings, IMO!
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:03 AM   #14
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we plan on getting Disney gift cards and using that to save money while retaining the convenience part of the plan.
This is exactly what we did. We had all our gift cards applied to our room as a credit when we checked in. And we just worked off that balance the whole time we were there. We used it for everything we bought in the parks. It was very convenient!
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:05 AM   #15
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Just got back from four nights at ASMu witg DD19. On our last two trips we had free regular dining plan, this time OOP. We ate the way we prefer, rather than all the desserts from the meal plan. We also knew that we wanted to do many of the food booths at the F&G festival, and would substitute these as lunch at Epcot. We ate the way we like, and it cost us about $385 for all our food, snacks, tips, taxes and a quick lunch at the airport. I figured that we ate the equivalent of 12 quick service meals, 6 table service meals, and 20 snacks (thanks to the food kiosks in Epcot!). QSDP would have been $304 for the two of us, with NO table service meals. Once we added dinner for two at Boma, which I KNOW we wouldn't have skipped, it would have been $392 between QSDP/ Boma and we would have been paying for 12snacks OOP, or skipping them. Regular DDP would have been $448, and while we could have had two more table service meals, we would have quickly run out of snack credits at Epcot.

Mostly we enjoyed eating the way WE like for less money. On the DDP, DD and I share breakfast platters, split a lunch while throwing out the nasty cake desserts that so often seem to be the only option, and then each have our own table service meal, with one snack each per day. OOP, while we twice split a breakfast, the other two mornings we each had fruit/yogurt/bagel for breakfast, and our own QSDP meals at lunch... Plus dinners at Boma, 50s Prime Time, and Biergarten, shared 10 tasty samples in Epcot, and I had two adult beverages.



What really rocked was I had about $170 Disney reward dollars to offset the $385 that our food cost!
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