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Old 11-22-2009, 08:03 PM   #1
Peggy Sue
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Cooking in villa or off site dining?

I've been reading the thread about DVC members using DDP and wondered for those that dine off-site (and not cooking in the villa) where do you dine? How far off-site do you travel? What are your favorites?

We typically do a combination of some meals in the villa and the remainder table service ...a few counter service. We have ventured off site a couple of times, but to places closes to DTD .. Like the Oliver Garden, Ale House, etc.

We are trying to figure out if we should try the DDP for the first time for our upcoming December trip ..we always have a rental car ..so now that I've read opinions of DVC members use of DDP, would like to hear how many of you do go off-site for meals, where and do you find it worth while. How does it impact your overall disney experience?

Thanks!
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:56 PM   #2
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We never eat dinner in but sometimes travel "off campus" to have a meal. One of our favorites is Chevy's a Tex-Mex Chain restaurant at the Crossroads, just outside of Downtown Disney. Reasonable prices, usually fast and great homemade guacamole. As long as you have a car, eating outside Disney makes a lot of sense from time to time.

No impact at all. It is just outside the gates. It's like eating at Downtown Disney at 1/2 the price.

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Old 11-23-2009, 09:38 AM   #3
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Personally, we don't do the dining plan. I can't eat restaurant food 3 times a day for the length of our trip. In recent years the food at Disney has become disappointing and menotenous, not to mention that it's a lot of food. We seldom do dessert, some days we prefer a big breakfast and no lunch and we may spontaneously change parks etc, and then your ADR's are shot.

The villa is perfect for breakfast and even light lunches & dinners. We don't do Disney commando style anymore so we enjoy time at the resort as much as our time at the parks. Salad and rotisserie chicken f/ Publix or Winn Dixie is better heath wise and also better for the wallet. DS(13) thankfully has never liked junk food.

We do venture out of Disney for dinner once in a while, one of our favorites is Timpano's Italian Chophouse, they have fabulous food (steaks are fantastic) and ambiance . Ciao Italia has excellent food, and the service is impeccable. We also will do pizza delivery from Giordano's, they have really good deep dish pizza and they deliver to the resorts. (Pizza is one thing Disney does not do well on any level) They are all close to Disney. For a quick lunch we'll scoot over to Chick-fil A and either eat there or take it back to the resort, it's really close to SSR & OKW, just a right at CrossRoads. At DTD we tried T-Rex this past June and loved the food and the Earl of Sandwich is good too.

We like a few of Disney's CS restaurants like Tangeriene Cafe, Sunshine Seasons & Columbia Harbor House, the rest we don't really care for. We try to keep it light when at the parks, how can you ride Rocking Roller Coaster on a full stomach.

Venturing out to eat, eating in the villa and eating a few Disney meals serve to enhance not only my Disney experience but my entire vacation.
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Old 11-23-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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It really varies. We usually have a Table Service lunch in the parks, and a lighter dinner.

Sometime we travel over to POP Century an eat at their food court for diiner, sometime we have sandwiches in the room, and occasionally we go offsite to an inexpensive restaurant like Perkins or Bob Evans.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:22 PM   #5
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We have found offsite traffic isn't worth fighting, especailly in December. Others must have more tolerance for it than I/we have.

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Old 11-25-2009, 11:42 AM   #6
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We've done a variety of things. We've done the dining plan (which is a lot of food, but still saved us money). We've done some food in the villa (next trip, we are going to try to do the majority there).

Off site, we like Sweet Tomatoes in the Crossroads center, The Crab House, and I often will zip out of Hotel drive in Downtown Disney, hang a left and cruise to the 24 hour Steak & Shake drive through!

We haven't tried Giordano's down there yet, but I hear it is about the same as those here in Chicago, which is pretty good if true (and if you like real Chicago pizza) unlike Pizzeria Uno, which shares only the name with it's Chicago counterpart.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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We don't do the dining plan - we love eating at Disney - but we also love trying new restaurants. We usually go off site for dinner once or twice in our two week trips. Some of our favorites are:

Bahama Breeze
Texas de Brazil
Cafe Tu Tu Tango
Emerils Chop Chop
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:38 PM   #8
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We totally love Flipper's Pizza in Orlando. They have the best bread sticks I have ever tasted - they are like mom's homemade bread only better. We go to the one over at Crossroads by Downtown Disney usually. But we sometimes eat at the one over off of Westwood Blvd, too, when we stay at Marriott Vacation Club. Flippers Pizza is like a tradition with our family - we start our vacation out by eating there and usually eat there at least one more time before we go home.

We also usually pick up carry out at Outback Steakhouse over off of Vineland by the outlets, too. We usually eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel at least once, too. We don't do the dining plan. I don't think Disney's food is very good. The only Disney restaurant I really like is O'hana's at the Polynesian.
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:30 PM   #9
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okay cheap - Golden Coral (but only at LBV), ponderasus, the Macdonald at dd with the 20% discount we get.

burger king has been having a special 2 of their sandwiches for $3.00. it is not far going the back entrance close to AK.

also get food from Publix - some cooked (love their chicken) others to be cooked.
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:47 PM   #10
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we just got back from wdw for 4 day trip and decided to try the ddp just to see if it's a money saver. we did the regular plan - 1cs 1s 1ts. Bottom line - we won't do it again but here are our observations: 2 adults 3 kids 9,9,6

- WAY too much food. and having dessert attached to the TS stinks. After eating a full meal we just want to walk around a bit then maybe get something later in the evening.

- very disappointed in the food. Even Le Cellier is only average compared to other steakhouses we have been to, for similar price.

- our kids hate the kids menus. They would much prefer splitting dishes from adult menu. And with our twins being 9, next year we would be paying adult price for them. definitely not worth it.

-being tied to ADR stinks. And getting the reservations you want is nearly impossible if you don't get them as soon as they open.

- dining plan saved us money if we would have actually bought all of the same food we got on the ddp and didn't have tables in wonderland. with tables, it would have been even. However, if we were paying out of pocket at each meal, there is NO way we would have bought as much as we got on the plan. And we would have gone off site more, saving a lot more money. We would have brought snacks and water to the parks for much cheaper prices too. And we would have eaten in the villa more for breakfast and snacks.

OK - so what we have done in the past and will do in the future -
- eat breakfast in the room (except usually one character breakfast because we love them!)
- take snacks with us to the parks. come back for either lunch or snacks while enjoying the pool to tide us until dinner
- dinner either as a counter service or outside wdw.
- dessert at gharendeli (I know I totally messes that sp.) or the sweet shops around disney - or the dessert party at MK - OMGosh! was that awesome!

places we like to go: pizzeria uno, carrabas, olive garden, chilis, giordanos, t rex cafe. Our favorite (but expensive) is Texas de brazil. It's a 15 minute drive but well worth it. Very different experience. We would also like to try more at DTD but just haven't gotten there yet.

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Old 11-25-2009, 07:11 PM   #11
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Oh, I totally forgot a Disney favorite - Beaches and Cream. I love the No Way Jose ice cream. I also like their hamburgers and grill cheese sandwiches.
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:10 AM   #12
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We really like a lot of the TS restaurants at Disney and there is no way that I would take time out of my Disney experience to eat at a Chain restaurant that I could order the exact same meal at home.

That said, I'm not discounting what some previous posters have said, I love Chevy's Tex Mex, their tortillas are great, but I have one 20 minutes from home. Olive Garden, Ale House, not unique....I might go to a Steak & Shake, Golden Corral or Waffle House only because there aren't any in California, but I'd rather eat at Disney restaurants or cook in the villa.

I would recommend Emeril's Tchoup, Tchoup. We ate there on my B'day 2 years ago while staying at that hotel at Universal and it was EXCELLENT! I don't know that I would drive there from Disney. I don't like going in and out of the magic. Once I'm there I like to stay.

Our next trip is 10 days long and if we ate out every night I'd go mad! We're eating at some of the top Signature restaurants on about half the nights and cooking in the other half. When we cook we'll make simple stuff like Tacos, Meatloaf, Hot Dogs, etc and save the really fancy cooking for the other chefs. We would never do the dining plan because we are appetizer and side dish people, splitting one dessert rather than each ordering one.

We like to have breakfast in the villa and sometimes make sandwiches or other easy lunchtime food rather than have to eat CS meals. We would end up with a lot of extra CS credits on the dining plan. I know everyone is different and people in other threads have laughed at the amount of cooking we plan to do on vacation, but for me, I love to cook. By doing it on vacation, I get to add another thing I love in my daily life to a Disney vacation. There is nothing better than eating my own home-cooked food for comfort, I've done it all over the US and throughout the world and it just helps to ground me.

But I will tell you this, I won't miss being in the kitchen the night we dine at V&A's!
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:41 AM   #13
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Once onsite we don't venture off property. We have a TS lunch and light bfast and supper in the room.
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:03 AM   #14
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No way I would do the dining plan. As previous posters stated, way too much food and too expensive for 4 adults (me, 17DS, 13DS, 12DD). Also, eating at a restaurant 2xday for 2 weeks (our summer trip) gets really old. Since food has become one of the most expensive aspects of our trips (foodie kids!!!), I have had to cut back on TS. We eat breakfast in the room to save time and money and TS or CS once during the day. Other than that we have food in the room. We have not ventured off property to eat, but may try that next summer.
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:36 AM   #15
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I think it depends on your family and your plans/accomodations. For us, we prefer the meal plan when staying in a studio. When in a 1BR, we prefer to have more meals in the villa and pay cash for restaurant meals. Also, when paying cash, we use the DVC discount as much as possible (i.e. Rainforest Cafe).

If you plan to do a few character meals, the basic dining plan is a no brainer to me. It almost pays for itself from that meal alone.
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