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Old 06-24-2013, 07:13 AM   #1
goherdibg
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Disney Dining Plan Calculator Planning Tool

I have been a member of the DISBoards forums for nearly 2 years. Over the years, I have made multiple trips to Disney World and have always struggled with the question "Should I use the Disney Dining Plan?" From reading this forum (and others), it is obvious I am not the only one who asks this question before every trip.

In the past, to help me with the decision I built documents and spreadsheets of overly complex calculations based on the people who were traveling with me. I also posted on forums asking for advice and pretty much ended up with a similar answer each time - "It depends". While there are many factors that go into the decision to use the dining plan or not, it appears most members are concerned with one main factor - cost. Cost was always my main factor when deciding whether or not I should use the dining plan.

To help me with the decision for future trips and to help others with the same decision I have worked with a friend to put together a web site called the "Disney Dining Plan Calculator" that uses estimated meal costs along with some trip information to determine if a Disney Dining Plan is financially beneficial.

The site is easy to use, free to access, does not require you to create an account, and does not require any personal information.

The address for the web site is http://www.distripplanner.com

Feel free to visit the site and let us know what you think. This is the initial release of the Dining Plan Calculator. In the future, we plan on also providing a list of restaurants with full menus to allow you to choose what you think you would eat to provide a more exact price comparison in addition to the current estimation method.

If you have any questions about the site or have any exciting recommendations for future enhancements please provide us with feedback on the site.

I was going to post this under the Dining Plan sub-forum but thought it was better discussed at this level since it deals with the planning process of trips to Disney.

Thank you,
GoHerdIBG
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:27 AM   #2
sephorachick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goherdibg View Post
I have been a member of the DISBoards forums for nearly 2 years. Over the years, I have made multiple trips to Disney World and have always struggled with the question "Should I use the Disney Dining Plan?" From reading this forum (and others), it is obvious I am not the only one who asks this question before every trip.

In the past, to help me with the decision I built documents and spreadsheets of overly complex calculations based on the people who were traveling with me. I also posted on forums asking for advice and pretty much ended up with a similar answer each time - "It depends". While there are many factors that go into the decision to use the dining plan or not, it appears most members are concerned with one main factor - cost. Cost was always my main factor when deciding whether or not I should use the dining plan.

To help me with the decision for future trips and to help others with the same decision I have worked with a friend to put together a web site called the "Disney Dining Plan Calculator" that uses estimated meal costs along with some trip information to determine if a Disney Dining Plan is financially beneficial.

The site is easy to use, free to access, does not require you to create an account, and does not require any personal information.

The address for the web site is http://www.distripplanner.com

Feel free to visit the site and let us know what you think. This is the initial release of the Dining Plan Calculator. In the future, we plan on also providing a list of restaurants with full menus to allow you to choose what you think you would eat to provide a more exact price comparison in addition to the current estimation method.

If you have any questions about the site or have any exciting recommendations for future enhancements please provide us with feedback on the site.

I was going to post this under the Dining Plan sub-forum but thought it was better discussed at this level since it deals with the planning process of trips to Disney.

Thank you,
GoHerdIBG
OMG I wish I knew about this last week. I spent 2 hours figuring out if DDP was worth it to us & it wasn't this wouldve saved me my time LOL
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:31 AM   #3
sjs314
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Sounds Great Heading to the site now! Thank You!

Update After inputting all my info, it seems pretty spot on with my low figure for paying OOP and a lot easier than when I calculated it by hand.

We are spending 3 days at F&W Festival and plan on eating around the world for 2 days lunches and possibly 1 days dinner.

My Calculations for OOP this trip (incl. tax & tips, but not F&W) $$380.12-$456.09 pp for a total of $760.24-$912.18 (high/low)

Using the new DP costs for 2 Adults/5 nights costs of dining plans would be

QS $396.40
DDP $586.60
DxDP $1040

+ tips + F&W $ in addition to snack credits



DP Calculator

Dining Plan Costs
Out of Pocket (No Plan)
$797.81


Quick Service Dining Plan
Additional Out of Pocket Cost: $238.94
Quick Service Entitlements Remaining: 12.166666666666668


Dining Plan
Additional Out of Pocket Cost: $67.11
Quick Service Entitlements Remaining: 2.083333333333334
Table Service Entitlements Remaining: 0.08333333333333393


Deluxe Dining Plan
Additional Out of Pocket Cost: $299.60
Entitlements Remaining: 2.25

Our Plan has been to pay OOP this trip and I still think for us it will be our best option due to F&W Festival
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Last edited by sjs314; 06-24-2013 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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DDP cal

This is awesome!! Thank you for sharing!!!!
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:08 AM   #5
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Are the out of pocket expenses based on a total or per person. I'm thinking it is an extra amount total not per person. My numbers are close that's why it's hard to tell.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:34 AM   #6
maplevale
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I just tried this - you have CRT as 'Out of Pocket'... is that correct? I thought it was on the DDP but was 2 TS meals?
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:55 AM   #7
sjs314
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maplevale View Post
I just tried this - you have CRT as 'Out of Pocket'... is that correct? I thought it was on the DDP but was 2 TS meals?
I could be wrong but I believe since CRT is 2 credits it is better value to pay OOP rather than use 2 DP Credits
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:14 AM   #8
goherdibg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovepooh View Post
Are the out of pocket expenses based on a total or per person. I'm thinking it is an extra amount total not per person. My numbers are close that's why it's hard to tell.
They are based on the whole of the trip - not per person. When the savings or OOP costs are close it becomes a personal decision not based on costs.

One example is having a Disney VISA and putting the package cost on the card and paying it off over 6 months - making the plan more attractive as you can get 6 months free financing for the cost of the dining plan.

Others feel as long the costs are similar (plan vs OOP) that not having to worry about paying for each meal adds merit to the cost of the dining plan (I tend to agree also).
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goherdibg View Post
They are based on the whole of the trip - not per person. When the savings or OOP costs are close it becomes a personal decision not based on costs.

One example is having a Disney VISA and putting the package cost on the card and paying it off over 6 months - making the plan more attractive as you can get 6 months free financing for the cost of the dining plan.

Others feel as long the costs are similar (plan vs OOP) that not having to worry about paying for each meal adds merit to the cost of the dining plan (I tend to agree also).
I would add that if the costs are similar AND it fits the way you like to eat AND you're not eligible for TiW, then it can be worth it. Our main complaint is that we prefer appetizers to desserts and that it would be very rare that everyone with us wants a dessert. We also like to have a beer or a glass of wine (or two) with dinner, which is discounted on TiW but not DDP. You still have to tip after each meal on DDP so it's not like you've paid for everything in advance (and those tips add up!!!).

It's important for everyone to know what the plan includes and does not include- because if it's not how you would normally eat, then it's not really saving money.
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjs314 View Post
I could be wrong but I believe since CRT is 2 credits it is better value to pay OOP rather than use 2 DP Credits
CRT is 2 TS credits. What we recommend you put on the dining plan and what we recommend you pay for OOP all depends on your choices for meals.

As we mention in the assumptions dropdown under the intro text, meals that use 2 Table Service (TS) entitlements are broken down into a "cost per entitlement" value for the purpose of determining the best value against 1 TS entitlement meals. Let me know via the feedback on web site if the dropdown is difficult to see and we can make it more apparent it is a dropdown.

So, in maplevale's case, the cost of "each entitlement" for CRT may be less than the cost of a single entitlement for the other meals making it more cost effective to pay for OOP.

An example would be if you have 2 adults and 2 children and chose Hollywood and Vine for dinner and CRT for dinner, the cost of H&V would be $148.70 for 1 entitlement/person and the cost per entitlement/person for CRT would be $107.91 ($215.82 divided by 2 entitlements) making it the better choice for an OOP payment. The rule is to always put the higher cost meals on the meal plan and pay for the cheapest ones OOP.

I hope that helps.
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
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There are just so many variables whether to use the DP or not can be confusing.

This calculator is a good tool,

Our last 2 trips we used the DxDP mainly for the connivence in March we just about broke even but I did not even bother to add up the Totals for our Fall trip as I am 99% sure we lost money.

We usually do 2 TS a day, Breakfast& Dinner and. CS lunch. This year we are throwing 3 days at F&W into the mix so until the menus for F&W come out it is hard to plan. I do have 2 dinners planned on Epcot days but we may decide to cancel so the use of the DP this trip just does not seem like it will work this trip.

We have always ended up with extra credits and used them up on Room Service not a good value @ 2 credits either. Also We like Apps instead of desserts

Every family is different just as every trip is different due to various events in WDW throughout the year so this calculator will be a big help with planning



goherdibg The restaurant prices You calculated are close to what I had previously came up with when I was estimating our meal costs if paying OOP
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:58 AM   #12
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Love this!
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:59 PM   #13
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This is amazing!!! I've spent hours recreating something like this for each trip. Thanks so much!!!

May I make 1 suggestion? For the OOP costs, include a pre-tip total, as well? Because, that is what we would use to compare to the dining plans.

Also, maybe include tips as a line item under the dining plans?
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:44 PM   #14
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Thank you

I just made all my Dec ADR this morning, this really help me budget our dining costs
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:51 PM   #15
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Thanks for posting.

Like others, I spent hours with a spreadsheet trying to figure out if the Dining plan was a good deal for us. This makes things a little easier.
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