3 Crazy Days of Deluxe Dining incl. credit sharing & paying for guests

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by elaine amj, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    SIDE NOTE: I asked my family to refresh some snack credit memories for me and DD reminded me that DH had bought 2 bags of chips (he found some healthy, gourmet chips he was excited about) instead of breakfast on our last day and she had gotten a tie-dye cheesecake from the Pop food court. So no, they didn't get the popcorn before going to Disney Quest although my DS had asked for it. I'm editing my posts above for more accurate memories :)

    @suse66 I was surprised how chilly it got at night. Oh well, that's spring weather for ya!

    @chocolateMinnie We did end up trying out a few new spots and that was really cool because we've mostly stuck with more conventional places. I had a lot of fun reading reviews and debating endlessly over menus. I WAS surprised that I didn't have as many appealing options at Disney Springs. Not many places really jumped out at me, especially TS places. That's how we ended up at Turf Club. That said, I keep hearing great things about Splitsville and will highly consider that on our next trip. This time around, I didn't want to go since DS would be disappointed if we went and didn't bowl.

    @DnA2010 Glad you enjoyed the reviews :) I write these primarily to preserve my own memories and it's always a delight when others join in the fun!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
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  2. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    So how much leftovers did we end up with? On our final day, we ended up carrying 10-12 takeout boxes by the end of the night!!! Thankfully, our hotels over the next 2 nights had fridges. Since we had no more dining plan and were back to paying OOP, this wasn't too bad at all.

    [​IMG]

    This was the haul. There was enough for:
    1 lunch for 3 people
    2 breakfasts
    Lots of snacking!

    Day 4 Breakfast: DS and DD ate leftover desserts - the chocolate cake from The Dining Room and cheesecake from Turf Club. They were GREAT right out of the fridge! I popped the Bread Pudding from Turf Club into the microwave. DH ate some snacks he had.

    Day 4 lunch: I made DS and DD lunch from the leftover Crispy Free-Range Chicken Breast from Turf Club (DS had left a lot of it the night before). I had cut it up into thin strips at the restaurant before packing it. Heated up and stuffed into the leftover buns from the Turf Club, the kids enjoyed their lunch. DH had leftovers from his veggie plate from Turf Club and along with his nuts that he brought from home, had enough for lunch. I walked over (ended up being under 10 mins) to Disney Springs to get my favourite Holiday Sandwich from the Earl of Sandwich. It is SOOOOO good!!!! The rest of the family were happy lazing around the hotel room and were grateful for a quiet morning. Since I like to go, go, go, this worked out great for me to get in a nice morning walk.

    After this, we packed up the rest of our leftovers and moved on to our next hotel - the gorgeous Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress! (we stayed in 6 hotels over the 8 nights we were in Orlando! Yes, I know that's crazy - but it sure saved $$ since I was doing a mix of OOP and free hotel points stays. It ended up being easy transitions and all of us found the multiple moves easy to manage). Thankfully we still had a fridge at the next place since we brought along:

    - Cheesecake from Bongos Cuban Cafe
    - Strawberry Shortcake from Turf Club
    - Tres Leche (Three Milk Cake) from Bongos Cuban Cafe
    - Churros from Bongos Cuban Cafe
    - Chips from Pop Century Food Court

    My DD ate the cheesecake and I had the strawberry shortcake for breakfast the next morning. I had the Tres Leche and some churros for snacks over the next day. Our friends did help with half the churros when they visited us since none of us are massive churros fans. They were fine, but a bit stale by then.

    So would we do it again??

    All in all, it was VERY expensive and I highly doubt it saved us $$. I think it used to be more worth it - but at $115.08 per person per night for all 4 Disney adults, its hard to save money on it. Normally, I only like doing things that save us money. But for this particular trip, DH and I decided we really wanted to indulge and honestly, we have a hard time ordering what we really want when we stare at menu prices. I know its not entirely rational but we are so used to being frugal that it is hard. The Deluxe plan cost us $920.64 + tips for just 2 nights (3 days) for 4 Disney adults. It was a nutty amount of money. To be fair, it was also supposed to pay for Ohana dinner for our dear friends - which was about $200. That was mostly negated when "Dad" insisted on paying for us the next night *sigh*.

    I had crunched the numbers. And when I say crunched, I have multiple spreadsheets detailing every conceivable scenario. Including paying for DDP for just 2 people, 3 people, staying onsite only one night, or doing regular DDP. In the end, even though this wasn't rational and I KNEW we would pay a little bit more than if we went OOP, we chose to go deluxe. We had a lot of stuff going on at home with DH's health issues and we wanted to be ridiculously over-the-top this trip. And honestly? We really enjoyed ourselves. It was a lot of fun playing around with 16 snack credits. And ordering apps AND entrees AND desserts was awesome.

    I was COMPLETELY happy with our food choices on Day 1 and 2 and would do it again even OOP. It would have been more reasonable with less waste if our friends had not paid for us the next night - but there you have it. We were only supposed to have 5 deluxe credits left for our 3rd day, a completely reasonable amount of food for the 4 of us. If I had anticipated this, we would not have gone with the deluxe dining plan as we did waste a lot on our last day.

    All in all, I don't regret our choice. Our entire 8 nights' worth of eating out (including Universal, our offsite stays, and airport food) totaled $1642.35, which is within our typical $200/day indulgent vacation food budget. Next time though, we may be brave enough to try completely OOP.

    I would LOVE to bring my brother, his wife, and my toddler niece to Disney along with my mom for a lengthy 2 week trip. I've been crunching numbers and Disney's prices have gone up so much that a 2 week vacation is a lot more now than it used to be, even if we did get free dining. More than likely, we will end up at an offsite villa, cooking the bulk of our food and only having a few onsite TS meals.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
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  3. Candycane83

    Candycane83 DIS Veteran

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    Great reviews! Loved reading your trip report!
    If you don't mind me asking, how was the dining at universal? Do you have a trip report for that portion of your trip? We're planning to go for 3 nights at universal and 8 nights at disney in December.
     
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  5. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    Hmm...now u are tempting me to write a dining report for Universal. I wonder how much I remember? I do have a TR from my first Uni trip in 2015 in my signature where I include a dining report.

    We stayed onsite at Royal Pacific Report and loved it. The Quick Service Dining Plan can be worth it. We usually buy a couple every trip. Best value is to use it for lunch/dinner in one of the Harry Potter restaurants (we split 2 rib platters at the Three Broomsticks), along with drinks like their ciders and pumpkin fizz. And a frozen butterbeer ($6.99) or a Giant Pink Donut for snack credits. All that plus one more drink credit (Starbucks coffee) for $20 per plan.

    We also like the TS places. Mythos is fab and we usually walk out paying just $50ish for 4 of us to eat. Also heard good things about Confisco Grill and Finnegans.

    My fave though is Cowfish. Super yummy sushi. Last trip we also had the Wok Experience in the Islands Dining Room. It was pricey ($25pp) but it was very good.
     
  6. Candycane83

    Candycane83 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks @elaine amj! The restaurants at Universal sounds good too! I'm a little hesitant about cowfish as I'm afraid my 2 year old would not have much to eat there but I may have to take another look at the menu :dogdance: I have researched about the dining plan and would probably go that route :) thanks again, I'll definitely check out your 2015 report
     
  7. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    My kids don't eat sushi - Cowfish has awesome burgers! The only thing is that your little one may not eat burgers yet. They have little kids bento boxes that worked for us one trip. My son ate the burgers and edamame, I ate the sushi and other extras off his plate ( to supplement my own sushi). Could you deconstruct the burgers for your 2yr old?

    As for the dining plan, just remember it only makes sense for the more expensive meals, and there are VERY few of them at Universal (basically rib platters and most of the Harry Potter entrees). The only ones that are shareable (which make them a decent deal) are the rib/chicken platters. Any meal under $10/$12 and u are better off paying OOP.

    U buy them per meal per person and can wait until u order to buy it. So u can easily do a mix of dining plan and OOP based on what each person wants to order.

    Our favourite DP snacks are butterbeer (but my kids don't care for it any longer), cheesecakes from the Boulangerie (JUST like Cheesecake Factory, but cheaper), and Ben & Jerry's giant ice creams. The Big Pink Donut is tons of fun (but again for my kids, a once and done).

    For drink credits, I thought fresh squeezed lemonade or Starbucks coffee was a decent deal. We also used ours for Gilly Water (purely for the pretty bottle). My fave use is pumpkin fizz at Three Broomsticks. If u are looking to buy bottled water, they have bigger than normal bottles in the Simpsons Food Court.

    The crazy part about Universal is that u are almost better off going TS than CS. Kids meals at both are the same price - but way better quality in TS (although I found chicken nugget portions pathetic at both). Adult meals are not a whole lot more expensive depending what u order. The CS at Universal leaves a LOT to be desired, but their TS spots are fabulous.
     
  8. TeresaNJ

    TeresaNJ Full time stay at home crafter!

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    Enjoyed your review. I, too, was disappointed in your husband's Turf Club meal. I was getting excited to see what the chef came up with! Bummer! I have a gluten allergy, and the best, most creative meal I've ever had made for me by a Disney chef was my meal at Ohana's about six years ago! Nothing's come close since. My fav chefs who came out to talk to me have been at The Plaza & Boma's. They are always pleasant, & more than helpful.

    [​IMG]
    My dish made just for me & my gluten allergy at Ohana's!

    [​IMG]
    My special gluten free dessert at Ohana's!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  9. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    Wow - those were some amazing looking creations! You know, while we weren't expecting anything special, there's always a hope, right? The chef sounded excited and talked a little about the various things he had in the kitchen. He could have easily adapted something on the menu but seemed very interested in creating something. We didn't want to be demanding, so we said we would leave it up to him - he left us with the feeling that he was going to come up with a stirfry. So getting a plate of veggie sides was rather....underwhelming. No reason to complain though since they were well-prepared veggies, were nourishing, met his diet plans, and tasted good. We would totally go back to Turf Club.
     
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  10. Candycane83

    Candycane83 DIS Veteran

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    Great advice! I did look at the menu and found there is grilled chicken on the kids menu. My DS has never had burger yet... Maybe I could try giving him some before our trip.

    Yes I read that the counter service meal is more worth it if we go to one of the Harry Potter counter service restaurants. We will probably go to one and purchase it at the counter. That seems to be the only CS I want to try.

    Thanks again for sharing all the great info!
     
  11. Dakota731

    Dakota731 Mouseketeer

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    With only some of your party on the dining plan, how did you do tips and alcohol? Were you able to bill individual charges back to each couple's room?
     
  12. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    Hmmm...we didn't run into that issue because we wanted to pay for our guests. However, for the Ohana dinner, our guests did arrive before us and hung out for a bit at the bar. They bought and paid for their drinks there.

    I have been told that servers are very good at splitting up bills. So if you said, please put person A's drinks on person A's bill and Persons A, B, C, D's meals on C's bill (for the credits), I am sure that will be fine.

    Tips would be trickier and I will be having that issue in my upcoming vacay with my brother. I invited him and his family (and paid for the bulk of the vacay) but had originally intended for him to pay for his own food. I scored free dining for us all so that's not needed now. I have finally decided to spare us all awkwardness and pay for all tips too. Any meals he has without us, he can cover his own tips.

    If u do want each family to cover their own tips, just keep in mind there must be some kind of charge to be able to put a CC tip (cash is of course easy). So if the person has put in a drink order, great. They can just put a big tip on their drink tab while u put a smaller one. One time, a waiter forgot to give us a chance to add a tip. We were so happy with his service that we ordered a bottle of Perrier so we could add a tip (had no cash).

    If there are no extra charges, I think cash might be the only way.
     

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