Our 1st trip is in January and we are staying at Pop for 7 nights and I got free kids dining promo. It is myself, DW, DD6, DD4, and DD2. So right now I opted for the Disney dining plan because we are going to get the value with the character meals. We have Chef Mickey, Akershus, H&V, AP, TH, and CRT. So I started thinking about upgrading to deluxe dining plan and booking HDD and spirit of aloha. Also this way we could get our 2 year old (that turns 3 on the trip) her own meal at the non buffets. Am I crazy because it would only cost about $650 more dollars since I have kids free dining?
Yes your crazy. Deluxe Dinning plan is three table service meal per person per day. Way to much and you will never recuperate eating like that. Kids are free promo only gives kids QS meals and NOT table service. DDP is questionable if you will come out ahead. If any of your group is picky other than the kids, it is definitely better to pay out of pocket. Prices are no different out of pocket than they are DDP and you can pick what you want when eating rather than having to eat food you do not want via the DDP. Character meals cost the same one way or the other and CRT costs you two DDP credits. It is a convenance to have a DDP attached to your Magic Band but then you can do the same by attaching a credit card to your account and using your Magic Band this way as well. There is a cost effective app out here that will give you an ideal which will save you more money. Hope this helps
Are you planning to do rides and shows?
Whether a particular dining plan is a good idea depends greatly on how much you would have spent without vs. how much you spend with the plan. It’s impossible to say without doing all the math for the meals you want.
That said, it rarely saves a significant amount of money (because Disney designs it so they don’t lose a lot of money) unless you eat a LOT or get the plan free or for a discount. Even then TP warns that if you are sacrificing discounted room for discounted dining you may be getting a raw deal. If you are getting it for convenience, that’s another matter.
Thanks for the feedback. That is what I wanted to hear. One of the reasons we went for a dining plan was the fact that we are doing some of the character meals that seem to cover most of the dining plan by themselves. I totally agree that the dining plan does not pay for itself in most cases but when I ran the numbers it worked for the meals I had planned. Also with the kids dine free I was able to add a day to the trip and upgrade from movies to pop. Thanks everyone
With 3 young kids I think (from experience) the standard DDP is enough. My kids barely wanted to sit through one sit down meal per day and we are a family that likes to go out to eat. Time comes into play also. Trying to squeeze in attractions, shows, breaks, swimming, meals all in one day… it’s just hard to schedule that many sit down meals each day of the trip. I feel your struggle, through. It’s hard not to want to eat at all the places!
Having recently gone with my DD6 and DD2(nearly 3), I thought about the same thing. But, it turned out to be unnecessary in most cases to get a separate meal for my DD2. Often the one child’s meal was enough for the girls to share as they are not usually big eaters, and kids meals are usually so cheap that if we did need an extra one it was no big deal. I found that meals with set prices will give the under-3 crowd an entree at no charge (Bon Voyage Breakfast) or offer at least a bowl of pasta (AP) which we supplemented with some of our food. And of course with the buffets they are free including their own drink. At our Tiffins ROL dinner we gave the kids entree to DD2 and DD6 got my mussels app as her entree (strange kid but she loves ‘em!) For the nonbuffet, having a bottle of Mio on hand turned DD2’s free water into a treat for her. Have a great trip!!
You do not have to use the meal credits on the deluxe plan for sit down meals. If it is only going to cost that much more then you should definitely do the math. We did use a lot of our credits for signature dining, and dining packages to include shows, but we also used them for some quick service meals and still saved over $200. We paid full price for deluxe, for 2 of us. Decide what else you really want to do and run your own numbers.
Edit; One character meal, or one of the DP w/show can make it so that you can still save money if you only eat QS the rest of the day.
I know asking is a great way to get info. That is what we do here. But the only way to decide this is to figure out the numbers for yourself. Will you have to supplement the regular plan by paying for meals OOP? If so you need to have an idea of about how much that would be? If it is going to be more than the difference then yes you should go for the use it for anything credits. If it is not then you should not. You know your family better than anyone.
FotLKT2 with everything added would be around $270. That would be a big chunk, but will you need other meals? Because changing to DxDP will get you a lot of meals? Will you be in the world early enough on your first day to use the plan some? Will you be able to finish using your credits before you leave? Are 21 meal credits each too many? Are 7 TS and 7 QS enough? Are you driving or flying. We used our last credits to get our food for the drive home. We really did not have to get anything else to eat. There are a lot of things to think about. Every trip is different. So is every family.
For seating level 2, the total for your family (2 adults + 2 kids + 1 free kid) is $448 if you pay for those meals OOP (+ tax, I think). So you are paying more by upgrading to deluxe, especially if you are not going to make use of ALL the additional TS credits.
Personally, I think doing BOTH SoA and HDD, along with all the TS you have planned now, is a lot to fit in (especially since they are both outside of parks). We did SoA on our last trip (enjoyed it a lot!) and have HDD planned for our upcoming January trip (REALLY looking forward to it!). Maybe just pick one of the 2, and they pay OOP. We aren’t doing DP this time at all, but last trip even with DP I payed for the luau OOP because we were using out TS elsewhere, and I wanted seating tier 1 (not that much more than tier 2). And with your other adr’s, using 2 TS at a dinner show is likely not the best use of the plan, anyway.