I did Group Sales for Six Flags for a number of years. IME - this is what salespeople call a “Loss Leader”. Which is a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services.
With this promotion WDW is trying to get people to consider booking for their July 4th and Labor Day weekends right NOW.
IME - Your Sales Director is already, on day one of the New Year, coming into your office asking why these dates aren’t already sold out. So, this is a way to “pad” your sales calendar to show they upper management how full your rooms are without really giving much away. (Since we all know the DDP is not really a “value”.)
Yeah I could do 5 nights at pop w upgrade to ddp and 6 day hoppers for 3ppl for 3k, which is less than we are spending for our room alone on my March trip but… then I would have to be outside in Florida in midsummer. I did free dining in 2015 in the last week of october at aoa in a family suite and there were entire months open. This is kind of a joke imo.
When I was a kid we never, ever, ever ate anything in the parks, ever, due to cost. We also stayed in motels. I’m thinking there’s a middle group, somehow, that would pay to stay at pop but eat pbjs the whole time… maybe. I think for those folks it might be good?
I’ve been on trips using the Standard DDP. Even when I invest hours into calculating all the TS / QS meals and possible snack to the penny it rarely saves enough, less than $100, to make it worth my trouble. Plus, I spend so much time while at the park making sure I get the most expensive item instead of something I’d prefer too. (Or having to tell me family… you “could” get that item, but if you’ll get “this” instead we’d get more value - then watching them roll their eyes at me!)
I gave up on the DDP years & years ago. Every year I still do the research just to make sure it’s still the same “non-value” & it always is.
We just returned from our 2nd trip to WDW. I look longingly at DDP both trips but knew I would stress to get value and my family would give me the stink eye. I passed on the DDP both times. This last trip, we had a handful of TS over 11 days, which we planned around. It was stress free to eat whatever we wanted and we weren’t rushing to ADRs constantly. We ate well and only what we wanted. Nobody had to swallow down dessert when they didn’t want it.
My brother and his wife shared a Deluxe DP with another couple just before we arrived. Over 8 days, they had TS 2x each day, some OOP. They said the Deluxe was good value shared. But they were constantly trying to get to ADRs and always full!
Generally speaking you still pay more than if you did cash - to get savings out of DDP you have to be specific about what you order for each category and eat all the food. I don’t mind planning what i’m going to ride or do, but not what i eat.
I see a lot of this opinion on this forum about how the dining plan does not save money because the room is at regular price. For a family of 4 at a value result the normal price (when we usually go in fall) is about 125$ a night. The biggest room deal would be 25% but for a value it never happens, its at most 20% which is 31$ a day. There is no way we could eat for less then 31$ a day. So with the dining plan 4 persons eat a lot a food (some with really good value like be our guest at lunch or breakfast) We never stress about cost of anything and dont try to make the best of the dining plan by eating the most expensive stuff since even with the least expensive stuff we are saving money.
So for a lot of people the dining plan saves a lot of money
When you get the free DDP for value resorts it comes with the QS DDP - no TS. Are you only eating hot dogs / chicken nuggets / hamburgers those days? (You can upgrade to a Standard Package w/ TS for $22.99 / adult and $4 / child - per night - but you don’t seem to have that factored in your math)
Also, where are you seeing a $125 value rate with a DDP? When I posted the free DDP dates, I checked hotel rates and they were $161 (All-Star Music) & $175 (All-Star Movies) with the “QS” DDP included.
If you have a TA or a way to get a $125 room w/ a DPP included - Standard DDP preferred - please let me know. I would definitely do a Labor Day trip this year.
Even so, the more people you have in the room, that price difference CAN make it a good deal. We typically only eat a single TS meal the entire trip. QS is the norm. For those who only do QS, then having the QS DDP means you get two meals and snacks for the $60-$75 dollar range. If you have four people in the room, that works out to about $18.75/person…which is less than just two QS meals most of the time. So it can pay off. Even if you average $10/person meal and and $5/person snack, that would be about a $45 savings per day for a family of 4.
Oh yeah? Then what’s that riding in your bicycle basket? Huh?
Regarding the math…I think you need to have at least 4 people in the room to make it advantageous, or 3 to be close to breaking even. I’ve never been able to make any of the DDP options work for me and my wife, no matter how I work the math!
I confess, I’m a family of three. So, I’ve never had to consider the price break for 4+ people.
IMHO (and expressed by a lot of others ) - What you are getting with the “free” DDP is the convenience of not having to pull out your wallet and think about your food budget once you are in the parks. I admit sometimes you can’t put a price on “piece of mind”. However, I’ve done the DDP (for only 3!) and couldn’t make it worth my time. The convenience of prepay didn’t override my desire to maximize my “free” plan and was more work for little to no monetary savings.
FYI - E.T. is a beautiful and wonderful being - not a troll!