Do most people get it? Family of 4 (2 kids 7/4, 2 adults).
It works out for some but not others. Some get it just for convenience. I know there are a couple of planners you can use to work out your costs and if it's worth it to you. I don't have the links though, sorry.
I think the DP is a real personal choice. I always crunch the numbers and for our family of five we couldn't beat it (three teen-boys and we all like at least one sit down meal a day). That being said this next trip is just three of us and it was really close on cost, but we like the convenience of it (piece of mind in budgeting too, I know our meals are paid for). It can be a lot of food for some, sometimes my daughter and I share due to the portion size.
I have run the numbers, and it was never a good deal for us. We just can't deal with "park food" all the time, so a better strategy for us is to stop at a supermarket on the way to WDW and buy food for in-room breakfasts and pack lunches. The savings vs the DDP more than pays for the rental car.
As a first-timer in august i count on character meals every day. I decided pro dining plan, because seeing all the prices at every meal would take a lot fun out of it. With DP i hope i can relax an think it is “all inclusive“. I know, that it is hard to make a profit out of it eirher.
We are just doing the quick service plan since I didn't want to have to plan around that many sit down meals with the kids. But I wanted the convenience of being prepaid. My husband is tight with money and even though the meals were completely budgeted for and the money had been set aside for them, I didn't want him to grump when the bill came or try to talk the kids into a cheap popsicle when they wanted a Mickey bar. So for me whether it is cost effective or not is a non-issue. I wanted the freedom of it being prepaid. It will make the trip for us more enjoyable.
When it's just my DD and I, it's not worth the cost of the DDP after I ran the numbers. She's a teenager, but a light eater so she prefers to eat from the children's menu and due to her age I have to buy the adult plan for her (16). If all four of us were to go, it may be a horse of a different color as the 7 year old can out eat my 16 year old all day long, so she'd be able to use his kids' choice and he her adult portion. While time consuming, it is worth it to look up the menus and sort that out before committing to the plan, especially since the price just went up.
I have not done ddp. I have not found it cost effective. That being said if you want to do a lot of character meals i think it would be a good choice. But use the calculator @m.kammann has posted and see if it is a fit for you.
With kids that age and if you plan on doing some character meals it might very well be worth it.
you have to run the numbers. Dining plan doesn't work for us. HOWEVER we did get it when we knew we would go to Character meals. So if you plan on doing character meals - it could be worth it. Also if you go to a signature meal - it is a BAD BAD DEAL if you have to spend two credits - usually better if you pay out of pocket. you have to do the math to find out if it will be good for you or not.
I'm with those who go for it for convenience sake rather than saving money. Coming from the UK it's nice to know that the dollars you have with you are all available for souvenirs and any extras you want and not have to set them aside for meals. I'm not sure we saved money but I don't think we were to out of pocket especially since the pound crashed after I bought the package!
I'll take the flip side of "convenience". Since we have several character meals planned, we actually found we'd have to upgrade to the deluxe plan...but then would pay hundreds more for our trip. By forgoing the plan, we are free to eat however we feel without having to structure our meals around the plan.
We're planning to eat breakfast in the room (saving time) and even order in pizza from off-site, so the dining plan makes absolutely no sense for us.
We got the dining plan "free" twice and enjoyed the convenience. This trip, we paid for the DP after using the dining plan calculator. If we eat where we have planned and use all the snacks (which with two teenage boys and two other kids, should not be a problem), we will "save" approx $250 on our 9-day trip. I also estimated based on what we would likely choose at TS meals and came out ahead of that figure. Now, we could eat more cheaply by sharing meals, choosing appetizers, forgoing dessert, even still eating at the same restaurants, but in reality, we don't usually do that. We typically order our own meal and usually get several different desserts to try a bite or two of them all. If I were leaving money on the table (not using all credits), I would give up the convenience but if I'm going to save or come close to breaking even, I like the convenience and I'm not tempted to save $5 by ordering a different entree. I especially like the change to not including dessert at QS but having two snack credits.
What convenience is there in getting the plan?!? I never understood that and perhaps have missed out on something. I get the "I spent the money - I don't have to think about it now" aspect of it. I remember when there was NO QUESTION that that plan was a good deal. They would have to roll you out of the parks after a week on the meal plan. Now I don't get the "convenience" of it.
Perhaps if everyone in my family was a big steak / seafood group things would be different. I never found the plan to have any more / less convenience than just paying out of pocket - what am I missing?
I think the "convenience" aspect for most people is that they've already paid for their meals and don't have to think about the cost. I know that's how my dad sees as he's starting to talk about his next Disney trip.
You're being logical.
Hmmm - I guess that is convenience - but how much are you paying for the convenience $100, 200, 500?
Since you have to plan out everything regardless - to me the convenience would be saving a few bucks and putting that towards some well deserved (and needed) drinks!!! But I get it
I FULLY agree that "convenience" is in the eye of the beholder in this instance. I am not sure playing the "is this included?" game or running from ADR to ADR is convenient. Also, I fully understand the desire to not be scouring the menu prices when you go, but sometimes with the DP the opposite happens! You scour the menu for the most expensive steak to make the meal "worth it" and you still aren't really getting what you want! And I'm sorry, but if you are cleaning out the Confectionery of snacks at the end of your stay, then you are NOT saving money with the DP!
Free dining is a whole other story though!