• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 30 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered 24 hours a day!
  • TUG started 30 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Read about our 30th anniversary: Happy 30th Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Free memberships for every 50 subscribers!

    Visit TUG on Youtube!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $21,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $21 Million dollars
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free!

    60,000+ subscribing owners! A weekly recap of the best Timeshare resort reviews and the most popular topics discussed by owners!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    All T-shirt options here!
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

DDP? Should we get it or not?

pnjsmom

TUG Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Messages
28
Reaction score
7
Points
113
My family and I will be in SSR for a week in April for a Sat to Sat stay. We are driving down on Sat from NY and may make it there in 1 day (fingers crossed) or may split the drive to 2 days. On the way back we will be leaving early Sat morning and possibly late Friday depending on weather.

I was originally planning on purchasing DDP, but it will cost about 1900 for the family (Husband and me, three kids 12, 10, 5). I have to purchase a plan for the length of the stay (7 days).

I am just not sure if it is worth it. I will be bringing my daughter to Cinderella's castle for breakfast. The older boys do not care about characters- they are Star Wars fans.

What do you do with meals? I am leaning towards a few sit down meals and mostly counter services.

I want the most bang for my buck. Is that even possible at Disney?;)
 

elaine

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2005
Messages
5,245
Reaction score
2,172
Points
648
Location
DC
Resorts Owned
HGVC Eagles Nest, DVC-AKV, HHI
no, don't get it. Your 12 and 10 yr olds are adult pricing. We really don't spend that much on food when @ DVC--maybe $1K tops for a week. For those ages, assuming they are not huge eaters, you can still order a kids meals at any non-buffet restaurant. Even if your 12 yr old gets an adult meal, there are much cheaper versions on the menu (like 1/2 roasted chicken, pasta, etc.). Just pay for Cindy's and other meals OOP. Ave price of an entrée is about $20-40. Via Napoli is a fun, budget friendly sit down splurge in Epcot--1 adult spaghetti easily split for 2 kids. Same for pizza order. At Le Cellier (big splurge), you can order an extra side of super yummy mac and cheese and it is plenty for a tween's meal and then order the 5 and 10yr old kids meals. Keeps the price way down--or order an adult chicken and have 2 kids split it.
Also, eating breakfast in the room and taking some snacks really stretches the budget. I take a small cooler lunchbox and put a frozen juice box, cheese sticks, fruit snacks, bagels or tortilla, etc. The snacks/drinks really add up @ WDW more so than the meals, IMHO. Kids meals all come with a drink and are a good value and enough food for a tween, esp. if you add a cheese stick, etc. to them. Our fav family quick meal is at Pecos Bills in the MK near Big Thunder. We get 2 orders of fajitas for $30 and it is plenty for a family of 4 with 2 teens, esp. as they have a fixins bar with cheese, salsa, etc. Cosmic Rays over in tomorrow land has a ribs/chicken combo with sides that 2 tween could split--but we prefer Pecos Bills. If everyone is willing to take a water bottle, that saves $3PP. I always let my teens pick 1 ice cream treat a day ($4)--our tradition. You can look on allears.net under dining/menu with pricing to get an idea of the costs. The kids' breakfast are also a very good value--about $6 and come with a drink. DH and I get kids breakfasts for us sometimes if we are not in a rush to get to the parks.
 
Last edited:

paxsarah

TUG Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2010
Messages
3,825
Reaction score
2,974
Points
448
Location
Athens, GA
Resorts Owned
Wyndham Ocean Boulevard, Flagstaff, Grand Desert
The only way to know for sure, for you, is to mock up what you think your eating habits will be and run some actual numbers. However, in practice it seems like it's difficult to break even on the DDP, and that's assuming that your dining preferences/habits align perfectly with the DDP format (1TS/1QS/1 snack per day, on average). When you have kids that are Disney adults, it's even harder to make it cost-effective - if you had three kids that were under 10, it might add up in your favor.

We just don't eat that many table service meals during an entire trip (usually 2-4), I actually cook at least 2-3 dinners in the unit (I know some people refuse to cook on vacation, but it's less stressful for me to have a few meals where everyone can just relax and I can whip up some pasta or bacon and eggs, etc.), and I don't need to eat two desserts a day for seven days straight. My guess is that it's not cost-effective for you, given your doubts about it, but if you make some ballpark estimates based on actual menu prices and then compare it to the total cost of the DDP, you'll have a better idea.
 

pnjsmom

TUG Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Messages
28
Reaction score
7
Points
113
Thank you both, paxsarah and elaine. Great tips! I appreciate it!
 

elaine

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2005
Messages
5,245
Reaction score
2,172
Points
648
Location
DC
Resorts Owned
HGVC Eagles Nest, DVC-AKV, HHI
in a week, 3 special sit downs would be my tweens/teens max. They are just as happy with a decent counter service.
so, 1. stick to non-buffets to take advantage of kids meals for your 10 yr old (and maybe 12 yr old if not a big eater-otherwise cheaper entree), 2. better quality counter service--like Pecos Bills, 3. breakfast in the room, 4. take healthy snacks/drinks, and 5. if you can even eat 1-2 simple dinners in the room, you will knock even more off your food budget. We actually found that our kids like coming back to the room some days for a few hours to veg before going back into the parks. So, a 3-6pm swim/rest/veg is perfect for fixing an easy dinner.
ps--be sure to visit the community hall--with crafts, games, etc. It's near the main pool.
 
Last edited:

allenwyn

TUG Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2014
Messages
140
Reaction score
14
Points
128
Location
Arizona
My family and I will be in SSR for a week in April for a Sat to Sat stay. We are driving down on Sat from NY and may make it there in 1 day (fingers crossed) or may split the drive to 2 days. On the way back we will be leaving early Sat morning and possibly late Friday depending on weather.

I was originally planning on purchasing DDP, but it will cost about 1900 for the family (Husband and me, three kids 12, 10, 5). I have to purchase a plan for the length of the stay (7 days).

I am just not sure if it is worth it. I will be bringing my daughter to Cinderella's castle for breakfast. The older boys do not care about characters- they are Star Wars fans.

What do you do with meals? I am leaning towards a few sit down meals and mostly counter services.

I want the most bang for my buck. Is that even possible at Disney?;)

You could consider the Table In Wonderland card if you are a DVC member or Annual Passholder. It's $150 for the card, but at most table service restaurants you get a 20% discount. We've found that we do better this way than we would on the dining plan. (The card is good for 10 people and we usually travel with extended family, so that helps.) Some restaurants give discounts to Annual passholders, so depending on where you like to eat, buying one AP for a member of your party (this will also give you photopass pics free) might be worth it. It all depends on your eating habits!
 

bnoble

TUG Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
11,783
Reaction score
5,507
Points
798
Location
The People's Republic of Ann Arbor
I am leaning towards a few sit down meals and mostly counter services.
I have never, not once, spent as much just eating what, where, and when I wanted as the "appropriate" dining plan would cost. Usually, it's because I don't have the "right" number of sit-down meals, as it sounds like you would not either.

Even when I do, I inevitably have a mix of more- and less-expensive choices, and the plan at best would break even, but the plan is never as flexible as cash.

I strongly advise you to skip it.
 

MichaelColey

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
4,924
Reaction score
112
Points
299
Location
Mansfield, TX
Resorts Owned
Palace View Branson (4 Lockouts), Grandview (Points), CMV (UDI), DVC (SSR 25)
What do you do with meals? I am leaning towards a few sit down meals and mostly counter services.

I want the most bang for my buck. Is that even possible at Disney?;)
In order, the best bang for your buck is:

1) Cooking your own food in the timeshare.
2) Eating off site.
3) Eating counter service on site at Disney. Most places are in the $10 range (excluding sodas and dessert, which we skip).
4) Eating table service on site at Disney. Look for $25-40 per person.
5) Paying for the dining plan.

The dining plan USED to be a decent deal. A decade ago. Now, it's not even close.

The "free dining" plans used to be an incredible deal back then, too. Our first several trips to Disney were about $2500 each for two weeks in an All Star "resort", 10 days of park passes (for 4), and two weeks of the full dining plan (for 4). We loved it, because we got to experience all of the best on site restaurants, on the cheap. Those days are long gone.

What we've done on our most recent trips: We would cook/eat breakfast in the timeshare. We would usually pack sandwiches and chips for lunch, although sometimes we would do quick service meals on site. We would cook most dinners, and eat a couple meals off site. Once in a great while, we would pay for an on site table service meal.
 
Last edited:

vacationhopeful

TUG Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2007
Messages
12,760
Reaction score
1,699
Points
498
Location
Northeast USA
I actually took my 12yo nephew to WDW for a week long solo trip.. him and I. I promised him he could pick out where we ate dinner for our last night at Disney .. if I did NOT hear any requests for snacks, candy, trinkets or "I am hungry"/"I want ..". His mother and I emptied part of her pantry into a 2nd suitcase for us to eat for the week in the unit.

I brought 2 boxes of chocolate Entermann's donuts during our week. And our last dinner was the buffet at AK lodge. No sodas ... powdered drink mixes which we brought with us. He raved about the great dinner from African food buffet and what he did during the week. Almost ALL of the dining options are "crowd filled" with other families ... my nephew was a bigger the normal 12 yo ... but you have 2 younger ones...those places might be stressful to your kids.

As you are staying onsite ... your crew will most likely be doing different parks and rides. The 5 yo may not make the height required for some rides the older 2 want to do. Getting back to the unit for eating makes it easier for naps and restarting/trading the kids off. EMHs are both early and late. Most kids need DOWN time .. naps, pools or video game time.

My sister loved the pictures she saw of us during the week ... we did the photo with the Disney staff ... just so Mom & Dad could see the kid and I were still alive. He and I both still look at the photo book my sister put together from that trip ... his comments and smiles brightens up his, mine and his mother's day ... MORE than any other set of photos of trips he has been on.
 

wed100105

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2007
Messages
666
Reaction score
104
Points
404
Location
Hanna City, Illinois
With the ages of your kids, my personal opinion would be no, do not get the ddp. However, while the ddp used to be a good deal, now people use it to basically prepay their food. We come out ahead using it because I have two Disney kids who do eat all their allotments.

Here is a link to one of many spreadsheets that can help you decide. http://www.distripplanner.com/

Comparing cooking in your unit vs getting the ddp is comparing apples to oranges in my opinion. Of course you can make eating in your room all week less expensive than the Disney dining plan. I also could just stay home and sleep at my house and swim in my pool and not have the cost of vacation. If dining out is part of your vacation experience, then the best way to figure out if the ddp works for you is to pick your resturants, add up what you would buy, see if they would be covered with the ddp, and buy it or not buy it based on your findings.

To break even on the ddp however, you will need to use all or nearly all of yr allotments, get drinks with your meals, and use your snacks and dessert allotments as well.

When we went in 2012, we did the ddp and I was crazy trying to figure out if we were coming out ahead with Disney. We did get $300 more food than it would have cost us out of pocket, but we also ordered things and ate out more than when we don't do the dining plan. We have found that what works best for our family is to each pick one table service restuarant and budget for those and quick service meals. We get groceries and eat some meals and most breakfasts at our unit. This year we are taking my cousin along and we wanted an easy way for her parents to cover the food portion of our trip. We are doing the ddp, and saving money because the kids' ddp cost is less than what we would have spent on their meals. We also planned 7 table service meals.

All in all, you really have to sit down and figure out what works best for your family on this particular trip. Enjoy!
 

blondietink

Guest
Joined
Jun 6, 2009
Messages
939
Reaction score
149
Points
203
Location
Usa
We have never done the DDP while staying in a DVC villa. We are 4 people that count as adults. We eat breakfast in our villa and can have a decent breakfast for very little money spent on groceries (eggs, bacon or sausage, French toast, etc.) that will last us quite a while. We have been known to take sandwiches into the parks with chips, fruit, drink (in a can no bottles). We might eat a counter service for dinner, or we might have gone back to the villa to take a break in the middle of the day and cook dinner. We usually get a snack per day at the parks, like Dole whip. Wish they had Churros at WDW. Anyhow, we might make one or two buffet reservations. We think Crystal Palace for lunch is about the best bang for your buck and we tend to make a late lunch reservation to fill us up for most of the rest of the day. We love Flame Tree Barbeque for counter service in AK. All total, I bet we don't spend more than $500 on food in the parks, then add groceries. But you are driving, so you can bring a lot of your groceries. Florida grocery prices are surprisingly high, even at Wal-Mart. Don't buy the meal plan.
 

Deb & Bill

TUG Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
292
Reaction score
101
Points
403
Location
Marco Island, FL
Resorts Owned
DVC - OKW, Sold BRV; Used to own Charter Club Marco Island
You can check out the menus on Allears.net. They have prices included so you can figure out how much you will spend and what each place has.
 

MichaelColey

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
4,924
Reaction score
112
Points
299
Location
Mansfield, TX
Resorts Owned
Palace View Branson (4 Lockouts), Grandview (Points), CMV (UDI), DVC (SSR 25)
Wish they had Churros at WDW.

They recently added them at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe.

Googling, it looks like you could also get them in AK at a couple carts.
 

famy27

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
607
Reaction score
132
Points
403
Location
Elgin, IL
We've been on a quest to keep costs down, and here is our current strategy:

Breakfast in the unit all but one day (The breakfast in the park might be an ADR at CRT or it might be CS at the bakery in France. It depends what other ADRs we have)
Lunch is counter service, and we share almost everything. For example, at Flame Tree at AK, we will share one adult platter, one kid's meal, and perhaps a dessert for four of us (2 adults, and 9 and 3 year olds). If we are still hungry we order more, but we rarely need more. This prevents us from wasting food or eating more than we really want.
Dinner is normally counter service at the park or Earl of Sandwich at DS. We'll generally do no more than 3 dinner ADRs for a long stay, and just one for a short stay. For our March trip, our only pre-planned dining is the Star Wars dessert party, but we do want to try Skipper Canteen as well.

We've also started the new tradition of doing our own tapas-style dining, where we get a bunch of little things from a variety of restaurants. This is really easy to do at EP, but the other parks do have some fun options as well. The tapas meal is easily my kids' favorite of every trip, other than character dining.
 

MichaelColey

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
4,924
Reaction score
112
Points
299
Location
Mansfield, TX
Resorts Owned
Palace View Branson (4 Lockouts), Grandview (Points), CMV (UDI), DVC (SSR 25)
We've also started the new tradition of doing our own tapas-style dining, where we get a bunch of little things from a variety of restaurants. This is really easy to do at EP, but the other parks do have some fun options as well. The tapas meal is easily my kids' favorite of every trip, other than character dining.
Back when we used the dining plan, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival was one of my favorite parts. Snack credit for some incredible varieties of food. I bet I used 10-15 most days we were in Epcot.

The buffets are another great way to try a bunch of different food. Most are just standard buffet fare, but the Boma (at AKL) has some good variety.
 
Top