Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A WDW Today Idea

As a commuter facing 32 miles each way - i.e. an hour driving to and from work, I've become a huge fan of podcasts.  I have several on my playlist, including friends over at Days in the Parkcast and Mouse Chat, but my big 3 for learning and travel tips these days are Wedway Radio, WDW Radio, and WDW Today.

What I've noticed lately on WDW Today is that I agree with them a lot.  Just like those guys, I prefer to have my own car and drive myself from gate to gate.  Though, I did love my experience on Disney's Magical Express, I'm just too impatient to take an hour to go from point A to point B!
Noah loved DME as well!
Another place I agree with them?  Disney's Dining Plan.  Ever since I first thought about it, I knew for me, that it wouldn't be a good value.  According to those podcasting Disney folks, it's most likely not a good value for anyone.  With recent price increases, the Dining Plan now values every sit down meal at $30 for meal.  That's definitely more than I usually spend, so I can see that.  

Now, many will argue (and have!) with me that it's a great value, it's easy, it saves thinking, time, money, etc...  A big perk - you pre-pay for all of your meals so you don't even have to worry about spending.  Even my originally co-blogger Melissa thought it sounded great and tried it in the spring.  But, just like Melissa, I don't think it's necessarily worth it - nor do I think it's the healthiest way to travel (dessert at every meal plus snacks?) .  But again, I'll probably anger some Disney Dining Plan-die hard fans with this.

So instead, I wanted to offer this fantastic tip that Matt, Mikes, and Len share on WDW Today:

Take all the money you would set aside for the Disney Dining Plan and put that money on a prepaid Visa or Disney Gift Card.  Then, if you want to order the salad, you order the salad.  Want to skip dessert and pick up a treat at Karamelle Kuche?  No problem, because you won't have already prepaid for that dessert with your meal.  Then, if you have money left over, you can spend it on extra souvenirs instead of stocking up on extra snacks before you leave with extra snack credits leftover!

Now, if you have free dining, that's a different topic.  I personally would rather a quality room discount to free dining (only 2 adults!), but I could easily see the appeal of free food for a big family.  

Have you ever considered dining this version?  The "make your own" Disney Dining Plan?  

17 comments:

  1. HI Jenn, I love the tip about the pre-paid card. We have often wondered if the DP has been worth, this time when we go we may skip it, we feel like it encourages you to over eat, it always feels likes there is so much food ay each meal and we have snacks left over at the end of our trip. I dont always want dessert with every meal, nor do I usually order such big meals

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  2. Melissa_FillingOurBucketJanuary 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Yes, I'm actually going to keep track of the cash costs of everything we order when we go down, so I can see if the DDP was actually worth it or not. I've sort of been obsessing about this all day. ;)

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  3. I love checking out new restaurants - we do it on pretty much every trip.. but for us, without the DDP, we can do appetizers and entrees instead of desserts and drinks. and I love the idea of the visa card as well - but my husband prefers to use our Disney Visa and earn all the extra points for using it on property and just pay it off when we get back! I need to keep track of how much we spend on food next time to compare it to DDP!

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  4. With 5 doing free dining, you'd definitely have to sit down and figure out the math... but for us, a room discount is way better. Our son is too young to get the meal plan, so we'd still end up paying for him, but we split appetizers and desserts, and definitely don't have soft drinks or desserts at every meal.. and sometimes, I like getting a nice vegetarian entree which wouldn't get me the full value of the DDP!

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  5. I drink the Disney juice, but I can take away the sugar coating, so I fit in with that crowd, I think! Thanks for stopping by - I'm following you as well, can't wait to read more from your new Disney blog!

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  6. I've often wished I did Tables in Wonderland - especially when we book trips so close together. I'm not an AP holder, but a FL resident, so one day.. It's definitely interesting the absoluteness for or against the plan!

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  7. Thanks for stopping by. I'll stop by your blog now!

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  8. If it's free, I get it - but either way, you can always call ahead for your food allergies for a normal reservation!

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  9. I don't know how much swaying - I just somehow agree anyway ;-) But I love the show and listen constantly!

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  10. I love the dining plan. I have traveled without it and that works as well.

    I have food allergies and going to a table service meal per day means that I have a meal that will be specially prepared and safe for me. I have my favourite 'safe' quick service places and get the unsweetened applesauce for dessert and often just put it in my back pack for an afternoon snack.

    I especially like the dining plan when it is FREE, I have gotten it free 3 or 4 times now!

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  11. New Follower from Tiggerific Tuesday. Hoping you will follow back! =0)
    My Crazy Life

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  12. Thank you for the kind comments! And glad to hear we've swayed you over to our line of thinking!

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  13. I absolutely LOVE WDW Today. As much as I am prone to sugar-coating Disney-related things, they are so much more practical about things and make me take a second look at my Disney-related spending habits! Also, the Disney-related humor is to funny. Sometimes I think, "What a shame that other non-Disney people can't be in on these jokes!"

    Rosanne @ TheDisneyPoint.Blogspot.com

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  14. Jenn, I have to agree with you! We regularly use our Tables in Wonderland discount, which is a godsend. My husband owns 2 restaurants, so each meal is research, and we treat it with that kind of importance!! We need flexibility. I know others swear by the Plan, and that's great for their individual needs. It's all good! :D

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  15. Jenn what you just said I have been pondering for a while now. We are now AP holders and can see the value in the discounts we can get with that..plus being a TA with the room deal I get I think I can save money opting out of the plan. The issue is trying to convince my hubby that we can do it. His worry is that we are a family of 5 and just cannot feel 5 for less then what the DDP charges per day. I don't know...what I don't want to get stuck doing is asking the kids to share meals or order something less expensive because we are not on the plan. There is a very nice piece of mind knowing that at dinner there will be no arguments. But I also value your tip. I will let you know what we decide. Great tip! I will post it on Guru FB later in the day. Hugs!

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  16. Melissa_FillingOurBucketJanuary 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I am a huge dining plan fan, but I have to admit that the pre-paid visa card tip is actually genius. Especially since when we typically travel, we do meals on a budget and usually only do one fancy place the entire trip. We wanted to check out a bunch of new restaurants this time around, so it made sense to go with the dining plan, but I could see doing the visa gift card idea on our next trip!! I'm going to keep that idea filed away for future use.

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  17. I agree with you, Jenn. We do not use the dining plan either. Normally, we receive some type of pin code for a hotel discount (35% this trip), as well as purchase our tickets through a vendor (saved us $150 this trip). Our savings from those two costs, more than paid for our dining. Besides, we would never eat as much food as they have to offer. On top of that, not all the dining spots have foods on the kids menu my kids would eat. The children's menu is very lacking and I would hate to be stuck with dining credits for the kids because I had to purchase them something else. Great post, as always, Jenn!

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