About the Disney Dining Plan...

PixarPerfect

Active Member
Original Poster
I know the Dining Plan can be a controversial topic around here, but my husband and I love its convenience. We usually get the Deluxe Plan and are frustrated that it's still unavailable given that our next trip is planned for within 2 months.

Has anyone heard when they'll be bringing it back?
 

PixarPerfect

Active Member
Original Poster
They need a lot more restaurant availability before they can sell the dining plans again. They're working on it, but still have a ways to go. Will likely need staffing shortages to end first.

Thank you. I've heard that, but it's hard to wrap my head around that reason. The dining plan is simply a payment method and as we generally have to make dining reservations, all that matters is being able to show up and eat then pay. People in the parks will still need to eat, dining plan or not. Staffing wouldn't change if reservations or availability is limited, which, frankly, has always been the case due to the number of tabletops in a restaurant. Why not let us pre-pay and enjoy a simple trip?

Yes, I know people will want to make reservations if they have the plan and be frustrated if they can't find availability during certain times, but it's not like anyone could eat anywhere desired at the drop of a hat before. Having a dining plan did not = reservations. We've always needed to book well in advance to "guarantee" a table or deal with the frustration of not getting desirable reservations (or any, to be truthful) because they're already "sold out."

The above is directed at Disney, not you. :)
 
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drizgirl

Well-Known Member
Thank you. I've heard that, but it's hard to wrap my head around that reason. The dining plan is simply a payment method and as we generally have to make dining reservations, all that matters is being able to show up and eat then pay. People in the parks will still need to eat, dining plan or not. Staffing wouldn't change if reservations or availability is limited, which, frankly, has always been the case due to the number of tabletops in a restaurant. Why not let us pre-pay and enjoy a simple trip?

Yes, I know people will want to make reservations if they have the plan and be frustrated if they can't find availability during certain times, but it's not like anyone could eat anywhere desired at the drop of a hat before. Having a dining plan did not = reservations. We've always needed to book well in advance to "guarantee" a table or deal with the frustration of not getting desirable reservations (or any, to be truthful) because they're already "sold out."

The above is directed at Disney, not you. :)
I think people are more likely to make a greater number of ADRs if they have a dining plan. And it's really hard to get ADRs in many cases right now, even if you are booking at 60 days out, even without dining plans in place. That indicates to me that there is not enough inventory. Some of the restaurants that are open aren't fully booking (witness all the empty tables we saw last week on our own visit). Some restaurants are still closed.

The dining plan is meant to sell excess capacity. And right now there just isn't excess capacity.
 

heatherhy01

Well-Known Member
I know the Dining Plan can be a controversial topic around here, but my husband and I love its convenience. We usually get the Deluxe Plan and are frustrated that it's still unavailable given that our next trip is planned for within 2 months.

Has anyone heard when they'll be bringing it back?
My family feels the same. We have always went with the dining plan for convenience. Our next trip is in June and will be the first time that we are going without it. If it should happen to come back in the meantime, I am sure that we will be adding it on.
 

PixarPerfect

Active Member
Original Poster
If a guest bought the dining plan and were then unable to get ADRs they would be soon be complaining to Guest Services and demanding a refund.

You could still pre-pay by putting the money onto a gift card and using that to pay for all your meals.

Yes, but that's not necessarily a new thing. Getting ADRs hasn't been easy in quite some time.

Using my upcoming trip as an example, we'd like the DP, but that has not stopped me from booking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 8 days at park and resort restaurants, including multiple signatures. We're booked for Club Level at the Contemporary and we made our ADRs 60 days in advance. Despite this, we did not get all of our preferred times/restaurants.

That is no different from previous years' trips pre-COVID. My first trip with a Dining Plan years ago didn't go well - I didn't know about the 60 days in advance program. We didn't get the times or restaurants we wanted (raise your hand if you've eaten lunch at 3 or dinner at 6:30). There were times we couldn't book anything.

If the DP is to push people to quick service, there's no guarantee that people will follow that path. If I had not booked ADR, it does not mean that we would automatically order from quick service 3 times a day as both my husband and I aren't fast food fans. And there's no way we'd spend as much money at any quick service counter that we would at a sit down restaurant. My husband and I generally order an appetizer, entree, and dessert and often lunch or dinner cocktails. The deluxe plan suited us very well.

I get that people who purchase applicable Dining Plans will want ADRs. Perhaps rather than eliminating the plan altogether, they could instead limit the number of Dining Plans available. That way the people who plan in advance will have the option and those who do not won't experience any changes from how it is today. It's not like limits are a new thing at Disney.

A gift card isn't a bad idea, but the act isn't too different from paying with a credit card. For us it's not about money or budgeting. We like the convenience of not having to think about the logistics of the meal (other than leaving tip) and paying with just a scan of the wrist.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
Yes, but that's not necessarily a new thing. Getting ADRs hasn't been easy in quite some time.

Using my upcoming trip as an example, we'd like the DP, but that has not stopped me from booking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 8 days at park and resort restaurants, including multiple signatures. We're booked for Club Level at the Contemporary and we made our ADRs 60 days in advance. Despite this, we did not get all of our preferred times/restaurants.

That is no different from previous years' trips pre-COVID. My first trip with a Dining Plan years ago didn't go well - I didn't know about the 60 days in advance program. We didn't get the times or restaurants we wanted (raise your hand if you've eaten lunch at 3 or dinner at 6:30). There were times we couldn't book anything.

If the DP is to push people to quick service, there's no guarantee that people will follow that path. If I had not booked ADR, it does not mean that we would automatically order from quick service 3 times a day as both my husband and I aren't fast food fans. And there's no way we'd spend as much money at any quick service counter that we would at a sit down restaurant. My husband and I generally order an appetizer, entree, and dessert and often lunch or dinner cocktails. The deluxe plan suited us very well.

I get that people who purchase applicable Dining Plans will want ADRs. Perhaps rather than eliminating the plan altogether, they could instead limit the number of Dining Plans available. That way the people who plan in advance will have the option and those who do not won't experience any changes from how it is today. It's not like limits are a new thing at Disney.

A gift card isn't a bad idea, but the act isn't too different from paying with a credit card. For us it's not about money or budgeting. We like the convenience of not having to think about the logistics of the meal (other than leaving tip) and paying with just a scan of the wrist.
Yes, but it's a matter of degree. It's so much worse than it ever used to be. Lots of people will not have the success finding reservations that you have had.
 

PixarPerfect

Active Member
Original Poster
Yes, but it's a matter of degree. It's so much worse than it ever used to be. Lots of people will not have the success finding reservations that you have had.
No, they may not, but not having the DP won't change that. My point is that people who are inclined to make reservations at restaurants will do that regardless of whether there is a plan in place or not. I did. Which means they are going to run into the ADRs issue anyway. People who are willing to pay for a deluxe Dining Plan aren't necessarily going to go back to counter chicken strips and fries because it's not in place. I won't.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
No, they may not, but not having the DP won't change that. My point is that people who are inclined to make reservations at restaurants will do that regardless of whether there is a plan in place or not. I did. Which means they are going to run into the ADRs issue anyway. People who are willing to pay for a deluxe Dining Plan aren't necessarily going to go back to counter chicken strips and fries because it's not in place. I won't.
We typically do a table service meal each day on our trips. This time we only did about half of our days. It's not as simple as you're making it out to be. And I promise I didn't eat a single chicken strip or fry on our trip.

Trust me. Disney wishes they could be selling the dining plans right now. They'll get back to it when they can
 
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CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Thank you. I've heard that, but it's hard to wrap my head around that reason. The dining plan is simply a payment method and as we generally have to make dining reservations, all that matters is being able to show up and eat then pay. People in the parks will still need to eat, dining plan or not. Staffing wouldn't change if reservations or availability is limited, which, frankly, has always been the case due to the number of tabletops in a restaurant. Why not let us pre-pay and enjoy a simple trip?
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PixarPerfect

Active Member
Original Poster
We typically do a table service meal each day on our trips. This time we only did about half of our days. It's not a simple as you're making it out to be. And I promise I didn't eat a single chicken strip or fry on our trip.

Trust me. Disney wishes they could be selling the dining plans right now. They'll get back to it when they can

I never said it was simple. Simple wouldn't have had my husband and myself on separate laptops staring at a pre-made trip spreadsheet in the wee hours of the morning making reservations 60 days in advance. But that's exactly what we did this year and when we went in 2018. And 2015.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
I never said it was simple. Simple wouldn't have had my husband and myself on separate laptops staring at a pre-made trip spreadsheet in the wee hours of the morning making reservations 60 days in advance. But that's exactly what we did this year and when we went in 2018. And 2015.
OK, at this point it seems like you have it all figured out. Over and out.
 

nickys

Premium Member
First off, availability is limited just now. They don’t book every table at restaurants at the moment, due to staffing and also food supply issues.

Booking at 60 days is way tougher than booking at 180 days. When it was at 180 days, many guests either hadn’t even booked their stay by then or hadn’t decided which park they would be at. Competition for the popular restaurants was much less than it is now at 60 days. Almost everyone has already booked their parks by 60 days out and without FPs to work around the focus is entirely on ADRs.

Those with dining plans also tend to book more ADRs. If someone isn’t sure whether they’ll be at MK or Epcot in the evening, and also whether or not they’ll eat their main meal at lunch or dinner will book 2 and then cancel some later, even the day before. They know that they really have to have ADRs lined up to use their TS credits.

Whereas those who like to dine signature but don’t use dining plans always have the option of going to the 4 Seasons or elsewhere to dine if they can’t get what they want onsite.
 

PixarPerfect

Active Member
Original Poster
OK, at this point it seems like you have it all figured out. Over and out.
I wasn't being hostile and do appreciate your responses. Rather, I was arguing against Disney's POV that they can open up and restore 90% of the park but can't find a way to restore something that essentially equates to a pre-paid card strapped to one's wrist.

It does feel like my entire posts weren't read because I said I didn't get all of the ADRs I wanted despite making an effort. This wasn't new - I've had that same problem pre-COVID. Securing ADRs is an overly complicated process. The DP didn't change that. That's all.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
I wasn't being hostile and do appreciate your responses. Rather, I was arguing against Disney's POV that they can open up and restore 90% of the park but can't find a way to restore something that essentially equates to a pre-paid card strapped to one's wrist.

It does feel like my entire posts weren't read because I said I didn't get all of the ADRs I wanted despite making an effort. This wasn't new - I've had that same problem pre-COVID. Securing ADRs is an overly complicated process. The DP didn't change that. That's all.
The dining plan doesn't just change the payment methodology of guests who are going to book dining reservations anyways, it also changes the number of dining reservations those guests make in the first place.

A family who does 4 TS meals in a week without the dining plan might book 7 TS meals in a week with the dining plan. Disney can't absorb that kind of increased demand on their TS restaurants right now.

The way you're describing your own family, as booking the exact same number of reservations with or without the dining plan, is not typical.
 

mattpeto

Well-Known Member
We are still a bit away as others indicated due to staffing and supply chain issues.

That being said, I do think we are reaching a milestone of sorts. Reopening Jiko, Flying Fish and even Turf Clubs are really good signs of momentum forward. EPCOT could use international labor, hopefully they start to trickle in, helping their restaurants (and letting the current hired help disperse elsewhere).

No crystal ball here, but I really do think it will be back in the summer or fall
 

Mark48

Well-Known Member
OK, at this point it seems like you have it all figured out. Over and out.
First off, availability is limited just now. They don’t book every table at restaurants at the moment, due to staffing and also food supply issues.

Booking at 60 days is way tougher than booking at 180 days. When it was at 180 days, many guests either hadn’t even booked their stay by then or hadn’t decided which park they would be at. Competition for the popular restaurants was much less than it is now at 60 days. Almost everyone has already booked their parks by 60 days out and without FPs to work around the focus is entirely on ADRs.

Those with dining plans also tend to book more ADRs. If someone isn’t sure whether they’ll be at MK or Epcot in the evening, and also whether or not they’ll eat their main meal at lunch or dinner will book 2 and then cancel some later, even the day before. They know that they really have to have ADRs lined up to use their TS credits.

Whereas those who like to dine signature but don’t use dining plans always have the option of going to the 4 Seasons or elsewhere to dine if they can’t get what they want onsite.
Isn't the " 60 days out window actually " 60 days plus length of stay up to 10 nights " ?? I hope so but am a bit concerned
 

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