Dining Plan: Doing the Math

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hey guys...

With the dining plan, it zeros out your receipts so you cannot see the item's actual charge, am I right? Or does the price reflect on them? Does it say the actual items on there or just dinner, lunch, snack, etc.. ?

My friend won't get off my case about how the dining plan isn't worth it, blah blah blah, and I know to each their own. I know there are multiple threads about if the dining plan is worth it or not, BUT I want to show her the math of my own trip when I return. I already take a picture of basically every meal, but is there any way with the receipts I could add this up when I get home? I don't want to write down the prices while I'm there, because to me that's one of the perks.. not worrying about numbers.

Thank you so much for any advice.

I will eat my $ in dining... just wait and see.
 

Mrhappyplace

Well-Known Member
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I'm not sure about the receipts but I like taking pics of the menu in addition to our meals. Then when I look at the pics I can look over the menu and consider if I should have ordered something different.

Really though unless you are consistently ordering the most expensive items available it probably doesn't save you money.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Hey guys...

With the dining plan, it zeros out your receipts so you cannot see the item's actual charge, am I right? Or does the price reflect on them? Does it say the actual items on there or just dinner, lunch, snack, etc.. ?

My friend won't get off my case about how the dining plan isn't worth it, blah blah blah, and I know to each their own. I know there are multiple threads about if the dining plan is worth it or not, BUT I want to show her the math of my own trip when I return. I already take a picture of basically every meal, but is there any way with the receipts I could add this up when I get home? I don't want to write down the prices while I'm there, because to me that's one of the perks.. not worrying about numbers.

Thank you so much for any advice.

I will eat my $ in dining... just wait and see.
That's not really a good way to determine if it's worth it. You're TRYING to make it worth it, meaning you're more inclined to order higher priced menu items than you normally would.
 

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm not sure about the receipts but I like taking pics of the menu in addition to our meals. Then when I look at the pics I can look over the menu and consider if I should have ordered something different.

Really though unless you are consistently ordering the most expensive items available it probably doesn't save you money.
I just want to see if I break even... not necessarily save me money. I just want to prove that eating with what options you have (drinks, dessert, and entree) can be equal to or more than the daily dining plan fee. I know all the arguments for not eating as much as the dining plan gives you (i don't eat dessert in the real world), but I just want to see it from a numbers standpoint.. I get that some days aren't the same as others, and some restaurants aren't as pricey as others, but I just want to eventually put it all down on paper to show her...

Doing the math for let's say my AK day: $63.70 a day is what you're paying

Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ
Ribs & Chicken Combo : 16.49
Chocolate Mousee: 4.59
Soft Drink: 3.69
Total: $24.77

Dinner: Yak and Yeti
Soft Drink: 3.69
Kalbi Steak & Shrimp: 28.99
Pineapple Upside down cake: 7.99
Total: $40.67

Snack: Mickey Premium Bar: $4.25

Total: 24.77 + 40.67 + 4.25 = 69.69 (5.99 over)

Am I crazy? Haha! Thanks for giving me the idea of taking menu pics! :)
 

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
That's not really a good way to determine if it's worth it. You're TRYING to make it worth it, meaning you're more inclined to order higher priced menu items than you normally would.
I'm a pretty picky eater so most of the expensive stuff never appeals to me.. no fish, no duck, no pork.. So I think I'll be pretty honest. :)
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
I just want to see if I break even... not necessarily save me money. I just want to prove that eating with what options you have (drinks, dessert, and entree) can be equal to or more than the daily dining plan fee. I know all the arguments for not eating as much as the dining plan gives you (i don't eat dessert in the real world), but I just want to see it from a numbers standpoint.. I get that some days aren't the same as others, and some restaurants aren't as pricey as others, but I just want to eventually put it all down on paper to show her...

Doing the math for let's say my AK day: $63.70 a day is what you're paying

Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ
Ribs & Chicken Combo : 16.49
Chocolate Mousee: 4.59
Soft Drink: 3.69
Total: $24.77

Dinner: Yak and Yeti
Soft Drink: 3.69
Kalbi Steak & Shrimp: 28.99
Pineapple Upside down cake: 7.99
Total: $40.67

Snack: Mickey Premium Bar: $4.25

Total: 24.77 + 40.67 + 4.25 = 69.69 (5.99 over)

Am I crazy? Haha! Thanks for giving me the idea of taking menu pics! :)
You're proving your friend's point. You said yourself that you wouldnt normally get desert so the $12 of desert items you're getting is a complete waste so you're actually $6 UNDER.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
I'm a pretty picky eater so most of the expensive stuff never appeals to me.. no fish, no duck, no pork.. So I think I'll be pretty honest. :)
Haha you're flushing money down the toilet to prove a point to your friend. Zero chance you break even if you're a picky eater.

(You're always a good sport so I'm not hesitating to give you a hard time.)
 

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
You're proving your friend's point. You said yourself that you wouldnt normally get desert so the $12 of desert items you're getting is a complete waste so you're actually $6 UNDER.
I do eat dessert in Disney because it's vacation. So it's not a complete waste. I guess I should have specified, on vacation I allow myself off my diet.
 

harryk

Well-Known Member
Hey guys...

With the dining plan, it zeros out your receipts so you cannot see the item's actual charge, am I right? Or does the price reflect on them? Does it say the actual items on there or just dinner, lunch, snack, etc.. ?

My friend won't get off my case about how the dining plan isn't worth it, blah blah blah, and I know to each their own. I know there are multiple threads about if the dining plan is worth it or not, BUT I want to show her the math of my own trip when I return. I already take a picture of basically every meal, but is there any way with the receipts I could add this up when I get home? I don't want to write down the prices while I'm there, because to me that's one of the perks.. not worrying about numbers.

Thank you so much for any advice.

I will eat my $ in dining... just wait and see.
We do take the time to record the total price of the meal for our group, not including the tip, since the final receipt we receive does not have the itemized record. (Our group is 4 adults). We still don't pay any attention to the cost of the meal on the DDP, but check to see if we broke even or lost money.(when we get home) To date over the past 15 or so years we have never 'lost' money on the Delux Dining Plan.
 

22YrsDVC

Active Member
I just want to see if I break even... not necessarily save me money. I just want to prove that eating with what options you have (drinks, dessert, and entree) can be equal to or more than the daily dining plan fee. I know all the arguments for not eating as much as the dining plan gives you (i don't eat dessert in the real world), but I just want to see it from a numbers standpoint.. I get that some days aren't the same as others, and some restaurants aren't as pricey as others, but I just want to eventually put it all down on paper to show her...
Am I crazy? Haha! Thanks for giving me the idea of taking menu pics! :)
You don't eat dessert in the real world? Brother, have you never heard the saying "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first"?
P.S. I'm at WDW in November too, could I have your desserts? That way I'd pick the most expensive ones, and it would add to your total receipts!!
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
OP, it sounds like you already know what the answer is: go to the most expensive 1-credit places and order the most expensive things, and use every credit you're given, and you'll "save" up to 10% off of the sticker price of the same items.

But of course, this is really only a "savings" over out-of-pocket costs if you'd have bought exactly the same things if you were paying out-of-pocket. As you recognized, if the DDP offerings are not the way someone prefers to eat, or if that's more food than they wish to have, or if the food they want is DIFFERENT from what the DDP offers (e.g., appetizers) then they'll be spending more money with the DDP than they'd have spent out-of-pocket. No receipts necessary to prove that.

Using your example restaurants, if I were the one ordering -- I who love snacks and appetizers but never order fountain beverages and don't always prefer the most expensive items on a menu -- here's what it would look like:

Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ

- Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich topped with coleslaw, with a side of beans (because I love pulled pork and cole slaw, so it's the thing that looks best to me on the menu, even if not the most expensive thing): 10.99
- Lime Mousse (to split with DH, because after the sandwich and beans I'd be low on tummy room): 4.59
- Drink (iced water): 0.00
Total: $15.58

Dinner: Yak and Yeti
- Drink (iced water): 0.00
- Pork Potstickers (appetizer, wouldn't be included on the DDP): 9.49
- Malaysian Seafood Curry (again, what I'd choose to eat if price was not a consideration): 22.99
- No dessert (too full from the potstickers and curry - plus planning on a Dole Whip later)
Total: $32.48

Snack: Dole Whip with coconut rum (contains alcohol, wouldn't be included on the DDP): 7.00

Total: $55.06 (savings of $6.76, or 11%, over cost of DDP, plus I was able to order two items that the DDP would not have covered).

As you can see, the way I eat, the DDP will cost me more money than if I just ordered and ate what I wanted in the first place. Since for me, the objective is to minimize costs rather than maximize the amount of food available to me, I'd rather pay out-of-pocket. Of course, for others, the objective may be to be able to ignore numbers on the menu and increase their food options, regardless of whether it saves them money in the long run. To each his own!
 
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MickeyMomV

Well-Known Member
IMO there is a couple of ways of looking at it. When factoring if it is worth it you have to consider what you want to eat, what you want to spend, and what do you want to be blind to.
When we are on vacation we want to splurge in what we eat, wither it be a nice steak, seafood or desert. Would we order these things on a typical Friday night? No we wouldn't. Are we going to eat everything we are served? No we are not. But we want to try a little of everything, including deserts. Until Disney starts offering a desert sampler of 1/3 of 3 deserts for the price of 1 whole one we are going to continue to order them with the meal plan.
The next is what you want to spend. If you compare the price of what you get on the meal plan to what the menu cost is you will save money, but as others have said they will not always order what you get with the meal plan such as deserts or soda's. And to be honest if I was ordering and paying OOP I would almost always get something cheaper because I don't want to spend the extra. I know the argument of prepaying by buying gift cards but when looking at the menu I'm still looking at the overall cost and I will guilt myself out of ordering the more expensive item.
What you want to be blind to. 5-10 years ago they used to say you would save "up to" 20% on the meal plan, then it dropped to a "up to" 15%, and now reportedly its dropped to a "up to" 10%. The savings to buy the meal plan are not what they once were and without some sort of discount (free dining or PSD) its is getting hard to justify it if you can justify it at all. So pro dining people (myself included) can be blind and say we WILL always save money on the plan when the reality is that in most cases we WILL NOT.

On a side note, our visit this past April was our first time going down and not being on the plan. We missed out on a few places because we did not want to spend the money OOP. We brought food with us and had a few lunches at the hotel and did granola bars and pop tarts for breakfast a couple of days and we calculated the savings to be over $500 based on what the average meal costs at the Disney restaurants we would have eaten at. So in the end it really does depend on what you want to eat, what you want to spend, and what do you just not care about (after all your at WDW on vacation!!).
 

M.T. LOTT

Member
I don't see how it can not be worth it?? For example we are going from Jan 1-7th so 6 days of dining plan. There are 5 of us in the party
2 adults 3 children teens down to a 7 yr old. Cost for the mid range dining plan is $1761. When doing the math of 6 usable days
it comes out to 58.70 each. One proper table service will have to be $30 each that leaves us $27 for lunch and two snacks.
I 'm guessing lunch will be $18 each on avg and $9 for two snacks per day....ok as I'm typing this I can see where it could be tight in terms of value. I have to add some value to the fact we don't have to think about it when we are out. Just order what you like.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
I don't see how it can not be worth it?? For example we are going from Jan 1-7th so 6 days of dining plan. There are 5 of us in the party
2 adults 3 children teens down to a 7 yr old. Cost for the mid range dining plan is $1761. When doing the math of 6 usable days
it comes out to 58.70 each. One proper table service will have to be $30 each that leaves us $27 for lunch and two snacks.
I 'm guessing lunch will be $18 each on avg and $9 for two snacks per day....ok as I'm typing this I can see where it could be tight in terms of value. I have to add some value to the fact we don't have to think about it when we are out. Just order what you like.
You only get one snack per day, not two. Also, it's unlikely that a "proper table service" will average anywhere near $30 for a seven year old. It can be worth it, but usually not.
 

MickeyMomV

Well-Known Member
I don't see how it can not be worth it?? For example we are going from Jan 1-7th so 6 days of dining plan. There are 5 of us in the party
2 adults 3 children teens down to a 7 yr old. Cost for the mid range dining plan is $1761. When doing the math of 6 usable days
it comes out to 58.70 each. One proper table service will have to be $30 each that leaves us $27 for lunch and two snacks.
I 'm guessing lunch will be $18 each on avg and $9 for two snacks per day....ok as I'm typing this I can see where it could be tight in terms of value. I have to add some value to the fact we don't have to think about it when we are out. Just order what you like.
With kids you have to remember that anybody 10 and up is on the adult dining plan. For us it was worth it as my DS would prefer a nice filet over chicken nuggets any day of the week but if we weren't on the DP there is no way we would let him order a filet. If you have 2 kids that fall into that 10 -15 category and all they want is something off the kids menu then there is no way it is worth it.
 
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