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Meal plans

Posted: Mar Thu 11, 2010 11:34 am
by bbowen13
Quick question, I have a friend who has purchased a package with one of the hotels in Downtown Disney that includes a 7 day park-hopper. He is now looking to get a couple of meal plans. Can those be purchased separately? And where is the best place to purchase them?

Thanks

Posted: Mar Thu 11, 2010 12:04 pm
by 99Soulz
Meal plans can only be purchased if staying at one of the 23 Disney resorts. Sounds like they are staying at one of the LBV hotels so they wouldn't be able to get on the meal plans - sorry.

Posted: Mar Thu 11, 2010 6:39 pm
by bbowen13
99Soulz, thanks for the response. I thought that was the case but I have only stayed on site so I had no experience with off site planning. Have fun at Port Orleans Riverside, it's one of my favorite places.

Posted: Mar Thu 11, 2010 6:47 pm
by Len90
Just remember, the meal plan requires you to eat about $42 in food a day. That is on the basc plan that is a table service, a counter service and a snack. If you ask me, he is really not missing out on much.

Posted: Mar Thu 11, 2010 7:27 pm
by kcarts
Len90 wrote:Just remember, the meal plan requires you to eat about $42 in food a day. That is on the basc plan that is a table service, a counter service and a snack. If you ask me, he is really not missing out on much.
I disagree.

My first day there a couple months ago here's what I ate.....

Lunch @ Pecos Bills

bacon double cheeseburger w/ fries $8.09
carrot cake $3.59
soda $2.49
total $14.17

Snack: Pretzel in Epcot: $3.79

running total $17.96

dinner @ Olivia's (OKW)

NY strip $27.99
drink $2.69
key lime tart $5.49

dinner total $36.17

total for the day: $54.13

I had ADRs for each day I was there so it really made sense for me. I think it's worth it.

Posted: Mar Fri 12, 2010 1:20 am
by Len90
kcarts wrote:
Len90 wrote:Just remember, the meal plan requires you to eat about $42 in food a day. That is on the basc plan that is a table service, a counter service and a snack. If you ask me, he is really not missing out on much.
I disagree.

My first day there a couple months ago here's what I ate.....

Lunch @ Pecos Bills

bacon double cheeseburger w/ fries $8.09
carrot cake $3.59
soda $2.49
total $14.17

Snack: Pretzel in Epcot: $3.79

running total $17.96

dinner @ Olivia's (OKW)

NY strip $27.99
drink $2.69
key lime tart $5.49

dinner total $36.17

total for the day: $54.13

I had ADRs for each day I was there so it really made sense for me. I think it's worth it.
You really lived to the plan and that is the way where you come out ahead. For us, the plan would never work. We always have a big breakfast and dinner. We never have any lunch at the parks. I also find it tough and challenging to keep with the plan each day. Were you able to come out ahead each day?

Posted: Mar Fri 12, 2010 8:07 am
by 99Soulz
Both Len and kcarts are correct, in my opinion. If you do have 1 sit down (non-buffet) and 1 counter each day you do make out as kcarts has layed out - can be considerable savings especially if you have a family.

However, if you do mostly buffets for your sit downs, then you basically break even with the meal plan. Buffets typically run $25, then counter is $12, then $4 snack gets you to the $41/day charge for the meal plan. So you are still not paying more than you would say ala carte but you are paying ahead of time and could chance skipping a meal that you already paid for.

In my experience, it pays off for us. We do a lot of non-buffet sit downs such as LeCelier, Kona Cafe, Mama Melrose, France, Italy, Mexico....to name a few and even when we do buffets they are the higher-priced ones like Liberty Tree and Ohana that are $30 per person.

We've had meal plan threads here in the past and it really just depends on how you plan to eat in the parks to see if it makes sesnse for you.

One time however, we were staying in a grand villa and had 12 people on the reservation for a week and that means we had 84 snacks to use......on the last day we checked the amount we had left and was still around 30 so we raided the market in the lobby for the plane ride home......bad idea with the kids getting all hopped up on Goofy's Candy Co!

Posted: Mar Fri 12, 2010 8:36 am
by kcarts
I was able to live to the plan each day. I was skeptical about it heading down there but my friend had made ADR's for each day we were there. I looked at the prices of where we were eating and decided it would be worth it. Even with the buffets. With the plan I probably ordered some stuff I would have never had without it. The only day I came out behind was the day we had the buffet breakfast at Boma. I kept track for the week and came out ahead about $90. So for me, it was definitely worth it.

But I agree w/ Len as well (depsite my first line of my response to his post!). If you're not a big eater, it's probably not worth it to you.

You have to use it. I really stretched my vacation out when down there in January. Was up and out the door no later than 7:30 every morning and got back to my room around 9:00 every night. All that walking makes a growing boy hungry! :roll: So I never felt like I was forcing myself to use the plan just get my $$ worth.

Posted: Mar Fri 12, 2010 8:41 am
by Jacca5660
I have agree with kcarts. With having two teenage boys, we come out way ahead. They have hollow legs and bottomless pits for stomachs. Disney loses with us.

Posted: Mar Fri 12, 2010 9:52 am
by theBIGyowski
I am hoping they offer the free meal plan when I am down there. I'll be right at the beginning of the value season at the end of the summer. When it's free, you definitely want to take advantage of it because you'd be crazy not to take free food from WDW, which has some of the best restaurants in the US.

Posted: Mar Fri 12, 2010 3:00 pm
by kcarts
Jacca5660 wrote:I have agree with kcarts. With having two teenage boys, we come out way ahead. They have hollow legs and bottomless pits for stomachs. Disney loses with us.
I almost fell out of my seat.... I don't think we've ever agreed on anything here. Especially the most obvious of all...that the Red Sox are the best team in baseball.

Posted: Mar Fri 12, 2010 11:27 pm
by Len90
theBIGyowski wrote:I am hoping they offer the free meal plan when I am down there. I'll be right at the beginning of the value season at the end of the summer. When it's free, you definitely want to take advantage of it because you'd be crazy not to take free food from WDW, which has some of the best restaurants in the US.
Exactly. That for a family of 4 at least $100 of free food at some amazing restaurants.

For our family, we always like the big breakfast and then a dinner. We would end up spending at most $35 a person per day if we had a snack and counted our dinner every night. However, we like to eat off property once or twice.

I will say when it is the all you can eat or buffet style, my family makes sure we get our money's worth! :D

Posted: Mar Sat 13, 2010 7:26 am
by Pluto23
BUT . . . . you have to be able to eat a lot. It is also a time issue with a sitdown meal every day. Probably 1 1/2 - 2 hours of time. Even if you are in a park, you have to be near the restaurant at the right time. We can't eat enough to make it work - so check the math. I totally agree that eating only buffets would not work out best. I also believe signature meals (2 credits) are not a best use.

Posted: Mar Sat 13, 2010 7:38 am
by Arete
I agree with Pluto23 that the meal plan is a huge time commitment. It might not be that big of a deal for those who are used to sitting down at a table service restaurant to eat every day, but spending an hour and a half or more for one meal is, to me, way too much time sitting down to eat and not riding rides or seeing shows. We've had the free dining plan a couple of times, which is nice, but we've never even come close to using all our sit down credits (the leftovers we have always ended up swapping out for table service), and have had 5+ snacks left at the end, too. It's not a good deal for us.

I'm curious to try the counter service plan myself. It seems like it would be a much better fit for my family.

Posted: Mar Sat 13, 2010 8:30 am
by Pluto23
Arete wrote:I agree with Pluto23 that the meal plan is a huge time commitment. It might not be that big of a deal for those who are used to sitting down at a table service restaurant to eat every day, but spending an hour and a half or more for one meal is, to me, way too much time sitting down to eat and not riding rides or seeing shows. We've had the free dining plan a couple of times, which is nice, but we've never even come close to using all our sit down credits (the leftovers we have always ended up swapping out for table service), and have had 5+ snacks left at the end, too. It's not a good deal for us.

I'm curious to try the counter service plan myself. It seems like it would be a much better fit for my family.
Now I agree with you Arete. The counter service would probably be the plan for me - but its not much of a savings at $30 a day. We don't get a dessert at every counter service, and that is included in the plan. Only if it was a freebie would I use it.