Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Disney Dining Plan - A Different View

(the following is a guest blog)

I have now been to Disney World twice, and my views are starting to shift on the dining plans. I have done the dining plan both times where we received one snack, one quick-service meal and one table-service meal each day for each person. On the surface, that doesn’t seem like it would even cover the three meals a day most people require (or, rather, want). That gets to my basic point: There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the dining plan. Every family and every situation is unique.

For my family (myself, my wife, my 9-year old daughter and my 5-year old son), breakfast is never high on our list. For that reason alone, this plan seemed ideal. Two meals per day plus a snack. Seems just about right, at least for us. For our last trip, which we just got back from on Sunday, we didn’t eat breakfast one time.

The DisneyMacAddict is right. There’s a lot of food for each meal. Even the quick-service meals contain a lot of food. I’m not a big dessert person either, and I never order it at a restaurant. And if you’re going when it’s hot, if you’re like me, you don’t eat as much when your in the hot, Florida sun 10 hours a day. So is it really justifiable?

One thing to consider in all of this is that the meals carry over. You don’t lose a meal or a snack if it’s not taken that day. Subsequently, you can use them all on the first day if you wanted. While that seems silly, there are times where you could use more than one meal per dining experience. Some of the higher end dining establishments might require two table service meals, as did Yachtsman Steakhouse where we dined last Wednesday night. In addition, some character dining experiences will require two table-service meals as well, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the castle.

Like any food service where you are “forced” to pay higher prices (such as eating at any theme park, zoo or even ordering popcorn at the theater), the prices inside the parks and at the resorts are higher than where you might go normally in the “real” world.

If you do the dining plan, make your advanced dining reservations (ADR) at the spots you want to go to before you order the dining plan. I’ll post more on our overall experience, but we decided late on a Thursday night that we would leave at noon the next day for our trip. Needless to say, making an ADR was next to impossible. Luckily, we piggybacked on ADRs friends had made that we met up with while there.

For me, I’m still sold on the dining plan. First and foremost, it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about money each time you want to eat. It’s already paid for. Second, without actually crunching numbers, which I can do if needed as I have all the receipts still, it saves you money. The DisneyMacAddict broke down the per day charge of the dining plan. As stated above, pricing at these restaurants runs a little high. Even if you choose not to order dessert, you’ll probably spend more if you are truly wanting to view the dining as part of the experience.

But the choice is yours. It doesn’t matter whether I like it or someone else is against it. You have to weigh your options. Plan your trip and plan how you’d like to eat. Look at the pricing at the restaurants which can be found on multiple sites. Only you know what is best for you and your family. We can only help provide insights to help with those decisions.

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