Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Disney Dining Plan: To Do or Not To Do?
Walt Disney World is always ten paces ahead of the rest of us. They have made eating and staying in their parks so convenient you can't resist.
Just what the doctor ordered when you are traveling with kids.
One of the most debated topics when planning a trip to Disney is the Disney Dining Plan.
Do we or don't we? Which plan do we choose? What meals do book? When do we want to eat?
Let me make life easy and tell you how Mommyhood does the meal plan.
And yes, we do the meal plan.
I eat excessively. I have no shame. But I do have shin splints from running off all these calories.
Disney Dining Plan. The regular, ole' fashioned plan that started it all. No premium, platinum, silver, gold, deluxe or super deluxe for Mommyhood. We do the "DDP".
Let's remember that I speak Mommy. I think Mommy. This review is aimed at families with kids. If you have older kids or no kids traveling you may want to "wine and dine".
Any Mommy knows smaller munchkins "whine" and dine. It's not the same thing.
An example of "whine and dine"? The Moopa will demonstrate:
MUCH MUCH more.
The DDP meal plan for a family of four (2 adults 2 children 9 or younger) will cost approximately $140.00 for a day (as of 2012). This will include a snack, a counter service and a table service for each person.
Just in case you don't speak Disney, examples would be a hot pretzel (snack), a hamburger, fries, soda and a cookie (counter service) and an all-you-can-eat buffet style character meal (table service).
Basically you are feasting all day for the same price you would pay to eat one dinner at Chef Mickey's.
If you plan on eating in the parks, Disney has made the Dining Plan the most cost efficient option.
Despite having the Dining Plan, we still pack a cooler of goodies because my munchkins cry for food 18 out of the 24 hours in a day. They also claim they are dying of thirst by 10am despite being well hydrated during breakfast.
Drama queens. All four of them.
If they think I'm paying for anything aside from the 10,000 calories we all eat daily on the meal plan they have another thing coming.
It's called a pack of fruit snacks.
A few important things to note:
1. We choose the DDP option because when traveling with kids, one sit down meal a day is enough. Any character meal or restaurant reservation will take approximately 1.5 hours from checking in to leaving the establishment. There is not enough time in a Disney day to sit down more than once. Not if you plan on rides, shows, swimming, activities and down time to relax.
2. Book more expensive meals (dinners) because the Dining Plan is the same price regardless of what meals you book. Take advantage and maximize your dollar.
3. If you do make a breakfast reservation, make it for 8am in a park that opens at 9am. You will finish your meal just as the park is opening. You will already be INSIDE the park and ready to ride the rides before other vacationers even get through the gate.
Stinks for them. You're fed and first in line. Ah the joys of planning accordingly.
4. Some meals require the use of two table service entitlements. Which would mean rather than one table service entitlement for that meal you would need to use two. There is more than enough food every day to skip a sit down dinner and use 2 entitlements for one nicer meal the next day. It's all about preference.
5. The Dining Plan is paid for in advance. This makes the trip easier because the "meals" are added to your room key. No cash needed when eating in the parks (unless you want beer like my Hubby). You just hand over your room key and all is taken care of. No fuddling for cash or dropping coins all over the floor. Just remember ALL gratuities are NOT included.
I sincerely hope this helped and did not confuse anyone further. When you're confused you shouldn't be traveling. Especially traveling to Disney.
So to sum up Dining Plan Madness?
The Dining Plan takes the work out of feeding your family. You will eat well and enjoy your trip. You will stuff your face like you've never stuffed it before. You will have the "eat it because we paid for it" mentality.
You will go home with souvenirs, Mickey Mouse krispy treats in your luggage and ten extra pounds.
Mommyhood's Favorite Table Service Restaurants for families:
1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian)
50's Prime Time Cafe (Hollywood Studios)
Biergarten (World Showcase- Germany - Epcot)
Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)
Cinderella's Royal Table (Magic Kingdom REQUIRES 2 entitlements)
The Plaza (Magic Kingdom)
Donald's Brontosaurus Breakfast (located in Tuskar House in Animal Kingdom)
Tuskar House (Animal Kingdom)
Whispering Canyon Cafe (Wilderness Lodge)
Tony's Town Square (Magic Kingdom)
Disney Princess Storybook Dining (World Showcase -Norway - Epcot)
**There are many many more wonderful restaurants to overeat in(especially in Epcot), these just happen to be what we book regularly.**