Welcome back!! This is issue is about food and planning your food budget. Yes, Disney and dining can be expensive. Let’s discuss some ways to save you money and plan for the food budget!
A great way to save money and know your exact costs is the Disney Dining Plan®. There are multiple dining plan options. NOTE****DINING PLAN IS ONLY FOR ON SITE RESORT GUESTS*********
1-Quick Service Plan 2 Quick Service meals per overnight stay & 1 Snack credit 2016 Price Adult $44.13/night Child $19.04/night
2-Regular Dining Plan 1 Table Service, 1 Quick Service, and 1 Snack per overnight stay 2016 Price Adult $63.70/night Child $22.85/night
3-Deluxe Dining Plan 3 Credits that can be used for Table and/or Quick Service and 2 snack per overnight stay 2016 Price Adult $115.08/night Child $35.49/night
KEEP IN MIND THAT DISNEY USES UNDER AGE 10 AS CHILD, IF 10 OR OLDER, CONSIDERED ADULT.
Of course, the best deal is to go during free dining. This tends to happen multiple times over the year including September and sometimes early December. Make sure to keep your eye out for this great deal.
Also, keep in mind that it can be A LOT of food. It is important to know how your party eats. If you have people that are pickers or light eaters this is probably not best for you. Another thing to keep an eye on is that some of the Table Service locations are 2 Table Credits not 1-this includes Cinderella’s Royal Table. You can also, choose to pay out of pocket for certain dining locations (remember keep that information in your budget planning).
My favorite restaurant is 50’s Prime Time. It is a 50’s themed restaurant and has all the comfort foods that ”Mom” used to make- fried chicken, pot roast, meatloaf-YUM!
My favorite character dining is Crystal Palace, this has Pooh characters-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger. It is also a wonderful buffet with lots of choices and wonderful things to eat!
My favorite “more adult” meal at Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios. They have an amazing Cobb salad you can do as meal or appetizer. I know many people would pick California Grill® at the Contemporary Resort for this. I felt out of place my last time there and did not enjoy as much as I had in the past.
The best place to take children is probably to Chef Mickey at the Contemporary Resort You get buffet, you get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto-how amazing is that!!
My favorite counter service is Casey’s at Magic Kingdom. I get the bbq hot dog meal and it is filling! I really enjoy and since they have increased seating capacity it is even better. Enjoy your meals!!
If you are an Annual Pass holder or a DVC- Disney Vacation Club member you can purchase the Tables in Wonderland Card for $125 (2016) and it gives a discount of 20% to most Disney Table Service and some Quick Service. If you are with a group of 4 for a week, it more than pays for itself if you do many Table Service. It is always best to do the math prior to purchasing.
I suggest checking out Allears.net for the list of ALL the dining table, quick, carts, etc.) at Disney World to see the menus and prices. Here is the link: http://allears.net/dining/menu This will also help you choose where you want to dine based upon what is or is not served.
Now let’s talk about ways to save when not on the dining plan or Tables in Wonderland Card. First, HAVE A BIG BREAKFAST BEFORE YOU ARRIVE. You may plan your accommodations based upon if they have kitchen, complimentary breakfast or proximity to quick dining. It is so much better to start with a full belly, trust me you will walk enough to burn it off and be ready for food later in day. Also, you do not want to waste time in the morning once you arrive at the parks looking for something to eat-this is PRIME TIME to get tons of rides and attractions in before the bigger crowds arrive.
Second, bring snacks and drinks with you. Keep in mind-NO GLASS. I have seen people try to bring in a glass jar of jelly, seriously?? Bad idea and security will take it and throw it away when they check your bag. Feel free to bring a PLASTIC jar of jelly with you. Make sandwiches or maybe make them in advance so you have less to worry about in the park. Good snacks are in single serving style- this can mean putting them into snack size zip locks prior to getting to park. Obviously, granola, chips, nuts, cookies, meal bars, etc. are just some of your choices. You can also ask for a cup of ice water at any counter service for FREE.
Third, if you want to try a Table Service, try lunch, generally the price is lower than at dinner-again CHECK FIRST.
Fourth, many of the quick service meals can be split for two people. This is a great way to try different items and keep the price down. Also, at some of the quick service restaurants have a fixins bar, easy way to create your own small salad. Another thing, if you only want burger but not the fries and beverage for the meal-tell them! You can save money and not waste what you do not want anyways.
Fifth, this is just a bit different. When you have the trip planned don’t be afraid to ask family and friends to give you Disney gift certificates for holiday and Birthday gifts. You can thank them when you get back for the great food- these can also be used at the ice cream carts. Keep in mind that dining tends to be a large expense in your Disney budget. It is important to keep it in mind for your planning $$. I also feel, we need to treat ourselves once in a while, so plan to do that-you deserve it! I hope this helps. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments- Colleen@awalkintheparkwithcolleen.net Please share the information with your family and friends. When you are ready to plan your magical Disney vacation please reach out to me at Colleen@awalkintheparkwithcolleen.net or 518-265-142. Until next month, have a magical day! Colleen