Disney Dining Plan

Top Five Ways We Will Be Cutting Costs On Our Next WDW Trip

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My husband and I are expecting a baby in October – which is SUPER exciting and amazing – and we can’t wait to be able to take the little guy to Disney in hopes that he loves it as much as we do! However – since that is likely several years away, we have been talking about a vacation he and I might take just the two of us in a year or so – we are hoping to go to Disney (again, of course, what did you expect?!), but we know that money will be MUCH tighter with a baby to take care of, so I have been brainstorming and have come up with these top five money saving tips that we will be using on our next trip:

Pack Our Own Supplies: You can buy almost everything you could need at Walt Disney World – but it comes at a price, and I don’t know about you, but spending $18 on a bottle of sunscreen (that costs $8 at home) – doesn’t exactly thrill me – its not the best souvenir ever, that’s for sure. So we like to make sure we think ahead and pack stuff we know we will need: sunscreen (in small TSA approved bottles since we don’t like to check luggage!), ponchos, extra camera batteries and phone/tablet chargers, and another big one is medicine – I like to travel with a little mobile medicine cabinet – advil, tylenol, tums, NyQuil, and band-aids/neosporin are some things you might want to consider including in your “take to the Parks” bag – you’ll be glad you did, trust me!

Bring Food From Home: We like to pack snacks to help keep us tided over between meals – things that are easy to eat on the go work best – like granola bars, small packages of nuts/pretzels/trail mix, dried fruit, gum (not really a snack, but you won’t find it for sale at any WDW stores so best to pack your own!), water bottles – which we like to fill and freeze using our room fridge (perfect for those long hot days at the Parks), and most important of all – breakfast! It might seem strange to pack breakfast in your suitcase for the whole vacation, but its such a money and time saver – apples, bagels, peanut butter, fruit cups, cereal – these are items we have found to work the best over the years – you can usually purchase some small variety of these and some perishable items like milk, fruit, etc at your WDW Resort gift shop to supplement what you brought – and while the prices are high, they are still cheaper than a Disney breakfast (which can cost around $8-$15 a person – yikes!)

Share Meals: Being that we are a party of 2 adult travelers (for now, until our son is old enough to come with us!), we are lucky in that it’s easy for us to split meals – and many Disney meals and snacks are large enough to allow for this. Most meals include an entrée and a side, and then sharing a drink helps save money too – check out this article for more sharing ideas

Skip The Dining Plan: This might seem like a strange one – as the dining plan is hugely convenient, being that you pay for it before you even arrive and then just swipe your Magic Band when it comes time to pay, and you’re done! But – it isn’t always cost effective, especially if you have people in your party who aren’t big eaters or who can share most larger meals. This time around, we will be skipping the upfront cost (which is a BIG savings), and bringing our own breakfast, sharing lunch, and then splurging on 1 or 2 nicer sit down dinners – which will save us a lot in the long run (and still allow us to sneak in a few character meals too, which is imperative!)

Souvenirs: Disney souvenirs are pricey. Amazing, but pricey. I usually make myself a budget before I leave for any WDW trip regarding what souvenirs I want and how much they are and which ones I really want versus which ones aren’t really necessary. I do this by using the DisneyStore.com website to estimate prices and see what items might be available for me to buy at Disney. I mean – in reality, no one needs more than 1 or 2 souvenirs, and I always have loved trip photos so much that they end up being my favorite souvenir each and every time – a great way to relive the memories for years to come. So stick to 1 or 2 small things per person (and make that clear to the kids before you leave!) and then make sure you take tons of pictures – those are the most cherished souvenir anyway (in my opinion that is!)

You might have noticed that the majority of these money saving tips involve FOOD – and it’s not because we want to deprive ourselves of all the amazing Disney Dining options – but rather because the cost of dining at Disney is HIGH – meals are expensive, and yes the food is amazing – but it adds up quickly, especially if you are paying out of pocket for your whole party for every meal

Check out more money saving ideas here, and hopefully you will be able to make a WDW trip an affordable reality soon for your family!

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Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trying Out Disney’s New Magic Band System

Magic Bands

The Family That Magic Bands Together Stays Together

I have to admit – I wasn’t sure about using Disney’s new Magic Bands system at first – I was sure it would be hard to setup, and confusing to use once we got to Disney World – but I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed them!

A few months before the trip, I went online to the My Disney Experience website and setup all 4 of us (myself and my husband, and then I linked my parents reservation too) with profiles, and I have to say – this was probably the worst part of the process. The My Disney Experience Website was not the most user friendly – it was slow, often the pages “couldn’t be found” or the “server was busy”, but once I was finally able to set all 4 of us up with profiles on the site, we were able to customize our Magic Bands, and they were shipped to us about a month before our trip

I was also able to setup our Fastpass+ through the website, and I would say the only drawback to this was that you can only have 3 fastpasses per person per day, and they can’t be at 2 different parks – which to me is a bit limiting, but I understand that they can’t let everyone go nuts and have as many as they want. However, I hope they look at this limitation in the future and come up with some kind of alternative – anything is possible!

Once we were at the Resort, I was able to use the My Disney Experience app on my iphone to check dining reservation and Fastpass times, and change them if need be – which was nice. The app was pretty slow too and didn’t always want to work correctly, but I am guessing those kinks will be worked out soon, since the Magic Band system will be rolled out all over the World very soon (while we were there, the Magic Bands were only being tested by select Resorts).

We were able to use the Bands to pay at Restaurants, shops, snack carts, and they were our fastpass and park admission tickets as well. I am glad we were able to test out the Magic Bands system, and can’t wait what new technology Disney comes up with next!

Learn more about the Magic Band system Here

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney News, Disney Resorts, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“My Disney Experience” Makes WDW Planning Easy And Fun!

I am a planner. It’s in my blood. I can’t help it. I like to be organized, and to have itineraries and lists and all that jazz – especially when it comes to vacations. And now – thanks to the “My Disney Experience” app and website – planning for Walt Disney World trips has gotten much easier – and more fun!

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The website allows you to create a profile (complete with a Disney Character pic to complement your personality!) and once you are setup, you can link your Resort reservations, as well as Dining ADR’s, and you can even add which fireworks shows and parades you want to see, as well as fastpass+ reservations

I have been playing around with it for about a week now, and It’s pretty cool – It pulls up a calendar style list of your daily dining/faspasses/shows, and you can add other people to it or share plans with other Disney fans

My-Disney-Experience

I also have the app on my iphone – and it is also easy to use, and the information I save on the online website easily transfers to the app and is immediately available for viewing

I suggest you check it out – it can help you organize your trip, plus it is something you can do to get excited about the fact that you’re DISNEY BOUND!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney News, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Special Events, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Free Food? Yes PLEASE!

There are few things that excite the avid Walt Disney World fan as much as the offer of FREE DISNEY FOOD! Disney announced last week that they will be running their popular “Free dining” promotion this fall, which means that if you book a vacation package during the specified dates (September-December), you can add on a Disney Dining Plan for FREE!

Which gets me to thinking…there are so many amazing Disney foods, but there are definitely a few that I absolutely cannot live without:

WaffleMickey Waffles – crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside – I could (and have!) eat 10 of these!

cupcakeThe Butterfinger Cupcake can be found around Hollywood Studios, and it is HUGE – but more than that, it is amazing- moist chocolate cake, whipped fluffy frosting topped with a chocolate shell and butterfinger bits, and a fudge-y surprise center – this is the ultimate snack!

MickeybarOh, and of course – the Mickey Bar – classic, simple, and still delicious and perfect on a hot day (better eat it fast though…nothing worse than a melted Mickey!

 

These are just a few of the amazing foods you could try while enjoying your WDW vacation, complete with free dining plan!

Don’t forget to check out all the Official Details on the free dining promotion – it’s too good to pass up!

TGIF

Categories: Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney News, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Dreaming of Disney Dining

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My Christmas Disney vacation may still be 6 months away, but luckily, I am almost to the 180 day mark – which means I can make my ADR’s! For those of you who don’t know what that means, in a nutshell – Disney allows you to make dining reservations (similar to a call ahead service) 180 days before your trip for all sit down restaurants. So, I have been busy figuring out where we should eat and when and making my itinerary based on our restaurant choices (does that seem nuts? Maybe it is a little…but oh well!)

So Monday, June 25 is the day – I will be up early and ready to log onto the Disney Dining website, armed with my list….mmm the possibilities are sounding more and more delicious by the minute!

Here are our top picks – with pics!

Crystal Palace

Nothing says “Welcome to The Magic Kingdom” like a delicious breakfast complete with Winnie The Pooh and friends at the Crystal Palace

Ohana

Ohana will be a new restaurant for us – but we hear the dinner is delicious – grilled meats, amazing bread and more – plus some super mouth-watering bread pudding to complete the meal!

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Boma is now a “must do” for our family – it offers unique African cuisine in a buffet setting for dinner, and the restaurant is located in the beautiful Animal Kingdom Lodge – a great place to do some giraffe-watching!

LTT FOod

A traditional turkey dinner is in order for Christmas Eve – so we decided that the Liberty Tree Tavern would be perfect – they serve turkey and all the trimmings up family style, and the setting allows you to soak up some American History too (check out the artifacts on the walls and the décor!)

1900ParkFare

Christmas Morning breakfast with the Mad Hatter himself? Yes please! Over at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort you will find 1900 Park Fare – a character buffet serving up all the breakfast classics

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Another restaurant on our “Must Do” list is Raglan Road Irish Pub – where the beer list is long, and the Irish dancing is the perfect entertainment to accompany the amazing Irish dishes on the menu

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I can’t WAIT to get my mouth on some wood oven pizza at Via Napoli in the Italy Pavillion at Epcot’s World Showcase. Pair it with some Italian vino and you are good to go!

Getting to make the ADR’s 180 days in advance is just another way for me to get to feel more connected to my WDW experience, and it makes me even more excited to head off to the Place Where Dreams Come True! Now if only the next 180 days would fly by….

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Resorts, Disney Restaurants, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Disney Dining Plan: Why I Love It

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There is a LOT of work that goes into Planning a Walt Disney World vacation, and I personally love every minute of it, but then again I make lists in my sleep, so for those of you who aren’t quite as super freakishly organized as me, the planning might seem like a daunting task

The Disney Dining Plan is something that can help make your vacation planning easier, not to mention it can help it run smoothly when you actually arrive at WDW. It’s basically a way to pre-pay for some or all of your vacation meals, and I love it

WHY do I love it? Well here are just a few reasons:

Pre Pay Saves On Out Of Pocket Costs: I like that I can add the Dining Plan while I am booking my Resort and Park tickets, and that means once I am in the Parks I am spending less money because I have already prepaid for a lot of my meals, so this helps me when I am putting together my vacation budget (always a tricky thing to do!)

Restaurant Selection: Almost all the restaurants in WDW accept the Disney Dining Plan, there are a few exceptions, but for the most part all the faves and classics are dining plan eligible (click here for a full list)

Mug Included: As of 2012, each guest using the Dining Plan received a free refillable mug, which means at counter service meals at your Resort, you not only get to pick up a drink of your choice, but you can also fill your mug seperately (coffee AND juice for breakfast anyone?). Oh, and it makes an adorable souvenir too

Different Plans fit Everyone’s Tastes: The “regular” or “standard” Dining Plan includes one sit down meal, one counter service meal, and one snack per person for each night of your stay. Think that’s too much food for you, or would you rather spend time at the Parks then at a sit down restaurant? Well then try the Quick Service dining plan which replaces the sit down with another counter service meal option. Does your party have big appetites? Then you may want to consider the Deluxe dining plan, which allows for more sit down meals and makes sure your family is full and fueled up!

Makes My Life Easy: When I arrive at Walt Disney World, one of the first things I want to do is eat – not only because WDW has AMAZING food, but also because I am likely starving from traveling all day and avoiding the crappy $12 sandwiches that seem adundant at most airports. So upon arrival, I want to head to the closest counter service eatery and get my grub on – with the Dining Plan, all I have to do is pick my meal, drink, and dessert and with one easy swipe of my room key at the register I am done, no cash or credit card needed. It really is that easy, and I am grateful for one less thing I have to worry about while on vacation

 

Check out the official Dining Plan information on WDW’s website, and see if it’s right for you!

Categories: Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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