Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Dining Plan

The primary reason we booked this trip and the thing that made it affordable, was the free Dining Plan that Disney is offering with our trip. This plan usually costs $35 per day and includes one table service meal, one counter service meal, and snack for each night that you’re booked at the resort. The table service meal allows you to select an appetizer, entrée, dessert and beverage. The counter service meal gives you an entrée (or combo meal), dessert and beverage. The snack is a choice of either a Mickey Mouse ice cream, a bag of chips, a piece of fruit, a small popcorn, a 20-oz bottled soft drink/water, or a medium fountain drink or apple juice. It will be plenty of food, more than we usually eat at one time. We are not in the habit of ordering appetizers with our meals and are usually too full to order dessert.

During our last two trips to Disneyland, we kept careful account of what we spent on meals and both times we averaged $26 per day per person. While we didn’t deprive ourselves, we also were careful with our spending. At the beginning of each trip, we stopped at the nearby grocery store and stocked up on cereal, snacks, pop, milk and juice. On most days we ate breakfast in our rooms before leaving for the Park. We would generally eat one big meal at the Park at either a nice table service restaurant or a counter service restaurant and then have smaller snacks throughout the rest of the day. Sometimes we would pick up dinner from the nearby Boston Market or El Pollo Loco and eat back in our rooms.

I seriously doubt that we could get away with $26 a day at Walt Disney World. Since we won’t have a car, we’ll have to eat all our meals at either one of the theme parks or at our resort. Even if we had to purchase the $35 a day meal plan, it would have been worth it.

Now with careful planning, we can get by almost exclusively using the meals provided by the Dining Plan. One evening, we spent a couple of hours reviewing all the table service restaurants and making a list of all the restaurants we wanted to try. Priority seating can be arranged 90 days in advance and I wanted to be prepared to call exactly 90 days before our trip.


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