This year we decided NOT to get the Disney Dining Plan. For months we went back and forth on if it would save us money, or if we would spend more, or if would simply be a hassle handing over a gift card. I almost wore out the Disney Dining Plan Calculator, I used it so much!
The three reasons we chose not to get the dining plan, were:
1. Now that our oldest is now considered a Disney adult, truthfully hes not an adventurous eater, and always wanted a kids meal, instead of an adult, unless it was pizza.
2. Now that food allergies are in our house, getting desserts are a lot more complicated at Disney. While Mr. Disney and the oldest can get anything they want, since the youngest can't have any baked good really, and was limited to churros, sort serve and slushies, I sure as anything wasn't going to be eating cupcakes without him!
3. The final reason was that we ALWAYS have loads of snack credits left, that get used on candy and treats to bring home, that often don't get eaten, or were a last minuite got to spend them unwise bang for the buck choice.
With those reasons, and hours of menu research and number crunching ahead of us, we put the balance that we would have spent on the Disney Dining Plan onto a gift card, (bought discounted!!) and decided to experiment.
The rules were:
1. Order whatever you want
2. Rapid Refill Mugs are a must
3. Bring home a few treats
4. No cringing at prices allowed
Doesn't sound so bad, does it?
Here's what happened. We swiped a gift card almost every time. Even places at Disney Springs like Wolf Gang Puck Express took out Disney gift card! I did have to use cash twice, at Epcot, when their system was down, so I was grateful I had a few emergency dollars with me.
What did we spend though?The numbers are exciting!
For 8 nights, 9 days, the Disney Dining Plan would have cost $1450.24
For 64 meals and a ton of snacks, including ones to bring home we spend $1068.59
That means, we saved $381.65
That's a loooot of money. There were a few times Mr. Disney wanted water with a meal, once I shared a meal with the youngest of chicken nuggets and fries and we did bring drinks inside the park, but even if he bought a drink each time, and we had chosen more take home snacks, we would still have come out ahead.
Things change, appetites are sure to grow as my boys do, but this trip, we saved enough to cover most of the souvenirs we wanted! There's a good chance if your kids are now Disney Adults, you might save a bundle, too!
Disney Value Resorts are well, a great value. Not only are there great meals that the whole family would love, but Chef's are easily accessible too to ask questions about food allergies. For example, I ordered a pot roast, mashed potatoes and mushroom risotto at Pop Century a few days ago, my husband went for a giant sandwich, our oldest for Mickey Waffles, and the youngest cheese pizza. Before we ordered the pizza though, I needed to know if it was safe for our son's allergies.
Finding a chef to ask the necessary questions is quite easy, just let someone at the station you wish to order at know you have a food allergy question, and they will get a chef right away.
A note on this. We ate multiple times at Pop Century, and even though it's just a short walk over the bridge of Art of Animation, I like Pop's food court better than AoA. We didn't have a good interaction with the chef at Art of Animation, for something as simple as pizza, and the food court there was much more chaotic, so we actually left, and went back to Pop.
If you have never ordered with a food allergy at a Value Resort, let me assure you, our experience was fantastic. The chef took a lot of time to answer my questions about particular foods. Never once did I feel rushed, or that it was a bother. He even pulled out his cell phone, which was filled with pictures of ingredients, and scrolled through to help me find the information I was looking for. He was knowledgeable, patient, and made sure he asked if I had any more questions, before we parted ways. He offered that a chef could make my son's pizza, but said it would be the same as everyone else could order regularly, so we opted to just order from the counter, and not wait.
There were multiple others I saw over our trip at Pop with food allergies, in fact one evening, while waiting to find out if the ingredients for a particular food had been found out yet, a young woman struck up a conversation saying she only vacations at Disney, because they take her Celiac's seriously, and she knows they will always take good care of her.
While most meals can be easily adapted, or perhaps are already safe for you or your child, you probably already know that desserts are a little different. Our chef pointed out the few allergy friendly options they had, (not many) and let me know the ice cream, and dole whips, and churros would be safe, but anything in the glass bakery cases would be subject to cross contamination. To be honest, I guess in an effort to be more eco friendly, or perhaps just to save money, very few treats now, including the cupcakes are packaged individually. I saw more children than I would care to see touching, touching, touching until they finally decided which one they wanted.
While I was disapointed in the snack offerings allergen wise in the gift shops, they did have prepackaged jumbo Hostess muffins and other treats, that, after a quick phone call to Hostess confirmed they would be safe for my son's allergies. It's worth a look in your own gift shop for a treat too.
For our first visit to Disney with food allergies, I felt like we were able to make confident choices, and ended our trip reaction free, and feeling normal, and isn't that the best thing anyone can hope for?
Stay turned (once I'm unpacked, and the photos unloaded from memory card to computer) there will be some reviews of the places we ate at, including their allergy menus. In the meantime, we are already planning next time...what's your favorite resort to grab a bite at?
One of our favorite things about Disney? The snacks! You probably have your own favorites there too, and you've seen a few of our copycat ones, but doesn't it stink when on your next visit, you don't see the same things you had last time and fell in love with? While some things are never changing, like the Dole Whips, or Mickey Pretzels, others are in a constant rotation, things like cupcakes, cones and prepackaged specialty baked goods.
If there's an allergy in your house, I'm sure you especially know how upsetting that can be. Your choices for treats are already limited, and when your choices shrink, it can make your trip to the Magic Kingdom not as magical.
Recently we experienced that when Disney switched up some of their offerings, in particular, the prepackaged cookie and brownie area. Where previously they had sold OMG Brand products, now, it's two different brands, and the brownie, which is definitely a good substitution dessert in the sea of cross contact forbidden cupcakes, was made in a facility with nuts. If you've got a nut allergy, do you REALLY want to take that chance and ruin your vacation? We don't.
So of course, we did what anyone would do. Food allergy people understand. We PANICKED. I won't lie, my heart was heavy and there were tears and I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. The very few treats that our 6 year old would actually want had now been cut in half, and when you are 6, and everyone else has something yummy, that's a Big Deal.
Thankfully, I discovered that you can still buy the OMG products, directly through their website! What's even more exciting, is buying them ahead of time is actually going to SAVE us money, over The Mouse's Markup. I was so excited about this, I decided to share with you guys, so that you can have a safe, or heck, just plain AMAZING Disney dessert, AND save money! They didn't ask me to write this, and might think I'm slightly crazy for how obsessed we are over these, but I want to make sure everyone knows!
Don't don't let the gluten free part scare you if you don't need to be gluten free. I admit, I wondered if they would have the "healthy" taste of Enjoy Life products, but O.M.G. I bit into one, and the heavens opened. A choir of angels sung, and for just a brief moment, through the heavy snow falling, the sun shone and everything was perfect. Then my kids gave the puppy dog eyes and sighing, I handed over the rest.
They say these are gluten free....I cannot tell at all. They are so incredibly fudge-y inside, flaky on the tops, moist, rich...I could go on and on. The perfect brownie has been made, and it is one most everyone can enjoy!
The brownies are shipped freshly made, sealed in pretty thick plastic, and are meant to be frozen, and thawed. Once thawed, they say to use within two weeks. I hope they last that long here. I have them in the freezer right now, so I can practice thawing before our summer trip. I'll be buying more, so that when the oldest buys Disney treats to bring home, the youngest can eat his heart out on these brownies. These are even going to replace the Wolfgang Puck brownies I bring back every time and free. I can even keep a stash for when SURPRISE! There is a birthday party I didn't hear about until the last minute, and didn't have time for make him his own cupcakes!
OMG has a lot of other products too, cookies, rolls, pizza dough, muffins...a big list! If the other things taste as good as these, you won't be disappointed. Another great thing? Their customer service! Before I even ordered, I sent several emails with questions, and was surprised at how fast I got answers! When does that EVER happen? I think it was even the owner herself who answered me each time! Huge!
Shipping was free, I don't know if it's that way on all orders, but it was only about 3 days from when I ordered, to when I got my brownies! So fast! They weren't broken or crumbly at all, like I worried about.
I'm excited to try these jazzed up too! Ice cream on top, or whipped cream and hot fudge, shaped like Mickey.... these stand alone, but a dash of Disney sprinkles, when I can manage to find them, will definitely be awesome!
Here's a peek what they look like kind, of hard to see through the wrapper. It's not safe for me to open any more, and I forgot to take pictures while it was out! (The three seconds it lasted!) And, here is the ingredients label, for you to check out, yourself. If you go into the Food Service tab, you can see all of their ingredients, for all their products. Isn't that so nice? I sure appreciate it.
I will say, you will see these on Amazon. Don't buy them there. WAAAAY overpriced. Buy directly. And tell everyone you know, because these things are so amazing, it's a disservice NOT to share the word, and help get them into stores everywhere! Happy eating! And if you stop by my house? Umm. Sorry. All out. Can't share. Nope. Move along. Nothing to see here...
Is it almost time (or maybe it’s past time!) to be planning your 2019 Disney Park vacation!?
Not sure where to start?
I LOVE these guidebooks. Need to know who has the best food and portion sizes? Want to know if that ride is going to make your kid scared, or you dizzy? What about hotels? Everything you need to know! And it’s not just need to know stuff from the creators of the book, but also real people who are reviewing the places themselves. The book is always a bargain price, go grab it!
Now that you’ve started to figure out what you are going to do, here are a few links that might be helpful for you! Click to go to the article!
2019 Disney Dining Plan
Bringing in your own food to Disney
FREE Touring plans! Do ten attractions, including headliners at the Magic Kingdom in 3 hours! Links inside the article for the other parks as well!
Best stroller for Disney
Packing without overpacking
Prepping your car before you go
Prepping your house before you go
These blog articles should all get you headed in the right direction as you plan your awesome Disney vacation!
New year, new Disney Dining Plan!! There have been a few changes, and it’s up to YOU to decide if the Disney Dining Plan is still the best for your family or not.
The price has gone up compared to in 2018, however the price only went up for children's dining plans! Could this be because of the dramatic price hikes for beverages and snacks, this past fall? Keep reading to see the new prices!
Disney Dining Plans can be a little bit confusing if you've never used one before. If used wisely, the Dining Plans are a fantastic way to save a little or a lot on your trip, depending on what you eat or how much you drink, letting you add even more magic to your vacation!
Here's a basic overview about the Disney Dining Plan for 2019 to help you decide if the plan is right for you.
Disney World offers three dining plans for guests staying on property. The Quick Service Dining Plan, the Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. Each plan comes with a refillable souvenir mug that can be used at any resort during the length of your stay. Each restaurant will have a different theme, so it's often fun to try a new place each time.
The Quick Service Dining Plan is our favorite right now since we have small kids who don't want to sit still at a sit down restaurant for very long. This plan includes 2 meals per day, consisting of an entree and it's included side(s) (think half chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes, or sandwich and fries) and new in 2018, those under the age of 21 can choose to have soda, tea or coffee, a milkshake, smoothie or other specialty non alcoholic beverage. Those over the age of 21 with valid ID can choose to have a beer, cider, mixed drink or wine if available. This plan also includes 2 snack credits which can be used on a variety of things from soups or salads, drinks, desserts or packaged snacks. My favorite thing to use a snack credit on are the themed cupcakes. Gigantic works of art and delicious! We have never felt like we've sacrificed food choices with this plan. Quick Service doesn't mean you are stuck with just burgers and fries. There are yummy salads, seafood, fajitas, and so much more. Mr. Disney Magic loves going to Animal Kingdom and having lunch at Flame Tree BBQ so he can order the Ribs, chicken and pulled pork plate that includes baked beans, coleslaw and jalapeno cornbread. With Quick Service meals, no gratuities are charged and you do not need reservations.
The Dining Plan is the standard meal plan with Disney World and it includes 1 Quick Service meal, 1 Table Service meal and 2 snacks. You get everything as above with the Quick Service plan, but the Table Service meal can be a buffet or a sit down restaurant, and includes a dessert. This is a popular plan because it's the best of both worlds. You can have a quick lunch if you want and a leisurely dinner to unwind after a day at the Parks. There are a few Table Service restaurants that even offer special seating for nighttime shows, or Character Meals including breakfasts, however some of those might require the use of two meal credits. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The Deluxe Dining Plan is the most expensive plan because you get a lot more. This plan includes 3 meals, your choice of Quick Service or Table Service. If you choose the Table Service, in addition to the above entitlements, you also get to choose an appetizer. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The prices for the 2019 Disney Dining Plans are as follows:
Quick Service - Per night Ages 10 and up $52.50 Ages 9 and under $23.78
Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $75.49 Ages 9 and under $27.98
Deluxe Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $116.25 Ages 9 and under $43.49
There are some legitimate reasons as to why, or why not this plan might be good for you. If you love the idea of having all meals paid for in advance and if you like to have Table Service meals and don't mind planning in advance this plan may be perfect for you. If you just like to snack in the park, or want to bring in part of your own food and just eat one meal in the park, you might not get as much benefit from this.
An incredibly easy way to see if you will come out ahead or not if you buy this plan is to use this fabulous dining plan calculator. DisTripPlanner.com has put a lot of work into making your decision as easy as can be. Just make sure that you do add in the refillable mug in step 2, in order to get the most accurate result. Just click here to see the calculator.
A few things to remember.
Want to read more?
Click here for tips and tricks to maximize your Disney Dining plan credits
Click here to read about bringing your own food in at Disney
Click here to read about how to save HUNDREDS in just a few minutes at Disney