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!
If you are missing the sweet sounds of a Disney Park, why not stream them from home or on your phone? Here are three popular FREE places to stream Disney music 24/7
DParkRadio has loops of background music, or, streaming music.
Sorcerer's Radio is also chock full of Disney tunes!
Tune Disney Radio even stream the nighttime performances!
These aren't the only Disney streaming choices, but are fan favorites! Do you have another you'd suggest for our list?
The first few hours post Disney trip can be brutal, but the first few days can also be filled with confusion, difficulty and even tears. Here are a few reminders of the tragic life you now live for you first timers ,and laughs for you frequent visitors of what you have to look forward to after your Disney vacation!
Doors no longer open automagically. Not. A. Single. One.
Yup. That magic band no longer is your Key to the Kingdom. You can't get anything with it once you leave The Happiest Place on Earth.
Food no longer appears from thin air with only the tap of your band, and the words "on the Disney Dining Plan"
When you leave your house for the day, you don't return to trash cans emptied, beds made, and fresh towels. Doesn't that stink?
87 check outs at Walmart, and only 2 cashiers? Sorry, there's no fastpass for that. Time to get used to it again.
Leaving your stroller loaded with shopping bags, purses and toys outside of a store or restaurant no longer seems like a good, safe, or practical idea.
Letting your 5 year old sit next to strangers, and engage in conversation? What are you, crazy?!
No one randomly hands you stickers as you pass by.
There seem to be a lot less people smiling!
Have you ever had a hard time adjusting back into "The Real World" from a trip? What's the thing you miss most? I really loved the bed magically being made, and all those clean towels and never having to do dishes!! What about you? We all know the only cure....so let's start planning for next time!
For those who can only visit Disney in the summer (like we do) it seems like the deck is stacked against you. The prices are higher, the crowds are bigger, and the heat is worse! How is any of that fair?!
Up til now, we've had loads of ideas to pay less, and ways to navigate those crowds and hardly stand in line.
Today, it's all about beating the heat! Disney can be HOT in the summer. Hot, muggy and miserable! But it can also be really fun, and if that's the only time you can go, make the most of it!
Have the Right Mindset
The first thing you have to do is accept it's going to be hot, and then tell yourself, and everyone with you, you shouldn't be miserable in Disney, and it might be hot, but you are going to have an awesome time!
Dress for Success
Denim is a mistake, let me tell you. Even capris and not full length pants don't do well. It just doesn't breathe! Go for light weight fabrics, and even better, moisture wicking ones!
Make Use of Misting Areas
Stand new a water ride and you'll get wet for sure, and there are fountains that splash a bit too. Not near anything wet? Pop in the restroom and wet your arms and face, it'll make a difference, just please...don't stick your feet in the fountains. That's just yucky!
Consider a Cooling Towel
I've held out against this trend for so long, but our last trip, I saw two girls having such a good time, and looking so cooled and refreshed in the zillion degree line to meet Buzz. I saw them again at our resort, and asked, did those towels REALLY make a difference? Turns out, they really do. We got a few while visiting Texas in the summer, and wow! You do feel a lot cooler. Don't want to look dorky? (My worry!) take it off before a picture, just wear it when hot, or, get a really long, flexible one and learn how to tie it stylishly, and coordinate it with your outfits!
Buy or Bring a Portable Fan
Disney sells the misting fans with a lanyard so you can be hands free, but if you aren't set on having Mickey on everything, you can save a lot, and just get a fan at your local store. They'll have ones that mist, ones that don't, and some also with a lanyard, for a lot less. Just pack a few extra batteries.
Be Strategic With Your Touring Plan
Sleeping in is great, unless it starts your park day at noon, when the sun is high up in the sky, shining it's blessed rays of skin blistering goodness on you. For hours. Time your day to make the most of the morning and evening, when the temps aren't as bad, and find indoor attractions to enjoy during those times.
Don't feel like a wimp if you take a few hours mid day to fall asleep during the Hall of Presidents, or head back to the resort. You'll be rested and ready to shut the park down if that's what you want, while those who went all day are wanting to snooze before the fireworks!
Sunstroke and dehydration are no joke! Drink, drink drink. Bring your own, ask for free water, however you want to do it, just stay hydrated! A large number of visits to the First Aid Centers are from heat exhaustion symptoms.
The biggest tip, is enjoy yourself! Getting too hot? Pop in a store! Visit a theater style attraction, stop off at an indoor Quick Service for a drink or ice cream, or even climb on the ferry for shade and a breeze! You can find a way to cool down, and you'll be good to go again soon!
A hot day doesn't mean a miserable day! Use some of these tips, and you'll be looking like a local, all comfortable and making the most of your day!
We like to tip on vacation to Mousekeeping, and this is the fun way that we do it! That way there is no mistaking "our" money for "Mousekeeping" money.
I've got a FREE printable for you, so you can print these off too (I like to use colored cardstock but any paper works!)
Print, cut and wrap around your tipping money, close with a smidge of tape, and you'll be spreading the magic too!
Just click below on the picture to go that printable, and our others, or the file name to print!