• On Feb 15, 2010
    Deanna from AR Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I am trying to determine if the dining plans are worth the effort? It seems like a good deal, however I don't want to spend most of the day trying to find participating eating establishments in the parks,


    The Dining Plans are a good deal IF you have children under 9 and you want to experience several Character Meals. You'll roughly save about 20% in food costs.

    The key to their value is doing a little homework on the restaurants, setting up a bare-bones schedule of your days and making reservations so you're not at the mercy of "finding participating" restaurants, which, quite frankly, are ones who have seats. Take it from a Disney veteran: stand-by dining is just not a pleasant option at Disney any more in my opinion.

    How to do it:
    1. Set your vacation dates and decide on which park you'd like to visit each day.
    2. Choose your dining plan. In a nutshell, I recommend the Basic Dining Plan so that you don't spend all of your time eating (via the Deluxe plan) and you can experience some top-notch Character dining (which you won't on the Quick service plan).
    3. Do a little research at under its Dining section and determine which restaurants you want to try in the parks you'll visit or in the resorts near those parks. Have a first and second choice of restaurant.
    4. Choose the time of day that would work best for your family. For example, on the day you go to Animal Kingdom, choose your table restaurant for dinner because AK closes early, giving you plenty of time to enjoy dinner.
    5. At 180-days out from the first day of your reservation call 407-939-3463 to make your reservations! If your first choice isn't available, go to your second choice!
    As with any "deal," you usually have to do a little work. Our family has found the little bit of structure reservations give us is actually liberating and keeps us from stressing out over so many options while on property. If you want some advice on a specific restaurant or how to structure your dining plans, feel free to come ask me via my bio page!

    Wishing y'all a magical vacation!
thumbnail image for Whitney

Meet the Panelist: Whitney, Mississippi

My family of 6 appreciates Disney's value! Although Ft. Wilderness is our second home, we've enjoyed the resorts for business, reunions and romantic getaways. For me, Disney also means dining: last count, I'd eaten at 55 restaurants around the World! Learn More About Whitney

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