• On Oct 10, 2020
    Lisa from AL Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Without the Disney dining pkgs, do you have any suggestions on how best to prepare for dining expenses?

    Hi Lisa,

    What a great question you have!  As a Mom of 4 kiddos (and one is now engaged!), our Walt Disney vacations are filled with a lot of planning and budgeting when we decide to vacation with all 7 of us.  Although I love the simplicity of the Disney Dining Plan, it isn't always the best solution for us so I have some advice on how my family handles our dining budget whenever we do not have the Disney Dining Plan.

    First - I plan which Walt Disney World Restaurants we plan to visit.  Then I begin looking at the menus to see what the current menu prices are.  For example, next year my family will be vacationing at Walt Disney World and I already know that we will be making a stop for libations and merriment at that wretched hive of scum and villainy - Oga's Cantina.  You will notice in the previously linked page that there is an Oga's Cantina Menu Icon which will take you to the most current menu and prices.  From there I do a "best guess" at our family's median cost and factor that into our expenses.  Even though this stop isn't technically a meal, it is high on all of our lists and I already know that there are 4 of us who are of age to order the Yub Nub in the souvenir Endor Mug and so I have factored that in.  Last year my husband took me to Walt Disney World for my 50th birthday and this was my favorite stop by far!  In fact, the reason I want 4 more Endor mugs is because it is the most popular mug at my home and I never seem to get a chance at using it! 

    After I have decided upon most of our restaurant and snack stops, then I add about 10% to the total estimate to cover the incidentals.  Remember, this isn't a "dream" list, it's a practical list that I believe is likely for our family.  Sometimes I remove or substitute restaurants in order to stay within the budget we have set.

    Next, I decide if I want to just link a credit card to our Disney Resort hotel reservation and be able to use our  MagicBand for charging ease, or if I want to purchase a Disney Gift Card for our expenses.  You are able to use a Disney Gift Card  to pay for your Mobile Food & Beverage Ordering which saves so much time and also assists with physical distancing guidelines since there is no waiting in a line.  If you choose to use your Disney Gift Card for other dining expenses you may pay with the card as you go, or even have it added to your Disney Resort room reservation in order to pay for your charges with the balance of your gift card.

    Have a Magical vacation Lisa!  Please be sure to stop by again with any further vacation planning questions, we are always happy to help you plan your next Magical adventure!

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Meet the Panelist: Brenda, Missouri

I fell in love with Walt Disney World on my very first visit, which took place during my honeymoon. Since then we have added 4 "mouseketeers" to our family and have come to appreciate what a great value a Walt Disney World vacation can be on a budget. As a Physical Therapist and a mom of a large family, I would love to help you plan your next magical trip! Learn More About Brenda

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