If you are like me when it comes to traveling, you pack food.
When Matt went to Uganda, I packed him entirely TOO MUCH FOOD and he was able to leave organic poptarts (yes, they exist), gatorade packet mixes, Clif Bars, and many tasty but unhealthy treats for the outreach team, there.
But, we are talking about Disney. I must admit that I packed food to save money... even though we signed up for the Disney Dining Plan. I wasn't really sure what to expect and I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg every day on food.
So without further ado, here is my first "DO!"
DO the Disney Dining Plan! We had so much food and saved money. It was ridiculous. The plan we chose included one table service meal, one quick service meal, and one snack per family per day. Included, we each received a refillable souvenir mug to use at our hotel. However, even though the fine print says it the chip-embedded cup will only work at your hotel, at this writing, that is not true so fill 'er up at other resort locations. (more on that magical mug in a minute)
DO use the table service meal for character dining when traveling with children, or if you are just young at heart. These are the pricier meals but order whatever you want, with the Dining Plan you've already paid an upfront fee so no need to stress over cost.
In Epcot, I highly recommend Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for the little princess in your life! All of Disney's classic princesses come around and meet you at your table, sign autograph books, and take photos. Not to mention that Cinderella might catch you up on what Gus-Gus is up to or Ariel might ask if you've seen any pesky sea-witches, feel free to ask Snow White about her little friends, Aurora won't fall asleep at your table, but Belle might speak of dancing with the Beast. Each day, one Princess greets you as you enter the Hall and takes a picture with your little princess or your entire party. During the meal, your photo is brought to your table in a decorative sleeve. (This is part of your dining experience.)
In Magic Kindgdom, have Breakfast with Pooh and Friends. Again, each character will make a special appearance throughout your dining. There is even a parade that your little one can take part in, marching with the characters through the restaurant.
And one more wonderful character dining is Tusker House, in Animal Kingdom. Indulge in a scrumptious breakfast or lunch buffet while receiving a commemorative framed photo with Safari Donald Duck. Safari Goofy, Daisy, Minnie, and even Mickey, himself will make their rounds during your meal.
DO know that you can choose a bagel, muffin, or pastry item as a snack. On days, when you want a quick breakfast, this is a perfect option. However, if you want a juice to go with your snack, that would count as an additional snack. If you like the idea of having juice with your bagel, choose juice with a quick service meal the day before and save it for breakfast. You can use that magical mug with unlimited free refills during your stay to have an iced tea or soda with dinner.
DO's and DON'Ts on the mug:
DO know that you can fill it with hot or cold beverages. Some folks like to fill it up with hot coffee and sip on it while riding out to the park.
DO or DON'T carry it with you to the parks.What I mean is this, if you are eating lunch at a resort connected to one of the parks, you may want to carry it for that refill. But, if you are eating in the park- like one of the wonderful restaurants listed above- there isn't a refill station, so you'll be stuck carrying it around all day.
DON'T fill up with the wrong beverage, dump it, and try to immediately refill with something else. You can only refill it every two minutes. If you gulp it all down in a minute and a half, the machine will tell you that you have 30 seconds left before you can refill again. (I know, a computer chip in your mug... it's like, the end of the world, or something.) ;)
DON'T over pack your suitcase with food. You are going to Disney, not camping. It is good to have a few things for the plane and if you'd like a certain something for walking around the park. But, I will say that while enjoying the Dining Plan, you'll have more food than you can shake a stick at. Each quick service meal includes a meal, snack, and drink. At the end of the week, we ate double snacks in the park and chose 7 packaged snacks to carry home with us, just so we didn't lose them.
DON'T choose a $1 cheese dip as your snack. We ordered a Mickey Pretzel in Hollywood Studios as a snack and the additional cheese dip would've cost us a snack, and know that two people can easily share one cheese dip (Just break off pieces of your pretzel, no double-dipping!) Seriously, fork over the buck for the cheese dip and bank that credit to use on a $5 goody, later!
DON'T stress over food. I know we saved money by doing the dining plan. One meal at some of the character dining restaurants would've been what we paid per person for a whole day's food allowance.
Oh and one more "DO"... DO expect for your pants to fit a little tighter by the end of the week, everything is delicious!
Smile :) donnamusing