Is the Disney Dining Plan A Good Deal?

Determining if the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal is an interesting task. I have been researching this for some time now and there are all sorts of opinions, analyses, and hard facts to search thru. After combing thru all this information I can offer the absolute definitive answer to the question: “Is the Disney Dining Plan a good deal?” The Answer is: It depends. I’m sorry, but that is the best answer anyone can truthfully offer. It simply depends on several factors. Mathematically, the Disney Dining Plan can certainly work out to be a great deal. On the other hand, you could end up in the red if you use your credits for items on the low end of the scale, are unable to use all your credits, or do too many of Disney’s Signature Dining experiences. [Read more…]

Saving Money Before your Disney Trip

So, you really want to go to Disney. If you are like us, you want to go “all out”, as many days as possible, the best resort you can get, the most diverse restaurants and of course spending money! But times are tough and trips like Disney are a special treat, one that takes a true commitment to saving. I’m one of those people who can save if I have to, but I also have a bit of “shopaholic” in me, which, when it came to saving for Disney, actually helped. [Read more…]

Disney Dining with a Food Allergy

One concern we had when we first decided to go to Disney or with any outing where we will be dining away from home, is my son’s food allergies. We are fortunate that his are relatively easy to avoid, but still require reading every label and analyzing every menu. He is allergic to tree nuts (thankfully not peanuts which are technically not a nut, but a legume) and shellfish. We are also fortunate that he has never had a severe anaphylactic reaction but that doesn’t mean that we can ever be unprepared. [Read more…]

Saving Money by Bringing Food and Drinks to Disney

In all the Disney research we did for our first trip, we decided it would be smart to somehow bring some food and drink items with us so we wouldn’t be tempted to spend so much at the parks. The plan was simple: eat healthier and save time and money by having cereal in the room for breakfast, and carrying our own snacks and drinks with us in the parks. For a seven night, eight day trip it seemed we would need a lot of cereal, snacks, and drinks. I went to BJ’s and bought economy size boxes of granola bars, fruit gummies, single serving cereal boxes and a case of Powerade. We were able to pack some in our luggage, but the majority we had shipped to our resort. Unfortunately, this plan didn’t work out as well as we had hoped…

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Tips for Using the Disney World Magical Express Service

We have a couple tips to share with you regarding the Walt Disney World Magical Express Service.  For a quick description of this service, see the post “Disney’s Magical Express“. Over the last several years we have used the service many times and for each of those trips the Magical Express has served us well. We would like to share our experience to help you optimize your enjoyment of everything that Disney has to offer by avoiding some of the waits that can be associated with using the Magical Express service. [Read more…]

Why We Plan our Disney Trips

Sample Disney Touring Plan

Sample Disney Touring Plan

April first through eighth, 2008. Our first trip as adults to “modern day” Disney. With kids. Recommended touring plans from our Passporter book were adjusted to our ride preferences and entered in to my Outlook Calendar and Task List. Daily park choices were based on the Extra Magic Hour schedule. Dinner reservations were based on daily park choices. From the minute we arrived in Orlando, to the minute we had to depart Orlando, we had just about every minute of every day planned in as much detail as possible. We knew it was an aggressive schedule. We didn’t care. We were going to do it all. With seven nights and eight days, we even had one morning, and one whole day left “unplanned” as slack time to do the things we might miss because our plan was too aggressive as well as leave some down time for “relaxing” at the pool. The entire schedule was printed in a daily format and carried with us for each day. It included lists of rides and attractions in the order we would attempt to do them, dining reservation info, even ideas on when and where to grab snacks and quick service meals. How did all this Disney planning work out? Fantastic for several reasons… [Read more…]

Planning Resources for our Trips

So, we are going to Disney World. What to do? When to do it? Where to eat? Where to stay? So many things to decide and coordinate. When I go on vacation, I have no desire to spend the majority of my time relaxing by the pool. I want to explore and experience all the destination has to offer. The food, entertainment, attractions, scenery, etc… How will we get the most from our trip to Disney World without completely running ourselves ragged?

Before Gillian came in to my life I didn’t know much about what Disney had to offer. Luckily, she had been a subscriber to the AllEars weekly e-newsletter for some time. Through the AllEars web site, she learned of a book called “PassPorters Walt Disney World 2008”. These two resources offer a wealth of information on everything from planning and packing to dining and touring. AllEars is an excellent, “live” resource, with contributors that live near the parks and visit and blog about those visits multiple times a week. (Lucky!) The information is well organized, up to date, and mostly free of advertising. The PassPorter web site, packed full of information, tips, and message forums, is an excellent resource as well. The PassPorter Walt Disney World books are similar in their content, with information on dining, rides, ride reviews based on age, extra activities, and has all sorts of organizational pockets packaged in a spiral bound book format.  I highly recommend purchasing the latest edition of this book as soon as you know you will be planning a trip. Have it accessible for the ride/flight to Disney and carry it with you in the parks for reference. In our opinion, these two resources, plus the schedule information on the Disney web site are all one would need to develop an excellent plan of attack for Disney World.

In addition to the above online and print resources, Disney, in partnership with Verizon, have released the Disney Parks Mobile Magic App.  This is a great resource to help you adjust your  plan while actually in the parks. Check out the article.