Disney Dining Plan FAQs: Kids and the Disney Dining Plan

With the Free Disney Dining Plan for August and September 2012 being announced earlier this week, I figured now was a good time to start up our Walt Disney World Disney Dining Plan FAQ Series!!

Dining With The Characters is a Great Dining Plan Option.

Our illustrious Disney Food for Families columnist, Erin Foster, has worked day and night (night and day) putting together a list of 81 Disney Dining Plan FAQs with thorough answers! (For those new to the Disney Dining Plan, see the specs here.)

You and I get to reap the benefit of her hard work as we post the first installment of our Disney Dining Plan FAQ Series — Kids and the Disney Dining Plan.

The Disney Dining Plan With Kids Under 3 Years Old

A few FAQs for those visiting with a toddler under 3 years old (Disney’s “children” classification begins at age 3 and goes through age 9).

Why can’t my under-three-year-old child can’t be on the dining plan.
That’s just the way it is. You may have a 2-year-old with a voracious appetite who you want to put on the dining plan. I don’t recommend it.

While theoretically you could fudge his age and say he was three, but then you’d be required to purchase theme park tickets for him. (Park entrance free for the under-threes.) It will be MUCH cheaper to just buy your two-year-old his own food at the restaurants.

How do I feed my 2-year-old at a traditional table service restaurant?
At regular table service restaurants, children under the age of three can [Read more…]

Guest Review: Meadow Snack Bar at Fort Wilderness Resort

Welcome back guest author Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with another guest review! This time she takes us to the Meadow Pool Bar at Fort Wilderness. And I love the awesome extra look around Fort Wilderness in this review — Yee-haw!

Deep in the winding wilderness, there’s an oasis of family fun waiting for you at the Meadow Recreation Area. Located near the center of Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, the Recreation Area is themed like a real old-fashioned swimming hole, with rustic wood touches; lots of open, grassy spaces; and stone-work details. It feels like an upscale summer camp … with very well-appointed bathrooms!

Meadow Swimmin’ Pool signage, which hangs over the entryway of the Snack Bar.


As you enter the Recreation Area, the Meadow Snack Bar—our stop for an afternoon cocktail—is on your right. The area reminded me less of the [Read more…]

2-for-1 Tip from The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks

As many of you know, we just launched our brand new e-Book — The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks! And today I’m thrilled to highlight another great snack tip from the e-Book! Remember, you can get your copy for $2 off this week only — head over to http://dfbminiguides.com/epcotsnacks and use code EPCOT for the discount!

Today, we’re taking a look at one of Disney’s best throwback snacks — a Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Float at Epcot’s Fountain View Cafe!

Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Float Prep in Epcot

While this snack will only set you back one Disney Dining Plan snack credit (or $4.39 if you’re paying out of pocket), you’re actually getting [Read more…]

Sunshine Seasons Strawberry Shortcake: A “Best Snack Value” in Epcot

As you know, we’ve just released our brand new The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks, and we’ve got a special tip from the book today!

As many of you know, it can be difficult to decide how to get the best value with your Disney Dining Plan snack credits or vacation dollars while in Walt Disney World. And while you can get a Mickey Bar anywhere, some guests want a more unique treat.

Here’s where we com in! When visiting Epcot, Sunshine Seasons in The Land pavilion is a convenient location in Future World for a great snack. The restaurant is located downstairs — just steps from Soarin’ — and offers dozens of market-fresh treats and meals. One of our very favorites is this Strawberry Shortcake, which has quickly reached cult favorite status for repeat Disney guests!

Sunshine Seasons Strawberry Shortcake

Smooth, creamy whipped cream, decadent vanilla shortcake, and fresh strawberries make this snack an incredible value for the dollar — and it’s [Read more…]

Grand Launch: Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the Grand Launch of the Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book! And to celebrate, we’re offering a $2 discount this week only! Use code EPCOT at check-out!

Based on reader requests, we’ve created a detailed snack guide to help you find the best eats (and treats!) in Walt Disney World’s Epcot. You’ll see some of your old favorites as well as some snacks that you might have missed. We’ve kept most of the snacks in the $1-5 range, but there are a few big spenders in there. (Yep, that turkey leg is gonna cost you!)

The Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book

The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book is the fourth in our Disney Food Blog mini-guide series, created to supplement our massive Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book. Here you’ll find in-depth information, photos, and reviews about classic and new-to-you Epcot snacks — in great detail!

Why Epcot snacks? Because you said so! :-) With the enthusiastic response to our DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book and the outpouring of emails asking for an Epcot version, we figured this would be the perfect next step. It’s no secret that some of our favorite snacks are in Epcot!

How Do I Get One?

There is absolutely no waiting to satisfy your snack cravings! This mini-guide is an instantly downloadable PDF guide with over 180 pages of information and advice on over 150 delicious snacks that you can savor in Disney World’s Epcot. Download your copy right now, and start planning!

Don’t Miss Out on the Best Snacks in Epcot!

This mini-guide is guaranteed to help you better plan your snacks and treats in Epcot, or your money back — we all know that treats in Epcot are just as important as a FastPass for Soarin!

The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book includes: [Read more…]

Guest Review: Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory Breakfast

Join us in welcoming guest author Catie Hiltz with a review of the food court at Port Orleans Resort French Quarter in Disney World! Yep — this is where you can get those one-of-a-kind beignets!! But Catie’s got some other treats in mind…start your morning with one of these yummy eats!

My husband and I loved staying at Port Orleans French Quarter, and found Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (the resort’s counter-service food court) to be a great place to grab a bite to eat before or after spending some time at the parks. They carry all the standards for breakfast, from the always delicious Mickey waffles, to omelets, platters, and pancakes.


The resort itself is New Orleans themed, and has a relaxed, romantic feeling. The Food Factory fits right in with the theme — it’s large and open, and even during the breakfast rush, it’s loud but not deafening. It didn’t feel crowded at all.

Exterior Entrance

Interior Entrance

With its mismatched chairs and tables — and the oversize Mardi Gras float decor — the Food Factory really makes you feel like you’re hanging out in the Big Easy!

Seating and Decor

Plus, since it was [Read more…]

Disney Snack Pairing: Dibs and Glazed Almonds!

Peanut butter and chocolate? Tomato soup and grilled cheese? Popcorn and Milk Duds? Sometimes you just need a good pairing to create a superstar snack!

In our Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book we’ve put together several of our favorite snack pairings for you, including this one — Nestle Crunch Ice Cream Dibs and Cinnamon Glazed Almonds!

Cold Dibs

Roasted Almonds

I’d never thought of putting these together until I bought both while we were researching the Guide — and it’s become a favorite ever since! The warm, crunchy cinnamon almonds paired with the cold, creamy, chocolate-y Dibs reminds me of another favorite snack — fried ice cream!

Chocolate, cinnamon, warm, cold, creamy, crunchy — it’s a must try! And you can get each one for a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Today, we welcome Heather Jones with a guest review of one of our favorite Walt Disney World spots — Beaches and Cream!

On our last visit to Walt Disney World, my family and I had the pleasure of spending a night at the Beach Club Resort. One of the things I was most excited about was finally getting a chance to eat at Beaches and Cream.

I had heard so much about the place, from their great burgers to the unbelievable Kitchen Sink, I couldn’t wait to try it out!

Beaches and Cream


Beaches and Cream is located where the Beach Club and its sister resort, the Yacht Club, meet; and the restaurant looks out to the Stormalong Bay pool complex.

Stormalong Bay

They don’t take reservations at Beaches and Cream, and I had heard that it could get really crowded at peak mealtimes; so we decided to head over in the middle of the afternoon to avoid the lunch rush.

Beaches and Cream is a cozy (read: tiny) soda fountain and burger joint. The tin ceilings, old-fashioned pendulum light fixtures, and pastel color scheme give it a nostalgic 1950s feel. Whimsical borders and [Read more…]

Guest Review: The Mara

I’m happy to welcome back Bill Iadonisi with another enlightening review. This time he explores the counter-service eatery, The Mara, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House. Take it away, Bill!

Hello Disney Food Blog fans! I know it’s been long between reviews, so let’s get started on this month’s eatery! I have always said that Disney’s resorts hold some of the best places to eat on property. Usually much quieter and less hectic then the restaurants in the parks, and many times you can just walk in and sit down.

Today we are going to the dark continent of Africa for this review. Well, maybe a quick safari trip to Disney’s Jambo house is what we’ll do. The main attractions at this beautiful resort are the breathtaking views of the African Savanna from select rooms. But it’s also home to some of Disney’s finest restaurants.

Although not a five-star eatery, Jambo House’s counter-service establishment, The Mara (named after the Mara River in Africa) is a wonderful place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it does all three equally well.

The Mara Story - click image for larger version


So before we explore the eats, let’s take a look at the décor.

Themeing and Decor
Located very close to the Jambo House pool, the Mara is themed (like all Disney eateries), but not as strongly as, say, Pizzafari or even the Flame Tree Barbeque.


Inside is a spacious dining area with a colorful mural of African flora and fauna on the two back walls.

Spacious Dining Area

The tables and chairs are plain and Spartan, but overhead are metallic cut-outs that resemble tree leaves, and several support posts that have large wooden beams resembling tree limbs make it appear as though you are [Read more…]

Guest Review: Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Welcome back James Hummel with a rousing review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. You may want to kick up your heels after this fun read! By the way — don’t forget that Hoop Dee Doo experienced a few changes after a copyright battle this summer…

Hoop Dee Doo Revue Review – Yee ha! I had read and heard many things about Hoop Dee Doo Revue leading up to my last vacation. I was always reluctant to attend Pioneer Hall as it never seemed like an accessible location. Since I was staying in the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, it was the perfect opportunity to check out one of the most talked about dining experiences in Walt Disney World.

If you aren’t staying at Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge or the Contemporary, Pioneer Hall can be a challenge to get to. In most cases you have to make your way to either the Magic Kingdom and hop on the Fort Wilderness boat (recommended) or get to one of the other 3 parks and take the Fort Wilderness bus (not recommended; it will end up being a 2-bus ride as you have to take a second internal bus to get to the hall). If you are staying at Wilderness Lodge or the Contemporary, it’s a simple and relaxing boat ride.


Once at Fort Wilderness and Pioneer Hall, you’ll feel like you’re in an old Western town, complete with horse carriages and a Trading Post. Kids can have fun before and after the show in the sizable playground and with old time games like horseshoes (rubber shoes for safety). If you time your reservation right, you can sit on the Bay Lake beach and catch Wishes and the Electrical Water Pageant.

Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness

So, what’s the dinner show all about?

Inside the hall, you feel like you are sitting in an old stage saloon. Families sit at large tables on the lower level or in the balcony. We sat on the lower level, under the balcony. Our table was taller so that we could see over the other tables, and we sat on swivel chairs so we could swing around while we were eating.

Inside Pioneer Hall


Dinner is served family style and is all-you-care-to-eat. When we sat down we were provided with [Read more…]