What’s Your Ideal “Disney Dining Plan”?

So, yesterday there’s a bit of a to-do about the Disney Dining Plan. Apparently there’s a typo in Disney’s official PDF describing the Standard Disney Dining Plan, indicating that an appetizer is available with all table-service meals.

Incorrect Info in DDP PDF

Based on calls to Disney Dining (speaking to supervisors and managers), Erin heard that this is, indeed, just a typo and not a change in policy. But if it WAS true, that’d be awesome!

And this got me thinking… what if we could design our very own Disney Dining Plan based on the way we and our families eat in Disney World!?

What Would YOUR Ideal Disney Dining Plan Look Like?

So what if they introduced a “Magic Your Way Dining Plan,” where guests could build their own individualized plan off of a base plan? Let’s dream a little, shall we?

Snack-tastic

Customize your counter service : table service : snack ratio!
One thing that we keep hearing: the Standard Dining Plan is too little, the Deluxe Dining Plan is too much (and yup, we know…it TOTALLY works just fine for some folks.) So, what if you could change things up a bit?

Not a big fan of sit-down breakfast? You could add more counter service meals or snacks in to make for a light first meal o’ the day. What if your little ones have no interest in sitting still for table service? Not a problem! Which brings us to another pie in the sky option…

Different people in your party could have different dining plans!
Maybe your 3-9 year old eats like a linebacker and doesn’t order off of the children’s menu. Or maybe he or she eats like a bird, and you’d rather choose a different level for him or her. Or maybe you have a [Read more…]

Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Table-Service Values for 2012

Now that you’ve booked your 2012 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations. Which restaurants are credit-worthy?

The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a meal plan with a set price in exchange for a certain number of credits. Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit, but are you getting the best value?

Stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to my top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants. I think some of them will surprise you!

Criteria Used

When we looked at values, our main criteria was price. These restaurants offer a great bang for your buck when paying with the Disney Dining Plan.

We also looked at enjoyment level and food quality, but these criteria were secondary and tertiary to cost. Note that these aren’t necessarily our favorite restaurants, but they are good values for one Disney Dining Plan credit.

Tutto Italia

Tucked into the Italian pavilion at Epcot, Tutto Italia Ristorante boasts regional cuisines from Italy in an Old World setting. Table service is attentive, although the fine-dining atmosphere can lead to longer waits.

This restaurant serves up a Roasted Rack and Leg of Lamb ($34) as an entree. End your meal with Copetta Sotto Boscue, a dessert specialty comprised of berries, zabaglione cream, gelato, and chocolate sauce, which has an out-of-pocket price of $14. When both of these items are ordered, Tutto Italia becomes quite possibly your best one-credit table-service value in Walt Disney World.

There’s also a Veal Roast which would run you $31 out-of-pocket but… perfectly worth one dining credit!

Veal

Tutto Italia is closed for refurbishment until [Read more…]

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.

Atmosphere

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.

Atmosphere

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

Atmosphere

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…]