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Old 12-07-2012, 10:43 PM   #1
disneyjes
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Some Dining Questions!

Hello! I am planning our first trip to WDW and have a few questions if you don't mind?

1.) Is the dining plan a good deal? We will probably eat 1 meal in our hotel and then 2 meals at the park. I know we do want to try some character dining as well. Is it worth it to pay out of pocket or do one of the dining plans?

2.) Favorite restaurants to eat at? We don't like very exotic flavors and our family is also gluten, dairy and soy free. All the menus sound delicious so I'm just wondering what your must go to restaurants are.

3.) Our son is 6 and we're looking for some fun places for him as well. We want the perfect mixture of more sophisticated dining as well as entertaining for the kiddo. What are your kids' favorites?

Thanks so much! <3
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:49 AM   #2
minnie mum
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1. Whether or not to get the DDP or pay OOP is one of the enduring questions for guests going to WDW. The answer differs with every family- it really depends on your dining preferences and the types of restaurants that you want to eat at. If you are choosing mainly the buffets and the more expensive restaurants, and ordering the most expensive entrees, then you might save money on the DDP. If you tend to prefer lighter meals, then you might save more money by paying OOP.

The only way to know is to do a few sample meal plans for a few days. CS lunches and TS dinners- pick the restaurants you're most likely to go to, pick the meals you'd be likely to order and add up the $$ to see which is cheaper- the DDP per diem or OOP. DH and I have found that for the way we prefer to eat- a light lunch, desserts only once a day, appetizers and wine with dinner and perhaps a shared dessert, the DDP did not save us any money at all. Other people are hitting several character breakfasts or family style meals, so can save a significant amount with the DDP.

2. There are lots of great places to eat- every one has their favourites, but what I like may not be what you like. I will advise, however, that since your family seems to have numerous dietary restrictions, that you make note of these on every one of your ADRs so that the kitchen is aware of this in advance. I would also suggest that you go over to the disABILITIES board where you can get a lot of info about eating at WDW with dietery challenges. They will also have some good advice about managing CS meals, since that has its own set of challenges for those with restricted diets.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
amym2
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I definitely agree with the above poster's advice. You'll need to do some more research into which restaurants can meet your dietary needs (I'd assume most as Disney is great about this, but check anyway).

As far as favorites for a 6yo boy, here are some our kids (DS11 and DD8) have enjoyed in the past:

-Character meal with Mickey and Friends such as Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary or Tusker House at AK
-'Ohana at the Polynesian (meat on skewers, games and parade for kids)
-Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge (family style BBQ, antics)
-50s Prime Time at DHS (eating in a 50s family house, antics)
-Biergarten at EP (German buffet, show kids can participate in or watch)
-Via Napoli at EP (Italian, pizza, watch pizzas baked in oven)
-Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge (African inspired buffet, watch animals outside after your meal)

We haven't ever tried Sci-Fi at DHS, but you can eat in cars (food gets mediocre reviews, our kids don't like Sci-Fi shows)
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:37 PM   #4
mom to minnie&mickey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyjes View Post
Hello! I am planning our first trip to WDW and have a few questions if you don't mind?

1.) Is the dining plan a good deal? We will probably eat 1 meal in our hotel and then 2 meals at the park. I know we do want to try some character dining as well. Is it worth it to pay out of pocket or do one of the dining plans?

2.) Favorite restaurants to eat at? We don't like very exotic flavors and our family is also gluten, dairy and soy free. All the menus sound delicious so I'm just wondering what your must go to restaurants are.

3.) Our son is 6 and we're looking for some fun places for him as well. We want the perfect mixture of more sophisticated dining as well as entertaining for the kiddo. What are your kids' favorites?

Thanks so much! <3


With a child and wanting to do character dining I would do the regular DDP
(1ts, 1cs and 1 snack). The ddp price is very low for children and most people come ahead with it regarding their kids. Character dining is expensive paying out of pocket.
Also, with your diet restrictions you may want to try some buffets for variety
and they are also very expensive.

Your son would probably love T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe downtown as well as Chef Mickeys and Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:03 PM   #5
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For us, it is cheaper to do the regular dining plan as we mostly like table service meals and I enjoy having steak at every opportunity.

We use the counter service for breakfast.

Then for lunch and dinner, I make table service reservations. Then I go over the menus and what we would order. Then I choose the cheapest ones to pay out of pocket. The more expensive ones we use the dining plan.

Our kiddo likes anywhere we go. At MK, we enjoyed Liberty Tree Tavern, and Plaza. And we booked the first available time for Crystal Palace for breakfast with Pooh and friends. We got some great photos walking up Main Street with no one in the pictures.

At Epcot, we enjoy Coral Reef and LeCellier although we probably won't return to LeCellier once lunch is also declared 2 table service credits. Also we love Via Napolis. We've done the Garden Grill also.

At DHS, our favorite is 50's Primetime, and also Mama Melroses. We enjoy Sci-Fi for what it is...a burger place. It's a neat place, but the food is just okay.

Have fun planning. I think planning is half the fun.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:11 PM   #6
B-Ride
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Whether the DP is a good deal depends a lot on how much you eat.

Our last 7 trips to WDW we have managed to get Free Dining and I have kept track of how much we would have spent vs what the DP "costs".

We always come out ahead but we also eat more than we would normally eat because it is "free". There are many times we would happily skip some desserts both at lunch and dinner and when you take this into account it is much closer to being a wash.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:14 PM   #7
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I might add that one fun thing we did was order one of the kiddie drinks that comes with the light up cube. Our son doesn't like soft drinks so our server just put ice water in his cup. He loved it! Also she gave him a complimentary light up Buzz Lightyear clipped onto the cup.

There's pictures of the drink with the cube and the Buzz Lightyear in our 2012 trip report below.

We got it at 50's Primetime, but I think it's offered at several of the table service places.
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