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Old 02-13-2012, 09:00 AM   #16
jeanigor

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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Rochester Hills, Michigan
Posts: 14,640

I would also throw a vote toward the end of October. Less humidity and more pleasant weather. And as OKWLover, pointed out, the beginning of the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot--and as someone who enjoys food and drink, its a great time to go.

As for the Dining Plan, that is not such an easy answer.
I took my DP over Presidents' Day Weekend last year for his first visit. We booked a room and added the Regular Disney Dining Plan (1 TS, 1CS, 1SN per night). He originally wanted to do the Deluxe Dining Plan, but I dissuaded him from that.

DP needs to have things planned out and scheduled and know what to expect. For that reason, the Dining Plan worked for us. It gave him a better idea of what was going on, even without knowing much about where we were going.

Once we were home and discussing the trip and what we would do differently next time (he brought up the "next time", so something went right), the dining plan was one of the items mentioned. Although he enjoyed having a stabilizing factor built in everyday (with a Table Service dining location booked for every day), he felt that it was too constraining and kept interrupting the flow of our day and it seemed as if we were always stopping at inopportune times to sit for two hours and eat. If we were to do a dining plan again, we have decided to choose the counter service and would pay out of pocket for any table service meals we wanted.

When I go down without DP, which is exponentially more often, I tend to put an estimated amount of money on a gift card for each day and then use that gift card for meals. I tend to budget about $40-$50 a day, depending on what the trip entails. Any left over money on the card then becomes extra souvenir money, or just rolls over into the next trips food budget.
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