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  1. originaljahwoo's Avatar
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    the resort hopping...has ALWAYS seemed like a given to me...I've never been to Disneyworld but I've never understood people who go to the disney property in Orlando and don't get the most out of it...Why would you go and only go to the parks when there is SO MUCH to do on the disney owned property? Often in the past I've talked to people about how long it would take to experience everything and they all seem to say you can do everything with a day per park....they all seem to think that the resort actives that are there for everyone aren't....for everyone.


    staying in the park after closing...the last time I went to Disneyland (well actually I had gone to go to California adventure...but ended in Disneyland since they were open for a couple hours more). I actually had taken the greyhound from Oceanside to Anaheim to spend the day at disneyland...so seeing as the bus back wasn't coming until 530 am or something like that...I milked every last minute I could out of disneyland...followed by wandering around downtown disney and the disneyland hotel....until finally having to find my way out ((which is hard to do when it's your first time to the newly enclosed disney properties))....long story short ((sorry))....I always close down a place...even if it's not because I have to kill as much time as i can.... It just feels right to get the most for my money...or to get the most for the day i have at wherever it is.


    anywho. Great tips for those who don't already think of those type of things



    Okay so I'll add after reading a few other comments...maybe it's not nearly as exciting to visit he resorts as I might think...but I think that remains one of those things that someone should learn for themselves...so still a good tip
  2. originaljahwoo's Avatar
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    Probably going to be a long time before I finally make it to disneyworld ((been dreaming of going for a good 20+ years now...had two false starts once after I graduated high school I had planned on going and a few years back I was planning a trip around xmas...)) Whenever I go to any amusement park (or any amusement anything) I like to go from opening to closing...get my moneys worth or at least get all I can out of the time they provide you. Long point short being...I had always assumed I would want the park hopper option; Especially knowing the weird hours one park may have that, as other people have said, leave you with a half a day still where you're standing and wondering what to do (((not that there's any shortage of things to do in orlando or on the disney properties in orlando))). Granted I'm not a family so I wouldn't have to spend $58 times however many people more for the hopper option...BUT...I do now think when I finally make it there I might take the advice of waiting to add the hopper option until I'm there....although that would then take away some of my precious time I have to explore the park(s)....so maybe this won't actually cause me to think any differently and I'll automatically go park hopper...BUUUUT if somehow I end up going with a group of people or my family or something...I'll try and point out to them that HEY maybe you don't want to pay extra for that feature you're not going to use


    and oh hey a question on this matter. The one time I had a park hopper ticket for disneyland and cali adventure; after cali adventure had closed and I walked across the way to disneyland they initially told me I couldn't come in because I hadn't been in disneyland that day; Does such a policy in orlando exist? Like you have to enter the other park before six pm or something weird? I did end up getting into disneyland....just in time to see MOBS of people waiting for fireworks..I think I got to ride space mountain and watched honey I shrunk the kids in my barely 2 hours...actually space mountain the lights were on..but that's it's own adventure. thanks ((I think I got to ride twice?...and the lights were off the second time...was ten years ago sadly I didn't seem to document it to well...despite my ocd tendendies of documenting * ratings for rides in the guide..lol))

    (((sorry for an overly long response and the rambling that has nothing to do with the subject at hand)))


    ****oooh one more thing. In the opnion of those of you who have gone there a ton of times...how many days would be requird to fully expereince as close to every aspect of the orlando properites that one could without being there for a month? Including say water parks, down town disney, the resort activies that are open to the public, and of course the parks themselves; Further on that note...would I need to spend a month in orlando going somewhere every day to get all that can be got out of disney, sea world, and universal? Or would that be way to much time...or to little time? I'm a bit all or nothing so as it already is I feel like I need two weeks in orlando to be able to see most of the stuff between the 3 enttieis. thanks again
  3. lucyPan's Avatar
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    My hubby and I did the dinning plan on a trip during the food and wine festival. It was the best thing ever. In a span of two days we literally ate around the world using all our snack options for each country's food booth. Worked well for us since we are big time foodies and got to eat at places we normally wouldn't have tried.
  4. Dustysage's Avatar
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    I don't even have kids and I thought this was a fabulous article! Great job Chris, you have an easy style that makes everything enjoyable to read.
  5. StevenW's Avatar
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    Strollers? Yes, you sort of missed the boat when you acknowledged the toddlers will have a meltdown after lunch, which is actually the afternoon nap. You need to bring the stroller regardless if the toddler will actually use it for much of the day. They will eventually use it whenever they don't have the energy to walk or fall asleep. Besides, you need the stroller to hold all the stuff on the list above. My toddler is now 3 years old. It is increasingly less likely she needs all the stuff on the list, but I still bring the stroller for the long walks to the park and in the park. (Tip: I recommend umbrella strollers. Easy to collapse and store. Lightweight to carry.)

    One good thing is toddler can go to the parks for free. Take advantage when you have the chance. Don't bother buying food just for the kid. Let the kid eat off your plate. Chances are the kid will eat little. My kid enjoy eating chips, cookies, crackers, and fruit (strawberries, bananas, grapes). I bring plenty from home since the parks might not have them available so you don't end up buying much from the parks to sustain them.
    Updated 06-07-2012 at 06:48 AM by StevenW
  6. mratigan's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris
  7. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starfish
    We love the disney dining plan. We bring ziplock bags to carry along with us the desserts for snacks later. I felt as a mom of four that for once I wasnt working! Not working at keeping everyone happy and fed . I was able to just relax end enjoy. Didn't have to plan the food part. Haha. That's MY vacation!

    I'm so there with you on the not working thing. I love having food brought to me instead of having to get up 5 times every meal.

    Thanks for you comment!
  8. Starfish's Avatar
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    We love the disney dining plan. We bring ziplock bags to carry along with us the desserts for snacks later. I felt as a mom of four that for once I wasnt working! Not working at keeping everyone happy and fed . I was able to just relax end enjoy. Didn't have to plan the food part. Haha. That's MY vacation!
  9. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tofubeast
    It used to be a way better deal only a few years ago when the regular dining plan included appetizers. Of course, food has gone up as evident by only a trip to your local grocery store, so I wasn't surprised to see the Plan rise as well. Honestly, I can see the desire in pre-paying for meals, but the plan often does not include tax/gratuity. So you still have out of pocket costs at the end of most table service meals. When free dining is offered at WDW, it is often still cheaper to not book a MYW package with tickets and just take advantage of a room only discount. As a Florida resident (and AP holder), it is a much better deal for me to buy the Tables in Wonderland card as it offers 20% off meals at most WDW table service restaurant which includes alcoholic libations as well. That way, I can pick and choose what I want off the menu. I have done ridiculous spreadsheets comparing DDP and TIW for past trips, and TIW always comes out ahead. It's even better if I make another visit during the year. Of course, not all can take advantage of TIW as it is only offered (for a fee) to Florida residents, AP holders, and DVC owners.
    Good points. I would love it if TIW worked for counter service meals--there's no way I wouldn't use it then.

    Thank you.
  10. tofubeast's Avatar
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    It used to be a way better deal only a few years ago when the regular dining plan included appetizers. Of course, food has gone up as evident by only a trip to your local grocery store, so I wasn't surprised to see the Plan rise as well. Honestly, I can see the desire in pre-paying for meals, but the plan often does not include tax/gratuity. So you still have out of pocket costs at the end of most table service meals. When free dining is offered at WDW, it is often still cheaper to not book a MYW package with tickets and just take advantage of a room only discount. As a Florida resident (and AP holder), it is a much better deal for me to buy the Tables in Wonderland card as it offers 20% off meals at most WDW table service restaurant which includes alcoholic libations as well. That way, I can pick and choose what I want off the menu. I have done ridiculous spreadsheets comparing DDP and TIW for past trips, and TIW always comes out ahead. It's even better if I make another visit during the year. Of course, not all can take advantage of TIW as it is only offered (for a fee) to Florida residents, AP holders, and DVC owners.
  11. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpectroMan
    Thanks for the great article. I couldn't agree with you more on the ridiculousness of the included desserts with EVERY meal. For a company that does so much to try to be healthier, this is just an aberration. I've asked so many times if I could have an appetizer instead of a dessert and it's always no. I never tried for the bottled water or fruit plate - will have to remember that.

    It's like Dusty says - if you don't take everything it offers, you're leaving money on the table and then you feel cheated. It has it's place, and I've done vacations with and without, and I still see the benefits to each side. But yeah - the whole dessert thing is a joke. They're terrible desserts, too (at counter service at least) - made offsite and full of preservatives to get them to Lake Buena Vista in time. Yech!
    Thanks! I knew those desserts were bad when my kids wouldn't touch them.
  12. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW
    It's too bad that you decided to make light of my reply and not take my arguments seriously.

    For most tourists, prepaid expenses like multi day ticket passes and dining passes are a crapshoot in knowing if you will ever realize the full potential of their inherent value. Then there are expenses that you will incur despite the plans like fickle eaters or a change in plans. Essentially, being locked in will break your bank starting with the plans themselves. Your forced to consider nickel and dimeing just to fully take advantage of the dining plans, which most people don't need.
    No, actually I did take it seriously, sorry you didn't feel that I did.
  13. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC_DisneyGeek
    Another good article.

    Another con is the effect many people perceive the dining plan as having had on the overall food experience at WDW. Namely - higher prices to make the Dining Plan look like a better deal than it should be, and watered-down menu options.

    I really do wish they'd allow the choice between appetizer and dessert. For a couple dining, sharing one of each would be perfect. Heck, if appetizers cost more to make, I'd even consider trading both desserts for one appetizer.

    I don't think unused or wasted credits will be an issue for most people. Had to skip a meal? Eat three the next day. The plan only provides for two a day, so adding a breakfast is an easy way to use that "missed" credit. Unused snack credits? Load up on pre-packaged snack goods before you leave. You can also use a dining credit for a quick service meal if you want to. Not the best use of the credit, but if it means it doesn't go to waste, why not?

    The need to book reservations way in advance, and the accompanying need to schedule out your trip is sometimes a bit of a hassle, but also fun. I do worry that the addition of Fastpass Plus will make pre-planning a WDW vacation even more of a chore. I don't mind some pre-scheduling, but at some point it's going to feel more like a chore than having fun.
    t

    The appetizer or dessert choice would be great. I feel the same way. I've thought about it and the only thing I can think is that they know people come to a restaurant hungry, so they are much more likely to order an appetizer. Further, it's probably more work to make an appetizer than a dessert, which most times is prepared ahead of time. So desserts work better for the kitchen and better for the budget. Don't get me wrong, I love dessert. But I probably don't want to eat one every single day (okay, I do, but you know what i mean .
  14. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustysage
    Great article Chris!

    I want to like the Disney Dining Plan, but it doesn't work for me for a couple of reasons.

    1st - I feel like I need to eat too much to make it worth the price. In my normal life, I'd never eat a steak or other heavy meal every night. But if you order the simple little dish on the Dining Plan, it's like leaving money on the table. I hate the way I felt after my 6 day trip on the Dining Plan. I gained a lot of weight and felt overstuffed.

    2nd- I hate that the Dining Plan has taken the joy out of discovering the parks. When I was younger, you could walk up to a restaurant and be seated in a relatively short amount of time. Today, you have to book your reservation months in advance, locking you into a certain time and park before you've even set foot in WDW. That's not the best way to experience the parks, and yet, that's what Disney is forcing guests to do. Even if you aren't on the Dining Plan, you still need to book your reservations in advance because that's what all the DDP folks are doing. It's a bad situation made worse when Disney offers the Dining Plan for free.

    They have recently started charging for missed reservations, so you really do have to stick to a schedule these days.

    I've done dining plan, and I think for some folks it really works (if you love to eat high on the hog and never miss a meal, then Dining plan works). But if you're like me and want the freedom to decide what park to go to on the spur of the moment and not be tied down to reservations or eating a huge meal every night, then Dining plan just doesn't work.

    Love your articles Chris!

    Dusty
    All valid points, well put.

    And thank you. I really love writing here. You guys get great comments--it makes it fun.
  15. SpectroMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great article. I couldn't agree with you more on the ridiculousness of the included desserts with EVERY meal. For a company that does so much to try to be healthier, this is just an aberration. I've asked so many times if I could have an appetizer instead of a dessert and it's always no. I never tried for the bottled water or fruit plate - will have to remember that.

    It's like Dusty says - if you don't take everything it offers, you're leaving money on the table and then you feel cheated. It has it's place, and I've done vacations with and without, and I still see the benefits to each side. But yeah - the whole dessert thing is a joke. They're terrible desserts, too (at counter service at least) - made offsite and full of preservatives to get them to Lake Buena Vista in time. Yech!
  16. StevenW's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Park Wise]Good point Steven, things like water and juice, which I tend to keep on hand for my kids, will break the bank.

    Thank you for reading. I appreciate it.[/QUOTE] It's too bad that you decided to make light of my reply and not take my arguments seriously.

    For most tourists, prepaid expenses like multi day ticket passes and dining passes are a crapshoot in knowing if you will ever realize the full potential of their inherent value. Then there are expenses that you will incur despite the plans like fickle eaters or a change in plans. Essentially, being locked in will break your bank starting with the plans themselves. Your forced to consider nickel and dimeing just to fully take advantage of the dining plans, which most people don't need.
    Updated 05-31-2012 at 01:37 PM by StevenW
  17. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Great article Chris!

    I want to like the Disney Dining Plan, but it doesn't work for me for a couple of reasons.

    1st - I feel like I need to eat too much to make it worth the price. In my normal life, I'd never eat a steak or other heavy meal every night. But if you order the simple little dish on the Dining Plan, it's like leaving money on the table. I hate the way I felt after my 6 day trip on the Dining Plan. I gained a lot of weight and felt overstuffed.

    2nd- I hate that the Dining Plan has taken the joy out of discovering the parks. When I was younger, you could walk up to a restaurant and be seated in a relatively short amount of time. Today, you have to book your reservation months in advance, locking you into a certain time and park before you've even set foot in WDW. That's not the best way to experience the parks, and yet, that's what Disney is forcing guests to do. Even if you aren't on the Dining Plan, you still need to book your reservations in advance because that's what all the DDP folks are doing. It's a bad situation made worse when Disney offers the Dining Plan for free.

    They have recently started charging for missed reservations, so you really do have to stick to a schedule these days.

    I've done dining plan, and I think for some folks it really works (if you love to eat high on the hog and never miss a meal, then Dining plan works). But if you're like me and want the freedom to decide what park to go to on the spur of the moment and not be tied down to reservations or eating a huge meal every night, then Dining plan just doesn't work.

    Love your articles Chris!

    Dusty
  18. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86
    Thanks, Chris! I'm so glad you're writing thoughtful and interesting articles for Miceage!

    I used to love sit-down restaurants at Disney parks. Ten years ago and earlier, they seemed like a much better value than Disney's fast food. Then they raised their prices. Still you got me to consider the food plan option after I had written it off. I love planning Disney trips and joining the food plan could provide me with at least a couple of hours of delightful procrastination.

    Speaking of food value, it might be interesting out here in California when the
    Earl of Sandiwich (so popular at the village in WDW) soon opens in Downtown Disney
    just a few hundred yards from Disneyland's Main Street.
    If they prepare the food well
    and charge reasonable prices, then maybe . . . stay tuned!
    Thanks so much! I use the dining plan a lot and I have messed it up (by missing ADRs and one time my oldest was sick for 2 days) but overall, it works for me. I usually start by NOT recommending it and then moving on from there. I think if you can get past some of the problems with it, it can be a great option.

    Thank you for reading.
  19. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkcoastie
    This was a great and very fair. I hear a lot of Poo-Pooing of the dining plan, but my family has done it on our last three trips and probably will in the future. I would simply never eat at a table service restaurant if not for the dining plan. I find it at least fairly easy to say "well, $51 a day is not bad for a wonderful restaurant meal a snack and a quick service meal in the parks." I can handle that $51 number. I know itís per a person, but Iím getting a lot for that and hey divided by 2, I can see spending $25 or so for a good meal at my local Outback. This, however, is not something I can do when I'm paying "out of pocket" and end up spending 30$ on a burger and fries in the parks. Does Disney make money on this? Of course they do. Probably a decent amount, but for a once a year visitor like me, its well worth it. For me, Disney trips are about the whole experience, not just the attractions. Eating a great meal everyday helps complete that experience. When I pay for the dining plan ahead of time I'm able to eat as I please on my trip. This would not be the case if it was on the spot out of pocket as I would probably cut us off after my first $130 sit down bill.
    You just described me to a T. What I've found is that it's hard to convey to someone just how expensive these meals can get. When I don't use the dining plan, I start finding excuses for cancelling ADRs and being extra cheap. Could I save by not using the plan? On some trips, yes. But I wouldn't eat as well without out it.

    By the way, are you in the Coast Guard? My dad was for 30 years and I noticed the word "coastie."
  20. Park Wise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW
    Prepaying for a dining plan may make the trip unaffordable if you're concerned about costs. What's worse is you don't consider cost saving measures since food is taken out of the equation. One thing not considered is the water and snacks that you still need to buy especially when you have kids. Kids don't eat a full meal. Lots of food goes to waste, and then they want a snack later. Table service restaurants are best for couples and families with teenage kids.

    I don't eat so much, thus I think it is best to space certain expensive meals a few days apart to make them more special.
    Good point Steven, things like water and juice, which I tend to keep on hand for my kids, will break the bank.

    Thank you for reading. I appreciate it.
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