Thrifty Thursday: Making the Most Out of the Disney Dining Plan!

My family loves the Disney Dining plan!  We usually opt for the Magic your Way Plus Dining where you get one snack, one counter meal, and one sit down dinner for each person, every night you stay at the resort.  We have found a way to get three full meals out of this meal plan, which is great because the way this plan is set up, it doesn’t account for 3 square meals.

In the morning before we hit the ground running at the parks, we will eat breakfast at our resort.  We always, always, always use our snack option for breakfast.  When you use your snack for breakfast, you actually have some really great options.  Dave & I each get a bagel and cream cheese for our morning meal.  Ashley loves to pick one of the pastries or the blueberry muffin, or occasionally she’ll have her breakfast of choice, pop tarts!  If you are a health nut, there are tons of fruit and fruit cup choices.  I even know a few people who get the popcorn for their choice in the morning!  We love their bagels, they are freshly baked and fill us up nicely.

These snack-for-breakfast options are available at all the Disney resorts!  It’s the perfect amount of food for each of us in the wee hours (we get up eeeeearly to get the most out of our morning touring times).   We are usually nice and hungry by lunch time, which is when we use our counter meals in whichever park we are visiting that day.   Then we will use the sit down meal for our dinners, and we always use the Advance Dining Reservations – its how we get into all our fave restaurants (such as Chef Mickey, pictured above!)

The other great way to squeeze even more value out of the dining plan (and I think it’s already pretty valuable) is to use your refillable mug for your drink! You can refill this mug at your resort (but only at your resort) as many times as you like.  Now, with it being added to the plan, each person in your party will get a mug.  Dave and I fill ours up with coffee in the morning, and then switch to a soda or something to drink on the bus ride to the park.  Ash will get hot cocoa or Coke, yes we let her drink soda for breakfast at Disney!  It is vacation, after all;)  Then when we return for an afternoon break we fill it up again, and then again when we go back out to the parks for the evening!  It’s really a wonderful perk.  Plus it makes a great souvenir, we still use ours during the week.  I’ll put my morning coffee in it to take with me to school, and remember all the good Disney memories.

So that is how our family uses the wonderful Disney Dining Plan, and gets the most out of it!  We find using our snack at breakfast saves us some money that we may otherwise have to spend since the plan doesn’t give us three full meals, it works great for us!   We find that we don’t need too many other snacks during the day since we are usually full from all the good Disney food!  I do, however, bring a few boxes of granola bars on the trip with us just in case someone gets desperate.   My husband is diabetic so having those around in case his sugar goes crazy is always a good idea.  We don’t mind splurging on a Disney treat now and then though. 

This is just how we use the plan, but remember, it’s all about what works for you and your family to make your Magical vacation at WDW the best ever!

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Tina works full time as a school counselor in an elementary school. She lives close to Baltimore, MD with her husband Dave and her 13 year old stepdaughter, Ashley. They also have a furry family member, a cat name Frodo, that keeps life interesting in their house! Tina began visiting Disney World as a child with her family, and now her, Dave & Ashley take a trip to the World every year. She considers herself a Disney “fanatic” and once her family is finished one trip, she is already planning their next one. Tina loves to find the best deals, even in the busy seasons (she can only go when schools are off!) and loves sharing those deals & tips with anyone and everyone! What Tina loves most is the magic of WDW, it makes her feel like a kid again. She hopes that every family has the opportunity go to the World and experience the magic for themselves because it has a way of reminding its visitors that dreams do indeed come true! Read more of Tina’s work on her blog A Not So Bland Life, where she writes about home decor, cooking, couponing, traveling, and and of course, Disney!

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