As word gets out about the changes coming to the Disney Dining Plan in 2012 (in a nutshell, the Basic Plan will be adding a refillable mug and the Counter Service Plan will be dropping one snack credit per day), I thought I’d take a look at some alternate forms of Disney dining savings – aka “The Teri Way”.
1. Restaurant.com - Having a hard time getting reservations at the Disney restaurants due to the popularity of the Disney Dining Plan? http://www.restaurant.com/ can help. They offer gift certificates to many restaurants in the Walt Disney World area. Their basic tagline is “Get $25 Restaurant Gift Certificates for only $10”, but here’s the kicker: they often have sales. I recently got a $50 gift certificate to use at the Downtown Disney House of Blues for $4! Of course, restrictions apply. For example, I have to have a minimum purchase of $100 to use that. The restrictions vary from restaurant to restaurant, but you may find them worth investigating. Some of the Disney area restaurants available through this program are:
Giraffe Cafe (at the Royal Plaza Hotel)
Todd English's bluezoo
Shula’s Steak House
Original Outback (at the Buena Vista Palace)
House of Blues
2. Tables in Wonderland – This one is a little trickier, because it’s only available to Annual Pass holders and Florida residents. Cost is $75 for AP holders or $100 for non-AP Florida residents. This will get you 20% off your check (and that of up to nine guests) at most WDW restaurants, including alcohol! For a list of participating restaurants, click here: http://allears.net/din/dde.htm#list .
3. Have I mentioned sharing lately? I mean, odds are good you won’t want to take leftovers back to your resort room and Disney portions tend to run large, so you may want to consider splitting an appetizer and entrée with someone else in your party. And if you’re still hungry, it’s the perfect excuse for dessert!
4. The Suitcase – Fill a suitcase with convenient breakfast items (cereal bars, Pop-Tarts, fresh fruit) and chow on these in your room or en route to the parks. This saves money, calories (probably), and time. After all, would you rather be waiting in line for pancakes or Space Mountain? Then when you leave, that now-empty suitcase is ready to haul home all of your souvenirs.
Other people have their own preferred savings plans, like eating sit-down meals at lunch instead of dinner, eating off-site, or eating nothing but counter-service meals. Pick your own personal favorite. I just don’t want you to feel like the Disney Dining Plan is the only option available to you. Bon appétit!