Published: September 22, 2010 at 2:40 PMDisney world needs to have and option of trading out dessert for something else like an appetizer or something. We spent 6 days there this summer and I was dying for a salad!!!
I hate that the sweets are almost forced on you.
Published: September 22, 2010 at 3:11 PMI was really disappointed with the universal meal plan because the food was just awful. I ate at mel's drive in, Louies italian restaurant in USF, and Circus McGurkus and Comic Strip cafe in IOA. Of these, circus McGurkus was the only one that was edible. Now for their resorts, I've had several really good meals from the Islands dining room at the Royal Pacific resort.
As for the disney plan, I've had great luck with all the restaurants at Disney I've been to other than the Pepper market at the Coronado springs resort. (And that was really an off hour, so that might account for the poor food there.)
I don't know if you can still do it, but there used to be a way to manipulate the disney system if you had kids. The number of meal 'Tickets' was assigned to a room, so if you were two adults with two kids, you had 4 'tickets' for meals. If you went to the nicer restaurants that require two meals to eat, you could use the 'kids' meals for the adults and buy your kids something inexpensive off the kids menu. I don't know if this loophole is still there, though.
Published: September 22, 2010 at 3:14 PMI completely agree with the previous poster about Diney Dining plan, they need to make it a choice between an ap and dessert. We mixed it up with buffets to get some veggies! I've even written to Disney about this issue. I'll take it as a free add on, but would not consider paying for the plan in the future, in large part due to this issue.
Also, I have not used Universals plan, because the value is not there during the off season when they close early. I typically only eat one meal during the day, and without a drink included and the limited choices, it has not made sense.
Published: September 22, 2010 at 5:56 PMOne of the things that I think should be mentioned about the Disney dining plans is just to remind that the portion sizes at Disney are massive. On our recent trip to Disney World, our family got the Deluxe plan and ended up wasting half of it, simply because of the appetizers being almost the size of a meal in its own. And the problem is, the food is so good, you don't really want to waste it, but it's too much. I would advise families who aren't that big into eating to stay away from the deluxe plan, and stick with the regular.
Published: September 22, 2010 at 6:38 PMPersonally, I've never been able to convince myself to buy a dining plan. To me, unless you're overeating, the Universal plan doesn't add up. Throw in the fact that it excludes my favorite places to eat at IOA - Mythos, Confisco Grille and Three Broomsticks - and why would I bother?
I might look into the SeaWorld package, but again, I don't think the numbers add up if all you eat at the park is one moderate lunch and one dinner. Plus, I like the ribs. :-)
As for Disney, again, you're going to end up paying out of pocket pretty much whatever plan you choose (minimizing the convenience factor), so unless it was a free throw-in on my vacation package, I'd rather pay my own way and have complete flexibility in ordering, with no chance of paying for something that I won't use.
If I were someone with a big appetite for burgers, fries and counter-service food, of course, the math would be different and these could be great deals. But that's not me.
Published: September 22, 2010 at 8:31 PMI have done the meal deal at Busch Gardens and found it a great value if you arrive when the park opens with an empty stomach ready for breakfast at the Zagora Cafe. Eating light meals throughout the day helps to make it really worth your money. We would go through the line just to get a bottle of water or some fruit to snack on. The food is tasty and fresh and for the most part pretty healthy. Passholders can get an additional discount on the price, making it about $27 plus tax. Our family really enjoyed it and it made the day a lot more fun.
I also have done Universal's meal deal in it's early days when nearly every restaurant was included on the list (minus Mythos of course). It was good, but by the end of the day you never want to see another burger and fry platter. We went about a year later and wow the meal deal was completely different. The food quality had greatly decreased and now we were limited to the 3 restaurants per park. I was very disappointed and didn't feel like I got my money's worth at all. I would suggest skipping the meal deal plan at Universal and spend your money on it at Sea World or Busch Gardens.
Published: September 23, 2010 at 7:32 AMThe Busch Gardens one is worth it just to be able to get drinks at all times of the day. We skipped breakfast and instead ate small amounts throughout the day, most places didn't have as bad queues as I expected except Zambia Smokehouse, where I just got into 'the slow queue' where there was one family holding up everyone for 10 minutes (no joke), but it did have the nicest food. As we tried to stay away from junk food every other day we didn't have a problem with it for one day.
The places at Busch gardens have a lot more variety than the ones on the Universal plan, the Disney plan is only worth it if you plan on ONLY doing Disney AND having enough money to stay at their resort. Seaworld's is the same plan as Busch Gardens but we split that park over two days, doing short bursts and they also have Shark's Underwater Grill which is worth paying full price for.
Published: September 23, 2010 at 8:22 AMI agree with Robert. I can't see myself eating more than one theme park meal a day, even if it's table service. I like a room with a kitchen/kitchenette so I can eat breakfast in the room and come back later for an afternoon snack. Usually, I eat a table service meal for dinner.
The dining plan at every park just seems like too much food, and that's coming from a heavy eater.
On a side note, California Grill and Jiko, my favourite Disney restaurants, are included in the plan as two-credit meals. Even with the two credits, it's still cheaper than dining there without a plan (assuming you eat more than just an entree).
Published: September 23, 2010 at 3:22 PMGeez yea, most theme park portions are HUGE! I always have to share my meal with somebody... always!!! The meal plan definitely wouldn't work for me because all say "no sharing."
But it sucks 'cuz I eat frequently throughout the day and if I wanted to eat the "small portioned" food offered at theme parks, I'll most likely have to sacrifice savory-ness for small portions. Starch over sauce.
Published: September 24, 2010 at 11:14 AMAs someone who has had dining plans on vacation to Disney World and recently decided to go without one, I was soon shocked at the prices of items. With small children who want to "eat" with the characters, the dining plan more than is worth its weight in gold. My husband and I vowed to never again, book a trip without a dining plan just to cover these special dining experiences.
Published: September 24, 2010 at 10:10 PMI purchase Universals one day last summer and it was horrible. The selcetion of resturants is to small. Once I found the resturant I could only eat there between certain hours and only select from a few items. I ate spagetti (which I actually vomited up a few minutes later) and that is all I really got for my money. By the time I got around to another of the resturant that were on the list to eat at there were only a few moment left to be able to get my meal and the line were at least 40 people deep. Universal really needs to rethink this plan.
I was please with Sea Worlds Deal. I was able to eat little items at many different resturants as i travels freely around the park and did not feel I had to time my activities around locations like at Univeral. The best part about Sea World was that bottled water was included. I went in July when it was extremly hot. I stopped in some locations just to get a bottle of water. I feel I got my money worth because I probably would have spent about that much on just water during the day. A plus for this plan is also if you have kids. If they do not like something that they got, they can easily go back to the line and get something else.
I have never had Disney's plan since I live in Florida and never have had the oportunity to stay on property. I wish they did have one for passholders. I would eat more meals in the parks if I could purchase a package to go with my season pass. My sister's family did stay on property and had the meal plan. The only issue that they encountered was trying to get reservations. Their main meal almost evey day had to be breakfast because those were the only reservations available and they booked months in advance.