Deluxe Dining, More than a Meal

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If you have experienced a Disney Magic Your Way Package, you are probably aware of the options for the Disney Dining Plan. Each plan has its own value and each option appeals to a different vacation experience. I have traveled to Disney numerous times with various travel parties: my husband and I, my husband and I with my 9 year-old stepson and our annual family vacation (all 10 of us!) During our many trips to Disney we have come to value the deluxe plan.

If you’re like most, your first reaction when you saw the word “Deluxe” was “too much food!” It seems this is the immediate response when deluxe is mentioned, but for our family the value in the deluxe plan extends far beyond a mere meal.

The deluxe plan allows each person 3 “points” (3 meals a day). There are only so many hours in the day and in Disney they fly by, no one wants to sacrifice their valuable time in the park rushing to eat or worried about missing an advanced dining reservation. For us, sitting down 3 times a day is overwhelming, but it’s beyond our food fixation to sacrifice surf and turf for a hamburger and fries; so we began seeking an alternate option that would allow us to enjoy our delicious meals and not sacrifice our valuable park time.

Our 3 points per day are put to good use with a two-part plan: A character breakfast and a signature dinner (which require 2 points). Planning this way allows us to get our quality time with our favorite Disney friends in a relaxing, fun environment. There’s no waiting in long lines in the heat to hear “I’m sorry, they are going to take a break now, we’ll return in 20 minutes”, no one but a parent can comprehend the reality of 20 minutes in the heat with a 4 year old who wants to meet her favorite princess! Our first trip to Disney with my step son (who was 6 at the time) was laden with hysteria that we were going to miss one of his favorite characters, we were constantly on the prowl, fumbling for autograph books and the camera, and the ever present black sharpee. After seeing our photos with skewed smiles, disheveled looks and on more than one occasion a sharpee stained cheek or forehead we said “no more”. It’s a far more enjoyable experience to have your Mickey waffles and cup of coffee and allow your favorite friends to come to you: character breakfast, the perfect solution for time management and character crisis aversion.

The second part of our deluxe plan is signature dining. If you are traveling with children, chances are they aren’t interested in a meal and would rather press on full steam ahead through the park and ride all the favorites “just one more time!”  But for the parents who have been covering Disney territory all day, chicken fingers and fries doesn’t always cut it! Signature Dining offers more than just a meal it truly is an experience. For example; your precious little Prince or Princess can dine in Cinderella’s Royal Castle, while you are treated like a King and Queen and during your meal the photos your family took with Cinderella before heading to the dining room are magically presented to you, at no additional cost.

Many signature restaurants offer spectacular views (you can even view the Magic Kingdom fireworks at select locations!) delights in culinary cuisine, and a relaxing environment. You can share a famous Cobb Salad at the Hollywood Brown Derby, enjoy surf and turf overlooking the Seven Sea’s Lagoon at Narcooses, or watch the animals wander the savannah while you dine at Jiko.

If you are celebrating a special occasion, try a signature restaurant! I have experienced the royal treatment for celebrations at signature restaurants! I was engaged at Cinderella’s Castle, celebrated countless birthdays and special occasions at various restaurants and have personalized menus from my favorite restaurants from when we celebrated a special event.

While you may think “we aren’t celebrating anything special” or that your little one’s will be out of place at a signature restaurant don’t forget-it is Disney after all, and everything is designed around families, even yours!

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Michele Dakho

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