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A ‘Couple’ Things Disney: Room Discounts v. Free Dining

by Felicia & Sean

When you’re planning for a Walt Disney World Vacation, like Felicia and I are doing right now, there are so many decisions to think about.

The easiest one for us is whether to stay on- or off-property, and the former the only way to go. Still, even staying at a WDW resort comes with choices.

The last few times we’ve headed south to visit Mickey, Minnie and the gang, the Disney folks have offered resort guests either a generous discount (often 30 or 35 percent) POP CENTURYon room rates or a free dining plan.

For us, the choice was simple.

On vacation, for the most part, my wife and I eat like birds. I, for example, just need a refillable mug full of Coke Zero from the Pop Century food court every morning, and I’m ready to hit the Magic Kingdom running. Breakfast, schmeakfast!

Even when we’re in the parks, I often order off the kids’ menu at most counter service restaurants because A.) I’m in a hurry to get to the next attraction, and B.) I’m never hungry enough to eat the entire adult portion.

Sure, if you’ve got a whole family to feed during your stay at Disney World, the free dining is probably a great deal. Between snacks, sit-down meals and the like, it’s a great option for a lot of people.

Don’t get me wrong: We love a nice sit-down meal at Disney World once or twice during our vacations; dinner Chef OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMickey’s at the Contemporaty resort is a must-do on every trip we take. Light eaters that we are, though, we’d never be able to have a sit-down dinner every day, which the dining plan allows … plus, think about all the time that takes us away from the attractions!

No, we find the room discount more advantageous for our needs. For our honeymoon, for instance, we were able to stay at Coronado Springs, a moderate resort, at the discounted rate – essentially paying the regular price of a value resort.

What do YOU prefer? If given the choice, would you opt for free dining or a discounted room rate? We’d love to hear what you think…

“New Yorkas” Felicia and Sean are avid Disney fans.  Their first vacation as a couple was in Walt Disney World.  They were engaged there, and also honeymooned there.  After a combined 30 trips to the World, they are self-professed Disney travel agents and enjoy helping family and friends plan magical Disney vacations.