Dining on My Time

Next month marks my ninth trip to Walt Disney World, and my fourth using the Disney Dining Plan. Unfortunately, it also marks the first time I am paying for it. Due to budget constraints, we are using Quick Service for the first time as well. Last year, our trip was chock full of character meals (mainly princesses – I have two daughters) which was great but also took up a lot of time. Our trip planning would include where to eat and when – usually chosen months in advance. The menu for Akershus Royal Banquet Hall looks pretty darn good when you are sitting in your kitchen eating a bowl of cereal for dinner. The reality is that my family doesn’t want Traditional Kjottkake when it is 90 degrees. While the princesses were a big hit with my girls, the menu choices were not.

This time, since I cannot plan around free dining, we are going the Quick Service route. I am excited for this because for once I don’t know which park we will hit each day before we even get on the plane. “Daddy, we wanna go to EPCOT!” “Sorry gang, we have 9:00 breakfast with Stitch at the Poly and he will be ticked off if we are late!” Now it is sweet sweet freedom. While there are a few quick service restaurants I do want to try (Columbia Harbour House comes to mind – I hear they have shrimp!), I am looking forward to not being tied to a months-old schedule.

I have been researching different menus across the park, because, frankly, I don’t want to eat hamburgers for seven days (unless they have fried shrimp on them, but I can’t eat every meal at the ABC Commissary, right? Right?) We are staying at the Art of Animation resort and the choices there really excite me, like the Surf and Turf burger. (Add shrimp to pretty much anything and I am happy. I’m easy like that.) I also hope to stop at a random World Showcase pavilion to sample some grub I don’t usually get in New England. (I wonder what Norway serves?)

Now, don’t get me wrong. We are not going into this trip without any planning at all. I still use crowd calendars and whatnot to know which parks to go to when, but if my girls want to head back to the hotel to swim, I know this time we can lounge around for as long as we want and not worry about missing our dinner date with Cinderella. If she wants to meet us at the hotel food court, she is more than welcome. We’d love to have her. This time, she just has to come to us.


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