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By Devo CabDisney

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Every Disney vacation planning begins with decisions. Many of those decisions are easy, and many are not. Some are big, some are small, some are obvious, and some may make you pull your hair out. Not everyone has to make the same choices. You just have to make the choices that are right for your family and situation.

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One of the biggest decisions will always involve finances. You may be able to drop a fortune on the ultimate Disney vacation, or you may only make one small trip in your life time because that’s all you can afford. But no matter where you find yourself in life, you’re going to have to make some financial decisions. No matter how much money you have to spend on your vacation, you’re going to need a budget. Sometimes special offers from Disney will help. Those special offers will often lead to even more decisions. Let me explain what I mean.

I once planned a week-long Walt Disney World vacation for the month of September. We had a fairly strict budget. To stay within budget for our length of stay, we decided to book a room at the All Star Movies resort. We purchased a package including room, park tickets, Memory Maker, and the Disney Dining Plan. We stayed within budget and all things were good. A few months later, Disney announced free dining plans for the month of September. This was no big shocker. There have been rumors that this yearly offer that so many have grown to depend on would eventually meet its demise. Thankfully, it survived yet another year, so I made the decision to take advantage of this opportunity. But I didn’t simply decide to take free food offer. I wanted to see what my options were and how I could take full advantage. So I began some extensive research. During my research I found that the All Star Movies resort was excluded from this offer. But I wasn’t going to let this stop me. I’ll just move my reservations to another resort. This sparked yet another idea. After more research and throwing some numbers around, I found that I could move my reservations to a moderate resort and stay within budget. Because of the free dining plan, I could upgrade to the Coronado Springs Resort for only $90 more. Best of all, I would still be within budget!

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I called the reservation line to make the changes. I was on hold for two hours. Two hours. But you know what? It was totally worth it! So for the same price of a value resort, I got to stay at a moderate resort. So in my eyes, I took full advantage of that free dining plan and I haven’t even got to the food yet. Here’s the great thing about the dining plan; when you’re sitting in that restaurant, you don’t have to give prices a thought. You can order what you want. Table service and quick service meals with the dining plan include an entrée, dessert, and a drink. Some people think they need to order the most expensive thing they can find on the menu, but I think you should just order what you want. And believe me, this feels even better when you know that the dining plan was free with your resort reservation! Just remember that gratuity is not included in the dining plan. So be prepared to tip! You got that dining plan for free, so there’s no excuse. Right?

Just do some significant research, spend some time planning, and you too can plan a great and affordable Disney vacation, and maybe you’ll get some free food out of it too!

For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with all things Disney. My love for Disney started long before our first family vacation to Walt Disney World when I was five years old. However, the obsession began several years later when we visited Disneyland. I love and appreciate the attention to details in everything they do. I love that Disney encourages you to believe in something bigger than you and to have the drive to pursue your dreams for as far as they can take you. In my spare time I enjoy reading, painting, theatre, cooking, gardening, and collecting Disney memorabilia. I live Tennessee with my husband and our Italian Greyhound Jesse.