How Not to Starve on Two Meals a Day – The Disney Dining Plan

Disney-Dining-Plan

Friends and family alike are always asking me questions about the Disney Dining Plan.  Is it a good value?  Can I eat anywhere I want?  Can I eat anything I want?  But the question that keeps coming up again and again is the question about how much people need to budget for the third meal that is not included in the quick service or regular Disney Dining Plan.

And my answer to that really should be – you aren’t going to starve.

In addition to credits to cover you for two meals, you also get a snack credit for each night of your package on either of those plans.  When I tell them “snack”, most people think an ice cream bar or a box of popcorn, but when I tell you what your other snack options are, you’ll understand the not starving thing.

If you’d like to save your meal credits for lunch or dinner, check out some of the amazing breakfast options that count as a snack.  You’ll find muffins, pastries, scones and coffee cake on the list of snacks you can use to enjoy breakfast.  You might also opt for a mixed fruit cup, a whole piece of fruit, a hefty cinnamon roll (you could share this between two people!), or a yogurt.

Maybe breakfast has to be your biggest meal of the day, so you’d like to use one of your meal credits to get yourself a nice platter of breakfast foods somewhere.  Save those snack credits for lunch instead – or even a light dinner.  If you’ve eaten a big breakfast, you might be satisfied with an egg roll or some sushi, both options you can use snack credits for.  If you’d like something a bit more filling, you’ll find one snack credit buys you a good sized serving of chili cheese fries.  Be Our Guest has delicious and filling crocks of potato leek or French onion soup as snack offerings.

You might split your snack credits with friends, and make a meal out of the lobster bisque and a whole baguette – each one snack credit – available at the recently opened Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at EPCOT’s France pavilion.  A nice breakfast is half an oatmeal and half of a yogurt and fruit parfait – a whole one of each is available at Animal Kingdom for one snack credit each, and can be shared with a friend.

You’ll find carrots and celery with dip, trail mix, and nachos and cheese – all of which are offered in pretty generous serving sizes that will tide you over until your next meal.  I haven’t met many people who regret sacrificing snack credits for food that is more like a meal.

Disney-Favorites-Sunshine-Seasons-Dessert-EPCOT-Land

And don’t forget – you can grab a dessert with your meal that can be boxed up and eaten later – as a snack!

Archer Farms Monster Pancakes – Monster Flop

My girls love the Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix.  It’s everything you don’t want your trail mix to be – loaded with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, M&Ms, and precious little of the healthy stuff that distracts your taste buds from the real reason you bought it in the first place – the junky part.

As we were browsing through Target, realizing we hadn’t come anywhere near spending the Way Over Our Budget sum of money we always spend when we go there, Jim spotted the Archer Farms Monster Pancake mix.  Double the cost of what I usually spend on a box of pancake mix that will yield me easily four times the amount of pancakes, we had to have it.  If nothing else, it was getting us to the point of overspending!

How could these pancakes be bad, right?  Loaded with the trail mix components we love, they are filled with the chocolate and peanut butter chips, sprinkled liberally with nuts and raisins, and topped off with a handful of M&Ms, which turn the batter groovy tie dye colors as I mix in the milk, eggs, and oil.

They smell, well, blech.  It sort of reminds me of fruit that is too ripe to eat.  Sort of sickeningly sweet, but not in a luscious chocolate sort of way.  I do what any decent mother would do – I make them anyway, because damn it, my kids are going to eat these pancakes that I just spent more money on than I would have a meal for 6 at IHOP.

By the time they are done, they are kind of chunky and bumpy looking, and still have the sweet smell.  Eilis is the first of the guinea pigs  children to try them.  She takes one bite and declares “I’m not really liking these so much.” Without even trying them, Granuaile says they smell and she doesn’t like them either.

Into the garbage goes 18 pancakes, my breakfast plan for the morning, and the thought that you can put anything you want into a pancake and my kids will eat it.

Out of a possible 5 stars, we rate these pancakes ummm, well, can we get some stars back?  We feel we’re owed them.