We had a fabulous Disney vacation in October..planning another already :) We stayed at a Moderate Resort-Caribbean Beach, visited 3 parks (MK, AK, Epcot), and got the Disney Dining plan.
Some people say the dining plan is a waste of $$$ but for us, it was great!! If you plan on many character meals then it actually saves you money and it takes the worry away about how much you will spend in food. We ate at more expensive restaurants than maybe we normally would have so the tips were kinda high in my opinion but loved all the other aspects of it.
Our dining plan included 1 table service, 1 quick service, and 1 snack per night of our reservation. Each meal included an entree, dessert (except breakfast), and regular drink. We made a grocery store run for bottled water, sodas, and breakfast food. We ate breakfast in the room except for the days we had a character breakfast booked. FYI-Our room did not have a microwave but we asked for one after we checked in and they brought us one pretty quickly.
Tips for using the dining plan:
1) Quick service meals are often large enough to share with a child or another adult. We shared a few meals between one adult and a child.
2) Quick service credits aren't specifically for a child or an adult. Just have an adult order.
3) If you are eating at your resort using a quick service credit and you have the refillable mug-use it for your drink and get a bottled water/juice/soda for the room or park.
4) If you don't want dessert, especially at quick service locations, ask if you can sub a fruit or side item. Sometimes they let you. AND some places have packaged fruit as a dessert choice. These are great for snacks later in the day.
5) Speaking of desserts, at some resorts they have packaged "snacks" as dessert options. I brought home a few Mickey Rice krispy treats this way:)
6) If you are late for a reservation, they will still seat you. It may take a while but they will. This was awesome to know after a very late night and an early morning Character Breakfast reservation.
Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge-We LOVED this restaurant. It was buffet style and had a huge variety of foods. There were lots of African specialties as well as a few familiar items. The soup selection was incredible- Coconut Chicken Curry was my favorite! The famous Zebra Domes were yummy too. Take time to explore the lodge while you are there and check out the animals too.
O'hana at The Polynesian-We ate a late dinner at O'hana and watched the fireworks at MK from our table. The dumplings were really good here as well as the spicy shrimp. They bring ALL the food you could want ...protein overload. The Bread pudding was surprisingly yummy-not something I would have normally tried. The chairs are super comfy too-I wanted to curl up and take a nap after such a late dinner.
We also ate breakfast at O'hana for the Character breakfast. It was a standard family style Disney breakfast complete with Mickey Waffles. Stitch, Lilo, and Mickey Mouse all made an appearance at our table.
Akershus in Epcot (Norway)-The Princess breakfast here was one of the highlights of R's trip. We got to meet and get photos with Belle, Aurora, Jasmine and Ariel. The princesses didn't seem rushed, interacted with my child, and posed for MANY pictures with the family. The croissants were light and fluffy, the fresh fruit was sweet, the typical Disney meats and hashbrowns were good too. This is an expensive breakfast but only 1 table service credit on the dining plan.
Be Our Guest-We had lunch at BOG and had a fast pass for it. We received an email ~60 days before our arrival date for a beta test fast pass. I reserved a date and time and pre-ordered our food via a link in the email. When we got there they had a record of our FP but not our food order. There were some issues with ordering (scanned my 7 year old's band and it canceled out the whole order) but nothing major. The food was okay, not great and not bad. The grilled cheese my little girl ordered was bland but otherwise the food was acceptable. The restaurant itself is gorgeous!! There are 3 rooms to choose from and we chose the ballroom with the big chandelier. Make sure to check out the other rooms and the fabulous artwork. FYI-Lunch at BOG is a counter service credit and there are no characters.