Sunday, 18 January 2015
The US parks are haven to some amazing food choices; everything from the expected theme park staple of burgers all the way to high end dining. But what about Disneyland Paris? Just what is on offer?
Well it's kind of the same picture really, there is plenty of the usual fast food, counter service options but there are plenty of other options including fine dining too. But what will we be doing?
Although we all love our food and are pretty happy to try all sorts of different dishes, when we get to Disney we kind of just go with the flow. On our last trip to Walt Disney World we predominately ate at counter service restaurants and found that we were able to get a good mix of foods with plenty of variety and even some healthy options too! But we also made a choice to have one splash out meal which for us meant a visit to Teppan Edo at Epcot to try some amazing Japanese food.
Now I know for some people eating at 'proper' table service restaurants is essential to their Disney vacations, but for us we're really happy eating wherever the mood or situation takes us. We're not hung up on 'having' to eat at the latest sensation or seeking out that 'must do' meal, we would much rather enjoy all that the parks have to offer and fit in the food as we go along.
On our last couple of visits to Walt Disney World we have taken advantage of 'free Disney Dining Plans' being offered by travel companies. This essentially meant that our food was paid for upfront (or for 'free') meaning we didn't have to budget it into our vacation spending money. The Dining Plan we chose in WDW worked really easily through a point system that equated to 2 counter service meals plus a snack per day. But the beauty was you could 'spend' your points as and when you wanted throughout the duration of your vacation so some days you'd use the 'correct' number of points but other days you could choose to use up more, or even less...when the points were gone the points were gone!
So I was eager to see if Disneyland Paris offered anything along the same sort of lines...well they do...and they don't! Apologies to any DLP fans who have used the system out there but I'm finding it really quite confusing and that has put me off which may or may not be a good thing...I don't know...I got confused!!!
From what I can make out the DLP system operates around Meal Plans - of which there are four to choose from, and each of these four can be for either 1 meal or 2 meals per day, which by my reckoning gives you 8 options!!! Depending on the option you choose depends on what type of meals you can have. So the basic option is just for eating at your hotel, the next option includes buffet restaurants, the next adds on set menus at table service venues and then the top level includes a la carte choices, character dining and a dinner show.
So I figure I need to work out how much we are likely to be spending on food as well as where we'd prefer to be eating and to be honest this is when it all gets a bit confusing. For example if we went with the buffet restaurant option that would mean that our meals would have to be buffet meals but what if we don't fancy eating at yet another buffet...does that mean we've 'bought' a meal plan that is redundant? Well according to the forums that I've been on I should be able to exchange my 'meal plan voucher' for its cash value at ANY Disney owned restaurant...but this could mean redeeming a voucher for a meal in say a counter service restaurant that is less than the cash value of the voucher...which means I would be out of pocket!
So my next question is what is the cash value of the vouchers? But this is proving some what difficult to track down bearing in mind that the 'meal plan vouchers' also include a 'free' afternoon treat - so we all know that 'free' means it's been worked into the cost of the meal plan - so do I just assume that the amount I pay for the meal plan voucher per day is it's cash value or is it less because this includes the 'free' afternoon treat!!!
Argh! See my confusion?? Now I'm sure I'm probably missing something pretty obvious in all of this but at the moment I'm struggling to figure out what it is! All I know is that we are likely to eat at mainly counter service restaurants with perhaps an odd buffet thrown in and if we're really lucky a meal or maybe two at a table service restaurant and I can't see which 'meal plan' (if any!) could be the one for us. So I think I shall just pay as we go so to speak, because having looked into it as best as I can it all feels a little messy, and I don't want to be spending my time on vacation thinking/worrying about whether we are getting best value for our meal plan and then restrict where we are eating just to get the best value. I want to be able to enjoy the parks and all that they have to offer whether that be attractions, shopping or food!
I shall let you know how we get on!