1. WDW Fanzone – I’m really enjoying this metablog, which offers posts from an array of excellent bloggers from around the Disney fan community.
2. The Be Our Guest Podcast – one of the first Disney podcasts I started listening to. It’s got a really nice, “homey” feel to it, and an active and friendly message board community as well.
3. Big thanks to the DIS Dads who contributed new content to the website this week -carlnix30, Captain Oblivious, DisDadDoc and DisneyFed
4. Recently announced price increases to all of the Disney Dining Plans substantially diminish the plans as a value proposition. The Dining Plan is still nice from a convenience perspective, but don’t expect it to save you money. The only way it is likely to represent a savings is if you intentionally plan your ordering to maximize value – and to me, that’s the antithesis of the Dining Plan being worthwhile because you can just order whatever you want without thinking about it. The better alternative – figure out what buying the Dining Plan would cost and set that amount of money aside. Some people like to put that money on a stored-value card, but I think the better option is to just set the cash aside and use a credit card with rewards benefits to pay for your meals. Be sure the card has no balance at the start of your trip, then just pay off the card in full when you get home. This gets you the benefits of earning rewards for the money spent, the protection of a credit card (dealing with a lost stored-value card with a large cash balance on it can be a HUGE pain), and the real freedom to order whatever you want – maybe you want just appetizers and dessert one meal, or maybe only one or two people in your party feel like a full meal. With a credit card, you’re still OK if you go over your food budget, but you also get to keep any savings (unlike the Dining Plan).