Disney, food, weight, and money — an open confessional

I really like food. I’m currently staying at a lovely hotel that does excellent food. I “just” had a starter, main course and pudding. No bread. No nibbles. And a bottle of beer. The food was really great.

Yet I feel uncomfortably full. This is not uncommon when I eat out. So many tempting items on the menu.

I’m — let’s not deny it — overweight. Although I’m “only” a 42 inch waist, when I went shopping for trousers at my favourite clothes store yesterday (they had a special sale on) they literally had nothing that fit me. I was more outraged than humiliated, but maybe there was a lesson being taught.

My June trip to WDW is based around ADRs. Indeed, a significant chunk of the budget is for ADRs. But I make fairly good money. I have some credit card debt, which I’m servicing appropriately (all of it at 0%), but I have savings, too. I’m financially responsible only for myself and my dog.

One of my ADRs is V&A and one of the things I’ve been pondering is — seven courses or ten? As I sit here feeling fat and overfull, I realise the answer to that question has to be seven — and I accept that even that sounds grotesquely indulgent.

I think where I’m going with this is that I need to make better choices — both for my financial and physical health. It’s got to be starter or dessert — not both. This — at WDW — will also have the benefit that I’ll spend less time in restauarants, so I’ll have more time to tour. I may even review — this is not a time to joke about my changing my mind! — some of my ADRs.

Where this will be especially challenging is next year when I’m on the (free) DDP. That includes three courses for the TS meals. If I only have two courses I’ll feel like I’m wasting money — even though the plan is free.

As I write this I’m feeling an odd mix of shame and liberation.

I’d be interested in your views.

Oh, PS An interesting thing happened on the way here. I stopped off at McDonald’s and had lunch in the car. The dog and I shared some McNuggets and I had a cheeseburger and fries. I was about halfway through the the fries when they fell off my lap onto the floor. I’d enjoyed the fries I’d eaten so far and it felt like the universe was telling me, “you’ve enjoyed what you’ve had — you don’t need any more.”


Haven’t you just got dining plan, rather than deluxe dining? Regular dining plan is main and dessert, no starter.

It’s an extra £83 per night for deluxe dining, which has all 3 courses and I think you can use all your credits for TS.

I seem to recall you being a statistics professor? My major was economics and once you’ve paid for the dining plan, it is a SUNK COST. Do not fall into the trap. Eat what you want! You can’t get more or less of your money’s worth.

I personally think that the $40+ steak that is on all of the Disney menus has to be a super cheap cut that they con all the dining plan people into ordering because it is “expensive.”


Yes, I’m on regular. I misunderstood the terms of the deal. I’m simultaneously outraged and relieved.


We were there for a week and I “only” gained 2 pounds. I was pretty pleased with that. Barely ate breakfast (normal for me), one big meal, usually lunch, reasonable dinner (mostly), some extra ice cream…but 10-12 miles per day (usually 3-5 at home on a normal day)

You will be fine with the regular DP, no app included. I was just in Orlando for 11 days and we ate plenty, including ice cream or some sort of treat at least once, maybe twice a day. I did not gain weight as we also walked a ton. There are no calories on vacation, enjoy your meals!


You know how you should never go food shopping when you’re hungry? Maybe you shouldn’t review your ADRs when you feel stuffed. My red pen is slashing its way through ADRs. It’s a bloodbath.


Remember they’re included though, don’t get rid of them all!!

Step away NOW! Put that pen down and do not start cancelling anything.

Matt, you just told us in another thread how food is your number one priority at WDW didn’t you? So stop torturing yourself and think rationally for a minute.

You already have chinos to wear. You have some great ADRs. And you do not need to cut them out of the plan. This time around, why not just stick to entrees, skip the rest (apart from V&A’s obviously).


I’m reviewing this year’s schedule. I don’t have the DDP this year.

Well, the plan is to buy some. As soon as I find a shop that sells 42 inch waist.

Actually, I did — to take the dog for a walk — and when I got back my red lines on my schedule had disappeared. I guess my iPad went to sleep and reset the picture.

I do feel like I want to review some of my choices.

Don’t worry — from Thursday next week I’ll be distracted by booking FPPs.

Plus I’m not actually going to cancel anything tonight. I’m just annotating the schedule.

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Vacation is NOT the time to be thinking about diets and ‘good choices’. Your whole day is different than at home. So it’s not surprising your eating habits will be, too.

I’d go for 10 courses at V&A (if it’s in your plan). You’ll walk it off in the parks anyway. And if you feel like you haven’t done enough, go for a walk around the resort after dinner (an evening constitutional, as I like to call it).

When you are at home, either now or after, then you watch your eating habits and change your exercise levels. That’s when you’ll make real changes for your life, not on vacation. It doesn’t mean go crazy on vacation, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy the foods offered. Sure, don’t stuff yourself, but enjoy yourself for sure. Don’t deny yourself, thinking you’re being good on your diet, because it’s the wrong time for that.


The first time My wife and I went to WDW in 2007 for 14 days, we had the dining plan. (when they also had appetizers included) We each gain 15+ pounds. We wanted to eat our monies worth. Boy was that a mistake.
We have been there a few more times since then, with the DDP, and have controlled ourselves. We only gained a pound or two and feel much better about our choices.
The point I am trying to make is, that once you have paid for the DDP the money is already spent. So stop trying to eat your monies worth and just order what you want and stop eating when you are full. The DDP is not only food but you are also paying for convenience. So you are not wasting any of you money.

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Do not panic!
In 2015 I decided that I needed to get in better shape and loose some weight but that year included trips to WDW (Disney cruise, too), DLR, Hawaii, and Las Vegas! Oh, and two trips to visits my parents. Even with all of those challenges I managed to drop 80 pounds in 18 months. I didn’t adopt a “diet”. I just ate less and exercised (walked) more. I have kept the weight off through trips to Food &Wine Festival and the Festival of the Arts. Did I loose weight while at WDW? No, but I didn’t gain either. I use an app to track my calories and exercise each day and it helps decide how I want to “use” my calories each day. Over time I have changed how I eat - less carbs, no more sugary drinks, but I still get to enjoy my food. All it takes is a little planning. :blush:
Enjoy your ADRs!

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Oh yeah, I can’t keep your trips straight!

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Try to consciously eat. When you are eating and feel you need to sigh that is probably your full point. If I now have only a few bites left then I don’t try to finish them. Food is better a waste on the plate than in your stomach.

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On almost every vacation we take, we end up weighing LESS, not more afterwards. This makes sense. While we eat “worse”, we are doing a TON of walking. In fact, we calculated that for our February trip to Universal, we walked AT LEAST 26 miles across 4 days. So, you’re burning a lot of calories as long as you’re actually going and doing the attractions, including all the queue-line wanderings.

Having said that, we also don’t go crazy with food. Usually one dessert and/or snack per day. Average sized meals.

That might be the most sensible advice I have ever heard about the DP.

My plan for our fall trip is to try to find a balance between healthier choices and indulgences. If I indulge too much I’m going to end up feeling physically unwell. I am going to have some special meals and treats but space them out with some healthier choices in between.