November 7, 2011

Mamavation Monday: Planning Ahead for Disney World

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I’m in the final stages of vacation planning. The suitcases are out and the packing list actually has things checked off and there are piles of clothes, toiletries and extras waiting to be organized so there are no over-weight baggage fees. See, even my luggage needs some mamavation!

I’ve spent the past several months planning out this vacation. We’re making our annual trek to Walt Disney World and with that comes making sure many of our meals are arranged in advance. Unlike most vacations where you can almost always find something to eat within a few minutes, Disney World requires planning. Restaurants are often full at peak dining times and unless you are lucky, it is a real possibility that you’ll be eating fast food (or Counter Service or Quick Serve meals, as it is known at the House of Mouse). I don’t eat burgers, chicken nugget and hot dogs too frequently when I’m at home so I’m definitely not going to eat them for multiple meal when I’m on vacation. Besides, I think vegetable should be involved – and no, iceberg lettuce and hot house tomatoes on a cheeseburger don’t count.

Since it’s not our first trip to Disney I’m pretty familiar with most of the restaurants where we’ll eat. And, again, this year we’re not on the dining plan because I have a really hard time with most of the kid’s menus having high fat and fried foods. Also, we’ve found that we either eat too much or waste food. Neither of which are good.

One of the biggest concerns I hear about people vacationing at Disney is they worry about what they eat. It’s very easy to be tempted. I know where every churro, Dole Whip, Chocolate Covered Mickey ice cream and frozen coke stand is located. And let’s not even mention that I’ll be there for the final weekend of the Food & Wine Festival and will be surrounded by such deliciousness that just typing this makes my mouth water.

Family vacations can often be stressful, and a full day at the Disney Parks is right up there. Eating a healthy meal should not add to the stress. With a little planning ahead, I know where I can get quick snacks to tide me over without breaking my calorie bank. I also know that Disney is supportive of my healthy eating so I can ask for modifications to my meal to help me stay within my allotted points budget.

I look forward to the favorites such as Le Cellier, Crystal Palace and Citricos as well as all the new booths at the Food & Wine festival at Epcot as well as Saana at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Even more exciting is knowing that I have a plan that will work not only for me, but also my family. And one that does include Dole Whip, Mickey Waffles and Pretzel Bread.

When you’re on vacation do you make sure you stay on plan or do you give yourself permission to throw caution to the wind?


Sara

{ 18 comments }

An Authentic Life November 7, 2011 at 8:29 am

Is that a trick question?????
Throw caution (and sensible eating) as far as you can out the nearest window! It’s VACATION!!
Enjoy!
(I will live vicariously through you since we now have snow on the ground here in Montana!!)
KT

Sara November 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

The funny thing is that when I go on vacation I want less of the junk and more of the really good stuff I can’t normally get. Which is why there will a Grand Mariner slushie in my future!

Snow? What’s that? I hear its beautiful. πŸ˜‰

V Demetros November 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

That’s so smart of you to plan ahead. As you know, we have allergies and it’s so important to have food handy in case we can’t find anything. And trying to eat healthy is a real chore in a place like Disney, where there are ice cream bars and churros around every corner. We do try to eat healthy, even on vacation. That way, you feel good while you’re there. Too much of all that crap means by the end of the vacation, you’re feeling crappy. (like how I used that word twice?) Have a great time and thanks for the reminder. We’re heading to Disney next month!

Sara November 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

Disney World is one of the few places I know I can go and they’ll actually cater to my food sensitivities. I have lists of things I know are safe. And while it’s not an extensive list there are plenty of options.

And yes, too much crap means everyone is feeling crappy – and it seems that it can multiply exponentially while at Disney.

Have fun while you’re at Disney! And if you eat at a Disney restaurant let the server know you have a food allergy and they’ll bring the chef out (usually) to help you make your meal choice.

Julie @DutchBeingMe November 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

I try to plan what I’m doing for vacations – but I don’t try to be so strict that I can’t “have a little fun” too. I think moderation is key in this – as well as most things! πŸ™‚

ps… can I stow away in your suitcase?

Sara November 7, 2011 at 11:39 am

Hi Julie, sure you can stow away! But you’ll have to hang out with us old folks and an almost 9yo who believes in princesses and fairies and is a roller coaster junkie. πŸ˜‰

Oh, being strict would be no fun! That’s why I plan ahead. If I know where I’ll be eating dinner then I can plan my food for the day. There are a number of treats that will make it past my lips but knowing that means I’ll forego other things (that I probably shouldn’t have in the first place anyway!).

Katrina - @craftsbykatie November 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

I have vacation envy! I’ve wanted to go to Disney for years but it’s never been in the cards. I think if I ever get to, I’ll be popping by to ask you for tips! Have a great vacation!

Sara November 7, 2011 at 11:44 am

Hi Katrina,

I’m here when you’re ready to go to Disney! I’ve been to Disneyland more than 1,000 times. And this is our 6th trip to Disney World. I didn’t go Disney World until I was well into my 30s because I wanted to stay near the Magic Kingdom. So far I’ve stayed at the Beach Club Villas, The Swan, The Polynesian and the Grand Floridian. This year we’re going to the Contemporary. When the time is right, you’ll go and enjoy it. This is not the vacation to go on if you’re not at the right place in life. The magic needs to fully envelope you!

Marie Nichols November 7, 2011 at 11:25 am

Have fun on vacation πŸ™‚ Disney world. yeah! love mickey!

Sara November 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks, Marie! I’ll tell Mickey you said HI.

Nancy November 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Great advice Sara about planning for meals so that you can watch what you eat….and still enjoy the goodies too! And I’m glad you mentioned about letting the server know if you have food allergies. Disney is great about this: they actually have a special foods line set up that you can call in advance of your trip and explain your needs, whether they be allergies, or special dietary requirements like vegetarian, vegan, or even kosher. They go out of their way to work with all of their guests so that everyone can have delicious and healthy meals.

Have a GREAT time! πŸ™‚ And give Mickey a hug from me too….I won’t see him till January. πŸ™‚

Sara November 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Hi Nancy, yes, the folks at Disney are the best when it comes to food allergies & sensitivity. I have lists of all the ‘safe’ foods for me and that gives me peace of mind. Our only food issue was at Narcoosees when my husband nearly went into anaphylaxis. He’s allergic to roe (fish eggs) and the chef didn’t connect that with there possibly being roe in a lobster sauce. It was only after my husband started gasping for breath and pointing at his plate that I realized there may have been roe in making the lobster stock. Fortunately, roe is not a common ingredient. But it sure made for a night to remember.

Shannon @Aries_Mommy November 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm

First of all, enjoy Disney!!! Bow down to you for showing restraint while there. Just thinking about Disney makes my mouth water. I agree on the kids meals, mostly fried and fatty with very few options. Food and wine festival is on my list of adult things to do.

Sara November 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Shannon, if you ever have a chance to do the Food & Wine Festival you definitely should. The great thing is that it’s not like you have to do it all in one day.

It does take a lot of restraint because those chocolate dipped crispy rice mickeys seem to call my name.

Rhonda November 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

You’ll have another amazing trip because you are the BEST planner for Disney. I know our trip would never have been so unforgettable if it wasn’t for your hard work. I still remember all the wonderful food I tried while with you. Can’t wait to hear how many times Baby Girl rides the coasters.

Sara November 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Hi Rhonda, I’m so glad we went on that trip together! Celebrating your birthday at Disney World was a huge dream come true and it holds so many memories for me. I’m gearing up for Baby Girl and her coaster affection.

Li November 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Disney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Che and The Boy went to Disney while I was at BlogHer so I totally missed it. It just happened that way because his brothers planned the vacation. I’ve never been to Disney and it just so happens my closest friend is a Disney-holic and goes several times a year. So you know she and Che did a lot of talking!

On vacations I throw caution to the wind, but when it comes to the kiddos, healthy eating is so important. Che took that into consideration and I’m so happy to say he’s a very healthy eater.

Have so much fun on your vacation. You’re a pro at this!

Best,
Li

Sara November 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Hi Li, you need to go to Disney too! You can totally throw caution to the wind at Disney, I promise. What I love about Disney is they have different dining levels so if you want ‘fast food’ you can have that or if you want a more elegant meal that’s there too.

And since Che’s been there, he can do all the planning and you can just enjoy the adventure.

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