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Why the Disney Dining Plan is popular: because kids eat free. Why not try this at home, too?

healthy disney eating diningIf you are a family with kids and you’re on a budget, eating out can definitely be a problem.  Kids just want to eat, and don’t necessarily have the concept down about eating within a budget.  They just point at the macaroni-and-cheese, chicken fingers, fries (and other brown and tan foods without a vegetable in sight) and say “I want that!”

This is why the Disney Dining Plan that offers a “pay-one-price” for all members of your family is so popular. Families on those massively-planned-out Disney trips can go to any restaurant on property and tell the kids to “eat whatever you want”, because the meal has already been paid for.

And yes, those kids are in for a shock when they return to the real world and discover that they can’t just eat anything on the menu again.  It’s just another way Disney makes a vacation seem more special.

So what can families do to continue that type of “eat anything you want” Disney magic when they’re dining out with the kids again once they’re back at home?

All it takes is a visit to Barry and Julie Yow’s MY KIDS EAT FREE website for a look at the latest list of restaurants that are offering free meals for kids (usually with purchase of an adult meal).

Restaurants have found that they’d rather give away a $3 meal off of a kids menu if that extra cost is what was preventing the parents from coming in to enjoy their own meal.  The parents come in, the picky kids can either eat or not eat their own food without the parents getting upset about paying for a meal that the kids aren’t eating, and the restaurants stay busy.

Restaurants are listed by city and state, and have been categorized by day-of-week specials, allowing you to plan an entire week’s worth of eating out based on when a deal is available.  The site also lists what the qualifiers are – for example, some restaurants do a basic one free meal per adult meal, while others require two adult meals for every child, or have a limit on the hours the special is running each day.

Restaurants are encouraged to submit their own specials for listing on the site.

Small caution – parts of the site don’t seem to be completed yet, so you may run into the occasional 404 page not found error when looking for your particular city and state.  If that happens, just go back to the home page and try SEARCH again.

The post is part of the Sixth Disney Blog Carnival;
click on the link for more great Disney articles.

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