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4 Subjects That are TABOO at Disney Parks

Is the dining plan free?

Image: DisneyEvery year, Disney offers a special package called the Free Disney Dining Plan. Every year, the package gets a bit worse. Lately, the all-Quick Service version of the plan is all that guests staying at Value and Moderate Tier resorts get.

Disney’s altered the plan in a downward pattern as a cost-cutting measure. They didn’t feel that they were getting the right price on the offer. In a way, they became a victim of their own success. The Free Disney Dining Plan sells out at a staggeringly high rate, speaking to how much guests love the idea of getting a better deal on a Disney vacation.

Image: DisneyThe sticking point here is that many Disney fans disagree with the basic premise. They resent the word “free” in the Disney Dining Plan. Their belief is that Disney only offers the package at times when hotel rates are higher, thereby negating any potential food savings. In other words, Disney only gives away the plan when they make enough money on the hotel room to counteract the cost of the “free” meals.

Other Disney fans like a deal. When they get the Free Disney Dining Plan, they purchase a package that takes care of all their basic needs during a Disney vacation. The package provides a certain amount of cost certainty. Plus, it’s easier to sell a loved one on the idea of a Disney vacation when they get to add that something is “free”, even if the “free” part is possibly misleading.

Service animals

As I type this, I have a cat sitting by my hip and a cat snoring loudly on the pillow beside me. I’m a huge animal lover on a first name basis with all the people at my vet’s office, and I want to state that upfront. Now, I’m going to relay an anecdote.

On the way back from Walt Disney World last trip, already a grim time, I exited the Tragical Express and boarded a flight. Sitting next to me on the plane was an older woman and her diapered dog. The woman didn’t acknowledge me the entire flight, but she talked to the dog ceaselessly. Also, the diaper didn’t disguise the fact that the dog released its bowels at least twice during the flight. It wasn’t the best flight of my life.

I say both of these things upfront to prove that I understand both sides of the service animal debate. Some people need animals to help them deal with true disabilities in life. Then, there are those who abuse the rules of law in order to have their furry friends allowed on trips with them. That’s the crux of the service animal debate at Disney.

In recent years, the number of animals seen at Disney theme parks has approximately quintupled (totally made up number with no basis in reality) as guests have grown bolder. They’re now willing to claim emotional support animals as critical to their enjoyment of a Disney vacation.

As someone who uses the security cameras in my home as glorified pet monitors, I understand all too well the sadness of leaving a pet behind during a vacation. As someone who has had a recent encounter with a crazy dog lady, I…am a bit conflicted on the subject.

After all, that lonely woman clearly loved that dog, and I have a widowed mother who feels similarly about her dog and cats. I’m just not sure that she needs to bring them on vacation with her. Then again, maybe she does. It’s tough for an outsider to judge what someone else does or doesn’t need. And that’s the chief conflict of the service dog debate. It’s hard to distinguish between those who need a lenient policy and those who abuse it for personal gain.

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