Save yourself trouble and book Disney dining reservations online

When we were kids, a visit to Walt Disney World was a carefree affair. We could drift into the park like sleepwalkers, point to where our fancy led us, and explore without agenda until the fireworks kissed us goodnight.

Today, it's not so much fun. Disney has chosen to survive the recession in part by giving away food through its Disney Dining Plan, and the influx of hungry guests demanding their free meals has further clogged the sit-down restaurants. You can no longer walk up to any restaurant and expect to be seated. In fact, you'll often be turned away.

The value of the Disney Dining Plan is one of the most hotly debated issues in all of Disneydom. (My verdict: It's rarely worth it unless you're a huge eater, and it will slow you down if you're very active.)