Fun Walt Disney World Splurges

There are plenty of ways to spend your hard earned dollars at Walt Disney World, but you don’t have to spend them all on your park tickets or resort room.   Here are some ways to try out something a little different on your Walt Disney World vacation.

Club Level rooms- This splurge come with great views, continental breakfast, snacks, beverages (including alcoholic beverages), desserts and cordials.  Plus if you need itinerary, dining, childcare, transportation services, or golf time set up concierge services can do that. See our series here.

Theme Park View rooms- If you really want to make your family feel special choose a theme park view at select resorts. You cannot beat waking up this type of view or watching fireworks from your bed! 

VIP Tour Services-This is an amazing experience but comes with a big price tag.  So this is a good splurge to share with friends.  Groups are limited to 10 people and must me a minimum of 7 continuous hours.

A VIP Tour Guide smiles as he delivers an excited family to a Walt Disney World Resort destination

Photo via

Spa Services- There are a few spas to choose from at the Grand Floridian, Dolphin, and Saratoga Springs. Some services offered are massages, facials, nails and hair.

Epcot Seas Adventures- There are a few choices such as Dolphins in Depth, a 3 hour encounter for those 13 and up. There is also the Aqua Tour which is snorkeling in the 5.7 million gallon tank for a 2.5 hour experience for those 8 and up.  If you are SCUBA certified and 10 years and older you can do the DiveQuest experience. During this 3 hour experience you can swim with over 6,000 sea creatures.

Guests clad in SCUBA diving equipment swim beneath a rock arch in a tropical underwater environment

Photo via

Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian- high tea is served every day in the afternoon features specially blended teas, sandwiches and desserts.  What a fun and fancy way to add a little splurge to your vacation.

Victoria & Albert’s- This AAA five diamond restaurant experience located in the Grand Floridian is the ultimate splurge, particularly the Chef’s Table with is a 13 course dinner created  just for your party.

A Chef greets a table of Guests dining at Victoria and Albert's restaurant

Photo via



Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a zany vaudeville comedy show and served with all you care to eat fired chicken, BBQ ribs, salad, and strawberry shortcake.  Drinks include unlimited draft beer, wine and sangria for those over 21.  This two hour event takes place in Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness.  Check out Tara’s review here.

Have you ever splurged for something really unique at Walt Disney World?  If so what has been your favorite splurge, we’d love to hear!

Podcast Episode 115: Info, Tips, & FAQs

Join us this week as we talk about all the questions about Disney we get asked most often, as well as our favorite tips and general info items!

Happy listening!

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Beach Club 1 Bedroom Villa Review

This September I was lucky enough to stay in a recently refurbished one bedroom villa at Disney’s Beach Club Villas. If you’ve followed any of my room reviews before, my family tends to like their space in hotel rooms, meaning we seek rooms that are different from the standard 2 queen beds. From the family suites at Disney’s Art of Animation to the cottage suites at Disney’s Boardwalk we’ve tried some amazing alternative rooms at different Disney resorts and have loved them all. But Beach Club was something truly special!

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The bathroom in this one bedroom consisted of 3 separate areas: a toilet behind a door, an area that held the tub and a sink/mirror combination, then the third area where the glass door shower and a second sink/mirror set was. I loved this area, so several people could be getting ready for the day at once. And that tub was perfect for the little one’s bath! If we’d had more time in this room I may have just taken a bath in here myself too.

Another great thing about these one bedroom villas is how they truly feel like home. The sitting area has a comfy couch, chairs and large screen TV and a table and chairs for meals just like at home.


From a full size fridge to a stove, dishwasher and all the cooking utensils and silverware you might need, these kitchens are perfect for those who’d like to eat some meals at “home” while on vacation.

Some other major benefits to staying at the Beach Club were the super comfy queen bed in the bedroom (plus more than enough room for the pack and play we used for my daughter), the location (all that entertainment on the boardwalk!) and access to the amazing Stormalong Bay pool shared by the Beach and Yacht Clubs. That pool is worth the price of admission alone, friends!


Best Use of Dining Plan Quick Service Credits

When you get the Dining plan or Quick Service dining plan you want to make sure you are getting a good value for your money.  But cost can’t be the only factor.  You will want to make sure you are checking out the menus to verify that you are choosing a restaurant menu that will appeal to your party.  This isn’t a comprehensive list but some suggestions for great eats!


Be Our Guest for lunch is a fantastic choice based on the location, amazing atmosphere and the food.  The food is similar to the dinner offerings but all at one quick service dining credit. Located in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland you will be immersed in the Beast’s castle and can choose from three different rooms to sit in.  This restaurant is like no other.  First of all it does require reservations for the quick service.  Next you order solely from a kiosk and then get your “rose” and find a spot to sit.  Your food will be delivered to your table.  You can check out my lunch review here.

Wolfgang Puck Express located in Disney Springs is another amazing choice for a quick service meal, lunch or dinner. Similar to Be Our Guest, you will have your food delivered to your table.  This food is pretty amazing, we recommend the mac and cheese and the bacon wrapped meatloaf.  Check out this review for more information!

Sunshine Seasons food court with high ceiling and a massive glass roof

Photo via Disney

Sunshine Season in the Land pavilion in Epcot is a delicious option with seasonal foods grown right there in the Land Pavilion! Plus the amazing strawberry shortcake is always worth getting.  This location is also ideal if you need to fuel up before waiting in line for Soarin’ Around the World.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner so any time the mood strikes you can check out this quick service restaurant.  This restaurant has some amazing choices like Oak grilled salmon, slow roasted pork chops and Mongolian beef.

Columbia Harbour House located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom is a fantastic option for a healthier lunch or dinner with many options.  Some of the most popular options are the Lobster Roll, chicken pot pie, Lighthouse sandwich, clam chowder, and broccoli peppercorn salad.  You cannot beat the location and people watching if you head up to the second floor seating.


Flame Tree Barbecue in the Discovery Island area of Animal Kingdom is probably one of the best quick services values.  You can get more than just barbeque here though, some choices are ½ a chicken, ribs & chicken combo, smoked turkey sandwich, full slab of ribs, and roasted chicken salad.

Dining area of Landscape of Flavors restaurant at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

photo via Disney

Landscape of Flavors is located at the Art of Animation resort is an awesome choice with unique and adventurous flavors.  You can get things like curry chicken, beef stirfry, create your own pasta or pizza, burgers, soup, and salad. Yep, that is a lot of choices in one restaurant!

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom is another fantastic choice.  If you love tex-mex food this is the place for you.  It is similar to Qdoba or Chipotle where you can get a rice bowl, fajitas, or burritos and then step up to the fixins bar to doctor up your dinner.

Capt. Cook’s in the Polynesian Village Resort is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can get the famous Tonga Toast for breakfast or the pulled pork nachos for lunch and dinner.  This location is great whether you are staying at the Polynesian or just visiting from the other monorail resorts or want a break for the parks.  The menu has variety and is a pretty good value.

Tangerine Café located in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot is a cool choice for lunch or dinner.  They have many unique offerings such as Mediterranean chicken wrap, shawarma chicken or lamb platter, lamb wrap, and kefta sandwich.  Plenty to choose from for the adventurous palate.


If you have a suggestion to add let us know!  We are always looking for great values and interesting menus!

Podcast Episode 114: Fall 2016 Disney News

Here at Dole Whipped, we like to keep you informed of all the Disney information available so this week we bring you Fall 2016 Disney news!  We hope this helps you better plan your upcoming Disney vacations!

Happy listening!

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7 Things to Know Before Your Walt Disney World Vacation

  1. You will walk and be on your feet a lot. Walt Disney World is big and even getting from the transportation to the turnstiles will be a walk. Of course while in line you will also be on your feet.  The best help for this is to wear comfortable broken in shoes and socks and make sure to take breaks!  Check out Shannon’s article on prepping to walk.
  2. You cannot avoid the lines. You can use FastPass, but you will still be standing in lines for your FastPasses. You’ll definitely spend time waiting in the standby lines and if you need food, chances are good you will wait in line for a little bit there as well.  Just go in knowing that you will stand in some lines just about everywhere at Walt Disney World.
  3. FastPass is free and easy to use. FastPass is included with your park ticket, so use them! And they are indeed easy to use.  You get to choose an initial 3 but after that you can make more, one at a time.  FastPass gives you a lot of flexibility to change plans on the go using the My Disney Experience app.


  1. There are a few ticket options. Choosing the best ticket option for your party can require some planning, but knowing what options are available are important. There is the base ticket which is 1 park per day, or the Park Hopper which allows you into multiple parks per day.  Then there is the Water Parks, Fun, and More ticket which allows you entrance into the two Disney water parks as well as mini golf, Disney Quest and other extras.  Knowing what you will use on a vacation can save you a lot of money.


  1. Check the park hours and know about special events. You will want to do some research on these events as they can have an effect on hours and closures. For instance starting in September and October Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and in November and December, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will cause the Magic Kingdom to close at 7pm.  This can really change your plans if the park closes much earlier than expected and you will be unable to see fireworks during your visit.  Other special event such as Food and Wine, and Flower and Garden can have an effect on crowds as well.



  1. Don’t overlook attractions. It is easy to judge an attraction but a spin on the People Mover can be relaxing and fun. These smaller attractions can end up becoming favorites if you give them a chance.


  1. You can and should enjoy your resort. The resorts are so well themed, they have amazing pools and some cool amenities. Many resorts have multiple restaurants and bars so there are great places to get bite to eat or drink.    It is very tempting to spend all your time in the parks, but the resorts have great activities such as movies under the stars, campfires with s’mores, and fun games around the pool that you should make the time to check out.




Podcast Episode 113: Jamie’s Disney Dream Cruise Trip Report

Recently Jamie sailed on the Disney Dream with her mom and daughter and she tells us all about her experience on board, especially how she experienced cruising with a toddler!

Happy listening!

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A 1 Year Old’s Review of the Disney Dream

Today’s blog post is going to be a little different! You’re going to “hear” from my 16 month old daughter about her vacation on the Disney Dream. The best parts of our trip, from a baby’s perspective. Enjoy!

Stateroom: My mom sprang for a room with a verandah! Let me tell you, this thing is great. There’s not a whole lot I enjoyed more than sitting on the verandah with my apple juice early in the morning in my jammies, watching the water and feeling the ocean breeze in my hair. Opening and closing the balcony door over and over was a pretty fun game too. Disney gave my mom a pack and play for me to sleep in (I saw her queen bed and I have to say… mine was fine, but hers was better) and a diaper genie to dispose of the dirty diapers. There was a curtain that separated my sleeping space from mom’s so that my room could be nice and quiet and dark, just how I like it. I even slept in a few mornings! Figured it was the least I could do for my mom as a thanks for the trip. I’m a great daughter!


Food: A+. My dinner server Andre kept the cookies coming (once I was finished with my dinner, of course!) I have a dairy allergy and they were very careful to make sure I didn’t get sick. Some of my favorites were the whole wheat penne pasta with red sauce that made a fantastic mess, the grilled chicken skewer with sweet potatoes, and cheese-free pizza! There was a high chair waiting in my spot each night, and a fresh cup of water with my name right on it. Talk about service! For breakfast I sampled a bit of everything from the buffet including: cereal, Mickey waffles, pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs (my favorite!), hash browns, yogurt, and LOTS of fruit. One day we even got room service and I ate my hot dog and french fries right there in our room!


Activities: When we first got on the ship there was a small sheet waiting in our stateroom that said “Toddler Activities”. How did they know?! It was full of things tailored just to my interests. My very favorite thing to do on the ship was play in Nemo’s Reef. As I’m not yet potty trained (no judging please!) I’m not able to use the pools on the ship. At first I was a little sad, but then we went to Nemo’s Reef. This is WAY better than a pool! I spent so much time here while mom and Nana took turns enjoying fruity “grownup” drinks that they wouldn’t share with me. As a bonus, it was located right next to the Cabanas buffet, so when I was done playing and needed to replenish all that energy burned I could just pop over and have my mom get me some french fries (my favorite).


Ship: This is one big ship. The first day my mom let me walk everywhere, it was great! I even climbed the stairs when the elevators were very busy. After the first day, I realized this walking thing was a lot of work and I needed to conserve my energy for making trouble. After that I let my mom carry me around. I did quite enjoy pushing the buttons on the elevator though!


Castaway Cay: My favorite! I know what my mom means now when she says she’s going to her “happy place”! After getting off the ship and taking a tram to the beach my mom was able to snag one of the complimentary wagons available at Castaway Cay for me to sit in with all the stuff I needed for a successful day at the beach. The sand was perfect for digging, the water was bathtub temp and I got a kick out of the little fish swimming all around my feet! I could have spent all day there. Well, until nap time at least. And I did!


it’s a small world nursery: Horrible, will never return. My mom isn’t allowed to have any fun without me. Ever. (Editor/Mom’s Note: it’s a small world is staffed by some of the sweetest and most patient caregivers on the ship. They were able to calm my dramatic high needs child long enough for me to enjoy a lovely brunch at Palo, with smiles on their faces. The children in the nursery looked like they were having so much fun! Fiona is just a little… difficult😉 )

There you have it folks, Fiona’s review of the Disney Dream! Do you have a baby that has sailed the Dream or another Disney ship? We’d love to hear what they thought of it too!

Podcast Episode 112: Best Value For Disney Dining Plan Credits

Have you ever wondered which Walt Disney World restaurants give you the most bang for your Disney Dining Plan buck?  Wonder no longer as we discuss which restaurants we think are the best value for your dining plan credits!

Happy listening!

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Trip Report Day 2: Get on the Ship and Get Yourself Ready for Some Fun and Some Tropical Drinks, Depressions and Sun.


So, we woke up the next morning raring to go and so we went downstairs and got to indulge in the special, complimentary breakfast for Platinum members at the Hilton. It was 01b0257b10bf783129c1829bef0a768280d2f81154good, just the usual eggs, bacon, waffles, muffins, etc. It was good and easy and a nice perk. After that we packed up leisurely because although we had a port arrival time for around 10am we knew that was just “suggested” and we decided based on others info and reviews that to us it was more important to avoid long check in lines and waiting around for nothing. So, we planned it perfect for us! We drove over to Port Canaveral,
returned the rental car to Budget, shuttled over to the Fantasy, got baggage handlers, went through security, checked in the special Castaway Club line and walked right on to the boat. It actually went that easy without any hiccups. We boarded the ship around noon and discussed telling the person who took our last name to announce and welcome a few options as we had a few last names going so we thought about being the “Awesome” family or the “Disney” family but in the end we went with all of our last names…next time.

01f170f9ba4d1e08b20f93e7e31074e8a0c75c84a4We had already decided to go to Enchanted Gardens for lunch. Everyone knows about Cabanas lunch but did you know Enchanted Gardens has a buffet on embarkation day? Well, they do and we did. Interesting enough when we boarded we asked a crew member where to go and he told us Enchanted Gardens was full and turning people away and over to Cabanas. We discussed amongst ourselves and decided to ask another crew member, who did say the same thing, but when we said what 014b49491c2858633e087d735d0bf13d1796c5c5afwould happen if we went anyway he said probably nothing! So, we went down and somehow lines were miscommunicated because it was only half full and no line. That was odd – I have no idea but clearly something got muddled. So, we were sat and went and had a great lunch with cold cuts, shrimp, salads, sides and yummy ice cream and lots of other desserts.


After lunch, we headed to find our staterooms and get our Castaway Club gifts. This was our second cruise, so first as a CC member. The gift was AMAZING and seriously high value. I not only used the tote the whole week but have used it for several quick overnights since home. 017ab5edb39ff8da288e83dbc039616d6f8bdcb7aaAlso, we had brought our nice lanyard wallets we had gotten for the last cruise so we just switched out the lanyard so we could use our nice little key holder with a pocket but still have the CC lanyard. After, admiring our gifts my OCD husband insisted on unpacking and getting the luggage stored under the bed and everything in its place. I was glad we did 011bdc2aaa6200d0d6b36f2a694942688fcbc47b0cbut it was hard not to skip that and run crazy over the ship doing more exciting things than unpacking.

We had a Verandah room and it was exactly like the last room on the Dream, though turned the other day. I love the staterooms on Disney because they have adequate space and it makes it much nicer!

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After that we went to our own “Sail Away” Party on the back of the ship on the outdoor 0133227359f0e0da551aa3048d2f7dcbc1c0c75402deck of Meridian lounge, outside of Palo and Remy. They had the same area on the Dream and we enjoyed having cocktails there on the Dream at night and the servers on the Dream were fun and helpful so we looked forward to the same good times. We watched the ship sail off and enjoyed the beautiful weather and peace on the deck.

We went to “A Fantasy Come True” for the early show (since we had late dinner) and it was cute. It was a little “salesy” and we were a tad bit turned off at first but it got better and ended up being a cute show.

Dinner that night was at Enchanted Gardens, so since we already knew where we were going it was easy to get there! When we were seated there were already people at our table. What? On the Dream our party was our own table and it just did not occur to me that we would be seated with others. But, we were and though it was a little nervous and quiet at first it turned out great of course. They were very nice and we had a good time hearing about the different things they did and watching their teen son watch the clock to escape back to the teen club every night! So, food – yesssss! So, I skipped the appetizer that night and had a soup and salad because the Heirloom Tomato Soup is a must for me and the Romaine Wedge was also calling my name. I had for my entrée Slow Roasted Prime Rib: Thyme-roasted Vegetables, Double-baked Potato, Horseradish, and Natural Jus and it was amazing. I am not a huge Prime Rib fan and when it first came it was way too red for me so servers noted and brought me a bit more medium well version and I loved it. My husband had the pork tenderloin and one of the teens had the sea scallops and the rest of the table went prime rib. Everyone was very happy that night with their dinner choices and for dessert I chose the Esterhazy Cake because it mentioned almond meringue and I love almond dessert flavors. It was yummy and a good choice for me. Chocolate lovers would like the Sacher Torte and those at our table did!

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After dinner, a few of the group went to the 10:15 movie, “The Jungle Book” but I was being rocked to sleep. So, I went up to the adult only deck for a minute and watched the night waters and then turned in and slept so well it was like I was on vacation.