Is the Disney Dining Plan “Worth it”?

It’s a question we hear a lot. Is the Disney dining plan worth it? Unfortunately this question does not have an easy answer! It depends. For most families the convenience of paying for your meals ahead of time is absolutely worth it. Budgeting for such a variable can be difficult but when “pre-paying” with the meal plan that’s one less thing you need to worry about. I was curious about cost though, so during my last trip I kept track of one of our day’s dining and decided to do a comparison.

Is the Disney Dining Plan -Worth It--

Breakfast

Location: Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (POFQ)

Three Beignets (snack credit, or $2.99), Coffee (resort refillable mug, or $2.49 out of pocket)

Lunch

Location: Be Our Guest Quick Service (MK)

Carved Turkey Sandwich ($12.99, quick service credit), Soda ($2.99 or included with quick service meal), Chocolate Cream Puff ($4.59 or included with quick service meal)

Dinner

Location: Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine

Buffet dinner ($46.99 for adults, or 1 table service credit)

Total cost: $73.04  or $60.64 per night per adult on the Disney Dining Plan. So in this case, we absolutely made out using the Disney Dining Plan! As always your family’s own eating habits will decide if the dining plan is right for you, but you can see that for some, it is a great choice! 

Review: The Garden Grill’s “Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast” Character Dinner

0192900a1c04b092c7a25098ad8190a1c721abd33eLet me start by telling you how not excited I was for this specific reservation. I am not a farmer fan and so to meet Farmer Mickey or any of his farm friends was a bit of a meh in my book. But, I had heard good things and really wanted to try out the food since so much of it comes from the Land. The Living with the Land boat ride is one of my favorite places to relax in Epcot and I find the massive fruits and vegetables amazing. Maybe I am a farm fan and just did not realize it? Well, moving on, in my quest to do all character dining experiences at some point I made reservations for three at the Garden Grill for dinner.

So, we went and it was a bit chaotic at the host stand but they did have some nice lemon 018b754a91ab17d813cfecd5dc281a9ff9b3b5c1c2water while you wait. After we were seated the fun began and it was SO fun. I was so impressed with the hilarious character interactions of Chip and Dale as they played pranks on each other and guests and made it fun to just watch them trot around. Farmer Mickey and Pluto also joined in the fun a ton of the time and were really engaging. Our server was great and was so into his job and not in the overly creepy way but he knew all about the food, the characters and was around just the right amount.

Now, for the best part – the FOOD. Yes, we all love the food at Disney and we are usually

Yes I took a picture of just the butter!

Yes I took a picture of just the butter!

happy with most meals but I was beyond happy with the Garden Grill starting with the awesome Orange Blossom Honey butter for the bread (with sea salt, honey and orange blossoms somehow in there) to the macaroni and cheese topped with Goldfish crackers. I never thought that I would enjoy something like that but try it and see – the crunch takes it up a notch. We asked for thirds on butter (hey we were on vacation!) and honestly it was maybe the best butter ever. Have I mentioned how good the butter was? The eating is family style and they bring you a bit of01d1994803047b0b2091ada736d7d30b572bf45995 everything at first to try and as you find what you like and want more they bring you those things out specifically. We do not like fish and so from the beginning we said no fish and our amazing server made sure no friends of Nemo were even near our table! After feasting on turkey and filet and broccoli (even the broccoli was awesome!) we were full and in a bit of a hurry to hit our fastpasses for Soarin’ but our server insisted we try the dessert if only for the fresh Vanilla Bean whipped cream. So, of course we did not want to be rude and dug in and finished all of the Seasonal Berry Skillet with fresh whipped cream and then rolled ourselves right on out of there.

I will return as often as I can because well, I have a problem and the only solution is more Orange Blossom Honey Butter from the Garden Grill.

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Have you been? Do you love it? If not, what is wrong with you? Just kidding – that is okay too because more for me!

Want to Save Some Money on Your Spring Disney Trip?

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The new promotion for Spring is here! It is a great one and lots of people are saving some dollars.

You can save up to 25%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights April 14-June 11, 2016. If you want a last-minute trip there are still some great deals out there from now until April 14th – so just ask!

For an example, a family of four (2 adults, 2 children under age 9) can get a 5 night stay at a Disney Value resort with 5 day base tickets for $2088.32! That includes a room discount and your 5th park day for free! You can’t beat this offer so let’s get started on those spring break plans.

How much fun would you have letting your favorite Dole Whipped lady plan your next Disney trip for you? We all know who the favorite is so no need to SHOUT it! Our concierge services are free and we can help plan your dining, fastpasses, resort choices and so much more! For more information email dolewhipped@gmail.com or click on the “Free Vacation Planning” tab above. We love helping and we are so appreciative of you letting us help you plan. Happy New Year!

 

 

Be Our Guest Lunch Review

DSCN3586We were lucky enough to snag a reservation for this lunch. We arrived just a few minutes before our reservation to check in at the stand before the bridge. We went right in and waited in a short line before we went in to place our orders on the kiosk. Since we were given menus before we got to the kiosk we have plenty of time to consider our options.

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After our orders were placed we were given our rose and made a stop to get drinks and silverware. With those settled we opted to have lunch in the main room, the ball room. While we waited, we took turns checking out the other rooms.

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I ordered the Quinoa Salad, my husband had the Roast Beef Sandwich, my Mother-in-law got the Braised Pork and my daughter ordered Chip’s Delight (tomato soup and grilled cheese).

 

Chip’s Delight was hit and miss with my daughter, she loved the grilled cheese fingers and cookie. The tomato soup she didn’t care for but I tried it and it was delicious. It does taste like fresh tomatoes rather than Campbell’s Soup if that is what your children are used to.

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The Quinoa Salad I had was very tasty and I enjoyed it because it was fresh and light. If you are wanting something that isn’t heavy this is a great choice.

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The Roast Beef Sandwich that my husband ordered was hearty and filling. It is a good sized sandwich that came with fries on the side. It was another great option if you are looking to fill up.

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The favorite of the group was the Braised Pork. This came with mashed potatoes and vegetables and was so delicious. I would definitely choose this entrée the next time I was there if I were looking for a very filling meal.

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The atmosphere of the restaurant is amazing. It is straight out of the movie and if you have a Beauty and the Beast fan, they will love it! Bottom line, we would eat there again in a heartbeat!

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Review

If you’ve listened to our podcast, you’ll know that I’ve talked extensively about how much we loved Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but I can’t quit talking about it so here we are.

If you’re not familiar, Magic Kingdom in Florida hosts this hard ticket event on certain nights during November and December.  There are special fireworks, parades, and even lots of goodies included in the price of admission.

Low Crowds

First things first, this is huge.  Are there still a lot of people there?  Yes, but the party is a hard ticket event and only so many tickets are sold so you’re guaranteed to have fewer people in the park and that really helps.  The park felt so much more open and spacious without the mass of bodies you typically encounter on a normal park day.

Once Upon A Christmas Parade 

This parade was amazing!  The floats are really well done and the characters are all in their holiday best.  They include some of the lesser known characters like Wreck It Ralph which we loved.  My youngest daughter is 4 and she just loved the parade.  Watching her during it was definitely worth the price of admission.

They run the parade twice during the party so if you miss the early show, be sure to get a spot for the later one.

Cocoa and Cookies

Another fun part of the party is the cocoa and cookies they provide as party of admission.  There are several locations set up throughout the park and you can walk up and get some treats.  We happened to get ours at Tomorrowland Terrace and there was no line.  The cocoa and cookies were both delicious.  They also had cold apple juice because this is Florida and it’s not always cold enough for cocoa!

 

No FastPasses Needed

One of the best parts about the Christmas party (and this goes hand in hand with the low crowds) is that no FastPasses are offered during the party because you don’t need them!  We walked on almost every single ride we wanted because there really weren’t any lines.  The only attraction we wanted to do and decided not to wait for was Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and that wait was only 30 minutes, which is practically nothing.

Special Family Memories

At the end of the day, my favorite part of the Christmas party was the special time I got to spend with my family.  I don’t know if there was extra magic in the air or what but we just had the best time.  No one fought, no one complained, everyone was cheerful, the weather was great.  I would absolutely recommend this party to anyone looking for a special experience at Disney.  Disney at Christmas is already amazing so this is just the shining star on top.

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Podcast Episode 75: 2015 Disney Recap

This week we discuss all the major happenings and updates at Walt Disney World as well as Disney movies that were released in 2015.  We talk about what our favorites were and what we’re looking forward to in the new year!

Happy holidays and happy listening!

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Resort Laundry Facilities

One of the most common questions we have is “Is there laundry at my resort?” Well, the answer is YES! If you should do your laundry on vacation is another question entirely 😉 BUT if you so choose, you are able to at all Walt Disney World resorts.

At most Disney resorts the laundry facilities are located close to the pool. In my opinion this is great placement! You can put your laundry in the wash, pop into the pool for a swim, move the clothes to the dryer, swim some more, then collect your clean and dry clothes and head back to your room. Genius.

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Laundry Facilities at Port Orleans French Quarter

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The laundry rooms have detergent and fabric softener sheets available for purchase. I personally bring some Tide pods from home, but it’s great to have this option if you choose to use it or if you end up having to do laundry unexpectedly.

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All payment is handled through a credit card machine on the wall (no cash). You’ll enter the number of the washer or dryer you choose into the machine, which will activate the washer or dryer for your use.

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The machines conveniently give you the amount of minutes remaining in a cycle so you know when to return to switch your load or collect your dry clothes.

All in all I don’t advocate for doing laundry on vacation, but IF you have to Disney of course makes it as quick and painless as possible.

Laundry at Walt DisneyWorldResorts

Club Level Series (and Review!): Boardwalk Inn

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Hi there fans of Club Level at Disney! Whether you have stayed Club Level or just dream of it I am here to give you all the material to make your dreams even better! So let’s march on to the next stop on the Club Level tour and it is the Boardwalk Inn. Now this article is extra special because I just stayed Club Level at Boardwalk a few weeks ago and so this is not only info but a bit of a review as well.

016107d24a35e37e9dae2629a27defbb18e63962ddI was lucky (seriously lucky) to get to stay for a few nights in a garden cottage at Boardwalk. The garden cottages are not very well-known, even to Disney veterans, and are quite unique. I will be writing a review of the garden cottages soon but for this article it is mentioned because the garden cottages are all club level (in addition to the normal set of club level rooms and suites). When we arrived at the Boardwalk and had given our name at security we drove up to valet and were immediately greeted and whisked away. Our greeter asked us if we would like to go first to our cottage to put our bags down (though our luggage was being transferred from Animal Kingdom we had our “carry ons” with us). We did want to go to the cottage first and so he took us there. He waited outside while we went in and embarrassed ourselves by squealing with delight at the amazing accommodations. After that, we went to the private club level check-in desk that was right outside the private club level hallway (magic band set to club level access needed to gain entrance).The cast member was already checking someone in so instead of waiting we were given access to the club lounge (the Innkeepers Club)  where the attendant sat us down and grabbed us a drink and checked us in. I also want to mention we were thrilled our cottage was ready for us considering it was early around 10 am.

After that we munched on some snacks and grabbed some soda for the road and headed 018772a7da9142e55f770ffd5bd1bcaa541183c670out.

The Boardwalk Inn club level rooms also were a bit special with the extra robes and amenities but two special things happened here and we are still not sure if this was because of our club level access or the garden cottages but anyway we received a cute set of Boardwalk logo’ed chocolates and a fairly large bag of H20 products was left in our room from mousekeeping! I do not know which I loved more!

01a4fba407a878ca39aaf0d91fc480210622e27963While staying club level we also received nightly turn down service and little treats (chocolates and taffy) left in our room. Taffy is a bit of a signature specialty of the Boardwalk Resort as it ties it into its Atlantic City roots.

The club level lounge did not disappoint based off location and food. It had a nice balcony that you could watch the Epcot fireworks from or sit outside and read a book.

The food was amazing and some of my personal favorites included peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls and the cucumber sandwiches. There were many “fancier” apps going on but sometimes the simple things are what you keep going back for time and time again.

They had wine and beer for evening and late evening they broke out the desserts and cognac for adult fun. I know many think you can not make a meal out of the food in the club lounges but we ate dinner there twice and breakfast there once and we were full all of these meals. The portions are small and finger food sized but you can have as much as you want so no one limited me on my peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls so I may have had a few!

Definitely try out Boardwalk (in general) as one of my top 3 resorts and a great location. If you can swing it treat yourself to club level and you will not regret it!

Nighttime Shows at Walt Disney World

Disney has three nighttime shows in its regular rotation. Wishes at Magic Kingdom, Illumination at Epcot, and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. On my most recent vacation I watched each of them and in true Disney fashion they are all fantastic.

Illuminations is the story of Earth displayed around the World Showcase Lagoon. It starts with Earth’s fiery beginnings, then moves to the history of humanity showing projections on a spinning Earth. Lastly is the hope for future that ends in fireworks. The entire show is accompanied by awesome music and the pavilions light up all around.

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If you have never seen Illuminations I would highly suggest you make the time for it. World Showcase it beautiful to stroll at night and there are plenty of spots to view all around!

Fantasmic! is a show that takes you into the imagination of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The show has projections on water, laser lights, music, dancing, characters, and fireworks! This is a very exciting show. The story is a little mixed bag but that is part of the charm. There are parts form Lion King, Sleeping Beauty and Fantasia. It is also

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You can get wet at this show as the water does splash up in some areas. If you don’t want to be wet make sure you don’t sit in the lower 1/3 of the theatre. If there is a second show you should try to make that one since it will be a lot less crowded, you can have your choice of seats no matter when you arrive.

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Wishes Nighttime Spectacular is probably the most well-known and popular nighttime show. It is narrated by Jiminy Cricket with music, projections on the castle, lighting effects, and fireworks. If the weather is right you can see Tinker Bell fly from the castle overhead! You will love to ooh and ahh over the show and I promise the soundtrack will be stuck in your head when you leave.  However there is a reason it is so popular it is not to be missed, it is a classic!

If I had to rate them I would say Wishes, Fantasmic! and Illuminations in that order. I think adults will enjoy Illuminations more so than kids but it is absolutely enjoyable for everyone. If you only had the time to do one I would have to say make sure it is Wishes.

Do you have a favorite? Let us know below!

Podcast Episode 74: Disney-fy Your Holidays

Have you ever wondered how best to show your Disney side during the holidays?  We’ve got you covered!  We discuss some of the best ways to include Disney in your holiday decor, baking, and gift giving.

Happy listening!

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