How Disney Discounts and Promotions Work

Disney will occasionally offer promotions and discounts during slow seasons in order to boost attendance and fill resort rooms.  There are a few things to know about these promotions to help understand how the discounts work.

Discounts are not “stackable” this means that you cannot get more than one discount, so if Disney is offering a room only or free dining you cannot get both.  You will want to compare the discounts in order to figure out which will be a better value for your vacation.

Promotions are generally offered during the slow seasons, this means holidays, spring break and summer are not going to be discounted much, if at all. 


Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Discounts are not guaranteed!  There are many, many times when the rooms will sell out, or they don’t apply for your dates of travel, or for the resort you have booked.  Room categories or entire resorts will be excluded as well.  Travel agents have no way to guarantee a discount or promotion until it is offered from Disney and a deposit is paid on the booking.  You will need to act fast in order to secure a discount when it is offered.

So what types of promotions does Disney offer?  Room only discounts are fairly common with Disney. The amount varies by resort, Values are usually 15%, with Deluxe Villas up to 35%.  Kid sized offers mean that the price of some of the package components will be the same as the children’s price.  Extra day of tickets, this is usually a minimum of 4 days with an added 5th day free.  Free dining, at Value resorts they offer the quick service dining package for free, and Moderates and Deluxes get the Disney Dining Plan for free.  There is usually a minimum amount of nights and days for park tickets that you will need to book in order to qualify for these discounts.



Photo via


PIN codes are another very common form of discounts that Disney offers.  It is unknown how to get on the right mailing list to get these but the best advice I can offer is to make sure you are signed up on the website to receive offers and these will at times be sent via email.  The catch?  If the PIN code is in your name you have to be the lead guest on the reservation.

Spring 2015 discount

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Bounce back offers, this promotion is probably less well known but can be a very good deal.  A bounce back offer is a booking that you will make while at Disney for a future date.  The offer changes every so often and must be booked before you leave Walt Disney World.  If there is no information in your resort room about the current offer just dial extension 8844 and you will be connected to guest services.  Also if you like to use your favorite Disney Travel Planner (ahem) you can just list them with your reservation agent or transfer the booking within 30 days.

Having an Annual Pass to Walt Disney World can also get you a resort discount.   Be sure that your AP is still valid and make the reservation in your name.

Disney Visa cardholders are also eligible for discounts on occasion.  In the past these have been released prior to the release of general public sales.  You must have the Disney Visa card in order to apply these discounts.

 Disney visa

Military Discounts are also available for active and retired military personnel with a valid identification card.  You can purchase discount tickets at the Shades of Green resort located near the Polynesian Village Resort.

Florida Resident are also offered discounts on tickets and resorts with a valid Florida issued ID.

No matter what discount you are looking at there are always ways to save money on your Walt Disney World vacation, if you take the time to plan it correctly and do a little bit of homework!  Of course you can always leave this to a trained professional who can help with the ins and outs of getting the most bang for your buck.

Podcast Episode 94: Interview with Anessa

Here at Dole Whipped, we love talking with fans and former Disney Cast Members and this week we have both all wrapped up in one!  Join us as we talk with Anessa, client and friend of the show about being a Disney super fan and a super planner!  She’s got some great tips for you as well as some good ideas on how you can use a travel agent and still do lots of Disney planning yourself.

Happy listening!

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Awaken Summer: EPCOT

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Yes, Awaken Summer is almost here and so many changes and fun events and new stuff is coming to Disney! It is going to be fantastic. Who is more excited than me? Probably someone going soon. I turned in my WDW card for a DCL card for the Summer and starting to question it with all the new comings (and goings!) But, hey it will still be there in the Fall – I hope!

So, for EPCOT they are going to have a few MASSIVE things to celebrate Awaken Summer!

First, Soarin’ is about to re-open. Now, they did refurbish the Soarin’ ride in two ways – first IMG_3179they added an extra theater and so that is going to help the lines tremendosly. Second, they changed the movie from Soarin’ Over California to Soarin’ Over the World. If you have been missing the old Cali version you can watch that up until June 17th when the brand new Soarin’ Over the World debuts at Disneyland in California and Epcot at Walt Disney World. For this attraction we are giving the premiere not to our friends at Shanghai Disneyland and letting them show it first on their grand opening June 16th! Watch out for some new smells and all new video. Very Exciting!

Speaking of helping Soarin’ lines, one thing that is not going to help the lines is the opening of the new Frozen Ever After ride in Norway. Reason this will change the lines at Soarin’ is it is a new ride that is another Tier 1 – so choose new Soarin’ or new Frozen? EEK! This ride in Norway is taking place in Arendale and replaces a crowd favorite Maelstrom – so big shoes to fill!

Another Frozen addition (because how can you have too much Frozen? Well, let me show you how…nope never mind!) You can not meet and greet with Anna and Elsa at Epcot at the Royal Sommerhus, also in Norway. There are no fastpass+ available for this meet and greet. Oh, and I guess I should add since Anna and Elsa are going to be in Epcot they will no longer be in Walt Disney World for meet and greets – well, clearly they can not be in two places at once?!


Port Orleans French Quarter In Depth


Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter opened for business on May 17, 1991 as simply Disney’s Port Orleans Resort (this is because Port Orleans Riverside started as Dixie Landings, so there was no need to differentiate between the 2 Port Orleans resorts!). It is currently home to 1,008 rooms between seven buildings. French Quarter is themed in the Antebellum era of New Orleans and is a sister resort to Port Orleans Riverside. However, guests staying at French Quarter may use all the amenities at Riverside and vice versa -including sharing all seven swimming pools. Riverside is a quick ten-minute riverbank walk from French Quarter, or you can use the free ferry boats.

Dining Options

Table Service –  There is no table service restaurant at Port Orleans French Quarter, but it is just a fairly short walk to Port Orlean’s Riverside’s Boatwright Dining Hall. We’ll cover what’s available there in a future in-depth episode!

Quick Service

Sassagoula Floatworks Food Factory is French Quarter’s quick-service restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as more limited snack service later into the evening (you know, in case you forgot to get that Mickey bar before you left the parks!). Sassagoula features “stations” where different options are presented at each meal. For example if you wanted the Western breakfast bowl you’d enter one line, but for Mickey waffles you’d be in another. One of the most famous foods at Sassagoula is their beignets! Beignets are famous New Orleans style fried pastry covered in powdered sugar. They’re made fresh in the bakery at Sassagoula and come in orders of 3 or 6 and are served all day. For lunch or dinner be sure to try another New Orleans favorite, the shrimp po’boy!

Scat Cat Lounge

This southern style jazz lounge features cocktails, draft beer and appetizers. You can enjoy a flatbread, some buffalo wings or spinach and artichoke dip while watching different live performances. The Scat Cat does not have a regular performer but instead features a rotating cast of musicians including Jason Thomas and Billy Varnes from Epcot’s retired Off Kilter band. Off Kilter was a fan favorite so it’s nice to have the option to see them elsewhere.

Mardi Grogs Pool Bar

Featuring specialty drinks, wine, sangria and draft beer this bar is located near the main pool at French Quarter. There are a few “cold” options available for food at Mardi Grogs including a tuna salad or ham and cheese croissant, or garden salad with chicken. PB&J is available for the kids. For drinks, the Piña CoLAVA (Bacardi Black Razz Rum blended with Piña Colada Mix and Raspberry Purée) is a personal favorite, and they also have plenty of alcohol-free blended drinks so the kids can indulge too!

Room Service

There is no room service at Port Orleans French Quarter, but you can order from a limited pizza menu between 4pm and midnight every day. You can choose from breadstick, chicken wings or salads as well as pizza (pepperoni, veggie, cheese, supreme or meat) and a few dessert and beverage choices.

Room Options

Port Orleans French Quarter is a small resort so there are pretty limited options for room choices. There are no preferred rooms at POFQ, which is actually good news! It means that all rooms are already close enough to the “action” to be considered preferred.

You DO however have a choice of view. At French quarter the views are: Standard View (view of the parking lot), River View, Pool View (always 2nd or 3rd floor, never ground floor) or Garden View (non-parking lot: fountains, garden, courtyard etc). The last 3 differ in price by just a few dollars each night with garden being the most expensive. All of these rooms come standard with 2 queen beds and sleep up to 4 adults.

For approximately $20 extra each night you can choose to reserve a King Bed room. King Rooms have a capacity of 2 adults, but are a good option for a family with a smaller child as one infant will not count towards that capacity. Plus there is plenty of room in King Bed rooms for a pack and play for the baby!

Extra Activities

Port Orleans French Quarter has one pool: “Doubloon Lagoon” featuring Scales, the 51-foot-long sea serpent slide.

On March 7th 2016, a brand new Aquatic play area opened replacing the old children’s wading pool. This new play area is located next to the Doubloon Lagoon pool and features child-size water slides, water cannons, and fountains.  To fit the theme of the resort, the equipment is all colored in gold, purple, and green like Mardi Gras! This play area is for children 48” and under only.

Separate from the main pool is a jacuzzi tub and you’re also free to use the Ol’ Man Island swimming complex at Port Orleans Riverside.

Between 1:30-5:30 daily there are poolside activities from a Mardi Gras pool party to water balloon games, bingo, trivia, Disney Jr. pool party and more.

You can attend the Cajun Campfire between Buildings 5 & 6 (not every day 3-4 times a week) to enjoy roasted marshmallows in the warm glow of a campfire.

Other activities

Fishing excursions – 2 hour guided fishing excursions are available along the Sassagoula River. Fishing equipment is provided and 24 hour advanced reservations are strongly recommended.

$170 – 2 Hours (Single Person) 1:30 

$270 – 2 Hours (2-5 People) 7:00 & 10:00 

$235 – 2 Hours (2-5 People) 1:30 

$455 – 4 Hours (2-5 People) 7:00am – 11:00am & 10:00 – 2:00

Includes: Fishing equipment (including a fishing rod, bait, and more. Also beverages for the fisherman!) Guests are allowed to bring their own equipment, but the price does not change. For more information on fishing excursions visit:

Boat Rentals – Sun tracker pontoon boats, Boston Whaler Montauk boats and Sea Raycer water sprites are available for rent by the half hour at the marina. Certain age restrictions apply. Rentals can be arranged at the marina. More information on boat rentals here:

Bike Rentals – Bicycles and Surrey bikes (which seat 4 people) are available for rent by the half hour and can be rented directly at the marina. You also have the option of calling recreation to reserve right from the phone in your room!

You can also enjoy horse drawn carriage rides, though these do depart from Port Orleans Riverside resort, not French Quarter. Still, close enough!

Transportation to all Disney World parks is by bus. Port Orleans French Quarter only has one main bus stop just outside the main entrance. Water launch service is available to Disney Springs from the marina.


Here are some pricing options. Because of the very small difference in pricing between views we just picked a standard and a Pool room to compare this time!

Dates 8/20-8/26, 2 adults, 2 children (6 and 9); No Dining, Insurance or Memory Maker, just resort and 5 day Park Hopper tickets.

Standard Room: $3,011.54

Pool View: $3, 146.44

No Tickets Room Only – Same dates and Family

Standard View: $1,306.13

Pool View: $1,441.13

For a King Bed room you’re looking at a $20 difference per night, or approximately $100 more for a 5 night trip.

Port Orleans is a fantastic moderate option. Very small and intimate, which is nice in the hustle and bustle of the Walt Disney World resort at large. It’s a favorite of the Dole Whippies and maybe after a visit it will become your favorite too!


Podcast Episode 94: Disney Discounts 101

Disney discounts can be very confusing so in this week’s episode we’ve given you a primer on everything you need to know to navigate the Disney discount waters!  We walk you through what happens when a discount is released, how you can take advantage of a discount, and even what to do if a discount doesn’t apply for you.  Don’t miss this episode!  It could save you money!

Happy listening!

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Contemporary Resort In Depth

If you’ve been listening to our podcast you’ll know that we’ve been in the process of going in depth with each Walt Disney World resort hotel.  You can listen to our coverage of the Contemporary Resort on Episode 89 available here.

So let’s start with the basics.

The Contemporary is one of the first two resorts on property when WDW opened in 1971. Before the construction of the Grand Floridian, it was considered the flagship resort.

The Contemporary Tower was built as an A-frame with outer walls which slope inwards around an inner atrium. The building was constructed with the steel frames being installed first and then rooms constructed offsite were fit into place by crane. 

The Contemporary is located on Bay Lake, just next door to the Magic Kingdom and is a “monorail resort”.The main draw of this resort is that the monorail runs, literally, right through it.

Onsite Dining

Table service

Chef Mickey’s – One of the most popular character meals. Characters at this meal include Mickey as “Chef Mickey”, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Chip and Dale. Breakfast is served buffet-style from 7:00 am to 11:30 am and offers breakfast pastries, bagels, fresh fruit, omelets, Mickey pancakes, and other basic breakfast foods. Dinner hours are 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dinner buffet features meats like prime rib, chicken, and seafood, as well as pasta dishes and a salad bar.  Advance Dining Reservations are required.

The Wave…of American Flavors

This restaurant is something of a hidden gem in that the food is good and the place is hardly ever crowded. This restaurant focuses on fresh food that is locally grown and sustainable.  

California Grill

This is one of the best places to view the fireworks at Magic Kingdom! If you can get a reservation during the show, the music is piped in, so you can enjoy all aspects of the show.  If you can’t see the show well from your table, you can head outside to the terrace area which is even better. This award-winning restaurant is open from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. and the lounge, where you can find beer, cocktails, an assortment of California wines, is open from 5:30pm – 1am. The restaurant menu offers cuisine with a Californian influence and changes seasonally. The kitchen is open so you can see all the food being prepared. The main focus of the menu is sushi, but they also offer grilled meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian selections. Advance Dining Reservations are required.  You’ll need to try for them at 180 days out as time slots run out quickly.

Note about the terrace:  Only restaurant guests may use the terrace.  If your dinner ends before the fireworks begin, bring your dinner receipt back to the restaurant (same day only) and you will be allowed to go to the terrace to watch the show.

Top of the World

At the very top of Bay Lake Tower is the Top of the World Lounge, which is very similar to California Grill in its location. In fact, Top of the World is a former name of California Grill. There is a viewing deck and also an indoor seating area with a full bar. They also offer a limited food menu. Only Disney Vacation Club members may use the lounge. A cast member in the lobby must verify a guest’s Vacation Club credentials before allowing the guest access to the lounge’s elevator. All Bay Lake Tower guests may visit the viewing deck until 4 pm. The lounge features views of the Magic Kingdom theme park and Bay Lake, including its surrounding resorts.

Quick Service

Contempo Cafe – This is the resort food court and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They offer standard food court fare as well as fritattas, french toast, flatbreads, fresh fruit, and grab -n- go stuff.   Also where you’re going to refill resort refillable mugs.

Outer Rim Lounge – bar with a large selection of wines, beers, ales, and cocktails.

Sand Bar – Poolside bar offering hamburgers, hot dogs, snacks and alcoholic beverages like margaritas, and fruity pool drinks.  Notable one is the Banana Cabana – Cruzan Mango Rum, Coruba Coconut Rum, Bols Crème de Banana, Orange and Pineapple Juice and a float of Grenadine

Cove Pool Bar – Located at Bay Lake Tower- offers light apps and snacks like wraps, sushi, meat and cheese plates, fruit, and even kids meals.  Alcoholic beverages are also available.

Room Types – Main building

Standard rooms as well as suites are offered in the main building, in fact they are some of the largest rooms available on WDW property.  The bathrooms are the split bath formation like in other resorts, however, they are reversed with the shower and sink in one room and the toilet in another.

Standard rooms – 2 queen beds or one king, a daybed.  Tower rooms have a balcony or patio. The patios on the first floor rooms in the Garden wings are not private, meaning that they are basically one long patio.  This can be a problem if you’ve got less than stellar neighbors.

There are 25 suites with either Theme Park or lake views. You can get one and two bedroom suites with two queen size beds and sleeper sofas and there are eleven Club Level suites on floors 12 and 14.

Bay Lake Tower room types

Room types include Studios, One-, Two-, and Three-Bedroom Grand Villas.

Studio – Sleeps up to four.  Features queen size bed, full-size sleeper sofa, TV and DVD player, small cube refrigerator, microwave, toaster, and coffee maker.  Laundry facilities are located on the first floor off the lobby area.

One-Bedroom Villa – Sleeps five. Features Master bedroom suite with king-sized bed, Master bathroom with walk-in shower, whirlpool tub.  There is a second bathroom just off of the living room. The living room has a queen-size sleeper sofa as well as a sleeper chair, You can find a TV and DVD player in living room, and a TV in master bedroom. Full kitchen includes: coffee maker, dinnerware, glassware, silverware, cookware, microwave, toaster, stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Laundry area contains a stacked washer and dryer.

Two-Bedroom Villa – These rooms have an additional bedroom with a private bath, one queen-size bed, and a double sleeper sofa. The 2 Bedroom villas sleep eight adults plus one child under age three in a crib. The Master suite has a king-size bed and private bath with a whirlpool tub. There is a fully equipped kitchen, ceiling fans throughout, stacked washer and dryer, TV with DVD player in living room and TVs in each bedroom, queen-size sleeper sofa in living room and a private balcony or porch.

3-Bedroom Grand Villa – Accommodates up to twelve and are 2 levels. Includes a master bedroom suite with king-size bed, and a master bathroom with whirlpool tub. There are four bathrooms total in this villa. There are two more bedrooms, each with two queen-size beds. You can also find a queen-size sleeper sofa in living room. TV and DVD player in living room, and TV in master bedroom and both additional bedrooms. Full kitchen includes: coffee maker, dinnerware, glassware, silverware, pots and pans, microwave, toaster, stove, refrigerator, dishwasher. There is a dining room with dining table and chairs (seats 10 and can be expanded to 12). Laundry area contains a stacked washer and dryer. There are multiple balconies, one-off the kitchen, and one-off of each of the 3 bedrooms for a total of 4.


Pools are a bit lacking here at the main building, to be honest.  There is a large main pool with a 17 foot curving slide and some little sand bar type things in the middle.  The secondary pool is round and gets progressively deeper toward the middle.  No real themeing.  It’s just…a pool.

Bay Lake Tower has their own pool only for use by BLT guests.  Their pool has a 20 ft waterslide and a zero entry edge. There is a splash pad for kids.

Poolside activities remain the same as other Disney resorts, including the afternoon Disney Junior Pool Party.

Poolside cabanas are available for rent on a first come, first served basis.



  • Single Flight :
  • Regular – $95+ tax per flight (8-10 minutes at 450 feet)
  • Deluxe – $ 130+ tax per flight (10-12 minutes at 600 feet)
  • Tandem Flight:
  • Regular – $170+ tax per flight (8-10 minutes at 450 feet)
  • Deluxe – $195+ tax per flight (10-12 minutes at 600 feet)


  • $85 + tax: 30 minutes
  • $165 + tax: One hour
  • $185 + tax: Premium Trip includes pick up and drop off for Bay Lake Resorts.

Each boat can accommodate up to 5 guests. Children under age 18 must have an adult present to sign waivers.

Personal watercraft/waverunners:

  • $80 + tax: 30 minutes
  • $135 + tax: One hour

Non-guided excursions available from 9:00am year round.

All of the Personal Watercraft can hold up to 3 guests but must not exceed a combined weight of 400 pounds. All drivers must be age 16 or over and must present a valid state issued Driver’s License or Permit with photo ID when they check in. No exceptions. A credit card is required to be used as a damage deposit. Children under age 18 must have an adult present to sign waivers.

Fitness Center 

The Olympiad fitness center is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is located on the third floor. It includes all the best exercise machines, treadmills, sauna, massages, whirlpool, and tanning booths. Personal training is available by appointment only. The gym is open to all WDW guests. Membership costs are:$12 per person, per day; $20 for the Guest Length of Stay, $40 for Family Length of Stay. The tanning bed is $8 per 20 minutes (with a 20 minute maximum). DVC members can use the gym and services free of charge.

There are limited spa services like massages and facials.  One perk is that they will come and do a massage in your resort room.

There is an onsite arcade that includes video games and billiards pool.

Tennis courts – 6 clay courts with pro shop, tennis lessons are available.

Guided fishing excursions are available via the concierge desk.

Movies Under The Stars is available on select nights in the courtyard on the back side of the main Atrium building.


Magic Kingdom: If you’re going to Magic Kingdom Park you have a couple of choices on how you want to get there. You can take the monorail, however, it may not be the quickest option since it makes stops at the Ticket & Transportation Center, the Polynesian Resort, and the Grand Floridian before it eventually gets to the Magic Kingdom. If you don’t mind the walk, you can take the footpath from Contemporary to Magic Kingdom.  It’s a short 10 minute walk.

Epcot: Take the monorail to the Ticket & Transportation Center and transfer to the Epcot monorail.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Take the Hollywood Studios bus.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Take the bus marked Animal Kingdom/Blizzard Beach.

Disney Springs Marketplace, Disney Springs West Side: Before 4 p.m., take the monorail to the Ticket & Transportation Center, and transfer to the bus marked Downtown Disney. After 4 p.m. there will be direct Disney Springs buses from the resort.


The theme is very modern and streamlined and not aggressively Disney.  This can be a pro or a con, depending on what you’re looking for in a Disney resort.  The highlight of the resort is the stories tall Mary Blair mural.  It has a Southwestern feel and almost seems like it doesn’t belong in that resort, but it is a thing of beauty if you’re a classic Mary Blair fan.

The rooms have the standard white duvet with furnishings in the brown family, with pops of lime green throughout.

How much does it cost?

As usual, we use a fictional family of four with 2 adults and  2 kids, ages six and nine.  We chose some random dates in August, this case, August 20 through August 26.  We give them five-day base tickets, no dining plan, and no Memory Maker photo package.

Garden wing room with Garden View – $4060.76

Tower  room with Bay Lake View – $5085.70

Tower room with Theme Park View – $5375.88

Club Level room with a Standard view – $6066.64

Club Level room with a Theme Park View – $6452.56

Bay Lake Tower Deluxe Studio room with a Standard view – $4675.04

Bay Lake Tower Deluxe Studio room with a Theme Park View- $5539.04

Bay Lake Tower One Bedroom Villa with a Standard view – $5653.82

Bay Lake Tower Two Bedroom Villa with a Lake view – $7930.80

Bay Lake Tower Two Bedroom Suite with Club Level Access – $15042.96

How does the Contemporary Resort rank on your list of favorite resorts?  Let us know in the comments!


Guest Blogger Michelle K.: The ABC’s and 123’s of Planning Your Disney Trip

You’ve decided to take a Walt Disney World vacation.  OH YEAH!!  If you are like me, it can seem a little overwhelming to start planning your vacation.  Not to fear though, you don’t have to have a Mousester or Ducktorate degree in all things Disney to plan a great trip!


The best option is to use a Disney expert travel agent to help guide your decision making Blog2to create a customized vacation just for you.  As a former cast member, even I love having the help and ease of using one.  (Huge shout-out to Tara McClure one of the DoleWhipped ladies and Disney travel planner; our last vacation was just perfect!)

Want to start planning yourself?  Great!  As a huge Disney fan (or fanatic per dear Husband), with numerous trips to the mouse house under our belt, I’d love to share the 8 steps we use for you to start planning you dream vacation at Walt Disney World.

1.    Call to request your free Walt Disney World planning DVD.  These are a great resource for planning your trip and bonus, they are fun for kiddos to watch in the car if you are making a road trip of it!

2.    Decide when you would like to go! A few considerations to picking the best dates:

  • Consider weather and crowd levels! Take a look at free crowd calendars available on the web; it is a great tool to help pick a week that may be less crowded than others.  Will you want to hit the fabulous pools at the resorts or at the Disney water parks?  If so, January or December weather might be iffy.  That being said, we took a February trip to Walt Disney World this year and swam at the resort or Blizzard Beach 5 out of 7 days.  Thank goodness for heated pools!


  • Want to time your vacation to take part in a special event? Throughout the year, Walt Disney World hosts different events, some are covered through basic tickets and Blog4others require a special ticket purchase.  These include Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, Star Wars and Princess Running events including marathon, half marathon, 5K and family fun run options, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, just to name a few!  We’ve attended the Halloween party twice and it was fantastic!  Everyone should try it once for the special Halloween treats, fireworks, parade, and trick or treating.



  • Consider dining and fast pass reservations. Dining reservations can be booked 180 days in advance; fast pass reservations can be booked 60 days in advance if staying at a WDW resort or 30 days in advance with your ticket.  Planning your trip a little further in advance makes it easier to secure hard to get reservations!  Not to fear though, booking last minute trips has worked for us too but did require a little more flexibility.

3.    Determine how long you want to stay! There is so much to do at Walt Disney World.  Walt Disney World has 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, the ESPN sports complex, 5 golf courses, 2 mini golf courses, multiple spas, boating recreation, and a dining and shopping area at Downtown Disney with enough activities to fill multiple days.

4.    Decide where you would like to stay! There are a lot of choices and the great news is that it becomes easy to narrow down what works best for your needs by thinking about a few questions.

  • How many of your posse are going on the trip? Some resorts have more room options for groups larger than 4 wanting to share a room.
  • What will be important to make the most of your time there? Are you looking for the most amazing pool or little kid water play area?  What is important to you regarding location, do you want to pick the resort in walking distance to your favorite park?
  • Lastly, what works best for your budget? Resorts are available at every price point; offsite, value, moderate, or deluxe are available with numerous options for each!


5.    Would you like Disney Dining? If you are staying on property (in one of the Disney World resorts) you are eligible for a prepaid dining plan.  Several web sites break down the different plans and offer helpful tips if you aren’t sure.  We’ve made trips with and without the plan and were equally happy with both.  We enjoyed getting to try so many different types of snacks and meals on the Dining plan, especially character meals and dining at Epcot (gelatos, sushi, and crepes, oh my!).  Also great was being able to order the most expensive meal on the menu in restaurants for table dining that was covered by the plan!  On the other hand, we also enjoyed the flexibly of bringing in our own lunches to eat wherever and whenever was convenient.

6.    Make your resort reservations and purchase your tickets! If staying onsite, make sureBlog7 to use a Disney travel expert.  Their services are free to you (score!); they are paid directly by Disney and all prices are identical to what you would get booking directly with WDW.  There is really only an upside to this as they provide expert advice, ideas, and guidance to make your vacation the best it can be.  If you would like to use the dining plan, make sure to book it with your room reservations.


7.    Book your dining reservations as soon as possible! There are so many fun, unusual, Blog8and yummy options.  If you don’t already have a few favorites in mind, try checking out on-line reviews and on-line menus to find great places to eat.  Also, consider if you would like a character meal while on vacation.  There is a large variety available with different characters and menu options (everything from standard breakfast fare to African to Norwegian!)   Don’t worry if you can’t get all of your top reservations at first.  For each trip, I was able to get every restaurant, even the hard to get ones like Ohana and Crystal Palace that we wanted by checking availability a few times a day for several weeks and being flexible with meal times.


Blog98.    Lastly, book your fast pass choices as soon as possible. Choosing fast passes to your favorite attractions early helps ensure you get the times and choices you want!



Now sit back and get your Disney vacation count down calendar ready – You’ve got a great vacation to look forward to!

Podcast Episode 93: 2016 Summer Disney News

Listen in for news on what’s happening around WDW this summer!  We cover the new shows, new attractions, attraction reopenings and the refurbishments you can expect for the 2016 summer season.

Happy listening!

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Epcot for Adults

Have you ever heard that Disney is for kids or that people are going to Disney for their kids?   We at Dole Whipped could not agree less with this.   Disney vacations are for everyone!  For this article I am going to tell you why Epcot is for adults, what you can enjoy while visiting this amazing park.

Let’s start with the best of the best: Drinking Around the World!  Those over the age of 21 can enjoy beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks from eleven countries.  Check out our information on this subject: Blog and the Podcast.

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If you drinks aren’t your thing maybe Snacking Around the World is an option!  This is a fantastic option with a group of friends so you all get a little taste of everything!  Check out our articles here for ideas.

Another great option for adults are the movies that play in the pavilions of the World Showcase.  France, Canada, and China all have Circle Vision 360 films featuring landmarks and places of interest in these countries.  The films are fairly short and very well done and perfect for adults to enjoy.

Future World also has many great attractions and I won’t list them all, but those that adults may find most fun are Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, Living with the Land, Test Track, and Mission Space.


Dining in Epcot is a dream! There are so many choices for the adventurous eaters, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Mexican, Norwegian, seafood, and steakhouse.  There are of course some character dining options but if you are looking to avoid this there are plenty of choices in Epcot.  Just be sure to make your advanced dining reservations.


Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party is a great activity for adults!  You get drinks and desserts and a lovely view of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.  You can read all about it!

Seasonally there is the Flower and Garden Festival.  There are the concerts, gardening seminars, playgrounds for kids, amazing gardens and topiaries, butterfly house, and food booths called Outdoor Kitchens.


Like Flower & Garden there is the Food & Wine Festival.  Included with this are the Eat to the Beat Concerts, cooking and mixology classes and seminars, as well as food and drink booths from around the world.

Epcot really is a park for everyone!  Check out my articles on Epcot for Kids, Epcot for Preschoolers.