Podcast Episode 108: Is It Worth It?

In this week’s episode we explore some popular dining and attraction options at Walt Disney World and give you our opinions on whether or not we think they are worth experiencing.

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 105: Perfect Pirate Day

If you’ve got a pirate fan in your family, you’ll want to listen this week!  We give you the low down on all the pirate activities and fun you can find at Walt Disney World.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can find where we discussed how to have a Perfect Princess Day back on Episode 88.

Happy listening!

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Is It Worth it?

As a travel agent I get this question pretty frequently, and you may be surprised on what topics this question is asked.   These are my opinions on whether something is worth doing at Walt Disney World.  These are going to be my opinion but my opinion is also based on personal experience as well as data gathered from former clients.


Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: At least once, especially if you have a kid who is crazy about princesses.  I would highly recommend if you are going to drop the cash you will want a reservation at Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.  The packages can be pretty pricey so to save, bring your own costume and accessories instead of purchasing the full package.


Pirates League: This is very much worth it!  It is a great value and a fun experience for boys and girls.  In fact unlike Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, adults can also get a makeover here too!  They have pirate and mermaid choices and it is a really good value in comparison.


Getting Up Early: YES!  I cannot say yes enough.  The parks are least busy when they first open.  You also get to see some neat stuff like the Welcome Show at the Magic Kingdom.  How can you possibly be the family of the day if you are sleeping all morning?  Some restaurants even offer early breakfast reservations inside the parks which means you have beat the crowds inside the parks.  Go ahead and take that afternoon nap now, you deserve it.


To Try ______ Attraction: Well this is a no-brainer, yes!  You should absolutely try any attraction, ride or show at least once unless you have a medical condition in which it is advised against.  You may never know when you find your new favorite!


Park Hopper Tickets:  In most cases, yes.  This ticket makes your vacation so flexible.  It can be a little work bouncing from park to park but if you are like a lot of people and find Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom to be half day parks this ticket option gives you the chance to save the rest of your day by hopping over to another park.  If you are traveling with really young children it might not be worth the hassle.  But if you are traveling with teens or adults only it is so worth the splurge.  I have travelled with and without the Park Hopper and I will absolutely give up a character meal before I give up with Park Hopper!


Party Tickets: Yes, especially if you do not have park tickets for that day.  You can enter the Magic Kingdom at 4pm on the party days even when the party doesn’t start until 7pm.  You get special parades and firework shows, extra treats and character meet and greets.  The parks are less crowded as well so you can get on your favorites rides with a minimal wait time!

Refillable Mugs: Yes, but you have to do the math!  So as of 2016 the mugs are $17.  Say you are staying 5 days it would be $3.40 per day, plus you keep the mug.  For me this is very much worth it.  I drink coffee or iced tea in the morning so I would fill up each morning before going to the parks.  Then on an afternoon break I will fill up with Powerade, lemonade or more iced tea.  Then in the evening before bed I’m loading up on more water or Powerade.  Some quick math tells me that I am coming out ahead plus I have a cute souvenir cup to take home!


Cinderella’s Royal Table:  Not really a good value.  This restaurant located inside Cinderella Castle is a character meal that will run you about $60 a person or 2 Table Service credits.  While you cannot beat the location or atmosphere there are other really great choices for princess character dining (Akershus, 1900 Park Fare) that won’t cost as much and the food is really good.  If you were planning to do this as a special treat or celebration then it may be worth it to do once.


The Dining Plan: Yes, if used correctly!  The dining plan can absolutely save you money if you plan your meals correctly to get the best value.  If you split meals a lot or routinely order something that isn’t an entrée they no, it may not be worth it.  If you like to go on vacation knowing it is all paid for then this is very helpful, no Disney food sticker shock either.  So how do you figure out if it is worth getting?  You will have to do a bit of work checking menu prices and then figuring out if what you would order for each meal plus 2 snacks and if you would use the refillable mug (drinks start at about $3) and then look at the cost per day of the dining plan.


Preferred Rooms: Yes, a thousand times yes! Want to save yourself some walking at the beginning and end of the day?  How about saving yourself a long trip to the pool or food court?  Taking kids to Walt Disney World?  Then get a preferred room, it is worth the price difference from a standard, especially at the Value resorts.


Club Level: This is a it depends.  If you are already on the dining plan it may not be worth it, but if you are looking for a way to plus up a vacation with a great room that has snacks provided a couple times a day plus free drinks?  Then yeah you will want to look at it.  The big seller is that it includes some beers and wine as well as bottled water.  You could make breakfast out of the offerings.  There are also midday snacks offered and hot appetizers in the evenings and desserts in the late evenings!  This can be a fantastic value!  Check out Tara’s Club Level series here for specific resort information.


T-Shirts, Misting Fans, Glowing Trinkets: Nope, save yourself a lot of big bucks and pick up these things prior to going on vacation.  You can find misting fans and the cheap glowing, spinning toys at pretty much any dollar store, Walgreens, Walmart stores for about ¼ of the price.  The same could be said for the shirts you can purchase at Walt Disney World.  Your basic Tshirt will set you back about $25.  Go ahead and check out with Disney Store online, Target, Walmart, Forever 21, Torrid, Hot Topic, H & M, and Etsy just to name a few.


A Perfectly Pirate Day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

With the long-awaited reopening of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom I started thinking about all the fun stuff a pirate fan can do there! If you’re into pirates here is how you can enjoy a perfectly pirate day.

First up you’ll need to dress the part! At Pirate’s League you’ll undergo a pirate makeover including face paint, an earring, an eyepatch, bandana, sword and more! You’ll also be given an official pirate name and instruction on how to talk (and walk!) like a pirate. Unlike the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Pirate’s League welcomes adult guests as well as children over the age of 3. Packages range from $34.95 to $79.95.

Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney World website

Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney World website

Next up (and maybe most importantly!) is a visit to the newly refurbished Pirate’s of the Caribbean ride. This quintessential pirate experience spawned a movie series and is a must do for any pirate fan. In fact, the 5th film in this franchise is due in 2017. Yo ho, Yo ho!

For a fun interactive pirate experience you should try A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas. This treasure hunt features five different quests (with 3-5 stops on each quest) and you can choose to do just one, all five or any number in between. You’ll follow a paper map to lead you to a treasure, and if you find 5 you’ll be welcomed in to Captain Jack’s crew! Each quest takes about 15 minutes and can be done at your leisure. A Pirate’s Adventure is a lot of fun, and a nice change of pace from the regular rides. A must do!

Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial is a show that features volunteers who would like to learn the art of sword fighting and other pirate-y arts. Be sure to check the Times Guide so you don’t miss your opportunity! Catch a video of the performance here on YouTube.

Want to catch a glimpse of another famous pirate? Take a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight where you’ll see Captain Hook in all his glory!

A great way to cap off your pirate filled day is actually located just outside the Magic Kingdom on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Departing from the Contemporary Resort is a very special Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage featuring a visit from Captain Hook and Smee. The cost is $69 for adults and $41 for children (at time of this blog’s publication) and features drinks and snacks on this cruise navigated by your pirate captain Patch. Featuring tall tales and sea shanties your journey will be capped off with a view of the Wishes fireworks show that is rivaled by little else. Weather permitting you’ll also be able to see the Electrical Water Pageant. The voyage is topped off by a visit from a special secret guest. What a way to end your perfectly pirate day!

Is this just not enough pirate for you? Well, the true pirate super fans might consider staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort which features fully pirate themed rooms. Contact your Travel Agent for more info


Photo courtesy Walt Disney World website