Thursday, April 28, 2011

Free Dining. Well, kinda.

From my good friends at MouseMisers ... Disney has released the Free Dining package to the Disney Visa cardholders.  It'll be available to the general public next week (May 2).  Here's this year's offer, valid for stays from August 28 - September 24:

  • You must book at least a three night stay, and your stay cannot be longer than 14 nights
  • You must include at least a two day Magic Your Way base ticket
  • You must pay your $200 per room deposit at time of booking, you cannot “hold” a reservation
Values get the Quick Service plan (all counter service places), and Moderates / Deluxes / Deluxe Villas get the regular Dining Plan.  No suites are included in this (except the All-Star Family Suites).  You also must pre-purchase a PhotoPass CD to get this price ($100).

Ordinarily, I would just zip my lips and be happy with what I'm offered.  But this time, I don't have to.  Why, you ask? Because this doesn't apply to us.  We arrive on September 28.

I'm not a big fan of this offering.  I know that Disney has said that they're going to "wean the public off of discounts".  Well, that's all fine and dandy, except for the fact that air prices have went up considerably.  And I don't know about you ... but gas is $4.16 here in Columbus, Ohio (which means I pay $4.36 or higher since I have to put premium in my car).  Not exactly a good time to start eliminating discounts.

 Not to mention that, for a family of four like mine (three Disney adults and one Disney kid), the addition of the PhotoPass CD reduces the savings from $900 to $800.  Actually, for my family, it adds about $75 to our tab because I always participate (usually lead) a PhotoPass share.  Our own CD isn't something we'd have bought, so that's an added expense.  And all this whining is for absolute NAUGHT, since the dates don't include ours anyhow.  :)

I'll be interested to see how this one pans out for Disney.  I don't know that it'll be as big of a deal as it historically has been, and I think requiring the PhotoPass purchase is an interesting twist on the "value added" concept.

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's The Little Things.

Recently, I read a fabulous post over at WDW Fan Zone. I commented about it a little bit on a previous post, but wanted to delve more deeply into its contents now that I have time.  It outlined some of the great things that you can do to add some "pixie dust" (also known as "that Disney magic") to your vacation.  Lynn gave some fabulous advice - go check out the article HERE.

Adding to Lynn's list, I'd like to add a few of my own.  Some are at no additional cost, and some are a bit extra.  All, in my opinion, are worth the effort.  And now, I'll share my ideas ... in no particular order.

That pre-rope-drop breakfast.  This is one of my daughter's FAVORITE things.  There's nothing quite like waltzing past the growing crowds at the gate to the Magic Kingdom, scanning through the turnstile, and dancing like idiots on an an empty Main Street USA.  If you're there early enough, you'll even meet the Mayor!

The Wishes Dessert Party.  Held on the Tomorrowland Terrace, the location is king (or queen) here.  The desserts are good, and they are plentiful.  But if you can spare the $25ish for adults and $15ish for the kiddies ... do this.  It's an exhilarating feeling, just watching Tink fly right over your head.  Plus, not having to waste valuable touring time to stake out a fireworks viewing spot?  Worth every penny.

Resort Hopping.  Very few people really truly appreciate the resorts around The Walt Disney World complex.  Take some time out of your trip to walk through some of the other resorts.  Now, don't go using their pool ... that's not allowed.  I'm talking about walking around the grounds at the Grand Floridian to see the landscaping.  Tour the beautiful French Quarter area of Port Orleans.  Go over to Pop Century and have a meal in their food court ... it's the best one, I think. 

Don't Just Ride ... Crawl.  One of the best bits of advice I've gotten is to try a "crawl".  Get on the monorail, and stop at every resort (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian).  Check out their bars, and try the signature drink at each.  Just make sure that you have a safe way to get back to your room ... I can give you first-hand advice that the Lapu-Lapu is Hawaiian for "knocks you on your arse".

Until next time ... enjoy your day!


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