Archive for March, 2009

Is Free Dining going to be announced soon for Walt Disney World?

Have you heard the rumors?   There seems to be indicators that Disney will release a Free Dining Promotion for Walt Disney World Resort on or around March 30th.  The chatter is that the free dining promotion will apply to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel between August 15 – September 30th.    Please remember that these are rumors – we won’t know anything for certain until Disney makes an official announcement. 

In years past, Disney Visa Card holders were able to book this promotion a few days prior to it becoming available to the general public. 

In the past, you had to book a package to recieve free dining.   A package includes a stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel and at least one day tickets.

Please contact us right away if you are interested in booking a Disney vacation during free dining.  We’ll be on the phone with Disney as soon as their reservation lines open to make reservations.

There are usually a limited number of these packages available and certain locations always fill more quickly than others.  The Polynesian and Contemporary deluxe resorts are always quick to fill and Disney’s Pop Century hotel is always the value resort that fills first.     Among the moderate resorts, Coronado Springs is now booking quickly because the resort has changed to queen sized beds – the other moderate resorts still have double beds.  Port Orleans Riverside is the most reasonably priced resort that can accomodate a family of five.  

This year will be a little different than recent years because dining can now only be booked 90 days prior to arrival.   This is important information to keep in mind.   People are watching for the Free Dining Promotion and they’ll have reservations in hand when May and June roll around and they’re eligible to book their dining.  We are going to see certain reservations completely fill on the first day that they can be booked.  Fantasmic Dinner Packages at Hollywood & Vine and Mama Melrose will be the first to go.  Disney princess meals at Cinderella’s Royal Table and the “Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner” at 1900 Park Fare will also book quickly.  LeCellier at Epcot is always popular.  Because there are not a lot of restaurants on the dining plan at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, expect  Donald’s Breakfast Safari at Tusker House and Yak & Yeti to book quickly.   Dinner at Ohana (Polynesian Resort) and Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge) are always popular,

Character meals at Chef Mickey (Contemporary Resort) or  Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom) are also popular.  Remember that Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom) no longer has characters.

If you know your travel dates and want us to put a room on hold as soon as free dining is released, please fill out the form at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/quoterequest.php   I will need the names of everyone in your party, and the ages of the kids, in order to make the reservation. 

Please feel free to contact us when any questions.

Thank you,

Annette

Build A Better Mouse Trip
Toll free: 877-815-6515
http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com

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March 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

New Addition to the March list of ride closures at Walt Disney World

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – will not be offered on March 14 and 15 due to Cheer and Dance Championships. (Disney’s Hollywood Studios).

 

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If the Spring Break crowds get to be too much for you, consider heading over to the Campfire Sing-Along with Chip & Dale and the Outdoor Movie (both free) at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  This is open to all Disney guests, not just those staying at the campground.  If you’re using the Disney bus systems, take the bus to the Magic Kingdom and then catch the boat to the Fort Wilderness Campground (reverse this to return to your resort). 

7:30pm – Fire lighting and S’Mores (S’mores Kits sold at the concession stand)
8:00pm – Campfire Sing-A-Long with Chip -n- Dale
8:40pm – The Movie Starts

 

For more information on the Fort Wilderness Campfire Sing-Along with Chip & Dale see: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/activity-campfire.php

 

For the March movie schedule at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground see:http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/activity-outdoormovie.php#fort  

For custom touring plans to keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines, see: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/freetouringplans.php

March 10, 2009 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

Does the Walt Disney World Dining Plan Save Any Money?

I took meals from three days and ran some comparisons to show whether the Disney Standard (Plus) dining plan is a good value or not.  I tried to be very moderate in my selections:  mid-range entrees, desserts, etc.   Even though you can select a snack up to $4, I used $2.79 & $3.00.  I did not include sales tax. 

Counter-service meals are all comparably priced.  I purposely chose to use the table service credits at one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner just to show how that affects the value of the dining plan.

When using the dining plan, I typically discourage using table-service/ full service restaurant credits for breakfasts in favor of lunch or dinner.  This is for two reasons:

  1. Breakfasts are the least expensive meal of the day so you get a better value using your dining credits for a lunch or dinner.  
  2. Morning is when the parks are the least crowded so I have to have you in a restaurant during low crowds and then out in the park when crowds are at their peak – I’d rather reverse this. 

The Child’s Meal plan is for children between the ages 3 – 9 years.  They must order from the children’s menus except in buffets or where meals are served “family style” so we always encourage our clients to book some of these to give the kids a break from kids meals.  Children age 10 or older are considered adults.

Cost of the Disney standard (plus) dining plan:  $39.99 per Adult / $10.99 per child per night of stay.   The dining plan is only available as part of a Magic Your Way Package for guest staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel.

Sample Day One:

Adult Lunch at Columbia Harbour House (Counter-Service at Magic Kingdom)
Anchors Aweigh sandwich:  $6.99
Soda:  $2.09
Apple Crisp: $3.59
Total: $12.67

 Children’s meal at Columbia Harbour House: $4.49

 Character Dinner at Crystal Palace
Adult meal:  $28.99
Child’s Meal:  $13.99

 + one snack per person, approx. $2.79 each.

Adult Daily total: $44.45
Dining plan value: +4.46

Child’s total:  $21.27
Dining plan value: +10.28

 Sample Day two:

Character Breakfast at Donald’s Breakfast Safari (Tusker House Restaurant  – Animal Kingdom):  Adult: $18.99 / Child: $10.99

Adult Lunch at Pizzafari (Counter Service – Animal Kingdom)
Chicken Parmesan Sandwich:  $7.19
Soda:  $2.09
Frozen Lemonade: $2.99
Total: $12.27

Children’s meal at Pizzafari: $4.49

+ one snack per person, approx. $3.00

Adult Total price: $34.98
Dining plan value:  – 5.01

Child’s total:  $18.98
Dining plan value: +7.99

 Sample Day Three: 

Adult Lunch at Coral Reef (Epcot): 
Grilled Chicken Breast with roasted parsnips:  $20.99
Lemonade:  $2.09
(Dessert) Tropical Fruit Mango Sorbet: $7.99
Meal total : $31.07

Child’s meal at Coral Reef (Epcot):  $7.59

Dinner at Yakitori House (Counter Service / Japan Pavilion – Epcot)
Chicken Ginger Salad:  $7.49
Soda:  $2.09
Ginger Cake: $3.99
Total: $13.57

Children’s meal at Yakitori House: $5.99

+ one snack per person, approx. $3.00

Adult Total price: $47.64
Dining plan value:  +7.65

Child’s total:  $16.58
Dining plan value: +5.59

 Three-Day Summary:  

Adult (or child age 10 or older) 3-Day Savings Using the Dining Plan:  $7.10
Child (Age 3 – 9)  3-Day Savings Using the Dining Plan:  $23.86

Notes: 

  • The dining plan many not be a good choice if you don’t think you’ll enjoy the desserts or your family always orders water. 
  • Even if the dining plan isn’t a huge savings, many people like the convenience of knowing exactly what to budget for dining. 
  • The dining plan is honored at over 100 Disney theme park and resort restaurants.  
  • Many of the Downtown Disney restaurants are not Disney-owned and may or may not participate in the dining plan.  Rainforest Cafe does not participate in the dining plan.
  • There are a few restaurants that are “Signature Dining Experiences” and require two table service credits per meal.  Most restaurants –  including most character meals – only require one table service credit per meal.  

March 3, 2009 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment


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