Dining

Ask It: Should Disney Post Calorie Counts?

by on August 9, 2017

I’ve been told many, many times that Disney food is calorie free and/or calories don’t count when you’re on vacation. No matter how often I repeat that mantra, when I get home, the scale doesn’t seem to agree. Many people believe that posting calorie counts can help diners make better choices, or at the very least more informed choices. But do you really want to know just how many hours on the treadmill you’ll have to spend for every Disney meal?

This week’s question is:

Should Disney post calorie counts on their menus?

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Voting is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your results next week. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments as well.

 

Walt Disney World Offering Dining Discounts at Many Restaurants

by on August 8, 2017

Walt Disney World

Olivia Cafe’s Scallops ©Rikki Niblett

Disney really wants you to eat at its Walt Disney World resort hotel restaurants. How do I know? Well, lately they’ve been offering a lot of special discounts and offers geared to entice Guests to many dining establishments.

The most recent of which is for Florida residents. To encourage Guests to dine at a few select signature restaurants, Jiko, Citricos, and Artist Point, Disney will be offering Florida residents a complimentary appetizer with each adult entree that’s purchased. This offer is only valid during dinner. In addition, Guests who are Florida residents who dine at these three restaurants will receive free valet parking. This limited time offer is only available through September 30.

That’s not the only recent discount though that the Walt Disney World Resort is offering. For those who missed it, some of the most popular table-service restaurants at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels have added an extra discount for both Disney Vacation Club Members, as well as Annual Passholders.  Guests will be able to receive a 30% discount only during dinner and only before 6:30 p.m. or after 8:30 p.m. There is also a similar 30% discount available for Tables in Wonderland members. The restaurants offering these discounts include:

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever, July 27, 2017: Olivia’s and Christmas in July!

by on July 27, 2017

Hello, friends! Thanks for joining us for another Best Week Ever. This week is not one to read if you’re feeling hungry, because we’re visiting Olivia’s Cafe for a scrumptious breakfast. After that we’re checking out Christmas in July at Disney Springs and maybe even showing off some new Dooney & Bourke patterns. Let’s get going!

When we were hunting restaurants to feature I realized that I hadn’t visited Olivia’s at Disney’s Old Key West Resort in several years. I had very fond memories of this dining spot, so I had high expectations. I was surprised how crowded the resort was at 9am. We would have had a very tough time finding a parking spot an hour later. We were scrambling a bit to make our reservation, but arrived just in time.

At the podium we were seated quickly and found the dining room to be quiet. However, there were several people waiting. It seems like this is a spot you can get into without a reservation, but it’s much faster if you book online. There are several dining rooms and we were seated in a smaller one pictured below. All those frames contain guest photos, mostly from the 90s. I immediately felt at home and settled in for our meal.

Don’t you want to see our fancy breakfast? Click below to read more from our adventure this week! 🙂

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Best Ice Cream in Walt Disney World

by on July 24, 2017

Just in time to cool off in the summer heat, I’m back to rank the top ten best ice cream offerings in Walt Disney World! This may be my most divisive list yet – everyone’s got their sentimental favorites when it comes to this tasty treat. Check out my rankings to see where your favorites fall!

Best Ice Cream in Disney World

 

10. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Disney Springs)

A longtime staple of Downtown Disney and now Disney Springs, the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain offers overflowing sundaes, floats, scoops, and cups of several flavors of ice cream, complete with specialty chocolate treats like decadent brownies and cookies, or milk and dark chocolate hot fudge. Lines here are often long, but for a picture-perfect classic sundae, chock-full of chocolate, it’s hard to resist.

  1. Vivoli il GelatoVivoli il Gelato (Disney Springs)

World-famous gelato, straight from Italy… What more can you ask for on a hot day in the middle of central Florida? With tons of flavors and serving options (cups, cones, shakes, and even tasty espresso-soaked gelato called affogato), Vivoli il Gelato is the perfect stop in The Landing for a sweet treat.

  1. Landscape of Flavors (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort)

Gelato from Landscape of FlavorsHidden in a corner of the Art of Animation food court lies a secret stash of sweetness – a small selection of gelato and toppings is available on a rotating basis in the cold counter just next to the refrigerated grab-and-go food section of Landscape of Flavors. Cast Members will scoop and top your selection for you, and while it’s a smaller flavor selection (usually only four or five a day) than most other ice cream locations around Walt Disney World, the flavor and texture of the gelato here is perfect, plus, bonus: toppings!

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Ask A Travel Agent: What Happens When Free Dining Is Released?

by on July 17, 2017

We are truly lucky to get know some fantastic travel agents through our work here at TouringPlans. When the latest Disney Free Dining promotion was released, we heard stories from many of our friends in the industry about how busy Disney’s reservation systems were that day. That got us thinking: what’s it really like for a travel agent on the day a big promotion is released. Here’s one anonymous agent’s story:

Free Dining.

Two simple, innocuous little words that put together have created a cult-like response in the Disney community. Over the years, they’ve also created a bit of a sense of dread in the hearts of Disney-focused travel agents. Allow me to share with you what free dining is really like for a TA.

Years ago, free dining was a different beast. From the first release in 2005, popularity grew and grew, and as it grew the scope of requirements increased (like minimum ticket requirements), availability decreased (more date and resort blackouts), but guests were as starved as ever for this promotion. It was becoming somewhat of a holy grail, a unicorn if you will, for Disney vacationers. And TAs became Unicorn Hunters. And a vicious hunt it has become.

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever, July 6, 2017: Goodbye DisneyQuest and Hello Chef Mickey’s

by on July 6, 2017

Hello, friends! I’m so glad you’re here for another Best Week Ever. 🙂 This week we’ll be saying goodbye to DisneyQuest and saying hello to a pretty fantastic meal at Chef Mickey’s. So let’s get started by walking into DisneyQuest for the last time. I’m sure everyone is aware that DisneyQuest closed their doors on July 2, 2017, but we visited just a few days prior so you wouldn’t miss out. Just inside the front door you would get a glimpse of what this place was like in its heyday. Looking up was this beautiful roof held up by busts of characters.

Looking down you’d see this amazing floor mural advertising the different areas of DisneyQuest. If you can believe it, this is what you would see before even scanning your ticket for admission. Just ahead is where you would scan tickets and take an elevator upstairs. Many years ago the elevators would play a surprise welcome message from Genie on a video wall, but that hadn’t worked for quite a while. It was one of many things that wasn’t replaced over the years when it stopped working.

We’re about to hop onto the elevators and visit DisneyQuest. You don’t want to miss that! Click to read more.

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#AskIt Results: Disney Dining Plan – Now With Alcohol

by on July 5, 2017

Anyone remember the good old days when the Disney Dining Plan was affordable and included an appetizer, entrée, and dessert? At one time, the Disney Dining Plan was a decent (albeit never great) option for convenience when dining at Walt Disney World. Over the years, the price of the Disney Dining Plan has increased, and what you got for the price has decreased. Different variations have appeared in an attempt to try and convince people that it is a value, or at least not a waste of money, but overall it seems that interest in the Disney Dining Plan has declined, except when rumors of “free” dining start to swirl around.

This year, an in attempt to bring more people back to the Disney Dining Plan fold, alcohol and specialty beverages are now being included in the (increased) Disney Dining Plan price. So we asked you:

Are you more or less likely to purchase the Disney Dining Plan now that it includes specialty beverages?

 

Here’s your results:

 

  • Less Likely: 279 (22%)

  • More Likely: 332 (26%)

  • Neutral: 658 (52%)

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#AskIt: Disney Dining Plan – Now With Alcohol!

by on June 28, 2017

Last week, the trip-planning world was abuzz with the news that Disney has made some changes to its dining plan options for 2018. Usually the news this time of year is just another price hike (though we did see that too), but the big news was that dining plan meal credits now include specialty beverages. Yes, even alcoholic ones.

You can read up on the ins and outs here, but we have one question:

Are you more or less likely to purchase the Disney Dining Plan now that it includes specialty beverages?

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Review of Breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen in Disneyland Hotel

by on June 22, 2017

It’s the morning on your last day of your trip to Disneyland Resort. You still have several characters you need to meet so you can complete you Disney character checklist. The problem is you also need a place to stuff your face with ungodly amounts of unlimited food before you return to your soul crushing job the next day. This restaurant may be for you. Here’s my review of breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen in Disneyland Hotel.

When you check in you will be required to pay upfront. Before the shock of $36 per adult and $21 per child can hit you, a cast member will inform you it is time to meet Goofy. He’s decked out in appropriate attire, as are the rest of the characters you will meet later (Minnie Mouse is the dessert chef, Chip & Dale are dressed as waiters, etc). Goofy thankfully doesn’t show any signs of stress and pressure of owning a busy and successful restaurant. He is as fun and playful as he would be if you met him in the parks. At some point in your meal you will be given the option of buying expensive picture packages of your meet and greet with Goofy. I noticed most people politely decline this offer, as did my group due to the $20+ charge.

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Disney Dining Plan Updated – Now With Alcohol

by on June 20, 2017

There are big changes coming to the Disney Dining Plan in 2018. Beginning in January, the Dining Plan will include entitlements for specialty drinks and … drum roll please … alcoholic beverages.

Will you now get a mimosa with your character breakfast?

As in previous years, there will be three versions of the Dining Plan: Quick Service Plan (QS), Standard Disney Dining Plan (DDP), Deluxe Disney Dining Plan (Deluxe DDP). With all versions of the plan, guests under age 21 may choose one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests over 21 may choose either one single serving non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single serving beer, wine, or cocktail (where offered) within their meal entitlement.

Examples of single serving non-alcoholic beverages include artisanal milkshakes, fresh smoothies, premium hot chocolates, and the standard soda, coffee, or tea.

Examples of single serving alcoholic beverages include beer, hard cider, wine, sangria, mixed drinks, and specialty cocktails. Disney notes that most beer, wine and mixed drink beverages are included, but some exceptions apply. Not surprisingly, guests must be age 21 and over and present valid ID to be served alcohol.

Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with quick-service or table-service meal entitlements. This means that you won’t be able to make a margarita your snack; you have to get it with a meal.

So the big question is … What’s this going to cost? Well, you guessed it, prices are going up. For adults:

  • The Quick Service Plan will be $52.49, up from $48.19 in 2017
  • The Standard Disney Dining Plan will be $75.59, up from $69.35 in 2017
  • The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan will be $116.24, up from $106.68 in 2017

As before, those prices are per person, per night of your stay at a Walt Disney World owned resort hotel. As a reminder, in addition to these new specialty and alcoholic beverage entitlements, the dining plans include:

Quick Service

  • 2 Quick-Service Meal Credits (Entree and non-alcoholic beverage; or combo meal)
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

Disney Dining Plan

  • 1 Table-Service Meal Credit (Entree, Dessert, and Non-Alcoholic Beverage; or full buffet)
  • 1 Quick-Service Meal Credit
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 Meal Credits of your choice (can be used as either Quick-Service or Table-Service)
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

The addition of alcohol is most cost effective for guests using the Quick Service plan. With only a $4.30 price increase, this means that if you typically buy one alcoholic beverage with your QS Plan, then you’re saving money over the typical cost of $6-8 for beer or wine, or more for mixed or specialty alcoholic drinks. Deluxe Plan purchasers will effectively be paying $9.56 for the same drink, much closer to, and possibly over the list price of the beverage.

[EDIT: I initially wrote this with the assumption that there would be one alcohol credit per day. Readers have pointed out that the plan likely includes one alcohol credit per meal. This would mean guests on the QS and standard plans could have two drinks per day, and guests on the deluxe plan could have three drinks per day, all at the cost of about $2.00 per drink. That’s a lot of cheap booze, and perhaps a dangerous amount of free booze for some people.]

We’re anxious to see details of how the plan will be implemented, and we’re sure there will be some hiccups in the initial weeks of service as food service cast members and guests both become acclimated to the rules (and the exceptions to the rules) of this new Dining Plan configuration.

In the meantime, we have questions:

  • Will teetotalers now be less inclined to purchase the plan?
  • Will calorie conscious guests now be less inclined to purchase the plan?
  • Will service times slow down as more guests need bar items?
  • Will the quick service venues in the Magic Kingdom begin to serve alcohol?
  • How much will Disney try to upsell second alcoholic drinks?
  • Does Disney think that if guests consume more alcohol, they’ll loosen their purse strings and spend more on souvenirs or other items?
  • Will international guests purchasing the plan understand that they’re increasing their cost for gratuities?
  • Will more guests want breakfast cocktails?
  • Will more guests be consuming more alcohol overall, changing the general mood in the parks?

We won’t know the answers to many of these questions until next year, but we’re sure there will be much speculation in the meantime.

What issues does this new Dining Plan configuration raise for you? Let us know in the comments below.