Drinking

#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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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.

The SATURDAY SIX Goes “Drinking Around The World” at Epcot

by on June 10, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX Goes “Drinking Around The World” at Epcot! Longtime SATURDAY SIX readers know we enjoy an adult drink or two on our theme park vacations. We’ve done articles on the best bars and lounges at the WDW resorts, the best theme park bars, and even Must Try individual drinks such as the Lapu Lapu, Swedish Fish, and the Nautilus. We’ve talked about popular bar crawls among property; in fact we created the worst one of all time with the Disney Value Resorts Bar Crawl. Today we are going to look at what is probably the most popular drinking “game” across all property, Drinking Around The World. It takes place in Epcot’s World Showcase, and features some of the greatest – and most unique – drinks you can get at The World. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite stops while we drink around the world, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Japan

One of our favorites stops for a cool down in Epcot is over at Kabuki Cafe in Japan. Their signature Kakigori can be a lifesaver during a Florida summer. However last year the Kabuki Cafe started offering alcoholic versions of these shaved ice treats with the Sake Mists. Available in blood orange, pineapple coconut, and blackberry flavors, the drinks are served in pretty large cups (by Disney standards) so it’s not only a refreshing drink, but one you can share.

When it comes to sake at WDW, you also have to make a trip into Teppan Edo. Come for the entertaining chefs slicing and dicing your meal in front of you, stay for the sake flights, and swordfish. Pace yourself though, because a couple too many drinks in Japan may lead you to buying some rather strange items at the Mitsukoshi Department Store (in our defense, you can never have too many personal massagers.)

Blood Orange Sake Mist. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Sake flight at Teppan Edo. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Disney Bar Crawls (That AREN’T “Drinking Around the World!”)

by on March 13, 2017

Disney Bar Crawls that aren'r drinking around the world

Bar crawl at Walt Disney World! If you’re this author or one of many of our loyal readers, this may sound like a perfect or even a dream scenario. For others, it might elicit chuckles and sly comments about the duties of parenting children. But a bar crawl at Walt Disney World is certainly a feasible idea for Orlando area locals or those looking for an out-of-the-box destination bachelor party or adults-only night on vacation.

When you set your mind to something along the lines of a Walt Disney World bachelor party (or bachelorette party for that matter…this article is only written from a male perspective because I am one, you can apply any of these scenarios to a female maneuver) your mind likely turns to the one place in the World where drunken revelry is not only not out of place but borderline encouraged: Epcot. “Drinking Around the World” is an unofficial attraction at Walt Disney World these days and with specialized drinking “passports” available for purchase on Etsy and at least one yahoo passed out in the World Showcases bushes nightly, it’s the first thing that probably pops into your mind when you consider an adults-only Disney World excursion. But I think we can all push past this cliche and consider a few other options that are just as good.

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A Guide to Souvenir Mugs at Disney

by on February 15, 2017

In recent years it has become an unwritten rule that whenever a new restaurant opens at Walt Disney World a souvenir mug must be created for purchase. This also seems to go for new shows and attractions. The amount of souvenirs all throughout Walt Disney World is staggering. Disney souvenir mugs are a great way to have a practical souvenir that you’re sure to use once you are back home.

Let’s take a look at all the different souvenir mugs available through Walt Disney World. You can decide which ones you must have and plan room in your budget for these little treasures, and make sure to fit obtaining them into your schedule.

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 MUST TRY Drinks at Walt Disney World

by on February 11, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six MUST TRY Drinks at Walt Disney World! Time to let the kiddos watch PJ Masks or the Lion Guard for a bit so us adults can have a brief moment to ourselves. Yes, we enjoy the great attractions, shows, and hotels at Walt Disney World but one thing we love are the drinks. To paraphrase Homer J Simpson, alcohol can (seemingly) make all the stress in the world disappear, and also make good times even better! While many WDW bars may have the “standard bar menu” with the same ol’ same ol’, there are a lot of truly fantastic drinks to be found. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite Must Try drinks at WDW, focusing on originality and creativity of the cocktails. Let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Seven Seas Lagoon (The Wave)

You may want to pack an insulin pump if you plan on heading to The Wave… Of America Flavors for this behemoth, because it is SWEET. While this 24 ounce drink only contains about 4 ounces of alcohol (Skyy vodka and Parrot Bay coconut rum), its presentation is off the charts! The glow cube inside the drink really makes the blue “water” pop, and swimming on top are Swedish fish. The best little touch of all may be the fun candy “life preservers” put on each Mickey straw.

Seven Seas Lagoon. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Fish being added to the Seven Seas Lagoon. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 5  – Nautilus (Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto)

Served in an amazing souvenir bowl with the form of the Nautilus from Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this is another drink meant to be shared, as you could possibly be seeing a giant squid outside in the Seven Seas Lagoon if you tried to go it alone. The entire room of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto transforms when a Nautilus is ordered and even the servers get in on the fun. Lighting effects make the room appear as if you are going under water, audio plays orders from the Nautilus captain, and there are several  physical effects happening across the Grotto (keep your head on a swivel).  The Nautilus is an E-Ticket drink in an E-Ticket bar. 

Ingredients: Barbancourt Pango Rhum, Appleton Estate Reserve Rum, Combier Crème de Pêche de Vigne Liqueur, Tropical Juices, and Falernum. Served in a souvenir Nautilus. 

The Nautilus. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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A Guide to Universal Mardi Gras 2017

by on January 26, 2017

Thousands of plastic beads patiently wait to be tossed into the hands of eager park guests. Spicy Cajun food will soon be devoured. Parade performers practice endlessly, waiting for their time in the spotlight. Universal Mardi Gras 2017 is about to begin!

With more consecutive nights than ever before, Universal Mardi Gras 2017 looks to be a bit different than years past. There’s lots to see and deux so check out this guide to make sure you don’t miss a beat!

This year Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is a little shorter than before, February 4 to March 24, 2017. However, this year is different because the parade, special food, and other festivities will bring the best of the Big Easy every single night through March 24, 2017.

French Quarter Courtyard – Food and live bands

One the best features of Universal Mardi Gras are the bands brought in from New Orleans itself that perform in the French Quarter Courtyard (in the New York area of the park near Revenge of the Mummy and across from the soon-to-open Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon). Many people aren’t aware that these authentic bands perform in the French Quarter Courtyard, but they are a real treat and straight from the land of the Big Easy, so check them out.

Here’s the line up:

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Things We Can’t Wait To See in 2017

by on December 31, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We Can’t Wait To See In 2017! 2016 was another unbelievable year in the theme park world, containing a wide mix of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. 2017 is already shaping up to be even more amazing. We have a new immersive land that promises to eclipse what Disneyland has done with Cars Land and Universal with Diagon Alley, a new President being added to the Hall of Presidents, and the first of its kind “water theme park.” If that doesn’t get your blood pumping about the next 12 months you may actually be a Host from Westworld, but for the rest of you, here’s some of the things we can’t wait to see, starting with…

 

# 6 – Pandora: The World of Avatar (Animal Kingdom)

Our long national nightmare is almost over. First announced on September 20, 2011, Pandora: The World of Avatar is nearing completion. Disney is saying “Summer 2017” for this new land, and is going on record saying it is the most immersive area in any theme park. Just from what we can see from what rises over the construction walls and the Blogger-In-The-Sky helicopter camera shots, the land does look STUNNING. The info we’ve been given on the bioluminescent plants in the area along with the experience in the Na’vi River Journey make both seem like “wow” moments. Last year, this fine blog did question what Pandora will be doing in the areas of food and merchandise, two extremely important factors a theme park land needs to deliver on to satisfy its Return On Investment (ROI). These are also two areas that Disney has not released much info on for Pandora. We all know that Avatar the movie – by far and away the most financially successful film in the history of cinema – never really figured out a way to get its fans to buy merchandise the way that Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, and even Star Trek have.

The Flying Mountains of Pandora. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Na’vi River Journey. (photo courtesy of Disney Parks and Resorts)

One of the most exciting things about Pandora is that it appears the land will be using projection mapping on its incredible rock work. This is something that has never been mentioned by Disney over the course of the Pandora project, but Johnny-on-the-spot bloggers have seen this technology being tested. Your Humble Author thinks projection mapping is one of the areas that Disney is heads and tails above anyone else in the industry right now. Whether on the castle in the Magic Kingdom, the Great Movie Ride facade in DHS, or the jaw dropping Tree of Life Awakens shows at Animal Kingdom, Disney’s use of projection mapping in the parks is amazing.

What looks to be testing for projecting mapping on the rock work in Pandora. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

# 5 – Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon (Universal Studios Florida)

Last year Universal fans lost Twister…Ride It Out! along with its Bill Paxton performance that was so mailed in he should have put a stamp on it. In Twister’s place will be the upcoming Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. One of the most underrated aspects of this change, is that the attraction takes place in the New York area of Universal Studios Florida, so it is a perfect fit. There are many who do not like Fallon’s broad sense of humor, but his Late Night TV dominance shows there is most likely a much larger group of people who love what he brings to the table (Your Humble Author included). While there have been some debates on how the “flying theater” ride mechanics will actually work, one thing we do know is that Universal is trying something truly different with how people experience the attraction’s queue.

Much like how Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom allows kids to play in a themed area until it is time to ride, Race Through New York looks to have things for adults to do while waiting. There will be a woman’s quartet singing songs, a chance to check out classic bits from from Fallon’s Tonight Show run (including Lip Sync Battle), write your own “Thank You Notes” at an interactive desk, and even get a meet and greet with the Tonight Show’s mascot, Hashtag the Panda.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is designed to get guests to laugh, and comedy is one thing Universal is very good at delivering on. From the criminally underrated Horror Make-Up Show to the non-stop gags in Springfield USA, be prepared to bring your smile when stepping into Universal Studios Florida.

Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon concept art.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon in Universal Studios Florida. (photo by @bioreconstruct).

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TouringPlansTV: BoardWalk Inn – Dining and Amenities + Video

by on December 6, 2016

I’m finally here with part 2 of my BoardWalk Inn review!

Here, I delve into the dining options, pools, recreation and amenities.

You’ve all been so patient, so I won’t keep you waiting any longer.

Check it out below!

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