Sunday, March 30, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 3/24/14 - 3/30/14


Magic Kingdom

  • Night of Joy tickets go on sale tomorrow.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Two Star Wars character meals will take place daily from May 4 to June 15. One is a dinner, called Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine. The character dinner will take place at Hollywood and Vine and characters available at this meal will be Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, Stormtrooper Donald, and Ewoks Chip & Dale. The cost is $55.99 for adults ages 10 and up (or $59.99 with Fantasmic! Dinner Package), and $33.99 for children ages 3-9 (or $36.99 with Fantasmic! Dinner Package).  There is also a character breakfast Star Wars Galactic Dine-in Breakfast.  It takes place Sci-Fi Dine In during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to noon. This meal will feature Stormtroopers, Jawa, Greedo, Boba Fett, and Darth Vader.  Also, instead of showing classic sci-fi movie clips, the theater will show Star Wars clips! Pricing is $47.99 for adults ages 10 and up and $29.99 for children ages 3-9.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • The Gardens Kiosk is now offering their gluten free doughnuts.

Disney Resorts

  •  A brand new experience is testing at the Atlantic Dance Hall.  Tom Casey's Let's Get Rockin' interactive band experience takes place on Thursday nights, starting at 9:00 p.m.  Guests can get on stage and sing or play an instrument with a live band.  
  • At Disney's Grand Floridian, guests are invited to enjoy the 3rd annual Easter egg display in the lobby of the hotel. The eggs are all edible, created with modeling chocolate, fondant, sculpted sugar and royal icing. Each egg will depict a different Disney story, like Tangled or The Little Mermaid. Guests will be able to view all 18 eggs from April 4-22. 
  • Kouzzina will be closing at Disney's BoardWalk on September 30. A new restaurant will open in its place sometime in late 2014.
  • Capt. Cook's refurbishment has been pushed back to begin April 9.

General Walt Disney World News

  • Parking fees have been increased.  They are now $17 for cars, taxis, limos, or motorcycles.  For campers, trailers, and RVs, the cost is $18 and for buses and tractor trailers, it is $21. 
  • Off-site guests will be able to make advance FastPass+ reservations, up to 30 days in advance.  MagicBands will be able to be purchased by off-site guests for $12.95, if they choose, but they are not required. 
  • The Disability Access Service card will change it's validity rate.  It will now be valid for 60 days from issue date.

  • A brand new restaurant should be headed to Disney Springs from the Patina Group.  They are the ones who brought us Via Napoli.  The new restaurant is supposed to be built where 8Trax and Mannequin's was.
  • Dream Along with Mickey may end it's run this summer.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted Review: Spoilery and Non-Spoilery


It's Friday, which means that the weekend is officially here!  With the weekend, comes the time to of course, let your hair down and have a little fun...maybe take in a movie?

Last week, Brian and I went and saw Muppets Most Wanted.  We were both super excited about it, as we were celebrating out 11 year dating anniversary.  (What what!) We'd been anxiously watching the previews and all the other press that had been done about the movie.

So...without any further delay...let's get to the review that I like to call A Salute To All Movies...But Mostly The Muppets.


Let's start with the non-spoilery review first.

This is a great movie to take the kiddos to.  It's got lots of fun, and mayhem, and jokes (both for the kiddos and for the adultos...yes...I just said adultos....).

For you Muppet fans, I think this is a little bit closer to the original Muppets movies.  More about the Muppets overall, with the celebrity stars playing essentially more minor sort of roles. 

This movie also had some fun songs, much like the last one.  My favorite is the opening song.  There's another fun song that stuck with me done by Sam Eagle and Ty Burrell's character that uses very creative lyrics to accomplish what they are trying to do.  Overall though, I don't think the songs stuck out to me as much though...but the first movie's songs didn't really stick with me either. So, maybe that's just a me thing.

I think the premise of the story was a good one.  It had intrigue and excitement.  It felt overall, more Muppety.

I think that's my overall take away from this movie.  It really seemed more Muppety than the last one.  Which, when you're making a movie about the Muppets, that's a good thing to accomplish.  The last movie seemed to focus too much (not necessarily in a bad way, mind you) about Gary, and Mary, and Walter.  The Muppets actually seemed like the background characters.   I feel that with this movie, they went back to the original formula.

This is a good movie that really I think the whole family will enjoy.  It really does have something for everyone. for those of you who do not want spoilers, stop reading now.  Because the next portion of this post will be FILLED with them.

I have given you fair warning.....


I thought this movie was good, but not great.  It is certainly entertaining and fun, don't get me wrong, but I can see why people may not be connecting to it as much.

I think my problem is maybe there is too much Constantine.  I think that's really been the problem of both of the last two movies.  Relying too much on characters that are "new" Muppets.  It has been kind of hard to connect.  Now, I know that Constantine was the bad guy in the movie, so, you don't want to connect too much, but I just feel like when you let The Muppets a group...they do better.

It was sort of my problem with The Muppets too. I love Jason Segal, but it was too much of him and Amy Adams, and Walter. The concept of just the Muppets is why Muppet-Vision 3D (especially the pre-show portion...less so with Waldo...and I think people's problem with Waldo) works.  I believe that if they really did a Muppet movie based around the characters already in place (and not revolving around a marriage of Piggy and Kermy) I think it would actually be better.  And it seems to be what's missing.  The Muppets, have yet to be their traditional irreverent selves. I would have liked to have seen more silly.  They had some...just not enough. 

The story, I thought overall was good.  I liked the caper story and did think it worked well with the Muppets.  I thought Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell were great supporting characters.  They didn't overshine the Muppets, but they each brought something unique and fun to their roles.  I did have a bit of trouble understanding Tina Fey when she was singing with the accent, but that's ok.  I did think that bit about Tina Fey being in love with Kermit to be a little bizarre.  Actually, Tina Fey's character was probably my least favorite celebrity character of this movie...which is so hard to say because I'm usually a big fan of hers.  And I loved her in the trailers.

Speaking of celebrities, I thought that the cameos were good too.  Though, I have to say, sometimes I thought it was a little hard to realize who the cameos were.  I think they maybe relied too much on the Disney Channel stars, who as someone who watches not one ounce of that channel missed over completely.  But then again, I'm sure I missed some cameos in the previous Muppet movie because I didn't know who a certain celebrity was.

I think this movie is also missing the full-fledged heartfeltness that the last one had.  I really didn't find myself connecting to any particular character.  Even though I thought there was too much Walter in The Muppets, at least I connected with him and the story. 

I did like the ending though.  I thought it was traditional and in Muppet form.

I think that this is a solid family movie and I'm so glad to see that The Muppets are on the big screen once again. Is this the best movie I've seen all year?  No, but it was certainly entertaining.

I hope that Disney realizes that people do want to see The Muppets in the limelight.  I hope that they see that The Muppets are relevant still.  And that they don't put them back in the can to sit for another 10+ years back into non-existence in our culture.  (PS:  it was also a terrible idea to have it pitted against Divergent...I know they probably didn't have a whole lot of say, but pitting any movie against the latest teen novel adaptation is always going to result in much lower numbers.) 

So, what do you think?  Did you see Muppets Most Wanted?  Are you wanting to see it this weekend?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Facebook.

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Top Seven Tips for Spring Break Touring at Walt Disney World

We are in the midst of Spring Break season at Walt Disney World!  Which brings with it a lot of fun, but also lots of guests. 

Spring Break is one of the busiest times of the year for Disney.  It's right behind Christmas Week and Fourth of July.  People come out of the woodwork because the kiddos have off school and well, for many, winter has been awful and cold.  People are just looking for an escape.  

With that being said, I thought I'd give you my Top Seven Tips for Spring Break Touring at Walt Disney World.  Keep in mind that while I'm listing these for Spring Break, really these will work during any busy period of the year.  Hopefully these will help you have a great vacation.

  • Arrive at Rope Drop:  Yep...can't believe these words are coming out of my mouth...given that I'm one who hardly ever makes it to the parks by then.  But honestly, just being there in time for park opening is going to be huge.  You'll be ahead of most of the crowd (who are all like me and slept in) and you'll see attractions with less of a wait.  I know on the days when I've arrived earlier, I've been more successful in touring.  It really is the way to go when touring during the busiest seasons.  
  • Visit the non-Extra Magic Hour park:  For those who don't know, Disney on-site guests have an added perk of being able to take park in something called Extra Magic Hours.  This is where a select park is open one hour earlier or up to two hours later than scheduled park hours. The schedule is listed on Disney's website.  However, for those who are visiting who want to maximize their touring, my best tip is to avoid the park with the Morning Extra Magic Hours.  That is unless you have Park Hoppers and want to visit during the morning, get in a few attractions, and then leave.  Same goes for the Evening offering.  Only visit that park if you plan to Park Hop to it later in the evening. If you are staying off-site, then you want to avoid all Extra Magic Hours like the plague.  They will be busier than the other three parks.
  • Book Advanced Dining Reservations early and eat at off peak hours:  If you want to make sure you get to eat at a Table Service location in the park, make sure to make Advanced Dining Reservations ahead of time (up to 180 days in advance of your trip). You can do so by visiting the Disney Dining Page.  Also, no matter where you dine, either counter service or table service, try to eat during off peak hours.  (This means not at noon for lunch and not at 6 pm for dinner.)  The earlier or later you can go, the better chances you have of getting to eat where you want and not encountering huge crowds. 
  • Take a mid-day break:  If you are staying on-site, consider going back to your hotel room and taking a break.  Swim, nap, eat a meal.  Do whatever you can to just unwind a bit.  Plus, while you are relaxing a bit, everyone else will be in the theme parks, clogging up all the rides.   If you don't want to leave, take in shows, as the wait will not be as heavy and shows will give you the opportunity to sit down in the (usually air conditioned) theater. 
  • Schedule your FastPass+ reservations for in the late afternoon/early evening:  In the morning, if you get to the park early enough, you should be able to get on most attractions with little wait.  If you take my advice and leave during the afternoon (or see shows), you will avoid the major swell of crowds.  This means that when you get back to the park, if you schedule your FastPass+ reservations in the late afternoon/early evening, you will be able to get on the major attractions, while most people are still clamoring to ride them.  You'll just have a lesser wait.
  • Have a plan:  it seems stupid.  You are on vacation, right?  But if you plan out a few of the attractions and meals that you want to enjoy, your vacation will run much smoother and you'll be happier.  You don't have to plan out to the minute detail, but just enough to know what you'll be doing for the day.  There's nothing worse than the, "what do you want to do next?" question while examining your map. (PS:  Shameless friends at TouringPlans have this really cool app called Lines that you should totally check out.  It works so well to help plan your day!)
  • Patience is key:  Yes...there will be a lot of people around you.  And yes, you will likely get stepped on by someone who's not paying attention, or get rammed into by a stroller, or have someone try to stand in front of you during a parade, or leave their trays on a table, or stop in the middle of walking.  It's bound to happen.  You are in a busy place, surrounded by people who don't know where they're going, and don't know necessarily what they are doing.  But, if you put on your patience hat, you will have a much better vacation for yourself.  (And you won't go to jail for punching someone in the face for cutting in front of you in line.)  
A few other minor notes.  Easter Week will see the heaviest crowds usually.  If you can, I would avoid the Magic Kingdom, especially on Easter day.

Also, you've likely been in the tundra for the past six months...don't forget to bring sunscreen.  Nothing is worse than getting that lobster glow on your first day of vacation and then living through the pain.

Overall, you can have a wonderful time at Walt Disney World...even if you travel during the busiest of seasons, like Spring Break.  Because really...would you rather be there or back at home? 

What are your tips for touring during Spring Break?  Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page. 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!     

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 3/17/14 - 3/23/14

News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


Magic Kingdom

  • Disney will be celebrating a global sing along at Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, Disneyland Paris in France and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort on April 10. For more information, read my previous post.


  • Epcot will have an Easter egg hunt from April 10-20. Here’s how it works. Guests will be able to record the finds by placing the right character sticker in the matching location on the map. Once you finish finding the eggs, you’ll be able to return the map at the redemption spot, Disney Traders, and will be able to pick up a special surprise. Maps can be purchased at Heritage Manor (at the American Adventure Pavilion), Disney Traders, the International Gateway, Pin Central, and Port of Entry for $4.95.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • For the first time ever, at Star Wars Weekends, Mark Hamill, otherwise known as Luke Skywalker, will appearing. He'll be there the fourth weekend, June 6-8. 
  • A sneak peak of the movie Maleficent will be showing at the ABC Sound Studio, starting on April 18.
  • A new pre-show addition will be added to Muppet-Vision 3D.  The new addition will feature an interruption from Constantine. The pre-show will remain unchanged otherwise.

Downtown Disney

  • A new kiosk has opened on the Marketplace side.  It's called Happy Hound and will sell accessories for your pets, including leashes, glamour collars, food bowls, outfits, jackets, and squeaky toys!
  • A fish tank broke this past week at T-Rex Cafe.  Luckily...all the fish were saved!

Disney Resorts

  • Captain Cooks will now officially close for it's refurb on April 9. 


  • Soft openings for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train should begin soft openings on April 20.
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Disney Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of "it's a small world"

You might guess from the blog title...but I have a soft spot for the attraction "it's a small world."  I love everything about it, yes...even the song, which was leged...wait for it...darily penned by The Sherman Brothers. 

It's been a favorite since I was a kid.  It's one of the few attractions I remembered actually really enjoying while visiting as a child.  My favorite scene has always been the Polynesian room.  It just makes me so joyful.

So, imagine my happiness to learn that the happiest cruise that ever sailed will be celebrating it's 50th Anniversary on April 10 at all the Disney Parks around the globe!  That day, hundreds of voices from Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will come together to sing the unforgettable theme song.

Unfortunately, I won't be there in person to celebrate, but I've already helped in my own special way.  You see, if you visit you can help get the party started!  Visitors are able to either record a version of the song and post it, or create your own unique doll to add to the mix.  For every doll that joins the sing along or every recorded version uploaded, Disney will donate to UNICEF (the original sponsor of the attraction) $1, up to $100,000. 

I have already done my part and created a few dolls and plan to create a few more. 


I hope that you will do your part.  It's a wonderful thing that Disney is doing and the attraction deserves a wonderful anniversary celebration!  Thanks for all the memories!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Walt Disney World Attraction Overview: Muppet-Vision 3D

This week marks the premiere of Muppets Most Wanted and for Muppet fans everywhere, it's another hopeful link in the puzzle in the Muppets resurgence. 

You see, there was a time where all hope seemed a bit lost.  For years, the Muppets just sort of existed at Walt Disney World in Disney's Hollywood Studios.  They weren't owned by the company yet and had limited use, since Jim Henson's untimely death.  There had been plans...glorious plans...but they all had to go by the wayside and the Muppets just hadn't seen the same fervor that they used to. 

That was until 2004, when Disney bought the Muppets and they began taking their rightful place back into the social world. 

Thankfully, for fans of the Muppets, before this purchase, they were able to still enjoy them on a daily basis thanks to Muppet-Vision 3D!  Of course, the attraction still exists today and is a favorite amongst many, myself included. 

I didn't really grow up with the Muppets.  The show was really before my time, though I briefly remember bits and pieces.  I mostly remember Muppet Babies...darn it they should bring that back for the kiddos!  How awesome would it be to see that on Disney Junior?!  Sweet lord...why haven't I thought of this idea before!  Disney...please take this idea and run with it!  I fully give permission for the good of all the children!  Anyway...back from my distraction....

I do remember seeing the Muppets in Disney's Hollywood Studios.  This was mostly in the form of walk around characters.  I remember getting their autographs (via stamps) and I am sure that somewhere my mother has photos of me meeting them in a photo album somewhere that I would eventually love to find and scan the photos from.

I also distinctly remember Muppet-Vision 3D.  Though I didn't truly fall in love with it until my 2005 trip.  From then, it's been a lover affair ever since. 

You start by entering a sort of Muppety world, with the giant fountain that sits outside the attraction.  It features Rizzo, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, and of course, Miss Piggy, often spinning around in the center. 

You are beckoned into the theater, under a giant hot air balloon.  Also, be on the look out for my two favorites - Statler and Waldorf. 

Once you enter the queue, you are now directed usually through a series of movie posters, but these are based on Muppet versions of said movies.  Of course, if there is no line, you are directed right into the lobby area.  I love the fun nods that start your journey.  Check for the key under the mat, make sure to look above you, as someone didn't quite remember to duck their head, I could go on and one, but the best part about the Muppets queue is exploring and finding these gags on your own. 

The same goes for the pre-show area.  Here there are a ton of gags that you should be on the lookout for.  Miss Piggy's clothing trunks, A Net Full of Jello (say it fast...see what it sounds like), Sam Eagle's fireworks, etc.  Again...explore.  It's all part of the fun.  

But, while exploring, make sure you watch the pre-show too!  It is, hands down, my favorite pre-show in all of Walt Disney World.  I almost think it's better than the attraction.  There are SO many gags and puns that I love...but my favorite is the exchange between Gonzo and Sam Eagle where Sam says "Will you stop all this foolishness" and Gonzo replies "What kind of foolishness would you like to see."  I also love when Sam says that "Stopping in the middle (of a row) is distinctly unpatriotic".  Really...I just love Sam Eagle! 

It is then time to let the penguin orchestra in and then we may begin to enter the theater. 

Once you sit down and put on your 3D glasses, it's time to begin the show.  Statler and Waldorf are back and I think they are probably my favorite part of the entire thing.  They have so many great one liners. 

You are then introduced to some fine Muppetry.  And then we are introduced to Waldo. 

Oh Waldo...he is a character that you either love or hate.  (Most I think hate.)  He's not a Muppet, but instead the spirit of 3D...a cartoon.  He doesn't fit in super well and sort of diminishes the show a bit.  It would have been nice if they were able to get rid of that portion without effecting the whole film, but he's not going anywhere. 

I don't want to spoil any of the scenes for anyone, but it's safe to say that all your favorites can be found!  It is a fun experience watching the whole show!  Each segment has incredible gags.  Always watch in the background because you never know what you'll see. 

The show culminates in a finale brought to us Sam Eagle, who has a three hour long fireworks display that now has to be condensed to a minute and a half.  Of course, calamity ensues.  Be on the look out for the Swedish Chef who is running the projector.  He maybe seems to have anger problems. 

Once you exit the theater, you are brought out to a street filled with more Muppet fun.  There's the Studio One Company Store, where you can pick up your very own Kermit the Frog or Miss Piggy paraphernalia.  It is also well themed, so make sure to check out the walls and ceilings. 

The Muppets really can be felt in this whole area.  I do wish that we would have gotten the Great Gonzo Pandemonium Pizza Parlor, which would have been found where Mama Melrose sits.  For more information about what could have been included that unfortunately had to be abandoned, make sure to read this Jim Hill article that shares the details. 

Muppet-Vision 3D is a do not miss attraction.  It has something for everyone and is one of the best shows in all of Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

I only hope that with a continued success for the Muppets, we can see more love for them in the parks.  Maybe they could then build the pizza parlor or something similar.  Make a true Muppet land.   I just really hope that Disney sees that people still really do love the Muppets. 

What do you think?  Do you love Muppet-Vision 3D?  What's your favorite part of the attraction?  Be sure to share in the comments or on the Facebook page. 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pintrest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!     

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 3/10/14 - 3/16/14

News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


Magic Kingdom

  • Anna and Elsa from Frozen will be moving from Epcot to Princess Fairytale Hall starting on April 20th.  This will allow guests to be able to make FastPass+ reservations.  The sisters will only been meeting until early evening though.  Afterwards, other visiting Disney princesses will appear.   
  • You all know how much I love the cake cups from Cheshire Cafe?  Well now there are two new ones I'm going to have to try.  Brand new options include the White Chocolate Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortcake.  I wonder how they'll compare to my Mad Hatter Mocha.  (Which appears to still be available along with the Cheshire Cupcake on a rotating basis...I hope!) Click to see my review of the Mad Hatter Mocha and the Cheshire Cupcake versions.


  • A brand new dessert party was introduced for Illuminations.  Called Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party, this new option that's available on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 7:45 p.m. until 9:20 p.m. Current pricing is $49 for adults (ages 10 and up) and 29 for children (ages 3-9), and tax and gratuity are included.

General Walt Disney World Resort

  • It appears that Disney has quietly increased the pricing for the 3 different dining plans.  The updated pricing can be found here.
  • Annual Passholders will have a shorter window within to make FastPass+ reservations.  Now, AP holders will only have a 30 day window for the selection process.
  • Off-property day guests who purchase advance tickets will have access to online FastPass+ bookings some time within the coming months.


  • Disney Springs is slated to open in phases starting with he West Side Garage, West Side Enhancements, The Landing and the Marketplace bridge will open by 2015. By Spring 2016, The Springs, The Gateway and the second parking garage will be completed, along with most of the roadway changes. The Boathouse (a restaurant) is coming to The Landing. An exit from I-4 that will directly enter Disney Springs is expected to be completed by sometime in 2017.
  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train dedication at Magic Kingdom is May 2 at 10:15 AM?
  • On April 10, both Walt Disney World and Disneyland will host the "it's a small world" global 50th anniversary celebration.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014 Disney Dining Plans

Updated: 3/12/14

It's that time of year again!  The time has arrived once again where we take a look at the Disney Dining Plans.  The 2014 Disney Dining Plans have quietly been increased.  Not a whole lot of changes took place, besides the pricing. 

With that being said, let's take a look at an explanation of each of the 2014 Disney Dining Plans.  (In addition, research has been done for the past few years to see how the Plans have changed in price.  Included in parenthesis are previous updates.  The years showcased are 2013, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 prices in that order.  Yes, I'm aware that 2013 is listed increased twice that year.)

Quick-Service Plan
Adult 10+: $41.99 /night ($39.64/$37.58/$34.99/$34.99/$31.99)
Child 3-9: $16.03/night ($15.75/$14.32/$11.99/$11.99/$9.99)

The Quick Service Dining Plan allows each guest to get 2 Quick Service Meals per day.  For Breakfast you'll receive an entrée or combo meal and a non-alcoholic beverage.  For Lunch and Dinner you'll receive an entrée or a complete combo meal, dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage.  You'll also get 1 Snack Option per day, and 1 Refillable Mug  per person for the length of your stay.

Basic Plan
Adult 10+: $60.64/night ($58.68/$55.59/$51.54/$45.99/$41.99)
Child 3-9: $19.23/night ($18.88/$17.16/$15.02/$11.99/$11.99)

The Basic Plan (Also known as the Standard Plan) comes with 1 Quick Service Meal per day, which includes an entrée or combo meal, dessert (lunch or dinner only), and a non-alcoholic beverage.  You also get 1 Sit Down Meal per day which includes entrée, dessert (lunch and dinner only), and non-alcoholic beverage, or, if eating at a buffet, the full buffet. You'll also receive 1 Snack Option per day and 1 Refillable Mug per person. 

Deluxe Plan
Adult 10+: $109.53/night ($104.94/$99.97/$85.52/$78.99/$71.99)
Child 3-9: $29.86/night ($29.51/$26.84/$23.79/$21.99/$20.99)

For the Deluxe Dining Plan, guests receive 3 Meals, which can be any combination of either Table Service Meals or Quick Service meals. Table Service meals include an appetizer (lunch and dinner only), entree, dessert (lunch and dinner only), and a non-alcoholic beverage. Or, if eating at a buffet, the full buffet. Quick Service Meals include an entrée or combo meal, dessert (lunch and dinner only and a non-alcoholic beverage.  Also included in the plan are 2 Snack Credits per day plus one resort refillable mug per person for the length of stay.

The biggest question that I hear though is, "Is the Dining Plan Worth It?"  Is it a good value?

One thing to keep in mind when deciding on whether to purchase the dining plans is that gratuities and any extras like alcoholic beverages and appetizers (with the exception of the Deluxe Dining Plan...appetizers are included on that) are not included in the prices listed above and will be added at an additional charge.  Be mindful of that when you are budgeting to see if the dining plan is worth it for you, because if you like an adult beverage or two (or three) or often eat appetizers with your meals, the plan may not work for you.

Other things to keep in mind:  I have head that if you have children in your party, if they are under 9, the dining plan can work out to be a decent value.  If they are considered to be an adult on the dining plan (10 and up) then it's usually not such a good value, cause a lot of times, they are still wanting to choose options off the kids menu, which of course, costs less money.

If you'll be eating a lot of buffets, then the dining plan may be a good option though.  The buffets are among the priciest of choices, so it may work out to be a little bit in your favor to get the dining plan. 

There is a sort of easy way to determine, at least for an adult, if the regular Disney Dining Plan is worth it.  You have to take into account that you'll be receiving a Refillable Mug...which you should estimate is roughly $3.50 per day.  You'll then want to budget about $13.00 total for a counter service meal, $4.00 for snack, and that leaves you with about $40.00 for dinner, give or take. If you think you'll spend more than that for the majority of your days, then the dining plan may indeed be worth it for you. If not, you may want to look at other options for saving for meals. (Like just paying with your MagicBand and using a credit card that you've already linked to your Band or getting a Disney Gift Card and putting the amount you would have used for the Disney Dining Plan on it.  Anything left over can be used for souvenirs.)

For my family, the Disney Dining Plan never works out to be a good deal, because my husband doesn't eat dessert.  Therefore, that portion goes out the window and I'm just throwing away good money after bad.  So, if you have someone in your family who doesn't care for dessert, then don't get the dining plan.

Honestly, I can't just come out and tell you if the dining plan is a good value. Really it all depends on each person's individual budget and tastes. It takes a lot of homework to decide if the dining plan is worth getting and I suggest doing homework by looking at menus.  Updated menus and prices can be found at The Mouse For Less  (Now, where is my calculator?!)

Overall, no matter what you decide, Disney has a ton of dining options that will fit anyone's taste and budget. Whether you decide on the Dining Plan or not.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Walt Disney World Travel Tips: Explore the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot

All too often, I've been guilty of going through the pavilions at Epcot from an outside perspective.  I usually tour the World Showcase countries, but it's not at an in depth sort of experience.  I would walk past them, sometimes go in the front few areas and then keep on trucking.  This is especially true during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival because I was making my way around to the food booths that are set up around the promenade. 

So, on my last trip in February, I decided to do something a little different.  I was by myself, so I made the executive decision that I was going to really explore the countries and see what they have to offer.  There was no reason not to.  It was a gorgeous day out (not one thousand degrees as it often is while touring World Showcase), so it was the perfect opportunity. 

I started the Mexico way and went into each country, looking at things I've never seen before or exploring things more intricately than I ever had before.  It was so much fun taking my time (and taking advantage of the Kidcot Fun Stops...a topic I will write about in a future blog post!)

I finally made my way to Morocco.  Now, this pavilion is about as authentic as they get.  The country is actually the sponsor of the pavilion and King Hassan II actually sent over Moroccan artisans in the building of this area (So it wasn't done by a corporation, as the other Pavilions had been.)

 Now, I of course have been to the Morocco Pavilion before...and even explored it...but this time the country finally hooked me.  I love all the details that can be found here.  I really did feel as though I wasn't in Epcot anymore.  I was actually visiting the country that I was stepping foot in. 

The pavilion welcomes you with it's ornate design and art.  The tiles are incredibly beautiful.  You can smell the incense wafting all around.  You feel as though you are in a Moroccan marketplace. I absolutely loved the thatched roofs that could be found in the bazaar area.

At Epcot, it's always Hump Day!

 There are some great shopping areas found within the country and many different and unique items for sale, including tiles...of which Brian actually bought one.

Areas here are just so peaceful.  I feel that not many people really explore this Pavilion fully.  (I mean, let's face it...I hadn't REALLY explored it before.)  The pavilion takes you on meandering pathways and it's so wonderful to explore and soak in the atmosphere. 

There are three restaurants found in this Pavilion.  One is Restaurant Marrakesh.  This is a table service location and features couscous, lamb, meat skewers, and more.  It also is well known for featuring belly dancers.  The second restaurant is a counter service location called Tangerine Cafe.  This restaurant features schwarma platters, pitas, and wraps.  You can also pick up pastries, like baklava.  (Yum!) 

The final restaurant is the newest restaurant.  Just opened in January, Spice Road Table is a tapas restaurant.  I've actually dined here and I consider it to be more of a bar with food than a restaurant that serves drinks.  I've tried a few items, including the Cod Coquettes, the Fried Calamari, and the Garlic Shrimp.  I particularly liked the calamari and the shrimp.  The cod coquettes were just ok.  My thoughts are, that I wouldn't go here to get completely full.  But if you were doing a tour around World Showcase and trying to dine at a few places, then I would certainly stop here and share a few small plates.

Also featured in this area is the talented band Mo'Rockin.  They play some extremely catchy tunes with an Arabic beat.  In addition, guests who are looking for characters will be able to find Aladdin and Jasmine.  These two are always ready to say hello!

Morocco is also beautiful lit up at night.  The lights highlight the stunning work and design found in the pavilion.  It is truly a sight to see.

So, you see...Morocco has quickly become one of my favorite pavilions in all of Epcot, just based off my experience during my last trip.  (It is now second behind Mexico...which has always been my favorite pavilion.) It really is like taking a step into another country...even if you are still at Epcot.  I can see myself spending a lot more time here on subsequent visits to the park.  Just to relax and enjoy the general atmosphere.  And I think that you should too. 

What are your thoughts?  Have you really explored the Morocco Pavilion?  What are your favorite parts?  Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page. 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pintrest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!      

Monday, March 10, 2014

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Debuts at the Magic Kingdom

Wow...that's really all I can say!  
Yesterday, Disney premiered it's brand new 3:00 parade for the Magic Kingdom.  This new parade, called Disney Festival of Fantasy is the first new parade that the Magic Kingdom has seen in over 12 years.

This new parade is a compete departure from the previous one.  It has all new floats (bye bye Mirrored Castle float). The parade's theme is essentially a celebration of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. The parade brings beloved characters with innovative parade floats, stunning costumes, a new soundtrack featuring classic favorites from Disney films and an original theme song. 

There are seven different units in the parade.  They are themed after various beloved Disney stories that include:  

  • The Princess Garden Float
  • The Tangled Float
  • The Little Mermaid Float
  • The Peter Pan Float
  • The Brave Float
  • The Sleeping Beauty Float
  • The Finale and Mickey's Airship Float      

Here is a video introduction of the parade for those who have maybe not seen it.  (Which I mean, I'm sure you have...the footage has been everywhere.  But just in case you haven't, you really should just catch a glimpse of what you have to look forward to.) 

Now...let's get to my initial thoughts.  

I have previously mentioned...I am absolutely not a parade person.  Usually, I use the afternoon or evening parade as an excuse to go ride attractions, cause the lines are shorter.  So, with that being said, I really, really liked this parade.  I love that it's kinetic (so many pieces move!), love the costumes, the floats are like none other that have been in the park. (Which makes's been 12 years since new floats have been have changed in not only float building, but also Disney has changed and evolved.) 

This new parade was most certainly, a much needed upgrade, especially when comparing it to the last one. There are some pieces that absolutely blew my mind!  I couldn't believe I was being this entertained by a parade!  It was incredible how big these floats were and how intricately designed the pieces are.  (But, that's Disney for you.  They always have an eye out for detail.)  

My favorite float, is of course, Maleficent.  I think it's incredible what they've done with this unit.  I mean, she breathes FIRE!  (PS:  is it just me or does anyone else think that Disney was like...Universal's gonna have a fire breathing dragon...WE'RE gonna have a fire breathing dragon...likely not...but general random musings by me...).  I love the detail that they've put into this float overall. I love her eyes, I love the spinning wheel, I love that her tail can sway back and forth.  It's just a very well done float.  It truly is a show stopper.  I mean people were cheering every time Maleficent blew out fire.  That's impressive.

My other favorite float was the Tangled one.  I have no idea how that one made it off the drawing board.  Those swing thugs ACTUALLY go by flying!  How they don't get sick, I have absolutely no idea.  I'd be so nauseous after that one.   This one also has a lot of great detail to it.  Another fantastic addition.

If I had one little criticism of the parade (of which it really is hard to criticize...and maybe it's just me...) It's that while I get that what ties this new parade together is New Fantasyland...I still feel like something is a tiny bit off.  I think it's the fact that each of the floats seem to stand alone as their own pieces and aren't tied together as an whole unit strong enough.  For example...we start with the beautifully ornate Princess float, then move to the sort of rough around the edges Tangled float, then transition to the colorful Little Mermaid float.  There is nothing that ties these three floats together...minus the fact that they are all Disney movies.  Each one feels too different from each other.  I wondered about that as I saw the artwork coming out about the parade.  Don't get me wrong...I feel as if all the floats are all incredibly well done...but seem to be missing an over-encompassing gel factor.   

This is of course, just a minor thing.  The parade is a spectacular beast that is a very welcome addition to the park.  The floats are completely impressive and really, in ways, larger than life.  Disney has done a great job and it's just more proof that Disney can take the ordinary (a parade) and make it something extraordinary.  

The key question...would I stop to watch this parade?  Yes.  But I preface that with the fact that I will certainly not wait a half hour to see a parade.  If I had 15 minute til the parade and didn't have any other attractions I'm headed towards,  I would certainly stop and stake out a place.  (Which is high praise from me, considering the fact that before even if I was walking past the afternoon parade, I would have never stopped.) 

So, those are my thoughts, but what are your thoughts of this new parade?  Which float is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page. 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pintrest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!    

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 3/3/14 - 3/9/14

News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


Magic Kingdom

  • Swiss Family Treehouse will see a refurb from March 17th - 28th. 
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover will have a refurbishment from May 3rd - July 1st. 
  • AstroOrbiter will be closed from May 3rd - Aug. 20th.
  • The new Festival of Fantasy Parade debuts today.


  • Here is a brief video preview of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival:  

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Rebel Rendezvous, a hard-ticketed, merchandise event will take place on May 15.  Guests attending will have the opportunity to buy special Star Wars merchandise, as well as other perks.

Downtown Disney

  • The building that houses Pollo Campero, Bodie's All-American Burgers, and Babycakes NYC is closing.  The last day of operation for these three businesses is March 19.  Guests who enjoyed Babycakes will still be able to get some items at select Walt Disney World Resorts.  They include: 
    • The Beach Club Marketplace at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
    • The Boardwalk Bakery at Disney’s Boardwalk
    • The Gardens Kiosk at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    • The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
    • Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
    • The End Zone at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort

Walt Disney World Resorts

  • Watercraft rentals will no longer take place at Old Key West, Port Orleans Riverside, and Caribbean Beach Resort. 
  • A new small table service location has opened up at Coronado Springs Resort.  Called Las Ventanas, the restaurant will serve guests breakfast from 7 am - 11 am and lunch from 11 am - 2 pm.

General Walt Disney World News

  • Walt Disney World Annual Passholders should be receiving information shortly that they will be able to customize and order their MagicBands.  In addition, they should be able to have access to make FastPass+ reservations soon via the My Disney Experience app and website.  (They can make up to 7 days of reservations or if staying on property, the number of days staying, whichever is longer.)
  • Disney will hold an inaugural Disney Fit Challenge, a competitive fitness event where competitors are challenged in speed, strength, skill, endurance, balance and power. The event will take place Sept. 26th - 28th.


  • A new nighttime spectacular could be on the way to the Magic Kingdom for 2015.  (Would coincide nicely with the new hub refurbishment.
Download the all NEW Disney Food Blog Guide Walt Disney World Dining!  Read about all the fantastic delights the parks have to offer!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Experience With FastPass+ at Walt Disney World

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to take advantage of using FastPass+ for the first time ever.  What? You say.  How can this be the first time I've ever used it?

Well, as an Annual Passholder, I did not have the ability for a long time to use the system.  Lately, I've been staying offsite, and FastPass+ was only available for onsite guests.  Also, even up until my January trip, Legacy FASTPASS was still being offered to some guests.  So, because it was still available, I took advantage of the Legacy FASTPASS system. Between then and my last trip, Walt Disney World converted all of their parks over to the new FastPass+ process.  Therefore, my most recent trip was indeed, my first chance to try out this new system.

First let's get to my initial thoughts and then I'll explain how the process worked for me, as well as a little mini-trip report with it. 

Initially, I thought the system worked relatively well.  I had the ability to get FastPass+ options that I wanted...(for the most part...I mean one night I made them starting at like 7:00 pickings are going to be slimmer at that time of night...most of the headliners were not available though...nor would I really expect them to be.)

I did like that my AP worked to get me into attractions, but for the first time ever, I wanted a MagicBand, because I would have found it a bit easier than keeping my Annual Pass out and then making sure to remember to put it away back in it's safe place.  Just swiping my wrist past the Mickey icon would have been nice.

I liked that I didn't have to run around so much.  With Legacy FASTPASS, you had to run around from here to there to not only obtain the FASTPASS, but to also then use it.  Here, you find the FastPass+ kiosk one time, make your selections, and then can tour just as you normally would.  No more running around.

With that being said, I did find myself looking at the clock a lot more than I used to.  I honestly don't know why, but I was constantly looking to make sure of when my FastPass+ reservations were and what time it was currently.  I never used to do that with the old system.  Maybe it's because I seemed to have less FastPasses I was trying to juggle at one time.  So, I did feel more tied to a schedule than I ever have.  Especially on the day I went to Disney's Hollywood Studios, but more on that in a minute.  

As someone who's been to the parks a lot, it is sad to see some of my favorite with lines that seem to be super long that didn't use to have them.  (I'm looking at you Pirates.)  However, I think what I'm realizing is that I'm going to have to change my preconceived notions of what the length of a line should be.  What looks like it would be a much longer than 25 minute wait pre-FastPass+, may actually be on point with FastPass+ now in play.  It's going to take a while for me to get used to these new line configurations.

Remember to take a photo of your return times for your FastPass+ selections.  This not only covers you in case something happens, but it's also a good reference to look at, instead of having to back and forth in the app. let's get into the nuts and bolts of making my FastPass+ choices, as well as the mini trip report.

As I previously mentioned, the first day, my friend and I didn't get to the park until about 7:30 pm.  It was a Saturday night and the park was open til 1 am, so lots of park time still to go.

What the kiosk looks like and our fun Cast Member!
Our first stop was the FastPass+ kiosk area that's found in the pathway found from Adventureland that will take you directly to Liberty Square.  We were waved over by a very friendly Cast Member who made the selection process very easy.

First, he asked what attractions we were looking for.  We didn't really have a preference, so he started naming things like meeting the princesses and such.  Well, my friend didn't want to do that, so I said, can we just see the list of what's available and we can kind of go from there.  At that time of night, there were probably 10-15 or so attractions that we could book still with some availability. 

Our selections
I let her decide what we did, so we ended up picking FastPass+ reservations for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.  (All three are attractions that I normally would never have picked, but I was being accommodating, plus, it was nice to have the FastPasses for something...oh god...I've already fallen into the trap of just making FastPass+ choices cause they are there. ;) )

The Cast Member worked to start our first reservation within about 15 minutes of when we had finished at the kiosk and then made it so that all the rest of the reservations were all within an hour of each other...back to back to back.  It was nice to be able to roll in and get three FastPass+ options, easily, even that late at night.  That's something that would have never happened before.

That night, we actually managed to get quite a few attractions done.  We had a brief window to kill before our first FastPass+ ressie was ready to be used, so we headed over to Jungle Cruise (it is Junglier at night), then our FastPass for Pirates came up.  This is one of those times where the stand by line looked a LOT longer than what was posted (which I think said 25 minutes).  But with FastPass+, we pretty much breezed right in.

We then did Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, got caught and had to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade (not that there's anything wrong with that), used our FastPass+ for Haunted Mansion (which was an unnecessary one because the line was nothing at the time, but whatever), hit up it's a small world, and then caught the tail end of the fireworks from behind the castle. (A cool view if you've seen Wishes before.) 

We used our final FastPass+ for Little Mermaid (also, probably didn't need it, but that's ok) and then my friend was tired and cold, so we decided to leave. (It was freezing that night out...I was glad I brought my hoodie and gloves!) On the way out, we caught the last Celebrate the Magic Castle Projection Show and then looked for a snack to take back and eat at The Confectionery.  As you can see, we actually did quite a bit in just about 4-4.5 hours.

The next day, I hit up Disney's Hollywood Studios by myself.  Now at this time, they did not have new maps here indicating where Fastpass+ kiosks were.  I knew I didn't want to go to the one at the front of the park, as I figured it would be swarmed, so I decided to head inside the park to find another option.  After buying something for a friend, I found a sandwich board sign indicating FastPass+ kiosk was right by me at the Sorcerer's Hat.  I walked up and found Cast Members with iPads who were able to help me make my selections.

It was early afternoon and I knew that Disney's Hollywood Studios was a park that is tiered (for more information about what that means, check out my FastPass+ Guide.)  Knowing full well which attractions were tired in the first category, I knew that I wanted to either choose Rock n' Roller Coaster, or my first selection, which was Toy Story Mania.  He asked if there was anything I was interested in and I immediately said Toy Story.  There was an availability for much later that night (like 5 or 6 pm) but I was hoping for something a bit earlier, so he checked and out popped a reservation for about 45 minutes away. He said that I was actually very lucky!

The iPad way of making FastPass+ reservations
After that, I really didn't care what the other attractions were that I got FastPasses for.  I don't ride Tower of Terror, cause it makes me sick, but do ride Star Tours, so I had him find that.  Then, I knew that Great Movie Ride was pretty busy that day, so I decided to go for a Great Movie Ride FastPass option. (Since it's a waste to use it on any of the shows and that's pretty much the only ride that was left.)  Again, we rearranged the times so they were all within a good window frame and then I took off.

I had some time to kill, so I decided to do something I hadn't done in a while.  I took in One Man's Dream, which is just a fabulous exhibit and movie.  After that, I decided to stop by The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow show.  Here they are offering paper FastPasses with a return time for guests to come back and experience the attraction. I got one for 3:30 pm.  Then I made my way to take advantage of my Toy Story Mania FastPass+.  I've never gotten a Legacy FASTPASS for that, so it was really cool to finally experience the FastPass queue for the ride!

This is when I when I really started looking at the clock.  I had time to kill between so I kinda walked around.  I even made an on the fly Advanced Dining Reservation via the My Disney Experience app for 50s Prime Time Cafe.  Finally, it was time to use my paper FastPass for the Jack Sparrow show.  (It's not that great...but I went just to see what it was advice, only go if you REALLY want to.)

I was then in my window for the Great Movie Ride FastPass+.  A good option, because the line looked really long.  (Again, another one of those where I'm not sure if I'm just not used to where the new line forms, or if the line is actually longer than I have known in the past.)  Once I got done with that, it was time for my reservation at 50s.  After dinner, I went to use my Star Tours FastPass. easy to use and a good choice as there was a pretty decent line.

As you can see...I had all my reservations set up back to back to back and here, it really caused me to constantly be looking at the clock to know what I could get done and how long I had til my next experience. 

On this trip, I tried a couple of times to head in to see MuppetVision 3D, but the line was crazy long and it just didn't work with my tight schedule.  (And I am not used to a long line for Muppets...I am used to walking right into the I don't know if this new line is thanks to FastPass+ or a change in how they let people into the line here.)

I had to leave the park early that night for a Be Our Guest Podcast live show, but still felt pretty happy with my day.

The next day, I went to Epcot and you know what...I didn't make a single FastPass+ attraction choice.  I managed to get everything I wanted to do done without the use of FastPass, and then some.  (And arriving at rope drop and utilizing Test Track's single rider line.)

Overall though, I did enjoy using FastPass+.  I thought it went relatively smoothly because I was pretty prepared and I didn't come in with super high expectations about which attractions I chose.  I think being prepared and knowing as much as you can about the new system was certainly a huge help.  I used my own list of which attractions to get FastPass+ for, and then modified it for the circumstances I was in.

It was a good first trial and if it continues down this path, I actually have little problems with FastPass+.  That's something I never thought I'd say.  Are there changes I'd like to see made...of course...but the way it is right now, I think it works pretty well.  (Like I would still like to see them give people 4 FastPass+ options for Magic Kingdom because there are just SO many attractions in that park.)

Have you used FastPass+ yet?  What are your thoughts?  Let me know on the Facebook page.  Haven't used it yet, feel free to ask me questions about it in the comments section and I'll try to answer as best I can.

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pintrest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!