free dining

Did Nostradamus Predict Disney Free Dining?

free dining

Chef Mickey’s Contemporary Resort. ©Disney

Did Nostradamus predict Disney Free Dining?

The rumors about free dining from Disney have been swirling for quite some time, so I thought I would take a little bit of a humorous take on the potential discount promotion.  So, I ask you the question: Did Nostradamus predict free dining?

Well, while there are rumors all over the tabloids talking about some of the things that Nostradamus has predicted, I have yet to see an actual prediction of his that pertains to Disney’s free dining promotion.  As always, if you see something different, please share it with us on our Facebook page.

However, beyond that, there are some things that make this a little interesting.  First up, here are some pictures of some of the restaurants you can enjoy on the Disney Dining Plan.

In addition to great restaurants to enjoy (there are nearly 100 different table service restaurants on the plan), the Disney Dining Plan comprises the following components:

  • 1 Table Service credit per person, per night of their stay at an on-site Walt Disney World resort hotel.
  • 1 Counter Service credit per person, per night of their stay.
  • 2 Snack credits per person, per night of their stay.
  • In addition, each person will receive a resort refillable mug that they can keep as a souvenir after they leave for home.

There are other plans for quick service and deluxe dining, but the one listed above is the most common.

If Disney free dining is released, one thing to keep in mind is that there will be limitations.  Certain resorts in the past have been excluded from the promotion, and the promotion is for certain time periods, among other constraints.  I’ll not go into the details of the rumors, chances are the rumors are not entirely correct.

However, if you are already booked through me for a vacation package at Walt Disney World, and a promotion is released, I will work on your reservations first.  So, if you are not one of my clients, start the process of becoming one of my clients by submitting a quote request today!

Finally, if you would like to discuss a Walt Disney World vacation for you and your family, please reach out to me!  I am a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations with Pixie Vacations, and I would love to help you plan your trip or get you some pricing information.  My services are completely free for you, so why not see all that I can help you with your Disney planning?

So, while the chances are high that Nostradamus did not predict free dining, I predict that if you become a client of mine, you will get top notch service from me!  You can count on that!

Springtime at Disney

Exploring the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing some of the magic you can expect at the 2017 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival.


Flower & Garden

Lightning McQueen stands watch over the Flower & Garden Festival (2011)

Over at Epcot at Walt Disney World, each year the creative geniuses turn out two major events that are a highlight for those that attend.  In the Fall is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and in the Spring is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.  Today marks the start of the 2017 edition of the Flower & Garden Festival, and the festival runs until May 29th.  If you are lucky or fortunate enough to be able to visit and enjoy the festival, that’s great, but the good thing is that many of the topiaries will be around Epcot even after the festival has concluded.  The picture at the top of this post was taken in June 2011, some weeks after that festival ended.

I’ve not actually been to Epcot during a Flower & Garden festival before, it’s one of those things that I’m looking forward to enjoying one year, but so far we haven’t been able to do so because of school schedules.  So at this point I’ve got pictures that were shared with me from my friend Alicia, and my imagination will take me the rest of the way.

I really love the topiaries, and look forward to seeing them one year.  What I’m most looking forward too, though, is being able to take my wife Cindy to Epcot on her birthday and experiencing it first hand.  Tomorrow is her birthday, so we would be right in line with seeing the start of the festival.  Here’s how I picture it in my mind’s eye.

It’s an absolutely incredible spring-like day.  The sky is a brilliant blue, with a few wispy clouds  dotting the landscape.  Cindy and I are staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, a resort that we’ve visited before but have never stayed at.  For Epcot, it’s a great resort because you can just walk to the park, enter through the International Gateway, and take in the festival. In fact, on this day, that’s just what we did.  We visited all of the pavilions that we enjoy, Canada, China, the American Adventure, Norway, Italy, Germany, France, Mexico.  In fact, we visited them all because today was a special day, a day when it was just Cindy and I, walking hand-in-hand, enjoying being at Walt Disney World, and sharing our love for each other with those we encounter.

Everyone has a smile on their face, because when you are at Disney, that’s what you do most of all — you smile.  You take everything in, and you don’t worry about anything because at Walt Disney World, everyone turns into a version of their childhood once again.  After we walk around the festival, we ride some of our favorite rides: Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, and we remember fondly those attractions that aren’t around anymore, like Maelstrom.

The reality for me is this. Visiting Walt Disney World and Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival would be great because it would mean that I am able to visit Disney with my wife once again, something we haven’t been able to do for a while now.  It would mean that things are much better than they were, and when we go to Walt Disney World next, it will truly feel like this is the first time we have been.  What are your thoughts about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? Please share them with us, and make sure you check out the rest of the posts from this loop.  Thanks for stopping by!

For more of what you can expect at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | 2017 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Loop:

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Disney Burger

In Search of…the best Disney Burger!

Disney Burger

I hear that Pecos Bill has a mighty mean burger…

The other day my wife, daughter and I were eating out at the Village Deli, a restaurant that serves up a pretty good burger, when it dawned on me that we’ve been hard pressed to remember a time when we’ve had a really good burger at Disney.  So, like any good Disney fan, I did what comes naturally.  I asked all of you for your opinions on what is the best Disney Burger!

What I discovered is that there are good many places where you can get a great tasting burger at Walt Disney World.  Here are some of your suggestions for where we should get our burger when we are at Disney in February!

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

We have had some people tell us to check out Pecos Bill’s.  Here’s what you all said:

  • Chris told us that “I really enjoyed Pecos Bill’s.”
  • Heidi added, “We like Pecos Bills too because of the toppings bar. You get to put EXACTLY what you WANT on the burger.”
  • Stacy finished us off by saying, “My husband loves the fixings at pecos Bills…”

Beaches & Cream

When it comes to Beaches & Cream, it seems that all is not ice cream at this restaurant located at the Boardwalk.  Turns out, several of you feel like they have one of the best burgers anywhere!

  • Jennifer was quick to chime in, writing “Beaches and Cream for my $!”
    • That was followed by Erin, who added “second for Beaches and Cream”
    • Then, Laura completed the trifecta: “3rd for B&C!”
  • MDOD reader Tara chimed in for Beaches & Cream: “Beaches and Cream…hands down favorite for me!”

Other Locations:

There were quite a lot of great choices for us to choose from — here are some of your comments for the best of the rest!

  • Turns out that Heidi has another good location to pick from. Here’s what she wrote: “Have you been to the Electric Umbrella? Their burgers are pretty good (HUGE).”
  • When it comes to burgers, Ron was kind enough to give me park specific offerings: “Epcot- Electric Umbrella, Magic Kingdom- Cosmic Rays”
  • Denise chimed in about Hurricane Hanna’s: “hurricane hanna’s at the beach club are good also besides pecos bills.”
  • MDOD writer Lee chimed in about the Sci-Fi Dinner Theater: “Sci fi for me! Burgers and cheesy movies go good together!”
  • Tricia wrote about her preference for Sci Fi: “SciFi was better than Beaches and Cream for us.”
  • Kelly wrote about the ABC Commissary: “Pecos Bill’s and ABC Commisary are both good.”
  • Paula adds: “I’ve never been disappointed with the burgers at the Sci-Fi or at Rainforest Café. Pecos Bill’s wasn’t bad either.”
  • Staci reminded us not to forget the Magic Kingdom Resorts: “I love the burger at the contempo cafe. Qsr at contemporary resort.”
  • Lastly, Christi chimed in about the Grand Floridian Cafe with this exotic burger: “We love the Angus burger topped with lobster at Grand Floridian Cafe… YUM!!”

Thank you all for your great comments about where to get a good burger.  When we visit in February, I plan on making sure that we try out some of these places.  I’ll let you know my favorites after we get back.  If you have any other great locations, please feel free to comment and let us know.  Thanks for joining us, and have a great day!

Our Next Disney Vacation!

Our next Disney Vacation!

Our next Disney Vacation!

On Christmas Day, as part of her Christmas present, Sophie learned of a very special trip that she will be taking with two of her best friends — to celebrate Sophie’s 13th Birthday!

This is something that we’ve been planning for quite a while, behind the scenes, so to speak.  None of this would have been possible if we hadn’t bought our membership in the Disney Vacation Club, and I am extremely excited that we did that because we have been having great vacations with our family and close friends ever since!

So, with the days ticking off until our next trip, we’ve got some planning to take care of!  For starters, we’ve got to figure out what dining options we need to work on.  We’ve got some special diet requirements that we’ve got to work with, so the Disney Dining Plan is not going to be an option for us this time.  I’ve already taken care of emailing the Special Diets folks at Disney (that sounds like a new blog post to me!) and they have been very helpful in sending me some great recommendations back.  Also, since there are going to be eight of us, one thing that might be a great option for us is to invest in the Tables in Wonderland card. This special card — which is only available for purchase to Florida residents or Annual Passholders — costs $100 but it allows you to save 20% off of most restaurants at Walt Disney World, including any alcoholic beverages, and you can get discounts on purchases also of merchandise.

Also on the list of things to do — decide on what we want to do with Fastpasses, MyMagic+, and all that.  Talk about some of the great things we want to explore at the parks.  Talk about that “other park” and whether or not we want to visit it (I’m thinking of sending Sophie over with some of our friends while Cindy and I enjoy the parks on our own…).  Stay tuned, friends, and we’ll take a more in-depth look at these things over the next few months.  As of December 27th, 2013, we are 170 days away from our trip!

Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?

Disney Dining Plan

By Mike Ellis.  The Disney Dining Plan is often a subject of great debate between Disney fans.  Some people swear by the Disney Dining Plan, insisting that they do not experience their vacation fully without adding the Disney Dining Plan — or getting it for free through a Disney promotion.  Others insist that the Disney Dining Plan isn’t worth the money you spend, that you end up overeating, not enjoying yourselves as much, and that the resort drink mug you get with your plan just isn’t worth it.

So where does the truth lay?  I’m betting that it is somewhere in the middle…

In this post, I’m going to take an in-depth look at the Disney Dining Plan and help you discover if it is worth it for your family, and if it isn’t, I’m going to also explore some options that may be a better fit for you.  As always, I invite you to comment and let me know your thoughts, and tell me — do my points make good sense or do you think I’m full of it?

Disney Dining Plan Options

There are three different Disney Dining Plan options.  Here they are, along with a quick description of what each plan offers you:

  1. Quick Service Dining — The Quick Service Dining plan will give each person in the travel party aged three and up two counter service meals per night of stay, plus one snack, along with a refillable resort drink mug.  The Quick Service Dining plan is the least expensive option.
  2. Plus Dining — The “Plus” Dining plan option is the one most people go for — it includes one table service meal, one counter service meal, and one snack per person, per night of stay, for everyone aged three and up.  It also includes the refillable resort drink mug.
  3. Deluxe Dining — The Deluxe Dining plan option gives each person in the travel party aged three and up three meals per night and two snacks per night of travel, along with the refillable resort drink mug.  The three meals can be any combination of table service and counter service meals.

Five reasons for the “Plus” Disney Dining Plan

For the purposes of this article, I am going to really focus on the most common option that people go for with the Disney Dining Plan — the “Plus” Dining option.  Here are my top five reasons why we love the Disney Dining Plan:

  1. I like the idea of having my vacation expenses already taken care of as much as possible before my vacation.  By ordering the Disney Dining Plan, I already know that I have my dining taken care of except for any alcoholic beverages (which are really few and far between) and gratuities to our wait staff.
  2. I am a person that likes to eat.  As a result, I like being able to try out restaurants that offer food that I won’t normally experience when I’m back home.  It is for this reason that I really enjoy Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway.  The food is authentic, and is something I just won’t experience back in North Carolina!
  3. One thing we like to reserve is character dining restaurants.  By doing so, we are filling our bodies with energy during our meal, and we’re also taking care of a large number of our character pictures and autographs that we want to get as well!
  4. As you all probably know, one of the biggest things that I love about our Disney vacations is the Disney Magic and special Memories that we have experienced.  Many of them have happened during our table service meals, and I don’t want to miss those opportunities!
  5. Lastly, while there are a great number of incredible counter service restaurants — for my top ten, just click here — eating the Disney equivalent of fast food does get old after a while, and I don’t think that it is nearly as healthy as a good, relaxing, sit down meal at a table service restaurant.  For these reasons, I really enjoy the Disney Dining Plan.

Five reasons against the “Plus” Disney Dining Plan

Now, in comparison, let’s take a look at five reasons why the Disney Dining Plan may not be the best option for you.

  1. Expense.  The Disney Dining Plan is not cheap — in fact, for a family of four (two adults and two children aged eight and five) that is going to Walt Disney World in late June for six nights and seven days, the cost of their dining plan comes out to $930.48!  That is a huge expense.  For a family on a budget, that is potentially a big savings, depending on how they plan to take care of their meals while they are there.
  2. Picky/small eaters.  In many cases, guests that travel to Walt Disney World are either very picky when it comes to the food they like, or don’t eat a whole lot.  In either case, if you are making one table service reservation after another for your stay, you may find yourself or your kids not eating very much, and definitely not getting your money’s worth with regards to what you are paying for the plan.
  3. Your family is always on the go.  If your family is the type of family that is always on the go, wanting to get to the next attraction and the next show and on and on and on, the Disney Dining Plan may not be for you because you might not want to take time away from your time enjoying the great attractions and shows.  In a case like this, the Quick-Service Dining Plan might be a good alternative for you.
  4. “Scheduling your vacation.”  In many cases, people don’t like to go for the Disney Dining Plan because they don’t like having to make reservations for restaurants — they feel like they are planning every minute of their vacation because of the reservation times for their table service restaurants.  In cases like this, the Disney Dining Plan is probably not for you.
  5. Lastly, if you are not staying on Disney property for your resort stay, you can not participate in the Disney Dining Plan.

Tables in Wonderland

Tables in Wonderland vs. Disney Dining Plan

So, if you are leaning in the “against” group when it comes to the Disney Dining Plan, it’s okay — you can still take advantage of the great Disney table-service restaurants to enjoy.  If you have a big enough party size, one option that may be of interest to you is the Tables in Wonderland card.  This special dining card — which, by the way, is only available to Florida Residents, member of the Disney Vacation Club, or Annual Passholders — offers 20% off dining costs at over 100 Walt Disney World restaurants, and is good for the cardholder and up to 10 additional guests.  The cost of the card is $100, and the card is good for one year from time of purchase.  However, if you use the Tables in Wonderland card, you will automatically be charged an 18% gratuity, so keep that in mind when using it.  There are cases where I don’t think the Tables in Wonderland card is going to result in savings.

I hope that this article has helped you in your understanding of the Disney Dining Plan, and whether or not it is right for you and your family.  If you are interested in a quote for travel of your own, click on the image at the bottom of this post or on my sidebar on the right.  Each will take you to my quote page where you can fill in your information and generate an email to me for requesting a quote.  Also, if you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments, or email me at Mike@PixieVacations.com.  Lastly, let me know — do you like the Disney Dining Plan, or do you do without it?  Let me know in the comments as well, and thanks for stopping by!

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