Ways to Save on On Disney Property Hotels

Despite their premium prices, there are several ways to pay less for a Walt Disney World on property hotel. Here are a few.

  1. Take advantage of promotions offered directly by Disney. Disney offers room only, and package deals quite frequently. The best deals are in slower seasons, but if you watch closely can be found almost any time of the year. Usual hotel savings are anywhere between 10-30% depending on season and hotel level. NOTE: This is the only option available to pay with Disney gift cards. (Why would you want to pay with gift cards? Learn more here.)

Here’s a great roundup post of when deals are usually offered compiled by WDW Prep School.

And here’s a link to current promotions Disney is running.

  1. Pay with Starwood Points. Both the Dolphin and Swan hotels are members of the Starwood Points system, even though they are on property hotels.
  2. A relatively new option for major savings on property is buying or renting Disney Vacation Club points. This gives you access to the many villas throughout the Disney resorts at a savings of roughly 50%. This makes Delux level resorts accessible at more of a moderate price. DVC Rental store is a reputable company to go through.
  3. Purchase through a third party. Orbitz.com offers the same low rates that Disney does, but usually has another promotion running for an additional 15% off. Check for a promo code now. And if you do purchase on Orbitz don’t forget to use Ebates for an additional 8% cashback.

 

Pros and Cons of Staying On and Off Disney Property

True Disneyphiles will tell you never to stay off property. You never “leave the magic” they say, and they offer nice perks. True, staying on property offers some bonuses like easy transportation, Disney package deals and extra magic hours, but this will be my first trip (out of 5) staying within the Walt Disney World Resort. There are positives and negatives to each.

Ease of arrival

On Property

  • PRO: Disney offers free transportation from Orlando International Airport only, an approximate $200 roundtrip value. They will also pick up and deliver your checked luggage to your resort.
  • CON: No transportation provided from the Sanford Airport. Baggage takes on average three hours to arrive at your hotel. You will be requested to leave on a bus for your return flight 2-3 hours before flight takeoff, despite only being thirty minutes from the airport.

Off Property

  • PRO: Come and go as you please on your schedule without waiting for a shuttle.
  • CON: Airport transfer is on your own dime – approximately $200. Continue reading

Character Palooza: The Magical Unicorn of Character Experiences

Character Palooza is something I would think only exists in rumor, had I not seen photos of it myself. It’s so secret that Cast Members (Disney Employees) may say it doesn’t exit.

What is it? It’s a seemingly random mass appearance of usually rare characters in Hollywood Studios. It is, in fact a scheduled thing that if you subscribe to via Kenny the Pirate, character expert extraordinaire, you can work into your Walt Disney World touring plans.

Memory Maker photographers are NOT on hand, and it only lasts 15-20 minutes adding to it’s reclusive nature. It typically takes place at the Main Entrance of Hollywood Studios or in the Animation Courtyard near Disney Jr.

My best guess is that these characters are the same characters that appear in Fantasmic!. Since they are there already, why not parade them around for a short while and make some Disney magic?

For more information check out this post.

Sneak Peek of the New Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom

You guys, I am SO excited about this new restaurant in Magic Kingdom. In general, as a foodie I have been unimpressed with the food offerings in that park, but with Be Our Guest Restaurant, and now this new one, I am stoked!

Skipper Canteen is themed to go along with the Jungle Cruise and more importantly with the secret Society of Explorers and Adventurers, a fable club made up of a motley crew of characters whose influence is sprinkled throughout Disney properties around the world.

As of January 2016, even though this restaurant is a table service category, they are NOT taking Advanced Dining Reservations. That may change, but rumor has it Disney wants to test first come, first served.

The first impressions of guests have said that internationally influenced cuisine is amazing. Here’s a full review over at the Disney Food Blog.

To get a feel for the place check out the video below.

Dining in Disney: How To Eat for $20 a day (or less) in each park

 

Although I’m all about saving money at Disney, you can’t skip the wonderful Disney food altogether. It’s awesome and should be a budgeted part of your experience.

Disney DOES allow outside food in a softsided cooler. I would utilize this a few ways. First of all breakfast. Breakfast is important that you need it to fuel your very busy day, but the parks are best early in the day, so I wouldn’t waste my time sitting and eating. Pack fruit, granola bars, baked goods and other sundries that are good on the go and eat on the bus to your destination for the day. It’s also a great place to pack cold beverages and snacks.

If you want to pack lunch, and didn’t bring food or order from Garden Grocer, you can purchase two slices of bread at most food courts for $1.40. Peanut butter is .50, and often free (as a condiment), as is jelly. Super cheap way to get fueled up mid-day.

But even if you don’t pack any food, you can still eat at Disney on a budget by utilizing a few tactics and making smart (and tasty) choices. Continue reading

Dining at Disney: Is the dining plan right for me?

For anyone staying on property at Disney World, it’s the million dollar question, “Is the dining plan right for me?” Although much debate has gone on about it, and it is personal preference, I would in general say “No.”

The idea of a prepaid plan is appealing. It provides an all-inclusive feel to your vacation, and who doesn’t love that? I would argue, the convenience of the plan ends there. Continue reading