It’s Likely The Calm Before The Storm

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If you spent time in Epcot this weekend you probably noticed how empty it was. You could call that Disney in September but it’s also likely the calm before the storm. Next weekend begins Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – the most anticipated event of the year for food, wine and craft beer enthusiasts.
It’s a party for your taste buds and an opportunity to taste the culinary delights from various countries, craft beer and a plethora of wines.
Small appetizer sized portions of various foods can be purchased, usually priced between $3.50 – $5.00.
Due to its popularity, this festival gets longer every year. It will run for 53 days this year from September 19 through November 10.
Saturday evening small groups of festival cast members could be seen throughout the World Showcase getting their last-minute instructions.
And while you nibble your way around the world, you can see performances in the Eat To The Beat Concert Series which features performances such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Smash Mouth and Boyz ll Men just to mention a few.
Mixology seminars and cooking demonstrations along with many other mini events will occur during the festival.
Although the festival itself draws large crowds, if you plan to attend expect weekdays to be only slightly less crowded.

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You Need A Plan…A Dining Plan

You Need A Plan…A Dining Plan

Everyone likes to save money when planning a Walt Disney World vacation. But something you should never leave home without (when heading to Disney) is some sort of dining plan. And by plan I don’t mean “meet us at noon at Pecos Bills for lunch.”
I’m talking about a Disney Dining Plan. The kind you can only get if you stay on-site at a Disney resort.
There are several dining plan options to choose from, the most popular one includes a sit down restaurant meal, a quick service meal, and a snack for each night of stay. All of the meal plans include for each person in your party a resort refillable mug that has unlimited refills at your resort food court for the duration of your stay.

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And did I mention you get dessert with lunch and dinner?
The only drawback I see to this particular plan is that you need to make advanced dining reservations for your table service meal which means you need to set up a time that you’re going to dine each day.
If you don’t want to commit to a sit down restaurant each day and you wait until you arrive for your vacation to make dining reservations, you will be very limited to what restaurants have available times as most people do make the dining reservations 6 months in advance.
If you want a meal plan without the restaurant reservation commitment, try the Quick Service Dining Plan. That plan gives each person 2 quick service meals and one snack per night of stay. And just because you choose the Quick Service Plan, doesn’t mean you have to live on hamburgers and hot dogs for the week. Disney does a fabulous job of offering many varieties of quick service meals including salads, wraps, spaghetti, and even roast chicken and mashed potatoes! (At Cosmic Rays in the Magic Kingdom…delicious!)
And if you want to dine at several Signature Dining restaurants which include some of the character dining that requires 2 table service credits, I recommend the Deluxe Dining Plan. With this plan you would get 3 meals and one snack for for each night of stay. And what makes this plan unique is that there is no distinction between Quick Service meals and restaurant sit down meals, so you can use those meals however you choose. Most people choose the Deluxe Dining in order to plan more character dining experiences during their stay.
The question I get asked most by families considering the dining
Plan: Is there a limited menu that you choose from. And the answer is no. While there are a few small restrictions, pretty much what you see on the menu you can order.
The biggest question: will a dining plan cost me more or save me money?
In my opinion it will save you money. If you keep the receipts of all your dining while on vacation and add them up, the total will be much higher than the cost of the meal plan. And who wants to worry about how much money to budget for meals on vacation?
Keep in mind that your dining plan must be added before you check in at your resort!
So make your vacation a true vacation and include a dining plan!

Disney Free Dining Returns for 2013!

Whether you're celebrating or not, Disney Free Dining is the way to go.

Whether you’re celebrating or not, Disney Free Dining is the way to go.


Disney Free Dining is making it’s annual return to Walt Disney World offering guests a free meal plan when they book their Disney vacation. You need to be checking in between Sept. 2 and 25th in order to take advantage of this promotion.
If you’re staying at a moderate or deluxe resort, you get the Disney Dining plan free which includes 1 table service, one quick service (counter service) meal, and one snack per person per night of stay. You will also receive the souvenir mug that can be refilled at your resort food court for free. If you’re staying at a value resort you will get the quick service dining plan free. That plan gives you 2 quick service meals per day, one snack and the refillable mug. You can upgrade to the regular dining plan for the difference in cost between the two. You can also upgrade to the deluxe dining plan the same way.
There is a 3 night minimum stay to take advantage of this promotion and it requires the purchase of at least a 2 day park pass.
Disney free dining is one of the most highly sought after promotions each year because of it’s value.

For expert assistance in planning your Walt Disney World vacation contact
Sharon Spohn, Liberty Travel Vacation Expert specializing in Disney, at 610-524-2930 or spohns@libertytravel.com.

This Fall in Walt Disney World

What do you get when your combine 46 days, 25 marketplaces and 270 chefs?

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!

Beginning September 28th through November 12th, the popular annual event will take place in the World Showcase in Epcot. You can sample food, wine and craft beer from places such as Australia, Hawaii, Belgium, Ireland, Greece and many others including new this year a Vegan option Terra!

You will be able to purchase small plate portions for $4 -$8.

And if food wine and beer isn’t enough, there are culinary demonstrations such as mixology, culinary and wine-tasting that you can purchase tickets to. These events are held several times a day on specific days.

If you’re looking for a little entertainment while you eat and drink, you can have that too!

The  Eat to the Beat Concert Series will feature bands such as Boyz II Men, Air Supply, Smash Mouth and many others that will perform in the American Gardens Theater throughout the 46-day event.

For more information about the Food and Wine Festival visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/

 

Free Dining This Fall With A Pin Code (For Now)

It appears that once again Disney is offering free dining for specific dates this fall but you need a Pin Code to get it. Check your e-mail because that’s where it’s likely to be. Although the weeks are specific in October, November and December, you can still get the free dining for your entire stay if your arrival date falls within the covered time period. For those people like me who have received very few Pin Codes over the years, I will be waiting with anticipation for this promotion to be opened to the public, which it usually does. Rumor has it that the promotion will be opened to the public in a couple of weeks.
If you haven’t taken advantage of a Disney vacation with free dining it’s a great savings. If you stay at a value resort, you get the Quick service dining plan free which is 2 quick service meals and 2 snacks per person per night of stay. If you stay in a moderate resort, you get the Disney Dining Plan which gives you 1 table service meal, one quick service meal and one snack per person per night of stay. The latter is the most popular dining plan. And if you’ve already booked your trip and paid for a dining plan, you can still take advantage of the promotion. What I think is great about this promotion is that if you have a trip booked at a value resort with the Disney Dining Plan, if you can take advantage of the free dining you can upgrade to a moderate with the free dining and you won’t pay more money (or maybe very little). This promotion is one of my favorites because I think it gives you the opportunity for the biggest value.
So if it’s a fall trip you’re planning, keep watching for this promotion to open up to the general public. This free dining offer does book up quickly and they do only have limited amount of rooms at each resort for the promotion.

**Just an update to this post: Although I’ve been watching all my e-mail accounts to see if I received a Pin Code for Free Dining(and had not), I decided to call Disney to see if there was one linked to my name and there was! So be proactive and call if you didn’t get one yet!
If you want a free no-obligation quote for any Disney vacation you can e-mail me at spohns@libertytravel.com