When you go to a place as expensive as Disney, sometimes every dime counts. Often, they ask if you want your drink in a souvenir cup. Some of these cups are a fairly good bargain, like the rapid refill mug, and others are simply to collect. No matter why you get one, there is one thing to remember: unless the cups say they are refillable (and most of them are not) it is a one time use purchase. Is that all bad though?
This last trip, we did go ahead and buy two souvenir cups for the kids. That was included in the cost of when we saved a TON by NOT doing the Disney Dining Plan. I ended up buying our first cup after reading about them on the Be Our Guest online menu. Since the youngest isn't a breakfast food person, I figured I'd get him a mug to go along with the snacks we packed. It was a very sturdy mug, and has a flip top lid to prevent spills.
Though I have boys, they didn't mind getting Beauty and the Beast cups. My only complaint, is because breakfast is a set price, it includes a drink. When I ordered the second cup, even though my oldest son's meal came with a drink, I was charged additionally for the souvenir mug. $10.
Now let's look at these next cups! These are my favorites!
I like these second souvenir cups better. They came from Big Top Souvenirs in Magic Kingdom, and were filled with a Goofy's Glacier. It was just under $10 for the filled mug. Since our youngest couldn't have a lot of the fun treats he used to have, I decided to splurge on getting the cup for him, and one for his brother and me. Just want to say..get the Lime flavor. I have dreams about how yummy that is, and I can't wait to get another. They had a lot of other flavors, too.
These cups also have a sturdy lid, and a plastic (YAY! A must have for a frozen drink!) and the design is very cute!
IMPORTANT, ALLERGY PARENTS! As they were getting the straws, the cast member told me she'd be right back, she always had a friend with gloves put the straw in, since they were loose in the box. I turn around and there, the friend in gloves, stopped stocking the case filled with nutty treats, stuck the straws in and came back. I was embarrassed, I mean, these weren't just throw away cups, but I apologized, and asked if I could have just one of them remade, because of traces of peanuts and tree nuts possibly now being on the straw. Without blinking, she did.
So are these cups a good deal? for around $5, you can buy just the drink. It's around $10 for the drink AND cup. To buy just a cup? I saw prices in the gift ship starting off at $10.
We reuse our cups a ton at home. If you aren't the sort to reuse your Disney souvenir cups, and don't collect them, I'd pass and save money. Our kids have used these a ton, and dispute multiple washings in the dishwasher, they are holding up great! Far better than this year's rapid refill mugs, actually. For us, these cups will be a sometime thing, especially since it can make a plain drink, and one of the few Disney treats our youngest can have, seem even more special!
My kids are hilarious. They want to visit the Dumbo ride, stand in line until we get to the play area, then leave through the exit door -- without riding Dumbo -- once they are ready to do. I can't complain too much, it's indoors and in the air conditioning, and they will let you stay more than the five minutes if you ask. They keep track of you, and your spot in the line, with the ticket shaped pager above. Here are some pictures, if you've never been! This doesn't capture the cute little toddler area. There are some fun little surprises hidden throughout the play area! I tried to be careful not to get kids other than my own in the photos, which is why I can't show everything, and that was tricky.
New year, new Disney Dining Plan!! There have been a few changes, and it’s up to YOU to decide if the Disney Dining Plan is still the best for your family or not.
The price has gone up compared to in 2019, it's possible that the new additions like the Skyliner and Galaxy's Edge have something to do with this. Keep reading to see the new prices!
Disney Dining Plans can be a little bit confusing if you've never used one before. If used wisely, the Dining Plans are a fantastic way to save a little or a lot on your trip, depending on what you eat or how much you drink, letting you add even more magic to your vacation!
Here's a basic overview about the Disney Dining Plan for 2020 to help you decide if the plan is right for you.
Disney World offers three dining plans for guests staying on property. The Quick Service Dining Plan, the Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. Each plan comes with a refillable souvenir mug that can be used at any resort during the length of your stay. Each restaurant will have a different theme, so it's often fun to try a new place each time.
The Quick Service Dining Plan is our favorite right now since we have small kids who don't want to sit still at a sit down restaurant for very long. This plan includes 2 meals per day, consisting of an entree and it's included side(s) (think half chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes, or sandwich and fries) and new in 2018, those under the age of 21 can choose to have soda, tea or coffee, a milkshake, smoothie or other specialty non alcoholic beverage. Those over the age of 21 with valid ID can choose to have a beer, cider, mixed drink or wine if available. This plan also includes 2 snack credits which can be used on a variety of things from soups or salads, drinks, desserts or packaged snacks. My favorite thing to use a snack credit on are the themed cupcakes. Gigantic works of art and delicious! We have never felt like we've sacrificed food choices with this plan. Quick Service doesn't mean you are stuck with just burgers and fries. There are yummy salads, seafood, fajitas, and so much more. Mr. Disney Magic loves going to Animal Kingdom and having lunch at Flame Tree BBQ so he can order the Ribs, chicken and pulled pork plate that includes baked beans, coleslaw and jalapeno cornbread. With Quick Service meals, no gratuities are charged and you do not need reservations.
The Dining Plan is the standard meal plan with Disney World and it includes 1 Quick Service meal, 1 Table Service meal and 2 snacks. You get everything as above with the Quick Service plan, but the Table Service meal can be a buffet or a sit down restaurant, and includes a dessert. This is a popular plan because it's the best of both worlds. You can have a quick lunch if you want and a leisurely dinner to unwind after a day at the Parks. There are a few Table Service restaurants that even offer special seating for nighttime shows, or Character Meals including breakfasts, however some of those might require the use of two meal credits. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The Deluxe Dining Plan is the most expensive plan because you get a lot more. This plan includes 3 meals, your choice of Quick Service or Table Service. If you choose the Table Service, in addition to the above entitlements, you also get to choose an appetizer. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The prices for the 2020 Disney Dining Plans are as follows:
Quick Service - Per night Ages 10 and up $55.00 Ages 9 and under $26.00
Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $78.01 Ages 9 and under $30.51
Deluxe Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $119.00 Ages 9 and under $47.50
There are some legitimate reasons as to why, or why not this plan might be good for you. If you love the idea of having all meals paid for in advance and if you like to have Table Service meals and don't mind planning in advance this plan may be perfect for you. If you just like to snack in the park, or want to bring in part of your own food and just eat one meal in the park, you might not get as much benefit from this.
An incredibly easy way to see if you will come out ahead or not if you buy this plan is to use this fabulous dining plan calculator. DisTripPlanner.com has put a lot of work into making your decision as easy as can be. Just make sure that you do add in the refillable mug in step 2, in order to get the most accurate result. Just click here to see the calculator.
A few things to remember.
Want to read more?
Click here to read about how we saved a ton by NOT getting the dining plan
Click here for tips and tricks to maximize your Disney Dining plan credits
Click here to read about bringing your own food in at Disney
Click here to read about how to save HUNDREDS in just a few minutes at Disney
Hidden in only a few areas at Disney, you will find survey markers. A little more elusive than a hidden mickey, these are still fun to look for, and snap a photo of. These small circles often blend right into the concrete, therefore making it even harder to spot them!
While survey markers aren't exclusive to Disney, I'd say they quite possibly look the best! Everything is better with Mickey ears, right?
The next time you are at Disney and someone sprinkles you with Pixie Dust or even just makes sure that you have a pleasant experience, be sure to thank them and to thank them with recognition at Guest Services. It can be difficult standing all day, especially in the hot sun, maybe with cranky people all around you because they think everyone else around them is getting all the luck, or maybe because they are having a hard day themselves, but those smiles, and the helpful service never stop to matter how they might feel.
While not all cast members are allowed to accept tips or small gifts, there is something else you can do for them.
It's very easy to show your gratitude, and it only takes a minute or two of your time. On our last visit, we made sure to recognize several very helpful people and were told that any reports left, go immediately onto their records. I like to think that the awesome cast member who helped us find a space for the fireworks, warning us to push closer to the line or other would step in front of us, kept the crowd moving in the walkway and got threatened several times for trying to direct pedestrians during the show knows how much we appreciated his help. So, thanks Ryan, from Lutz, Flordia. We stopped on the way out to let them know how amazing you were.
Then there was the woman at the Pop Century food court, who apologized that they didn't have milkshakes any longer. My oldest had been waiting all day for one, passing by several other yummy treats because they weren't safe for his brother, with the plan of soft serve together. Without my asking, she called around, tried to see of Art of Animation could do one, tried to find a blender and finally, even though there was a line, mixed together some ice cream and milk by hand for my son. she totally made his day, he said it was the best ever and I thank her for her sweetness. She didn't have to do that, but she did.
(We had a few other times that people were wonderful for us, once, I did forget to get the name of the person, so when we go back, if I see him again, I'll leave a compliment. )
So how do you leave a compliment? There are a few different ways. You can email guest services, you can ask at guest services for an applause-o-gram, or you can stop by and leave the name and incident. Don't remember the name? Just saying, "The woman who worked at the ice cream area at Pop with the long hair 4:55pm today" is good enough!
Have you ever thanked someone at Disney? Share your story of how awesome they were, and next time something happens to make your trip magical, be sure to share it with Guest Services too, if you didn't already!