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Countdown to Opening Day for the 2021 Season: May 15th 11:00 AM!

Kings Island is now open for 2021.

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To me the sticker shock on ticket prices pales in comparison to the cost to stay on site. My goodness. You of course don't need to stay on site to enjoy WDW, but it sure is convenient.

If you pay attention to prices and deals and aren't as concerned about amenities, you can stay on site rather cheaply. In 2012, I was looking to stay on site for seven nights, checking in on Labor Day. In February, the online booking system was quoting me roughly ~$95/night for the All-Star Sports resort. I filled out the form for the vacation planning DVD, and marked September as the month I was looking to visit. After the DVD came, in May Disney sent me a letter offering a limited-time deal to book a Value resort in my chosen month for $83/night, and I booked the All-Star Sports Resort almost immediately. Yes, it's a no-frills, very basic place with outside room entry, but it was sufficient for a place to lay my head at night, which is almost all I used the room for. And I used some of the money that I saved by not going with a Moderate or more expensive resort to splurge for Deluxe Dining.

So yes, you don't have to spend a lot of money to stay on-site; you just need to pay attention to when off-peak season is, be willing to stay in an All-Star Resort, and watch for special deals, and you can get a Disney resort for less than some third-party hotels. :)

You're right, I should have noted an exception to the values (at least the All-star ones and Pop Century). Those are reasonable. We would have opted for 2 of them that adjoin for our trip if we wouldn't have booked so late. 2 adjoining rooms at the values are significantly cheaper than 1 suite anywhere, and for the 4 adults in our group (one of which is an EXTREMELY loud snorer) we needed one of those options.

But the price to rent a 3 bedroom home within 15 minutes of WDW and US for a week through Airbnb, plus the cost to rent a car and park at the parks is less than both. A tempting alternative to say the least.

I have a question for you though: how on earth did you eat all the food that Deluxe Dining offers!?! That's a lot of food!

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While I wouldn't choose the system myself, I would argue that it DOES make your vacation simpler.   You pre-book your flight, right?   You pre-book your transportation.   You pre-book your hotel

I'm not sure I agree with that. Yes, if the choice is food, shelter or Disney, I agree. But small choices over time can make what is for some a once in a lifetime trip obtainable. No Coke in the

Others have made many of the valid points I was going to reply with, but let me just add this and you tell me which one is better.     When visiting the Magic Kingdom this past December there were 2

Let's just say that I won't ever get Deluxe Dining again. :) A lot of food got thrown away because I was stuffed to the gills, and near the end of the week, I was actually declining the appetizer in the interest of minimizing waste. It was way too much food then, and my appetite now is about half of what it was back then. :P

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A big selling point of the plan is its a good deal, which it really is though.

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It's a good deal if you can eat that much food. I'm an average to above average eater and I can't even begin to come close to eating that much food in a week. Plus the way you save money with that plan is to eat 3 sit down meals per day, and that consumes a lot of time.

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Your point is right but Deluxe Dining is only 1 quick service and 1 table so you really only need to sit down 2 times.

When we went, breakfast was one sit down and then either a large late lunch or an earlier dinner. Breakfast every day was in the hotel restaurant and we are almost all of the character meals

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Your point is right but Deluxe Dining is only 1 quick service and 1 table so you really only need to sit down 2 times.

When we went, breakfast was one sit down and then either a large late lunch or an earlier dinner. Breakfast every day was in the hotel restaurant and we are almost all of the character meals

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That's Standard Dining. Deluxe Dining is 3 meals anywhere, hence to maximize value you would eat at 3 sit down restaurants. You also get 2 snacks daily with that plan.

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Like so much at Walt Disney World (Fastpass+, hotel reservations, transportation, dining reservations) the Disney Dining Plan can save quite a bit of money IF you've taken a Disney Dining 101 class to explain the nuances of it. The average family probably loses money on it (if only because they're paying a premium to be able to get snacks that they otherwise wouldn't have gotten and didn't need), paying for convenience and simplicity. Like the Deluxe, with three meals (that should be full-service for your money's worth) AND two snacks. Compared to the sticker price, you can save money IF you secure the best reservations for the three best full service restaurants three times per day and also eat two snacks per day. But if it were not for the Disney Deluxe Dining plan, who would eat like that?

 

Money saved versus the sticker price? It can happen if you plan it right.

 

Money saved versus what you would've spent anyway? Unlikely.

 

It's one more way that Disney keeps you captive. If they can be the sole provider of your transportation, entertainment, and even dining, then not only do you have no incentive to find a way to Universal, you're actually incentivized to not try. And that's not a bad thing. It's smart business. See also, Kings Island All Day Dining or even All SEASON Dining. 

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Just a few points to clarify about the Deluxe Dining plan.  It consists of 3 meals (which can be any combination of table or quick service, so if you want to eat 3 table service meals per day you can) Also the plan comes with 2 snack credits per day and your resort refillable mug.  The plan as stated is an insane amount of food if you were to follow it everyday.  The trick to really using the Deluxe Dinning plan the best is to combine meal points and eat at Signature Restaurants.  When we visit in September this year we will more than likely eat at California Grill, The Boathouse, Tiffins (New at AK) and LeCellier (Plus we might add in Cinderella's Royal Table) That is 5 Signature Meals during our week long vacation, that if we would have paid out of pocket would have easily totaled over $1,000 for our family for the week.  This is why I love staying at a Moderate, getting Free Dining and upgrading to Deluxe Dining.  The Signature Meals are a huge part of our Disney Trip for Mom and Dad.

 

Also regarding snacks we take our unused snack credits and raid the candy store and bakery.  These items make great take home treats for friends and family 

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Your point is right but Deluxe Dining is only 1 quick service and 1 table so you really only need to sit down 2 times.

When we went, breakfast was one sit down and then either a large late lunch or an earlier dinner. Breakfast every day was in the hotel restaurant and we are almost all of the character meals

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That's Standard Dining. Deluxe Dining is 3 meals anywhere, hence to maximize value you would eat at 3 sit down restaurants. You also get 2 snacks daily with that plan.

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You are right! My brain went sideways for a moment carry on!

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Just wondering if this will keep some of the crowd away during "peak" pricing dates.

 

http://nypost.com/2016/03/01/disney-is-screwing-american-families/

 

Nope. Families plan their Walt Disney World vacations months -- even YEARS -- in advance. In fact, they're supposed to. If they don't, they won't get a hotel room, Fastpass+ reservations, or dining reservations, which in many cases must be made the DAY they become available (months and months before the trip) to secure the most desirable reservations.

 

Besides, only one-day tickets are being tiered based on demand. How many families do you know who visit Walt Disney World for a single day?

 

I sincerely think the only people affected by this will be convention-goers who 1) don't even know / care that it's a "peak" day versus anything else and 2) wouldn't have visited a different day even if they did know. I still think this is 100% just to warm the public to the idea so that in a year when multi-day tickets become tiered, it doesn't generate a media storm. People will say, "Psh, they did that last year. Who cares?"

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Just a few points to clarify about the Deluxe Dining plan.  It consists of 3 meals (which can be any combination of table or quick service, so if you want to eat 3 table service meals per day you can) Also the plan comes with 2 snack credits per day and your resort refillable mug.  The plan as stated is an insane amount of food if you were to follow it everyday.  The trick to really using the Deluxe Dinning plan the best is to combine meal points and eat at Signature Restaurants.  When we visit in September this year we will more than likely eat at California Grill, The Boathouse, Tiffins (New at AK) and LeCellier (Plus we might add in Cinderella's Royal Table) That is 5 Signature Meals during our week long vacation, that if we would have paid out of pocket would have easily totaled over $1,000 for our family for the week.  This is why I love staying at a Moderate, getting Free Dining and upgrading to Deluxe Dining.  The Signature Meals are a huge part of our Disney Trip for Mom and Dad.

 

Also regarding snacks we take our unused snack credits and raid the candy store and bakery.  These items make great take home treats for friends and family 

 

And doing it THAT way, you'll save a hefty sum. I just wouldn't feel confident guessing that most or even MANY people who buy Dining Packages know how to use it in such a way that they come out ahead. If Disney wasn't making a profit off of them, they wouldn't stick around much longer at the price points they're at. If you're smart about it (like you are), then you can really use the plan to your advantage. But if most people were using it that way, it would go away. 

 

For an average visiting family, it can be difficult to get your literal direct money's worth from the plan. They might even know that, but be willing to spend more to benefit from the simplicity of having "pre-paid" and not having to worry about budgeting and planning.When it DOES work in their favor, they might spend $1000 on a dining package where collecting the receipts says they got $1100 worth of food. That's a savings of $100. But if they DIDN'T have the dining plan, they might've only spent $600 on food. Sure, they 'saved.' In the same way that those coupon books are worth "OVER $40,000 in savings." Spend more than you would've to save.

 

Increasingly, companies are learning that the less you have to look at cash or even a card, the more you're likely to spend. In my mind, that's why Apple Pay and MagicBands haven't caught on: we're all KEENLY aware that they exist primarily because of the expansive research that tells us we're likely to spend more money with them than we would with cash or card. For convenience? 

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From a family finance side, it was very nice to not worry about meals and spending money on them. For many families the cost to eat can be a significant amount of the money spent when on vacation. So much so that you may not have money left over for other things or you save it till the end.

With my family we all had various amounts of money we could spend. But at the meal time there was no plate envy based on price. If you wanted the steak or the fish you had the choice. Plus if you wanted an Olaf cupcake or a big cookie you could do it. Yes we paid for it before we left but it made the entire trip sort of nice knowing it was all paid off so you could just eat and enjoy

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It definitely makes sense for some people and families. If you're a planner and are going to make reservations for the nicer restaurants months in advance so you can get the most money's worth, it makes sense. If you like paying for everything ahead of time because you just don't want to have to worry about it (or if you're bad at budgeting), even if it saves you no money or costs you a little bit, it makes sense. If you're someone who will always want the most expensive option on the menu, and you always get dessert, it definitely makes sense.

For my family it did not make sense. We don't want to plan out where and when we want to eat well in advance. We don't know if we'll want to do 1 sit down meal in a given day, 3 sit down meals or no sit down meals until we actually go about our day. We aren't big dessert eaters, and don't want to have to feel obligated to get one of the most expensive menu options to feel like we're getting our money's worth because we'd be losing money by picking a cheaper option that actually sounds tastier. And we did the math and determined that there's about a 90% chance that we'll spend less money without a dining plan than we would with one, with that 10% margin of error accounting for minimal savings at best.

I know I'm in the minority as my travel agent said 80% of people that book through him get the dining plan (though I'm sure he sells it hard to most people so he gets a higher commission), and I have no doubt that some people save quite a bit with it. I just encourage anyone who is planning a WDW trip to do the proper research before deciding whether or not to get one.

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Just a few points to clarify about the Deluxe Dining plan.  It consists of 3 meals (which can be any combination of table or quick service, so if you want to eat 3 table service meals per day you can) Also the plan comes with 2 snack credits per day and your resort refillable mug.  The plan as stated is an insane amount of food if you were to follow it everyday.  The trick to really using the Deluxe Dinning plan the best is to combine meal points and eat at Signature Restaurants.  When we visit in September this year we will more than likely eat at California Grill, The Boathouse, Tiffins (New at AK) and LeCellier (Plus we might add in Cinderella's Royal Table) That is 5 Signature Meals during our week long vacation, that if we would have paid out of pocket would have easily totaled over $1,000 for our family for the week.  This is why I love staying at a Moderate, getting Free Dining and upgrading to Deluxe Dining.  The Signature Meals are a huge part of our Disney Trip for Mom and Dad.

 

Also regarding snacks we take our unused snack credits and raid the candy store and bakery.  These items make great take home treats for friends and family 

There are also rumblings that the way the dining credits are used will possibly be changing later this year-for the worse (if you're a guest), in that you would no longer be able to combine points in order to have a nicer meal at a Signature restaurant.  Each person's plan would function independently of everyone else's.  It's all about maximizing shareholder value.  Disney does not want its ESPN unit to shoulder much of the profit burden going forward, esp with the increasing fees (and the resulting backlash from cable providers) it charges.  If ala carte cable pricing becomes a reality, that will be a large chunk of money leaving the room.  So, the parks are going to have to become the standard-bearer once again.  Stay tuned.

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Then the signature meals would come off of the dining plan and or a new tier would be entered? Where did you read that the combing wouldn't be happening.

Plus I just got the mailing from DVC that said you can use you meal credits for others.

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If points can't be combined, I'd wager that that would mean no signature meals for dining plan member... Or perhaps it would cost one sit-down point PLUS a $50 surcharge or something.

 

Disney is unique in that 100% of tables are up for reservation. There is no "stand-by" or a percentage of tables set aside for walk-ups or even day-ofs. It just doesn't exist. It could very well be that Disney thinks that 100% of seats could be filled by guests not using a dining plan... In which case, why let people like Railrider with such a nuanced understanding of the system fill up seats that guests will pay big, big, big bucks to fill?

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Interesting thought on the changes happening to the Dinning Plan.  Just a few thoughts.  The Dinning Plan is typically updated in May for the next year, so I would expect any changes will be for the 2017 plan.  Also the 2016 plan is the first time guests on the DDP could use points to cover a meal for a non dining plan guest.  Plus substitution for snack credits and other combining options became available.  Lastly I would argue that Disney uses the Free Dinning Promotion during the off seasons to keep their restaurants filled and more people staying on site and not venturing off.  That is why during Free Dinning season the restaurants see an in flux of crowds, especially signature locations.  Places like Narcossees, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Artist Point, and Citricos are dead during this time of year and are filled with a large percentage of dinning plan guests who are combining points or are on an upper tier plan.  Also booking ADR's is a bit more difficult during Free Dinning because more people are eating on property.  This is one of the main reasons Skipper Canteen is struggling to draw a crowd, you can't book an ADR for it, but if that changes by Summer then I expect it will be packed come Free Dinning Season.

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Not all Disney tables are reservation only.  Granted, the walkup policy has certainly gotten much more stringent in the past couple of years, esp with the MMP implementation, but even during peak times, reservations are often cancelled at the last minute, or are simply no shows.  Disney will usually (bit not always) create a "cancellation" list if you arrive at the restaurant without a reservation and its really a crapshoot as to whether you get in or not.  To Rail's point of tables booking up quickly even in the "offseason"-call me cynical, but there still exists unauthorized 3rd party sites that will use bots to help (but not actually book) an ADR at a Disney restaurant (for a fee).  I have no idea what these sites bring in, but I have not heard of Disney taking any action against any of them. Meanwhile, 2 moms who love Disney decide to recreate the scents of the resort in candle form, and suddenly they're being read the Riot Act by Disney lawyers.

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I'm super stoked for this. Rumor has it that dining packages will be available tomorrow at 6 am...I'm usually awake that early anyway so I'll be attempting to book one for our early May trip.

In the video the guy says they've been working on this for 3 years. If it took Disney 3 years to put together a show, it has to be incredible.

I'm also looking forward to Everest and Safari at night. Should be awesome.

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In 2012, I asked Disney enthusiast Jim Hill (who I very sincerely respect) why Disney's Animal Kingdom couldn't get a World of Color style nighttime fountain show in the Discovery River east of the Tree of Life. He answered:

 

5751.Beastly_2D00_7.jpg

 

Don't look for a version of DCA's World of Color to be built in Disney's Animal Kingdom's Discovery River area anytime soon. In order to keep the illuminated thousand fountains that actually drive this nighttime show working properly, they need to be placed inside of a closed water system that's regularly / heavily filtered. And given that DAK's Discovery River is supposed to resemble a natural body of water which is somehow winding its way in and around that theme park ... Well, those really-for-real lily pads that you see floating in the image above are an essential part of pulling off this thematic illusion. And since all this floating flora would obviously regularly clog up the high pressure nozzles which are used for dramatic effect in World of Color ...

 

You get the idea, right?  It's kind of an either / or proposition. If DAK wants to bring in World of Color, it needs to change Discovery River into a closed-off, highly filtered body of water like DCA's Paradise Bay. Which means that you then lose all of the weeds & grass lining its shoreline. Which help make Discovery River look like this living thing, when then helps to re-enforce the overall theme of this theme park (i.e. that Disney's Animal Kingdom is a place that celebrates all animals. Living, extinct and imaginary).

 

So -- knowing that -- I can't honestly see World of Color ever being built in DAK's Discovery River area.

 

Obviously that idea DID end up coming true (so, yes, I take credit and assume that Disney Imagineering saw my post and thought, "What a great idea!" ;)), but it has given me an appreciation for how it must be done at Animal Kingdom, where (to my knowledge) they never drained the massive body of water in the park and made it into a filtered concrete pond. Maybe they installed coffer dams? I don't know... But it's made me think twice about how it all works. 

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This show looks fantastic! If it's half as good as the original World of Color it'll be fantastic. I just wonder how they will do it this summer with Animal Kingdom closing at 5pm all of July.

They've already announced that AK will be open at night starting April 22nd.

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This show looks fantastic! If it's half as good as the original World of Color it'll be fantastic. I just wonder how they will do it this summer with Animal Kingdom closing at 5pm all of July.

They've already announced that AK will be open at night starting April 22nd.

 

 

Check the WDW website. According to that Animal Kingdom will only be open until 5pm all of July. It might just be an error, but i'm wondering if it has something to do with the recently announced budget cuts at WDW. 

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