That La Kid

wishin' an' hopin'!

disney “pros”

HEY!  If you have a Disney Theme Park Podcast – you better know what the heck you’re talking about!

So, I’m listening to this podcast… I’m not sure why – because they’ve let me down before.  They’re talking about Top 5 Epcot attractions that they miss.  Okay, fine.  I’ll listen.  (Even though their website says, “Your Disney NEWS” and attractions that have been boarded up for a decade are hardly news.)  They all list the same ones.  Yeah.  Each person lists their Top 5.  It’s not a cumulative and well-researched list of the absolute best… 4 people each come up with their Top 5… up to 20 things.

Really?  Would you REALLY rather have Food Rocks than Soarin’?

In the same conversation, they poop on Ellen’s Energy Adventure being dated.  But Food Rocks, yeah, we miss Food Rocks SO HARD.

I should have quit when one of the hosts said, “Supposeably.”

Towards the end of their Long Lost Epcot Top 5, they’re talking smack about the Sorcerer Mickey hat at Disney-MGM Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Look, NO ONE likes that friggin’ hat.  No one likes it.  They have to have it… they have to cover the Chinese Theater.  DO SOME RESEARCH.  I don’t have official sources, but these podcast folks don’t even bring it up – they don’t even mention, “Oh, by the way – rumor has it Disney didn’t want to continue paying for the rights to use Grauman’s Chinese Theater on promotional materials, so they had to block it.”

I listened to the dribble for almost a solid hour!  Talk, talk, talk… saying nothing.

Tom says I should start a Disney blog, but I’m aware of my limitations.  As much as I know about Walt Disney World, there are people out there who know more (although not these people).  Why would people come to me for news and updates when I’m getting my news and updates from  Why do they need me to tell them that Thomas Jefferson is the Sheriff in the old west on the Great Movie Ride when they could learn it for themselves on a YouTube video of Jim Korkis?

I was listening to some Disney-Mommy podcast and they were talking about where they use their Disney Dining Credits, like, which restaurants are worthy.  If you’re paying full price for your hotel and tickets and are rewarded with free dining, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

If you’re hardcore with Disney, then you are a Disney Vacation Club Member.  If you’re a DVC Member, they don’t offer free dining plans – but that’s okay!  You are already saving thousands and thousands of dollars on annual vacations by being a member of the club.

If  you are a person who’d like to take their kids to Disney at some point in their life, perhaps DVC is not for you.  If that’s the case, you might book your trip at regular retail and get free dining (although I still can’t make it make sense to me).  Maybe in that scenario, you would want to hear this podcast about which places are most worthy of surrendering your credits… but if you own and operate a WDW podcast then YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

Not all uber-fans are DVC Members.  Tom and I are not DVC Members.  (Yet.)  But we’d still NEVER use the Disney Dining Plan because we are real, hardcore Disney addicts that make it down there as much as we can.  We have Annual Passes, and as a result we’ll never ever book a vacation package that includes our room and park tickets at regular price.  If you are a real Disney know-it-all, I would think you’d have an annual pass and go more than once a year.

That’s another thing – there are always special discounts offered on rooms through Disney’s website.  They ALWAYS offer some kind of end-of-season deal for up to 30% off room rates.  Disney Annual Passholders get room discounts.  AAA members get room discounts.  Why would you ever pay full price for a hotel room at Disney just to eat for free.  Quick service dining package retails for $35/day per person.  You get two quick meals, a snack and a refillable mug.  Well, let’s start right there… bring the mug from your last trip.  I don’t know if Tom and I ever spend $70/day at WDW on quick service meals.  We might (but don’t) each spend $15 for lunch, $15 for dinner.  That’s $30, which leaves $5 for a snack.  ::shrug::  It’s a wash.  You’re not saving some incredible amount of dough by buying into the dining plan.  I don’t think a Dole Hhhhhwhip even costs $5.  I mean, the Quick Service package says right on there, “Save 10%,” so it’s definitely a waste of time if you’re not getting it for free.  (P.S. Annual passholders get discounts at restaurants anyway.)

A Value Resort Package for Tom and I with “free” dining would be $1200.  That includes tickets for 4 days and a hotel for 5 nights.  Those tickets aren’t hoppers, so you have to commit to a park and stay there.  Even if it’s crowded because it’s the Extra Magic Hours Park.

So, alright – let me take the same 5 night trip Tom & Wendy style.  Based on the cost of my AP and the number of uses, it costs me $30/day to get into the parks, times 4 days and two people that’s $240 for tickets.  I’ll save a measly 25% on my room rate.  $75/night at Pop Century times 5 nights = $375.  That last night might cost more since it’s a Friday night, so we’ll round that up to $110, which makes the room for my stay $410.

Room $410 + Tickets $240 = $650.  We would have to eat $550 on two quick service meals and a snack each per day to break even with the retail cost of our trip plus “free” dining.  It’s total BULLCRAP.  I know we don’t eat as regularly as most… assuming we did, $30 per person on lunch and dinner, $5 each on a snack… times 6 days = $420.  We’re still losing $130 with “free” dining.

Our typical cost looks like this:

  • Tickets, $240
  • Room, $410
  • Food, $13.50 theme park meal for lunch x 2 people = $27 x 5 days = $135
  • Food, 2 Incredible Dining Experiences (Cali Grill or Artist Pointe) $50 pp per meal = $250 after taxes and gratuity.
  • Snacks, $50

The grand total on that comes in at $1035.  I just can’t justify $1200 for two free quick service meals per day.  We sleep in.  We relax.  We snack at the hotel.  We eat once in the park at about 3 in the afternoon (except AK).  We don’t stay late a couple of days because we have a big amazing dinner planned at some place awesome.  We’ll have leftovers from those amazing dinners and eat them in front of the fireplace at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge in the late morning before we go to the parks.

I’m not saying EVERYONE should have APs and avoid the dining plan like the plague.  I’m just saying that if you report on a Disney Blog or Podcast then you damn well better.  If I’m trusting you as an authority on the subject, you better be a freakin’ PRO!