There’s a new version of the ever-popular refillable mugs on the shelves at Walt Disney World resorts this week. Exciting news, perhaps, to those new to the refillable mug game…and less-than-thrilling news to those who just shelled out $13.99 for the old version, which will not be phased out. Here’s a peek at the new mugs:
Archive for February, 2011
We finally “pulled the trigger” on our next Walt Disney World vacation–well, at least the resort reservation. Actually, reservations. See, we had a great pin code discount, and it was actually a larger percentage off for the deluxe resorts. So I thought, Wow, this might be our best chance to splurge a little, ’cause you never know if or when one of those lovely pin codes will come along again. But then the frugal traveler in me got cold feet. It’s hard for me to spend more than twice the $ just to stay in a nicer room, when we don’t actually spend much time in our room. But, then again, we would be going on my 40th birthday–yep, the BIG one. So, I’m thinking that’s worth a splurge, right?
So, I crunched a lot of numbers with various scenarios (different types of tickets, with or without special events and character meals, etc.), and we came to a compromise. We’ll spend the first half of our trip here:
At the All-Star Sports Resort. This is actually probably my very least favorite of all the Disney Resorts. (Did I mention we’re a family of mostly girls…and not at all athletic?) But I did want to stay somewhere we’ve never stayed, for research purposes (all for you, dear readers!). And I figured that getting to stay at my very most favorite resort for my birthday would make it well worth it. So…are you ready for it? I will be spending my 40th birthday at the…wait for it…
Grand Floridian!!! I am seriously over the moon with excitement. This is my favorite Disney Resort. We always visit and have often eaten or had tea there, but this will be our first time (and perhaps last…it is pretty pricey) to stay there. Concessions had to be made (the aforementioned Value Resort, as well as skipping the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), because I simply won’t allow us to go over what I consider to be a reasonable budget. But the concessions are well worth the special 40th birthday memories I will have. Happy birthday to me!
I’ll be sharing more about tickets, dining, etc. as we get closer to our September trip.
I just love Mickey kitchen gadgets! That’s why this photo from the housewares section of the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney is one of my favorites. You can actually get many of these items from www.DisneyStore.com as well.
Today’s tip is coming a bit late in the day (so sorry about that!), in part because I have been frantically crunching numbers, checking crowd calendars, and all the things I do before planning a Walt Disney World vacation…for own family! And I was not feeling especially creative in the tip area today, until it came to me. This one is so simple, but it really should be said (and repeated…’cause I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before): When in doubt, just ask!
What do I mean?you say. Well, today I was fretting about the fact that they haven’t yet announced the dates for the fall Homeschool Days. But we have a pin code that expires in just 4 days (and it’s a really good room rate!). I had a half dozen questions swirling around in my head: When will the next HS days be? If those dates don’t work for us, will there be additional YES programs added to the fall schedule? And if I enroll in the YES programs, are those discounted ticket prices available to the whole family or just the student attending? And since my daughter is so young, will I be able to attend the program with her? It seems that each question led to the next.
So I picked up the phone. And I dialed the number for the Youth Education Series office. And I asked. And–guess what!–I got answers. (OK, so they actually couldn’t tell me the specific dates for the Homeschool Days, because those haven’t been released yet. But I did find out enough information to help me nail down our dates.) The point is, Disney Cast Members are, in my experience, almost always helpful. Now, that doesn’t mean they’ll offer you the best discount up front (again, you have to ask). But they will gladly walk you through whatever process you’re thinking through. They’ll crunch the numbers on your reservation to see which discount is the best deal for your family. And if you’re really lucky, they might throw in a little extra magic along the way too. (Room upgrade? Yes, please!)
Now, if I could just decide where to stay! So many choices…so little time. I’m sure those helpful Cast Members will be hearing from me more than once over the next few days.
I’m a dessert person. You can keep your French fries and salty treats–I want the sugar! I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favorite desserts–many of which are bargains–around Walt Disney World.
Topping off the list has to be the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, not only for its simplicity and perfection in flavor and its iconic shape, but also for its portability! Who doesn’t love a simple vanilla soft serve coated in rich, creamy, crunchy chocolate, shaped like Mickey on a stick? There are several theories about these beloved treats–some have guessed that they are actually Dove bars (not so, I’m told). The truth is, I’m not sure who makes them. Signage in the parks is confusing. The ice cream carts sell a variety of different products, and there are often different brand names on the signs–I’ve seen Edy’s, Nestle, and Haagen Dazs. But does it really matter? They are spectacular! The bars themselves have changed a few times over the years, but they always retain their deliciousness. You used to be able top buy a version of them (made by Good Humor) from ice cream trucks and at some grocery stores. But don’t be fooled–these were not the real Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars. To get one of these, you need to visit one of the Disney Parks. It will set you back a mere $3.25
Coming in a close second for me would be the Carrot Cake Cookie, sold at the Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This is essentially a version of a Whoopie Pie, with carrot cake in place of the cookie and cream cheese frosting in the middle. This treat is big–too much for one person–and more “cake” than “carrot”–without the annoying raisins or nuts you sometimes find in carrot cake. (OK, I actually like the nuts, butmy daughter is allergic.) The icing is amazing–the perfect amount of rich sweetness, without overpowering the cookie. At around $3, it’s another Disney food bargain. I’m salivating just thinking about it now!
Finally, rounding out my top 3 is the Chocolate Mousse served at Boulangerie Patisserie. If you’re not looking for it, you could miss this little bakery in the rear of the France pavilion at Epcot, but–trust me–it is well worth going out your way to find it. Nothing on the menu is over $7, and they serve up various desserts and savory light bites (light as in small–not light on calories), including quiche, croissants, a cheese plate, and my favorite French treat, the chocolate mousse. I’ve actually made their recipe at home, and it’s almost as good as they serve! Light and fluffy, you just can’t beat it for $3.50!
My final “Honorable Mention” choice is the School Bread found in the Kringla Bakeri in Norway (Epcot). If you’re not a fan of coconut, you need not apply. But if you are, you’ll love this bargain pastry (around $2). The toasted coconut on top was just divine, and it gave me the flavor of coconut cream pie in the consistency of a donut or cream puff.
As you can probably guess, price plays an important role in making a treat from Disney one of my favorites. I have had other fabulous desserts on property, but these are the ones that we consistently return to–and they never disappoint. Try one on your next visit to the World!
If you read this post, you know that Disney has plans to take the FASTPASS to a whole new level. Perhaps the first baby step in that direction is the newest “attraction” that offers FP service: meeting Mickey. Yep, you can now avoid that sometimes excruciating line for a meet-n-greet with the Mouse, once he moves into his new digs in Town Square Theatre (Magic Kingdom), set to open this spring.
Concept Art, copyright Disney Co.
While the official Disney Parks Blog mentions that you will be given a one-hour time window on your FASTPASS in which to return for your meet-n-greet, it is unclear whether the FP will be valid anytime after that window, as FP works for other attractions. (My guess is it will, but they aren’t advertising that fact.) Either way, I for one am thrilled to see this development. Can’t wait to not wait in line to see our favorite Mouse!