WDW offering Free Dining in 2019!

Free Dining is now being offered at Walt Disney World most nights from July 5 to Sept. 30, 2019. This offer has caught travel agents by surprise because Free Dining has not historically been offered this early in the year, or has it been offered for the summer months.

Below is the announcement as it appear on the Disney Parks Blog.

Free Dine Package Offer Now Available at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Wed, January 2, 2019

By Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Resort Public Relations

If you’re a foodie at heart, then Walt Disney World Resort is the place for you. With a multitude of culinary experiences to explore across the resort, there’s something for every palate.

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That’s why we’re happy to share news about a “Free Dine Offer.” Starting today, if you book a non-discounted five-night/six-day Walt Disney Travel Co. package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort Hotel and a ticket with a Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option* through Feb. 10, 2019, for arrivals most nights from July 5 to Sept. 30, 2019, you’ll receive a dining plan for free! Packages of other lengths of stay may also be available.

The Disney Dining Plan provides flexibility and convenience, offering prepaid meals and snacks when you dine at Walt Disney World resort hotels, theme parks and select locations at Disney Springs.

The package includes a room at a select Walt Disney World resort hotel and tickets with Park Hopper Option.* Packages of other lengths of stay may also be available.

Guests staying at select Value and Moderate Resorts receive the Disney Quick Service Plan, which includes two quick-service meals and two select snacks per night honored at more than 100 dining locations.

Guests staying at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts receive the Disney Dining Plan, which includes one quick-service meal, one table-service meal and two select snacks per night. Meals are available at over 200 select Walt Disney World dining locations.

If you’re still recovering from the holidays, make it easy and book online from the comfort of home. You can also make reservations by calling 407-W-Disney or contacting your travel agent. To learn more about this great Disney Resorts offer, click here.

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets valid for admission beginning date of check-in and must be used within a limited period of time, depending on length of stay and ticket. Minimum 4-night length of stay. Minimum 4-day Theme Park tickets with Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus option. Visit disneyworld.com/usage for more details. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes the following room types: campsites, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Polynesian Villas and Bungalows and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid standard rooms. Dining plan excludes gratuities. Children ages 3–9 must order from children’s menu, if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.

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Free Dining Plan Walt Disney World Resort

The Mature Mouse™️ strongly recommends consulting a certified Disney travel agent before booking a free dining package to insure the best value.

Explore a room and ticket package offer that includes a dining plan at select Disney Resort hotels—valid for arrivals most nights from August 20 to December 23, 2018 when you book by July 7, 2018.
— Read on disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/resort-stay-dining-package/

Free Dining returns for 2017

Walt Disney World has announced their Free Dining offer for 2017. Please use the following link for more information from disneyworld.disney.go.com.

Free dining seems to be deciding factor for many travelers to Walt Disney World. Like every other offer, let the buyer beware. 

Free dining can end up costing you more for your trip, and there may be other offers that would be a better fit for your travel needs. Consult an expert Disney travel agent to assist you in determining what the best package is for your budget and expectations.

Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 2.07.17 PMDisney’s Hollywood Studios is in the early stages of a major refurbishment, which will result in additional lands in a larger park. Many of the attractions are closed, or have been slated to shut down, and we are still not sure what will remain of the current DHS. Rumor and speculation point to Star Wars Land taking over most of the left side of the park, replacing much, if not all, of the Echo Lake area.

During my last visit to Walt Disney World, The Mature MouseTM had the opportunity to grab a bite at the Backlot Express. This quick-service restaurant may not be around much longer at DHS, so The Mature MouseTM wanted to write a review of his unique experience at this quick and casual restaurant.IMG_7175

The menu at the Backlot Express is the usual American cuisine found in most Disney quick-service resturants: hamburger and cheeseburger, turkey club, hot dog, etc. I had the 8-piece chicken breast nuggets, with French fries. The chicken was moist, and the fries were crisp. The star attraction of the meal was an incredible Olaf cupcake. It was a huge, moist carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, topped with a white chocolate Olaf.

IMG_7172The restaurant is themed as a functioning studio workshop. There is an organized chaos in the storage of props and equipment, with background music featuring theme songs from old TV shows. The restaurant is very clean, but the Imagineers have included faux dirt, dust, and wear on exposed piping. This restaurant experience is well themed for the current, and previous, iteration of Disney’s Hollywood Studio. Whether it will last the next restructuring of this park is yet to be seen.IMG_7177IMG_7178

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Please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great additions to your vacation gear and attire.IMG_2098

And, make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Planning My Solo Trip to Disney World

IMG_7405Now that I have returned from my solo trip to Walt Disney World, we should review the planning for this trip. This will allow us to discuss in my future posts whether these plans worked and if any rescheduling was needed during my time in the parks. The planning steps i mention here will work for any type of Disney World vacation.

As with any trip to Disney World, planning for The Mature Mouse™ always begins with a call Jennie Nowers. I had a fixed budget and a short span of time for traveling, so Jennie helped me figure out my choices of resort, park tickets, dining plan, and plane flights.

IMG_1838Pop Century is the resort I chose for this trip. This is a value resort with rates ranging from $95 to $186 per night, varying according to the season in which you stay. The resort is themed after the pop culture of the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. These last two decades are reflected in the same unit within the resort. As a middle-aged vacationer, The Mature Mouse™ can certainly relate to the theme of this resort. Pop Century is just one of the few resorts to feature dedicated buses that travel directly to and from the various parks, without any additional stops at other resorts. Here is a link to a previous post about Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

The next step in my planning process involves researching expected crowd levels in the 4 theme parks during my stay. I rely on TouringPlans.com Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 11.54.10 AMfor this information. The site is simple to use, and it offers subscribers the ability to create personal touring plans for each day of their trip. You pick a park and attractions you wish to experience, then add the start and end times for your time in the park, along with lunch and rest breaks, and the site creates an optimized plan to avoid long lines. As you can see from this example, the plan even includes a map of the park. They have an excellent track record.

Supported by suggestions from Touring Plans, I made the choice to include the Park Hopper onto my ticket purchase. By adding the Park Hopper option I would have the possibility to visit any or all of the four major Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) during each day of my trip. Here is more information on the value of the Park Hopper option. The various prices listed on this site may have changed since it was last update; please see Disney’s website on ticket pricing.

My final decision in planning was to determine whether to include a dining plan. I enjoy having an all-inclusive trip so as not to worry about added expenses. Of dining plans offered at Disney World, the Quick Service plan appeared to make the most sense. This would allow me two Quick Service meals and one snack. There are numerous QS restaurants throughout the parks, offering me numerous choices. Breakfast on the QS plan includes 1 entrée or a combo meal and a beverage. A QS lunch includes 1 entrée, 1 desert, and 1 non-alcoholic beverage. This dining plan would allow me to focus on touring the parks, not spending time sitting at a Table Service restaurant. Please do not misunderstand, Walt Disney World offers incredible fine-dining experiences. Please see my various posts about adult dining at WDW.

Chapter 7: Disney Magic and Romance at the California Grill

Top 10 Places to Dine Without Kids at Walt Disney World

My final step in planning was to book my FastPass+ choices 60 days prior to my trip, which was made based on the plans I created through the Touring Plans website. Making these reservations early insured I would have FP+ selections during my vacation, knowing that I would have the flexibility to alter these choices before and during my trip.

There was a period of time when a visit to Walt Disney World could be done on a whim, with little or no planning. However, times have changed. Planning is important and allows for flexibility. The process of planning your trip serves another purpose, educating you about the ins and outs of the resort. Think of it this way: Would you plan to travel to a city you have never been to before? The entire Walt Disney World Resort covers 40 Square miles, which is the equivalent in size of San Francisco. Would you research and plan your first trip to San Francisco?

IMG_1869Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

Disney restaurants themed for classic attractions

Check out this post at Theme Park Tourists. They have come with an interesting list of 8 ideas for themed eateries based on classic Disney attractions. As I have stated many times, The Mature Mouse™ is a fan of the Haunted Mansion. I would love a restaurant themed after this classic attraction. People would be dying to go there! (I couldn’t resist.)

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. Below are images of just a few of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item to let others know. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

A Disney World Vacation is the best

With so much to do and see at Walt Disney World, The Mature Mouse™ cannot understand why people choose to go anywhere else. This sentiment does not only apply to families; a Disney World vacation is a great choice for the more mature empty-nester. One does not need to have children in tow to enjoy all that Disney World has to offer.

Yes, Walt Disney World has attractions, rides, appropriate for all ages. However, as I have pointed out in numerous post, the resort also offers much more. There are fine-dining restaurants, and first-class hotels. There are first-class golf courses, and miniature golf courses. There are educational experiences, and cultural influences. There is a lot for vacationers, guests, to be thankful for at Walt Disney World.

Disney Questions has created a list of the top 10 things to be thankful for at Disney World. This list is not all inclusive, but it offers the non-Disney fan clear reasons why they should consider a vacation at the resort. I especially agree with number 7 on the list: The Cast Members. I make an effort to acknowledge those cast members who go above and beyond their role by handing them a thank you card during my visit.

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A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my next Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When the Cool Summer Savings were released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not need to do a thing. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. Below are just a few of the items featured with my logo. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item to let others know. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

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