Is It Time to Retire Free Dining

freedineDo you agree with dadfordisney? Should Disney World discontinue the offer of Free Dining? Have you booked a trip simply because of this offer? The Mature Mouse™ would like to know what you think. I booked my next trip for June, hoping for summer savings, but not budgeting for this offer. Has an offer, like Free Dining, tempted you to book a 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.

dadfordisney

For the last several years, Disney has offered a free dining promotion during what are “slower traffic months” for Walt Disney World.  Free Dining started in the early 2000’s when people were travelling a lot.  Free Dining was designed as way to get people to the parks.  My family took Disney up on the Free Dining offer in 2009 and we’ve made eight more trips since that first trip.  As years have gone on and more and more people have come to expect free dining in the fall, Disney has made the dates more restrictive, resort availability more restrictive, and increased the number of days or type of ticket that you need to qualify for free dining.

I have spent many years as avid Disney follower, one year as independent Disney blogger, nine months as an independent travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, and will be soon coming out with…

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Chapter 9: Being a guest of Disney’s Magic Kingdom

As noted in Chapter 4: Our Disney vacation plan, we recognized that we would need a morning to sleep-in midway through our vacation week, so we should plan for an evening at the Magic Kingdom. Our first visit to the Magic Kingdom is scheduled around a 4:30 Be Our Guest ADR.

The new Festival of Fantasy parade is just beginning as we enter Town Square. We climb the stairs to the train station to get a better view. The parade is just making its turn around the hub. We decide to take the train to FantasylandCastle Door in order to avoid the crowd down Main Street and the hub. This would provide an opportunity to stroll through the New Fantasyland on our way to Be Our Guest.

We arrive at the restaurant shortly before 4 p.m. We give our name to the host, who is in a guardhouse at the entrance to the bridge leading to the castle of the Beast. We are given a typical plastic square alert device you receive at most restaurants, and we are allowed to pass onto the bridge. The gates at the end of the bridge are still closed, and there are a few peoIMG_1698ple already waiting. We take this time to enjoy the incredible view of Maurice’s cottage, and the gargoyles on the bridge. The styling is so well done; you have the sense that you are standing awaiting admittance to the Beast’s castle, not a restaurant.

IMG_1690The gates open and the small crowd moves forward to wait near the door of the castle. Wait staff, in period costume reminiscent of the movie, begin coming out the door to find their guests. We are escorted into the castle and the world of the Beast. There is a beautiful stained glass window by the entrance that depicts the marriage of Belle and the Prince.

Our tableIMG_1695 is against the back wall, which affords us a perfect view of the entire dining room. The familiar sights and sounds of the movie overcome us. Instead of an empty ballroom for dancing, there are tables of various sizes to accommodate the dinner guests. Chandeliers are maIMG_1694ssive and beautiful, and architecture is purely French provincial. At the other end of the room, centered on the wall, are ceiling high windows that, through Disney Imagineering magic, are looking at snow falling on mountain peaks. Amazing.

IMG_1692 There is a red rose, made from a coiled napkin, at each table setting. The food is very good, and the service impeccable. Our waitress notices our anniversary celebration buttons and brings us a serving of The Gray Stuff on a plate that has Happy Anniversary writtIMG_1693en in icing. We hear an exclamation that the master of the house is on his way, and the Beast strolls through the dinning room. As we are leaving our table, our waitress invites us to explore the castle. She also points out that there will be an opportunity to meet the master of the castle, the Beast, on our way out.

We IMG_1691tour the West Wing, where we see the painting of the Prince turn to the Beast each time there is a flash of lightening and a clash of thunder. On a table by thIMG_1689e window, sitting under a glass dome, is the enchanted rose, which is still loosing petals. In the library, we find a giant music box, built by Belle’s father, Maurice.

On our way out of the castle, we do indeed have an opportunity to meet the Beast. He is much friendlier than I had expected.

We head to the Haunted Mansion after dinner. This will be my first time on this ride since I was 14 years old. It is all I remember and more, thanks to various refurbishments over the years. There are a few added scenes, like the stairway to the attic, which was not part of the original ride. And, those ghostly hitchhikers at the end of the ride are capable of more Disney magic than they were 42 years ago.

We end our evening with a viewing of Mickey’s PhilharMagic. This 3D movie is a concert featuring all your favorite Disney characters. Donald Duck is in charge of preparing the orchestra for Mickey, so you know nothing will go as planned and Donald will surely lose his cool.

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.

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Freebies at The Disney Parks

This post from Wandering In Disney list a few of the freebies, or almost free, available in and around the parks. I would add free Disney transportation to this list. Are there any other freebies you would add? Please comment below.

Wandering In Disney

Everyone knows that going to the Disney Parks can cost a pretty penny. It seems as though every little thing costs something at the parks and the price of the trip can add up quickly. Though this may be the general consensus on finances at the parks, there are some free perks that are welcomed with open arms. Even though they may be minuscule to some, it’s always nice to get something free or as close to free as possible.

Water – No, I’m not talking about free trips to the water fountain. Most people like to bring their own water bottles or just buy them for convenience at the closest stand. However, $3 a water bottle adds up and if you don’t have a cooler, that $3 is wasted on hot water that is not pleasant to drink. Some Disney goers do not know this, but you can ask…

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