Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Deal Tips


I’m a big Disney fan and love going to Walt Disney World.  So, I thought I would do some blog posts to help people make vacation plans.  I’ve been there a lot and have stayed and eaten in a variety of different places “on property”.  Am I there every day?  No.  I live in Maryland, so it’s not really an option.  However, I’ve got smallish kids and an adventurous palate and we see as much as possible every time we go.  In other words, I’d be a great guide if you want to do lots of stuff and see lots of things.  If you are just moseying around to see the theming of the park, I’m not your gal.  We have been there at the opening and closing of parks. On. The. Same. Day.

Also, I constantly compare rates and deals and examine my options ad nauseum. I use my MBA and law degree to the nth degree to come up with the best deal. I’m that mom.

Using my “that mom” powers, let me explain how maddening the rates are for Disney and how you can really end up paying a lot more for the same vacation depending on when you go, where you stay, and what discount you get.  Discounts can sometimes be hidden on their main webpage, but here is a link to them:  https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/

Let’s say you are a family of four: two adults, 1 kid over 10 and 1 kid under 10.  You would be paying for 3 adult meals on the meal plan and 1 kid meal.  Let’s also say you want to stay at the Port Orleans French Quarter.  Using a handy chart from the wonderful people at http://www.mousesavers.com, the 2014 price of a room in the French Quarter with a garden view can vary from the $195 “value” rate to $299 “holiday” rate.  That’s right.  You can pay $100 more a night depending on when you go for the exact same room.  We can go further down the rabbit hole and compare moderate resort prices during value season (weekday) and Holiday Season:

Caribbean Beach: $210 (Water View Value) vs. $318 (Water View Holiday)
Coronado Springs: $232 (Water View) vs. $324 (Water View Holiday)
Port Orleans- Riverside: $196 (Garden View) vs. $299 (Water View Holiday)

To try to appeal to every person, Disney has 3 categories of resort:  budget, moderate and deluxe.  Making the same comparisons in the other resort categories:

For Deluxe:
Animal Kingdom Lodge: $319 (Standard View Value) vs. $555 (Standard View Holiday)
Wilderness Lodge: $325 (Standard View Value) vs. $561 (Standard View Holiday)
Polynesian: $482 (Standard View Value) vs. $760 (Standard View Holiday)

For Value:
Art of Animation: $118 (Standard View Value) vs. $221 (Standard View Holiday)
Pop Century: $106 (Standard View Value) vs. $209 (Standard View Holiday)
All Star Movies: $96 (Standard View Value) vs. $198 (Standard View Holiday)

So, even among resorts in the same tier, the prices can vary wildly!!

Let’s say you are staying for 5 nights/6 days.  You get the 30% off room rates deal.  First of all, that deal may not apply to all resorts, especially popular resorts like the Port Orleans French Quarter.  But, let’s pretend.  So if you get 30% off and go during a value season, let’s round to $60, that’s $300 off.  Not too bad.  If you get Disney Dining free, that’s $194.86 per day savings, if you have 2 adults, a junior and a child! Huge difference, so it pays to look!

The “regular” Disney dining plan is 1 quick service (counter service) meal, 1 sit down meal (table service) and 1 snack a day.  Each meal is an entree and dessert.  If you use your sit down at the buffet, it’s the whole meal.  Doesn’t include tip or alcoholic or speciality beverages (read:  blinky toy containing beverages your kid will want– hide that menu!).

So, it pays to plan your vacation early and see what deals are available when, as the differences are substantial. There are quite a few websites that do the heavy lifting:  mousesavers.com and allears.net are fantastic.  But it takes some jockeying between sites to really get a sense of all the savings you can get.

Also, you have to decide what’s important. Rates vary by season.  Holidays and the Summer are high dollar seasons.  To me, it’s important to ride the rides, which means I have to go when the crowds are the least. For 2014, Disney had determined their “value” seasons (read: time no one goes) to be:

January 9th-February 12th (Excepting MLK weekend)
August 3rd-September 12th

The next lowest crowd time is listed as “Fall” (aka prime hurricane season):

September 13th-November 21st (except Columbus Day weekend)
November 29th- December 11th

There are likely deals offered at this time, from 30% of rooms to free dining. If you can go during these times, you’ll enjoy lower crowds and lower room prices. While the weather can be a bit variable during these times, especially in January, I have found the cost and crowd and cost differential have more than made up for a few chilly days. We’ve encountered 80 degree weather and 40 degree weather.  Also, I hate walking around dying from the heat. I went once in June. Never again. 90-98 degrees, unbearable humidity and crowds and lines everywhere. Not really “fun”. Now, the water resorts during this time were a blast! But, I’m not paying low 4 figures to go down a water slide, am I? Like I said, I’m “that mom”.  We’ve been on Test Track with 5-15 minute waits.  They can go over 2 hours in prime crowd times.

The point of this post is not to tell you every deal or every bit of savings. It’s to tell you, you need to look and compare, as the differences are startling.

post written 2/14/2014, please check with Disney for updated information.

Goofy Toast


I can’t believe I am writing this post, but kids are insistent.   “You have to do a post on this!” They cried.  Now, when I made the Chocolate Chip Cookies Noir, they forbid me from putting the recipe on the blog.  They didn’t want the “secret” recipe to get out.   But for this, they thought everyone should share in the fun.  I’m having trouble because I’m not sure this is “blog worthy”, but I’ll give it a go.

Let me start by saying the reason I made this dish is that I announced we were having pork loin for dinner. You may have heard the crying and whining where you are. Let’s just say pork loin doesn’t pique the kids’ fancy. Any chance they can get, they’ll try to make a play for “breakfast for dinner”. If they sense any weakness in the resolve of the person making dinner, the begging will commence. Seriously, it is their favorite meal. You may notice a lot of breakfast dishes on this blog. We mostly have them for dinner. Tonight is no exception. Since Daddy was away, they made a play for Goofy Toast. The idea of pork loin wasn’t too hot with mom either, so they won that round.

The history of Goofy Toast begins at Disney World. We have taken many a vacation to Disney World.  Back during the depths of the  Depression Recession, Disney was deeply discounted.  So discounted, we could afford to stay at the Polynesian Resort.  Man, does that spoil you.  We went one year and got 30% off the hotel, free food AND a $250 Visa Gift Card.  Now, you may get 30% off the hotel rate, but that’s about it.  The exact same vacation is nearly twice as much money as it was 3-4 years ago.  I guess the economy has recovered? Luckily, we have pictures to relive the experience.  Anyway, at one of the many breakfasts we ate at the Polynesian during our stay was something called “Goofy Toast”.  The kids loved the name and ordered it.  In the old days we would have called it “Eggs in a Nest” or something like that.  Now, Goofy Toast.  I’m sure that’s trademarked or something.

My kids fawned all over this dish.  I looked at it and it appeared to be grilled bread with an egg in the middle.  No big.   I was perplexed as my children were not big egg eaters.  Nor were they particularly fond of toast, unless it was slathered with peanut butter and dotted with chocolate chips.  But the Goofy Toast had cast its spell.  Moving the egg from the side of the plate to the middle of the toast transformed both moderately despised food items into an edible creation. I guess those Disney people really know their target audience.

So, when we got home I asked if they wanted Goofy Toast.  I got the eye roll.  No, really, I can make it, I replied.   So, I made it and they were amazed that I could recapture the magic of the Goofy Toast.   Truly amazed.  Like I had turned lead into gold amazed. Ok…..

So, if you would like to try something ever so slightly different for breakfast, here you go.  Apparently, this is crazy kid friendly!  I will say, it is an elegant presentation of what is otherwise humdrum eggs and toast.  So, there is that.

Goofy Toast (aka Eggs in a Nest)
makes 1

slice of bread
salt and pepper

Melt butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat.

While the butter is melting, cut a hole in the middle of the bread.

Place bread in pan.

Crack egg into the hole in the bread. Season with salt and pepper. Dot bread with butter. When egg has set on the bottom (2-3 minutes), carefully turn over in pan. Cook until desired doneness.

Seriously, that’s it. As a variation, my daughter only likes scrambled eggs, so I scramble the egg before putting it into the opening in the bread.