5 things I don’t think are worth it on Disney World trips – PREP037

Although I tend to think most things are worth it at Disney World, there are a few I don't think are worth doing and today I've got a list of 5 things that I won't do on Disney World trips.

I've also got a quick tip of the day to help you decide if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it for you.

These are notes from this episode. There's much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.

5 things I don't think are worth it

  • Epcot Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party
  • FastPass+ for Fantasmic
  • Be Our Guest for dinner
  • Cheap ponchos
  • Concierge or club-level rooms

Links mentioned in this episode

Quick tip of the day

To decide if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it for you, you should review my post on maximizing Disney Dining Plan credits. If you'd like the information in a spreadsheet, be sure to sign up for the email list (there's a sign-up box at the end of every post) and then email me to request the spreadsheet.

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Are there things you would add to this list? Or do you have questions on anything mentioned?

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Libby

I agree on the majority of these, but my husband and I would both completely disagree with you about BOG. We went for Dinner and loved the ambiance, it was an incredibly romantic environment for the two of us, plus it’s my favorite Disney movie, so feeling like I’m on the set of the movie is the most incredible feeling! This past trip, my husband and I went to BOG for lunch and felt completely awful about it. We hated every part of the meal, except the actual food. Kids were running around like it was a playground. We had high hopes for this meal since we had enjoyed it so much for dinner, but it was a complete disappointment. Thanks for sharing all the other stuff, it made me think twice about getting fastpasses for fantasmic! 😀

I loved BoG for dinner but I thought breakfast was a mess. I would do it again and recommend it; it was a nice fancyish meal for 1 dining credit with nice ambiance. we sat in the rose room and I don’t htink I would have liked the big ballroom as much. It seemed noisy and more cafeteria-like. Concierge level doesn’t appeal to me but it depends on how you travel. I agree about Illuminations but our cheap ponchos saved our bacon the whole week, lol. Great podcast as always.

Heather

I’m sad. BoG isn’t doing the lunch fastpass+ anymore. It ended Feb. 24th 2015. Thanks for all of the great information. We’re going in September and super excited!

Kristen

It’s not FP+, but I made a lunch reservation for Be Our Guest in September.

Carol

Shannon, re: club level…I’m considering split stay for club level – where we would just do one or two nights at club level during our stay on resort days, days we would be spending at the resort relaxing – do you think it would be silly to switch rooms twice, just for club level benefits on our resort days?

Jillian

I have to say I disagree with you on Club level as well. I think its all about the who and the how you do disney. The last 3 years we have had 1 or 2 under 3 and my 70 year old mother with us. We always do deluxe dinning and that means that neither of our boys were covered. I also happen to be a water snob and only drink bottled water. So between 2 apples a day for my older son, goldfish, cheerios to take with us, bottles of Evian to fill our water bottles with and some in or room for us, beer to take to the pool or have at night, a glass of wine or 2 or 3 for my mother who likes her wine, plus snacks for us when we desire and unbeatable customer service. I really is worth it for us. Its just about knowing how you like to vacation.

Chris

I couldn’t agree with you more. Club levels at Disney are fantastic! My husband and I especially like the regatta club at the Yacht Club. It’s so nice to know that breakfast is pretty much handled entirely and that there will be snacks all throughout the day. If you drink alcohol, it’s completely worth it, too. It’s also nice to know that the staff will go above and beyond to get hard-to-find dining reservations — even at the last minute.

Lindsay

Oooh I love you! And your podcasts! And I consider your site to be my bible when planning. But I disagree about BOG. I did not book in advance. I walked up during the morning when we arrived at the park. They had a cancellation, so we got that spot. The ambiance was amazing, as you mentioned! Meeting the Beast was HUGE as he’s my son’s favorite character. I agree that it would be nice if other characters visited the table. We also thought it would be fun if the waiters or other cast came through once an hour and did a Be Our Guest number (similar to the Beauty & the Beast show at Hollywood Studios). But the food. OMG-the best steak I have had in YEARS. We had 3 adults and we each ordered a different entree and different sides. Every single thing on the table was scrumptious!

One more thing: I’ve never done club level but one of my friends did it on her last trip and she said it was only $100 for the whole trip. And said it was well worth it.

Christy

How do you make reservations for the Magic Kingdom Sparkling Dessert party you mentioned?

Iman

Hi Shannon,

I am trying to do the Be Our Guest fast pass but its only allowing me a window to choose from Oct 24-Oct 30. Our last day is the 31st and wanted to do lunch on the last day. Do you know why the 31st would not be available? Do they only do the fast passes on certain days?

Liz

We are personally huge fans of the club level rooms. We travel with my parents, who are in their 60s, and it’s one of their favorite parts. If they get tired, the enjoy going back to the lounge for an afternoon snack and drinks. The service we have experience staying club level has been wonderful. We forgot something on our last trip that we couldn’t find in any of the shops. They club level staff went to the nearest Publix for us and picked it up. It was waiting in our room when we got back from the park with a sweet note from the staff member.

Dennis Schirmer

If the BOG reservation system is looking for a 12-digit number when your magic band number is alphanumeric…does that matter?

Dennis Schirmer

I am sitting at the 43 day mark as we speak. I just received an email about my MB’s needing final approval, which is now 13 days from their shipping/processing date. So, from this point it would still be a touch early?

Dennis Schirmer

My wife has been to Disney once and can’t remember half of it (she was so young) and it will be the first time we take our daughter, which she has yet to find out about(although I think we may just keep this secret until we touchdown at MCO). My family used to have a time-share in Kissimmee so we used to go to Disney at least once a year until I was 16. Planning for a trip on my own was a different experience for me! I looked through several websites and things just all started running together. I found you about 3 weeks before we booked this trip (which was I think in mid-January…my wife has the details)…and have followed you since, and haven’t looked back. Your blog podcasts and ebook/planning guide has helped out a ton, and for that I take my “ears” off to you ma’am!

Debbie

How awesome that the Fantasmic Dinner Package now gets you center seating. Last time we went we did that and ate at Mama Melrose’s and loved it and so enjoyed being able to have prior seating. However, sitting on the far right side was kind of disappointing. Thanks as always for your tips and wealth of information! 🙂

Amy Clarke

Hi Shannon, excellent as always! I just noticed that when I go to my “Magicbands and cards” link when I log into My Disney Experience- the 12 digit number is gone!!! It is now my 8 digit alphanumeric package reservation number!! I may have written it down somewhere- otherwise- would I have to wait for my luggage tags? And when do they come? Hmmmm… I hope I wrote that down somewhere! lol! Thoughts?

Have a great week!! Amy

Amy Clarke

We go in December. I am wondering if they figured it out and changed it? Maybe I should call and ask for it? I know I won’t be able to do the BOG FP for another 150 days…. but I guess I could be prepared- lol! 🙂 Thanks!

Amy

I agree about the cheap ponchos. I bought them for our August trip, and they kept my daughter and I relatively dry, they did nothing for my husband. We ended up buying him one at HS. Up to that point, we needed the ponchos at least once a day while at the parks. Of course once we bought him a Disney poncho, it no longer rained! Now we have it for next time, and I will spend the money to buy them for my daughter and I.
We did Mia Leone’s for dinner (we had a reservation at 3:35) so we could get the Fantasmic package. That is a better way to go than to waste a FP+ as you mentioned.
Good to know about BOG for dinner. I am not sure my daughter would even want to meet The Beast, so it sounds like FP+ for lunch will be what we do in December.
The last thing I would add is, do not waste your time “riding” the Stitch ride. WORST ride ever…. I know you feel the same way.

Jamie

Wasn’t sure how Be Our Guest for lunch would work with a fast pass plus and not count as one of the 3?

Julie

Hi-
Can you please give instructions on how to book lunch at BOG using FP+ without it counting as one of the 3?
Thanks!
Julie

Dennis Schirmer

I was literally about to ask that question…

Andreia Ortega

The only thing a do not agree is tha Be Our Guest for dinner. We eat there during our spring break vacation and had a great time.

Amanda

Great list! We are planning our first trip to Disney World for December and I am getting ready to book it as soon as free dining becomes available. I have a couple of questions:

1. Which resort/ free dining combo gets you the most bang for your buck? Value/free quick service or moderate/free disney dining plan or deluxe/free disney dining plan.

2. Is it worth it to rent a car if you have a toddler? I’m worried about long wait times and commute time on the buses,

3. Is it worth it to book our disney vacation to take advantage of free dining if it locks us into higher summer resort rates? Does it lock us in or if the price drops do we see the discount?

Thanks!

Maria B

I know I am not Shannen, and she will probably reply, and maybe with different answers, but I thought I could offer some insight, since we have gone with toddlers more than once.

Question 1: The discounted resort price beats the meal plan almost every time. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (a deluxe) for 35% off a room. It was discounted down almost to the rate of a value resort. We saved a lot of money and it was more than we would have saved if we had taken the free dining. I also think the free dining has to be either the quick service or the second cheapest plan. If you budget your meals properly, you can do OK without the dining plan. We go to WDW with a budget, always! We don’t spend more than what we have allotted before we left. This sometimes means skipping a larger meal in the middle of the day and just eating snacks (that we bring for $1 to Disney’s $5) until dinner.

You may also want to try the Art of Animation resort. If you stay in the suites, which could be discounted at 15% with a deal, you can eat breakfast cheaply in your room (microwave and refrigerator in the room) and save some money on meals.

Question 2: Sometimes getting to and from your car can take time. For example, you cannot drive right up to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. You would need to park at the Ticket and Transportation center. Then, take a tram to either a ferry or monorail that takes you to the park. Sometimes you will have to ride the whole loop through the MK area hotels, which can take time.

For EPCOT, HS, or AK, parking isn’t bad and you may actually be able to just walk to and from your car. This could be faster than taking the bus. You would also need to know if parking is convenient at your hotel. This must be factored into the time it takes you to move between the park and hotel and vice versa.

If you plan to eat a meal at a hotel, instead of the park, the buses are a pain because they do not take you to a hotel directly from your hotel. You will need to hop on a bus to a park and then hop on another bus to your destination and vice versa on the way back. This can be trying with a toddler, especially at the end of the day.

Here’s a tip – try to eat where you will be “playing” that day.

Question 3 : If you book, you may not be locked into a rate. Discounts announced later can be applied to your plans. You won’t see free dining in the summer usually. It usually appears in the “low” seasons, such as Sept – Oct or the end of Jan – Feb. There are a lot of discount deals for the summer, though, for hotels. We received our 35% off on the AKL in June. This year, we will be staying at 15% off at the AoAR in August. Shannen might have a better answer for you about this question. I am just basing it on my experience.

Good luck!

Lisa Wood

I hope you’re wrong about the Sparkling Dessert Party. I have that scheduled next month. 🙂

Anne

Can you elaborate on the FP+ for lunch at Be Our Guest? How does this work (I.e. How does it not count as one of your three FP +)?

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