Making the Most of the Disney Dining Plan- Part 3- Tuesday’s Tip

Do you enjoy flavors from around the world?

Tuesday’s Tip- Think about using your snack credits at Epcot’s world showcase!

I know from personal experience that the portion sizes on many Disney entrees are quite large.  My husband and I often end up sharing a snack, if and when we get them at all.  Don’t let those snack credits go to waste though! There is no stipulation on how and when you use your dining credits.

So let’s say you’re doing a 5 night, 6 day stay for 2 people.  Between the  two people you’ll have 10 snack credits (at minimum with the quick service plan).  You can use all 10 snack credits in one day if you wanted to.  Using those snack credits in the world showcase can not only be a  good value for your snack credits, but can also allow you to indulge in  the flavors from around the globe!

You can use your snack credits at many locations.  Just look for this logo, which indicates that it’s a snack on the dining plan

Snack Credit logo

Snack Credit logo

Here are some of my favorite snacks from the different countries-

Mexico- Churros with caramel sauce !!!!  At 3.99, that is a solid use of a snack credit!  These are available at La Cantina De San Angel

Norway- The sweet pretzel with chocolate is the best value at $4.49, but one of my favs is the School Bread.  It isn’t a great value as a snack credit at $2.69, but it sure is tasty! If you’re looking for something a little healthier, you can also use a snack credit on a salad with a $3.99 value. All of these options are available at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe.

Norway's sweet pretzel

Norway’s sweet pretzel

China-  I am not a fan of Egg Rolls ($3.99), but this is one of the few options if you’re looking to use a snack credit in China.  You can also use your snack credits for iced and hot tea if you’re thirsty.  Prices on the tea range from $3.19 to $4.25.

Germany- You’ve got to do the Authentic pretzel in Germany!!!  Super yummy!  The price of $4.29 makes it another excellent value for the snack credit.  These are available at both Sommerfest and the pretzel carts.

Sommerfest Menu

Sommerfest Menu

Italy- Unfortunately there isn’t anything that I’ve seen that you can use the snack credit on here.  If you really want to try eating or drinking something here, you’ll pay out of pocket, but the gelato, cannoli, or a glass of wine would be my pick 🙂

The American Adventure- This one is easy for me… I’d have to go with the Jalepeño cream cheese stuffed pretzel!  The price of $4.29 makes it a great value, and so many other pavilions have sweets as their snack credits that this one is a nice change!  You can find this at the Fife and Drum Tavern.  If you want even more bang for you buck on a snack credit go with the chili cheese fries at Liberty Inn.

Japan- Mmmmmm sushi!  There are three sushi options all coming in at $4.98.  Yummy and an excellent snack credit value, found at the Kabuki Cafe.

Sushi at the Kabuki Cafe

Sushi at the Kabuki Cafe

Morocco- has one of my favorite snacks in the world showcase, the tangerine cous-cous salad.  I know it sounds weird but you can order this side dish and its super yummy.  Unfortunately, no snack credits are accepted in Morocco.  They also offer tabouli and hummus.  It’s a real bummer that they don’t take the snack credits, but out of pocket these snacks are only $2.99.

France- Welcome to the mother load of snack options!  The lobster bisque is the most valuable use of a snack credit as it is $4.90, but one of my favorites is the bacon and cheese roll.  There are TONS of snack options here, and you really can’t go wrong.  Everything is wonderful!

England- What would a trip to England be without Fish and Chips?  The fish and chips aren’t a snack credit, but you can get just the chips with the snack credit.  Only $2.69 it’s not the best snack credit value, but sure is tasty with some malt vinegar!

Canada-  There is no quick service restaurant in this pavilion and there is only one snack cart.  There you can use a snack credit on pop corn, but it isn’t unique to Canada.  My recommendation is to go in the gift shop and look for unique Canadian candies or treats that are imported.  Remember to look for the logo that indicates that it is a snack credit!

Picking a Pearl

Well I’m back in cold dreary Ohio, but I definitely had an AMAZING trip to Disney this past weekend!  The 1/2 marathon was awesome, spending time with my mom and my aunt was awesome, and seeing John Stamos at Epcot was DEFINITELY AWESOME!

I will do a full report tomorrow on the highlights and overview of our trip, however today I wanted to share a really fun experience that I’ve always wanted to try.  While at Epcot, in the world showcase, we visited Japan.  In the Mitsukoshi gift shop there is an area where you can pick a pearl from an oyster.  There are two tanks of water where the oysters are kept, and you can pick from the many oysters.  They will open it for you and you keep the pearl inside.  The price is $17 after tax and you have no idea what type of pearl you will get.  Once they open the pearl you’ll see the size and color.  You can then just keep the pearl, or they have different jewelry settings.  I chose to have my pearl set in a ring.

I had my mom video the experience as it was happening so you can view my “Picking a Pearl” experience here-

I definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a unique experience!

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If you’re interested in planning your own Disney Vacation and would like help planning your own special experiences, please contact me at ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com!  I would be more than happy to send you a free quote and work with you to create a magical experience for you and your family!

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival- By Michelle Coomes

Hey all! This is Michelle, a friendly travel agent specializing in Disney vacations & an old friend of Ashley’s. Today I’ll share with you one of the best celebrations that Disney World has to offer. Hope you enjoy!

Fall is my favorite time of year for many reasons- cooler weather, leaves changing, Halloween celebrations and food. Yes, food! Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival takes place every fall and it’s the perfect excuse to make a trip to Disney! This festival has been taking place in Epcot each fall since 1996 and it keeps getting better every year.

The festival takes place on the World Showcase side of Epcot, with booths set up around the lagoon representing 25 countries and their cuisines. Each booth has a few selections of samplings, both food and wine/beer. I always suggest adding a Dining Plan onto your vacation- but it’s an especially smart idea during the Food & Wine Festival because you can use the Disney Snack Credits at these booths! Many of the food selections are available by using a Snack Credit, but the drinks are not- you’ll still have to pay out of pocket/card for those. My husband & I save up at least 3 snack credits each, and then purchase a few drinks to pair with them.

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My kids at the World Showcase

My kids at the World Showcase

The lines for each booth can get pretty long, especially some of the favorites like Ireland, Japan & Morocco. But there’s always entertainment or people watching that can keep you occupied while you wait for your next delicious International sampling!

Not only are there foods inspired from other countries, but Disney has done an excellent job including foods that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and other diet/allergy/sensitivities.

Some of my favorites that I look forward to this year:

Vegetarian moussaka from Greece

Moussaka from Greece

Moussaka from Greece

 

Vegetarian Haggis with neeps & tatties (Griddled vegetable cake with rutabaga and mashed potatoes) from Scotland

Haggis

Haggis from Scotland

 

And Sweet Corn Cheese Cake from Mexico

Sweet cheese corn cake from Mexico

Sweet cheese corn cake from Mexico

If these photos didn’t entice you to plan a trip to Disney during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, check out Disney’s official festival site & I bet they will. For me and my family, we are headed there in 3 weeks to enjoy it all! Thanks for allowing me to share with you a little of why I love this festival, at the happiest place on earth!

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https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/

 

And if you’d like assistance booking and planning your next Disney vacation, contact me today! My services are free of charge & I can make sure that your trip is a magical one!

Michelle – Marvelous Mouse Travels

Michelle@MarvelousMouseTravels.com

www.facebook.com/MichelleDisneyTravel

(704)237-0814

Maelstrom being replaced with a Frozen Attraction

Disclaimer… much of what I’m going to state in today’s blogpost is my personal opinion.  Please bear in mind that this is my blog and my place to share my knowledge of Disney, also I get to share my opinion.  It will not be often that I share my opinion, but today is one of those days.

Fact– The Maelstrom Ride in Norway at the World Showcase is being replaced with “Frozen” themed attraction.

frozen

Fact- The last day that the Maelstrom ride will be in operation is October 5th, 2014

Fact- The new Frozen attraction is expected to be opened early in 2016 (according to the Disney Park Blog)

 

Opinion- I believe that when Epcot created the world showcase that the intention was to “showcase” different cultures from around the world.  Disney did an amazing job at keeping these countries authentic as well.  The materials used to build the pavilions were brought in from that country.  The craftsmen who built the pavilions were skilled laborers from that particular country.  The items sold in the countries are imported, and even the cast members who work in the countries are natives of that country.

Norway Pavilion

Norway Pavilion

With all of that being said, I wish that Disney would have stayed true to keeping the world showcase “pure.”  I love walking through the world showcase and being transported to a different country.  I believe that by adding the Disney movie theming in the World Showcase that they’re missing the point.  Maelstrom may be a little bit outdated as a ride, and for heaven’s sake we all know that “The Spirit of Norway” film at the end of the attraction was outdated.  I will agree that the ride and film could have used some updates, BUT I think that making it a Frozen attraction is completely out of line what the World Showcase stands for.

maelstrom boat maelstrom MEP433LARGE

On our most recent trip this summer there were hints of Frozen in the gift shop and the “Old Stave Church,” and to me that was tolerable. I didn’t mind that there was merchandise, and I can understand Disney giving the kids something in the country that their favorite movie is set in.  But to me I almost dread going to the Norway Pavilion in 2016.  I now know that there will be a ridiculous line to meet Anna and Elsa, and I know that the ride isn’t going to even remotely be about the history and culture of Norway, but about another Disney movie.  Disney was thinking about the $$$ not the preservation of one of the most brilliant sections of their parks.

I won’t be offended if you disagree with me, as long as you’re not offended by my opinion 🙂

Park Day 5- Back to Epcot

Okay, normally I like to have a day off in between parks, but it didn’t fall like that on this vacation.  So today we are going to sleep in a little bit, head to Downtown Disney for a more relaxed morning, and then head back to Epcot this afternoon.

downtown disney

7:45- Wake up and Run 6 miles

9:15- Split Quick service breakfast and Snack at resort food court

10:00- Downtown Disney, last minute shopping and ride character’s in flight

12:00- Lunch at downtown disney or resort

2:00- Arrive at Epcot

2:10- Fast pass for Test Track

3:15- Fast Pass for “The Seas with Nemo and Friends”

5:00- Fast Pass for Character Spot photos

5:45- Dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel

8:15- Find a good spot to watch Illuminations

9:00- Illuminations

9:20- Wind Down at “Tutto Gusto”

11:00- Return to Resort

Extra Magic Hours- Today’s Extra Magic Hours are at the Animal Kingdom.  We decided that Animal Kingdom is not a park we wanted to visit a second time on this trip.  Loving Epcot as much as we do, it was an easy choice to visit here again, plus without having extra magic hours, it was a good excuse to sleep in a little and get some shopping done!

What new experiences will we encounter today-  Both of the new experiences we will have today are dining related.  We are eating at La Hacienda de San Angel and participating in Wind Down.

What is Wind Down?- Wind Down is an extra paid experience available on select nights at Epcot.  After Illuminations guests with reservations can head to one of three of the “lounges” where they can experience beverage flights and small plate entrees. We decided to do this #1 because it’s something we’ve never done before, and #2 we are looking forward to experiencing the park with very few guests in it.  There will be even fewer guests than during extra magic hours because its based on reservations.  Craig is really looking forward to doing nighttime photography with no one in the parks 🙂

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/after-hours/

Park Day #3- EPCOT

Yay, Yay, Yay!!!!!!!! Today we are going to Epcot, my favorite park 🙂

2010 Trip to Epcot

2010 Trip to Epcot

6:30- Wake up and run 3 miles

8:00- Split Quick Service Breakfast and Snack at resort

8:45- Depart for Epcot

10:05- Fast Pass for Spaceship Earth

11:05- Fast pass for Test Track

12:00- Lunch (Split a Quick service meal, probably in the world showcase… our favorite place to eat!)

1:25- Fast pass for Maelstrom

2:00- Return to the resort for a nap and swimming

5:00- Return to Epcot

6:05- Dinner at the Biergarten restaurant

9:00-11:00- Extra Magic Hours

11:30- Return to Resort and SLEEP!

 

What we plan to do during Extra Magic Hours– We will not be watching Illuminations on this day.  We will be back to Epcot in only 2 days, and have decided to watch illuminations on that day.  We will try to catch some of the attractions like Soarin, or Test Track that have really long lines during peak hours.  We figured that Illuminations starts at 9pm and many people will be around the World Showcase Lagoon watching it, reducing the wait times.

What we are going to do that we’ve never done before- We have been to Epcot more than any other Disney park, basically because we LOVE the world showcase.  First off, we’ve never eaten at the Biergarten restaurant, so that will be a fun new treat for us!  We will also be checking out the “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” at the Universe of Energy pavilion, and the “Journey Into the Imagination with Figment” in the Imagination Pavilion.

 

Fun Fact Friday- World Showcase

The world showcase might possibly be my favorite spot on all of Disney property.  Within Epcot there are two distinct realms; Future World and the World Showcase.  Future world is wonderful and holds one of my all time favorite rides at Disney- Soarin, but there is something so special about the countries within the World Showcase.  For an afternoon you can become a world traveler and visit 11 international locations.

Listed below are the countries that you can visit at the world showcase-

Mexico

Norway

China

Germany

Italy

The United States of America

Japan

Morocco

France

United Kingdom

Canada

BUT… did you know- 

As crowded as it may seem, there is actually room in the world showcase for an additional 8 countries.

yesterland.com

yesterland.com

 

If there was an expansion, what countries would you like to see added??  My top two picks would be Greece, and Spain