Best Kept Disney Dining Secrets: Saving Money in Disney World

We are back with some of our very best kept Disney Dining Secrets. And we want to share them with you!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Planning where you’ll be spending your food budget in Disney World is a BIG deal. There are so many choices to make! Maybe you’re worried about getting the advance dining reservations you’d like the most. And what about your favorite brands and foods? Will they have them?

These are all great questions, and we address them all in our DFB Guide to WDW Dining e-Book! But today, we’re exploring one of the biggest concerns: Is it possible to save a buck or two when you’re at Disney?

Secrets to Saving Money in Disney World

Today, we’ll share some of our favorite ways to save money during your visit to Walt Disney World. And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out even more secrets in the brand new DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, 2016 Edition, where we gather over 530 pages of tips, recommendations, and secrets to make your Disney trip the best ever!

Here we go!

Ditch Unwanted Sides

I love this tip, and it can save you some serious cash (and calories!). You may think the price printed on the menu board or in the menu is non-negotiable. But we’ve got a secret to share!

Did you know that you can often forego unwanted sides? For instance, say you order a sandwich that comes with fries, but you don’t really want them. Ask if you can order your sandwich as an entree only and save!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

And if you’re a light eater, or someone who doesn’t really care about (or literally can’t EAT) that side of salad/chips/fries/coleslaw/pasta salad, then you’ll never miss it.

[Read more…]

Guest Review: Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

DFB welcomes Guest Author Sara McCaslin with a review of Boatwright’s at Port Orleans Resort Riverside in Walt Disney World. Stop here for southern hospitality!


On Oct. 3, 2015, my dining companions (my husband and two dear friends) arrived at Port Orleans Riverside Resort for our 6:15pm advance dining reservation at Boatwright’s. The four of us were enjoying the delights of Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan for a few days and wanted to experience new sit-down places. Before our trip, I heavily researched many menus and reviews via the Disney Food Blog and decided to give Boatwright’s a try. The menu was intriguing with many comfort food options.

We arrived at Port Orleans Riverside via Disney’s bus transportation. Diners can also use the waterways from Disney Springs to travel to either Port Orleans Riverside or Port Orleans French Quarter. Port Orleans Riverside resort is a lovely, pleasant place to stay while at Walt Disney World. My husband and I have called this resort home twice throughout the years. We enjoyed both stays but did not take advantage of the resort sit-down dining option during those stays. Shame on us because Boatwright’s is a hidden treasure among the expert theming and exciting character experiences of other resort and theme part eateries.

Welcome to Boatwright's Dining Hall

Welcome to Boatwright’s Dining Hall

Diners can access Boatwright’s from either the front or back of Port Orleans Riverside. If entering from the front of the resort, simply turn left at the lobby entrance to see the lounge and the dining room is just a few steps further. If entering from the back of the resort, perhaps after arriving via the boat, simply walk along the marina to your right and look up to view the welcoming Boatwright’s sign. This door will usher you directly into Boatwright’s check-in and waiting area.

[Read more…]

Spotted: Disney World “Wish I Was There” Mug

On a recent trip to the River Roost to catch a Yeeha Bob show, I couldn’t resist stopping in Fulton’s General Store (the merchandise shop in Port Orleans – Riverside Resort). For better or for worse, the past year brought on a resurgence of an old mug habit for me, due in no small part to the Resort-specific mugs that popped up around Disney World (like the one for the Contemporary Resort).

Alas, they were all out of the Port Orleans — Riverside mug that I had hoped to pick up, but I did spot this new-to-me mug while I was there.

Mug handle

Mug handle

Rather than being Resort or park-specific, this one does a nice job of showing various aspects of experiences all over the Disney World parks, featuring scrapbook-like images of favorite attractions mixed with beloved characters. For instance, here’s a little something for all you fans of Figment out there. [Read more…]

Review: All That Jazz from the Big Easy Splash Menu at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort

Raise your hand if you love Port Orleans!!

Sure, people may look at you and wonder why your hand is in the air, but pay them no mind. It’s all for the love of the Port.

I’ll take any opportunity I can get to head over to the Port Orleans Resorts, be it Riverside or French Quarter (though I have a slight bias towards Riverside, what with the River Roost and all). So I was excited to finally have a chance to stop by recently to check out the specialty drinks that debuted earlier this summer. These sips are specific to the pool bars at Port Orleans — Muddy Rivers at Riverside, and Mardi Grogs at French Quarter.

I made the stroll to the Ol’ Man Island pool area and Muddy Rivers over at Riverside. Where Mardi Grogs celebrates the colorful Mardi Gras vibe of the French Quarter, Muddy Rivers offers the rustic Southern charm of Riverside. (You can’t go wrong either way.)

Muddy Rivers Pool Bar

Muddy Rivers Pool Bar

Muddy Rivers Pool Bar

Muddy Rivers Pool Bar

Before I even reached the bar, though, signs showing guests the Big Easy Splash — the food and beverage selections currently available poolside — led the way. [Read more…]

News: Disney World Refillable Mug Price Change Test Currently Underway

UPDATE: In the days since this post first published, many of our readers have reported that the new price of the Refillable Mugs has rolled out to several more Disney Resorts in addition to the original locations named in this post. 

Heads up, all! A few select Disney World Resorts have rolled out an updated pricing structure for the Rapid Fill Mugs — refillable mugs that provide guests the option to purchase one mug and reuse it for fountain and other drink station beverages throughout their vacation for a pre-designated amount of time.

Rapid Fill Mugs

Rapid Fill Mugs

The price for a Rapid Fill Mug has been $17.99 for length of stay, with lower pricing options available for 1, 2, and 3 day visits since the Rapid Fill drink program debuted in August 2013. And it remains in effect at several Disney resorts currently.

Rapid Fill Price Sign

Rapid Fill Price Sign

BUT…at Pop Century, the All Star Resorts, and Port Orleans – Riverside, the price is currently $16.49 plus tax for length of stay.

Rapid Fill New Length of Stay Pricing -- Refillable Mugs

Rapid Fill New Length of Stay Pricing — Refillable Mugs

However, the 1, 2, and 3 day options are not currently available to guests, so essentially [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 20th, 2015

Sure, we may have said “So long” to the Flower and Garden Festival for this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to look forward to at Walt Disney World! Springs moves to summer as Disney World gears up for the busy vacation season, otherwise known as the “Coolest Summer Ever”!

©Disney

©Disney

And since it’s a very special time of year for Star Wars fans in particular, why don’t we start our ‘round the World tour at Hollywood Studios to see What’s New!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Star Wars Weekends kicked off on May 15th!

Star Wars Weekends 2015

Star Wars Weekends 2015

The excitement! The pageantry!  The CUPCAKES! The Jabba the Hutt Cupcake has joined the Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes this year.

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

It can be found at counter service locations such as Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, The Trolley Car Cafe, and Tusken Fridge Raiders — the premiere Star Wars snack stop, located inside Darth’s Mall.

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

But cupcakes aren’t all that’s in store…

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Like last year, several temporary pop-up bars can be found all over the park for the weekend events.

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

However, they feature all-new drinks this year. Each bar serves two out of of four drinks: The Mustafar and The Tatooine, or The Endor and The Alderaan.

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

We’ll be taking a closer look at those beverages soon, but once again this year, it’s ALL about the souvenir glow cubes: drinks come with either a Millennium Falcon glow cube or your very own mini Death Star.

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

The Jedi Mickey Character Dinner at Hollywood and Vine and Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast returned to Hollywood Studios earlier this month (on May the Fourth Be With You, naturally). But brand new to Star Wars Weekends this year is the Rebel Hangar — A Star Wars Lounge Experience, which has effectively converted half of Backlot Express into an abandoned spaceport in the Sullest system.

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Blue Milk!

Blue Milk!

You can read all about this special month-long dining event featuring small plates and specialty cocktails in our full review of the Rebel Hangar!

Believe it or not, though, it’s not all Star Wars at Hollywood Studios… we’ve got some regular ol’ menu changes at some favorite Table Service restaurants to report as well. Sci-Fi Dine-In has added the Sci-Fi Popcorn Treat to the appetizer selection. It’s popcorn soup (for watching those old movies, of course!) with buffalo popcorn chicken and celery sticks, drizzled with blue cheese dressing.

Sci-Fi Dine-In

Sci-Fi Dine-In

New entrees include Grilled Marinated Salmon, while the Veggie Burger got a [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 3, 2015

We’re taking a quick trip around all four Disney World Parks and then making stops at several Resorts, where a lot of food news seems to be taking place as of late!

But we’re starting our “World”-wide tour at Downtown Disney, and taking a peek at how things are shaping up as the transition towards “Disney Springs” continues on. And we may even take a sneak peek at something coming to our friends in Disneyland on the west coast.

Disney Springs mural

Disney Springs mural

So, are you ready to see What’s New? Good! Because in the words of Peter Pan, “Here we GOOOOOOO…”

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Okay, so we’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but that’s because we’re happy that BabyCakes has a new home in Downtown Disney! Located at The Landing of what will be Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC has been up and running since 1 pm on Sunday, February 22nd.

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna

Samoa Donut

Samoa Donut

Featuring gluten-free and vegan baked goods, this is great news for guests on some dietary restrictions. Read our opening day review here!

Flour and Sugar

Speaking of baked goods, Flour and Sugar is a little kiosk that can be found on the newly opened Marketplace Causeway. It sells pre-packaged cookies inspired by various cities in the Sunshine State.

Flour and Sugar

Flour and Sugar

We tried the Siesta Key Key Lime S’more, and we’ll have a review here for you soon!

Key Lime S'more

Key Lime S’more

Disney Springs Construction

All in all, things really seem to be picking up speed in Downtown Disney with the Causeway completed, allowing an easy stroll from spots around T-Rex to the Rainforest Cafe side at the Marketplace.

The Marketplace Causeway

The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Disney Springs sign

Disney Springs sign

We’ll be sure to take a little tour along the path when we’re back with our Flour and Sugar review! The next thing we have our eyes on? Look for [Read more…]

2014 Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving Contests

Didn’t get your fill of Halloween fun this year? Fret not, friends! Because we’ve got one more treat for you from the season of tricks…

On October 30th and 31st, Disney Resort Cast Members at resorts around the World competed in pumpkin decorating contests. I got to check out the displays at the Contemporary Resort and Port Orleans — Riverside, and wanted to share some of the fun with you today!

At the Contemporary Resort, individual Cast Members showed off their pumpkin carving skills. The display was huge, including well over twenty pumpkins!

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving 2014

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving 2014

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Guests at the Contemporary placed their votes for pumpkins across a few categories. A member of the Security Team won “Best Overall” for this awesome [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: September 24, 2014

Food is always the star of the show for Disney Food Fans, but there’s no time of year when food steals the spotlight quite like this… with a little something called the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

But that’s not all the food news in these parts! We’ve spotted more fall treats and new Resort eats as we’ve been looking around Disney World to see What’s New

EPCOT

So, right off the bat, we know this isn’t exactly what you would call a “surprise” ;) , but since it’s Epcot’s time to shine, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the recent opening of this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Food and Wine Festival!

Be sure to check out the Must-Eats among the dishes making their debut this year!

Bacon Hash at the Farm Fresh Booth

Bacon Hash at the Farm Fresh Booth

Coconut Candy at the Brazil Booth

Coconut Candy at the Brazil Booth

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing at the Hops & Barley booth

In other EPCOT food news (yep, there’s still more!), the ice cream experts at L’Artisan des Glaces are helping everyone get into the Fall spirit with their release of the Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich

You can enjoy this pumpkin deliciousness in a [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: September 4th, 2014

We’re staring down the last of the dog days of summer as Disney World gears up for Fall… Join us on a tour around all four east coast Parks as we check out What’s New!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Fall Fun

With September upon us everyone is anticipating autumn and special seasonal events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (currently underway) and the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (more on that a little later in the post :). So it’s not surprising to see Magic Kingdom all decked out for the occasion!

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

(Love seeing this sign pop up [Read more…]