How MyMagic+ Will Affect Disney Dining

Planning your Disney World vacation is about to change—big time. While making your Advance Dining Reservations 180 days in advance will still be important, MyMagic+ is going to make it easier to pre-plan your trip and maybe even save your Disney dollars at the same time!

We’ve outlined the basics of the new Walt Disney World Resort technology below, followed by a healthy dose of Disney dining tips for making the most of the new system — including how it will change your Disney Dining planning, and how you might save money using MyMagic+!!

How MyMagic + Will Affect Disney Dining

MyMagic+: The Basics

This past week, MyMagic+ — a new, tech-savvy planning process for your Disney vacation — officially rolled out across the Walt Disney World resort. Relying on RFID technology, this will create a “more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience” for guests, according to Disney Parks Blog.

A major piece of the MyMagic+ puzzle is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which help guests plan their trip. The interactive tools allow guests to log in to book advanced dining reservations and ride times for popular attractions as well as parade and fireworks viewing locations with FastPass+. They’ll also make it easy to change those plans on the fly from any smartphone or Guest Relations kiosk.

All of that MyMagic+ data—including ride and meals times—will be encoded onto the new must-have Disney accessory: the MagicBand. These high-tech bracelets will replace the Key to the World card, becoming a room key, theme park ticket, PhotoPass card, FastPass and charge account in one.

MyMagic+ MagicBand

MyMagic+ MagicBand in action

Right now, guests saying at WDW resort hotels, Annual Passholders, and those who purchase PhotoPass will automatically receive a complimentary standard MagicBand. Upgraded wristbands, decorated with characters, will also be available for an additional fee.

Guests who stay off property will receive an RFID-enabled card, which will act as a park ticket, charge account and FastPass+ ticket, but they will have to purchase a MagicBand separately.

Don’t Forget Your MagicBand!

The new technologies will likely have a significant impact on your dining strategy, so we’ve put together a quick primer on how to make the most of MyMagic+:

Pay and Go

The most immediate and obvious impact of the MagicBand will be the ability to pay for snacks and quick service meals with the flick of a wrist.

Literally tap the RFID bracelet (or card for non-resort guests) against the sensor at the register to settle the bill on purchases of $50 or less quickly and efficiently. No more digging around for the Key to the World!

Schedule Your WHOLE Day

With the current system, FastPass dictates your return window based on how many FastPasses have already been distributed. On some days, it’s possible to arrive at Soarin’ at 9:30 a.m. only to be locked into a 6:35-7:35 p.m. return time. That presents a problem for those [Read more…]

Disney World Cheese Plate Gallery

FINALLY!!

After several years…and lots of cheese…we’ve finally put together a list of many of the cheese plates found in Walt Disney World restaurants!

Cheese from Tutto Gusto in Epcot's Italy

For those who have never had a cheese plate in a Disney World restaurant, here’s a little Disney cheese plate primer:

  • Cheese plates are often offered as both an appetizer and a dessert
  • They usually provide small samples of three, four, or five cheeses
  • Cheese plates are served with accompaniments like dried fruits, nuts, compotes, honey, and small pieces of toast or crackers
  • The samples are usually arranged from mild to strong, with a veined blue cheese almost always at the end of the line

You’ll find goat milk, cow milk, and sheep milk cheeses with varied aging processes and preparations. If you’re dining in a themed restaurant, the cheeses may be themed as well (e.g. Cheeses from California).

I can highly recommend pairing just about anything with honey or dried raisins on the vine. ;-) In fact, I usually ask my server to bring an extra side of honeycomb since I nearly always run out.

Another tip: always ask for more little toasts. Even if you’re NOT sharing with a dining partner, you’ll still run out.

We’ve had many requests for this type of post — there are a lot of cheese lovers out there — so I hope this is helpful. Note that plates change often, so you may find different cheeses and accompaniments on your visit. Please share your reviews and experiences in the comments section below!

Epcot

Les Chefs de France
Plateau de fromages de France
My very favorite cheese plate in all of Disney World is found here, at Chefs de France. The creamy, delicious cheeses in large portions could probably be a meal in themselves!

Imported cheese board $14.50. Available at lunch and dinner.

Cheese Plate

Le Cellier
Assortment of Artisanal Cheese
accompanied with Chef’s Selection of Dried Fruits and Preserves $14.00. See our review!

Cheese Plate

Boulangerie Patisserie
Cheese Plate
Get a similar plate to the one in Chefs de France over here at the [Read more…]

New Credit Card Guarantee Requirements and Technology Affect Disney Dining Reservations

Chef Mickey's Cracking Down on Skipping Reservations

UPDATE: See bottom of post for some FAQs and answers via a Disney Dining Phone representative.

In the past several weeks, Disney has instituted a few new technologies and requirements to better regulate the Disney World Dining Reservations Systems. These are largely being put into place to deter the ever-increasing practices of double-booking dining reservations, or simply skipping reservations without canceling them.

Double-booking and skipping reservations in restaurants that fill up six months in advance means that a large percentage of dining reservations are not being used, which, in turn, means that fewer guests are able to dine at these locations, and less money is made in each restaurant.

To improve this process, Disney has (or will be) instituting three new practices:

  • Mandatory Credit Card Guarantees on Signature and Character Dining Location Reservations
  • Reservation Reminder Emails
  • Disallowing Double-Bookings

Credit Card Guarantees Required for Signature and Character Dining Locations Starting October 26th

In order to deter skipped reservations at Disney’s most expensive and popular properties, Disney will begin requiring credit card guarantees on many restaurants beginning October 26th, 2011.

What does this mean for us as guests? Basically, you’ll be required to give a valid credit card number in order to make your reservation for these popular dining spots. No money will be charged to your card at the time of booking (unless the location is a pre-pay meal). However, should you neglect to cancel a credit card guarantee reservation within the allotted timeline (usually 24 hours prior to the meal), a $10 surcharge — per person — will be charged to the card.

California Grill Cancellation Policy Warning

Starting October 26, 2011, the following restaurants will require the credit card guarantee: [Read more…]

Disney Dining Reservations Go Mobile

THANK GOODNESS! The Disney Restaurant Reservations system is now available in an easy-to-use mobile format for your smartphones (iphone and droid versions are currently working; blackberry is coming soon).

iPhone Screen Shot of Moblie Reservations System

Note: this is not an App that you have to download. Disney’s just made it easier to navigate the reservations system on your phone by creating a mobile version of the current system.

What does this mean for you? Now you can search for an available restaurant reservation by date, time, restaurant, theme park, cuisine, hotel, and more quickly and easily from your phone — no matter where you are. Standing in line at the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 1, 2010

Via Napoli

Greetings, Disney food lovers! As always, let’s start with the Disney Food News of the week:

In DFB news, I just finished a Food and Wine Festival project I was working on: To see information, menus, and photos of the individual Epcot Food and Wine Festival World Showcase booths (and even some photos of food items that will be on the menu for 2010!), click on any individual country name on our 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Menus and Photos page. For example, check out pics of what you can order this year in the Brazil booth!

We’re looking forward to reports from Via Napoli this week as well, so stay tuned. And a huge thanks to Amanda Tinney of Disney Every Day for getting the word out about the 2010 WDW Foodie Fest!

And now, on to the round-up!

Main Street Gazette has a fantastic review of Disney World’s Nine Dragons!

DisZine has a great review of Disney World’s ‘Ohana with some gorgeous photos.

TouringPlans writer, Caroline Baggerly, has some great tips for how to navigate the Disney World dining reservations system, even when you don’t already have an ADR!

The Caribbean Beach Resort Fan Site surveyed their readers to find out about the favorite food choices at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort!

Rosie's Victory Garden

StudiosCentral has a great post about the “history” of the Victory Garden in DHS.

The Daily Disney reports that the Egg Rolls have vanished from the Anadapur Local Cafe counter service menu (i.e. the “Yak and Yeti counter service menu”). Can anyone confirm? So sad.

Everything Walt Disney World reports on a question for the ages: can you use kids’ quick service dining credits to purchase adult quick service meals?

Disney Wedding Blog gives us ten food and beverage Disney Wedding facts! Who knew?

Chip and Co reports on a an August 12th wine tasting event in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney.

Disney Parks Blog and Chef Kevin Dundon teach us how to make Irish Soda Bread!

DisUnplugged reviews Disneyland’s Celebration Round-Up.

To round out the week, here’s a great video from the Disney Parks Blog about everyone’s favorite Club Cool choice, Beverly!

And another great vid from Jeff Lange DVD of the outside of Via Napoli!

Top Ten Disney Dining Tips Straight From Disney Fans

I put out the call on twitter and facebook for everyone’s best Disney Dining advice (because you guys are the experts!!). A lot of the responses could be combined, conveniently, into what I think is one awesome Top Ten list:

Top Disney Dining Tips from the Fans

TOP TEN: DINING TIPS FROM THE DISNEY EXPERTS

1. Make Reservations
This piece of advice was mentioned dozens of times: Make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) no matter what…and make them early! We suggest you plan ahead and make dining reservations for your high priority meals 180 days ahead of your visit to Disney World and 60 days ahead of your visit to Disneyland. (To us, they’re all high priority, so we just make all of our reservations as soon as we can.)

For those wondering if going to the parks during a traditionally slow season negates the need for ADRs, it doesn’t. The popular restaurants are always popular, and Disney’s “slow seasons” are getting shorter and shorter. Making reservations usually costs nothing, and can save you lots of time during your trip. Here’s a primer on how to make reservations for Disney Restaurants.

Of course, if you’re dead set against making advanced reservations, here are a few of our suggested restaurants you can still get into without an ADR.

Milky Way Sundae -- Beaches and Cream

Milky Way Sundae — Beaches and Cream

2. Do Your Research
Lots of folks suggested that an important part of planning your Disney dining is doing research about the restaurants and dining options available. I couldn’t agree more. Check out restaurant reviews, learn from other Disney fans how they handled Dining planning for their vacations, read trip reports, and sift through the posts here on the Disney Food Blog. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to create a seamless Dining strategy that will be enjoyable for your whole family.

One great tip: take stock of the types of eaters you’re bringing with you; make sure you know if you need to plan for fussy eaters, specific eating schedules, food allergies or intolerance, or just plan likes and dislikes, then translate that into your research.

We have plenty of dining reviews right here on the Disney Food Blog, of course, but we also have some great reference information on choosing restaurants when you have special diets to consider. Check out our Disney Dining Reference Page or the “food allergies” section below for more.

3. Coordinate Dining with Park Hours and Extra Magic Hours
This is another research tip, and a great way to make your time at the Disney theme parks go much more smoothly. Disney World posts [Read more…]

Starting Oct. 27th: Make Your Disney Dining Reservations 180 Days in Advance

Easier to Get at 180 Days Out?

Easier to Get at 180 Days Out?

It’s time to start thinking about your food 6 months in advance again, my friends! It’s being widely reported that, starting October 27th, 2009, Disney Dining reservations can be booked 180 days in advance of your check-in date.



Don’t forget that you can now book online! Also, you can find maps and menus on the Disney website.

Happy planning!