Disney Dining Plan Plus – Getting The Most Out Of The New Plan

Disney Dining Plan Plus – Getting The Most Out Of The New Plan

More options! That’s right we got Disney Dining Plan options. On February 27, 2020, Disney Parks announced the Disney Dining Plan Plus. It’s the newest plan option in the Disney Dining Plan catalog. Raising the total to four different options. With its addition, it raises the question, who is the plan best for? It’s why we’re all here. Let’s breakdown the Disney Dining Plan Plus.

The Foundation

Or should we say building blocks? Your choice. No matter what both involve building, and that’s what we are doing. We’re building on our Disney Dining Plan article, where we breakdown the plans based on how you theme park. For the basics around Disney Dining Plans, we recommend giving it a read. It’s some of our better work, but we’re definitely partial. Do you agree? Yeah, we thought you would. Anyways, let’s get to it.

The Disney Dining Plan Plus includes the following per night; two meal credits that can be used on either table service or quick-service, two snack credits, and one refillable mug. For the meal credits, it’s a choose your own adventure on how you would like to use them. The new plan costs $94.61 per person per night for adults and $35 per child per night. For anyone 21 years or older, your meal is eligible for an adult beverage with your meal credit (where offered).

Passholder Insights: Recently Disney Resorts began offering upgrades to the refill mugs that include metal mugs themed around the Skyliner or Star Wards.

Character Meals are a great value for the Disney Dining Plan Plus

Character Love!

We like to call it the double-dip. Enjoying a great meal, while meeting a variety of your favorite Disney characters. With the new Disney Dining Plan Plus, you would be able to enjoy a character meal a day or double up with two a day. With the majority of the character meals qualifying as one dining credit and costing around $40 or more per adult and $24 or more per child, it’s definitely a great value. The only character meal currently two meals credits is Cinderella’s Royal Table.

If you plan on experiencing a character meal a day, along with another sit-down restaurant, then the Disney Dining Plan Plus may be for you. We find the character meals as a great way for kids and adults to get little more time with their favorite characters.

Passholder Insights: For any of the character meals, we would highly recommend making an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) through My Disney Experience.

Foodies Rejoice

We’re here for the food! Walt Disney World is filled with fantastic restaurants and if you’re like us, you want to enjoy them all. Well, at least as many as possible. There are 90, with more on the way. We’re looking at you Space 220, The Creperie, and Woody’s RoundUp. The majority of the dining locations are one credit and available when on the Disney Dining Plan. For a full list of the restaurants included please see the following list.

With the new Disney Dining Plan Plus, it makes knocking off a couple of restaurants a day pretty easy. Similar to character dining, we highly recommend making ADR’s, especially during the busier times of the year.

Passholder Insights: In our experience, it’s a better value to pay out of pocket for the Signature Restaurants over using two table service credits on one meal.

Our Thoughts

You can never have too many options! When it comes to the Disney Dining Plan we always think of it as a no muss or fuss way to travel. Essentially, you’re prepaying for your snacks/meals (outside of tip) and in our experience, it takes a lot of pressure when looking at menus. Order what you like!

For the new Disney Dining Plan Plus, if you’re someone looking to enjoy a couple of sit down meals a day for the majority of your trip, then this plan is for you. The greatest value comes when using both meal credits at one credit sit down restaurant. Alright, it’s time to eat. Where should we go? Only 90+ options to choose from. This may take a minute!

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass – Let’s Strategise!

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass – Let’s Strategise!

There’s a strategy for that! You know us, we love our FastPass strategies. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass is now part of the Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers. For the second time in the last few weeks, the Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers have been revamped. What does this mean to our Hollywood Studios Strategy options? We’re glad you asked. Let’s bust out our My Disney Experience app and put together our strategy around Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass.

Concept Art for Mickey's & Minnie's Runaway Railway FastPass

It’s Open!

Woohoo! We’re a little excited for this attraction, to say the least. On March 4, 2020, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens its doors for the first time. When the attraction opens, Disney World is following the traditional opening where it will offer both FastPass and standby. It will not have boarding groups like Rise of the Resistance. Instead, the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass will be a tier one attraction. Below is a breakdown of the new tiers.

Tier One

Tier Two

With the Fastpass tiers you’re able to select one attraction from tier one, then two attractions from tier two. Once you have completed your first three FastPass selections you can select a fourth FastPass and more!

Passholder Insights: We prefer to use our FastPass selections on the attractions. We’ve found we usually do not need a FastPass to experience the shows.

Load area for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway FastPass

FastPass Window Opens

It’s FastPass day! For this Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass strategy we’re looking at making our selection prior to arrival. As we discuss in our FastPass Essentials Guide, depending on where you stay either at a Disney related resort or a non-Disney related resort will determine when and how you can make your selections. The window is open, what would the DVC Duo do?

There are two things we like to do. First and foremost is prioritize certain FastPass selections. In this situation, we’re prioritizing our Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass. What this means for us, is that we’re going to look to make this selection first. We usually stay at a Disney resort so we’re going to use our 60+ day window to our advantage. With the harder to get FastPass selections we like to put these towards the end of our trip, as we’re more likely to find options.

When staying at a non-Disney related resort, we recommend checking for a FastPass first thing on your 30-day mark when the system opens at 6 am. Then doing so on each of the following mornings for the length of your stay (as guests staying at non-Disney related resort are only able to book a day at a time, on the 30-day mark).

Passholder Insights: Disney related resorts is a combination of the Disney owned resorts and what’s referred to as Good Neighbor Resorts. Here’s a list of Good Neighbor Resorts.

Ride vehicle for Runaway Railway FastPass

The Back-Up Plan

Demand for the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass will more than likely be very high. It is Mickey’s first-ever ride. If you’re not able to obtain a FastPass selection, have no fear, we have a back-up plan. The first thing we would do is select another Tier 1 attraction. For us, it’s Slinky Dog, as we’ve found the wait times for Slinky Dog tend to be higher than Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. However, there are no bad selections here, it all depends on what you prefer, Toy Story or Star Wars.

On our Hollywood Studios day, if we were not able to secure a FastPass we would look to do one of two things. The first option would be to rope drop, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Our second option would be to step into line just as the park is closing. For example, Hollywood Studios is closing at 8 pm, we would join the line around 7:55 pm. As long as you’re in line before the park closing time you’ll be able to ride. Additionally, we’ve found the ride moves quicker as they’re no more guests in the FastPass line.

Passholder Insights: Keep checking My Disney Experience for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass options, as we’ve found they pop-up from time to time leading up to and while on a trip.

Our Thoughts

It’s all about prioritization for us. Whether we’re looking at making a Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway FastPass or any other FastPass at Walt Disney World. The big thing we always tell ourselves is if we are not able to secure a FastPass, we’ll use the back-up plan if it’s a must-experience attraction for us. Before heading to Hollywood Studios, we would recommend picking out one or two must experience attractions that are outside your FastPass selections. Then you could rope drop one and use the last ride of the night method for the other one. Toot, toot! Looks like our training is pulling out of the station, we’ve got go!

What’s A Disney ADR? – DVC Duo Guide to Advance Dining Reservations

What’s A Disney ADR? – DVC Duo Guide to Advance Dining Reservations

Disney ADR, what’s that? Walt Disney World is filled with acronyms, from FP’s (FastPass) to DAK (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and what we’re all here for today, Disney ADR (Advance Dining Reservation). Let’s just say at Disney, there’s an acronym for that. In this DVC Duo guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to about Disney ADR’s. Let’s find those restaurants!

How to make a Disney ADR

What Is It?

At the route of it, a Disney ADR is a dining reservation at Walt Disney World. Then why is it not just called a dining reservation, instead of an advance dining reservation? Great question! At Walt Disney World dining reservations are a little different than everyday life. From when you can make reservations to how you can make reservations and even what happens if you’re late or don’t make your Disney ADR.

Passholder Insights: When working with a Disney certified travel agent, they are able to make all your Disney ADR’s at no additional charge.

Mobile experience for booking a Disney ADR

How Can I Make A Disney ADR?

There’s more than one way to reserve! Your options include the new school way or flip it with the old school way. Our favorite way to make our Disney ADR’s is the new school way via My Disney Experience. Similar to our monorail crawl, the new school way is a choose your own adventure between the mobile app (phone) or website (desktop). For us, we always go to the website.

The old school way is calling 407.WDW.DINE (407.939.3463). If you’re looking to make a reservation for a group of 9 people or more, you’ll have to call Disney Dining, as the My Disney Experience limits reservations for up to 8 people.

Passholder Insights: Recently Walt Disney World has been recommending booking your Disney ADR’s online. Based on this recommendation we’ve seen wait times for calling for reservations increase.

When can you make a Disney ADR

When Can I Book?

Here is where a Disney ADR differs the most from a standard reservation. The booking window for all guests opens 180 days from the date you will dine. This is the same for everyone and it does not have any requirements outside of a credit card to book. On the 180-day mark reservations open at 6 am est for reservations made online and 7 am est for reservations made over the phone. You can make reservations at any point from the 180-day mark forward.

Where it becomes a little more tricky is when we factor in what type of resort you’re staying at. There are two options. First is staying at Disney World Resort or a Good Neighbor Resort (on Disney property). The second is staying off Disney property. When staying on Disney property you have the opportunity to book advance dining reservations for your whole trip (up to 10 days) on the first day. How it works is guests with an on property reservations would load the confirmation number to My Disney Experience. When booking opens the system enables you to book up to 10 beyond your 180-day mark.

For guests staying at an off Disney property resort, you would be able to make advance dining reservations at the 180-day mark one day at a time. How it works is each morning a 180-days from the corresponding day of your trip you have the opportunity to log into My Disney Experience and make your Disney ADR.

Passholders Insights: When using My Disney Experience on your mobile device to book your ADRs we highly recommend checking for app updates the night before.

Entrance to Be Our Guest

Which Restaurants?

At Walt Disney World you can make an advance dining reservation at all the sitdown restaurants. Beyond the restaurants, there are a select few quick-serve or other locations that qualify for an ADR as well. The following locations are included:

At Be Our Guest for breakfast and lunch you are also able to select your meals in advance. Make your meal choice prior to arrival is a great way to save time and enjoy more park time.

Passholder Insights: For certain restaurants, you can also find reservations via OpenTable. The majority of these restaurants will be located at Disney Springs.

Exterior of Rose & Crown Pub

Modifications And Changes

Picking meals 180 days in advance is no easy task. Nate struggles to figure out what he would like to eat 24 hours in advance. No worries, you’re able to change your advanced dining reservations up to 24 hours prior to sitting down for your meal. After the 24-hour mark, you are subject to a cancellation fee of $25 or no show fee. If it’s under 24-hours we would recommend either calling 407-WDW-DINE or head to the restaurant to find out your options.

Passholder Insights: If there is a certain restaurant we were not able to reserve at the 180-day, we like to check back often. We’ve found reservations are always opening.

Our Thoughts

Works well! Overall the Disney ADR system is easy to use. Similar to making a FastPass, one of our booking strategies is to focus on the hard to get ADRs first. We like to put these hard to get ADRs towards the end of our trip when staying on Disney property. Our biggest tip when making the booking window opens is to be flexible. We like to mark a couple of must eat at places then go with the flow from there. Walt Disney World has a ton of great restaurants and the majority of the time you’ll find a Disney ADR for it. Alright, we’ve got to go time for our ADR at ‘Ohana!

Rise Of The Resistance Boarding Group – A DVC Duo Guide

Rise Of The Resistance Boarding Group – A DVC Duo Guide

All rise! Some things are worth waking up early for and a Rise of the Resistance boarding group is definitely one of them. On a recent trip to Black Spire Outpost, we were lucky enough to snag a boarding group on multiple occasions. Now that we’re back, we’re sharing our strategy on how to get your own Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Our phones are charged, let’s head to Hollywood Studios and get that boarding group!

Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group within My Disney Experience

The Prep Work

Let’s channel our inner Scar and be prepared! Our first recommendation for getting a Rise Of The Resistance boarding group is to check your phone the night before. What are you looking for? A couple of things. First and foremost, make sure you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone with all your friends and family members linked together. You’re going to need all the help you can get if you’re going to take on the First Order. Additionally, take a look at where the boarding group selection of the app is located and click through it to become familiar.

Our prep work continues with making sure you have the most updated version of the app. Heading into the App Store or Google Play to check for any updates. We’ve noticed Disney has been updating My Disney Experience on a more regular basis. Alright, the prep work is done, let’s get some sleep before we have to rise!

Passholder Insights: Disney Resorts offer free in-room and resort WiFi which makes it easy for updating your phone apps.

People heading into Hollywood Studios for the Rise of the Resistance boarding group

Beep, Beep

Rise and shine time! Depending on where you’re staying and what time Hollywood Studios is opening that day will help determine what time to get up. For us, the first time we got to the park at 6:45 am and the second time we arrived at 7:45 am. The most important thing about having the opportunity to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group is that your whole party has to be within the park prior to park opening. That means no sleeping in for grandma if she wants to ride.

On our trip, Hollywood Studios opened at 8 am each day. We made it point to not rely on Disney transportation either time. The first time we took a Lyft to the park and the second we were able to walk over from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Our recommendation would be to either drive or rideshare to the park (if you can walk, even better).

Passholder Insights: We noticed rideshares were popular in the morning. Definitely check the app when you first wake up to see how long it will take for a car to arrive at your resort, then get dressed, etc.

Snagged a Rise of the Resistance boarding group

We’re In!

The park that is. Once inside you’ll have a decision to make, line up for another ride, coffee, or find a spot to hangout. First, go around we choose coffee, then the second we camped out in the middle of the park. For us, our focus was on the Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Many other people lined up for the attractions.

We’re in the final countdown to the park opening and you can feel the excitement around you. Below is a step by step guide of exactly what we did.

  • Restarted our phones
  • Closed all open apps
  • Turned Off WiFi
  • Watched the clock on our phone for 8 am (or park opening time)
  • Opened My Disney Experience
  • Selected Join Rise of Resistance Boarding Group
  • Selected Group Members (only the people in your group who are in the park)
  • Select Next
  • Happy Beeps!

On both occasions, we both tried for the group, with Serena getting a group once and Nate another. Our groups were 43 and 62.

Passholder Insights: With all the guest opening My Disney Experience at the same time, getting a Rise of the Resistance boarding group becomes a lottery type of system

Our Thoughts

For us, it was all about setting our expectations. We knew we were not guaranteed to get into a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Our plan was to mark a day early in our trip and late in our trip to try for a boarding group, and we were lucky enough to get one on both occasions. After going through it twice our biggest takeaway is that you do not have to get up a 2 am or any crazy hours to get to the park. As long as your party is through the gate and in Hollywood Studios prior to park opening you’ll have the same opportunity as everyone else. Our group just got called, it’s time to Rise!

An Updated Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy Guide

An Updated Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy Guide

It’s time for an update! Not just any update, we’re updating our Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy guide. As the Disney parks continue to grow, expand, evolve (pick you’re adjective of choice) we’ll be updating our guides to match. Effective February 19, 2020, Hollywood Studios will be updating its FastPass tiers, as Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is being added to the options. Let’s open up My Disney Experience and plan out Hollywood Studios adventure!

Rise of the Resistance is part of our Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy

We Cannot Resist

Resist what? Rise of the Resistance. We cannot talk Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy without mentioning the newest ride to join Walt Disney World. At the moment, the attraction is only available via boarding groups and not FastPass selections are available. We’ll be breaking the DVC Duo’s Rise strategy in an upcoming article. Stay tuned!

Passholder Insights: Walt Disney World has not released any type of timeline to when Rise of the Resistance would move from boarding pass only to a standby/FastPass attraction

Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy includes Star Wars

Mixing It Up!

We’ve got new FastPass tiers. For a breakdown of how FastPass selections work at Walt Disney World, we highly recommend checking out our captivating article here. We can wait. Really we do not mind. It had you on the edge of your seat, right? Alright back to our regularly scheduled article. Starting February 19, 2020, the breakdown of the Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers is as follows

Tier One

Tier Two

With Fastpass tiers you’re able to select one attraction from tier one, then two attractions from tier two. Once you have completed your first three FastPass selections you can select a fourth FastPass and more!

Passholder Insights: We like to hold off on selecting nighttime shows as a FastPass until we use our first three selections.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is part of our Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy

Return Of The Thrill Seekers

With changes coming to the tiering systems, we looking back at our original Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy. The thrilling combination includes Slinky Dog Dash, Rock ‘n’ Coaster, and the Tower of Terror, by the end of this trio you’ll be wondering which way is up! We like to secure our Slinky Dog Dash FastPass first then look to add Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, as “back to back” time selections. With the short walk between the rides, it’s a great way to knock them out at one time.

If you have a few moments between your Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror FastPass times we recommend to either check out Lightning McQueen Racing Academy or a little shopping on Sunset Blvd.

Passholder Insights: The end of the night is a fantastic time to experience any of the bigger attractions you were not able to secure a FastPass selection for.

The Location of the New Toy Story Land Restaurant

Who Wants To Be A Toy?

Enjoying the Toy Story attractions just got a lot easier! In our Toy Story Land focused Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy, we’re heading to Andy’s backyard. We are now able to secure FastPass Selections for all three attractions, with Slinky Dog Dash as our tier one, then Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers as our tier two attractions.

Now that we have the opportunity to select all three, our go-to strategy would be to stack back to back attractions where we could. In between your rides, a stop-off at Woody’s Lunch Box is a great way to work in a meal and a little break time. Another option would be to work in the character meet ‘n greets with Buzz, Woody, Jesse, and Bo-Peep.

Please note for Alien Swirling Saucers the height restriction is 32 inches and for Slinky Dog Dash it is 38 inches.

Passholder Insights: Out of FastPass selections, rope dropping Toy Story Land is a great way to enjoy all the attractions

A Ride Far, Far, Away

Or, we should say not so far away. In this Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy, we’re heading “on-planet” to Black Spire Outpost. At the moment, the only on-planet FastPass is for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. However, off-planet you can head over to Star Tours – The Adventure Continues as well. For the perfect Star Wars day, a trip to Batuu would not be complete without a stop in at Oga’s Cantina for a Fuzzy TaunTaun or two.

For our last FastPass selection, we would recommend picking something for the choices within the other strategies.

Passholder Insights: For any of the other experiences within Galaxy’ Edge, like the Droid Depot or Savvy’s Workshop we would highly recommend making a reservation through My Disney Experience.

Our Thoughts

Fantastic change! We’re thrilled to see these changes for Hollywood Studios. For us, our rule of thumb is to not use our FastPass selections on the shows. The vast majority of the time you’ll be able to enjoy a show if you arrive about 30 to 40 minutes prior to the start time. In the coming weeks are our Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy guide may need to change again with the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. For now, we’re going to drop into our favorite tower!