"Free" Dining Offer Leading to Decisions about Accommodations

With the announcement of “free” dinning covering the dates of my trip I now actually have a bunch of decisions to make.

We were already booked for the Pop Century with 8 day Park Hoppers and DDP. With adding the new offer it looks like it will save us around $1000 on exactly what we were originally booking.

Caveat is that we have gift cards that already cover our initial cost we booked at plus anticipated tips, souvenirs, and a couple extras.

So we can keep our original plans and get to plan a bunch of extras or…

  1. Upgrade to Port Orleans Riverside to a Royal Guest room for almost exactly the same price we were going to get for the Pop

  2. Upgrade all the way to a deluxe (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, or Contemporary) for an additional cost of around $800 - $1000 more than what we were going to originally spend. We can absolutely afford this upgrade while it was not in the original plan.

Trying to get DH input into it but I have not received much feedback from him yet.

I’d say stick with Pop and use that extra $1000 on something else.

Stay at.pop. Use the extra for after hours events or dessert parties. Or better as a deposit for a bounce back.


I am already itching to plan a second trip and this one is not even started yet. DH needs some convincing, I am hoping amazing planning on my part can help him see the light…


This is one of the reasons why I do not like Disney gift cards - you have the opportunity to put $1000 back into your pocket, but you can’t because you have already put it into Walt’s.

That being said, what would do is use that money for extras, like tours, dessert parties, EMM, etc. I think you will get much more out of that than upgrading your room.

I knew I was taking a risk with the gift cards but when I bought them early I got a decent discount and figured we would find a way to use them.

I found out there is another option at POR that would still save us around 400. I have already been looking into two dessert parties (one on my birthday and one on my daughters birthday).

I am really excited about the opportunities and choices that this is giving us. We have basically ruled out the deluxe resort upgrade options.

Now I am also seriously considering EMM at MK and/or TSL

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Who is in your party? Have you been before? And how much t8me do you think you’ll be spending at the resort.

To my mind if you’re going to stay deluxe, you would want a couple of afternoons / evenings to explore. At AKL there are a ton of activities during the day that are well worth the time (and sometimes small cost). But every resort has it’s hidden gems whether kids’ / family activities or more adult orientated - kitchen tours or beer tasting anyone?

Once you try out a deluxe, you may be spoilt for POP for future trips! Not necessarily though, some people like to mix things up, depending on the trip.

We will have 4 in our party. Myself, DH (may or may not have ever been to Disney), DD 5 and DD 4 (both of their first trips). I have been 3 times, 1st one was off site and the other two I stayed at value resorts.

As much as I really dream of staying at one of the deluxe resorts one day I am thinking we should put it off until another trip.

This statement alone merits an explanation. Does he exist in a quantum state of WDW visitation, like Shrodinger’s cat? :smiley:


His mother SWEARS they used to go all the time when DH was younger (would have been sub 8 years old). He has recollections of going to Florida with his family but he cannot remember Disney at all and he has not seen any pictures of said trip either.


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

In that case I think it counts as a first visit!

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Two things I would think about with young kids is convenient to get to parks and if it’s a hotel you will want to take a break at. My kids def needed some down time… also it’s hard to go wrong with a hotel at Disney- they all look pretty nice just all offer something different! There’s been some good bus reviews of Pop lately—- I haven’t stayed there so I can’t add to that.

I told him he should rock a 1st Visit button and he is starting to agree


As the kids say, pictures or it didn’t happen - he is a first-timer!


I just went with DH and my two sons (6 and 8) for their first trip (well, DH went in 2001). We stayed at POR and my boys loved it. We did a split stay - two nights at ASMo and then five nights at POR.

POR does feel like a deluxe resort in many ways (I’ve stayed at Beach Club before). The only negative I had were the multiple bus stops. However once that became an issue, we used Lyft or a Minnie van. In most cases the Lyft was around $10.

I highly recommend doing the EMM or DAH events. The package we did (Ultimate Disney Christmas) included exclusive access to TSL and AK (Pandora, Everest, and Dinosaur) and I paid OOP for EMM-Fantasyland. It was a game changer for us. I thought I’d have to twist DH’s arm to book a second trip - he okayed signing up for a Bounce Back offer!

Good luck with your trip planning!

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I am thinking of adding in EMM but since dates and times are not released yet I am not 100% sure if it will make sense for us. I would be all over DAH if the girls were older but I am not sure they would be able to last that late into the night. I have gotten so much information from these boards I am really hoping to be able to WOW DH.

Oh right! Yes, my boys are older and they were tired at night - well my younger one was and he’s normally my night owl. At one point he insisted on going to bed at 7:30 and our event didn’t start for another hour (I distracted him with pressed pennies and he was fine the rest of the night).

My husband was wowed by EMM. I didn’t fully explain it to any of them before going so they didn’t realize just how special it was. We also went our first day so they didn’t have anything to compare it to. And then the RD crowd came in and the awe set in - we got through all these rides without waits or Fastpasses? Score one for me.

There are tours during the day that may fit your timing better too - I’m hearing great things about the Rhino add on at AK.

As for dates, they usually have them on the same day of the week year over year (YMMV). I looked at Dec 2017 dates and they matched up exactly with Dec 2018 dates.

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Worked like a charm for me! First visit, DH wasn’t sure… now, he’s happy to go every-other year, which works for me. This past trip, I couldn’t get FP for SDD and he kept pointing out to the kids that most people wait in lines like that all the time. Score! Of course, my kids think you “just get a FP” for any ride you want. They had a hard time understanding why we didn’t have one for SDD.

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I just want showing him the EMM offerings and I think I have him convinced. Thankfully he sees how even though it is an extra expense that the time savings could be considerable. I am thinking if I can minimize wait times it will be a win on my side. I think he sees Disney as a potential ever 5 year trip and I would probably be happier with an every 2-3 year trip. (Though I would absolutely go more if budget wasnt a consideration)

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