Annecy: Disney Reveals ‘Chip ‘n’ Dale’ Reboot, ‘Monsters at Work’ Details, and More

ANNECY, France — In a set of back-to-back sessions at this year’s Annecy Intl. Animation Festival, Disney announced a reboot of one of its classic animated series, shared updates on handful of others and reaffirmed its commitment to quality content creation in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The afternoon kicked off with a stand-alone Studio […]



20 Fun, Free Things to Do in Orlando (Because Disney Gets Expensive)

When you think of Orlando, you might think Disney.

That’s fair. Heck, I’m a native Floridian, and I thought that most of my life — until I actually moved to Orlando.

Sure, Disney is great and all, but the truth is The City Beautiful has a lot to offer outside the parks. And what’s better? There are plenty of free things to do here — things that don’t cost you hundreds of dollars just to gain entry…

20 Fun Things to Do in Orlando for Free

Whether you live here in Orlando or are planning your next trip, here are 20 free things to do.

1. Winter Park Farmers’ Market

Free things to do in orlando

Explore the local vendors at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, hosted at the old train depot each Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Note: The market is closed on every third Saturday in March due to the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, one of the oldest and largest outdoor art festivals in the country. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in town — and it’s free.

Afterwards, explore Park Avenue, which is laced with shops, restaurants, museums and theaters.

2. Lake Eola

Free things to do in orlando

Butting up to the heart of downtown Orlando, Lake Eola offers Insta-worthy views, a .9-mile walking sidewalk and some very large swans. (Really, they’re huge.) If you’re there on a Sunday, stop by the market.

Throughout the year, there are tons of free activities (like movie showings), so bookmark this calendar.

3. Lakeridge Winery

Free things to do in orlando

Want a real taste of Florida? And maybe a buzz? Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards rests on a 127-acre estate in Clermont, Florida, and serves award-winning wines. A tour and a tasting are free.

Keep an eye on upcoming events, too, like the free summer music series or the grape-stomping competition, which the kids will get into for free and will love.

4. Old Town in Kissimmee

Free things to do in orlando

Free to enter and peruse, Old Town is a retro landmark that offers amusement rides, souvenir shops and lots of food options.

On Friday and Saturday nights, secure a spot on the sidewalk, and watch muscle and classic cars make their way down Main Street.

5. Orlando Brewing

Free things to do in orlando

Embark on a free tour of Orlando Brewing, Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m. Once you appreciate where the beer comes from, start sippin’.

Pro Tip

If you want to do a beer tasting, check Groupon. You can usually find 50%-off deals for parties of two.

6. Big Tree Park

This park was once famous for The Senator, a 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree that burned down in 2012 due to a drug-fueled incident. (Long story.)

Although The Senator no longer remains (RIP), you’ll still find its memorial, as well as its 2,000-year-old sister tree, Lady Liberty.

Plus, there’s a nice trail and playground, and the shade will protect you from the Florida sun.

Pro Tip

If you’re planning an outdoor activity in the summer, pack plenty of sunscreen and bug spray.

7. Disney Springs

free things to do in Orlando

Formerly known as Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is a lakeside corridor of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment.

You don’t have to spend money to enjoy the lively outdoor atmosphere. There’s also a water taxi you can take from one end to the other. Plus, parking is free, which is hard to come by in Orlando.

Bonus: You’ll find the Lego Store here, a wonderland of blocks that kids — and adults — will get lost in for hours. You don’t have to pay to play!

8. Cornell Fine Arts Museum

free things to do in Orlando

On the beautiful campus of Rollins College, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum holds more than 500 paintings and a whole lot of artifacts and archaeological fragments. Plan to stop by for a free 30-minute guided tour.

(Note: It’s closed on Mondays.)

9. Disney’s Boardwalk

Tucked between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, Disney Boardwalk transports you to Coney Island in the 1920s.

Relax a bit as you walk along Crescent Lake, watch the street magicians perform and take in the fragrant funnel cakes. Parking is free.

Pro tip: You can catch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks display from here, too.

9. CityArts Factory

free things to do in Orlando

Tucked between Lake Eola and I-4 in a 130-year-old building, the CityArts Factory houses works from local artists, as well as international pieces — all rotated in and out each month.

Admission is free Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

10. Winter Park

free things to do in Orlando

Stop by the Winter Park Historical Museum (in the Winter Park Farmers Market building) to pick up a free walking tour brochure. On it, you’ll find 21 stops, including the Winter Park Railroad Station, Knowles Cottage and the Colony Theatre.

(You can find more walking maps on the City of Winter Park’s website.)

11. Celebration Town Center

free things to do in Orlando

This “perfect town” was designed by Disney and is lined with pastel-colored houses and white picket fences. Many people visit to take in the pleasant sights and walk around the lake.

The town’s center is host to a number of dining, entertainment and shopping options. Keep tabs on upcoming events, like exotic car shows and arts strolls.

12. Black Hammock Adventures

free things to do in Orlando

Black Hammock Adventures is situated on Lake Jesup, which is home to something like 9,000 gators (the largest concentration of ’em in the States). You also might spot bald eagles, wild boars, bobcats — you name it.

According to its website, you can view free gator feedings — depending on the weather. If you want to splurge, there are airboat rides, too.

13. Cocoa Beach

free things to do in orlando

The closest beach to Orlando is Cocoa Beach, which is about an hour away (depending on where you’re staying).

Parking for the popular Alan Shepard Park is $ 15, but Lori Wilson Park, right down the road, is free.

There’s even a dog park if your furry friend wants to tag along.

14. Fort Christmas

free things to do in orlando

If you decide to head to the beach, stop by Fort Christmas Historical Park on your way.

Built during the Second Seminole War, the site features a full-size replica of Fort Christmas and seven historical “Cracker-style” homes. Listen to video presentations before enjoying a picnic under one of the pavilions.

Check for free events, too, like the annual bluegrass festival in March and Cracker Christmas in December.

15. Kraft Azalea Garden

free things to do in Orlando

Pack a picnic and soak up the serenity this lakeside park offers. Then break out your bird-watching binoculars, and see what you can spot.

Pro Tip

The azaleas in Florida tend to bloom from late February to early April if you want a colorful show. If you miss that window, opt for one of Florida’s classic colorful sunsets instead.

16. Grand Bohemian Gallery

free things to do in orlando

If you *heart* art, stop by the beautiful Grand Bohemian Gallery — even if you’re not staying at the hotel.

Parking downtown might be tricky, but use ParkMe to find your cheapest option (like the $ 2 City Commons Garage).

17. Tasty Tuesdays

Free things to do in orlando

The Milk District (named for its proximity to T.G. Lee Dairy) is known for Tasty Tuesdays, a gathering of local food trucks each Tuesday, 6:30-10 p.m. Bring the kids — or your dog — and check out the live music and neighborly festivities.

18. Universal CityWalk

free things to do in Orlando

After 6 p.m., park for free, and take in the big lights of Universal CityWalk, which is comparable to Vegas — without the slots.

There’s also a fountain the kids can splash in. In the summer, keep an eye out for free concerts.

19. Chip ’n Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-Long

Saddle in fireside, and join these adorable chipmunks as you roast s’mores and warm up your vocals. You can even snap a photo and snag an autograph.

To save even more money, bring your own marshmallows and sticks. The shenanigans start at 8 p.m.

20. Spook Hill

If you really want to embark on an adventure, head south a ways to Lake Wales. Around 600 N. Wales Dr., you’ll find a sign marking “The Legend of Spook Hill.”

Pull over, and read the story, then follow the directions. Apparently, if you do it right, your car will roll uphill.

The TripAdvisor reviews are mixed, so don’t go too far out of your way for this local haunt.

Bonus: Wekiva Island

Enter this environmentally friendly oasis on the Wekiva River for $ 2 per person. Hang out dockside, or float around while listening to live bands.

If you want to get adventurous, you can rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard; a half-day rental costs less than $ 40. When you get tired, stop by the Tooting Otter for a snack and a craft beer.

Pro Tip

Get $ 1 off beer and wine during happy hour, which runs 5-7 p.m.

Note: We know many of you like to resort pool hop. Unfortunately many hotels don’t appreciate it, so that’s why we didn’t include the suggestion. Get kicked out of your own free will.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. This post would have been as messy as I-4 traffic without diligent research from Haley Gonzalez, our writing intern.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Avengers: Endgame Spoilers

We’re in the endgame of Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame marketing campaign. The two companies seem to be pulling out all the stops in the weeks leading up to what will likely be the biggest movie of 2019 — and I say that being fully aware that the finale of the third Star Wars trilogy is hitting theaters too.

This week alone we saw a Special Look clip that qualifies as a new Endgame trailer considering all the new footage Marvel revealed, as well as a TV spot that contained a few new scenes. On top of that, the Avengers: Endgame scene that was first shown during the Disney shareholders meeting in early March was again shared with a limited audience, this time at CinemaCon 2019. If you though the two companies would stop there, you were wrong.

Disney just shared some 10 minutes of the upcoming Avengers movie with select press members, revealing several major spoilers. If you want to avoid any of that, here’s your chance to walk away. What’s about to follow will surely influence your thoughts about what you think happens in the movie.

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‘The Land Before Time’ at 30: Disney Disillusionment Led To a Stone-Cold Classic

In an era when Disney is committed to revisiting its animated classics and reworking them as live-action features (The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, and, due next summer, The Lion King), it’s interesting to consider the legacy of the hand-drawn, 1988 classic The Land Before Time. The film — a beautiful, if surprisingly bleak picture about five orphaned juvenile dinosaurs, fleeing famine and a relentlessly pushy Tyrannosaurus Rex — turns 30 this week.

Not a Disney film, but a film whose production story exists almost entirely within the shadow of The House Of Mouse, The Land Before Time is directed and produced by Don Bluth, a man who has spent his entire career championing the merits of hand-drawn, traditional 2D animation. In fact, during the 1980s and 1990s, Bluth – admittedly, sometimes backed by Steven Spielberg – was more often than not Disney’s most serious competitor. Certainly, Disney’s most vocal critic.

Disney’s Creative Turmoil

Born in El Paso, Texas on September 13th, 1937, Bluth was obsessed with Disney from as early as he could remember. As a child, he’d ride his horse to the local movie theatre, watch Disney films, then go home and draw what he’d seen. In 1955, he got a job at Disney itself, as an assistant to the great John Lounsbery, one of Walt’s legendary Nine Old Men. He did a bit of work on Sleeping Beauty (1959) and The Sword In The Stone (1963). Then, in 1957, he left, subsequently spending two and a half years on a mission in Argentina for The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. Bluth’s great-grandfather had been Helaman Pratt, an early leader of the church.

Bluth returned to Disney full-time in 1971, five years after Walt’s death. He found a company in financial and creative turmoil.

“I think the later Disney films have turned animated movies into babysitters,” he said in later years. “They’re films you drop your kids off to see while you go shopping.”

Bluth believed that Disney’s creative process had become repetitive, claiming, “We felt like we were animating the same picture over and over again with just the faces changed a little.” He professed anger and frustration that, in his mind, Disney had never bettered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the company’s first full-length animated picture, released in 1937.

Appealing to the Adult Brain

And so, in 1979, on his 42nd birthday, midway through work on The Fox and the Hound (1981), Bluth handed in his resignation at Disney. Thirteen of his co-workers followed suit. They retreated to Bluth’s garage studio, with a view to making the sort of animated pictures they wanted to see.

“We’re interested in trying to re-establish animation as an art form,” said Bluth, “creating subject matter which will appeal to the adult brain.”

This meant the ‘Don’t Walk Away‘ sequence in the 1980 Olivia Newton-John romantic fantasy movie Xanadu. It meant the brilliant dark fantasy of 1982’s The Secret Of NIMH (which suffered hugely from being released at the same time as Spielberg’s ET: The Extra-Terrestrial). And, really only for the money, it meant the playable-cartoon-cum-videogames Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace (both 1983).

Despite The Secret Of NIMH almost bankrupting Bluth and his partners (and former Disney employees), Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy (the trio had all remortgaged their houses to fund a film which had, in the end, only just broken even), it had found a fan in the aforementioned Spielberg. A committed champion of animation – “With animation, fantasy is your friend,” the ET director once said – Spielberg wanted to make cartoons, and in Bluth and co, he’d found just the men he wanted to make them with. What followed was An American Tail (1986), the first animated feature to out-gross a Disney animated feature, and for a while, the highest grossing animated film of all time. Then came The Land Before Time.

Real-Life Tragedy

The Land Before Time is 69 minutes of everything Don Bluth ever loved about traditional animation. Its use of colour is, even now, an artistic marvel, the way the troupe of dinosaurs’ skin lightens and darkens depending on how exposed they are to the glare of the light. The music, scored by the late James Horner, is as bold as and fantastical as you’d want a prehistoric odyssey to be, while its depiction of mortality is skewed adult-ward, resting at around about the place that’s useful for a child to understand. Holding it all together is the grizzled narration of the great Pat Hingle; often moralistic, always evocative. It’s a film better than anything Disney released in this era, prior to the renaissance kickstarted by The Little Mermaid in 1991.

The Land Before Time is a film infused with tragedy. Judith Barsi, who recorded the voice of the fledgling Saurolophus, Ducky, was dead by the time the film came out, killed after years of abuse by her father József in a murder-suicide, alongside her mother Maria Virovacz, on July 25, 1988. Her last film, All Dogs Go To Heaven (“She was absolutely astonishing,” said Bluth, directing again. “She understood verbal direction, even for the most sophisticated situations.”) was dedicated to her memory.

Sequels Galore

Things never got better for Bluth than The Land Before Time. Feeling his creativity was being neutered by Spielberg (and on The Land Before Time, Spielberg’s partner, George Lucas), their relationship ended when the film was completed. Bluth’s next film, the aforementioned All Dogs Go To Heaven, was released on the same day as The Little Mermaid, and thereafter anything Bluth made was largely lost in the crowd, despite a slight resurgence in 1997 with an adaptation of the life of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, Anastasia.

Despite no involvement from Bluth, Spielberg or Lucas on any of the films that followed, The Land Before Time franchised out, spawning fourteen videogames, a 2007 TV series, and, quite remarkably, 13 (THIRTEEN) sequels — the last of which, Journey Of The Brave, was released as recently as 2016. Candace Hutson, who voiced the stroppy Triceratops, Cera, in the original movie, is the only link with the musical adaptations that followed, lasting three subsequent movies, leaving before 1997’s The Mysterious Island.

Don Bluth lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. He still works from time to time. A Scissor Sisters promo here (2004’s “Mary”), a book there (2005’s The Art Of Animation Drawing), in 2012 he opened the Don Bluth Front Row Theatre in town.

He remains, as he has been throughout all his life, a fan of traditional animation.

US viewers can watch the first ten The Land Before Time films via HBO Go from December.

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Don’t Be Dopey: Here’s How to Get the Most Out of Your Disney Dining Plan

Most families roll up to the gates of Magic Kingdom dreaming of Mickey hugs and Space Mountain thrills. My family blows right past Snow White on a quest for cheeseburger spring rolls and Dole Whips. It’s all the pixie dust we need.

To transform the Manhattan-sized property into a playground for your taste buds, Walt Disney World has developed the Disney Dining Plan. The plan proposes to save you time and money as you eat your way around the World, and most people claim they can at least break even.

I’ve broken down the price of the Standard Disney Dining Plan to see how much you’ll save over buying food and drink outright — and I’ve added 10 years of my own Disney Dining Plan hacks to help you get the most out of your meals with Mickey.

Get to Know the Standard Dining Plan

Guests who stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel are eligible to purchase a Disney Dining Plan. The plans provide a certain number of credits to each person in the resort room. These credits can be redeemed at over 200 table and counter service restaurants across the parks and resorts. There are a few different dining plans: Quick Service, Standard and Deluxe.

The Quick-Service Dining Plan includes only fast food-style counter service meals, and the Deluxe Dining Plan comes at a premium price and includes extras like wine and more than one table service meal every day.

We’ll be looking at the Standard Dining Plan, which includes both counter service and table service meals.

2018 Standard Disney Dining Plan Cost-Per-Night:

Adults: $ 75.49

Children 3 to 9: $ 25.80

For each night of your stay, the 2018 Standard Dining Plan includes:

  • 1 table-service meal credit: includes entree, nonalcoholic beverage and dessert; or buffet.
  • 1 quick-service meal credit: includes entree with beverage.
  • 2 snacks.
  • 16-ounce souvenir mug, refillable at all resort beverage stations.

Note that your dining credits are for each night of your stay, not each day. This will come into play for our strategy later. In the meantime, let’s see how to get the most out of that refillable mug.

Your Mug Runneth Over

A photo of a refillable mug at Disney World.
The refillable resort mugs at Walt Disney World Resort can reap savings after the first drink. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

The refillable mug bundled into the price of your Disney Dining Plan retails for $ 18.99, but it’s actually worth so much more — if you do it right.

For a six-night stay, this mug averages out to a cost of $ 3.16 per day.

Fountain beverages average about $ 3.99 (price varies per location) per 16 ounces, so you’re already saving on that first drink. But don’t just snag a pop with dinner. If you grab coffee in the morning, a soda in the afternoon and hot chocolate in the evening, your mug is worth $ 11.97 in drinks on the first day of your stay.

In fact, the high-tech chip on the bottom of the mug will allow you to fill that bad boy for free every two minutes. (Please don’t drink a sweet tea every two minutes.)

The mugs are not usable in the parks but are usable across the 30 Walt Disney World resorts — not only the one you’re staying in.

When my husband and I heard of this fantastic tomfoolery, our eyes met and it clicked. With gleeful smiles, we remembered we had packed our own plastic bottle of rum in our luggage. Yep, that’s right, parents. If you pack in your own booze, the rum and Cokes at Disney resorts are close to free.

That’s about $ 7 per drink saved over visiting the bar, not including the tip. But drink responsibly, Penny Hoarders. You can’t bring alcohol into the parks, and if you’ve saved over $ 40 with this tip today, go back to your room and watch Dumbo for some pink elephant life lessons. No one likes a Disney lush.

All-You-Care-To-Eat Restaurants

Disney dining plan
Cousins Vinnie Harris and Evelyn Long share a bottomless milkshake at the Whispering Canyon Cafe. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

A buffet sounds like a great way to use a table-service credit, right? But not all buffets at Walt Disney World provide the same value. Here are a few that are your best bets and book up fast. I recommend making reservations for these months in advance of your trip.

Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe, $ 51 value: Yee-haw! The servers at this Disney World Wilderness Lodge Resort restaurant double as entertainers here, and you’ll likely experience a napkin shower or two. Li’l cowpokes could be led through a parade or even ride a wooden horse through the restaurant.

The All-You Care-to-Eat Skillet ($ 33.00 for adults for now, $ 35.15 starting December 16, 2018) on the menu has barbequed favorites and down-home sides. Order the bottomless milkshakes ($ 9.00) to maximize your value, and order the Granny Smith Caramel Apple Tart with gelato ($ 9.00)

Disney dining plan
A breakfast platter, including Mickey-shaped waffle, at Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, which offers character greetings and a view of Cinderella’s castle. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

Breakfast at Ohana ($ 40.47 adult, $ 24.50 child): Located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, your luau morning begins with

Mickey, Stitch and friends visiting for photos and hugs right at your table. To start your day off with some magic, cast members will conduct a Hawaiian parade with the kids.

The all-you-care-to-eat breakfast of eggs, sausage, Mickey waffles and more is served in a large pan in the middle of the table and continuously refilled by your server. You’ll have a view of Cinderella’s Castle across the Seven Seas Lagoon as you dine, and the monorail can take your full bellies straight to the Magic Kingdom.

Dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot ($ 64.97 adult, $ 39.41 child): Your vacation dollar often comes down to time well spent, and character greeting lines can eat into your time at Disney. Let the princesses come to you.

At Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Belle will give your little princess a royal greeting at the door, offering a special photo opportunity and some time to chat about the royal life. Up to five princesses will later come right to your table for photos and then lead the kids in a royal parade.

The meal includes access to a traditional all-you-care-to-eat Norwegian cold bar (unlimited smoked salmon, anyone?), then your choice of an entree (like “Tradisjonell Kjøttkake“ traditional Norwegian meatballs) and a dessert platter for the table to share.

Dinner at Cape May Cafe ($ 55.38 adult, $ 30.89 child): This seaside-themed restaurant at Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a seafood lover’s dream. No protocol, parades or waiting here — just hit the buffet until you can’t.

Grab crab legs by the bucket and eat all the mussels, clams and salmon you can handle. Since seafood typically comes at a premium, the value here is particularly delicious.

Don’t Go Signature. Unless…

A woman dressed in traditional Hawaiian gard performs with children wearing leis.
Young guests join an entertainer onstage during the Spirit of Aloha dinner show at Disney World. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts

Dinner shows, private dining and some upscale “signature” restaurants require two table service credits per meal.

Most character meals and buffets use one table service credit, so there’s no need to go signature unless you’d like to splurge for something extra special, like dining with Cinderella in her castle.

One consideration for signature dining and meal credit splurging: Do you have extra credits?

Remember, the dining plan gives a credit for each night of your stay. The credits don’t expire after the night is over, so you’re likely to have some left over from the day you arrived.

To get the most out of your first night’s meal credits, the standard advice is to arrive on Disney property early. But let’s get real; most of us aren’t arranging our flight plans around making it to lunch.

The silver lining to an afternoon or evening arrival is that you’ve created a surplus of credits to eat like a king during your stay. The value of the extra credits is negligible because you didn’t have time in the morning or afternoon to use them on your arrival day anyway. Allot those extra credits to meal experiences that cost two table service credits.

Often, guests realize only on the last day that they have extra credits to spend and end up leaving with 20 Mickey rice cake treats in their suitcase. Be sure to check your receipt after every meal transaction to keep tabs on your credits.

Don’t Get Breakfast

A Mickey-shaped waffle may be on your list of Disney food goals, but it’s better to pay out of pocket for the pleasure. Breakfast is by far the cheapest meal of the day across Disney parks and resorts, so your dining credits are best reserved for lunch and dinner.

The parks typically open at 9 a.m., so a quick bite in the room is the most cost- and time-efficient solution for families eager to make the most of their ticket price. Microwaveable breakfast options can be packed in your luggage or scored via a local delivery service. You can even use the in-room coffee maker to pipe out hot water for instant oatmeal.

My only exception to this rule is the absolutely magical all-you-can-eat character buffet at the previously mentioned Ohana. It can get some character greetings out of the way for the day, helping you to avoid those long lines at Magic Kingdom. This is a good trade-off to maximize your park ticket price.

Skip the Soda at Counter-Service Locations

A styrofoam cup of chowder
Substitute the New England Clam Chowder (menu price of $ 6.49) as an extra side instead of a fountain soda to maximize your Disney Dining Plan value at Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

This is a little-known dining plan hack that could really pack your bag with portable munchies. At most quick service locations, you can swap your beverage out for a snack-type item or bottled water.

Quick service restaurants with a fountain beverage station offer free cups of water, so there’s really no need to use the beverage portion of your quick service credits.

“Snack” category items are labeled as such on the menu and include everything from soup to fries to cheesecake. Swap them for wrapped treats to stash in your bag for munching on during parades or waiting for the fireworks.

Alternatively, if someone in your party just isn’t that hungry when you stop, you can score a side item like chili or fries and even save their whole quick service credit for later.

This strategy also increases the value of your credits. For example, it’s possible to swap a $ 3.99 soda at Pinocchio’s Village Haus for $ 4.99 breadsticks. If you do this for all sodas during your trip, you’re racking up the savings every time you skip a sugary drink.

Swap for Snack Credits

A big chocolate frosted donut with whole rasberries on top at Disney World.
The Croissant Doughnut with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream at the annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival’s Taste Track booth is a good use of a snack credit, retailing at $ 6.50. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

At a quick service location, you can ask the cashier to swap one quick service credit for three snack credits. This is especially handy during the fall Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, where pop-up kiosks around World Showcase allow you to sample tastes from around the globe.

Some food and wine festival items have a higher ticket price but are still available as snack credits. Shoot for anything over $ 5 to maximize your value.

My go-to is the lobster roll at a booth near the American Adventure Pavilion which retails for $ 7.75, making it one of the best uses of a snack credit. The escargot croissant at the France pavilion is priced at $ 5.75, and the Croissant Doughnut with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream near Test Track hikes your snack credit up to a $ 6.50 value.

Use Snack Credits for Souvenirs

Chocolate bars at a souvenir store in Disney World.
A $ 5.99 Mickey chocolate bar is a great use of a leftover snack credit and makes a great souvenir for folks back home. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

Did you know that the wrapped Mickey-shaped rice cakes in the souvenir shop count as a snack credit? So do the Chip ’n’ Dale trail mix packs and sleeves of Disney cookies, or the new Mickey chocolate bars in flavors like Strawberry Truffle or Key Lime Pie. Look for any snack marked with the Disney Dining Plan snack icon.

If you have people back home to buy souvenirs for, consider using a snack credit to appease their Disney needs. You’ll likely have a few snack credits left over at the end of the trip, and these treats are as exclusive to Walt Disney World as any other (likely pricier) souvenir.

So How Much Can You Save?

A woman with a backpack and wearing Mickey Mouse ears shaped liked donuts looks across a lagoon during sunset at Disney World.
Rain Blanken, sporting donut ears and perhaps contemplating her next Disney dining hack, looks across Epcot’s Crescent Lake at sunset. Photo by Evelyn Long

For our example of an adult on the standard Disney Dining Plan ($ 75.49), here is a day of maximizing your value:

  • Quick Service Credit: Lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus: Chicken Parmesan Pasta, $ 12.99 and swapped fountain drink for a side of breadsticks, $ 4.99.
  • Table Service Credit: Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe: $ 51.
  • Snacks: Dole Whip float for $ 5.99; funnel cake with powdered sugar at $ 6.99.
  • Refillable Mug: Coffee in the morning and a soda in the evening for about $ 8.

Total Value: $ 89.96

In this example, you’ve already exceeded the day’s food plan cost by $ 14.47. This is excluding extra savings like only visiting the most valuable meal options I listed above, using your refillable mug more than twice and mixing your own adult drinks.

But you don’t have to spend your vacation tallying up the numbers. The reason many people get a Disney Dining Plan is so they can relax; like a cruise, the food is paid for up front.

Just try to beat the average meal value every time, swap those sodas for packaged snacks and use the refillable mug as much as you can. I promise you’ll go home with far too many Mickey-shaped rice crispy treats.

Rain Blanken (@RainLovesDisney) is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She is a former Disney Vacation Planner, and has written on budget travel for, and

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Disney dropped a totally 90s throwback line and we need all of it immediately

Who knew VHS tapes could be so chic?

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Remember back in the 90s when you would slam your Disney VHS tapes into the machine and watch Hercules or The Lion King over and over again? Kids nowadays won’t ever know the frustration of having a tape get stuck in the machine or manually rewinding a tape with a pen. Well, the house of Mouse is out to help you relive the magic of your 90s childhood with a brand new Oh Oh My Disney 90s Flashback collection. Safe to say, we’re obsessed.

It’s jam packed with scenes from our favourite 90s films, ranging from popular flicks like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin through to more niche choices like Hercules and A Goofy Movie!. (I still stand by the fact that Eye to Eye from A Goofy Movie! is the best Disney song of all time. Get to know it if you haven’t already.) From cool magic carpet denim jackets through to bits and pieces we’re 150% sure we had in our house growing up, we want all of it and luckily it’s dropped online already.

According to Oh My Disney, the line was ‘inspired by the decade‘ and aims to celebrate some of their ‘favourite animated Disney classics from the ’90s’. They’ve definitely delivered on that count. I’ll take one A Goofy Movie! VHS clutch bag and a Beauty and the Beast cup, thanks.

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Oh My Disney VHS Clutch Bags

oh my disney 90s flashback collection

Priced at £17, available at shopDisney

Currently available in Beauty and the BeastAladdin and The Lion King

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TBH we’re just thrilled it’s Friday because we’re scheduling a 90s Disney marathon ASAP.

You bring the wine, we’ll bring the Oh My Disney goods – let’s do this.

The post Disney dropped a totally 90s throwback line and we need all of it immediately appeared first on Marie Claire.

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The past month has been a whirlwind of Disney-related nostalgia as the brand’s iconic mouse is turning 90 this year. From super cool Vans’ collaborations through to an omega nostalgic 90s Flashback line, music lovers are the next to get their much-needed dose of nostalgia with a pair of sick headphones. Audiophiles, steel yourselves — Beats by Dre have just launched the ultimate pair of headphones for Disney lovers and we’re totally in love.

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Available on November 11

The headphones also come with a cute anniversary pin, sticker and a sleek felt case (because something this adorable needs to be protected). You also don’t have to worry about any fiddly cables getting in the way as it’s totally wireless, meaning you can leave your phone on the table and go about your business in the house without lugging your tech around. And you know what that means: impromptu vacuuming dance party.

The headphones aren’t available just yet, but you’ll be able to snag a pair of your very own on November 11. You’re going to have to pay top dollar though, as they’re priced at £279.95 and will be available through the Apple store and online on Potential Christmas present? (‘Tis the season for expensive gifts, after all.)

The post Disney and Beats By Dre have just collabed on the coolest Mickey Mouse headphones appeared first on Marie Claire.

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