Shopping around & The Disney Dining Plan

Kenwood Travel

For months now, my beautiful Wife, Kerry, has been shopping around & comparing prices for our Florida holiday next year. Do you give it all over to a Travel Agent? Do you D.I.Y. some of the holiday or all of the holiday? Do you drive while over there or use the transport provided? Park tickets???? The list goes on & on. Next year is a special year, for the first time ever we are staying all holiday in resort hotels. The first few days of the holiday are in The Hard Rock Hotel on Universal Property. It’s the best hotel on property & also the closest to the parks. Its literally a T shot away from The Gates of Universal. We then planned to stay in a Disney Moderate then The Contemporary Resort to finish up. Thats were the problems started. Disney is prohibitive when trying to park hop & keep your Disney Dining Plan. Basically when we checked out of The Moderate we’d also be checking out of the Dining Plan & we’d be on our own in The Contemporary, fending for ourselves!

Before Free Dining

We decided that this wasn’t an option & chose to pay the extra cost & stay for the full vacation in a Deluxe Resort instead. There would be more cost involved but some of this would be offset by not having to upgrade from the basic Dining Plan to the full Dining Plan. Oh wait, we didn’t even have a confirmed Disney Dining Plan confirmed. In fact rumors were everywhere that this year was going to be the first year that it wasn’t offered???? Then last week Disney dropped the bomb, YES, The Disney Dining Plan was back & it was going live on 21st April 2016! This does a couple of things to you. Firstly you start to panic, secondly if focuses your mind.

Firstly, we like to book early so fly drive is best, but you can pay well over the odds for the car hire so shopping around is best, put in the leg work & it’ll pay off. Flights vary massively & its not always best to book direct with say, for example Virgin Airways or Thomas Cook because if its flight only you have to wait till eleven months before the trip & I can’t handle that so fly drive it is, so again Virgin Holidays might be too expensive.  Travel agents have deals direct with them to buy blocks of seats so you really have to shop around.
Next you need a starting point with Disney to see their pre Dining Plan price, please look above at the left hand picture. They are brilliant, They allow you to make a booking at that price to confirm your room then after the Dining Plan launches, for £50, they’ll let you change your booking to incorporate it & the bonuses. Look to the picture on the right for the extras. LOOK AT THE PRICE!!! Whats all that about?

Before The Plan went live Kerry asked me to ring Kenwood Travel a London based Travel Agent we’ve used before.  I spoke with a friendly agent named Ali & she was on the phone to HELP & help she did.  The Flights offered were cheaper than the price from Virgin Holidays & she was able to add Premium Economy to the return leg, something that speaking withVirgin, they’d been unable to do at this time.  The car hire was extremely competitive & she knew her stuff.  She’s been to Walt Disney World & knew what she was talking about.  This wasn’t just a business transaction, this was two like minded people sharing their experiences about WDW.  After confirming the booking & taking the deposit to secure the booking, I mentioned that we would still do the Walt Disney World part of the booking ourselves.  She begged me to get the quote direct from Disney then phone her straight away.  I did & Ali was able to get us everything the same as Disney for cheaper.  Kenwood Travel have basically done everything for us, flights, car, Hard Rock, Park Tickets & Walt Disney World.

The moral of the story is shop around, do your homework & be flexable.  It’ll pay off in the end

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