Friday, July 29, 2011

Possible Free Dining Offer for Fall.

Finally, there's a credible rumor going around about free dining for fall. Remember, it's just a RUMOR, but here are the details: 

Bookings between August 3, 2011 - December 17, 2011.

Travel Dates:
  • October 2, 2011 - October 8, 2011
  • October 23, 2011 - November 5, 2011
  • November 13, 2011 - November 19, 2011
  • November 27, 2011 - December 3, 2011
  • December 11, 2011 - December 17,

Free quick service dining for values and regular dining for moderates deluxe and villas.

Minimum Stay: 3 Nights – Maximum stay: 14 nights.

I've seen this rumor in a number of places and it does look promising but remember, there's no verification from Disney yet.  I'll be watching this all weekend and will post updates as they come out.

Don't forget, you can have an existing reservation and have this offer applied to it without penalty at this point. 

I just want to take this moment to remind all of you that in addition to any discounts available, I always do Disney gift cards with my bookings. Email me at or call 919-889-5281 for details.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reader Email: When do the Christmas lights on Cinderella Castle go up this year?

This question comes from Nicole, who asks:

We're visiting Disney world in early November.  Can you tell me if the Christmas lights will be up at that time? 


Nicole, thanks for your question and for reading here.  The "castle dream lights," as they are officially known, are scheduled to have their first showing on November 7 this year.  Installation will actually take place starting on September 12 and run through September 26.  Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom at this time will see a crane in the park as cast members begin the time-consuming process of installing the over 200,000 LED lights.  The "memories" show is not expected to be effected by the castle lights.

You can see the castle lighting ceremony each night around 6:30.  It's a wonderful way to cap off your day in the Magic Kingdom.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Should You Try the Quick Service Meal Plan?

I'm a pretty big fan of the base (also known as the regular or plus) dining plan, both for convenience as well as being the most economical of all the meal plans.  Under this plan, you get one snack, one quick-service meal, and one table-service meal per person for each night of your stay. For some guests however, table-service meals don't work out. Maybe they don't want to stop touring the parks to go to their advance dining reservation (ADR) or perhaps they have young children and worry about how they'll do in a sit-down restaurant.  If you fit into that category but you still want to try out a Disney dining plan, you might want to consider the quick-service meal plan.

Here's how it works.  Under this plan you get a refillable mug good for use at your resort, two quick-service meals, and two snacks per person per each night of your stay.  Your quick service meal includes an entree, non-alcoholic drink, and a dessert. Snacks cover a wide variety of options, from drinks to baked goods.  The plan costs $34.99 for guests ages 10 and up.  Now, I've said before that I like the dining plan not so much because I save money but because of the convenience:  I love not having to think about money on my vacation. But I also like to save.  So can you save on this plan?

This is a tough one, and one reason why I, as a travel agent, sometimes hesitate to sell this plan.  I think you have to try hard to get your money's worth on the quick service plan.  Let me just say, only half-jokingly, that when someone who makes a commission off of something tells you that don't think it's necessarily a good deal and that you might want to skip it, you should probably listen!  The problem lies in the dessert, which artificially pumps up the value of the plan. Chances are good, you wouldn't buy this dessert, or at least not buy it twice in one day, if it wasn't free on the plan.   But when you see that receipt, you see a total that probably approaches $15 or $16 per adult, possibly more. Times that by two and add two snacks and a mug, and that plan looks pretty good. 

Just to give you a general idea, here's what I would spend on a typical day, not including items I would buy off the plan:

  • Breakfast, The Mara:  Adult breakfast platter plus orange juice, $9.99
  • Snack, Starring Rolls:  Cupcake, $4.00
  • Snack, Lunching Pad:  Diet Coke, $2.39
  • Dinner, Cosmic Ray's:  1/2 Chicken with sides, and a soft drink:  $13.00

My total comes to $29.38, which is more than $5 under my $34.99 total that I spent on the dining plan that day. Unless I refill my mug several times that day (and I'm not usually at the resort long enough to do that), then I'm paying $5 more for my meals than I should by using the dining plan.  That doesn't make any sense, particularly when you factor in the number of people in your group over a period of days.

A lot of people like this plan and I do sell it, but I like to make sure people go in well-informed. You can make it work for you with a few adjustments.  Take my sample day, for example:

  • Breakfast, The Mara:  Breakfast bounty platter plus orange juice, $11.49
  • Snack, Starring Rolls: Cupcake, $4.00
  • Snack, Lunching Pad: Cream cheese pretzel, $4.29
  • Dinner, Cosmic Ray's: 1/2 Chicken and ribs combo with sides, and a soft drink: $17.00

Now my total is $36.74 with just a few changes and I've more than covered my cost of the dining plan without even considering the value of the refillable mug or the desserts. 

The nice thing about the plan is that it does give you some options if you're on a strict budget.  If you're not on the plan, you might fall into the routine of eating a burger every day for lunch to save a few dollars. That can get really old.  On the plan, you can go to the most expensive quick-service restaurant and choose whatever item you like. This means that your budget won't take a hit at more expensive locations like Flame Tree Barbecue or Wolfgang Puck's Express.  It also means more variety.  But if you find that you're the type who's going to choose the burger and fries over the rotisserie chicken every time regardless of cost, you might want to think about not buying this plan. 

I find that I don't have any trouble justifying the base plan financially. I always come out ahead unless I mess up and miss an ADR and can't figure out a way to get a new one (this has happened to me, sadly).  The quick-service plan requires me to think a little bit more about what I buy, but it still offers me the convenience of having a plan. However, even if I can break even or do better on the plan, it still leaves me with one glaring problem:  Too much fast food. This is a complaint I hear from a lot of clients who use this plan.  Unless you choose your restaurants carefully, you can find yourself ordering from the same type of menu over and over again.

There's a lot of variety in Disney quick service locations, but you have to look.  Each park has at least one quick service location that offers healthy options. Some are quite exotic, such as in the World Showcase at Epcot.  Just about everyone loves Sunshine Seasons, also in Epcot, where you'll find good salads, noodle dishes, roast chicken, and the old standbys; even the desserts in this eatery are worth a look.  Bakeries sell good sandwiches. And the best restaurant in Animal Kingdom is actually a quick service location, Flame Tree Barbecue.  I generally like the quick service locations in the resorts even more than in the parks, so don't be afraid to check those out. And of course, everyone loves Wolfgang Puck's Express and Earl of Sandwich  in Downtown Disney, both good buys on your meal plan.  You can also do what many guests do and add a couple of table service restaurants for more variety, if you wish.

If you still want to try a  meal plan but you think the quick service plan is too limited, keep in mind that you can upgrade to the base plan for an additional $11 per adult (no charge for kids 9 and under) per day.  You'll lose a snack and a quick service meal, but you'll gain access to dozens of table-service restaurants that can really add to your experience. 

A lot of people find that the meal plans don't work for them but they still want to keep a close eye on their food budget. I know that I find when I'm not on a plan, my receipts add up to a lot more than I wanted to spend going into the trip and it can stress me out.  You might want to try this:  Put all the money you would spend on your meal plan on a Disney gift card and use that for every food item that you would buy.  You can do this as if you were on a dining plan and only buy items you would buy on the plan (for the sake of comparison) or you can do it for your entire food budget. At the end of your trip, you can see if you would have saved money or not.  Some guests do this just to compare with a meal plan; they enjoy seeing if they can beat it. Others, like me, find if less stressful to have items like food and snacks paid for ahead of time--there's nothing worse than being on a vacation where you're worried about money.

Food at Disney World can be wonderful. It can also be expensive.  Knowing this ahead of time and taking control of it, no matter what that means to you, will make your vacation less stressful, whether you're on a meal plan or not.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Animal Kingdom Lodge in Pictures.

Lobby and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is arguably the most well-themed of all the Disney resorts. The resort is divided into two sections, Kidani Village, a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property, and the main building called Jambo House, which has a mix of regular resort rooms and DVC rooms. 

The lobby at Kidani is smaller but just as beautifully themed.

Even the path to the parking lot is beautifully landscaped at AKL.
On the way to the Jambo House parking lot.

One of my favorite things about AKL is that there are lots of quiet spaces to relax and enjoy.  The resort feels like an escape, not just like a hotel.

Firepit and seating at Jambo House, next to the savanna.

Kidani Village has a cozy fireplace. Even though it's right off the lobby, it gives the impression of being very private.  Consider heading down there at night while the kids and your spouse sleep.  It's a nice place to re-charge.

Fireplace and seating area in Kidani with an outdoor terrace
and view of the savanna.

It's the little details that make this resort special.   I love coming back at night and seeing these little lanterns at the entrance of the resort.

Cheery lanterns at the entrance welcome you back at night.

Kidani Village has one restaurant, Sanaa.  Their specialty is a sort of Indian fusion cuisine.  Exotic but still accessible.  At Jambo House, you can enjoy three restaurants:  The Mara, easily one of the better quick-service locations on property; Jiko, a signature restaurant with an award-winning wine list and some of the best food on property; and Boma, a buffet that will please even the pickiest of eaters.

Desserts at Boma.

Rooms are decorated in browns, deep reds, oranges, and yellows with an subtle African theme.
King-sized bed in a DVC one-bedroom.

The bathrooms in one, two and three-bedroom DVC units have massive tubs and walk-in showers.

The design in the tile shows characters from The Lion King

Bathroom sink, with a small room for the toilet on the right.

Both Jambo House and Kidani Village have beautiful pools.

The pool at Kidani has a water play area that's so large, it's zoned as a water park.

Entrance to the water play area with lots of fun surprises.

You don't need to be a guest to visit this resort.  Take the Animal Kingdom Lodge from any of the parks or Downtown Disney and feel free to explore.  Make sure you check out the savanna--it's open to visitors as well.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Disney News and Links: Week Ending in July 17, 2011.

Scuttle's treasure hunt in the Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Copyright Disney Company.

Since I never have any time on Monday mornings, I thought I'd switch news and links to Sundays.  Here's (very brief) a list of what's going on this week in Disney World.

Scuttle will have a role in Journey of the Little Mermaid, set to open sometime in late 2012.  He'll be part of an interactive queue that will allow guests to search for treasure on the beach.

It looks like Lumiere will be part of the Be Our Guest restaurant.  He'll be pushed around on a cart similar to the one used for Remy in Chefs de France.  I enjoy Remy a lot at Chefs and I think that since Lumiere, unlike Remy, can speak and is very a funny character, this should also be a lot of fun. 

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the current Dumbo won't be closed until the new "dueling Dumbos" are open in the new Storybook Circus.

Tiffany remembers Storytime with Belle in the Magic Kingdom.

I'm on record as not being a huge fan of character meals because they can be too hectic. Guest blogger Erin joins the Disney Food Blog to discuss ways to make them a little easier

If you happen to be near the Grand Floridian, you might notice the walls that have gone up around the construction site of the Grand Floridian DVC, also known as "the building which shall not be spoken of." 

Hey, don't forget the sumblock!  Kathy with a personal story of why you need to re-apply, no matter who you are.

Lisa is more than just a Disney fan--she's a gourmet cook and bartender, so you can trust her when it comes to food. Here, she shows you how to make your favorite drinks from Epcot.

Disney Babies Blog goes to Via Napoli. I'm so obsessed with this place.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Disney World Crowd Levels in Early December.

Osborne Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios.

For years, the best time to visit Disney World was in early December:  Cool weather, low crowds, and amazing Christmas decorations all made for a beautiful visit.  With the advent of the internet, this eventually became Disney's worst kept secret and in recent years, crowd levels have gone up considerably. Don't be daunted, however.  It's still a great time to visit if you know a few tips. Overall, the first three weeks of the month will have similar crowd levels, but some events will bump up park attendance slightly.

Cinderella  Castle lit up with the holiday lights.

Pop Warner

Pop Warner is a sporting event that takes place every year involving school-age cheerleaders and football players, usually the first or second week of December.  This year's competition is December 3 - 10.  With Pop Warner, you don't have to be concerned with crowds, although towards the end of the event you'll see a slight increase in attendance levels as more and more participants are eliminated from the competition.  The bigger issue is that discounts are often blacked out for this week, so if discounts are important to you, consider shifting your visit around a bit. Keep in mind that you can often get a discount like free dining for your entire stay as long as your first day is covered under the offer.

The Pop Warner kids get a lot of flack, most of it unwarranted.  I've never noticed any bad behavior in the parks, but if you're staying in a resort where they stay, usually the All Star Resorts and one of the moderates, and if you'd like a quieter time, considering not staying at these resorts during the event.  Young kids are going to be a little rowdy, no matter how well-supervised.

The Disney Christmas Day Parade Taping.

Regis and Kelly, former co-hosts of the Christmas parade.

Yes, it's true.  Disney tapes the Christmas day parade in early December over several days.  Usually the first Friday, Saturday and  Sunday of the month, the parade only effects the Magic Kingdom.  Expect heavy crowds on Main Street, but the rest of the park should be at normal levels until taping ends for the day.  At that point, many spectators will make their way farther into the parks to enjoy the attractions.  I'm going to be honest, this isn't an ideal time to visit the Magic Kingdom, especially on the two main taping days, Friday and Saturday.  If you're visiting this week and can only visit the Magic Kingdom on these days, expect to be brought backstage to bypass the parade taping, so getting around the heaviest crowds shouldn't be that difficult once you get past the turnstiles.  Save your shopping on Main Street until the end of the day after the taping ends.

Mariah Carey performs in from of the castle during the 2010 parade taping.

The Weekend Before Christmas Weekend.

I have a lot of faith in Touring Plans' crowd calendar, which uses years of data to predict crowd levels, but I often find their predictions for this weekend to be a little off--in fact, they're often revised as the season approaches so be wary about what you see at this point. Most kids probably aren't out of school yet, which is why you wouldn't expect huge crowds, but a lot of parents will pull kids out early so they can enjoy better rates and lower crowds. The result is that the third weekend of December is usually packed, depending on when Christmas falls. In general, if Christmas is on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, expect the weekend before Christmas to be when Christmas crowds start coming in.  If you're not a big fan of crowds, you might want to think about getting out of  Dodge at that point.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

The parade at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

Besides seeing unique Christmas shows, rare characters, and a Christmas parade you won't see during the day, one benefit of attending this party is being able to enjoy lower crowds in the Magic Kingdom.  Ideally, this means you'll plan on going to the party on a less popular night.  It's difficult to predict crowds at this holiday party, but the general rule is that you should avoid Friday or Saturday nights and the last night of the party.  Everything else is anyone's guess. 

When you go to purchase tickets, which usually go on sale in May, you can tell which dates have historically lower attendance levels by the fact that they're slightly discounted.  One way to ensure that you never go to a sold-out party is to refrain from buying them ahead of time. If the party is not sold out that night, you'll see signs up in the Magic Kingdom saying that tickets are available; you can also ask at the concierge desk at your resort.  This approach works best if you have a lot of flexibility (i.e., you don't have people in your party who need a nap to stay up late).  The only downside is that you run a risk that all the parties during your stay will have sold out months earlier, but you also won't be paying to attend a crowded party.

It's clear that each one of these weeks has pluses and minuses and that if you stay an entire week, you'll hit one of these snags. If I had to pick, I'd say that the second week is probably ideal from a standpoint of being past the Pop Warner discount blackout and far enough ahead of Christmas itself that you're not hitting the worst crowds. I'm going the 9th through the 19th. Like most of you, I can't always plan control when I go, so I'm going to love those low crowds the first seven or so days and hope for the best staring on the 17th, which is a Saturday.  I've got a few plans in place just in case the crowds are bad for the latter part of the trip:  Moving to the Contemporary so we can walk to the Magic Kingdom, dining reservations in the parks so we can take breaks when the crowds become too much, and pool time (if the weather permits) if it's just too crowded. This is probably overkill, but I like to have a plan in place so we're not caught off guard.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Watch Out for Pin Codes that Aren't Really Discounts.

We're being told that Disney is moving toward sending out more pin codes and giving fewer general public discounts. A pin code is a discount that's specific to you. They're generally a little better than the general public discount that's available.  You get them by signing up at the site and then you wait. Some people get them every month, some never get one. There really doesn't seem to be a surefire method for getting one, but we've heard that if you play around with the vacation portion of the site, your chances of getting a code are higher.  In the past, Disney didn't send out a lot of pin codes, but this summer the number of pin codes available seems to have exploded.

The newest pin code, called "Game On" offers room discounts and free quick service dining at the values.  There are a few catches with these pin codes, for example the room discount is non-refundable in some cases, But, the one issue that's been cropping up and causing a lot of complaints is that some of the codes that are being sent out aren't a discount at all! They're rack rate.  So make sure you get a code that's an actual discount.

You can do one of two things to ensure that your code is actually going to save you money.  One, call your travel agent and have her take care of it.  She'll call Disney and see if this code is for an actual savings.  Or, if you're working on your own, before you call Disney, go to the Disney site and run the dates you want for full price. Once you have that number, call Disney and have them apply the code. Some of the cast members don't recognize these codes as not being actual discounts. It's not their fault, because the code can be confusing.  You're on your own to determine whether or not you're going to save money. 

This isn't new. I've had clients send me pin codes that are for full rack rate in the past. In one case, the client is a very Disney-savvy guest, so it isn't like these codes are easy to discern from actual pin codes.  If anyone would have known the difference, she would have.  Just be wary of these "codes" and know what you should expect to pay for rack rate before you go in and you'll be fine.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update on the Grand Floridian DVC.

Interior of the Wedding Pavilion.

Disney hasn't formally announced it yet*, but it's looking increasingly like the Grand Floridian is set to become Disney's newest Disney Vacation Club property, a move that will delight many and make more than few brides, and their moms, a little nervous due to the proximity of the Wedding Pavilion.  If you'd like to view the expanded plans, which show a larger building than previously planned jutting out slightly further into the Seven Seas Lagoon, you can see them here at Epcot Explorer.  I would be thrilled to own DVC at the Grand Floridian (sadly, unlikely) and I think the new building should give some great options to guests.

The big issue right now is construction, particularly any construction that might interrupt a bride and groom's big day.  As you can see from the plans, Disney's Wedding Pavilion is right next to the new site. While the only construction that we've seen seems to be a parking lot expansion adjacent to the Grand Floridian Spa, this email from a Disney bride and reader named Hannah** seems to indicate that the actual construction phase will be beginning soon:

We're getting married at the WP in December and were told the side windows in the pavilion will be changed to stained glass to block the construction. This doesn't bother me because I like the look of the stained glass windows in Francks and they'll be similar, but I know some brides are worried about it not being light enough in there. Our planner also said that the site will be landscaped so that guests won't be able to see it. I asked about noise and she told me they wouldn't be doing construction during the weddings--not so sure I believe that. Just thought you'd want to know what I was told.
I did  a little searching and found out that the windows will be going in on July 17 and 18, so we can probably assume that the real construction, at least the landscaping designed to hide the construction, will take place shortly thereafter.  Rumor has it that the route for Cinderella's coach will change as well.  If you're doing beach pictures, you can still do those on the Polynesian side of the Wedding Pavilion. No word on the fate of that handy walking path from the Polynesian to the  Grand Floridian.

*Let's not forget that Bay Lake Tower was well underway before Disney formally announced that it would become a DVC property.

**Many thanks for your email, Hannah. I always appreciate a good tip.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Top 10 Must-Do Disney Foods.

There's a lot of great food at Disney World, but some foods have achieved such cult-status, they're "must dos."  Here's a top ten list of Disney's must do foods:

1.  A Dole Whip.  If there's one treat that the Magic Kingdom is  known for, it's the iconic Dole Whip, a soft-serve pineapple-flavored frozen treat.  Get it alone or as a float.  Added bonus:  This is one treat vegans can enjoy.

2. The turkey leg.  You can argue about this much-maligned snack all you want, but the brisk sales of these smoked turkey legs don't lie: It's one of the most popular treats in the parks.  Grab one and channel your inner Henry VIII.  Just don't, you know, invade France.

Her dad got her to make this face.
Something for her parents to show her future boyfriends?

3.  Grand Marinier Slushie. Okay, say you do invade France. Don't forget to get one of these located at a kiosk in the French pavilion in Epcot.  A light, orange taste, not very heavy on the alcohol.

4.  Zebra Domes. You can find these little cakes at Animal Kingdom Lodge in two locations, Boma and at the Mara (a quick service location).  They're filled with chocolate ganache and Amarula, which is a light tasting, fruity liquor made from the fruit of the African Marula tree. They're covered with a white-chocolate coating and drizzled with dark chocolate, which gives them their "zebra" look.

These three zebra domes come in a takeaway box
at the Mara and cost one snack credit.

5.  Dinner at Ohana.  It's a meat-ateria: Shrimp, beef, and chicken, as much of it as you can eat.  Served on skewers that are brought to your table, you'll also sample Asian-themed sides and their famous bread with macadamia nut butter.  The restaurant can get a little loud, but like most Disney restaurants, it's very kid-friendly.

Photo copyright Walt Disney Company.

6.  The mushroom filet at Le Cellier.  If you've ever tried to get an advanced dining reservation at Le Cellier, you know it's the toughtest table to get in all of Disney World.  This steak is part of the reason why.  You can argue that there are better steaks available on property (I would), but none have the following that this mushroom-covered steak has.  Shown below, it's served with rissoto, but it's also featured with potatoes.  Lunch costs one table-service credit on the Disney dining plan; dinner will set you back two credits.

Photo copright of Trip Advsior.

7.  Smoky portobella mushroom soup at Artist Point.  This excellent signature restaurant is a sleeper, located in the Wilderness Lodge.  This is great news for those who plan trips on short-notice, because it's easy to get in without a reservation.  Sample Pacific Northwest fare like grilled buffalo, fresh salmon and an almost-famous berry cobbler, but make sure you start out your meal with the creamy, smoky mushroom soup. It is quite simply the best soup I've ever had.

Drizzled with creme fraiche and chive oil,
garnished with more mushrooms.

8.  The sushi at California Grill.  Almost too pretty to eat, California Grill has one of the top sushi chefs in the country.  Vegetarians take note:  It's not on the menu, but you can get a vegetarian version of this that's beyond delicious and very easy on the wallet.

Photo copyright Walt Disney Company.

9.  The fried chicken at Trails End Buffet.   Wildly popular, this buffet is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has lots of homestyle, family-friendly food.  Leave the hectic pace behind over at the Magic Kingdom and take a relaxing boat ride over the Ft. Wilderness; you don't need to be a guest to use this form of transportation. You can enjoy the peaceful surroundings and eat 'till your heart's content. 

Photo copyright Walt Disney Company.

10.  Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe.   Located in the Polynesian Resort, few foods at Disney World have the kind of following that Tonga Toast has.  It's dusted with cinnamon sugar and filled with banannas and served with a side of strawberry compote.  You can also get this breakfast treat at Captain Cook's, the Poly's quick service location.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Reader Email: What to do on your last day?

The "volcano" pool at the Poly.

This email comes from Lee, who asks:

We're going to WDW in February for our first trip as a family and our first stay on site. We'll be there for at the Polynesian. Our flights leave Orlando at 3:00 pm. What do you recommend for a half day? I know that we have to be on Magical Express three hours before our flights leave.
Thanks for reading and for your question.   There's so many fun things you can do with just a morning.  Since your trip is seven days long, I'm going to assume you have at least a 6-day ticket.  Adding another day would only cost a few more dollars and give you some extra time in the parks. Since you're at the Poly, consider checking out of your room at around 7:30 or 8:00; go as early as possible, as many other guests will have the same idea.  You can leave all your luggage, including your carry-ons, at Bell Services; make sure they know which bags you want to take on the plane with you and which you want to have checked.  Then head over to the Magic Kingdom. If you want to get into the park a little early, consider scheduling an early morning breakfast at the Crystal Palace before the park opens. That would give you some time to take pictures before the crowds come in, eat a good meal, and spend a few hours visiting the attractions.

The Magic Kingdom before the park opens. 
Plan an early breakfast to enjoy the park this empty.
If you're not interested in going into the parks, you can always enjoy your resort's pool, nap in a hammock on the beach, or do a character meal in one of the nearby resorts.  You could also head over to Downtown Disney to do a little more shopping. Don't do anything that's too hard to accomplish. A character meal at a resort that you can only reach by taxi is too stressful this early in the morning and attempting to do too much in the parks will just tire you out.  This is the time to slow down and regroup.  Wherever you decide to go, unless it's a quick monorail ride back to your resort, give yourself an hour to get back, pick up your luggage, and head over to the Magical Express stop. 

A hammock at the Poly with a view of the Grand Floridian.

I usually try to schedule my flights for early afternoon so I can have a little time to wind down and say good-bye.  Going into the parks for a few quick rides, a leisurely breakfast, or just a walk around the resort is a nice way to cap off your vacation.  You might even get some ideas for your next trip.