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Disney World is always hatching new ideas on how to have a cute little mouse take just a few more dollars out of your pockets during visits. Usually, the attractions or characters are the hook to get you to buy special dinner packages. But in a bit of a peculiar fashion, right now Disney World is offering you reserved seating to a nighttime show and some bonus food credit during one of its busiest weeks of the year — Dec. 22 – Jan. 2.

$5 in Bonus Food for Getting a Seat at Animal Kingdom Show

In a unique move, Disney World is advertising a $30 package at Animal Kingdom that comes with a $35 gift card valid at the 40+ food carts around the park and reserved seating for the nighttime Rivers of Light spectacular. So, in a sense, they are offering you $5 in extra credit to eat throughout the day and watch the evening show (so don’t waste a FastPass+ reservation on this if you think you can use the credit). Usually, you are paying a bit beyond the cost of food for packages that include special seating or access.

Rivers of Light courtesy of DIsney

Dubbed Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler, the package needs to be purchased at least a day in advance of your visit. It’s not eligible for use at table service or quick service restaurants, so no Tiffins or Satu’li Canteen this time around (which are both quite good). However, you’ll have over 40 food and beverage carts and kiosks throughout the park at your disposal from 10:30am – 6pm with your $35 credit. And, while the food can be shared amongst a group, you’ll only receive one reserved seat per sampler package purchased, valid for the second Rivers of Light show of the evening.

In Animal Kingdom, the food carts go beyond bottled water and cotton candy. There you will also find curry bowls, Dole Whip, craft beer selections, mac & cheese with pulled pork, apple cider donut holes, Korean beef sliders, beer flights, fried dumplings and a lot more, so you truly can create your own sampler afternoon.

That being said, Rivers of Light is not a difficult FastPass to get if you want reserved seating without paying $30 for $35 in cart food. However, the timing of the FastPass+ can seriously crimp your style since it doesn’t occur until the end of the day. We discuss some basic FastPass+ strategy in our Ultimate Guide to Disney World, but the key to getting the most out of the FastPass+ system is to book your three FastPasses early in the day (but not too early).

(photo courtesy of Disney)

That way you can get more than three total passes once you’ve used up your original FastPass+ selections. Grabbing Rivers of Light in advance would mean you can’t get a fourth FastPass until after you enter the show late in the day, making this a strategy worth considering if you want a reserved area for the show and like to snack your way around Animal Kingdom.

Bottom Line

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler is cheaper than the Fantasmic dining packages. If you were planning to eat at the kiosks anyway, the Tasting Sampler can be a good way to score Rivers of Light seats and still leave your options open for that last-minute Avatar FastPass+. The Dole Whip you can buy with the sampler is simply pineapple-flavored icing on the cake.

Featured image courtesy of Disney.

H/T to Theme Park Insider. 

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