1.29.2010

Disney Dining!

One of the most important decisions in your research while planning for Disney World will be about dining. You need to have a gameplan for how you'll handle meals, snacks, etc. while visiting.

-First, decide on whether or not you'll use the Disney Dining plan. This is an all-inclusive, pre-paid plan that allots a number of meals per person, per day. CLICK HERE for the official Disney Dining website, where you'll find thorough information. From what I've heard (I've never used the Dining Plan), it usually ends up being a lot of food per person, and you'd probably save more money going a la carte. I would probably always feel like I was wasting my money if I didn't max out every bite of food allowed in the plan. But some people love the pre-paid ease of the plan. Decide what suits your personality best.

-CLICK HERE for Disney World restaurant menus.

-Go to Disney's Dining website and look through all of the restaurant options. Decide what's practical for your family. Personally, I prefer one Quick Service meal a day, and one Table Service meal a day. Part of the Disney experience (to me) are the restaurants. You just can't beat the themes and how you're immersed in the details. However, if you're on a budget, you could do breakfast at your hotel in the morning (or have "lunch" at 10:30-11:00 am), and do Quick Service meals the whole time except for one or two nice Table Service meals.

-If you want to eat some table-service meals (as opposed to Quick Service/Counter-style meals), you'll need to make reservations. Reservations are available 180 days out and 180 + 10 days for Disney Resort guests. SOME RESTAURANTS VARY. Check the official Disney Dining website for details on each restaurant. CLICK HERE for a Reservation Calculator to determine when you can call and make your reservations.

-Prepare BEFORE you call! This is when you need to be organized. I usually draw out a "calendar" for each day that we'll be in the parks and write out my preferred restaurants. I think through the times that would be good to ask for (I usually try for "off" times, like a 10:00 am or a 3:00 pm lunch, or an 8:00 pm dinner, for example). I have all my days written out in front of me, so if I need to switch around while talking to the operator, I can see what I'm doing and think clearly. I write everything in pencil. I also have a list of "Plan B" restaurants, just in case something is completely unavailable (more on that later).

-Disney is now offering the option of making reservations online (it's available on the actual restaurant's webpage). I've never used this method, but I think it's worth a try. I'm usually the type that likes to talk to an actual person, to confirm that our names are in the system and there wasn't a glitch. Call 1-407-WDW-DINE. Have everything in front of you, with a pencil ready. I've always had wonderful experiences with the Disney Cast Members who work in Dining. They are so helpful and they understand this can be overwhelming. They've also answered questions I've had about timing, etc.

-Be flexible while talking to the operator. If a certain day or time isn't available for a restaurant, ask them to search for any day of your vacation. For instance, Cinderella's Royal Table is a MUST for my family. So any day it's available, I flip-flop our park schedule to accommodate that reservation. That's why it's nice to have your hand-made calendar right in front of you. You can easily erase "Magic Kingdom" above Tuesday and switch it to Thursday if that's when you can get into the Royal Table.

-If you have kids, I would try to do at least one character meal. It's a guaranteed way to meet and get pictures with characters in a less stressful environment. Sometimes these can fill up fast, so pay attention to how many days out you can make your reservation.

-If you have older kids/teenagers/adults in your party, you'll probably get more out of Table Service restaurants, because you can appreciate the food, themes, and details. Here's my rule of thumb: The younger the child(ren), the less Table Service restaurants you'll want to reserve. Here's why: Kids don't usually appreciate eating at a replica of the Brown Derby, for instance. Also, it can be hard to plan what your child's mood will be like at the time of a reservation. It's just a gamble. That's why, with younger kids, I advise using mainly snacks and Quick Service meals when the little ones need it, and reserve maybe one or two special Table Service meals. You won't feel like you've wasted money on meals that weren't appreciated, and it gives you more flexibility.

-I'll be highlighting some of my favorite restaurants here and there on this blog. I love Disney Dining!

-As always, feel free to email me or leave a comment with questions, etc.

-Don't be intimidated by this process! It really does help you plan out your day once you have a plan in place for eating your meals. Next up, I'll discuss starting to make a touring plan for the parks.



1.26.2010

Coming Soon....

I'll share how to start putting together a plan for your Disney vacation! Stay tuned!

Also, grab my new button (on the right) and share the Disney love!


1.15.2010

Voices of Liberty

Be sure to pause my regular playlist to hear these wonderful videos!

This phenomenal singing group usually performs at Epcot, in the American Rotunda.

When my family went to Disney in 2005, we were there on my birthday, and Voices of Liberty sang Happy Birthday to me!



We don't have it on video, but here is the exact arrangement they sang:



Here are some other beautiful arrangements by Voices of Liberty:







If Voices of Liberty is performing during your next trip, you MUST see them! It's a beautiful experience!