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View Full Version : Magical Grand Gatherings? Anyone done these??


Jaime
05-01-2007, 03:03 PM
We have going to be in WDW in early Dec for 4 nights. After alot of flip flopping this is what we think will be the most fun.

Grand Gatherings Illuminations Dinner
Sci Fi
Magical Gatherings Breakfast

Has anyone done any of these? We wanted to go places we have never been and since there is 8 of us in our group we decided it might be fun to take advantage of the Grand Gathering offers. We would love to get some reviews on these places before we book our ADR's.

Thanks for your help.

mickeystoontown
05-01-2007, 03:30 PM
From the restaurants on your list, we have only eaten at the Sci-Fi. Some people just don't like the food at the Sci-Fi but you'll also find lots that really enjoy it.

We are among those that like the Sci-Fi a lot. In fact, we will be going back in June and have an ADR for dinner at the Sci-Fi. This will be out 4th time to eat there.

The atmosphere is what makes the restaurant special. I mean where else can you eat in miniature cars and watch old clips of movies while you are still inside and in the air conditioning.

As far as the food goes, I've not found anything to be horrible. Our daughter likes the ribs. I like the salad and BLT soup (super good). My husband always orders the Reuben sandwich and our son just goes for a plain hamburger or hot dog. The desserts are quite delicious.

The waiters/waitresses are very nice and efficient.

Have a fun trip and eat lots of good food! Lisa

Jaime
05-01-2007, 03:44 PM
Thanks Lisa

I think we will like SC FI alot... we plan to go around 4:00 and are hoping we can order burgers.

We want to watch the parade then have supper any idea what time we should make our ADR's for?

Jaime
05-02-2007, 10:18 AM
Has anyone done any of the Gatherings?

daisy112878
05-02-2007, 01:11 PM
Last time we were there in July 2005 we did the Safari Grand Gathering and loved it. Our guide spent a lot more time doing the safari and they brought out a few animals at dinner. The food was actually really good too and served family style. Also Pumbaa and Timon came and spent quite a bit of time with the families and the kids. We are planning on doing it again in December when we go. Anohter plus was leaving the park after it closed and the tree was all lite up. It was beautiful and we got some awesome pictures. We're also planning on doing the Tony's Breakfast Grand Gathering.

HannaBelle
05-02-2007, 04:57 PM
We have not eaten at the Sci-Fi, but it is the first stop for our upcomming trip!

We LOVED the safari. Everything was wonderful..the safari, the food, the entertainment...I would highly recommend it.

Tony's was nice as well. We had a really bad table and were squeezed in next to another big family, but the kids loved it! The food was plated and served, but refills were unlimited. We all got to see Phillharmagic together after breakfast using our pin as a "Fast Pass" b/c Tony said we could!

I would recommend both the Safari and Tony's. It is hard to get a table to 12+ people (even with ADR's - the wait is still a long one with little kids!) and to have one waiting on us was great!

Enjoy!

Jaime
05-04-2007, 10:46 AM
We have not eaten at the Sci-Fi, but it is the first stop for our upcomming trip!

We LOVED the safari. Everything was wonderful..the safari, the food, the entertainment...I would highly recommend it.

Tony's was nice as well. We had a really bad table and were squeezed in next to another big family, but the kids loved it! The food was plated and served, but refills were unlimited. We all got to see Phillharmagic together after breakfast using our pin as a "Fast Pass" b/c Tony said we could!

I would recommend both the Safari and Tony's. It is hard to get a table to 12+ people (even with ADR's - the wait is still a long one with little kids!) and to have one waiting on us was great!

Enjoy!

As far as I know the Safari isn't going on when we are there...but Tony's Breakfast is and we plan to book it. Did you find you treated a little different on the Grand Gathering experiences than the normal ADR's? Were you waits limited? I love that you get a "fastpass" for a ride...that's pretty neat!

Has anyone done the Illumination Dinner...I would love to read more about it!

HannaBelle
05-06-2007, 10:23 PM
As far as I know the Safari isn't going on when we are there...but Tony's Breakfast is and we plan to book it. Did you find you treated a little different on the Grand Gathering experiences than the normal ADR's? Were you waits limited? I love that you get a "fastpass" for a ride...that's pretty neat!

Has anyone done the Illumination Dinner...I would love to read more about it!


The breakfast at Tony's is not open to the general public. There was a table waiting for us when we arrived. It was nice.

We went to the Illuminations Dinner and it was our least favorrite event. Here is a quote from an earlier posted I made...


I planned a trip for 12 in 2006 and I am currently planning our second trip (now we are 14) for this December...4 families total.

As far as the Grand Gatherings goes, you should definitely sign-up! They have special events tailored for large groups. We did all of them last year and here is my "mini" review...

The "Safari Celebration" is the best b/c it is fabulous! The safari was great, the theme was great, the food was great, they brought live snakes for the kids to pet, the kids got to play instruments with the musical performers and everyone had a blast! Dinner was served family style, so no one had to make trips to the buffet with the little ones.

The "Good Morning Gathering" was nice as well AND you get a FP for Fantasmic! We all had a great time there as well. Tony was a lot of fun! I think we are going to do an ADR at the Crystal Place this time instead though.

The "Magical Fireworks Voyage" was probably the kid’s favorite. The dessert was a bit lame and the boat ride was oozing cheese, but it was a good time! I am pretty sure we are going to do this one again too...only b/c the younger kids loved it!

The "International Dinner and IllumiNations Dessert Reception" was our least favorite. Our evening did not start off well b/c we could find "The Odyssey Restaurant” It was not on the map and we were told by 2 different CM's that it had closed several years ago. We tried to explain that we had reservations for dinner there, but the CM's assured us we were mistaken.

We found a 3rd CM that told us it was converted to a meeting center and was now called "Odyssey Center". The Grand Gathering paperwork made no mention of a name change.

Anyway, we make our way over to the "Center".

We check-in, wait in the sun until it is time for us to be escorted to our table. The buffet was in the foyer area and had several different cuisines. Everything was mediocre, but not "bad". We had a table that sat everyone and that was what was important to us.

The program was not to our liking. It was a bit cheesy and the DJ was very lame..stupid jokes, bad music...that kind of thing.

I remember Goofy being there, but I honestly do not remember any other characters. The kids got to sing on stage and do a conga-line as well as a special mother/son and father/daughter dance. Honestly, the dancing was the best part of the evening.

After dinner, we all walked over to our special dessert reception and fireworks viewing. There was not seating. (I assumed there was seating... ) They served Mickey rice krispey treats and several other things...coffee, lemonade...no water...

We were RIGHT on the water and quite frankly too close for my comfort. I was sure that the firework boat was on fire and about to explode...it was VERY hot being that close to all of the fire they had going. The view was good, the globe looked great and the kids had a good time. We were not "jam" packed either.

(Just as a side note...my 4 year old nephew got his head stuck in-between the bars... and caused quite a bit of stress for all of us! My 2 brothers, my father and my DH just about busted their collective guts trying to free my DN's head. Mercifully, after much crying and sweating...his head was freed... I have read a few other threads where kids have done this and they had the kids go the rest of the way through and then just lifted them over. Just FYI in case you go and that happens! None of us thought of that...)

The Grand Gatherings are nice b/c they already have a table reserved for your group at a location with other big family groups. We had an issue with long waits for our ADR's at places like Chef Mickey's and the Concourse Steakhouse. Another bonus for these Grand Gathering events is that everyone gets a special pin. We did not trade pins or get in to that, but my kids really liked getting these as a special memento! For some of these events, you can trade in a TS meal from the dining plan.

We planned to have dinner or breakfast together each day. We were not necessarily in the same park on the same day, but everyone got together at least once each day.

Each family group looked at what events and things they wanted to do the most and then we had a "family" meeting to decide what we wanted to do. Then, once the schedule came out I put it all together in a spreadsheet and made our reservations.

We had a few "ground rules". No griping if you did not participate in the planning. No one is waiting on you to do "whatever" if you are late. We did not even try to move to rides and what not in a large group b/c that is just too many people!

Oh...and the Hoop-Dee-Do Review was wonderful too! We all got to sit together and enjoyed a great show…the same with Spirit of Aloha show and dinner at the Poly. We made a point of attending dinners were they would be able to seat all of us together.

I hope that helps! PM me if you want to know anything else! I would be happy to send my spreadsheet too if you would like to see it. Our first trip I made the mistake of "over" planning. We did breakfast and dinner together, but that it just too much time sitting and eating!

Sorry to hear that the safari won't be available for this trip! I would recommend Tony's, but not Illuminations. Of course, you might love it...so do what fits in your schedule best!

granolacruncher11
05-07-2007, 10:18 AM
Are you able to use the DDP for any of the "gatherings"? Thanx.

HannaBelle
05-16-2007, 10:54 AM
Yes you can use TS credits for some of the Grand Gathering experiences, but I cannot remember which ones and I am not sure if they are 1 TS meal or 2 TS meals on the regular DDP.

I would recommend calling the Grand Gatherings people...407-939-7526.

We really enjoyed them b/c they are designed for large groups. I would recommend trying them - even the Illuminations one, maybe we just had a bad night!

The most important thing is that you are there with your entire family, you are not rushed and you have plenty of room to be together! It is all about making the memories!!!