View Full Version : 1st time WDW trip... overwhelmed.. need help w/dinning reservations, our schedule, et

05-31-2009, 09:33 AM
We will be taking our first WDW vacation in August. Its been very overwhelming as i had no idea Disney was soooo HUGE! :confused: Below are some of the details of our trip. We would love your expertise and any suggestions!! I tried to give as much detail as possible.

We are staying at the Carribean Resort. We decided to upgrade to the pirate room since my son is into pirates big time & we are going to celebrate his 5th birthday so we thought we'd make it extra special. We will arrive in the afternoon on Monday Aug. 17th and leave Sunday evening at 8pm. We got the 6day tickets w/park hopper. We did get the free dinning plan which is one of the reason we are going in August. (We read that later in August is a bit less crowded because FL's school starts.)

The only thing we kinda have planned are some dinner reservations. I took a list of ones that I heard are popular, got on the phone, & asked if there was any availability. Here is what we have reserved. A couple of the reservations, were pretty much the only day/time that was still available. We would love to know your thoughts & if its a good choice. Or is our Dinner plans going to inhibit our park experience? or not worth the money? (my son does like the princesses as well as peter pan & star wars)
Meal Plans so Far:
Tuesday, 18th: Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table at 4:15pm --this is going to use 2 of our meal credits. There were no breakfast reservations available. We were wondering if its worth it since Cinderella won't be there, but the Fairy Godmother. Or is it just cool to eat in the castle itself?

Wed, 19th: Breakfast at Chef Mickey's 7:15am! (yikes!!)
1900 Park Fare 7:15pm (we read that cinderella is suppose to be here...?)

Thurs, 20th: Dinner at San Angel Inn 8:30pm

Friday, 21st: OPEN so far... any suggestions? we may do Animal Kingdom this day, but we haven't planned out which parks we should do which days. We have heard to take advantage of the magic hours but others have said avoid the park that day. Any suggestion of what parks are best to visit in a certain order, etc? We were thinking of Magic Kingdom on Tuesday.

Saturday, 22nd: Lunch at Akershus House 11:50am

Sunday, 23rd: Breakfast at Crystal Palace 9:15am

We haven't even thought about the counter service meals yet. :-) Any recommendations would be great. I thought about going to Cape May Cafe at the Yacht resort since it was a seafood buffet. Or the restaraunt at the Poynesian. (that was recommended by a friend...) Or Rainforest Cafe?

Do you recommend going to any of the shows? We thought about doing the Spirit of Aloha Dinner? or one of the restaraunt that then take you to the Fantasmic show? My husband & i really want to see Fantasmic, but are concerned it might be too scary for my 2yr old.
Also, have you ever done the in-room-babysitting service? Or had groceries delivered to your resort? My 5yr has alot of food allergies so we will either need to bring food/snacks for him or buy groceries in FL.

Thank you so much for any help!!!

05-31-2009, 09:57 AM
You have some great ADRs.

My advice is this, everyone who replies (me included) will have some places they love and some they hate. Don't let yourself be put off too much but if 99/100 people love or hate a place there must be a reason. Personally first trip we kind of let ourselves be swayed by others as there are so many choices, after that we keep the ones we love and add some new ones each time.

Secondly, don't expect high dining experiences at WDW - expect a one-of-a-kind for entertainment and the food if it is good will be an added bonus. People go thinking they are paying $$$ for the food experience -WRONG! If you were going for food alone you would not be visiting WDW.

Getting off the bandwagon here are my personal views/experiences.
CRT is incredible - we have been there twice for dinner and twice for breakfast. We prefer breakfast for the princesses but prefer the food at dinner. The picture and autograph downstairs from Cinderella is lovely, the kids lve the swords and wands they are given in the dining room and there is no more special feeling when eating at WDW than being in the castle. The little dinner show is cute but you don't get autographs or photos with the mice and fairy godmother except as they dance past. A holiday to WDW wouldn't be the same for us without a trip to CRT.

Chef Mickey's - never been - we were put off by the birds flying through the area but other posters say the food is well covered.

1900PF. The best characters at WDW and the worst food. Been there four times twice dinner and twice breakfast. The four of us are very different eaters and there is always one person who loves every restaurant but this place we all hate. The food is so bad that I can't begin to explain, only to say that school dinners and tapioca seem like haute cuisine in comparison. The characters are good, the step mother and step sisters may be a little OTT for young children but you do get to meet Cinderella and her prince and seem them waltz. Personally life is too short for me ever to eat there again and I would rather be told never to return to WDW than to eat there.

akershus is fabulous, I've never lunched there but had breakfast and dinner, you meet a princess as you check in for the included photo, in the past we have had Sleeping Beuaty and Belle. Then you get to meet another four princesses in the dining room. The starter is a buffet with lots of fruit, lox, salami etc. Main course is delivered to your table and dessert is family style. YUM

Finally CP is probably our favourite meal overall. We much prefer breakfast to dinner there but love both. Boma is the best food for us but this place is the best atmosphere and character meal for my two children. I have lovely memories of my 20 month old daughter asking tigger' you want ice-cream' and then trying to feed him. My son who was 11 on our trip this year wouldn't admit to anything so un-cool but begged to go here for his birthday meal.

If you decide to go to a show I would take your son to HOOP de doo i'm sure he would love it.

The meals are a great way to break up the hard slog of pounding the parks and the rides and to be honest it kept us out of lines waiting for characters when you have enjoyed a meal and got your photos and autographs while sitting there. It gives Mum and Dad a bit of a break too.

Many will suggest don't go to MK first and we took this advice first trip but to be honest there is nowhere more special than MK for the children and we have since always had the attitude that the day to go elsewhere is when the children have had a couple of days of being MK'd out.

Favourite counter services are - Flame tree bbq at AK, all around the world in EPCOT (we like to get something snacky from lots of different countries to try different things) and when at the MK we like taking the boat or monorail to GF and to Gasparillas for some nice sandwiches and kid's meals and sit watching the castle at MK. Makes a nice relaxed hour before returning to the parks.

05-31-2009, 09:58 AM
sorry forgot to say we never use babysitters but always order our groceries from gardengrocer.com who are wonderful

05-31-2009, 09:59 AM
Those look great! What type of food do you prefer eating? What don't you like?

I highly recommend Spirit of Aloha (delicious food, fun entertainment, & wine/beer/gratuity included). However, 'Ohana is only 1 credit and has awesome food too. I also thoroughly enjoy eating at Whispering Canyon Cafe (bbq/a quick boat ride from Magic Kingdom) and Biergarten (German in Epcot). Biergarten has LOTS of options, and kids usually love it b/c they can dance on the dance floor. We really like Rainforest too. The one in AK has an awesome breakfast menu that is scrumptious, plentiful, and more economical than their lunch/dinner menu. Our fave counter service meals:
Magic Kingdom: Cosmic Ray Cafe (wraps, salads, sandwiches, ribs)
Epcot: Sunshine Seasons (REALLY fresh food! Rotisserie chicken that you can see turning, grilled salmon/porkchops, super fresh salads, Asian selections, and bakery)
Animal Kingdom: Pizzafari (Italian sandwich or pizza w/ caeser salad)
Hollywood Studios: Fairfax Fare (taco salad, pulled pork sandwich, hotdogs)

05-31-2009, 10:23 AM
All of you ADRs sound great!! You can check out menus at


Since you are going during FD make sure you have an ADR for each day you are planning a table service meal. As a past and future FDiner it is very hard if not impossible to walk into a table service restaurant with out a ADR during FD.

05-31-2009, 10:24 AM
We went as a family for the first time last Christmas (very crowded). My advice would be to schedule only one sit down meal per day. Our son was 6 and he really liked Teppan Edo in Epcot and Liberty Tree Tavern in MK. For counter service, Sunshine Seasons in Epcot had great variety and fresh tasting food.

We did better having our main meal as a late lunch, which gave us a natural break in the day. If we had dinner reservations every night I think we would have felt rushed to get somewhere after napping and relaxing at the resort.

We tried really hard not to over-hype Disney too much and kept quite a few surprises from our son. We were afraid he would be disappointed if something didn't happen .... and he was thrilled when something was a surprise! He looked in a book and chose the one thing he really wanted to do in each park and we made it a priority.

Don't feel like you can/ or should do it all.... especially if it is hot. You'll only be discouraged and that's when Disney loses its magic.

Enjoy your trip.

05-31-2009, 10:26 AM
At AK you must try Yak and Yeti for lunch or dinner. It is on the dine plan. Just don't eat there after riding a water ride. It is cold.

As far as breakfast at 1900 park fare..my family and I love it. I don't understand why anyone would say the food is horrible. It is part of our plan every year. The only negative, for us, is the fact it causes us to arrive at MK a little later than we like.

05-31-2009, 11:32 AM
Also, have you ever done the in-room-babysitting service?

I've never done it, but you can find reviews here: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showproduct.php?product=512&cat=153

06-04-2009, 05:52 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions!! And tips.. we like the tip about keeping things a little bit of a surprise & not telling all the details of the trip. We probably would have gotten & excited & told him everything.. but it is best to keep some things for 'magic fun' & in case some plans fall thru.

We had a question: Would you recommend Rose & Crowns or another possible place to eat as one of the fireworks/illuminations is going off? I think we are going to pass on doing one of the shows-- i'm just not sure if our 2yr old will sit still for it & not want to take part of the action. We thought eating at Rose & Crown or such might be a good solution to watching fireworks-- less intimidating for DS 2yr and food could keep him occupy. What time should we try for reservations? i read 7:30. That seems a bit early w/the showtime at 9pm.


06-17-2009, 11:59 AM
Rose and Crown is a great restaurant. My only caution is that they do not guarantee an outside seat, so you could be seated inside. Do not worry though because I have seen Illuminations from many different places throughout Epcot and we have never had a bad view (even on busy nights).

06-17-2009, 12:40 PM
Which parks you go to should pretty much go along with where your ADRs are. You don't want to go to MK on Saturay, for example, yet have to be at Epcot for lunch. It wastes too much time going back and forth. We split it by morning and afternoon. So wherever we have breakfast or lunch, that's our am park, wherever we we have dinner, that's our pm park.

So, you're looking at something like this:

Tue - Magic Kingdom am -- (you have an early dinner, I'd be tempted to just stay all day and leave after dinner, taking the evening off) -- normally I would say do breakfast or lunch, not dinner, but you'll see some of the other princesses at Akershus, so in this instance it might be nice to dine in the castle even without princesses, I think your DS will like it (Cinderella will be at the castle, in the lobby). CS lunch suggestions: Cosmic Ray's or Columbia Harbour House at MK.

Wed - Chef Mickey's - do you have a car? will you take a taxi? Be sure not to stay out too late the night before (if you stay at MK through dinner and leave afterwards that would work out really well); you'll have just enough time to make it to whichever park you want after breakfast... how about Disney Studios? if you won't have a car you can just hop on the bus right at the Contemporary. --1900 Park Fare for dinner has Cinderella, the Prince, Stepmother and Stepsisters. CS lunch suggestions: Backlot Express, Pizza Planet or Catalina Eddies's at DHS. (We prefer the food at Eddie's but there's no indoor seating.)

Thu - Animal Kingdom am, or Disney Studios if you didn't do it on Wed /swim break if you want it/ Epcot pm - I would not choose San Angel Inn, but that's just my personal preference, not because it isn't any good. If you like the menu then I think it's a fine choice. CS lunch suggestion: Pizzafari at AK. (Most will say Flame Tree BBQ, but we like the sandwiches better at Pizzafari, plus it's indoors and air-conditioned.)

Fri - Magic Kingdom am, or Animal Kingdom am if you didn't do it Thu /swim break if you want it/ open pm for whatever you want to do.

Sat - Epcot am /swim break if you want it/ open pm for wherever you think you need more time - Akershus lunch will give you several princesses to meet, it's a great choice, one of our favorites, and you've got a good time too. CS suggestions: if you don't go back to a park tonight then I'd consider Wolfgang Puck Express at DtD Marketplace. It's terrific.

Sun - Magic Kingdom - I would not like a 9:15 breakfast because it causes you to miss the first hour of park opening, when there are no lines. I'd keep trying to change the time to something later, but if you can't then you might want another morning at MK somewhere, to do the rides, and then this morning can be more relaxing. Friday would work, and evenly divide up your MK days as well. (Pick up a FP before breakfast if you can.)

Having park hoppers helps because you can be flexible.