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MommyMissy
09-01-2012, 01:30 PM
As a complete newbie to DW I am hoping someone can help me figure out where to start my research into all of our dining options for our trip in Oct. 2013. I have been reading the threads and looking at pictures but I still don't feel like I have a good grasp on all of the options. Any tips?

Smiling Cheshire Cat
09-01-2012, 01:36 PM
I look at the menus on Allears.net.

ses1230
09-01-2012, 01:47 PM
WDW has both sit-down meal restaurants (buffet and order off the menu types) and quick/counter service restaurants for you to choose from. The 4 major parks, resorts, and DTD have both types of restaurants. You can look at the menus here on the DIS or at allears. The Disney Food Blog and easywdw both also have very good information about the dining options. How I plan is I pick our park days first and then think about the dining options. Then I make our reservations at 180 day mark. In October, the Food and Wine festival will be happening at Epcot. That is a great time to go, imo.

LilyWDW
09-01-2012, 04:05 PM
As a complete newbie to DW I am hoping someone can help me figure out where to start my research into all of our dining options for our trip in Oct. 2013. I have been reading the threads and looking at pictures but I still don't feel like I have a good grasp on all of the options. Any tips?

Hey MommyMissy! I see you are going in October of 2013. Have you joined the DIS Facebook group for that time yet? If not, you can find the link in my signature. If you already have, feel free to also ask us about it and forgive me for not remembering (I would blame school starting)!

Now, as for your question. I use allears to get a feel of the menus at the dining locations. Always remember that the exact items can change, but it does give a good "feel" for what they will serve. We figure out a general schedule (x number of days at each park, a DTD day, how many days will be rope drops versus late nights, ect) and then we figure out our dining. We have our "must do" locations and fit those in and then I fill in from there.

With Food and Wine going on in October (my FAV time of year to go), we actually do less ADRs because we want to leave room for all the yummy foods and boozes around World Showcase! So, for 3 days at Epcot, we only have 1 ADR at Via Napoli because it is a "must do" for us.

Christine
09-01-2012, 04:33 PM
It is very overwhelming it first. I think if you do it in stages, and break it down, it gets easier.

The very first thing you need to do is either get a big piece of paper and draw up a crude chart that has your "days/dates" listed out. If you're computer savvy, just draft up something. Then pick your park days. You can do this any way you want--you can just pick or you can use one of the crowd predictor websites.

After your days are picked--decide if you want to do any sort of special dining experiences. These would be things like the Hoop Dee Doo Review, the Luau at the Poly, a Fantasic dinner package--something along those lines. These types of things will take longer than the average meal and you might want to plan these on certain days. For instance, if I do Hoop Dee Doo, I will ALWAYS do that on a Magic Kingdom day because this dinner show is easiest to get to by boat from the Magic Kingdom and I always do the early show. So my Hoop Dee Doo will always be penciled in with my Magic Kingdom day. Or if you decide you'd like to do the Liberty Tree Tavern, you'd want to do that on your MK day also.

Then decide if you want to do any signature dining. These would be places like Citricos, Cali Grill, Narcoosees. Figure out which one you'd like and see which park day it would fit in best with. Do you want to shower and get dressed before you go to one of these? Then you might opt for penciling this in on a day where you know your park day will be short (Animal Kingdom?).

You really need to build your park itinerary first. I find my plans fall into place after that.

Since you are unfamiliar with the restaurants, it's great to take some time to read the dining reviews on the dining review board, although, I went back to that board this year prior to my trip and it had changed. Lots of PRE-dining review trip reports, lots of posts that seemed irrelevent to the reviews themselves. I found it difficult to wade through. But see where other people are eating, try to get a general sense of a place and look for ones that seem to consistently get great reviews. Every place will have a bad review here and there but you don't want them to dominate the overall comments.

Think about your needs/likes as a family when you view menus at allears. I also buy the Unofficial Guide because sometimes I like things more summarized and I get tired of staring at a screen.

CuteAsMinnie
09-01-2012, 04:52 PM
Since you have plenty of time, I would leisurely go thru the Disney Food Blog and the WDW website itself to look at the various restaurants, photos, menus and see what appeals to you, jotting down those that peak your interest along the way. AllEars does have an awesome selection of menus as well. Then start looking for reviews. The DIS has wonderful threads for pics of the food and pics of the inside of the restaurants, both which are so fun!

We do not use DDP for a variety of reasons one being we do not want our day scheduled around a dining ressie. We pick a few special places to us to dine at during our stay and we find the CS spots keep our experience fresh and interesting with plenty of variety and options.

Enjoy the planning process. If you do a little at a time, it is less overwhelming. No 'wrong' choices can be made.
:hug:

scojos
09-01-2012, 05:01 PM
you have had some great advice here, u dont mention who is in your party, are character meals important, food quality or quantity, all this will affect ur choices...
also remember for both TS and CS there are generally better options outside the park, esp on the monorail resorts
tracy

The Rolands
09-01-2012, 05:18 PM
Are you doing the Disney dinning plan? If so you usually get one sit down (ie-waitor/waitress) and one counter service (fast food) meal per person per day. I like to figure out where we are going to eat based on what days we're in what parks (ie when we're at MK we eat at MK or the resorts near by-like Poly b/c you can jump on/off the monorail). On the flip side though w/ the hopper pass you can jump from park to park so if you want to eat dinner at Epcot just jump on the monorail from MK. One thing to consider is the timing of fireworks and meals. For example we think Hollywood Studios has the BEST fireworks so we plan dinner AROUND the fireworks schedule. We usually pack breakfast and eat in our room to save time so we can be at the parks when they open (while breakfast at the Crystal Palace-character meal w/ Pooh and friends- is AWESOME it does take away from getting to the rides before the long lines start). Before our first trip I got a few of the Disney books and read through them FIRST and then checked out disboards to get people's opinions on restaurants (remember though, opinions are like rear-ends; everyone has one). I hope you have a very special and magical time!!!

NoOrdinaryPrincess
09-01-2012, 05:22 PM
I will say if there is a particular cuisine your family prefers, or some kind of diet peculiarities (child going through a chicken nugget and pizza phase) and we can offer suggestions.

scojos
09-01-2012, 05:30 PM
We usually pack breakfast and eat in our room to save time so we can be at the parks when they open (while breakfast at the Crystal Palace-character meal w/ Pooh and friends- is AWESOME it does take away from getting to the rides before the long lines start). Before our first trip I got a few of the Disney books and read through them FIRST and then checked out disboards to get people's opinions on restaurants (remember though, opinions are like rear-ends; everyone has one). I hope you have a very special and magical time!!!

dont forget some restaurants allow early (pre rope drop) reservations, which allow u to see a different side of the park.... we have done pre RD at epcot (akerhaus), mk (cp) and ak (tusker house) and its a very special quiet time...

Nomad70
09-01-2012, 05:50 PM
I look at the menus on Allears.net.

Me too. That is where I start. :thumbsup2 I wouldn't weigh down your vacation with too many ADR's either.

no capes darling
09-01-2012, 07:21 PM
Agree on starting with the menus at allears. I find trying to get through the dining reviews here time consuming and wish there was a better way of weeding through the posts to get to the meat of the review. Pun intended. I appreciate the effort the reviewers make, though.

MommyMissy
09-03-2012, 01:36 AM
Thank you EVERYONE! Great advice!:thumbsup2

Hey MommyMissy! I see you are going in October of 2013. Have you joined the DIS Facebook group for that time yet? If not, you can find the link in my signature. If you already have, feel free to also ask us about it and forgive me for not remembering (I would blame school starting)!

I am part of the FB group, thanks for checking though:) I am sure we will be having some great discussions about dining there.

you have had some great advice here, u dont mention who is in your party, are character meals important, food quality or quantity, all this will affect ur choices...
also remember for both TS and CS there are generally better options outside the park, esp on the monorail resorts
tracy
Our party consists of myself and DH, and our 4 kids (DS6, DS5, DD3, and new baby 8 months) My sister may also be joining us for part of the trip. We will probably do at least 1 character mail, but I am NOT a fan of buffets. Quality is definitely more important to us than quantity but we are not really foodies. My husband loves a wide variety of foods, I am a fairly picky eater. My kids will try new things and are pretty good eaters most of the time.


Are you doing the Disney dinning plan? If so you usually get one sit down (ie-waitor/waitress) and one counter service (fast food) meal per person per day. I like to figure out where we are going to eat based on what days we're in what parks (ie when we're at MK we eat at MK or the resorts near by-like Poly b/c you can jump on/off the monorail). On the flip side though w/ the hopper pass you can jump from park to park so if you want to eat dinner at Epcot just jump on the monorail from MK. One thing to consider is the timing of fireworks and meals. For example we think Hollywood Studios has the BEST fireworks so we plan dinner AROUND the fireworks schedule. We usually pack breakfast and eat in our room to save time so we can be at the parks when they open (while breakfast at the Crystal Palace-character meal w/ Pooh and friends- is AWESOME it does take away from getting to the rides before the long lines start). Before our first trip I got a few of the Disney books and read through them FIRST and then checked out disboards to get people's opinions on restaurants (remember though, opinions are like rear-ends; everyone has one). I hope you have a very special and magical time!!!
:goodvibes At this time I don't know if we will do the dining plan, if free dining is offered during our trip we probably will, but if not we won't. I like the idea of having it paid for ahead of time but I don't like the restrictions. I also don't know if we will park hop or not. Part of me wants to for the flexibility but I wonder if for a first trip and with such young kids if it will just be too much :confused3

I will say if there is a particular cuisine your family prefers, or some kind of diet peculiarities (child going through a chicken nugget and pizza phase) and we can offer suggestions.
We eat mostly American, Italian, & Mexican. We love meat & potatoes, and everyone but me is usually up for trying new things.

kddisney502
09-03-2012, 01:48 AM
Agree on starting with the menus at allears. I find trying to get through the dining reviews here time consuming and wish there was a better way of weeding through the posts to get to the meat of the review. Pun intended. I appreciate the effort the reviewers make, though.

For our first trip as adults (planning and paying for it ourselves), I read sections of the disney unofficial guide. I found it very helpful especially for dinning sections. It lists each restaurant with a description, review and suggested menu items. Check out your local library to see if they have the book (so you can try before you buy).

no capes darling
09-03-2012, 09:36 AM
For our first trip as adults (planning and paying for it ourselves), I read sections of the disney unofficial guide. I found it very helpful especially for dinning sections. It lists each restaurant with a description, review and suggested menu items. Check out your local library to see if they have the book (so you can try before you buy).

Thanks, we have the book! For the number of trips we have made (two this year!), we really don't need it, but my husband likes to flip through it. :thumbsup2 I just love food and like to see what's new and really current, hence using the menus and reviews here.

no capes darling
09-03-2012, 01:46 PM
OH! I wish I had thought of this before- the Disney Food Blog is a great resource for staying current. I think there's even a whole food and wine fest section. :banana:. http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/