View Full Version : Reservations
03-19-2004, 11:19 PM
We leave for our Land/Sea vacation on April 15. I am completely bummed because this is our first WDW trip ever, so we did not know about all the things we want to sign up for before. I tried signing up for the Dolphin Encounter on the 19th and they are already booked and I tried signing up for the Cinderella breakfast for either the 15th, 16th or 17th and all those days are booked up. Already, I am feeling bummed about this trip. Unfortunately, in Janurary we reserved this package through Walt Disney World and have paid pretty for it. I feel like I am not getting what I paid for. I know there is nothing they can do, but I dont know what else to do. All the fun is getting sucked out of this. Let me know if any of you have had these problems and if possible there are any loop holes?
Thanks in advance.
Check out the restaurants board on the DIS, there is always info there about what to do if you don't get the ressie's you want the first time - i.e. KEEP CALLING BACK. Cancellations do occur from time to time.
If you weren't able to get breakfast at Cinderalla's Royal table, there is also a Princess Breakfast - I think at Epcot somewhere (or maybe it is at the Grand Floridian).
My recommendation though - just skip the character dining at WDW altogether. It is fairly expensive, and is pretty time consuming. The benefit is there are many characters on board. Off the top of my head, our DD got signatures from at least: Cinderella and Prince Charming, Mulan, Snow White, Princess Aurora, the Queen of Hearts, Snow White, Belle, Wendy Darling, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Minnie, Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, Stitch, Chip 'n Dale, a couple of the Dalmations, some of the characters from Hercules the "Muse"ical, and probably more that I couldn't think of.
The characters have photo/autograph sessions throughout the day, and they are very generous about letting you take your photos too. The characters on the ship took time to interact with the kids - much more so than the characters at the land-based restaurants.
The only thing I would do again from a character dining perspective would be Crystal Palace, but then I am a sucker for Pooh and his friends. These characters are not on the ship at all.
03-19-2004, 11:55 PM
For the Cinderella breakfast....once you get to WDW, call the night before you want to go. Many people cancel as they don't want to be charged at the last minute for not showing up.
When we were there in Feb...it was available all 4 days, yet when I tried to call in advance I couldn't get it.
03-20-2004, 12:15 AM
We ate at Cinderella breakfast the first time we took our children to WDW and we enjoyed it, but our favorite is Chef Mickeys at the Contemporary Resort. Just hop on the monorail from Magic Kingdom and you will be there in a jiffy. We go there every year! It is magical and delicious and worth every penny!!! The character interaction is also great! If your heart is set on Cinderella breakfast, then I would do what lillygator suggested. I love the Magic that I feel every time I step onto Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. I am happy eating anywhere there. Oh yeah, the Plaza Restaurant is very good and we do like Crystal Palace.(my children think it's too babyish for them) I hope that you have a MAGICAL vacation!!!
03-20-2004, 12:30 AM
Thank you guys soo much for the reassurance. I think I was just over reacting a bit when I wrote that because it just seemed at that moment that I couldn't get reservations for anything I wanted. Hopefully, I will get some things. What is everyones opinion on the dolphin encounter? We are going to try to do it on our own.
03-20-2004, 12:53 AM
Cinderella breakfast is VERY VERY hard to get- even if you call right on time first thing in the morning on the right day.... even then it's hard to get.
I will tell you this though- all things being equal, the ONLY thing "better" about the Cinderella breakfast in our opinion was eating in the castle. That can be a big deal to a young child (especially young girl) like ours... BUT... we spent more time with Cinderella AND got to see the Prince (who was not seen at the cinderella's breakfast in the castle) and generally enjoyed ourselves better (we tend to eat more for dinner than having a huge breakfast like that... and tend to enjoy buffets better than planned meals brought to us.. that way we can eat what we want and how much of what we want- without waiting for someone to bring it ot us) and the food even tasted better.... at Grand Floridian 1900 Park Fair character dinner (Cinderella, Prince, etc.)
Far as I know it is much easier to get those reservations... so call up and try to get a PS for dinner one of those evenings- at the GF and enjoy seeing Cinderella/etc. and enjoy a nice dinner. :)
In the future that is what we'll be getting a PS for in our trips.. we won't even be bothering to do the Cinderella breakfast again. It wasn't bad- just too hard to get a PS and overall (things I mentioned above) was not better than the Cinderella dinner was. :)
03-20-2004, 01:56 AM
Please, please, please do not worrry about the 'fun being sucked out of you'. As soon as we step foot on the monorail we are bathed in magic. (I think it must come out of the air Conditioning!)It is like being 5 years old and every day is Christmas eve. There is SO much to do in WDW that every time we go we only manage a fraction of what we planned on doing, and leaving things for another trip is part of the fun.
Last time we went we got reservations for breakfast at Cinderellas Castle and I have to say it has been my least favourite meal so far. We also went to Ohanas at the Polynesian and they had all the children following the Characters, parading round the dining room carrying musical instruments and singing to the Lion King. I wasn't the only one with a lump in my throat. Crystal Palace has also always been excellent, and I believe Chef Mickeys gets good reviews. Please just be reassured that there is no way you are going to be short of wonderful things to do!
03-20-2004, 02:01 AM
Lunch in the castle is also nice, no characters but sometimes one of the princesses will be in the lobby posing for pics. We called for for a lunch p.s. the same morning that we ate their.
It helps to try for an off time or when the afternoon parade is scheduled.
03-20-2004, 07:04 AM
There are so many more things to do, that the couple you mentioned. You won't even miss those things...we have never done the breakfast at the castle..lol, we do lunch or dinner and we love it.
As far as dolphin encounters..if you really want to do one, book it yourself, or spend an early morning at seaworld..do it there. It is excellent.
03-20-2004, 08:40 AM
Thanks for your feedback guys. And I do feel much better now. I think that that moment I felt totally bummed. See, the only reason I am real into doing a princess thing, and in the castle, is cause we are going for my daughters 4th birthday and she is a die hard Princess fan. Her whole life is the Disney Princesses. I am also a single mom (purest in form, no dad around), which is great for me, and we are doing great, but I think I just want to make her life a little extra special right now. We come from a small town and she gets asked a lot why she doesnt have a dad, and then she asks me questions like if one of our friends can be her dad, etc. I just want her to feel special on this birthday since she is old enough to understand what is going on and she is sooo smart, and meeting a princess would be like a dream come true for her. I guess what my goal on this trip is, is to get as many photos with as many Princesses as possible and my ultimate would maybe to get one to surprise my Jeri with a happy birthday. Any other suggestions for stuff like this? I appreciate all of you, and this site itself has helped me overcome so much of my anxiety and has showed me to relax, things will just fall into place and be wonderful regardless of how much planning I do.
03-20-2004, 09:04 AM
Even though the shpre excursion run by Disney is booked, try contacting the Doplphin Encounter company directly.
Here is a link to their site. Good Luck!
Originally posted by immalemon
... daughters 4th birthday and she is a die hard Princess fan. Her whole life is the Disney Princesses. ... I just want her to feel special on this birthday since she is old enough to understand what is going on and she is sooo smart, and meeting a princess would be like a dream come true for her. I guess what my goal on this trip is, is to get as many photos with as many Princesses as possible and my ultimate would maybe to get one to surprise my Jeri with a happy birthday.
Just a thought here - again, I'm the one who suggested earlier to just skip the character dining...Since your daughter is 4 - maybe you could acquire (either buy it or sew it) a princess dress for your daughter to wear on the cruise. On the ship, the princesses really ohh and ahhh over the girls being dressed up in costume. Maybe you could surprise your daughter with the costume as a "special gift" from the appropriate princess.
There will be many other girls on the ship in costume also.
Generally speaking, the characters on the ship are fabulous with the children, when we were on board, they took a couple of minutes to talk with them while signing the autograph books, and then pose for the pictures. The only exception was when at the tail end of the autograph/photo sessions, when the characters where out past the scheduled time - then it was a quick autograph and a quick photo.
Don't be bummed about not getting the PS's, it will give you a reason to come back. You can't "do it all" in a 3-day land piece anyway. Be sure to enjoy yourself - and again don't sweat the small stuff!
Just another magical thought - although you would probably want to inquire about this sooner than later. Verandah Man (probably the guy on the cruise line board with the biggest heart) will send out a post card from Mickey Mouse - with a quick note about that he can't wait until your child gets to the ship. While he lives in NJ, he writes the postcards out up there, and sends them down to Florida to be mailed. I think the general turnaround time on this process is about 2 weeks. Just do a search for Postcards on the DCL cruise page. Heh - how many kids from your small town will actually get something from Mickey Mouse in the mail?
We've probably all been bummed at one point or another in the planning stages of a trip to Disney. Heh- for what is costs - as parents you do want everything to be perfect. Just relax, and enjoy yourself.
The best magical moments will be the unplanned ones anyway, because as carefully as parents try to plan things to be perfect, it usually doesn't work that way. (Just think about first birthdays or first Christmas - what did your daughter have more fun playing with - the presents or the wrapping paper and the boxes. And - would you trade that memory for anything? I wouldn't.)
Sorry for the long post...I won't be DIS'*** the rest of the day!
03-20-2004, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by immalemon
. I just want her to feel special on this birthday since she is old enough to understand what is going on and she is sooo smart, and meeting a princess would be like a dream come true for her. I guess what my goal on this trip is, is to get as many photos with as many Princesses as possible and my ultimate would maybe to get one to surprise my Jeri with a happy birthday. Any other suggestions for stuff like this?
I'm not sure if this is still being done, but it was last year. (Check the restaurant boards) But there was a Princess breakfast at one of the restaurants in EPCOT.
Don't forget to get your daughter a birthday button! We did it for my son's birthday...Town Hall in MK has them, I don't know where they are at the other parks. But the CMs make a big fuss over the kids when it's their birthdays.
Wherever you have dinner that night, make sure you let your waiter know it's your daughter's birthday and they will bring out a special little cupcake or cake with candles and sing to her.
03-20-2004, 12:09 PM
Sorry about my earlier reply saying that there are lots of other great things to do. I can see now why Cinderellas castle seems so important to you. I would follow the other Diser's advice about keep trying. If at all possible get your daughter to wear a princesses dress that day. There were littles girls in the restaurant in costumes, but she will be made a fuss of wherever you are. I suggest bringing a big birthday age badge from home and stop at city hall for a Disney one. Bring a birthday tiara and anything else you can think of. Five years ago we celebrated my sons 10th bithday in The Crystal Palace restaurant.
I ordered a cake in City Hall a couple of days before. I think I paid for it, but it had his name on. The wait staff put confetti on the table and a birthday card signed by Pooh and the gang. They sang to him and afterwards lots of Americans came over to wish him a Happy Birthday.
Last year we were in Disneyland Paris for my daughters 9th birthday. What a contrast! Only one cast member said anything to her, so this August we are in WDW and moving on to a 4 night cruise on her 10th birthday. I know the magic will be restored, and I know the magic will be there for your daughter too.
03-20-2004, 01:00 PM
They have the princess breakfast at Norway in Epcot. I heard they have more princesses there then the Castle. I've never done breakfast at the castle only dinner. Cinderella just happened to be there.
03-20-2004, 01:54 PM
If you still seem to miss Cinderella, there is a charachter meeting in Toontown. It is inside the souvenier shop between Mickey's house and Minnie's house. ( I forget the name of it)
It is on the right as you walk in. There are 3 separate lines you
can enter. One is for Cinderella and she is accompanied by 2 of her mice. Sorry, I forget who else is there. But my daughter is a Cinderella nut and if you go straight there, you probably won't have a line. Good luck!
Karen from NJ
03-20-2004, 02:03 PM
We just got back from WDW in FEbruary and did the princess breakfast in Epcot Norway. Just an FYI, Cinderella is not at this breakfast. It was nice and there were 5 princesses...Belle, Mulan, Mary Poppins (who is not a princess, of course), Snow White, and the other I forgot. Anyhow, my girls still enjoyed it and we went to Toontown and got Cinderella's autograph. I was in tears because I was so happy. My 5 y.o. DD just LovES Cinderella. (Boy sometimes I am just so sappy). :)
03-20-2004, 03:10 PM
We did both princess breakfasts when we were there last August. We tried getting priority seating several times and just lucked out one evening and there was a cancellation for Cinderella's breakfast just before we called. Our impressions were that the castle was very lovely though we were sitting under an air conditioning vent and were being dripped on the entire time (we moved our chairs enough to stay dry). We were visited by Cinderella, Aurora, Mary Poppins and Belle. The princess breakfast at Epcot is in the restaurant in Norway, which is also very quaint, and we were visited by Snow White, Jasmine, Mulan, Aurora, and Belle. My younger DD's favorite princess is Jasmine, and she was wearing a top that had Aladdin and Jasmine embroidered on it, and Jasmine took the time to ooh and ahh over it, making DD feel very special.
We noticed that Cinderella sometimes hangs out with many other characters in the Hall just to the right after you go through the gates at MK, what is that called?? It has photos and pins and towards the back it has backdrops for photos, and that's where the characters hang out, and my kids got a photo op with Cindy there too.
immalemon, I have a Cinderella costume that my DDs have outgrown. It's just sitting in the dressup box, and is in good shape. It is the blue ballgown (it's actually aqua) with hoop petticoat and a foam crown which ties on. If you'd like it, PM me and it's yours.
03-20-2004, 03:42 PM
Not sure if this was mentioned yet, but Cinderella, Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother, Suzy & Perla, and a couple more characters are also at 1900 Park Fare dinners at the Grand Floridian. Maybe you can try to get a PS for this place instead?
03-20-2004, 04:50 PM
And be sure that the cruiseline and the resort are aware that you are celebrating your DD's b-day. Be sure it's put on the reservation- they will usually send up a little card signed by her favorite character and a couple of balloons to help her celebrate her b-day. Wherever you make your meal ressies at the parks- make sure they know you are there to celebrate her b-day as well- sometimes they make a little magic happen!
03-20-2004, 06:21 PM
This whole post has made me kinda misty eyed.
It is wonderful to see so many people willing to offer suggestions to make a special BD for a Special child and extra kudos to you DenverVal. Awesome.
My family will also be on the 4/15 Wonder. If I see a 4 yo DD with a princess costume I will be very tempted to wish her a happy BD.
just a few suggestions if your looking for BD freebies (and you may already know this but) if you are staying at a disney resort you can Dial 0 and ask for a special BD message for her. If you are at MK on her BD you can stop by city hall and request a BD pin for free.
Hope she has a great BD and all have a great trip.
See you on board maybe!
03-20-2004, 06:56 PM
I agree, I cannot believe how great the people on this board are. They make me all misty eyed too, and at a perfect time in my life, remind me there are still amazing people out there. I appreciate all of you and can not thank you enough for making this trip magical. Thank you sooo much for all your suggestions. I did not know any of this to start with. I just do not know how to express what you guys did for me in words. Thanks again!
03-20-2004, 07:17 PM
A couple of years ago we just walked up to Cinderella's Castle for lunch and they had plenty of seating. While we were eating, Cinderella and her Fairy God Mother came around talking to us and when we were done they were down stairs letting everyone have photos taken with them. Great experience. Hope this helps.
03-24-2004, 06:21 PM
Just returned from a 4 day on the Wonder in early March.
I agree with the comments about getting her a costume - the characters all made a big fuss over the little ones who were dressed up. My 7 year old daughter wore a Cinderalla cosutme to dinner and was the center of attention.
On the ship, the wait staff will make a HUGE fuss over her birthday (they did this for both my kids even though the big days were not for 2 weeks) - so make sure and say something to your head server.
We have been on 2 Disney cruises, and the entire crew cannot do enough to make the trip special - I would suggest calling the cruise line to ask if there is something special that Cinderlla could do for your daughter - or ask someone on the ship - if presented with the facts (1) birthday, (2)#1 Cinderalla fan, (3) 4 years old..., I wouldn't be suprised if they did something - can't hurt to ask. We found that the resturant managers are very influential people on the ship - I'd try asking them.
I think there is usually a Cinderalla event in the Kid's club - check the schedule - this is a good place to get some fairly up-close time with the charcters.
In any event, the characters are every where on the ship - Cinderalla included - I'm sure she would make a big fuss over your daughter if she saw her in a Cinderalla dress and you told her that is was her birthday.
Enjoy the trip - you will have a magical time - don't try to over manage the trip - there are a million things to do at WDW and on the ship, so try to be relaxed and take things as they come.
I would strongly suggest getting one of the WDW guide books - lots of great tips (like head to the back of MK first thing in the morning - most people linger at the front of the park - you can get on many of the kiddie rides (Pooh, Peter Pan, Cinderalla's Carousel, etc.) with little or no waiting).
03-24-2004, 08:11 PM
2xcruiser-- thank you so much for your suggestions. Those are great ideas!! I will be sure to let everyone know we are there for her birthday. And we will definately head to the back of MK first. Anything to beat the crowds. I am glad you had a great time on your cruise, and everyone has been very reasurring that no matter what, we will have a great time. Again thank you.
03-29-2004, 10:42 AM
A final thought before you go:
I have read a number of reviews written by people who have gone on the DCL and other curise lines. The thing that strikes me is the degree to which some people will look for things to go wrong - it seems some people are only happy if they have something to complain about.
My family has been on DCL twice, and many of our friends and family have been on too - without fault, everyone we know has had a marvelous time.
DCL is NOT perfect, but it is hands down the most enjoyable, entertaining and relaxing vacation we have ever been on.
My advise to anyone who is planning a DCL trip is to realize that little things might come up, but it is up to you whether these things ruin your day or your trip. Your daughter will never remember if your meal wasn't perfect one night, or if it rained one day, or if you didn't get a perfect seat for a show (unless of course someone make too big a deal out of it). What she will remember is that she spent a few wonderful days alone with her mother in an atmosphere that to her (and hopefully to you, too) will seem magical.
Enjoy your trip, and most of all enjoy this time with your daughter. Kids (and especially little girls) grow up quickly and that magical innocense of early childhood is a fleeting thing.
PS: Make sure to check the schedule of character appearances on the ship - it is posted daily in the lobby and is probably available at guest services too - don't want to miss any chance to see Cinderalla!
03-29-2004, 11:29 AM
You're going to have a great trip no matter what reservations you get. As others have mentioned try the restaurant at Epcot in Norway. I could not get into Cinderella's castle last year for my DD's 5th birthday and I called every day the minute the phone lines opened for every morning we were going to be at Disney (7 mornings, I think). The breakfast was sold out in minutes except for later in the morning and there weren't many of these time spots either. So don't feel bad as your're not alone. I ended up booking two mornings at the Norway breakfast and went to both with my daughter and two different sets of nieces that joined us during the week. There are five princesses and/or leading ladys (not Cinderella). My daughter and nieces, ages 3, 13, and 16 loved it and the food was very good both days. My mother loved it too. Just remember that you have to have admission into Epcot or a park hopper ticket for the day you go to this breakfast as it is in the park and requires admission.
As others have mentioned, Chef Mickey's is wonderful too. We haven't gone to breakfast there. We went for dinner in February of this year and had no reservations. We did have to wait for about and hour and 15 minutes but we love it. My kids have been a number of times and never get tired of it. It's a great place to start your trip as the kids see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Chip and Dale. It is worth the money to my DH and me as you see so many characters at once and at the start of the trip. We didn't eat until around 8:30pm in Feb. and the food was still nicely presented and very fresh tasting.
As far as seeing Cinderella, when we were at the Kingdom in February, Cinderella and Ariel were in Mickey's Toontown in the large tented area. Go early as the lines get quite long as the day progresses.
Good luck and have a wonderful trip.
03-29-2004, 11:42 AM
Have no fear....Cinderella is always on the Magic.....even big girls like to have their photo with Cinderella!!!!
The Disney "Magic" never dies!!!!
03-29-2004, 11:42 AM
HI Amanda, Go to Guest Services at your hotel as soon as you get there and explain the situation about the Castle Breakfast and your daughters B.day. They were able to get me last minute PS at The Crystal Palace with Pooh during Pesidents Week when EVERYTHING was all booked up.A friendly and understanding CM can be VERY helpful! Luckily I found one at the BC! Also try every AM before you leave in case there is a cancellation. Good Luck! Joan
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