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Old 02-13-2009, 07:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,315

Eat And Ride, A March 2009 Excursion

Cast Of Characters

The "Adults"

Your humble correspondent, aged 38, making his 3rd full trip to WDW. (Not including a 1-day Epcot trip in the mid 80's) and DW, (DISboards member DRS_Are_Best), aged 3x, making her 4th trip to WDW.

We're both tall, pooh-sized people (though we've lost a combined nearly 200 pounds in the last 13 months!) who both love Disney movies and parks.

The Critters

DS3 (back), who will be turning 4 just a few weeks after we return. He was with us on our last trip, at age 13 months. A huge Wall-E, Cars, and Little Einsteins fan.

The twins, DD2 and DS2. They just turned 2 in January, so they are at that dangerous "mobile yet not herdable" stage. This will be their first trip.


We booked Port Orleans Riverside from March 15 to March 22 using the 4/3 special. In the past, we've gone in May, after spring break and before Memorial Day, so March will be different for us. The $200 gift card and the fact that we just didn't want to wait two more months (we need a vacation!) were the deciders.

This is also our first time staying on-site. Basically, the rationale was, if we ever want to stay on-site, doing it before we have to pay for the twins would be a good idea!

Likewise, we're splurging on deluxe dining. Part of it is the "do it while we can" mentality, but honestly, I look at how the critters deal with meals, and since we want to keep them on close to a normal schedule, if we tried to do a lot of CS mid-day, that means going at peak times, waiting in lines, trying to find tables and high chairs, and still managing to take over an hour to eat. Better to just plan that in, for the most part, and enjoy a more relaxed environment.

Besides, DW and I are experienced cruisers, and we know from experience that we like to eat big when we're outside and active all week. On top of all that, between the 2 adult and 1 kid's meal, we should be able to feed the five of us quite comfortably.

So, we book this trip about a week before Thanksgiving (almost exactly 120 days out). Port Orleans Riverside was the natural choice for fitting 5 into a single room, and the resort certainly looks nice.

Park Planning

Thanks to the advice from these boards, and our past experience at having a hard time just getting a table as a "walk in", we knew to book ADRs right away. We studied the menus (at allears.net) and got a general idea of what we wanted to do.

With the kids, we really wanted to go for a character meal every day. Since the kids eat breakfast after I've left for work during the week, DW lets them watch TV (usually Blue's Clues) to keep the distracted long enough for her to actually make breakfast, clean up, get everything together for wherever they're going that day, etc. The point is, they're used to "entertainment" at breakfast, and since we've certainly got the meal credits to burn, why not?

So, what's the #1 character meal to book? CRT, of course. At 120 days out, we had no chance at all to get in, but DW tried anyway. And got it. Not an ideal time (later than we'd like), but we're not complaining!

And that pretty much set the framework of the schedule for the parks. We figured 6 park days (we changed this later, see below) and that we'd do MK 3 times, so we'd stagger the other parks in between MK days. Since the CRT reservation was for Friday, that made our MK days Monday/Wednesday/Friday. The next step was filling in the breakfast ADRs for the other park days, which led to Epcot on Thursday, DHS on Tuesday, and AK on Saturday. The character breakfasts were rounded out by Chef Mickey's on Monday and Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

With 3 full MK days, we have the luxury of pacing ourselves in the MK specifically. While we will have a general "park plan" for each day, we're certainly not gong to be on a tight schedule, outside of any ADRs. Originally, we had planned on not doing a park on our departure day (Sunday), but we changed our minds and decided to do a MK morning, and leave after lunch.

ADR List

This list is more or less final, although we will still look to shift a couple of the earlier seatings to 6 PM or later, and we wouldn't mind dropping our Rose & Crown in favor of Le Cellier if an opening occurs...
  • Sunday (arrival)
    • Dinner - Boatwright's
  • Monday (MK)
    • Breakfast - Chef Mickey's
    • Lunch - (Open) [likely Columbia Harbor House]
    • Dinner - Wolfgang Puck Cafe
  • Tuesday (DHS)
    • Breakfast - Playhouse Disney at Hollywood & Vine
    • Lunch - Mama Melrose
    • Dinner - Sci-Fi Dine In
  • Wednesday (MK)
    • Breakfast - Crystal Palace
    • Lunch - Liberty Tree Tavern
    • Dinner - Kona Cafe [Added 2/25]
  • Thursday (Epcot)
    • Breakfast - Princess Breakfast at Akerhaus
    • Lunch - Coral Reef
    • Dinner - Rose & Crown
  • Friday (MK)
    • Breakfast - CRT
    • Lunch - (Open) [either skip or share a CS at Cosmic Ray's]
    • Dinner - Tony's Town Square
  • Saturday (AK)
    • Breakfast - Donald's Safari at Tusker House
    • Lunch - (Open) [maybe Pizzafari or Y&Y counter service]
    • Dinner - Hoop-De-Doo Revue
  • Sunday (MK/departure)
    • Breakfast - (Open) [snack credits at POR/POFQ most likely]
    • Lunch - Crystal Palace

Comments: 4 of the 6 character meals are in parks before opening (H&V, CP, Akerhaus, TH), as such, skipping AM EMH makes a lot of sense. We'll get there early, have a good parking place, eat, interact, and still be one of the first ones in the park afterward (less so for Akerhaus).

We hadn't really planned on doing CP twice. The character breakfast was booked first, and the final day lunch was a late addition -- we figured a buffet was the best chance to make sure all three critters got a decent meal before we hit the road.

With the exception of Hollywood & Vine, which we've done for dinner (twice), we have never eaten at any of these restaurants before; even the CS choices will be new for us (except the possibility of Cosmic Ray's or Casey's in the MK).

Friday and Saturday feature early dinners, so we're (the adults, that is) either going to skip lunch and just have snacks, or we'll get one lunch and split it. If we find ourselves hungrier than that, we can always pay one CS meal OOP.

Next Up: Pre-Trip Preparation and General Touring Strategy
Life is short. Eat dessert first.

March 2009: Port Orleans Riverside ( Trip Report -- Dining Report ) -- May 2006: Vacation Village timeshare -- May 2002: Orange Lake timeshare

Last edited by Faldred; 04-07-2009 at 12:30 PM.
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