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Old 02-17-2011, 03:59 PM   #196
Busymom85
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Great reviews. Love that you took a picture of the menus. Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:41 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by shera View Post
Kona looks sooo good,I am thinking I have got to squeeze in a reservation for our upcoming trip.So much food ,so little time,lol.Thanks for the great reviews.Looks like you guys had a wonderful trip!!
We did have a great trip, and like you it was difficult to make choices regarding the reservations. But what we did was have backups, in our case the Maya Grill, Kona Cafe and The Wave, all checked and ready to go in case they were needed, and what do you know, two of the three were!

I reckon Kona is a great place for you to think about going to, but just make sure you aren't sacrificing something great in order to go there.

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Originally Posted by Disneyland_Mama View Post
I've been enjoying your reviews. You've done a wonderful job.

I know this is totally off-topic, but you would mind giving your thoughts on how the crowds were during your visit? I've got a trip planned this year right around the time your family was there. By the way, you have lovely family.

-Tracy
Thanks for reading! As for your question, there are a few points that I have to make to give you a proper answer. Firstly, we were expecting mammoth crowds from all reports here at the DisBoards and other places. Secondly, our last experience of Disney was late June, so Summer holidays and I assume it must be pretty popular at the time of year.

Now as for this trip, TBH I didn't think the crowds were too bad. I think there are two factors which made the crowds a bit smaller than usual. Firstly, Orlando was experiencing record low weather (a record low of 27 was set while we were there!) so a lot of folks probably decided to stay inside instead of venture out to the parks. If you are prepared for the cold though, you can really get good value from this as after dark the queue times are usually quite short! The other factor was that virtually all flights to Orlando from the Northeast (which, as I understand, is one of the biggest sources of visitors to the parks) were cancelled, which meant that no-one could make it for Christmas. This was proved to be correct in my opinion on the day I just wrote about, the 28th, since the flights had started and the queues were much, much longer.

Getting FPs was no problem either, which was pretty good.

I'll give you a few examples of wait times. These are kind of like averages, since we saw so many different wait times.

Everest - 40mins
Kali River Rapids, Splash Mountain, anything where you get wet - 10mins
Tower of Terror - 30 to 40mins
Test Track - Never used queue, always got FPs.
Mission SPACE - 20mins
Most Fantasyland rides - 15-40mins
Soarin' - 40-120mins

And so on. I was really expecting much longer waits so I was happy.

I hope I've answered your question. If you need any more info I'm happy to help, just ask here or DM me!

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Originally Posted by Busymom85 View Post
Great reviews. Love that you took a picture of the menus. Thanks for posting.
Thank-you!
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:37 AM   #198
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Trying to catch up on your reviews, I was under the weather the beginning of the week and just now read your post about WGPE. I have them on my tentative list for when we go to DTD, that bacon wrapped meatloaf has my name all over it
My problem now is after reading your review of Raglan Road I want to eat there too, we did just add another day to our trip so maybe we can do two trips to DTD I am thinking, still working on our itinerary but I have time do not have to make ADR's until March 29th.
Thanks again for the reviews, now back to reading so I can catch up
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:59 AM   #199
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I now want to add Kona to my ADR list too! This is bad everything looks so good. My DH is somewhat like your DD and does not care for sweet sauces and if he remembers asks for it on the side or not to have it at all, he would not want the pineapple either. I on the other had am the complete opposite.

When we go out I am always telling him it is a good thing he is not rich since he likes such plain food.

The appitizers had my mouth watering as did the desserts. All I can say is YUM

Looking forward to reading more, can not believe it is coming to an end
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:04 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by sjs314 View Post
Trying to catch up on your reviews, I was under the weather the beginning of the week and just now read your post about WGPE. I have them on my tentative list for when we go to DTD, that bacon wrapped meatloaf has my name all over it
My problem now is after reading your review of Raglan Road I want to eat there too, we did just add another day to our trip so maybe we can do two trips to DTD I am thinking, still working on our itinerary but I have time do not have to make ADR's until March 29th.
Thanks again for the reviews, now back to reading so I can catch up
Sorry to hear that you weren't well, I hope you're feeling better now.

Making two trips to DtD isn't such a bad idea, especially if you have two days without EMH evenings or something like that. Or perhaps one towards the end of your trip when you are pretty much done with all the rides in the parks

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjs314 View Post
I now want to add Kona to my ADR list too! This is bad everything looks so good. My DH is somewhat like your DD and does not care for sweet sauces and if he remembers asks for it on the side or not to have it at all, he would not want the pineapple either. I on the other had am the complete opposite.

When we go out I am always telling him it is a good thing he is not rich since he likes such plain food.

The appitizers had my mouth watering as did the desserts. All I can say is YUM

Looking forward to reading more, can not believe it is coming to an end
Yep, the Teriyaki steak would not be the choice for your husband then since it is the pineapple marinade that they can't really remove. Perhaps since he likes steak the ginger-crusted rib-eye may be better suited to him? It also sounds pretty interesting!
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:53 AM   #201
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3-in-1! Pepper Market, Snacks then more Pepper Market!

Well our day of departure had arrived, but unfortunately DS had been ill through the night and there was no way that we could make the flight. As a result of all the re-bookings of people affected by all the winter storms the first flight out of MCO we could get was on January 1st, so we were stuck in WDW for a few more days. Ordinarily not such a bad thing, but since DS wasn't feeling too well and a few of our plans for Las Vegas (the next part of the trip) were messed up this time was just spent hoping nothing else would go wrong.

Part One of Three - Dining Solo at the Pepper Market


So DM and DD went off with DS to the medical centre and I was left all alone . I needed to have something to eat and I couldn't really leave the hotel so I decided to go to the Pepper Market. The staff were really accomodating of me as a single diner and offered bar seating but I just took a table. The waitress was really nice too, I got the drink filled at the bar but she brought out a straw and when she saw my meal she got me a steak knife. For my entree I decided to get the Grilled New York Strip ($14.95) from the Grill Station, served medium-rare as I always do. It was really good as they had a chef at the station and I watched him slap a juicy strip steak onto the grill and cook it. It only took ten minutes or so and during this time you could always get drinks organised etc, which is what I did. For the sides you can have grilled vegetables and either french fries or mashed potatoes. I went with the vegetables and french fries.

Sorry, I didn't get any pics for this meal (didn't take the camera) but I've got a picture of DD's New York Strip steak in the third review below, which is pretty much the same except he had mashed potatoes instead of fries.

I was very happy with the steak. It was cooked as ordered, fast, and fresh. The grilling gave it a very nice flavour of its own, and I don't think there were any marinades or anything like that. The fries were very good too. But surprisingly, I thought that the grilled vegetables were the best part of the meal! I don't think they did anything special to them other than grilling them, but they just tasted amazing. I seriously cannot explain why they tasted so good, but they really did. Vegetarians, seriously I would recommend you come here and just ask for a plate of the vegetables! . Really, really nice.

For dessert I just went to the bakery and got one of the regular desserts. I believe it was the Oreo cake ($3.99), quite similar to the chocolate mousse cake in shape but instead of chocolate mousse it was like a layer of cake and then some cream and then some oreo biscuit on top. It was pretty good.

Since I was using the resort mug for drinks I just picked up a bottle of Dasani water to go ($2.50).

All in all a good meal, which I would recommend to those visiting the Pepper Market. Definitely one of the better deals for those on the dining plan, and even for those paying OOP this is definitely not your average counter service and I reckon it is still worth the money

Cost:

1 CS credit used - 3 remaining
Bill Total - $22.83
Running Total - $2637.72


Part Two of Three - Some Snacks from Panchitos


We just had some snack credits left over so we went and bought a bottle of Smart Water ($3.25), a Nesquik Chocolate Milk ($2.19) and a pack of Ritz Crackers (around $3.50 I believe).

Nothing much to say here, although it was good that we could get something really plain for DS to have and it was quite a large pack of biscuits. I know some people who are diabetic etc like to have a biscuit or two on hand during the day so this might be a reasonable snack option.

Cost:

3 snack credits used - 0 remaining
Bill Total - $9.52 (avg. $3.17ea)
Running Total - $2647.24


Part Three of Three - Using our final CS credits for dinner at the Pepper Market


Now that DM, DS and DD had returned and DS was feeling a bit better we went down to the Pepper Market to grab something to eat.

For the first time we got a table that wasn't in the central area, it was along the edge of the restaurant. Not a bad table by any means, just a bit different to usual. Our server was pretty good, kept the mugs filled and made sure we had everything we needed. More on this later...

Anyways DM organised with the pasta chefs to get DS a Chicken Pappardelle pasta ($12.99) but instead of being served altogether she got the pasta, sauce and chicken tenders all separately. DS really wasn't too hungry so she just nibbled on the dish. It wasn't bad, it's just that she wasn't feeling well.

Both DM and DD got the New York Strip with grilled veggies and mashed potatoes ($14.99). They both liked it.

I decided to have a 14" Supreme Pizza ($14.99). The chef told me it would be about ten minutes so I went away for like five minutes then came back. When I returned she called out a Supreme Pizza and I assumed it wasn't mine since it wasn't anywhere near ten minutes yet and anyway another guest stepped up to claim it. After waiting a few minutes she realised I was still waiting and apologised and said that the one she had given to the other guy was meant to be for me. She fast-tracked my pizza and very kindly just crossed it off my ticket so I wouldn't have to pay for it. This was very nice of her.

And now I've made y'all read enough already, time for some pics! Sorry, only the steaks and the pizza were photographed since the pasta wasn't a complete dish.

Pizza



Steak



The pizza was just as good as the supreme pizza was, and there was plenty of it! Easily shared between two people or even three as a light meal.

For dessert we just picked out three chocolate mousse cakes I think, or perhaps there was one oreo cake in the mix ($3.99ea). Tasted the same as always

We also got three bottled waters just to use the entitlement ($2.50ea)

Now onto the interesting part of the meal. Our waitress came up to us and pointed out that the tip was not included. I know there has been some confusion over this point for quite some time so I thought I would try and clear it up a bit. On our first trip we knew from the card that it said it wasn't included, and we were more than happy for them to charge us 10% at the checkout as everyone else would be. However we weren't and from what i have read here and other places, this could mean that the service is included. However from our experience on this visit it clearly isn't.

I'm not sure how others feel about this but for us I don't think this is the proper way to do this. If other guests just pay 10% at the check-out then that is what DDP guests should pay also. It's not like at a TS place when you get a bill and can see how much your total is, here you only get the total bill when you're leaving so you would have to physically go around to each kitchen station and calculate how much you're meant to tip. The method just doesn't work at an establishment like this.

The waitresses/waiters should not even have to resort to having to point this out to get their tip, it isn't entirely fair on them. If the Pepper Market just wrote on their ticket something like "Gratuity is not included on Dining Plan, please pay server" at least that would make it somewhat easier because at the moment it just says "gratuity not included on dining plan" and I'm sure that many others and not just us would assume, and rightly so in my opinion that it would just be paid at check-out. This is my only problem with the Pepper Market. More than happy to pay the tip, but at least make it easy for me!

However, I still think this place serves good food, the service is good and it represents great value for money on the DDP.

So that concluded our DDP experience at Disney .

Cost (exc. my pizza of course):

3 CS credits used - 0 remaining
Bill Total - $66.41 (avg. $22.14ea)

Running Total - $2713.65!



NEXT UP:

So that brings to a conclusion the end of the DDP component of our trip. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and I hope it proves useful for the planning of your own trips.

But there are still a couple of reviews to go! These reviews may seem a little different, especially the value judgements since we're no longer on the DDP and paying OOP! And sadly I don't think there are any desserts from this point on, although after eleven days of the DDP we really didn't mind, there's just so much food on the DDP!

Before continuing on with my non-DDP reviews I'll be writing up a short conclusion on our DDP experience, which I hope will be useful for everyone thinking of doing the DDP at some stage in the future.

Thanks,
Stephen and Family
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:45 AM   #202
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Really enjoyed your reviews!...Thank you for taking the time to post them!

...also love that you appreciate a good cupcake!
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:03 AM   #203
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This is the first time I have posted on this thread; however, I have been lurkiing and reading since you started. Excellent job on this report. It was nice reading honest reviews about all of the dining experiences you had. On some of them I have taken notes. Thank you.
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:21 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by mommycrawford View Post
Really enjoyed your reviews!...Thank you for taking the time to post them!

...also love that you appreciate a good cupcake!
I'm glad that you enjoyed reading them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by goofy4prez View Post
This is the first time I have posted on this thread; however, I have been lurkiing and reading since you started. Excellent job on this report. It was nice reading honest reviews about all of the dining experiences you had. On some of them I have taken notes. Thank you.
Your welcome! I hope it proves helpful for your trip
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Old 02-20-2011, 01:17 AM   #205
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It's time to break down the Dining Plan!

So after 11 table service meals each, 11 counter service meals each and 11 snacks each we finally reached the end of the dining plan.

In my opinion, I thought that it was really good and the planning we did before going (thanks sooo much to the DisBoards and the Disney Food Blog in particular!) was well worth it, as we had sooo many good meals and not too many bad ones.

If anyone is worried about not having enough food, don't be . Even some of us were a little apprehensive prior to going but we found that having an early CS lunch and then a TS dinner was fine. The snack really was not necessary, but don't get me wrong it was great to have! I heard a few other families talking about the DDP while we were on the trip and they all seemed to think the same thing, plenty of food, nothing to complain about. Usually if we were to go out for a CS lunch all we would have is an entree each, maybe two drinks to share and no dessert. For dinner we would each get an entree, a drink and maybe one or two apps or dessert to share. So we did get more food than we would normally get.

Another good thing about the dining plan is that it pressured us into actually making some TS reservations . Some may think that is a bad thing, but on our last trip we didn't make any reservations at all so we ended up eating at Whispering Canyon Cafe about three times, Rainforest Cafe two or three times and I don't think we ever had a TS meal in any of the parks. When it came to CS meals we weren't prepared either and ate at Roaring Forks at the WL many times and when we ate CS at the parks, on-the-whole it wasn't as good as the CS places we visited this time, because we just didn't know where to go. We still had an awesome time on that trip, but having all the variety and the impetus to make reservations that comes from the Dining Plan was really good for us.

So now onto some pricing comparisons!

The food we purchased on the dining plan would have cost $2713.65 out of pocket, give or take maybe $10 (I kept all receipts and wrote down prices etc to try and keep it as accurate as possible ). That equates to $246.70 a day, or $61.67 per person, per day. The cost of the dining plan (we travelled peak season) was $47.99 per person, per night or $2111.56 for the entire stay.

So the saving between the two was $602.09, or an average of $54.74 per day or $13.68 per person per day. Of course, as I said before we probably wouldn't have ordered so much food if we weren't on the DDP so I'll take that into account.

The breakdown for our DDP total was...

$1728.97 of TS meals
$841.62 of CS meals
$143.06 of Snacks

Doing some very rough calculations here, at an average of $6.50 per TS dessert (over 7 TS desserts only, since 4 TS meals were buffets) and $3.50 per CS dessert, that would be $45.50pp in TS dessert and $38.50pp in CS dessert over the eleven nights. Also factoring in that we would only have bought two drinks with each CS meal, which is a $5 saving per day. So overall, if we cut out the dessert (using the rough averages I've got above) and the two extra CS drinks each day, that's...

$336 of desserts over the stay
$55 of drinks over the stay

I think the snacks total would have probably stayed the same or it could have even increased if we had to buy more water or food since we wouldn't be having the desserts etc, so I'll leave the snacks as it is.

So if I were to subtract the $336 of desserts and $55 of drinks from the total amount we actually spent on the DDP, it would be something like $2322.65, which is still $211.09 more than the cost of the DDP. Even if you take a couple of dollars extra out of each tip and perhaps on a few meals we may have taken cheaper options (since we usually tried to find more expensive things on the DDP) it really is not very much that we're talking about here.

So I suppose the overall conclusion, put very simply, is this. The dining plan cost $2111.56 for all of us for the whole stay. If we had paid out of pocket, getting less food and such as we would usually do, we probably would have paid something either a little bit more than the cost of the DDP, or something so insignificantly less that it wouldn't warrant paying OOP and missing out on all the desserts and extra drinks. So for us, I think that getting the DDP basically meant free dessert and more drinks! Either way it would have been about the same price, so you might as well go with the DDP and get more eh?

I think I'll leave the comments on which restaurants we liked best etc until the very end of the report, since there are still a couple more reviews to post! However, I will put some tips below which I hope you might find helpful. If anyone has any other tips feel free to post them!


TIPS:

1) If you are travelling as a family or group of friends, perhaps buy a couple of large sodas and use the extra entitlements for bottled drinks to carry around. This will definitely be useful as the weather heats up, I know we probably had at least two bottles each per day when we went in June '06! And usually you don't need 22oz of soda each to go with your meal!

2) We found that a good way of using the credits was to have an early CS lunch (from restaurant opening to around 12:30ish) and then a TS dinner at anytime between like 7-9pm. If the lunch is left too late you may be too full for dinner!

3) Try and plan dining around Extra Magic hours if that is what you're interested in. For example, if MK has EMH try to get a restaurant in the MK or around the MK. If no park has EMH, this could be a chance to try something at DtD or your resort, or even another resort.

4) We found that the buffets and the prix fixe three course menus were good options. Although they may not provide the best value out of a credit in all cases, they do provide pretty good value and also you get to try a larger variety of things, like an app, a soup, an entree, a bunch of desserts etc. It also provides for a nice change from the regular entree and dessert you would usually get.

5) If you find that you have nothing to do, it doesn't hurt to check-in early! We checked in early many times and on many occasions they were able to seat us well in advance of our reserved time. We were especially surprised that we could do this during peak season!

6) Grab a resort refillable mug! We bought just two mugs to share between the four of us and that was definitely enough, so I don't think a mug each is a necessity but like maybe two mugs per family of four is probably enough. They was $14.99 each, we probably refilled them at least 20-30 times and now we've brought them home and can continue using them as a convenient drink mug AND a souvenir! Even with the dining plan we were still happy that we got them.

7) Some restaurants (eg. 50s PTC and Le Cellier) offer a specialty non-alcoholic beverage on the DDP. If these are available, I say go for it! It lets you try something a bit different.

8) Consider printing jjohnson's snack list from the DDP forum. She has done a very good job and I consider it to be very accurate! It is quite a long list but what I did was cut out most of the resorts since I knew we wouldn't be using snack credits at most of them and cut out the popcorn, fruit, drinks etc that I knew would always be available for a snack credit. I then reduced the font size and printed back to back, and i think it was like three back to back pages in total. This way I could just take one page each day and that would have the park we were visiting on it. I could share my reduced size list, but it is easy to make and it is probably a bit outdated now!

9) If you are looking to make the best value out of your credits, a TS dinner is usually more expensive than a TS lunch so you can make more value by using it at dinner time. I'm not sure about what others think, but personally I find that using a TS meal for breakfast usually isn't the best value, unless it's a breakfast buffet which is usually a bit better.

While we're on the topic of value, I think I told y'all about the little competition we had to see who would make the most value out of the dining plan back in my first review! It was very close, let me tell you . Of course the amounts might be a little bit off.

1st Place $678.77 - Me!
2nd Place $677.25 - Dad (It's really too close to say I definitely beat Dad, so I think we'll share the glory )
3rd Place $627.01 - Rachel
4th Place $625.88 - Mum (Once again, too close to judge between 3rd and 4th!)

So that brings us to the end of my small DDP conclusion. I hope you enjoyed all my crazy math and if you have any questions or anything please let me know!

NEXT UP: Our first actual breakfast for the whole trip!
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:59 AM   #206
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Our first breakfast - Cafe Rix

The DDP had ended and we decided to start doing things a little differently, starting off with breakfast!

The Cafe Rix serves some pre-made items as well as drinks and sweets, but on top of this they also serve a limited selection of hot items made fresh in the kitchen for lunch and dinner. They just have this window into the kitchen in the cafe and you can just tell the chef what you want. I believe during peak times they actually have them ready to go so you just pick what you want and take it to the cashier. They also have some seating, both indoors in the adjoining Rix Lounge and then outdoors near the lake.

We picked up a ham, cheese and egg croissant, a bacon, cheese and egg croissant ($6.50ea), a plain croissant for DS ($3.99) and a fruit plate for DM ($7.95). Below are the pictures. I didn't get a picture of the plain croissant but it's just like the regular one but without filling.

Bacon, Cheese and Egg



Ham, Cheese and Egg



Fruit Platter (This included a yoghurt, some fresh fruit and some muesli)



The meals were fine. They were quickly prepared and tasted fresh. We ate them in our room. I think that the filled croissants were probably the best value option out of the three, since it was only $2.50 more than the plain croissant and the fruit plate was actually more! However, Mum did like her fruit plate and DS wouldn't have been able to handle much more than a plain croissant at this point, so there wasn't much choice.

This isn't the type of place that I would recommend that you go out of your way to visit, but if you're staying at the CSR it is a decent option to grab something to eat. It is quite a bit cheaper than eating at the Pepper Market and there's no service charge (although I should also point out that if you take your food to go at the Pepper Market no service is added, they give you a special ticket for these purchases). I know that both this place and the Pepper Market accept the dining plan and if you were on the DDP I think going to Pepper Market will get you far better value out of the credit, but if you're paying OOP this is quite a cheap place to do so. So all in all I would recommend this place to people looking for a light, quick meal, or those that are paying OOP.

Cost:

4 meals
Bill Total - $26.57 (avg. $6.64ea)

I think I'll leave out the running totals now since this is off the DDP

NEXT UP: Lunch at the Earl of Sandwich, a Margarita for DD and then it's off to dinner at one of our faves, the Maya Grill!
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:02 AM   #207
auntfrannie
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It's sad that your reviews are coming to an end! I've enjoyed checking in every day to see your posts. One question though. You mentioned that you purchased 2 refillable mugs. I thought all of the dining plans included a free mug per person? At least any plan I've been on it's been included. So I'm just wondering if they have different plans when you're an international traveler.

Thanks so much for your dedication in keeping up with your daily updates!
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:52 AM   #208
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thanks for great reviews, ive enjoyed reading them

I must remember the tip about just getting 2 large drinks and then a bottled drink for the other meal.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:55 AM   #209
sjs314
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Your conclusion on the DDP and it's cost vs value was great, fine job with the math. I had to smile reading about your first "real" breakfast. We are doing the DxDP which seems like it is going to be so much food but we are "Breakfast" people when on vacation and love to start our day with a nice TS breakfast and we want to try so many new places this trip mostly in Epcot for lunch or dinner we will be doing our best to eat 3 meals a day.
DH can really put the food away but me not so much so should be interesting. We have never done the DP before at all so looking forward to having it all pre-paid and just paying tips during the trip. No looking at the prices and feeling guilty if I want to order one of the more expensive items.
Thank You for all the great reviews !
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:33 AM   #210
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Thank you for the great reviews.You have given us so many wonderful tips.I loved your report.
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