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Old 10-07-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
jessthemix
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Need Advice on My Schedule

Hi, friends!

I need some advice on our tentative dining plans. Our trip isn't until September 2013, but I've created a "tentative" schedule for all of our ADR's because we have the Deluxe meal plan this year. I wanted to make sure I started planning in advance, so I can be ready when my 180-day mark hits.

I need advice from all of you Disney experts on the restaurants we've chosen, along with our schedule. The times I have for each or the times I hope to be able to book. Keep in mind, we have 15 TS credits with the Deluxe Dining plan, so it's a TON of food...

Here it is...


Thursday, 12th (Day we arrive; plan to arrive at resort around noon)
1:00pm Resort Food Court
6:15pm Hoop De Doo Revue – Fort Wilderness; Pioneer Hall

Friday, 13th (We are going to Magic Kingdom this day.)
8:30am Chef Mickey’s – Contemporary Resort
1:00pm Liberty Tree Tavern – Magic Kingdom; Frontierland
7:30pm Be Our Guest – Magic Kingdom; Fantasyland

Saturday, 14th (We are going to Hollywood Studios this day.)
12:00pm 50’s Prime Time Café – Hollywood Studios
6:00pm Sci-Fi Diner – Hollywood Studios

Sunday 15th (We are going to Epcott this day.)
11:00am Nine Dragons – Epcott; China
6:00pm Le Cellier – Epcott; Canada

Monday 16th (We are going back to Magic Kingdom this day.)
8:00am 1900 Park Fare – Grand Floridian
1:00pm Cinderella’s Royal Table – Magic Kingdom; Cinderella’s Castle
8:00pm Tony’s – Magic Kingdom; Mainstreet U.S.A.

I need all the feedback I can get regarding transportation, food quality, location, etc.

Thanks, guys!
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:21 AM   #2
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I think overall your plans look really good. Nine Dragons and Tony's tend to get pretty mediocre reviews, but I don't know your family's preferences, and a lot can change in a year.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:25 AM   #3
juliebug1997
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Where are you staying? Are you driving?

If you are using Disney Transportation....
For HDDR, it will be difficult getting there, but, when you leave, they will have buses waiting near Pioneer Hall to go back to your resort area.

For the two mornings that you are starting off at monorail resorts with breakfast, you can take an early MK bus from your resort and then hop on the monorail. However, this requires you to be at the bus stop by 7 AM at the very latest. I would recommend a taxi. If you're staying on property and don't have a car, you can take a taxi for about $20 and you don't have to get up quite as early. If you have little ones, the front desk can help you get a taxi that's bigger and has child safety equipment. I would let them know ahead of time.

As for dining choices, I think they all look great, except for Tony's. Many here will slam Tony's for food, but my biggest problem with them is their service. We had an appetizer and flatbreads this past June and we were in there for over an hour.

Nine Dragons is not brought up here a lot and I think many don't like it. However, I think their food is pretty good. It tastes a little fresher than some places you could go. If you do decide to switch, I would consider going to Via Napoli. It's delicious! Also, if you decide to switch your Le Cellier to lunch (because it will be two credits by then as well), consider Garden Grill (with Chip and Dale) for dinner--the only meal they serve.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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I would agree with Nine Dragons. The food was not good & we did finish eating it. BOG-good luck with your time. we could not get anything except for 8:45 & tried everyday to see if anything opens, nothing.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
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My opinions/suggestions are predicated entirely on our style of park strategy and dining preference. If you have other goals and objectives, then ignore me.

I would not do a character breakfast on the morning of each of my MK visits. I find the early morning hours th be the most enjoyable when the park is less crowded. I always feel like I've missed an opportunity when I show up at the MK and find 40 minute lines at all the most popular attractions knowing that I caused this just because we wanted to get autographs from some characters. I'd rather knock that off at lunch or dinner and use the morning hours having the park to myself, or close to it. So I would move Chef Mickey to the second of your two days in the MK, and on your first day, head straight to the park and use snack credits at the bakery, or eat something in your room before heading out. Again, not saying this is the "right" way. It is just how we roll.

Second, having the DxDP should allow you to try some signatures. Instead of 3 TS meals a day, I would do a single credit at breakfast or lunch, and double up the remaining 2 TS credits for some signature dinners. Three very average (but filling) single credit meals per day is too much food and too much time sitting in restaurants for us. One single credit meal coupled with a nice dinner at one of the better restaurants fits us much better. We don't need much more food than that, but if we did, snacks and out of pocket would suffice.

And as others have opined, Tony's is not good, and while Nine Dragons is fine, it just isn't a unique enough WDW experience for us. I agree that Via Napoli or Biergarten would be upgrades.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:05 AM   #6
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See! This is exactly why I love this forum! You guys are experts, and I am so thankful for your advice. My family and I have only been to WDW once; we just returned in September, and we're already planning our next trip for next year.

Allow me to address several suggestions that were offered...

About Tony's: We had Tony's for lunch on our last trip, and we absolutely LOVED it! It was quiet, relaxed, and delicious. I would say that it was our best meal at the parks. I think that is because all of our other TS meals were character meals, which makes for a very hectic dinner when you have two children under 5. It was nice to just be able to sit and eat. We were also tired of the fried chicken nuggets and other QS-like meals that we had been eating all week for lunch, since all of our TS meals were at dinner-time. We actually enjoyed the food, too. My husband had the shrimp scampi and I had the baked ziti. I also liked that my children were able to choose a salad as their appetizer. My DD loves salad, but we usually have to pay extra for her to order a salad, since salads are rarely included with the children's meals. We also liked Tony's because our reservations were timed perfectly; as soon as we were finished, we walked out just in time to get a seat for the mid-day parade. I guess our exceptional experience was a fluke, but we really enjoyed it. I will talk to my husband and consider other options based on what y'all have said.

About Nine Dragons: We chose this restaurant based on the recommendation of a couple we met on the bus during our last trip who said they had just come from there and that it was delicious! My husband really enjoys Chinese food, so we thought we'd add it to our schedule. I'll talk to him about switching to something else. We also considered Teppan Edo.

Our transportation: We are driving from South Carolina, so we will have our car available. We planned to drive to HDDR the first night, since that's the only place we'll be going that night. Hopefully, though, that's the only time we plan to move our car from the resort parking lot during our stay.

About our morning resort breakfasts: We've found that in September, the parks don't open until 9:00am or 10:00am, so I'm hoping that an 8:00am breakfast should get us to the front gate just in time, considering Grand Floridian and Contemporary are just next to MK. The last time we had reservations at Chef Mickey's, we just walked from MK. I will, however, rethink the morning breakfasts, though. Sometimes when we eat big meals for breakfast, we feel full and sluggish for the rest of the day.

About our 3-meals-a-day schedule: We chose the DxDP so that we could try lots of different restaurants, not particularly for the quality of food. With two young children, it's hard to TRULY enjoy a good meal, so we are really just going for the experience. We tried to choose mostly restaurants that they would enjoy, and they wouldn't enjoy sitting in a nice restaurant where they have to be well-behaved.

Again, thank you so very much for this valuable feedback. I will talk to my husband and rework a few things. This is exactly why I wanted to start this planning process so far ahead, because I knew I would change things around 400 times!
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:12 AM   #7
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As someone that planned our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in the same fashion - it was a lot of running around to eat.

We didn't get to do as many things in the parks, or other things planned because we were always trying to make a reservation. We now do a sit down breakfast, sit down dinner, and we'll just grab something in the middle. We do a couple of 2 tb credit meals as well.

We also have two small children, and doing a character breakfast and character dinner worked out so well! We get to meet a ton of characters, and the kids are occupied with their food in between meet and greets which avoids us standing in line at the parks trying to keep them occupied!

If you're prepared to constantly be eating and trucking to get to a reservation, it looks great! But if not, maybe cut back on the planned lunches.

Enjoy
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessthemix View Post
About our morning resort breakfasts: We've found that in September, the parks don't open until 9:00am or 10:00am, so I'm hoping that an 8:00am breakfast should get us to the front gate just in time, considering Grand Floridian and Contemporary are just next to MK.
An 8:30 ADR at Chef Mickey's won't get you to the front gate anywhere close to 9:00. (I can't recall the MK ever opening as late as 10:00.) Figure on being seated 10 minutes after your actual ADR time, and 45 minutes to eat and have the characters cycle through, and you won't leave CM until 9:30. From there, you could take the elevator down to the ground level and walk to the MK, or take the escalator to the monorail. Either way, you won't get to the security booth before 9:45 at the earliest. You won't be getting into the Dumbo line before 10:00, and even that might be a stretch. Now, in September, that might not matter one bit, so you could be fine. I just wouldn't want you to be misled into thinking that an 8:30 ADR will get you to the front gate "just in time."


Quote:
Originally Posted by jessthemix View Post
About our 3-meals-a-day schedule: We chose the DxDP so that we could try lots of different restaurants, not particularly for the quality of food. With two young children, it's hard to TRULY enjoy a good meal, so we are really just going for the experience. We tried to choose mostly restaurants that they would enjoy, and they wouldn't enjoy sitting in a nice restaurant where they have to be well-behaved.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarcher86 View Post
As someone that planned our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in the same fashion - it was a lot of running around to eat.

We didn't get to do as many things in the parks, or other things planned because we were always trying to make a reservation. We now do a sit down breakfast, sit down dinner, and we'll just grab something in the middle. We do a couple of 2 tb credit meals as well.
Balancing your comment and aaarcher86's response is tricky, but worth contemplating. You mention that your kids wouldn't enjoy sitting in a nice restaurant where they have to behave. First, they don't have to behave any differently in a nicer restaurant, assuming that they are not terrorizing other guests. The way I look at it, the only thing that some kids hate more than sitting at a dinner table at a nice restaurant twice a day, is sitting at any restaurant three times a day. This is where the balance comes in. Let's assume that the morning character meal is a given, and is going to happen no matter what. Is it better to have the kids sit around one more time at a nice restaurant, or two more times at mediocre restaurants? From the kids' perspective, sitting is sitting. The quality of the restaurant doesn't matter to them. Twice is worse than once. As aaarcher86 points out, grabbing something in the middle and bookending your table service meals can be far more enjoyable for kids who want to go, go, go.

Also, as she points out, three TS meals a day can easily transform your vacation from "a trip to the parks with some nice meals added in as diversions" to "a trip to Disney's restaurants with some visits to the parks added in as diversions". Try to balance the "my kids don't want to behave in a nice restaurant" with "my kids don't want to spend 6 hours a day waiting to be seated and then sitting at tables eating three TS meals a day." It's a tough thing to do.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyV

An 8:30 ADR at Chef Mickey's won't get you to the front gate anywhere close to 9:00. (I can't recall the MK ever opening as late as 10:00.) Figure on being seated 10 minutes after your actual ADR time, and 45 minutes to eat and have the characters cycle through, and you won't leave CM until 9:30. From there, you could take the elevator down to the ground level and walk to the MK, or take the escalator to the monorail. Either way, you won't get to the security booth before 9:45 at the earliest. You won't be getting into the Dumbo line before 10:00, and even that might be a stretch. Now, in September, that might not matter one bit, so you could be fine. I just wouldn't want you to be misled into thinking that an 8:30 ADR will get you to the front gate "just in time."
Totally agree with this timing. The parks don't open at 10 and I think you will be arriving at the MK at 10 or close to it on your Chef Mickeys day.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:32 PM   #10
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Also keep in mind that not only do you have to account for the time you are eating (which I always guesstimate as 2 hours to be safe), but you also need to assume there is time to get to each restaurant.

For example, if you eat at 8:30a at Chef Mickeys (2 hours from time there to time leaving) you're out at 10:30a. You then will have to take time to get over and into MK (another 30 minutes), so now you're at 11:00a. You've got roughly 1 - 1.5 hours before you need to start making your way over to your lunch reservation at 1p, which you probably aren't even hungry for yet.

Once you're done eating around 2:30p - 3p you've only got 4ish hours to do things before making your way over to your dinner reservation.

Sometimes it is really easy to look at the ADR times and think that all the time in between you'll be doing things, but I completely forgot about the actual time to eat and getting to and from other places!!!

Keeping in mind that waiting in line for characters takes time, waiting in lines for rides takes time, and walking in general to get places takes time. Doing any parades you'll have to wait roughly 30 or so minutes for a spot, 20 for the parade.... you're just not giving yourself much time to enjoy anything in general other than passing all the attractions on your way to eat.

You'll never eat everywhere you want on 1 trip - pull out some unimportant reservations and enjoy the parks. Seriously - I felt like Monica Gellar trying to keep everything organized with spreadsheets and get us to and from reservations and see all the attractions in a timely fashion
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:51 PM   #11
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You guys have been so helpful! I never really thought about the time it takes to eat and travel to and from the restaurants. By the time we get finished eating, it will be time to head to another reservation. Mmm...I guess this is going to take more consideration.

Good thing I still have 5 months before my 180-day mark!

Thanks for all of your feedback! Y'all have been so helpful. Based on your suggestions, I have made a few changes to my schedule. I haven't had a chance to talk these changes over with my husband, though, so once I do, I'll repost my "updated" tentative schedule. Stay tuned!
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:15 PM   #12
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I think you've done a pretty good job, given you're working with the Dining Plan. But this is what I don't like about the dining plan, too much focus/time on just eating. In a perfect world I would probably really change the 13th ...way too much dining, not enough enjoying the park(IMO). Regarding Nine Dragons -I think it's decent "Chinese" food, but I would rather grab some tapas at Cava del Tequila(and possibly an Avocado Margarita!) or hit Tutto Gusto for a relaxing wine and a nice prosciutto sandwich. After that, finish my day with a nice meal at Le Cellier.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:55 PM   #13
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we had a 7:30 am reservation seated promptly made it to magic kingdom with 10 minutes to opening show
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:26 PM   #14
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Since you have young children I would consider crystal palace at mk, pooh characters. And as others have said you will be going from reservation to reservation. We always do the ddp with 1 quick service and 1 counter and have even felt like we have missed park time revolving our evening around 1 reservation, I can't imagine 3 but if dining is your focus you will certainly accomplish that. Good luck!
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