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Old 06-13-2010, 12:21 PM   #1
lurkyloo
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World of Color Preferred Viewing Dining Reviews: Ariel's vs. WCT!

UPDATE:

We've now done the Preferred Viewing Dining package at both restaurants. To skip ahead to the second one, click here:

Ariel's Grotto - 6/19: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post37079245



******************************************
Wine Country Trattoria Review - 6/13

I thought I'd do a quick write-up of our experience with the Preferred Viewing Dining Package being offered for World of Color. It feels a little unfair, since we went on Day 2 and they seem to be changing things daily, but here it is…

Dining Experience

We made a reservation for Wine Country Trattoria at 4pm—the very first seating—because initially the dining cast members were saying that even if you had a reservation and paid for the set meal, you might not get tickets to the WOC preferred viewing area if walk-up diners before you ordered off the set menu and qualified for tickets too. (I don't think this is still the case—at dinner last night we heard them tell a pair of walk-ups that only people with a WOC dining package reservation could order off the WOC menu and get the tickets.)

We picked Wine Country Trattoria even though it was more expensive than Ariels' Grotto because, back in the day, the upstairs restaurant was the park's one fine dining location and quite good. However, we found last night that now both upstairs and downstairs are devoted to the same aggressively mediocre fare.


Upstairs seating area




A few days after we made our reservation, we got a call from Disney Dining saying they'd overbooked and were moving us to 4:10pm. Not sure how that worked out for them, since we showed up at 3:55pm, checked in and were seated right away (although the kitchen resets between 3:30 and 4:00, so if you try to check in earlier, they smirk at you and tell you to come back closer to 4:00).


The menu had already changed from what we were told we'd be getting when we made our reservation. They dropped the mixed appetizer plate in favor of a pile of greens with a few crumbs of gorgonzola on it. What they didn't drop was the price of the meal, and when you consider that Ariel's still offers a full appetizer platter and is cheaper, it kinda stinks.

Field Greens




The other thing they did which just makes me laugh is change "New York Steak" on the menu to simply "New York" to cover their patooties so they can change the cut of meat as needed. What I got resembled cheap Las Vegas buffet prime rib.


The "New York" with chimichurri sauce




Lamb shank with more chimichurri sauce




The worst part was dessert, which consisted of two tiny coffee-flavored chocolate cakes, some fruit doused in balsamic vinegar, and two nasty panna cotta "shots" covered in a layer of bitter limoncello liqueur.


Well, at least it didn't have chimichurri sauce on it!




At the end of dinner they brought us our tickets with the bill. When I called the dining line this morning to make another dining reservation (this time for Ariel's) I was told that a 15% gratuity would automatically be added to our bill—but it wasn't last night. We used our Premium APs to get 15% off, but with the tip we still spent more than $80 on a meal that tasted no better than what you'd get at the French Market counter-service restaurant in Disneyland.


Viewing Experience

The tickets we got for the 9pm show said to arrive at Paradise Park between 7:30pm and 8:30pm and that "early and late arrivals will not be accommodated." Disney really doesn't want people lining up hours ahead of time, but these are Disney fans we're talking about here…

So, at about 6:30pm there were a couple hundred people milling around this spot pretending not to be lining up for World of Color:





A little before 7pm they put up barricades across the walkway, from the bridge to the future home of Ariel's Undersea Adventure, with two breaks in them. They said they were going to let us line up at the entrances to each colored area and we'd be there another 15 or 20 minutes before they let us into the park.

Two problems: 1) The Preferred Viewing dining tickets do not have a color on them! 2) The colored lights people have been reporting were not turned on (or simply not visible) so you had no idea where to go even if you did know your color.


I had heard from the message boards that we were in the blue area, but nobody told us this. And do NOT ask where "dining" is without using the term "preferred" because they will send you to line up for the crummy bridge viewing area! I had been at the front of the barricades, but by the time I had asked 5 different CMs where the preferred viewing area was and decided 3 out of 5 must mean "blue" was the right answer, I was at the back of a big crowd lined up for the blue section.

Preferred Dining ticket holders are in the BLUE section.

Hope that helps… The Blue section lines up just inside the barricades by a big lamppost, not further down the path toward the Golden Zephyr. We all crammed in there for another 20 minutes until they began to let us into the park. So basically, don't wait til 7:30pm to show up if you want your pick of spots. I'd say get there by 7:15pm at the latest. If you don't care where you are within the viewing area, then 7:30pm is OK.

The first CM we came to took our tickets, so when we got to the CM directing people toward the Preferred Viewing area, we had no way to prove we were supposed to be there. Fortunately, he took our word for it. Don't give up your tickets to the first CM you see!

There were actually two Preferred Viewing areas when we were there, and eventually they started referring to them as "wet" and "dry"… The DIS doesn't run these panorama shots at full size, but if you see the circular patio in this shot, that's "wet" and the staircase and terrace behind it is "dry."








View from "dry" upper area of Preferred Viewing over "wet" area




We chose to stand at the top of the stairs in the "dry" section so that no one standing in front of us could block our view. It is pretty much dead center and a good spot if you want to see the full scope of the show, but I think next time we'll just wear ponchos and get as close as we can so we can be figuratively AND literally immersed in the show.

View from top of stairs (the front) of the upper "dry" Preferred Viewing area






Tiny Spoiler!

OK, I said no spoilers, but here's one shot to show you how centered World of Color is when you're in the Preferred Viewing Section.

Pretty dang good!




I'll be back in a week to let you know how it goes on Day 9 with dinner at Ariel's Grotto!

Last edited by lurkyloo; 06-20-2010 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:26 PM   #2
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Good info Re: BLUE section....we go in 2 days.....I'm now not quite looking forward to the meal like I had been. But we were planning on eating at WCT on Tuesday anyway, so we'll pay a little more than we would have otherwise & will have preferred standing for WOC & double bonus, we won't have to fight the crowds at DCA opening for FP in mediocre viewing areas!
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for the report. I'm glad it will be a while before I'm back and most of the kinks will be worked out.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:33 PM   #4
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Thanks so much! Your info was very well organized and helpful. Based on what you and others have said I moved our AG res from 6:20 to 5:30 to make sure we have time to get over to the preferred Blue section line by 7PM. I had hoped to squeeze in the 4:40 Aladdin show before dinner (that is why I chose 6:20 originally - it was either 5:30 or 6:20 - I would prefer 5:45 to see Aladdin and WOC - but that was not available). I decided this morning to switch the AG res to 5:30 and see Aladdin at a different time.

Note that all the way out 6 weeks from now there were only four more dining reservations for the first WOC show on our day - for a party of our size (7).
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurkyloo View Post

Two problems: 1) The Preferred Viewing dining tickets do not have a color on them! 2) The colored lights people have been reporting were not turned on (or simply not visible) so you had no idea where to go even if you did know your color.


I had heard from the message boards that we were in the blue area, but nobody told us this. And do NOT ask where "dining" is without using the term "preferred" because they will send you to line up for the crummy bridge viewing area! I had been at the front of the barricades, but by the time I had asked 5 different CMs where the preferred viewing area was and decided 3 out of 5 must mean "blue" was the right answer, I was at the back of a big crowd lined up for the blue section.

Preferred Dining ticket holders are in the BLUE section.

Hope that helps… The Blue section lines up just inside the barricades by a big lamppost, not further down the path toward the Golden Zephyr. We all crammed in there for another 20 minutes until they began to let us into the park. So basically, don't wait til 7:30pm to show up if you want your pick of spots. I'd say get there by 7:15pm at the latest. If you don't care where you are within the viewing area, then 7:30pm is OK.

The first CM we came to took our tickets, so when we got to the CM directing people toward the Preferred Viewing area, we had no way to prove we were supposed to be there. Fortunately, he took our word for it. Don't give up your tickets to the first CM you see!
I was at preferred on 6/12 and wanted to echo your findings. I bold and underlined what I found to be very important.

Without a 'color' most CMs didn't know where to send us. DON'T give you ticket to the first CM! So important!. (for preferred dining). The 'preferred section, if we actually made it to the right area was still got really full and people had trouble seeing behind us. We were actually not on the middle fountain but in the 'row' to the left if you were looking at the lagoon. I'm sure there was plenty of people in there without preferred tickets.

When they finally let the gates lose it is really like cattle. You have to be vocal that you are going to the 'preferred section.' There was no CM saying or signs where preferred was. We have to ask multiple CMs where preferred was then just took the average of a mix of information.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:47 PM   #6
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Viewing Section Colors

Oh! I should add where all the different colored viewing areas are.

Orange = on the bridge and a little bit of the left edge of Paradise Park

Blue = dead center of the show, the part of the park that juts out into the bay

Yellow = to the right of Blue when facing the show

Red = Between Yellow and the Golden Zephyr
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egritz View Post
we won't have to fight the crowds at DCA opening for FP in mediocre viewing areas!
I should note that Blue FP holders do get to be in the middle too, but it appeared that they were restricted to the very front section (splash zone) *if* a CM directed them. Otherwise, they were up in the preferred view section with diners. And since you don't know what color FP you'll get, the dining package is still the best way to guarantee a good spot, like you said!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raindown View Post
When they finally let the gates lose it is really like cattle. You have to be vocal that you are going to the 'preferred section.'
Exactly! That's my plan for next time!
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:25 PM   #8
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I don't know why you would say that the view from the bridge is crummy. If you are able to stand closer to Paradise Park or in the section right below that that is the same angle as the cameras were for the live streaming. i think it's a good overall view of the show. If you are too close, you aren't ale to see how effectively the ribbons of light/lasers move across the lagoon. The night of the CM preview, we stood next to some folks from Burbank/Glendale that wanted to be in that spot to first get an overall view and were coming back some other time to get views closer in other sections. BTW, we were misted also on the bridge.
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:55 PM   #9
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Very in-depth!

Our experience varied somewhat - but in case it helps anyone, the major differences (in case Disney changes things yet again) were:

* We were told that the "wet" area was in front of the circle - not consisting of the circle itself - where we were standing (right in front of the steps). Next time, we're bringing ponchos and standing as close to the railing as possible. (They also yelled that there would be no kids-on-shoulders allowed, which was promptly ignored by many people).
* We lined up starting about 6:00 just to the right of the bridge... where a CM sent us after having waited in what was apparently the correct area that you were in When they let us in, there were already "preferred dining" people there that some other CM had let in. (Which had to have been before 7:30, FYI!)
* In regard to the dinner, we also got the salad, but I didn't notice the appetizer thing. Our dessert was totally different - no yellow cup thingies, our "coffee brownies" didn't have stuff on them, and we got tiramisu instead of the cups. Our bill was also just over $100 - but we each got a drink (of the fun adult variety) with our meal.
* They told us if we needed to use the restroom, to see a CM and get a ticket to get back into the zone we came from. I did this, and when coming back, the first CM took it from me. The second CM guarding my area, however, was unhappy about this, but he let me go anyway. So, make sure you give it back to the person who gave it to you!

Next time: we're definitely doing the dining option again. However, like you noted, we also decided to stick with Ariel's. We're also bringing ponchos.

It seems like there were a lot of kinks - but it was the first day. When we showed up at 6:00, there were already hundreds of people taking up every inch of space around the lake. Many of them had already seen it! (CMs or people who won the radio giveaway they apparently had a preview for the night before).
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:59 PM   #10
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I have read that people were not crowded in like sardines..which is refreshing!!! But I have a question...Were strollers a problem? Is there an area to park them for the show or were ppl bringing them into the viewing area? We will have a stroller for DD3 so just wondering where everyone is parking them???
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romymichelle21 View Post
* They told us if we needed to use the restroom, to see a CM and get a ticket to get back into the zone we came from. I did this, and when coming back, the first CM took it from me. The second CM guarding my area, however, was unhappy about this, but he let me go anyway. So, make sure you give it back to the person who gave it to you!
Good to know! And I too am curious to see how all this will evolve as they get the kinks worked out....


Quote:
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I have read that people were not crowded in like sardines..which is refreshing!!! But I have a question...Were strollers a problem? Is there an area to park them for the show or were ppl bringing them into the viewing area? We will have a stroller for DD3 so just wondering where everyone is parking them???
People brought strollers into the viewing area—the dining area, at least. Not sure if they let them into the regular FP areas because those were more sardine-y!
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:48 PM   #12
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Based on what you and others have said I moved our AG res from 6:20 to 5:30
HydroGuy, how were you able to get a 5:30pm @ AG? I had a 6pm, but tried to move it to 5:30 and they told me that for some reason AG only does 5 or 6pm for indoor seating, and they had one spot for outdoor @ 5:20pm (but no 5:30pm)
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cooniez View Post
HydroGuy, how were you able to get a 5:30pm @ AG? I had a 6pm, but tried to move it to 5:30 and they told me that for some reason AG only does 5 or 6pm for indoor seating, and they had one spot for outdoor @ 5:20pm (but no 5:30pm)
They told me they had 5:20 and 5:30 for outdoor party of 7. I took 5:30.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:06 PM   #14
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They told me they had 5:20 and 5:30 for outdoor party of 7. I took 5:30.
Ah I see you got 5:30 outdoor seating. So weird how the information varies so much depending on which CM one speaks to...I always seem to get the mis-informed ones!
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
Thanks so much! Your info was very well organized and helpful. Based on what you and others have said I moved our AG res from 6:20 to 5:30 to make sure we have time to get over to the preferred Blue section line by 7PM. I had hoped to squeeze in the 4:40 Aladdin show before dinner (that is why I chose 6:20 originally - it was either 5:30 or 6:20 - I would prefer 5:45 to see Aladdin and WOC - but that was not available). I decided this morning to switch the AG res to 5:30 and see Aladdin at a different time.

Note that all the way out 6 weeks from now there were only four more dining reservations for the first WOC show on our day - for a party of our size (7).
It will be interesting to see your analysis of the whole scheme.

Jack
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