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Old 12-27-2012, 03:00 PM   #541
Ninja Mom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sea nymph View Post
Ninja,
Very good information!
It's making me reconsider my plans and as first timers, it's hard to decide!
This is how we are currently set-up:
2 adults - 3 kids (6-9 years)
Beach Club with Deluxe Dining Plan staying 7 days
Have 9 ADR's made with 4 of them Character Meals (2 breakfast, 2 dinner)
Reservations at:
Cape May Cafe (2)
Cinderella Royal
Akershus
Yachtsman
Brown Derby
Narcoossee
Ohana
Tusker House

Thinking of switching to Package Plus Dining and adding Club Level, but that doesn't give us enough Table Service Dining with Package plus?
Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
When are you going?

If it's during the warmer months you are definitely going to want to spend a chunk of time at the pools.

You have to decide whether you want to spend that much time every day going to and from dining reservations. You are looking at around 2 plus hours of time out of your touring plan when you consider transportation to the restaurant, time at the table and any delays the restaurant may be having. Then there is the transportation back to the resort or to the desired park location. We always plan that we will go to the park nearest the restaurant we are eating at so that saves some time with transportation.

If it were me and I had kids your age group I would plan on one table service per day. Like I said before, lunch would work best if you are using Club Level. I also would not plan on a table service restaurant the day that you arrive because travel time to the resort and unpacking/resort exploration is going to be a priority that day. Keeping the meal options simple on arrival day is way less stressful and it allows for deviations like travel delays or extended time in the pool on arrival day or even a rest period to combat that early morning travel fatigue that you encounter on arrival day.

The other thing I recommend is considering a table service breakfast on the day of departure if your schedule allows. This means getting an early start on check out day and is only feasible if you are that organized and are mostly packed for departure the day before you leave. For my family, packing the day before actually makes the check out process a lot less stressful and bell services will stow the bags until your departure time. We did breakfast at the Captain's Grille on our departure day and then some of us hit Hollywood Studios while the rest hit the pool until departure time (4:00 pm).

Another option for you would be to consider some sort of resort baby sitting
service for the kids while you and hubby had a date night at one of the fancier restaurants. For most parents the idea of leaving the kids behind while you and the spouse went out and enjoyed Disney is unthinkable BUT many many parents have reported that the kids REALLY ENJOY spending time in the Sandcastle Club at the YC/BC resort and there are also trained child care sitters that will come to the room and entertain the kids while you do date night. The kids are the ones who really like doing this after experiencing it for the first time, so put any concerns you have about them aside and go enjoy yourself. I will tell you that on a couple of nights my boys (teens) opted to skip the parks and go back and hang in the room for some TV/Video game time. To me, this really meant that they were ready for a rest from the park touring so I didn't wig out and force march them back to the parks for more Disney! Your kids will probably be ready for a break as well so look toward the middle of the trip to plan something like this.

Here is a quote from page 1 of this thread detailing the child care options available at the resort. Be sure to read page 1 of this thread for lots of really great insider information about this resort. Trust me! You'll be very glad you did!

Kids Programs

Sandcastle Club
Hours: 4:30 PM to 12 midnight
Reservations: (407) WDW-DINE
Designed especially for children ages 4-12 years old.
Supervised activities including free play arcade games, Sega/Nintendo, board games, Disney movies), "play" kitchen and living room area, dolls and stuffed animals, arts and crafts, and much more!! Charge is approximately $12 USD per hour per child, with a two-hour minimum. Sandcastle Club provides a complimentary dinner for children that is available at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM in the Club. Reservations required.

Visit the Sandcastle Open House each day from 1 PM to 3 PM for a variety of video games, toys and arts and crafts. Fun for the whole family!

Kid's Nite Out, Inc.
Kid's Nite Out caregivers can provide one-on-one in-room childcare in the comfort of a Walt Disney World® Resort room. The professional staff of Kid's Nite Out gives the child individual attention by playing a variety of fun-filled activities with him/her including reading books, coloring, or playing "I Spy" games. They can also provide a fun, well-trained sitter to just hang out with the family if they need a father's/mother's helper. Kid's Nite Out also plans and works children's parties, camps, and children's theme conventions.


So to summarize, you have to pick a direction for your trip. Do you want it to be restaurant heavy with chunks of time committed to spending time at the restaurants or do you want to have a more relaxed touring style, where you do some restaurants, but the schedule allows for time to enjoy the resort and parks more and takes advantage of the club level offerings for some of your dining needs?

I think for your age group the character meals are a keeper. You and hubby should pick a restaurant that the two of you, sans kids, would really enjoy and then go for it!

Just my opinion!

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Old 12-27-2012, 04:18 PM   #542
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sea nymph View Post
Ninja,
Very good information!
It's making me reconsider my plans and as first timers, it's hard to decide!
This is how we are currently set-up:
2 adults - 3 kids (6-9 years)
Beach Club with Deluxe Dining Plan staying 7 days
Have 9 ADR's made with 4 of them Character Meals (2 breakfast, 2 dinner)
Reservations at:
Cape May Cafe (2)
Cinderella Royal
Akershus
Yachtsman
Brown Derby
Narcoossee
Ohana
Tusker House

Thinking of switching to Package Plus Dining and adding Club Level, but that doesn't give us enough Table Service Dining with Package plus?
Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeenaS View Post
Jeanne and Lily are out playing in the sun. It's in the 50's but glorious sunny!!! It feels about 70.

Lots of your ADRs are using 2 credits. Alot of people would disagree with me I'm sure but 1 credit can buy you a super nice steak dinner at a bunch of different restaurants worth around $45 total. So, is Narcoossee's, the Brown Derby and Cindy's Table worth $90 per person??? Not in my head. For the restaurants that take two credits, I personally think if you want to eat there, pay for them. Also, a character breakfast is definitely not something worth $40-45 (the value of one credit). You should pay for that out of your pocket. So, I think the plain old dining plan is a much better value and for those times you want to eat at a "2er", I think paying for it will save you money in the long run. Also, on the dining plan, you are forced to eat soooo much. If you were paying for it yourself, would you really order dessert every meal for every person. Doubt it. I love the regular dining plan IF (and that's a big IF) you use it correctly and smartly. You can really save 20-25%.

There's a website out there that has most of the prices listed for the restaurants. Go to them and figure out what you would order if you were eating there WITHOUT the dining plan. Remember, you probably won't order dessert for everyone at every meal. Don't add tips since they are not included in the plan anyway. Then do a grand total. Then figure out what the deluxe dining plan will cost you and see if it saves or costs you money. Honestly, if you are true to yourself and really look at the menus and figure out what you would order if you were NOT on the plan, I think you might see that you are going to lose money with the plan.

NM ... you've done it both ways. You know the cost of most of their restaurants. Your opinion???

My vote is no dining plan at all, club level for sure and get Tables in Wonderland if you can figure out how to get it since you have to be an annual passholder, a Florida resident and some other restrictions are there.
I agree with the above. Even with out a Tables in Wonderland card the counter services are going to be a better accompaniment when pared with the Club Level offerings for the 3 kids in this age group.

In my opinion:
Cape May Cafe (2) Your main value here is as a character meal. There is no way 3 kids in this age group are going to eat the price that you are paying for their seafood dinners. This is an option for Date night if you really love seafood but the ambiance is lacking for that purpose.

Cinderella Royal Not worth it for so many reasons! The price is OUTRAGEOUS, the food not so great and the Princess interaction is lacking to say the least. The way I figure it Akershus is the BEST place to go for a Princess meet and greet meal. First of all, the Princesses at Akershus ARE NOT RUSHED LIKE THEY ARE AT Cindy's castle. I'm wondering if the Princesses that appear at Cindy's are the same ones that are being used for parades and stage shows since they spend so little time with guests. At Akershus we had some really great face time with these princess characters and the food was surprisingly delicious and not at all very "Norwegian-ish".

Akershus See above. THE BEST PRINCESS MEAL. PERIOD!

Yachtsman I think this is a little too high brow for kids and the prices are very high for what you get with the kids meals, which is invariably what you will be paying if you eat here. This is another Date Night Candidate.

Brown Derby Expensive! Date Night for sure!

Narcoossee This is the place you want to go to for a fine meal WITHOUT the kids. The best part is that the kids will not miss this dining experience AT ALL!

Ohana You could do this with the kids but it is on the expensive side and I still don't think you would get you money's worth paying dining plan prices and then having them eat here. Still it is an experience that is family oriented and if your kids are carnivores then they would enjoy it. If they are the type of kids that pretty much order from the kids menus then I would think twice about how many non character meals I would take them to.

Tusker House I think the Character breakfast is a good idea. Any other time of the day and you are paying $18.00 for a kiddie meal because only the most adventurous of child eaters, 9 and up, can deal with the offerings here.

Again this is just my opinion. Please DO NOT stress about the choices you have already made. Always Remember there is no wrong way to do Disney, only Different ways. Their are certainly advantages to the plan you have already formulated, like trying a lot of restaurants. You just have to consider if your 3 kids are up for that much restaurant time. A rookie mistake is trying to do too much on a Disney Trip. The remedy to this is to go in with a basic plan. Our family looks at the Disney web site and everybody picks out a ride or an attraction that they really want to do for each park. We make a list, divide it by park location and the attraction with the most votes gets the top priority to see at that park, next is number 2 and so on. We always plan for a mid day or late afternoon break and we also plan in the schedule for an easier park Day so that we can go back to a park at night some time during the week.

Please remember that WDW has been around since 1971 and it will still be there for your next trip. I have seen way too many people drive themselves into the ground trying to maximize every single second in the park, grumbling that it costs too much money and they HAVE to do it that way. LET IT GO! Do fun things, take a rest when you are tired and be reasonable. Be smart about getting to the parks early in the morning when they are the least crowded and you can do more..... and go back to your resort when you get tired and are ready for a break. Skip a morning and just go at night if the kids can handle it. WDW parks are they type of places that always keep giving. They will still be there when you are ready to come back again. Enjoy what you are able to do with no remorse about all the things that you had to pass up until the next time.

My husband got to the point where he would have the appetizers at Club Level and then head to the parks later on at night for just a couple of hours. This was after running around in the parks during the morning and taking a long afternoon break at the resort. I could tell he enjoyed this trip the best of all because he didn't feel so run down and he got totally immersed in the Disney Experience when he was at the parks WITH OUT BEING EXHAUSTED. After 10 plus trips we are finally learning how to successfully manage a Disney trip with out running ourselves ragged. Club Level helped with that immensely.

Thankfully we didn't have to change our plans too much after being Pixie Dusted to Club Level. We already had decided to keep the dining simple and concentrate on more resort time. We did:
Club level breakfast
Rope drop
noon table service (most days)
afternoon resort break
Short evening return after club level appetizers or desserts

Touring Disney parks can be a grind and plans can become way too ambitious. It's really hard to resist the temptation to over plan but that's the best piece of advice any Disney Parks vet can pass on to a new comer. Good luck and be sure to let us know if you have any more questions.

~NM
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:10 PM   #543
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Thanks Ninja!
All good advice! We did plan mid-day breaks with down time at the Resort! Some of the ADR's are timed with seeing the nightime events! Since we are driving to Disney, we will have the ability to bring some food and drink so I may stick with the Deluxe Dining. We'll see what the discounts bring to make our final decision!
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:20 PM   #544
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Hi Dee,

Can you change our dates. We are now July 1-July 6 GF TPV and July 6-16 BC GV.

We started off at YC and already decided to go back to BC!
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:36 PM   #545
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Ninja Mom - love the reports. Keep the thoughts and CL commercials coming.

You are making me drool for the CL experience. Once you go CL it is hard to go back.

I loved starting my day with the oatmeal, and loved that we could all go and fetch our breakfast on our own schedule.

The CL staff are always so good at helping fulfill requests, as long as you ask (and sometimes before you ask.)

When we were at the YC CL in March we went to see if they had Coke Zero in the fridge. They didn't and I looked at my husband and said "oh well, no Coke Zero for you." I wasn't complaining, it was just a statement said in a normal voice. Within about 2 minutes, one of the CL staff came over with a bunch of Coke Zero bottles and said "here, take these back to your room."

On another trip to the CR CL, we came back late on our first evening when the lounge was closed. We were thirsty so we went and got some fountain drinks. We were out when housekeeping came the next day, but they must have seen our drink cups in the garbage, because when we came back to the room, our room fridge was stocked with a selection of beverages from the lounge.

It is those little bits of extra service that make me love CL. Makes for such a nice relaxing vacation.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:39 PM   #546
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Originally Posted by DisneyMomx7 View Post
Hi Dee,

Can you change our dates. We are now July 1-July 6 GF TPV and July 6-16 BC GV.

We started off at YC and already decided to go back to BC!
I made your changes. I like what you have done with your dates!

We are still trying to figure out what to do this summer, and when. I was bummed that the Disney Visa Card discount only went through June 14. Looking for a July discount!
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:15 PM   #547
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Please add us to the be our guest list. =)

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Old 12-28-2012, 02:46 AM   #548
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You girls are wizard, thanks for all your info you know how to present something when you get so passionate about it all, my DH has been reading along and you have been very persuasive so we did it we changed our booking to a CL standard room figuring to extra convenience and nibbles will be mighty handy for us. As long as the room is well maintained we can be happy and there will be plenty to do at the resort during the day if we pop back from the parks for a mid day break from crowds and heat. Our son still doesn't know where we will stay so this will be a huge surprise for him too!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:51 AM   #549
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Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
I made your changes. I like what you have done with your dates!

We are still trying to figure out what to do this summer, and when. I was bummed that the Disney Visa Card discount only went through June 14. Looking for a July discount!
I'm waiting for July discounts too - I'll take any AP, Disney Visa, GP or pin code!

Still hope you and I cross paths in July!!!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:33 AM   #550
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I'm waiting for July discounts too - I'll take any AP, Disney Visa, GP or pin code!

Still hope you and I cross paths in July!!!!
Me, too!!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:32 PM   #551
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You girls are wizard, thanks for all your info you know how to present something when you get so passionate about it all, my DH has been reading along and you have been very persuasive so we did it we changed our booking to a CL standard room figuring to extra convenience and nibbles will be mighty handy for us. As long as the room is well maintained we can be happy and there will be plenty to do at the resort during the day if we pop back from the parks for a mid day break from crowds and heat. Our son still doesn't know where we will stay so this will be a huge surprise for him too!!
I really think you made the right choice. Adding Club Level to your reservation is going to add so much more Disney magic to your vacation. Try to plan your time to take advantage of the offerings in the evening and you will find you don't miss that huge time commitment of running from the resort to a dinner location.

My husband was just talking to me about how a nice lunch in the parks really was right in his energy zone after a busy morning at the parks. I liked that I was not weighed down by yet another heavy dinner since we previously used to do the big meal of the day at that dinner time.

The thing that really shocked me was the boys! It used to drive me crazy when we would go out for dinner and a couple of us would order an entree and then hardly touch it. I told the boys that they could go to any counter service restaurant at the resort, boardwalk area or DHS or Epcot and get a counter service dinner but they never took me up on it. I was shocked but then I saw how much they were eating at breakfast on club level and then at lunch at a restaurant (table or counter). People forget how tired a heavy meal can make you and what an energy killer that can be at night.

The appetizers and desserts were plenty for all of us at night and we didn't miss out on any restaurants because we were scheduling them during lunch or breakfast hours.

The other thing we really liked was that by being right between DHS and EPCOT we saved a lot of transportation time to the parks after our evening Club Level snacking. It was nothing to run right over in the evening. For MK we targeted to go there in the evenings when it was open later at night. We had to deal with the MVMCP schedule at MK since we went in December but even that worked out for our touring plan because it made us go only on the nights that it was open later.

We have a lot of trips planed for the rest of the year but they are at the Mod's due to budget restrictions. I know that for 2014 we will probably be planning a return to the BC, more than likely late in that year. I prefer to pay for all Disney trip expenses before we go. I will be putting money aside to pay for the added expense of staying Club Level, but I will be savvy to the fact that all the money we would be spending in the parks for snacks and beverages and some of the meals will be absorbed into the cost paid for staying at club level. Saving money and time like that doesn't get any better if you ask me.

~NM
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:51 PM   #552
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Happy Holidays, YC/BC fans!!!

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We'll be at Newport Beach, California at the shore with Jeanne and Princess Lily. We go 7/8-15. Boo!!!!!!
Sorry to all who are visiting during Teena's Newport Beach week, but yay for Teena, Bob, Jeanne, Lily and Newport!!! We just extended our August stay in Newport by another week. And we're running the DL 10K with our middle son who is too young for the 1/2 marathon. Mickey T, Amanda and other Disney runners, we'll take any and all training advice and we'll be following your WDW Marathon adventures!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeenaS View Post
Jeanne and Lily are out playing in the sun. It's in the 50's but glorious sunny!!! It feels about 70.
So happy to hear about your time with the girls and love the photos! Thanks for sharing, Teena, and thanks for posting, Dee!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wifey View Post
You girls are wizard, thanks for all your info you know how to present something when you get so passionate about it all, my DH has been reading along and you have been very persuasive so we did it we changed our booking to a CL standard room figuring to extra convenience and nibbles will be mighty handy for us. As long as the room is well maintained we can be happy and there will be plenty to do at the resort during the day if we pop back from the parks for a mid day break from crowds and heat. Our son still doesn't know where we will stay so this will be a huge surprise for him too!!
I'll share our experience, in case it's helpful. We really love CL, and find it essential at some resorts (BWI and CR, for example.) At BC/YC, it's a great stay either way.

But if the price is right, CL can be an outstanding value. We are a family of five and our boys are ages 5, 12 and 13. When determining the value of a certain CL rate, we take many things into account: 1) The cost of breakfast for five (which can be a lot); 2) the decreased cost of dinner after appetizers and the value of the wine/beer (which is relatively high in the parks); and 3) the convenience. I can't overstate the convenience - it's a huge factor. Just walking into the lounge for breakfast, having extra space for the kids to hang out and grab a snack, having coffee readily available, a little dessert at night, etc. Not having to think about where to grab a snack or drink or how much to buy is wonderful.

We only book CL if our plans are such that we'll actually be around for breakfast and a break at the resort before our dinner ADR. We usually have ADRs for both lunch and dinner, but we do not use the dining plan. We have a TIW card for discounts, but even if you don't have the TIW card, no dining plan means complete flexibility when ordering. So if we've had snacks in the club lounge, we order less at dinner.

Hope that helps!

Hi NinjaMom! Welcome Back!!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:55 PM   #553
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Happy Holidays, YC/BC fans!!!

Hi NinjaMom! Welcome Back!!!
Howwwwwdy!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:50 PM   #554
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[QUOTE=DisneyMomx7;47010301]I'm waiting for July discounts too - I'll take any AP, Disney Visa, GP or pin code!

AAA rates are available. I just added it to Dec 2013 reservation. Until AP rates come out.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:00 PM   #555
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Hi Everyone!

We booked yesterday for 5/24-6/1 in a GV room at BCR. Super excited! I have been saving this resort for our little ones to be big enough to really enjoy the pool area. Can't wait!
I am sort of hoping for a special on the 5/26 Dream sailing. If we get it we will split our vacation to 4 nights cruise and 4 nights BCR. Won't know until about 60 day out from the cruise, as thats when they typically release those rates.
Either way, we are super excited to stay at the BC!!

I booked just a few ADRs yesterday as we have been so many times that now we just do a few sit down meals. They are so time consuming! We have BOG dinner, Ohana dinner, CMC breakfast, 50sPTC dinner. CMC and BOG are new to us. May throw in a meal or two in Epcot, but we like several of the counter service options there, so maybe not.
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