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Old 01-12-2013, 01:57 PM   #1
patriciaofoz
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Downtown Disney & Fireworks Question

My family & I went to WDW this past Christmas. It was my first time and we never made it to Downtown Disney. A colleague (who has never been to WDW) and I are headed to Orlando the week of Jan. 21st for a conference and I have one full day to show her WDW. Here are my questions:

1) Our flight gets in on Tuesday, Jan. 22nd at 8pm. We're staying in the Sea World area and we'll have a rental car. Where can we go to see one of the firework shows? For free that is

2) Is it worth showing her the Boardwalk that evening too? What activities do they have there and how late do they go for?

3) I'm thinking Downtown Disney would be the best place to give her a taste of WDW during the day. We can shop and perhaps even ride the balloon (are you able to see Cinderella's Castle from the balloon?).

4) What are your top recommendations for a place to have a lunch around DD?

5) Any other recommendations of how much I can show her of WDW without a park ticket?

Thanks, as always, for your help!
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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For the MK fireworks, I would go to the Contemporary Resort, since it has the best viewing, IMO. Get there early so you can get seats on the benches!
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:11 PM   #3
Robo
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The Beach at the Polynesian Resort offers a great view
of Wishes and other MK Fireworks shows.
They do "pipe in" the audio of the shows.
There are several ground-level speakers along the
sidewalk.

They also pipe the audio to the speakers at the Poly pool.
The audio level if better in some places (closer to the sidewalk, for instance) than others (far out on the beach, for instance.)

To find the "sweet spot" for viewing, stroll along the sidewalk until the Cinderella Castle comes into full view.



Here's a photo I took from the Poly Beach-
MK Fireworks (MVMCP Christmas Finale)


-----------------------------

More Viewing Spots-

You can see them from TTC (they pipe-in the audio from
the show) but you are not allowed to stand in the
Ferry loading area.

You can see them from the boat-dock and an outside
observation deck near Narcoossee's restaurant at the
Grand Floridian. Anyone can stand on Narcoossee's Deck.
The outside deck is not a part of the actual restaurant. (All serving is done inside.)
The deck is accessed from the sidewalk outside the restaurant.
Also, good viewing from the Patio overlooking the Marina.
The sound of the show is piped into these areas too.



At the Contemporary, there is viewing on an outdoor
observation area on the 4th floor.
The California Grill observation areas are reserved for patrons that day of the Grill or Bar.




(Fireworks shown above are simulated.)

At Wilderness Lodge, the "secret place" to watch the MK fireworks is from the northern area of the Cast Member (CM) Parking Lot.



At the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Marina (angle shown on the map below,) some of the view (especially of the "Fantasyland" pyro) is blocked by the now unused Discovery Island in Bay Lake and by the high-rise buildings of the Contemporary Resort.
But, the view from the Ft. Wilderness' sand beach (farther north) is more open.
Still the tree-level can block the views of the lower-firing pyro.

Here are the angles of the views in the Bay Lake area.



Here are the angles of the views in the Seven Seas Lagoon area.

It features the TTC. Guests can line up along the walkway to/from the Ferry loading area,
but the loading area, itself, is generally off-limits. The audio of the fireworks shows
is piped-in to this TTC viewing area as well.



----------------------------------

As for viewing from INSIDE the dining area of restaurants
(you usually need ADRs for most, and they are usually busy during the shows)...
you can see (and hear) them at California Grill at Contemporary,
'Ohana at Poly, Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian,
and (if you have access there) the Top of the World at Bay Lake Tower.
----------------------------------
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
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In my opinion, The Earl of Sandwich has the best food and is the most reasonable of all the places to eat at DTD.

The Boardwalk is okay. They have street type performers there in the evenings.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:31 PM   #5
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1) Our flight gets in on Tuesday, Jan. 22nd at 8pm. We're staying in the Sea World area and we'll have a rental car. Where can we go to see one of the firework shows? For free that is I agree with Poly beach. We have done this before when we were staying at Disney but didn't have park tickets. Get there somewhat early so you can get lounge chairs on the beach and see the electric water pageant with the boats!

2) Is it worth showing her the Boardwalk that evening too? What activities do they have there and how late do they go for? I would say no. There's more evening entertainment at DTD than BW. There's no good views of Illuminations from the Epcot resort area, so you'd have to make a special trip to Boardwalk which is not worth it IMO. I'd rather go to DTD.

3) I'm thinking Downtown Disney would be the best place to give her a taste of WDW during the day. We can shop and perhaps even ride the balloon (are you able to see Cinderella's Castle from the balloon?). DTD is good at night or during the day! Usually busier with more going on at night.

4) What are your top recommendations for a place to have a lunch around DD? Rainforest Cafe or T-Rex are good for someone who hasn't been to one of those kind of places before. They are chains so the food is ok, but the atmosphere is cool. If you're not looking for a sit down place, Wolfgang Puck Express!

5) Any other recommendations of how much I can show her of WDW without a park ticket? I would do DTD at night and resort hop during the day. Bus over to one of the monorail resorts and explore. There are some good views of the castle from Contemporary. Then ride the monorail to GF and Poly. You can even get off at MK and walk up to the gates. You can't see a lot but the "Let the Memories Begin" landscape with the train in the background, and the waterfront, are nice photo ops. Another good resort hopping location is the Epcot area resorts. If you're at DTD, you can also walk to SSR or boat to OKW, POR and POFQ.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
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You should definitely work in a monorail tour! Remember that there are three lines:

TTC>MK
TTC>Poly>GF>MK>Contemporary
TTC>Epcot

I would suggest riding the Resort and Epcot monorails to get the full experience. If you have time, walk around the monorail resorts, especially the Poly and GF. (This could tie in nicely with fireworks viewing on the Poly beach!) The Epcot monorail is especially neat because it goes inside the park.
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:17 PM   #7
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t-rex

Son and Husband enjoy T-Rex for lunch in DTD. It has animatronics and is loud and fun-kind of a disney feel. They both just enjoy the atmosphere and the salads are good too.
Sorry I really can't answer the other questions.
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:50 PM   #8
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You cannot see Cinderella's Castle from the balloon at DTD. I was disappointed by that, you can see the Hollywood Studios hat, some of Everest a AK and some other stuff if I remember correctly, but the castle was blocked by something.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:49 PM   #9
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I'd suggest driving to AKL. Both Jambo House and Kidani Village are spectacular resorts. You can wander around and watch the animals on the savannas, and the restaurants, including the counter-serve place, the Mara, are wonderful. There's really no place else like AKL in the World (or even out of it)!
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:49 PM   #10
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If you drive to POLY or Contemporary you will have to pay parking since it behind parking turnstiles.. I would drive to a resort and leave car there and ride a bus to monorail resorts. I think this would work.

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Old 01-12-2013, 09:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbuck
If you drive to POLY or Contemporary you will have to pay parking since it behind parking turnstiles.. I would drive to a resort and leave car there and ride a bus to monorail resorts. I think this would work.

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Guests with legitimate business at those resorts do not pay for parking at the MK toll plaza.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaboy2 View Post
Guests with legitimate business at those resorts do not pay for parking at the MK toll plaza.
Correct. You should stay to the right as you approach the toll plaza and tell the attendant you are going to one of those resorts. He/she will direct you. When you enter the parking lot of the resort there will be a security guard. I have never been given any trouble by saying that I was there to watch the fireworks or simply walk around the resort. You will need to show your drivers' license.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parkhopping View Post
You should definitely work in a monorail tour! Remember that there are three lines:

TTC>MK
TTC>Poly>GF>MK>Contemporary
TTC>Epcot

I would suggest riding the Resort and Epcot monorails to get the full experience. If you have time, walk around the monorail resorts, especially the Poly and GF. (This could tie in nicely with fireworks viewing on the Poly beach!) The Epcot monorail is especially neat because it goes inside the park.
This
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:03 PM   #14
patriciaofoz
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This is great information, thank you so much for everybody's help. If you have any other tips, I'm all ears
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:07 PM   #15
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sorry to but in... but can you see the fireworks from any of the value resorts?? or anywhere near the value resorts?!?!?!??!
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