$5 A Day Means Disney MY Way: 17 nights, 26 ADRs, 165 TS credits, 4 Disney events

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by meggiebeth, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. mominwife

    mominwife Earning My Ears

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    I'm enjoying your report your very well spoken and you write very well. I'm really surprised at everyone's attitude towards tipping waiters and waitresses make 2.13 an hour they live on tips 18-20% is standard and should absolutely be required 10-15% is unacceptable come on people. However if the service is that bad or the server is bad I can understand lowering the tip.
     
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  3. DisneyJo

    DisneyJo Missing my tags!

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    Your meal at the Turf Club sounds delicious and no pressure from the waiter must have made it taste even better :rotfl:
     
  4. tdashgirl

    tdashgirl DIS Veteran

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    Saratoga Springs looks lovely! yay for pool time and nice dinner too.
     
  5. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    I just caught up. I loved your descriptions of the food reviews. I hope more updates are coming soon. This time I will definitely stay up to date!
     
  6. elcmum

    elcmum Earning My Ears

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    Loving this TR! Thanks for the detail and the grading system, too.

    I have a DD who is 16 and I wish she was as lovely a writer as you!
     
  7. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Breakfast at Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom

    After an enjoyable rest day, we got up bright and early for our ADR at 9:30am at the Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom. Seeing the fabulous Christmas tree at the entrance was a welcome sight!

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    Here’s the entrance on one side to the restaurant...

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    And the menu posted outside...

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    The restaurant was running behind, and we checked in and had to wait 15- 20 minutes to get seated. We had booked this restaurant for BREAKFAST, and so were incredibly annoyed when we were told that breakfast ended at 9:30- 9:45am and that we would have to order off the lunch menu. This is ridiculous- firstly because no one wants to eat lunch at 9:45am, and secondly because we had booked a breakfast ADR and because THEY were running late, we had to order lunch instead.

    Of course, we weren’t in the best mood because we’d missed breakfast and had to eat lunch at 9:45, but soon settled into our seats and admired the displays of animals.

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    The restaurant is impressive, but not really much distinguishes it from T-REX in Downtown Disney (which was also pretty neat).

    Of course, every dark restaurant has to bring an unflattering flash photo!

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    We all had pretty regular drinks, except for Rory, who had a special smoothie-like drink. Some drinks here aren’t included in the Disney Dining Plan (those that include a souvenir cup, I believe) but Rory was able to order a normal specialty drink and have it included in the Dining Plan.

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    We ordered a few appetizers to share. Our waitress was lovely- very friendly and nothing like our waiter at Planet Hollywood!

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    Cheese Sticks
    Mozzarella sticks lightly breaded, fried golden brown and served with marinara sauce
    $8.99

    My mum enjoyed these- she is a fan of mozzarella-based appetizers. They weren’t spectacular, but one would assume that the Rainforest Cafe’s success is based mainly on the experience as opposed to the food.

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    Chili Con Queso
    Creamy melted cheese with tomatoes, onions and green chili peppers served with tri-color tortilla chips
    $9.59

    My parents and William are big fans of nachos, so they loved this. The beef made a nice touch, and most of the chips were polished off by the time our entrees came out.

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    Onion Stack
    Dip into these Fried Onion Rings, piled high and served with Safari sauce and Ketchup for dipping.
    $8.99

    Fresh, hot onion rings are all you can really ask for! They were quite good; although Beaches and Cream still has the edge.

    Then the entrees came out- and we were pretty hungry, so eager to dig into something substantial. I ordered some sort of pasta dish without the meat- although the only thing it seems to be similar to on the menu is (please forgive me if I am wrong!)

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    Planet Earth Pasta
    Italian sausage and penne pasta lightly tossed with olive oil and garlic in marinara sauce. Topped with fresh Mozzarella cheese
    $18.99

    It was a tasty dish- flavourful and fresh. There isn’t much more I can say, as it really is only a simple pasta dish with tomato sauce.

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    I’m really sorry, but I have no clue what this dish is called! It looks like a stir fry, and speaking to my mum, it was satisfactory but certainly not worth the $20 or so it would likely have cost.

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    Bamba's Barbecue Wrap
    Shredded Beef or Chicken with our Smokin' Mojo BBQ Sauce, fresh Cilantro, Onions and Mozzarella Cheese wrapped in a Flour Tortilla. Served with Mango Sauce and Coleslaw.
    $14.99

    Willum really enjoyed this. He said it was a good choice- for the record he chose to have chicken rather than beef, and really liked it.

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    Rory chose these neat little burgers from the kids' menu, which I think are a great idea. He loved them.

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    Pastalaya
    Shrimp, sautéed chicken, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and Andouille sausage tossed in a hot and Spicy Cajun sauce and served over linguini. Only for the truly adventurous! May be served with rice upon request
    $21.99

    I apologise, but again, I am not sure if this is the right entree! My dad said his meal was spicy, and judging by the photograph, it could potentially be ‘Pastalaya’.

    Cute but somewhat blurry photograph (darn the dark lighting!) :rotfl2:

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    I really wanted to try the dessert, the Sparkling Volcano. After all, we were on the Deluxe Dining Plan and it wouldn’t cost us anything (although as my dad so wittingly argued- it would cost us a higher tip!) However, my parents seemingly thought otherwise, because no one wanted to share with me and it would be a waste. For your pleasure, though, I will include a picture of it from the internet, so you know just how big it is!

    Sparkling Volcano
    Enough for three or more! A giant rich chocolate brownie cake stacked up high, served warm with vanilla ice cream, creamy whipped topping and topped with caramel and chocolate sauces
    $14.99

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    We had a quick browse of the Rainforest Cafe shop (I have to say, I found the Disney merchandise better, but maybe I am biased). William and Rory found some funny hats, and had to try them on...

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    We then left, after giving our waitress a nice tip- she wasn’t excellent- but she was quick, efficient and friendly. It certainly wasn’t breakfast, and the food was just OK, but it is a good table service option in Animal Kingdom for breakfast considering the only other alternative is Tusker House, which being a buffet with a fixed price, is considerably more expensive.

    Our Overall Ratings for Rainforest Café - Animal Kingdom

    Service – 7
    Atmosphere – 6
    Food – 5
    Value – 7

    Overall Rating – 6

    We know as a chain restaurant it might not compare to more independent Disney restaurants, and it certainly wasn’t surprisingly different to its counterpart in London.

    Of course, after a filling ‘lunch-for-breakfast’ meal, we headed right out to start enjoying Animal Kingdom and all it has to offer.

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  8. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Sorry about the delay in updating- I have exams coming up at school and am focusing on revision, but I hope you enjoy the update I just posted regarding the trip.

    Hello there! Thanks for joining in, you're very welcome!

    I am so glad to meet someone who takes an active role like me in planning for their parents! Most people our age don't- or their parents won't let them! :rotfl:

    How did you find the vegetarian options in WDW? I was surprised that some restaurants didn't have one vegetarian choice- all meat and fish! Although requesting something did work, it would be nice to have a choice on the menu.

    Hope you're having a lovely Spring! :goodvibes

    Thank you very much! I hope you enjoy my future updates, welcome! :dance3:

    Hello there! Please do start a trip report- I would love to read along after seeing your PTR. Lovely to keep in touch. :goodvibes

    Thank you very much for the compliments. :cloud9: Glad to hear you liked Garden Grill, I'd love to return there, like you, and really do feel it is underrated.

    Oh my goodness- how exciting you are returning so soon- I am very jealous. I hope to hear all about your trip! popcorn:: I am longing to return, but at the moment it seems like a distant dream! :( I'm sure you'll be tempted to plan, somewhat! I couldn't go without booking a few ADRs and the like. :lmao:

    Thank you very much, and welcome! :dance3:

    I suppose tipping culture varies even in the USA, but I read that servers are taxed based on receiving 15% tips, so a 15% tip does seem acceptable to me for acceptable but not exceptional service. :surfweb: I do agree that 10% really is too low in retrospect for acceptable service. :)

    It certainly was delicious! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

    Saratoga Springs is a lovely resort, only location seems to let it down. :confused3 Pool time is fantastic, and walking to dinner was great too. :worship:

    Thank you! Sorry for being slow to update- I've been very busy at school preparing for exams. Hope you like my most recent update and expect more soon!

    Welcome and thank you for joining! :yay: I hope you enjoy the rest of the TR.

    Thank you for the compliments regarding my writing, it really means a lot. :goodvibes
     
  9. Iowajes

    Iowajes DIS Veteran

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    Glad to see you are back! I'm enjoying your report.
     
  10. disfanforlife

    disfanforlife DIS Veteran

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    Just found your report. My daughter is writing her first trip report right now. You are a wonderful write. I love your descriptions.. Can't wait to read more!
     
  11. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    Another great review! I can't believe they would end breakfast so early. Why would they do that? Who wants to eat breakfast at 9:30 in the morning? It sounds like the meal was delicious anyway.

    We have a Rainforest Café in driving distance from our house so we usually pass it by when we go to Disney. We have a reservation at the T-Rex Café in August. Like the Rainforest the food is ok but my son loves the décor!

    Looking forward to your next installment.
     
  12. tdashgirl

    tdashgirl DIS Veteran

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    I would be beyond irritated if I had a reservation for breakfast and they made me order off the lunch menu. At 9:45am. :mad: It looks like you guys made the best of it though. I have to say, the best part of the volcano dessert is the presentation. :) (We shared one at the San Francisco location *years* ago with a group of friends).

    How funny, when I made the comment about SSR, I didn't have my rooms booked -- now we're staying one night there in early October! I agree that the location is not the best for an overall WDW stay. But on that day we're doing a non-park/DtD day so I think it will be perfect :goodvibes
     
  13. jlm196

    jlm196 Mouseketeer

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    I think tipping is even different in this country depending on where you live. In the northeast it is 20% or more. If you get bad service 15%. 10% is unheard of. What some people may not realize is that a waitress is taxed on her tips as well and now that everything is computerized you must claim at least 10-15% of your sales not 10-15% of your actual tips.
    In the end you never even see a paycheck because that small hourly rate of 2.34/ hour only covers the taxes on your tips.
    I agree you should work to make your customers as happy as possible for the best tip you can get. But even then You still sometimes don't get what you deserve and that gets really frustrating.
     
  14. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Safaris Through Africa, Grumbles and Space for Suncream

    After our ‘lunch-for-breakfast’ at the Rainforest Cafe, we decided to head over to Kilimanjaro Safaris, for which we had a FP+.

    It was fun walking down all the rugged, bustling streets; each offering something different and unique for us to enjoy. Of course, there were lots of little shops (which interested Rory, my mum and I, but not Willum and certainly not my dad!)

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    Animal Kingdom is not our favourite park; in fact I would have to say it is my least favourite personally. I still really love all that it has to offer; and my family and I particularly enjoy the rides and shows- Expedition Everest comes to mind as one of our favourite rides- EVER.

    Anyway, we were still excited to see all of AK’s offerings, and you can tell this park really astounds us with the spectacular theming.

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    There was some building work going on, and I was sure to snap a pointless photo of it!

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    We soon passed Tusker House, which I also excitedly took a photo of, as we ate there in 2011. Whilst it was OK, it certainly wasn’t up there with some of the other character meals we’ve been to.

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    We were slightly confused about the FP+ return area, and this photograph seemingly depicts the confusion on my father’s face.

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    But... we eventually hopped in the queue (very appreciative of our Magic Bands- which really made our trip that much better).

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    Time for some photographs! I think this one is funny...

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    And another...

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    We really enjoyed the ‘safari’, which was even better this time than the last time we rode it! It was cooler than in August, so I’m guessing that is why more animals were out.

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    Of course, William was grumbling about having to ride KS first- it wasn’t a thrill ride and he was aching to try Expedition Everest! We all enjoyed it, though, and got some nice photos to show our friends the ‘African safari’ we experienced.

    Here are some photos from the safari. It was fascinating and the commentary from our ‘guide’ was also very interesting to listen to.

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    And when the safari finished, we were sure to take a ‘finishing the safari’ photo!

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    Since we rushed over to Kilimanjaro Safaris, we didn’t have time to put suncream on. As soon as we got off the ride and found some space in the shade, we put some on. My poor dad now has to have it put on his head or it will get sunburnt! :rotfl:

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    We came across some really neat drums which we decided to try playing! I love the little surprises like this scattered around Animal Kingdom.

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    That’s it for now! Coming up, read more about our day at Animal Kingdom- including our first time watching the acclaimed ‘Festival of the Lion King’ and our encounter of the Christmas parade (‘unique’ would be a good way to describe it!)
     
  15. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Thank you very much! I hope you enjoy my most recent update :)

    Thanks very much for joining in, and for the compliments! I am glad you like it :)

    How exciting- I had a quick look to see if I could find your daughter's TR- if you don't mind posting the link I'd love to follow along :)

    Thanks! :) I'm glad I'm not the only one who found that so ridiculous! You'd think that they'd make an exception seeing as they were running late but sadly not. That's good you have one near your house- ours is about an hour away in London and a lot busier and more expensive than it's Orlando counterpart!

    I agree about T-Rex. I think I preferred the atmosphere to Rainforest Cafe, although I'd have loved to have been seated in the ice cave part. :)

    It doesn't seem to make sense, really! Not sure why they have that policy but it's a bit stupid. ;)

    Looking at the photos online of the volcano have me agreeing with you- it looks like some brownies with a decoration stuck on top- very simple.

    Just checked out your PTR and am very excited for you on your upcoming trip! Sounds like a lovely itinerary- we have similar tastes in restaurant! :)

    Here's hoping you love SSR. It would be far better location wise for my family if we were big fans of Downtown Disney- but my parents especially see it as a little tacky. I love it, but never have enough time to shop there as much as I want. ;)

    I agree with you- I would not tip low for no reason, and really feel bad for some of the servers! As a waitress myself, whilst I don't earn much (minimum wage is about $6 an hour for 16-17 year olds here, so I do better!) it is always nice to get a tip. Fortunately I don't have to live on what I earn, being still in full time education, but I really do feel bad for those that rely on it for a full time job.

    Meg~ Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  16. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    I agree that Animal Kingdom is our least favorite park. It usually only fills up a 1/2 day for us. I think this year we will try to pay more attention to the details. I think we have been missing out on that. Can't wait to hear what happens next!
     
  17. disfanforlife

    disfanforlife DIS Veteran

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  18. minniemouse17

    minniemouse17 "I go to seek a Great Perhaps."

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    I find that when I'm planning which ADRs to book, it's helpful to go onto the Disney website or Allears.net which have menus for all of the restaurants. Then I know which places have food I can enjoy too! Most places are good about having veggie burgers or customizing some sort of pasta. And of course, if there's nothing else, there's always salad... :rolleyes:

    Sounds like your trip has been great so far. Glad to see you enjoyed AK!
     
  19. HarkiQuinn

    HarkiQuinn Mouseketeer

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    I love all of your shots! They seem to capture the mood and the fun that your beautiful family is having.

    Also, I have never been to Disney during the holidays so that AK Christmas Tree is something else.

    Following :)
     
  20. tdashgirl

    tdashgirl DIS Veteran

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    Lovely photos of AK. I have to say, one of the most interesting things to me about WDW (being a DL vet) is how WDW really spreads things out. In CA, we have almost as many attractions as WDW's 4 parks spread across 2 parks that are literally across the street from each other :rotfl: (By the way, this is not a slam on WDW at all. Just an observation). I think it explains why AK is 1/2 day park for so many.
     
  21. ougrad86

    ougrad86 OU Sooners Football Fan!

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    Finally back from our trip and getting caught up on everything.

    We ate at Rainforest Café this last time too. It is very much the same as T-Rex. We were just looking for a place that had more variety than Flame Tree Barbeque for DH, who is sensitive to certain kinds of food.

    AK is probably park #3 on my list of favorites, DHS being my least. I am looking forward to your review on Festival of the Lion King - we skipped it the time before when we were there, and then this trip they were in the process of moving it from where it had been to another location, so was not available. I was kind of curious to see what is was like, had heard rave reviews.

    The walls you saw, by the way, I believe is the beginning of building the Avatar land. Not sure what they are going to call it. Too big to see over, but I'm not sure if anything exciting is happening yet.

    Hope the exams are going well. DS only had two big exam periods, midterm and end of year. As a senior, they let him skip the end of year exams and because of the massive snows and amount of time they were out of school this year, midterm week was cancelled. So he is having a very easy senior year! No standardized test required of younger grades, and only AP tests, which are college courses he has been taken in high school. If he does well enough on the tests, he can skip that particular course in college! He is doing AP Physics and AP Calculus this year, which just blows my mind. He obviously got his math and science smarts from his dad.

    Next year he goes to college, and if tuition payments allow it we may make a trip to WDW during a quieter time of the year, this last Spring Break was crazy!!

    Expedition Everest is one of our favorites as well. We rode at RD, had a FP mid-day and then got to ride it at night several times, that was great!!
     

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