"Let's stay by the bar... I mean EPCOT." It's Food & Wine & Birthday Time! LMM's

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by LittleMissMagic, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Welcome, DISers!

    I'm Victoria (aka LittleMissMagic, aka LMM), a long-time Disney fanatic and travel blogger (Victoria on Vacation). I've written many trip reports, but this is my first pre-trip report!

    We're a Disney-loving family of four from South Carolina.

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    IMG_1937 by vshingl, on Flickr

    My sister, Rachel, and I attend Clemson University. I'm an architecture major, and Rachel is a civil engineering major.

    Last year, we went to Walt Disney World over fall break for Rachel and boyfriend, Max's birthday. We had a really great time, and I was hoping that we would get to go back this year. I started hinting this summer with little response from Rachel. I guessed she'd want to spend fall break with her friends. We also have a home game scheduled for that weekend, so I figured we wouldn't go anywhere far.

    Well, Monday of last week, Rachel texted me, "I think I want to go to Disney for my birthday." That's all it takes to get me started! I started pricing hotels and checking availability. On Thursday, I broke down and told Dad. He was interested. Saturday, I told him about a 10% off discount I had found. And this Monday, we booked!

    We're staying at the Beach Club Resort (Rachel's pick) for its proximity to Epcot during Food & Wine. Because we've booked the Beach Club for October 12-15, we've been invited to test out Disney's Magic Bands and FastPass+ system. I've spent a lot of my free time lately on the DIS reading about the Magic Bands, and I've written picture tutorials for my travel blog on how to link existing resort reservations and how to customize your Magic Bands.

    Because we like to take frequent 3-5 day trips to WDW, in the past, we've taken advantage of the 10-Day No Expiration passes. Of course, Disney has since discontinued that option. I did the math and realized that if we did two separate 4-day trips to WDW this year, that would be greater than the cost of an annual pass. We actually already own two annual passes which we have yet to activate because we bought them to get the 30% AP room discount, so this means that we only have to purchase two annual passes.

    We have Will Call vouchers for the two APs we already purchased. I was able to add one to MDE, but unfortunately, I haven't been able to add the other, yet. I've tried scanning and entering the confirmation code with no luck. I think this is because we purchased the AP before October 2012 which seems to be when they made changes to their ticketing system. I will continue to try, but I am unsure if I will be able to add this AP to our account before we get to WDW.... which means we won't be able to make FP+ selections until we get to WDW.

    Oh, well - I'm just excited that we'll be able to have another birthday celebration at WDW!!!

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    DSC_3380 by vshingl, on Flickr
     
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  3. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Rachel is a birthday diva. She just loves birthdays... especially her own.

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    DSC_3405 by vshingl, on Flickr

    But she is not a planner. I am the planner of the family for all vacations. That's not to say that my parents won't book something... but that's all the "planning" they're going to do.

    While Rachel is leaving the majority of her birthday planning up to me, she did put in two requests. 1) She wants to spend all day at Magic Kingdom and 2) she wants a birthday breakfast. Well, MNSSHP is the night of Rachel's birthday and MK closes at 7PM, so request number one couldn't be fulfilled. "That's okay - we'll just park hop, then." And since there was a free Dining Plan offer for the weekend we're going, there were no character breakfasts available the day of her birthday. I was able to get her a character dinner at Garden Grove Café - the only character dining restaurant that we haven't eaten at before.

    Later, Rachel told me that it didn't have to be character (though she preferred it), she just wanted to start her day off with a birthday breakfast... because that's the best way to start your birthday. The Birthday Diva would know.

    So I debated between Captain's Grille (close to our resort and an awesome-looking menu), Kona Café (Tonga toast... mmm!), Grand Floridian Café, and Whispering Canyon. I went with Whispering Canyon because I thought the atmosphere would be the most festive for a birthday breakfast.... though it is the most difficult to get to Disney transportation-wise.

    I'm still checking Disney Dining Reservations everyday, hoping that someone cancels. I did see a reservation for Chef Mickey's on Saturday open up, so that makes me a little more optimistic.
     
  4. Dis_Yoda

    Dis_Yoda DIS Veteran

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    Joining in. My cousin is actually a civil engineering major at Clemson.

    I would go with Captain's Grill. My breakfast there in March 2012 was great - we just haven't been able to make our way back there yet.
     
  5. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Because I have only been able to link one of our two APs to MDE and we still haven't bought the other two, I haven't been able to make FP+ reservations, yet. I have been able to play with the interface, though.

    We aren't super planners. I used to be a complete theme park commando, but then I realized that it's nice to step back and smell the roses. We are lucky enough to get to visit so often that it's not a huge deal if we miss something on one trip.

    So my tentative plan for the week is:

    Friday, Oct. 11

    Rachel gets out of class at 11. I have studio scheduled until 5:30PM, but my professor doesn't come in on Fridays and only does online crits, so I'm hoping I'll be able to leave early... or skip completely.

    So sometime in the afternoon, we'll load up the family vehicle...

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    And begin our 8-hour road trip to WDW.

    When we can't keep our eyes open any longer, we'll stop at a roadside hotel outside of Disney.

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    Saturday, Oct. 12

    The next morning, I'll awaken the troups.

    We'll arrive at Disney's Beach Club Resort where we'll check-in...

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    DSC_7099 by vshingl, on Flickr

    And eat breakfast at Cape May Café (7:45 AM - eek!)

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    DSC_7065 by vshingl, on Flickr

    We'll spend the morning at Hollywood Studios (or maybe Epcot since DHS has AM EMHs and there's no way we'll make it with our 7:45 AM breakfast ADR???)

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    DSC_2829 by vshingl, on Flickr

    At some point in the day, we'll have to watch our Tigers play! Depending on the time, we'll probably get lunch or dinner at ESPN Club.

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    And then we'll go to MK for the evening to watch Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade.

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    DSC_1446 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Sunday, October 13

    I think we'll start the day off at Animal Kingdom.

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    And maybe taking a break at our resort before hitting...

    FOOD & WINE!!!!

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    DSC_3440 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Then we'll end the day with IllumiNations!

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    DSC_3472 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Monday, October 14

    IT'S RACHEL'S BIRTHDAY!!!

    We'll start the day off with a breakfast at Whispering Canyon Café (or should we switch to Captain's Grille??)

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    The Whispering Canyon Cafe by JNad, on Flickr

    And then go to Magic Kingdom

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    DSC_3189 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Where we might eat CS Be Our Guest for lunch...

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    Be Our Guest... Maybe by roberto acevedo 3, on Flickr

    We'll hop over to DHS for Fantasmic

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    DSC_6931 by vshingl, on Flickr

    And then eat dinner at the Garden Grove Café

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    Tuesday, October 15

    We'll check out of the Beach Club that morning. :sad1:

    And then probably go to Epcot or DHS to get some park time in before driving home.
     
  6. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Welcome!

    I am considering switching to Captain's Grill just because it's so much more convenient. We could just walk next door and then take the bus to MK, rather than having to take a bus to MK, then boat to WL, then boat back to MK.... that's at least an hour wasted on transportation.
     
  7. kayemgi

    kayemgi DIS Veteran

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    Joining in as well! I too would switch to Captain's Grill. I've never been there, but the thought of all that time to get to Whispering Canyon and back...! Sounds like you have a fun trip planned!
     
  8. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    I'm convinced! I've officially changed our breakfast reservation to Captain's Grille!
     
  9. kristenlovesdumbo

    kristenlovesdumbo The very things that held you down are gonna carry

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    I love a birthday at Disney! I went last year and it was fabulous!
    We're going again this year for the big 3-0! We've even extended our stay to 7 nights at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Kindani October 3-10.

    Of course I will wear my birthay pin the whole time! Last year we ate at The Wave and both my fiancee and I received complimentary champagne!

    This year, I made dinner reservations on my birthday for Be Our Guest and I couldn't be more excited!!!

    We also lucked out with the Food and Wine Festival and Sugar Ray being there for the free concert series. :)
     
  10. JessM

    JessM We all have a dream

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    I'm following! I love the Beach Club! We are staying at BWI for our Feb trip, hopefully I like it just as much!

    I'm jealous I want to go to the Food and Wine Festival now that I'm old enough to enjoy all aspects of it! :rotfl:
     
  11. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    I would love to have dinner at Be Our Guest, but of course with such late booking, it wasn't an option for this trip. Spring break is at the 180 day mark, and I'm still unable to score a BoG ADR. I guess people are doing the 180+10? Crazy!

    Jealous about Sugar Ray! They're one of the few bands that I'm actually familiar with!! :rotfl:
     
  12. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    I've always wanted to stay at the Boardwalk! The atmosphere is one of my favorites - I'm sure you'll love it!
     
  13. Miss Potts

    Miss Potts Mouseketeer

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    I'm in for this PTR! Sounds fun!!
     
  14. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Wow, long time no update!

    I just knew that some character dining would open up for Rachel's birthday breakfast, and sure enough, it did! The first time I saw character dining for her birthday, Rachel was sitting right beside me (watching the Clemson/NC State Game) and chose between 'Ohana and Cape May. Since we already had Cape May reservations for earlier that week, she went with 'Ohana at 10:10. Then a week or so later, Chef Mickey's opened up for 7:30 AM... yeesh, that's early! But I snagged it because we love Chef Mickey's.

    So now the decision lies between.....

    Get up early and eat at Chef Mickey's at 7:30 AM, then go to Magic Kingdom which opens at 9AM.

    Or

    Get to MK for rope drop (9AM park opening), do a few attractions, then leave and go to 'Ohana at 10:10.

    We've eaten at Chef Mickey's several times (Rachel actually had a graduation celebration there a few years ago). We've only eaten at 'Ohana once, and that's partially because we had the worst service ever of any Disney dining experience (our waitress belonged at a Waffle House... but I don't want to insult the waitresses who work at Waffle House). But I think enough time has passed to give it another shot.

    I'm still watching for Crystal Palace to open up. 1900 Park Fare had an opening last night, but I passed it up.
     
  15. JessM

    JessM We all have a dream

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    I'd probably get up early and go for Chef Mickey's but I'm not a big Stitch fan!
     

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