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.php?p=37079245#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 4pmthe very first seatingbecause 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 caseat 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 billbut 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!