Newbie & First timer to DW with a few questions... ;)

Discussion in 'Welcome to the DIS' started by Creekermom, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. Creekermom

    Creekermom Mouseketeer

    Jul 4, 2007
    Hello, my name is Valerie
    I am new to the DIS boards and have booked a Disney World Vacation for
    Sept 19-25 with the Free Dining Plan...staying at the All Star Sports Resort with NO hopper passes for our FIRST TIME EVER DW TRIP!:cloud9:

    I Know many places are already booked up as far as the Dining is concerned.

    I don't know where I want to eat, although I do know we need to have a character lunch or preferably dinner even if it is late.:confused3

    I know that preferably I would like to have it at the Hollywood & Vine for the Disney Playhouse Characters or a Princess dinner at the Norway in Epcot (I think that is where it is)

    Other than that... I have NO idea...
    I need some much needed help/guidence from those who are 'seasoned' DW

    We will be driving down and staying in a hotel on the way there and on the return trip home. Taking a cooler, I want us to have a great time so that DH will WANT to go back! I want to make it memorable but yet affordable in every way possible. So that DH sees that is is possible to go and still have the time of your life!

    Can you offer some suggestions or give me the real scoop on things?

    DH doesn't like seafood, I do but he doesn't...
    DD princess: who is almost 5 loves anything princess or Playhouse Disney.. she may enjoy some of the other characters but has her favorites and Cinderella is one of them but I am almost 100% sure we can't get in there for the 3 of us... for dinner

    I like just about everything and like to try new foods too.. DH isn't as adventurous in the food category as I am.

    I also see a lot of post about DISNEY clothing/costumes...
    I have never been as of yet and want to make my little girl a part of things there.. Is it customary to wear Disney clothing the entire trip? Costumes?

    Please do share/tell... I dont' want her to feel left out since we have never been as of yet... until Sept 19th-25th 2007

    Ok, something else:
    If anyone has driven down, any ideas how to keep everyone happy on the way down? I thought about doing a Disney Trivia game... any other ideas?

    Anything else I should know...

    Please do offer suggestions, thoughts or just your 2 cents :)
    It is valued!

  2. Stitch'sCousin

    Stitch'sCousin DIS Veteran

    May 16, 2007
    We are taking our three kids (DS12pirate: DS9pirate: DD6princess: ) in August (unfortunately not during free dining) for the first time. I spent a lot of time on DISboards getting good advice and looking up information. I'll pass on some of what I have learned. There are lots of people on these boards who are fabulous experts about WDW:goodvibes

    Check out On the left sidebar there is a section on dining which contains tons of information, including character dining, menus etc. One of the most important pieces of advice I got was to make sure you book your dining reservations (ADR's) as soon as possible. You can either make them yourself or get your travle agent to do them for you. I did them myself as I was able to make instantaneous decisions when the places/times I had chosen were inevitably not available. Use 1-800-828-0228 if you want to call toll free. We booked four months ahead and were able to get reasonable time for
    -Princess breakfast at Akershus
    -Cinderella's gala feast at GF
    -'Ohana supper
    -Chef Mickey's supper
    - Hollywood and Vine Fantasmic package
    - Crystal Palace supper
    - 'Ohana breakfast
    A lot of what we chose included buffets so our kids could get the food they liked.
    From what I've read, I can't stress enough the importance of making your ADRs ASAP!

    Our DD will be taking several princess outfits for dining as well as Pirate/Princess night. Lots of kids do dress up for character dinners and from what I've read you don't want to be the Mom of one of the ones that isn't in her princess outfit:scared1:

    As for driving, invest in a portable DVD player (or TV/VCR) if you are like us and own the entire Disney collection on video.popcorn:: We use it all the time for road trips. It definitely keeps us sane and the kids happy.

    Hope this helps you a bit.
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  4. Cee

    Cee DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2006
    Read, read, read! You will get there, get the "lay of the land", and the magic
    will lead you from there. Just stay relaxed and in the moment. For me, it's
    more of a feeling. It's fun to do stuff, but I think the real joy is just being
    there. Don't rush, don't worry and don't work too hard at having a good time.
    Believe me, you will have a blast. You can't control whether your DH has fun
    or not. That's up to him.

    Go and have the time of your life. :goodvibes :cloud9:
  5. Disney Crazy Debbie

    Disney Crazy Debbie DIS Veteran

    Jan 2, 2006
    If your DD is a princess fan you can also check into character meets and plan on that for her "dress-up" day and you will get both "princesses" in the photo. We like the H&V buffet because it isn't too over priced and has a variety of goods, but if you have free dining just review all of the restaurants and see which one's have the most adjustable menus. Don't forget some of the resorts have great themed restaurants, like the Beach Club's character breakfast or their clam bake, which does include food other than seafood.
  6. BeckWhy

    BeckWhy <font color=FF99FF>The Tag Fairy prefers to remain

    Feb 19, 2003
    There are so many options for you and I'm not sure you even realize it. Anyways, on DIS there is the restaurant board, there you can read dining reviews, look at pics of the food, etc. Also if you look towards the top of this page (or almost any page on DIS for that matter) there is a link that says Dining, click on it and you will be able to find your way to menus! This may help you decide on restaurants to eat at.

    As for seafood, I once read somewhere that only order seafood at restaurants that specialize in seafood. So the Clam Bake at Beach Club or Coral Reef are probably good places to get seafood. Both these places offer other food as well, not just seafood, so I can assume your husband will find something.

    If you like to try exotic foods, you can definately do that in Epcot's World Showcase. You can stop at the Quick Service places and grab something little or what not and your husband doesn't have to get anything at all.

    I haven't heard too many good things about Hollywood & Vine. But I think if you go for breakfast (if they offer it), I don't think you can really mess it up. I mean how do you mess up eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, etc. And I think they use the same stuff around WDW for that. But some of the breakfasts do offer different foods that are situated towards the location.

    As for dressing your little girl up, you can do it or not do it. I think they sell the costumes at the Disney Store online or any of the Disney Stores around the US. But check Mousesavers for sales, coupon codes, and free shipping offers often. In my personal experience I haven't seen too many girls dressed up before, but then again, we haven't done any of the princess meals. Another option is Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. This is a little salon where your little girl can choose from different packages to get her hair, make up, and nails done, then maybe throw in a princess dress and get her pictures taken. (I'm not sure if this is how it really works, I don't know much about it, I'm just trying to remember what I have read). I would assume this process takes a while and I believe you have to make reservations which also means it's a bit on the costly side. But if you ask around here I'm sure people will be willing to show you pics of their little girls after BBB experience.

    What type of things is your husband into? Perhaps we can think of ways to make his trip extra special also. For example, my boyfriend is a mechanic and he got a kick out of being able to see how all the rides work.

    I hope I helped. If you have any further questions feel free to PM me!
  7. mill4023

    mill4023 DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2005
    I hate to say it, but I don't think you'll have too many choices for TS (Table Service, sit down) meals. With free dining, a lot of the most popular choices are going to be booked up already.
    Have you started working on a plan yet for which days you want to visit which parks? You pretty much need to have that before you can decide where you want to eat. Personally, I'd recommend you pick a park for each day that does NOT have EMH (extra magic hours). September is a low crowd month, but because of free dining, the percentage of park visitors who are staying on-site and are eligible for EMH is going to be very high. So I think avoiding EMH parks will provide the best experience (low crowds, very short wait times for attractions). And if you are trying to make sure your husband enjoys the trip, minimizing the time spent standing in lines is a big step in the right direction.

    You said you'll be there the 19th through the 25th, but what time are you arriving on the 19th and what time are you leaving on the 25th. What I'm getting at is... how many days will you have to spend at the parks?

    Since it's your first trip, I highly recommend you spend at least 1 day in each park. You'll be able to see almost everything in MGM and AK in 1 day, but if you have time, you could easily spend 2 days in Epcot or Magic Kingdom. But you also don't want to overdo it and try to see EVERYTHING, because it won't happen and you'll end up exhausted. If possible, it would be nice to plan a rest day in the middle of the trip to recover and recharge. Or some people like to take afternoon breaks each day to keep from getting too exhausted.
  8. bluejaygirl

    bluejaygirl On tour!

    May 20, 2007

    I just returned from our first trip to WDW! It was absolutely magical!!

    My DD6 loved the Akerhus lunch with the princesses.

    I bought a dress up Cinderella costume at Walmart, it was $20 for the dress and a few bucks for the tiara. It was perfectly lovely. We brought it with us and threw it over her T shirt and shorts before we went inside. I saw too many very HOT Princesses wearing layered dresses in the sun.


    From what I understand, Cinderella was a lucky find that day? I didnt think she would be there so we were very happy!

    The rest of the time in the parks she just wore her regular cute clothing and her Minnie mouse ears and she was treated like royalty by the CM's and called "Princess" and fawned over just the same.

    Another tip: Just relax, pick a few alternate choices and call and get your ADR's be flexible with eating times ( we ended up with some early lunches which was great since we dont enjoy breakfast). there was a variety of foods from which to choose and even my DH (who is the pickiest eater- doesnt like seafood and is allergic to poultry) didnt whine about the food.

    The Garden Grill in epcot was delicious and the Characters were very funny and came around twice, spending a lot of time with us and playing with the kids.. I ended up in tears. ( of happiness) I think your DD will be amazed by any character she meets whether they are a "favorite" or not.

    Enjoy!!! i want to go back. Now!
  9. mill4023

    mill4023 DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2005
    Yeah, I'd say just be flexible and willing to take what's available. In my experience, while we've enjoyed some restaurants more than others, we've never had a terrible meal at WDW. Even at the locations that are less popular and get a lot of criticism here.

    With the free dining plan, you'll get one table service meal and one counter service meal each day. So you do have the flexibility of making an ADR for lunch or dinner. Once you decide which parks you want to do on each day, call and see what's available.

    FYI, I don't think Cinderella is at the dinner meal. I think it's just breakfast and lunch. You're probably right that Cindy's castle will be booked, but it won't hurt to ask. It doesn't get booked up quite as quickly as it used to.
  10. dogsmom

    dogsmom DIS Veteran

    Sep 9, 2006
    :welcome: Have a wonderful trip!!!
  11. Creekermom

    Creekermom Mouseketeer

    Jul 4, 2007
    WOW what a awesome group of ladies ( I presume) you are!
    I really appreciate the details of each of your posts, I have so much to learn in so little time! LOL

    I did manage to book Akerhus Princess dinner for dinner on the day we arrive.(Epcot) then the MGM Hollywood & Vine for Playhouse Disney's character lunch.

    I still have 4 more dinners to do...*sigh*
    it is so hard, as I think we will tentatively do:

    Day 1- Epcot
    Day 2- MGM
    Day 3-Animal Kingdom and dinner in Down Town WDW..?? WG Puck?
    Day 4 Magic Kingdom-Dinner at DT WDW...?
    Day 5- Epcot- Coral Reef??
    Day 6-Magic Kingdom- dinner at DT WDW..?

    I would love to do the Fantasmic Dinner show at MGM but don't want to spend another day there...

    Open to suggestions... please share!
  12. Creekermom

    Creekermom Mouseketeer

    Jul 4, 2007
    Ok, ladies I think I have it all reserved :cheer2:


    OK now for the ADR's

    Sept 19 -8:00pm-Dinner at Akerhus Princess Storybook
    20 -1:25pm-Lunch at Hollywood Vine-Playhouse Disney Characters
    21 -7:30pm-Dinner at Spoodles
    22 -2:30pm-Lunch at Crystal Palace-Pooh & Friends Character
    23 -2:40pm Lunch at Coral Reef
    24 -7:35pm- 1900 Park Fare now at the Grand Floridian Cafe With Cinderella and Friends (plated dinner due to construction at 1900 Park Fare)

    I think I did pretty well considering how late my reservations were...

    Our plans include the following for our park days:
    9/18-depart for WDW arriving 9/19
    9/20-MGM Studios
    9/21-Animal Kingdom
    9/22-Magic Kingdom
    9/24-Magic Kingdom
    9/25 departure
    9/26 arrive home

    Ok, now that I have accomplished that.. what else do I need to do?
  13. mill4023

    mill4023 DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2005
    You're new, so I'll forgive you this time. ;)

    I'm in the minority here(although there are quite a few of us), because I'm a guy who's a huge disney fan, while my wife is the one who enjoys WDW but doesn't really understand my obsession with Mickey, his home, and his friends. :)

    Your plans look great to me. We'll be there from 9/22 to 9/30 and we'll actually be at the same parks as you on our first two days.
    We're arriving 9/22 around noon and we'll be spending the afternoon at MK before heading over to Ft. Wilderness for the Hoop De Doo Revue.
    Then 9/23, we'll be spending the day at Epcot as well. Actually, we're having lunch at Coral Reef that day too, but we'll be there at 11:40am.

    Your daughter will love Akershus. It's not as iconic as Cinderellas castle, but it's a beautiful restaurant that does make you feel like you are eating in a medieval castle. And she'll get to meet lots of princesses (although they won't guarantee any particular character). We've had breakfast and lunch there with our kids and we all enjoyed it. Whether you decide to have her dress up or not, you won't feel out of place. I'd say about 1/3 to 1/2 of the little girls had princess dresses on.

    Hollywood and Vine is one of those places that gets some mixed reviews here, but we all really enjoyed it. We thought the food was very good and there was plenty of variety to make everyone happy. We haven't been there since they started having the Playhouse Disney characters, so I can't comment on that.

    Crystal Palace is one of our favorites. We've had breakfast and lunch there and both were great.

    We're trying Coral Reef and Spoodles for the first time in september, but they both get overwhelmingly good reviews. We're actually doing the same thing as you and going to Spoodles after our AK day since they close at 5. We've never been to the Boardwalk area, but I've heard it's a fun place to walk around.

    Since you are planning on going to a park every day of your trip, the one piece of advice I would give you is to take it easy and don't try to do too much. If you are tired, take a rest. If you don't get to see everything, it's ok. If you're wiped out one night and really need to sleep in the next morning, go ahead. Since it's september and you aren't going to parks on EMH days, crowds shouldn't be bad at all. And even though you won't get as many rides in if you aren't at the park at opening time, you'll have a much nicer vacation if you aren't exhausted and sleep deprived.
  14. bluejaygirl

    bluejaygirl On tour!

    May 20, 2007
    That looks awesome! You were lucky to get so many character meals and I think your schedule looks very nice and appropriate for your dd. We also spent 2 days each at Epcot and MK, plus an extra evening at MK. (We scratched our planned day at MGM and just had dinner there...)

    A few tips from another "newbie":

    I dont know if you were thinking about a stroller for DD.. I ended up just renting one there on our Epcot days, it helped get around the World showcase , never thought I'd put a 6 y.o. in a stroller but it was worth it!

    Get your camera ready and just start taking as many pics as you can as soon as your DD approaches a character...some of my best pics are the candids: the tight hugs and my DD6 gazing up in awe. Make sure you get an autograph book and pen before you hit a park. We met Rafiki right off in the AK and I was woefully unprepared. If you are near the front of the line and a charater needs a break, but "will be right back in a few minutes" stay there. That happend a couple times and they were right back in less than 5 minutes.

    We LOVED Pal Mickey. That little guy would have been worth $200. He made DD6 into our personal tour guide as she relayed the information he told her...we learned so much about the parks because of him. He comforted her when she was tired, he entertained her on the busses with his lame jokes, he was a dress-up doll..( I had to stop myself at 3 outfits but now I am kicking myself for not getting him the rain ponco), he was a prop for the characters to interact with.

    I have no travel tips beyond the dvd player/gameboy/begging them to sleep tips.
  15. Creekermom

    Creekermom Mouseketeer

    Jul 4, 2007
    :thankyou mill4023 & Bluejaygirl You are appreciated more than you know.

    I am glad to know that I did ok.. this first time around...
    Now I have to plan some counter service places.. to get more for our $ KWIM?
    I would rather have too much food than not enough... especially since we will be eating fairly late on most Dinner nights or eating mid day for Lunch.. so we may need a CS or snack mid morning or late night...

    any suggestions?
  16. bluejaygirl

    bluejaygirl On tour!

    May 20, 2007
    I didnt plan any CS meals. we just ate when we were hungry, wherever we were. I'm not a huge planner, and didnt want to limit ourselves to being somewhere specific more than I had to.

    We did 2 CS at MK:

    I wasnt too impressed with Pecos Bill' was ok but nothing unique or special. We were there, and we were hungry and wet after 2 rides on Splash mountain, so we sat in the sun and ate. People were feeding the black birds and it was a bit much ( of course more birds fly over).

    Cosmic Ray's was much better IMO, and if you want a big portion, the rib meal was more than I could eat and I gave the kids some of my ribs. They were very meaty and tender, much better than expected.

    I wanted to try Caseys but by that time the heat outside was intense and the seating inside was limited and full.

    At AK we ate at Pizzafari because Tusker House's menu didnt suit DH's needs. The pizza was the same as at ASMo. DD6 wanted pizza so she and I traded meals and I ate her cheese quesadilla and fries and grapes.. it was plenty! We all skipped dessert and had pizza leftover.

    The rest of the time we just ate at the hotel..and usually not all at the same time. We got 2 beverages with the one breakfast we did have (??) so we all had an extra water to take to the park with us that day.
  17. MomWith2Cinderellas

    MomWith2Cinderellas I wished upon a star and was granted the 3 loves o

    Feb 28, 2006

    Hi Valerie! You and your family will have a blast!

    My DD's only wear costumes once on the trip and that is for when they go to BBB....I usually do it right before we go for dinner this way they do not have to wear the outfit the whole day...If you want to bring costumes I look for sales (like Toys R Us just had a Minnie Costume on sale for $5! :banana: ), or on ebay for good deals...The costumes at WDW can get pretty pricy...

    As far as the car trip...We have driven from Texas to NYC a numerous occasions...I take Wonder Markers in the car (they do not stain)...We also have a DVD player and they love to play their V-Smile hand held games. We also stop along the way often to make sure everyone can stretch their legs...

    Have a great time!:goodvibes

    MARCIAKAZ Proud to be called Disney Geek by my kids!

    Jun 29, 2004
    I have a few non-food suggestions:

    1. For autographs, make sure to take a large/fat sharpie or similar pen for autographs--much easier for the characters to handle.
    2. In epcot, they have an arts & crafts station in each country, for kids to decorate paper masks, and you can also get a "passport" stamped in each country...all free as I recall.
    3. Another low cost activity/souvenir is to get pressed pennies and pressed quarters. They have the machines all over the place--parks, resorts, shops.
    4. We drove from texas, and brought our laptop computer for games and dvd's (you can get a power converter thingie to keep it charged). Also, a magna-doodle toy can be fun for drawing or games.
    5. Plan, then relax and have a great time!

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